Family tradition states that the Hope family came from northern Ireland.1 There are many families of Hope in northern Ireland in the counties of Antrim and Derry. Hopes are also numerous in Scotland and England. There were very few Hope families in County Mayo, especially in the 1830s and 1840s.
According to his discharge papers from the British Army, Thomas was born about 1788 in or near the town of Crossmolina, which is in the Parish of Crossmolina, County Mayo.2, According to his death certificate in 1871, he was 88 years old, which would make his birth about 1783.3 According to Patrick Healy, grandson of Thomas Hope, he was born in 1795.4
Thomas Hope enlisted in His Majesty’s 83rd Regiment of Foot (the Irish Rifles) at Ballinasloe, County Galway, on September 14, 1806, at the age of eighteen. According to the discharge papers, he originally had enlisted in Crossmolina with the North Mayo Militia.5
Thomas Hope spent at least the last ten years of his service in the East and West Indies.
He was discharged after 20 years and 32 days as a private eligible for a pension. Pensions were based on a shilling a day or seven shillings a week. An extra allowance of half as much again was given for the East and West Indies. Thomas received an extra allowance for this amounting to 4 years and 10 months making his total time in the Army to be 26 years. This was used to work out the rate for his pension.6 Thomas’ pension would have been: 7 shillings for 1 week; 364 shillings for 1 year or £18. An English pound was a great deal of money in those days.
The 83rd Foot, Thomas' regiment, was stationed at Kandy, Ceylon,7 in the summer of 1827 when he was invalided, or discharged, to Chelsea Hospital, London, England. British soldiers were often sent there when they ended their service.8 Thomas was officially discharged on July 31, 1827. The reason given was that he was “worn out.”9 At the time of discharge, his age was given as 38. In his discharge papers, Thomas was described as being 5'4", with grey eyes, fair complexion and brown hair. A second signature on his discharge papers was that of an officer from the Horse Guards. Although classed at discharge as a labourer, perhaps because of the Horse Guards connection he was involved in some way in the Army with horses.
Thomas Hope returned to the Crossmolina area where he had originally enlisted. Thomas Hope probably married Mary Barrett around 1829-1830, as their first child was born about 1830. It is not known who Mary Barrett's parents were nor where they lived. There were many Barrett families at the time in Castlehill, Lahardane, and other nearby townlands. According to Mary Barrett Hope's death certificate she was 68 when she died, putting her birth about 1807.10
Family tradition says that the Hopes came from Ballybrinoge to Castlehill and then to Dervin. The townlands of Castlehill and Dervin are a short distance south of Ballybrinoge in the Parish of Addergoole. Although there is no listing for a Thomas Hope, or any Hope, in the Tithe Applotments11 in either Ballybrinoge or Castlehill, there were Hopes living in the Crossmolina area in the 1830s because they appear in the Crossmolina Parish Register during that time.12
Exactly when Thomas Hope went from Ballybrinoge to Castlehill is not known, but it may have been around 1830 when he was married and his first child was born. There are no baptismal records for children born to Thomas and Mary Hope in the Crossmolina Parish so they may have left by the time the Register started in 1831. The Addergoole Parish Register did not start until 1840, after most of their children were born.
Thomas and Mary moved to a farm on the estate of John C. Walsh in Castlehill. The exact date is unknown. Walsh leased his property out to twelve tenants, all Catholics. The farms were from 3 to 52 acres and produced oats and potatoes, had a meadow and not much bog. Walsh’s home had an attached orchard, a garden and other land worked by the tenants.13
The Hopes were living in Castlehill in 1841 when a daughter, Ann, was born. Her baptism is listed in the Addergoole Parish Register as February 27, 1841; the residence given is Castlehill.14 Walsh enlarged his land sometime in the 1840s and the Hopes had to move off the land because they did not have access to a right of way to their holding. Thomas’ farm was isolated in the middle of the estate.
According to family tradition, Thomas and his family moved to the nearby townland of Islandmore for a short period of time. In 1849 the Hopes found a new home on a vacant holding in Dervin.15 The holding had been waste since 1846, the first year of the Potato Famine. Their landlord in Dervin was Mervyn Pratt of Inniscoe. Besides paying an unbelievably high rent of £16, Thomas Hope had to pay the outstanding rent of £50, unpaid by Leonard A. Gunning who had fled to Erris in 1845.The house was a two-story house built by the Jacksons, the landlords prior to Mervyn Pratt. Mervyn Pratt married Madeline, daughter of William Jackson. When William Jackson died in 1822 it then became the Pratt Estate.
This holding, with the two-story house, was occupied by Thomas Sr. and Thomas Jr., and their families. According to family tradition, the Hope family had "a fine stable of race horses. That was Hope’s business --they were known for race horses far and wide over the county and throughout Ireland."16 Thomas Jr. eventually acquired the holding after his parents died. Thomas, Jr.’s son, Michael, b.1872, had the holding after his father’s death. Because of poor health, Michael passed the holding to his sister, Kate Hope, who married Peter Maye. The holding eventually went to their son, Anthony Maye and in the late 1990s, was still occupied by a Maye family member. The house is still standing, and one passes it on the main road to Castlebar as well as on the road which leads to the house and land which Thomas Sr.’s other son, Anthony Hope, occupied.
Anthony Hope, son of Thomas Hope Sr., acquired his own holding from Mr. Pratt in 1851, adjacent to the holding of his father. This holding had previously been held by Widow Philbin and then by John Howley.17 This land was occupied in the late 1990s by Anthony Hope, b. 1914, great-grandson of Thomas Hope and Mary Barrett.
Thomas Hope and Mary Barrett most likely lived in the two-story house with their son, Thomas, and his family, until their deaths in the 1870s. Thomas Sr. received a military pension until he died on December 10, 1871.18 After his death, the holding would have passed to his widow, Mary. When Mary died on March 10, 1875, at the age of sixty-eight, the holding would have passed to her son, Thomas. It is not known where they are buried.
The Thomas and Mary Hope had five children:
Thomas Hope Jr., ca.1830-1858, married Mary Leonard (of the Hill.) Thomas and Mary had twelve children, six of whom migrated to America. Thomas Hope was a jockey.
Descendants of Thomas Hope and Mary Leonard
Anthony Hope, 1832-1905, also became a jockey. He married Margaret Leonard (of the Hollow.) They had eight children, five of whom went to America. Anthony's land was taken over eventually by his son, Patrick. Anthony Hope, son of Patrick, and great grandson of Thomas Sr., was living on this land in the late 1990s.
Descendants of Anthony Hope and Margaret Leonard
Mary Hope, ca.1834-1898, married Patrick Healy, b.1824. They emigrated to Faribault, Minnesota, in 1866. Mary had nine children who lived to adulthood.
Descendants of Mary Hope and Patrick Healy
Ellen Hope, ca.1835- , married Thomas Brown. Some of their children may have emigrated to Brooklyn, New York.
Descendants of Ellen Hope and Thomas Brown
Ann Hope, baptized February 27, 1841 - , was born while Thomas Hope and Mary Barrett were living in Castlehill. It is presumed Ann died young since none of the present Hope family members know any details about her.