Murrisk Famine Monument

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)

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1861 Scotland census shows Thomas born in Ireland

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1911 Wales census shows Thomas born in Jedburgh, Scotland

Read more about the famine and its life-changing effect on Thomas here.