Donegal Outrage Papers

Outrage Papers consists of reports to the Chief Secretary on crimes and disturbances around the country. These are arranged in county order from 1835-52 and are held at the National Archives in their original format. If you get permission from the archivist you can take photos of the papers but you need permission to publish them on the internet. There are papers after 1852 but not in county order.

So I started checking those for 1846 – nothing then 1847 – the year my great great grandmother Rebecca Jackson was tried for stealing wearing apparel.

The first mention I found was:

William Fenton – Governor of the Gaol of Donegal on 23 March 1847 – not sure who he was sending the letter to?

Also that James Sharkey above named was the means of bringing to justice William Jackson Senior and his family four in number, by discovering the pawn tickets concealed on the person of William Jackson the older, the whole family been sentenced to transportation in January last before the Assistant Barrister.

So from this document I now know that William, William, Rebecca and Sarah are all related – probably father, son, daughter and maybe married sister??

Next was report James Sharkey sent in to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on 6 April 1847

The memorial of James Sharkey, Turnkey in Lifford Gaol, County of Donegal, most humbly sheweth,

That on the 21st December last William Jackson Senior, William Jackson Junior Rebecca Jackson and Jane Steele and Mary Jane Gallagher were committed to said gaol charged with various larcenies – that William Jackson Senior (the father of the other two Jacksons and principal leader of them all) had managed to conceal from the Constabulary (who had searched him previous to his committal) a number viz. twenty one Pawn Office tickets which Memorialist found concealed in the waistband of his trowsers at the time he was committed and which led to the discovery of various articles which had been stolen and finally to the conviction of four of the party as the charges for which they were first committed were not sustained: – That Memorialist was examined before the Assistant Barrister at last January Sessions when the aforesaid were tried and convicted and sentenced to be each transported for seven years. Memorialist prays His Excellency will be graciously pleased to award him such remuneration for said service as His Excellency may think proper and as in duty bound Memorialist will ever pray.

Now I have more information William is the father and William Junior and Rebecca are his children. There were actually 5 people committed but only four were convicted. They were convicted because of the pawn tickets found proving to be from stolen articles rather than from the various larcenies charges.

The next document was from A McClintock and John Ferguson to the Under Secretary, Castle Dublin

Newtown Cunningham Petty Sessions, County Donegal 25 May 1847

We the Magistrates of the Petty Sessions District of Newtown Cunningham County of Donegal beg leave to call your attention to the case of Ann Jackson, and to request of you to lay the same before the Lords Justices; the said Ann Jackson became an approver on behalf of the Crown, and gave evidence at the last January Quarter Sessions held in Lifford before Jonathan Henn Esq Q.C. Assistant Barrister of the County of Donegal, against four persons members of her own family, who had been guilty of repeated acts of Larceny, and who were convicted upon her evidence and sentenced to be transported for seven years, and she, having been frequently threatened with personal injury by other members of her family who remain here in the country, and being a Pauper with two children of the respective ages of 10 and 6, and unprotected, has been importuning us to make application on her behalf, that she may be with her two children sent out to one of the colonies at the expense of the Government.

The said Ann Jackson was a member of a family that had for the last twenty or thirty years been committing depredations in this part of the country; they had always escaped detection until she came forward and gave information against them, and was the means by which they were brought to justice: four persons, namely, William Jackson the elder, William Jackson the younger, Rebecca Jackson and Jane Steele were arraigned upon six Bills of indictment at the Quarter Sessions, and principally upon the evidence of the said Ann Jackson were found guilty upon two of the charges and sentenced as before mentioned.

The conviction and punishment of these offenders have been most beneficial to the community, and they might never have been detected but for the information given by this woman: from the character of those members of her family who have been threatening her, we consider them capable of doing her injury, if in their power, and under  these circumstances we recommend her application to the favourable consideration of the Lords Justices.

The next document is very blurry and I can’t read it properly from my iPad. I think it is from Mr Barrett from Riversdale Ardara dated 31 May 1847  The source is labelled 7/181

I have carefully read the annexed and it is perfectly correct – Ann Jackson became an Approver as stated, and gave such information as led to the conviction of William Jackson the Elder, William Jackson the Younger, Rebecca Jackson and Jane Steele, who were severally transported for seven years. I consider the recommendation entitled to the favourable consideration ….

Other notes on the same piece of paper but written in red ink include

I … and inform the Magistrates that their … have sanctioned their recommendations as to the … of Ann Jackson and her two children. Report/Request/Regret?? therefore that they will ………

The final document I copied is from R Ramsay from the Government Emigration Office Londonderry 24 June 1847

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 22 Instance respecting the providing passage for Ann Jackson and her two children and to arrange for 5 pound to be paid her on arrival at the port of Quebec. Have received from H McMahon Esq fifteen pounds for the purpose of providing such passage and remitting the five pounds – I shall provide the passage and remit the pounds to the Emigration gent at Quebec.

So what did I learn from the Outrage Papers and where do I go now? That will be another post.

 

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2 thoughts on “Donegal Outrage Papers

  1. Hi Sue,

    What an interesting read! Delighted to read about what you learned about Rebecca Jackson on your visit to Ireland. The details are so fascinating. That her mother appears to have given evidence against her husband and her own children is like a ‘soap opera’. But it must have been so grim. Reading between the lines from the report on Lifford Gaol is chilling.

    As an Irish person 1847 is such a significant date as it was at the height of the Irish Famine. This is something that we all learn about in school and is still strong in our ‘folk memory’. So the conditions under which all this was happening are doubly tragic.

    ‘The chairman of the relief committee in Donegal said that the poor ‘are now living on sea-weed’.

    …The government was receiving more than 100 reports per day of starvation deaths. Deaths in workhouses had reached 2700 a week.’

    http://www.irishhistorian.com/IrishFamineTimeline.html#1847

    We enjoyed meeting you here in Ireland last year and have happy memories of your visit to our school and enjoyable meetings with family where we first heard of your ‘hard to trace’ ancestor Rebecca Jackson. Well done on all your forensic research. I look forward to reading more.

    With every good wish,

    Mary Beausang

    • Thanks Mary,
      I am assuming Ann is Rebecca’s mother at this stage but have not verified Rebecca’s birth and parents. Will need to check baptisms and marriage records for Presbyterians. Have found out more about Ann and the children but will put that in another post. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Ireland especially the friendship and help from you, your students and the other teachers I met.

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