We learn the most about my third great-grandfather Miles McGrane from a single, isolated incident in his life. In July 1867, he assaulted a police officer who was attempting to arrest him for fighting in the street, in Dublin city. The newspapers of the day covered the court case, although, as noted HERE last week, they failed to provide a reason for the fight or a motive for the assault on the police officer. Miles served two months hard labour in the Richmond Penitentiary for this crime.
Miles worked as a general labourer, probably employed on a week-by-week basis. So, his stay in prison undoubtedly had devastating consequences for his family and their attempt to keep a roof over their heads, not to mention the toll it may have taken on his health. Most likely, his wife and children were forced to rely on the generosity of family and friends while Miles was locked up. Miles accepted his punishment and never spent time in jail again.
Miles McGrane, General Register, 1866-67, Richmond Bridewell Penitentiary
The registers of the Richmond Bridewell contain a wealth of information concerning my errant ancestor. They provide a description of what Miles looked like when he was thirty-six years old – a fantastic find, given there are no known photographs of him surviving today.
He was five feet, five and three-quarter inches in height, with brown hair, hazel eyes, and a dark complexion.
At the time of his arrest in 1867, Miles gave his address as 17 Aldborough Court, off the North Strand. According to the Dublin Street Directory of 1862, houses 1 to 18 in Aldborough Court were divided into tenements.
Lodgers in such accommodation tended to change their address on a frequent basis, but this house, or a room therein, appears to have been a McGrane family home for many years. Although church records indicate Miles and his family lived at various addresses in Mecklenburgh Street (now Tyrone Street) in the 1860s, both before and after his imprisonment, Miles McGrane’s father John died at 17 Aldborough Court, over five years previously, in December 1861.
The prison registers show Miles was born in Thomas Street, in Dublin city. And, a record of his baptism was found at the nearby Roman Catholic Church of St Catherine’s on Meath Street. It took place on 9 November 1830, naming his father as John McGrane and his mother as ‘McGurk’. Baptism records for his siblings confirm his mother’s given name was Margaret.
Miles was only fifty years old when he died of chronic bronchitis, caused by consumption (tuberculosis), on 3 September 1881. He died at his residence, 1 Lower Jane Place, surrounded by his wife and family. He had been sick for two months.
His interment took place in the family plot at Glasnevin Cemetery, where he joined his daughter, Rosanna, who died aged six years in 1879, and his daughter Elizabeth, aged three years, who predeceased him by only two weeks.
Our McGrane lineage
Main source: Miles McGrane, General Register of Convicted Prisoners, 1866-67, Richmond Bridewell Penitentiary, accessed FindMyPast.ie., (click on the image to enlarge).
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