Facts and Events
John Reid was born in about 1821 in Ireland. He may have been the son of Michael Reid and Mary Dennan, although insufficient evidence has yet been found to be certain.
John's first confirmed sighting is as a young man in 1844, by which time he was married to a Julia Hanlon. John and Julia appear to have had seven children together, but moved around Ireland extensively. Baptisms have been located for six of their seven children, with each of those six baptisms being in a different county. Family tradition has it that John worked building the Irish railways, and this does seem to make some sense of the pattern.
In 1844 the family was living in Carlow town, where the Great Southern and Western Railway was being built - the line from Dublin as far as Carlow would open in 1846, continuing on to Waterford a few years later. In 1848 the family was living at Donaghmoyne, County Monaghan, close to where the Dundalk to Castleblayney (later extended to Enniskillen) line was under construction, opening in 1849. In 1849 they were still in that area, but living at Dundalk, County Louth, the eastern terminus of the line. In 1851 they were living at Drumcree, County Armagh - which parish contains the town of Portadown, which was rapidly developing around a newly-built railway junction and locomotive works.
Of the children's baptisms the only one that does not appear to be in the immediate vicinity of a railway under construction is Michael's baptism in 1846, when the family was living at Bracknagh, County Offaly, although the Great Southern and Western Railway's Dublin to Cork main line was under construction five miles to the south at Monasterevin, County Kildare.
By 1851 the family was living in Dublin, living in the city's southern suburb of Rathmines. They may have continued moving though - although no baptism for their son William has been found, he claimed in the 1911 census to have been born in County Armagh in about 1858. That said, the family clearly settled in Dublin for a time. Two of John and Julia's children (Rosanna and John) consistently claimed in the 1901 and 1911 censuses to have been born in Dublin, despite having been baptised respectively in County Monaghan and County Louth whilst the family was moving around.
By the early 1870s the family appears to have been living at 8 Lower Kevin Street, in the southern suburbs of Dublin. This was the address given by both their daughters Margaret and Rosanna when they married in 1872 and 1875 - both were married at St Kevin's Catholic Church on Harrington Street, and they married two brothers, Richard and John Farrell. The family may have lived at 8 Lower Kevin Street from the mid 1860s - in 1864 there was a John Reid who was a sponsor to the baptism of a Julia Bacon (daughter of Joseph Bacon and Julia Kelly) who lived at 8 Lower Kevin Street.
John's son Stephen emigrated to New York in the early 1880s, marrying there in 1885. About the same time, John and Julia appear to have moved to Monasterevin with their sons John and William, whilst their daughters Margaret and Rosanna and their son Michael stayed in Dublin. Michael lived with his sister Rosanna at 19 Stephen Street, working as a grocer's assistant. When Michael died in 1885, aged 38, his father John was next of kin and had to secure a grant of administration from the Principal Probate Registry in Dublin - the grant was given on 12th February 1886 and described John as being a bricklayer of Monasterevin.
John died on 22nd November 1887 at Whelans Row in Monasterevin. His death certificate says he was 66, implying that he was born in either 1820 or 1821. His widow Julia had to secure a grant of administration - with the estate being valued at exactly the same as that that John had inherited from his son Michael in 1885: £59 17s 4d, perhaps suggesting that John had simply placed the money in a bank account, leaving Julia requiring a grant of administration to access it after John's death. Julia stayed in Monasterevin for a time after John's death - she was still there in 1888 when she secured the grant of administration, but later moved in with her daughter Rosanna at 19 Stephen Street, Dublin, where she died in 1896, having outlived John by nearly nine years.