Thomas Healy and Mary O'Boyle of County Mayo, Ireland

The Healy family in Derryfadda, County Mayo, Ireland

According to Patrick F. Healy’s History of the Hope and Healy Families1, his grandfather, Thomas Healy, was born in County Mayo in 1790 and died in Derryfadda, County Mayo, in 1864 of old age. Mary was born in Derryfadda in 1795. She died of typhoid fever in 1845. 1845 was the first year of the Great Famine in Ireland. In addition to the potato crop failing, Ireland was ravaged by typhoid epidemics. At Mary’s death, some of the children were still quite young. Mary’s lineage is not known.

Thomas Healy had planned on being a Catholic priest. Penal Laws had been in effect since 1703 forbidding priests to say a Catholic Mass or to be educated as priests. How or where Thomas obtained his education is not known. Schools were plentiful in Ireland at one time to train priests and some Catholic priests had a fine education. Education of priests probably existed outside the law in secret places. Thomas spoke and wrote Irish, Greek, Latin and English. Very few persons spoke English in rural Ireland.

Thomas could not send his children to a Catholic school because of the Penal Laws. Patrick Healy, b.1857, describes in his History of the Hope and Healy Families how his father, Patrick, received his education:

Grandfather Healy was a highly educated man. He could speak and write four languages, English, Irish, Greek and Latin. He was intended for the priesthood, but things were much the same in Ireland at that particular time as they are at present in Mexico [1936], and there was a price on the heads of all Roman Catholic priests if caught saying mass. They dug tunnels under the ground where priests would say Mass, and under no consideration could they send the children to Parochial schools. Father and all of his brothers and sisters got their education in this way:

Grandfather Healy had two first cousins, Father Martin Hastings and Father James McDonough, who stayed in Grandfather Healy’s home continually for seven or eight years, gave Father and all his brothers and sisters their education, the same as though they had gone to parochial school, and better.

The children probably studied Irish, English, Latin, Mathematics, Geometry and Geography. The lineage of the two priests could not be traced.

Thomas Healy in 1833 occupied land rented from Mervyn Pratt in the townland of Derafadda, Addergoole Parish.2 He paid over £5 rent. The 1833 spelling of the name in the land records was Heally. Thomas continued to rent land from Mervyn Pratt until the 1860s when he died. His land holding then passed to his son James.

Eight of Thomas Healy and Mary O’Boyle’s nine children emigrated to America. Their daughter, Mary, remained in Ireland. The names of the children given below are not listed in actual birth order because, for some of them, there is no record of their birth dates. All were born before baptismal records were kept in Addergoole Parish where the family lived.

Children of Thomas and Mary O'Boyle:

Hugh Michael Healy, 1821-1897, left for America in 1849, arriving in New York and then heading for Pennsylvania. In 1851 he married Sarah Coleman in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Six years later Hugh, Sarah and their two sons traveled to Minnesota where they settled and farmed in Iosco. In 1893 Hugh and Sarah moved to a house in Elysian where he died in 1897 and Sarah died in 1908. They are buried in the Iosco Cemetery. Sarah and Hugh had eleven children.

Patrick M. Healy, ca.1824-1906, married Mary Hope in 1854. He was farming land that he leased in the townland of Pollawarla, near Mt. Nephin.In 1866, Patrick and Mary and their four children took the train to Queenstown where they left on the S.S. England for America. They eventually settled in Faribault, Minnesota, where Patrick's brother Thomas was living. Five more children were born in Faribault. By 1887 several of the children had moved to St. Paul and so Patrick and Mary moved their also. Mary died from a diabetic coma in 1898, age 62, and Patrick died in 1906, age 84. They are buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Paul.

Mary Healy, ca.1830-1931, married Michael Rowland in 1848 in Derryfadda, County Mayo. Their descendants have run the post office in Bofeenaun for many years. They had ten children, most of whom left for the United States.

James Healy, 1831-1921- , took over his father's holdings in Derryfadda in 1863. A couple years after his father died he left for Houston County,Minnesota, with his wife Ann Gallagher and their four children. Two more children were born in Minnesota. James was ninety when he died in 1921 and Ann was eighty-nine when she died two years later. They are buried in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Houston, Minnesota.

Catherine Healy, ca.1832-1895, married Patrick Philbin in 1853. They emigrated sometime in the 1860s, settling in Chicago.They had three children, all born in Chicago. Patrick and Kate both died in 1895 within two months of each other. They are buried in Calvary Cemetery in Chicago.

Thomas Healy, 1840-, emigrated in the mid-1800s, supposedly with his brothers Edward, Anthony and Dennis. Thomas was in Faribault, Minnesota in 1866 when his brother Patrick arrived with his family. He later moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania where he opened a store. He died in Scranton sometime after 1910.

No dates of birth have been found for the following three sons and the family has no further information on them:

Edward Healy, went to Scranton, Pennsylvania, according to Patrick F. Healy in his family history, where he learned the mining business, and got to be a general foreman in the coal mining industry. He died in Scranton at the age of 84 years.

Anthony Healy and Dennis Healy The last the family heard from Anthony and Dennis, they were living near New Orleans, Louisiana. They were contractors on the levee of the Mississippi River. They stopped writing in 1878 and were never heard from since. It was thought that they died from cholera as the papers reported the disease raging at that time.

  1. Patrick F. Healy, History of the Hope and Healy Families, unpublished manuscript, 1936. Birth and death dates for Thomas and Mary are from Patrick F. Healy’s History, and have not been verified.

  2. Tithe Applotment Books. Dublin, Ireland: Land Commission, about 1824-1840. Family History Library Microfilm 0256560. Diocese of Killala, Parish of Addergoole, Derafadda Township, 1833.

Photograph of a road sign in the Derryfadda area of County Mayo, taken by Patrick F. Healy, a descendant of Patrick M. Healy.

Anne Healy's Genealogy
28 Dec 2008
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