The Irish Famine memorial, Murrisk, County Mayo, Ireland
In 1889 Queen Victoria asked Thomas what part of Scotland he came from. He obviously retained a Scottish accent, despite leaving Scotland many years before. I imagine that Thomas mentioned the Jedburgh area of south east Scotland – but in fact he didn’t arrive there until he was somewhere between 6 and 10 years old, and under dramatic circumstances.
Thomas was actually born in Murrisk, County Mayo, Ireland in 1842, a dramatic place and time in Ireland’s history. It is likely that he was born into a Roman Catholic family and baptised Patrick. His younger sister, later known as Annie was probably baptised Bridget. (From family research in Ireland)
1861 Scotland census shows Thomas born in Ireland
1911 Wales census shows Thomas born in Jedburgh, Scotland
Read more about the famine and its life-changing effect on Thomas here.