In search of my McCreary-Magee-McGee Codd/Code Ancestors 
in Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
             Astleford / Dowling Families of Aghold

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Ellen is the writer Thomas' 22 yr. old sister - who has emigrated to Camden East  between Belleville and Napanee

Sarah who married Thomas Dowling
was Sarah Shane/Shean, whose mother was an Astleford too.

Susan is another sister, married to Edward Condell, son of Jacob condell of Clonegal.

Wm. and John are other brothers and Bessie another sister. Sam is another brother, who eloped with a Barbara Durdin to Canada.

Crablane, which is  "stone's throw" from "The Wood" can also be  seen on the Aghold map above.

Sam had eloped with Barbara Durdin whose family were "gentry"

CLICK HERE to see the family of Richard/ James CODD of Munny

(Lancelot "Lanty" Jackson  b. 1790, was possibly the son of John Jackson and Sarah Esther Kersey. He married Hannah Green and later Rachel Astleford, daughter of Thomas Astleford - probably Ann's father's brother.

The word "possibly" was inserted because, while there was a Lancelot Jackson who m. a Rachel Astleford, this marriage appears to have been in 1815, and would hardly have been "news" in a 1855 letter.

Robert is another son of Wm. and Ann Astleford.

Wm. Dowling and his wife, Ann ____ had (at least) two children
1.) John b. 1802
2. Francis b. 1806

John Dowling b.c.1778 m.1811 Ruth Dagg. John s/o Robert Dowling & Hannah Hall.
Children bapt. St.Michael, Aghowle Parish,Co.Wicklow.
1.Mary bapt.?
2.Margaret bapt.1812
3.Robert bapt.1815
4.Elizabeth bapt.1817
5.Ann bapt.1819
6.Edward bapt.1821
7.John bapt.1822
8.Thomas bapt.1824
9.Ruth bapt.1828

Thomas Dowling and his wife Susannah Groves lost their house in Killanure during the Rebellion of 1798

The early 19th century ASTLEFORD family of Aghold, Wicklow County ( known, then, as Carlow County) and the DOWLING family of Aghold in the same period, sent many family members to Canada.

The oldest known Astleford family member at Aghold, Samuel Astleford (1700-1768), was interred at the ancient (12th century) Aghowle Church, which was used until 1712, when the "new" St. Michael's Church was constructed.  Aghowle Church was originally a monastery church founded by St. Finian in the 6th century. It was built on a hill overlooking Crab Lane, where the Astlefords lived. Crab Lane was named after the crab apples grown here.

Current information suggests (but doesn't confirm) that Samuel Astleford brought his family to Aghold, Wicklow (then considered a part of Carlow) in the 1720's from Coolcullen, County Kilkenny. We do know for sure that some of his descendants made their way back there, and from there sent family members to Canada in 1818.

<>SAMUEL ASTLEFORD was born in 1722 (or 1727  according to other records) at Aghold. His parents were SAMUEL and CHARLOTTE ________, and his 1st wife (1752) was HANNAH ____________. Some reports suggest that Hannah was, at one time, married to a Dowling, and that this family, eventually marrierd back into the Astleford line. Evidence for this is weak at the present time.
<>Samuel and Hannah Astleford had at least one son, THOMAS ASTLEFORD, baptized Jan. 1753 - who had a near brush with death during the Rebellion of 1798. Fleeing from the Battle of Ballyraheen Thomas and his cousin, _______ Leybourne were being pursued by pikemen when they came to a stream. Thomas jumped a millrace, receiving a back injury which troubled him until his death. Laybourne, who had a pistol, turned, shot two of the pikemen and drove the rest off. A few years later Thomas Astleford married Eleanor Kersey (1784-1878), daughter of James Kersey - who had warned them to flee Ballyraheen.
After Thomas' death in 1829 Eleanor had  "The Wood" built  and raised her family there (seen on the right) (also seen on the map below).

distinguished herself by creating a very profitable farming enterprize with a herd of 40 cows, and excellent crops. From the proceeds, she was able to educate two of her sons and give her daughters purses of money upon their marriages.

In 1855 Eleanor (see family tree below) came to Canada with her youngest son Elisha Astleford - where they lived on a farm near present day Guelph, Ontario.

Family biographies can be seen


For more about the 1798 Battle of Ballyraheen  CLICK HERE.

 The search for a fuller representation of the Aghold Astlefords has yielded a tentative Family Tree, seen HERE - which shows the Astleford family at the Coollattin Estate as well.

Several members of the (above) Astleford family emigrated to Australia and Canada.

These include:
* the family of Thomas Astleford (died in Ireland) - his widow Eleanor (Kersey) and most of their children - Canada.
* John Astleford and Esther Stacey (Nebraska) An unidentified David Astleford from this family - Canada
* John Astleford (& wife Ellen Lynch), son of John Astleford and Susan Dowling  - to Australia
* Amelia Astleford and her husband John Byrne to Bytown, Canada
*Rachel Astleford and her husband Launcelot Jackson to Boyd's Settlement, Ontario, Canada.
* descendants of William Astleford, son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Shore) - via Coolcullen, Kilkenny to Bytown, Canada
* Margaret Astleford's grandsons "Tanner Joe" Code & "Sailor Bill" Code - to North Elmsley Twp. Lanark, Canada

The Second Samuel Astleford Family

Samuel Astleford's second wife* (1781) at age 59 was ELIZABETH SHORE (1758-1840).

* Here we begin to enter a place where there are two alternative sources of information which disagree with each other. One source says that
Samuel Astlford who m. Elizabeth Shore was actually Samuel, son of John and Mary Astleford, and thus the grandson, not the son of the original Samuel.

The eight known children each married into a mainstream Aghold Church of Ireland family.


2.) ELIZABETH ASTLEFORD (1784) m. JOHN CUMMINS of Leaney, Moyacomb Parish, St. Mullin's, Carlow. Note the letter reference below to Thomas and Ruth Cummins as emigrants to Canada. They are probably related to John Cummins.

3.) WILLIAM ASTLEFORD (1787) moved to Coolcullen, Kilkenny. Depending on the accuracy of the date of William Astleford's birth he may be the same William Astleford as William Andrew Astleford (1810-1883) - or more likely - his father.  Some of his descendants later emigrated to Canada - in the Bytown (Ottawa) area. Thomas b. 1859 d. Pennsylvania. See Bytown or Bust for details of the emigrations to Eastern Ontario from the Coolcullen, Kilkenny area.

4.) MARGARET ASTLEFORD m. (1815) WILLIAM LEYBOURNE. They are the parents of JANE LEYBOURNE who married JOHN CODD in 1843 who farmed at Munahullen Townland in Aghold Parish and kept in touch by letter with his brothers "Sailor Bill" CODE and "Tanner Joe" Code who came to North Elmsley Twp. Lanark County, in the 1850's.

5.) ELLEN ASTLEFORD (1792 - May 23 1837) m. JOHN GROVES of nearby Leany. A John Groves of Leany - who may be John who was baptized  17 May 1807 to William and Catherine Groves - or possibly a son John Groves - left for America in 1753 according to a 1853 letter (seen below) from 28 yr. old Thomas Dowling to his 22 yr. old sister Ellen (m. Wm. Matthew Brown 1754)  in Canada. Thomas and Ellen Dowling's mother, Ann, was Ellen Astleford's sister (see below). Ellen (Astleford) Groves had died 17 years previously. The letter reads:

Dear Ellen

We received your letter the latter end of April (1853) and would have written before but we were never so busy of a spring before and first we have to thank Almighty God for his mercy in us all the enjoyment of good health at present though last february I had the fever but through the mercy of God and good attention (?) I was soon restored and was married to Sarah on the 29th of March in the Wesleyan Chapel in Carnew by Rev. Wm. Reilly of Carlow. We had a fine day and everything combined to make us happy. Do you see you were quite right when you said that I had her sure enough. But I must hasten to finish this part of my subject to assure you that (indescipherable word) mother  (short word) has never forgot you for you are in our prayers every day and it was an unaccountable neglect in me if i did not mention her name in my last letter. I have to tell you that she is in the enjoyment of good health and spirits only sometimes when she frets about you and Sam. However you both ought to write more constant than you do. Sam has wrote one letter since he went to America. Susan and Edward Condell are also well. They were both here yesterday.
Susan encloses a note to you. I have now to tell you that our old friend Robt. is also well and has grew a nice fellow.

John Groves of Leaney has left this spring for America. He took with him about 60 or 70 pounds and left on Easter Monday.  Jas. Coe had sold out this spring too, but he failed for the present. There are great numbers going out. This year Thomas and Ruth Cummins are gone. Mrs. Brown of Killanure has lost her place and Michael Lawrenson has it and a great deal of the Killanure people are sent to America. Maria Kenny is also gone this spring. and Byrne of there is gone and left his wife and children. John is with us and is getting on well. He has 60 sheep young and old so his tally at the end of the season will be worth 80 or 90 pounds by the blessing of God.

Wm. is still going to school to Mr. Doyle of Sillelagh. He is getting on well at Greek and Latin. I am paying 15 shillings per quarter for him. Jos. and Bessie are getting on well. We were greatly surprised at yours and Sam's leaving Camden. From Uncle John's letter to me. I see he was not pleased. I hope it may be for the better. Write to me when you receive this and let me know how Uncle (Robert) is and family and grandmother. Let me know too all about (two undescipherable words)  Camden for mother wishes to know whether you are sorry for going or not. Give our united love to all friends and accept the same yourself.
                                                                  From your affectionate brother
Thomas Dowling.

(In a 1854 letter between the same family members, an Aug. 15 1854 marriage between Margaret Leyburn (sp.) and Wm. Murphy is mentioned. The death of a "Big" Tom Hughes and his wife is mentioned. A Mr. Fishbourne (the minister at St, Michaels) is mentioned as an appointed guardian on their 7 children. A Dr. Henry Monfort , a Peggy McGuinness, and an Edward Styles are reported dead of "fever," and a "Tommy Dowling and his wife Judy" are reported returned from America - where they were disappointed throughly with life there (Camden).

6.) HANNAH ASTLEFORD (1793) m. GEORGE CODD (son SAMUEL 1823) This GEORGE CODD (there were many) remains a partial mystery. He was from Munny Townland, but neither he nor his apparent brothers have yet been located in a family of origin.

 7.) ANNE ASTLEFORD (1795) m. c. 1824/5 WILLIAM DOWLING. In
1819/20 William's brothers - Thomas and John Dowling had emigrated to Canada  (which the Irish referred to broadly as "America" in those days before Canada's confederation (1867). Another brother Robert Dowling also emigrated, possibly at a later time. All had gone, at least initially, to Camden Township, near Belleville, Ontario. In 185(5), Ann (sp without an "e") Astleford wrote the following letter to her daughter, Ellen (Eleanor) and son-in-law, William... (transcribed as it was found. Note there are no punctuating periods or commas)

Crablane Nov. 1st 185(5) 

Dear Ellen

We recd. your letter in due course and though it was too long due yet it was better late than never. We are glad to hear of your continued health for which blessing we as a family have reason to be grateful to Almighty God. We were sorry to hear of Barbara's illness but Sam seems to forget us as he does not write us a line
We are glad to hear of Uncle Robt. settling on a farm He will not be sorry to hear of the Major being noticed to quit Killabeg

You will be surprised to hear that  Eliza Coe paid a visit home this summer and was returned to the (? West) again with her father and he's three children and also Mrs. E Astleford and Elisha of the Wood They are going to Betty who is a widow living I believe in Guelph Richd. Codd's son James
is gone too They are sailing three weeks today We have not heard anything from Aunt Rachel since you went Only we heard she was married to Lanty Jackson  Jame's brother if it was Byrn of the (? Park) you wished to know about he was back the same year. Mrs. Cooper is some where about New York Mrs. (? H ojil very hard to read) had a letter from Wm. Spence in New York giving an account of her and she is now in Dublin

Mrs. John Nickson died about a month ago It is easy to pay rent in this country now and make money too but it is very hard to get land Maurice Whelan got Jas. Coe's farm as he was in joint lease with it and W. R. Shean got Mrs. Astleford's

Prices for every comodity are very high Wheat is 43 per barl Oats 17 and Barly 22 Potatoes 10 per barl of (undescipherable) Bacon 74 s./8 per Cwt. and butter 10s. per Cwt. Beef 5.d to 7 per lb. Mutton from 5 to 6 (?) per (?)

I do not know how (?Judy) (undescipherable)

Robert has been delicate all summer He was home the month of July and went to the sea for a fortnight His constitution is hardly strong enough for Dublin but he will not consent to leave it Edward Condell and Susan are well. And their two children also. Joseph is well in NewtownBarry I hope you will write to us soon again and let us know how you are going on the farm and also how Sam is going on We are glad to hear of your being able to credit him for so much - And now I commend you to God and to the word (underscipherable) his grace and remain your affectionate mother   Ann Dowling

8.) AMELIA ASTLEFORD (1800) m. JOHN BYRNE. This family emigrated to Canada in 1827.


Dotted blue lines above join (1) William Groves of Leany either to William son of John and Margaret or to Nicholas son of John and Margaret. Either could have been his parents - and (2) Abraham Groves b.c. 1745 to Abraham, son of Nicholas and Mary or to John/Margaret. These links are conjecture, not proven by the finding of records.

There are many other conjectures possible here. For instance JOHN CODD b.c. 1769/1770 married an ANN_________ in the mid 1780's. Their third son ( as named in their lease) was named Nicholas, a name not previously seen in the Wicklow Codd family. Chances are that ANN was ANN GROVES from the same family as Susannah and Nicholas. The dates fit! This John Codd "seems to have been" the son of George and Rachel Codd of Boley Townland - the matter remaining somewhat uncertain due to no discovered marriage record.

John Groves and his 1792 wife, MARGARET CUNDLE or CONDELL were both named as cousins of JOSEPH CODD in the Nauvoo Baptismal File. Joseph's aunt, Jane Codd b. Mar. 6th 1743, married JOHN CONDELL of Hackettstown in April 1760. If Margaret were the daughter of John and Jane, she would be Joseph's cousin.

There are also connections with the COE family of Lower Aghowle which are not shown on this chart. On the GROVES PAGE we see MARY GROVES b. 1774 marrying SAMUEL COE Jan. 11 1794. Mary could well have been a sister of John Groves or of William, or of Susannah and Nicholas - or all of these contemporary GROVES.

We also see in  the Aghowle Tenants List of 1827  Mrs. Elizabeth Astleford age 80 - who would have been the widow of  Samuel Astleford - and mother of ELLEN (Astleford) GROVES. - and next to her on one side William Dowling who m. her daughter, Anne Astleford, while in the other side - Mrs. Leybourne -  the mother of William who married her other daughter  - Margaret Astleford.

For more on the GROVES families of Aghold and Leany (Moyacomb, St. Mullins) CLICK HERE.

Many thanks to Barb Dowling, Harold Maynard and others for information/pictures

To peruse the entire web site CLICK HERE.

To contact the author, Brian Bailey,  CLICK HERE.