Eustace Families Association

James Eustace


of Ballymahon, CountyLongford, Ireland

The Potato Famine during the years 1845 through 1849 devastated Ireland. More than one million Irish died of starvation, disease and malnourishment. Another million are estimated to have left Irish shores to seek an improved life in the USA, Canada and Australia. The famine was particularly severe in County Longford. On September 5, 1849, TheTimes reported “people hunting up and down Longford with

money in their pockets looking for food.” It was reported that on August 20, 1849, not a loaf of bread nor a cwt. of meal

could be bought on the streets of Longford, even from a meal merchant.

James Eustace was born about 1797, probably in County Westmeath or County Longford, Ireland. We can only speculate that he spent his childhood in the Irish countryside some place near the city of Longford. Sometime before 1830, he married Bridget Kennedy. No records have been found that can identify the parents of James Eustace or of Bridget Kennedy.

James Eustace likely was a descendant of a branch ofthe Kildare Eustace family that in the distant past was prominent in early Irish history. During the Reformation, the Eustace family more often than not, chose the Catholic side in bitter and violent disputes. They were willing to forfeit land, possessions and often life itself, for a cause they fervently believed in.

Extensive research has been completed by the editor inIreland and in the United States, to identify family members and determine possible relationships. The following Irish records have been particularly helpful:

Tithe Composition Applotment Books

Located in the Public Records Office in Dublin these records contain the particulars of holdings subject to a tithe tax, giving occupiers' names and were compiled to provide a basis fortax computation, under the Tithe Composition Acts of 1823.Subsequently these tithes were collected from Catholics andProtestant's alike and then distributed to the rectors of the Anglican Church.

Parish Records

Baptismal, marriage and burial records at St. Matthew's Catholic Church (Shrule Parish) Ballymahon, Co. Longford were searched by the editor from 1820 until 1850. Several Eustace families were parishioners including James Eustace and his wife Bridget Kennedy.

Griffith's Valuation

In these early 1800's records, we find several Eustace families in County Longford and neighbouring Westmeath Most likely these Eustaces were related.

Tithe Composition Applotment records dated February 28, 1833,list three other Eustaces occupying property in Townland Farnagh,Parish of Ballymacomack, County Longford as follows:

Edward Eustace, occupant of 3 acres 34 perches (5acres, 2 perches first class)

William and Pat Eustace, occupants of five acres, two roods, 30 perches ( 2 acres, 2 roods first class).

Tithe applotment (tax) records on deposit in the Public Record Office in Dublin's Four Courts Building contain the name James Eustace on three separate entries. These listings are as follows:

Date of Entry




November 1, 1824

Townland Rathburnet

Barony Corkaree

Parish Leany


9 acres, 3 roods

35 3/4 perches

June 12, 1827

Townland Collum

Parish Cashel

Diocese Ardagh


1 acre

February 28, 1833

Townland Farnagh

Barony Moydow

Parish Ballymacormack

Diocese Ardagh


1 acre, 5 perches

It is inconclusive whether these entries are of the same person or of two or even three different persons with the nameJames Eustace. It is reasonable to assume that as a tenant farmer, James could have moved his family to three differentplots of land during the ten year period. The distance involved is approximately ten miles between the County Longford locations and about twice that distance between the West Meath farm and theLongford locations.

Other Eustace family members living in the area during this time period include:

Edward Eustace occupant of one acre, two roods, 24 1/2perches of third class land in Townland Longford, Templemichael Parish, County Longford on October 3, 1826. (Could he be the same Edward listed previously in Ballymacormack in 1833?)

Laurence or Luke Eustace, and his wife Bridget Gibbons, the parents of seven children baptised at St. Matthews Church, Ballymahon between October 3, 1826 and September 26, 1840. Luke Eustace appears again in the 1854 Primary Valuation taken under the direction of Sir Richard Griffith. At that time he occupied 9acres, 3 roods, one perch, a house and an office at Gorteenclareen.

Catherine Ustace. who was buried at Ballymahon on July31, 1823.

Thomas Eustace and his wife Rose Clendinnen, of Templemichael Parish, Co. Longford;  the parents of William Eustace, baptised at Longford on December 20, 1812.

James Eustace, son of Luke and Bridget Ustace; baptized in the Parish of Shrule on August 7, 1822. Sponsors were DanielMalone and his wife.

John Eustace, baptismal sponsor for Bridget, daughter of James Eustace and Bridget Kennedy, June 1, 1830, atBallymahon.

John Eustace, baptismal sponsor for John, son of Laurence (Luke) Eustace and Bridget Gibbons, March 15, 1826, atShrule Parish. Sponsors were John Eustace and Bridget Geraghty.

Michael Eustace son of Luke Eustace and Bridget Gibbons, baptised at Shrule on September 27, 1831. Sponsors were Mathew Regan and Anne Geraghty.

Patrick Eustace, together with Margaret Ryan, baptismal sponsor for Anne, daughter of Luke Eustace and Bridget Gibbons, May 8, 1833, at Shrule.

Anne Eustace (see previous).

Thomas Eustace, baptismal sponsor for James, son of James Eustace and Bridget Kennedy, July 26, 1835 at Shrule.

Margaret Eustace, baptised December 11, 1835 at Shrule,daughter of Luke Eustace and Bridget Gibbon.

Philip Eustace, son of Philip (Luke?) Eustace and Bridget Gibbon, baptised October 13, 1838 at Shrule. Sponsors:Michael Malone and Margaret Casey.

Elenor Eustace, baptised September 26, 1840 at Shrule.Parents were Luke Eustace and Bridget Gibbons. Sponsors are listed as Patrick Gerraghty and Margaret Havican.

Patrick Eustace, listed on Griffith's 1854 PrimaryValuation, as the lessee of a house, yard and small garden inWest Meath..

Parish registers at the Parish of Shrule (St. Matthew's Catholic Church) Ballymahon contain records of the baptism ofthree children born to James Eustace and his wife Bridget Kennedy; Bridget, baptised June 11,1830 (sponsors: John Eustace and Anne Kennedy); James, baptised July 26, 1835 (sponsors Thomas Eustace and Elenor Costello) and John, baptised January 4, 1833(sponsors: Patrick Kelly and Catherine Kennedy).

Facts are inconclusive if the duplicate entries forJohn, Thomas and Patrick Eustace, represent a single individual by each name or two separate identities.

Bridget baptised at Ballymahon, June 1, 1830.

John, baptised at Ballymahon, January 4,1833.

James, baptised at Ballymahon, July 26, 1835.

It is believed that James and Bridget Eustace and their children lived in the countryside in Ballymacormack Parish and inTownland Lara(gh) between the city of Longford and the village of Ballymahon. Bridget Kennedy Eustace apparently was a victim ofthe famine. She was buried on September 23, 1848 at St. Matthew's Church in Ballymahon. The record states that she was fromLara(gh) which is a townland about 1/2 mile southwest of where the Ballymahon-Longford road branches off toward Lanesborough.

Soon after Bridget's death, the family left Ireland for America. It is believed that on May 18, 1850, John Eustice together with his sister Bridget and perhaps a brother or relative named Thomas Eustice, departed from Limerick on the “Polly”. A search of passenger lists identifies a 'Daniel' Eustice, aged 15; Bridget Eustice aged 19 and Thomas Eustace 21; departing on that date. Based on various records and information that I have received, I believe that the Daniel Eustace who left Limerick on May 18, 1850 with Bridget and Thomas Eustice may be same person as John Eustace/Eustice who went to Wisconsin in 1851 and to Minnesota in 1869.

In June 1850, Thomas, Bridget and John arrived in New York City. Shortly thereafter, they traveled to Schuylerville, Saratoga County, New York, where they found refuge with an aunt. Page 263 of the 1850 U.S. Census for Saratoga County lists Bridget aged 22, and John17, living with a family headed by William and Bridget Carle, natives of Ireland. There is evidence that Bridget Carle/Carroll was a Eustace and that she was a sister to James Eustace, father of John and therefore the aunt referred to in John Eustice’s obituary. The exact whereabouts of James, the father and James the son, as well as Thomas at this point remains a mystery, although a James Eustis is listed as a resident of Whitestown, Oneida County, New York, on the same census. Family tradition indicates that the younger James left home following a family dispute and was never heard from again. Several sources have indicated that he settled in Oklahoma. The 1850 Census is also the last record of Bridget. No further record of Thomas has been located.

About 1851, the elder James and John then 18, journeyed westward to Mapleton, Waukesha County Wisconsin. This lush and fertile area is located about 40 miles west and slightly north of Milwaukee. Life on the beautiful rolling countryside of Mapleton was brief for James. The famine and the long journey to the United States followed by overland passage from New York to Wisconsin proved to be more than the ailing James could withstand. Death came in late March 1855 at the age of 58. James Eustace/Eustice/Eustis was buried in St. Catherine's Roman Catholic Cemetery at Mapleton.

The inscription on the original headstone reads:

In Memory of James Eustis - Native of the Parish of Ballymahon, Co. Longford, Ireland

Died March 27, 1855 58 Years of Age - May He Rest In Peace - Erected By His Son John

James died intestate leaving possessions of the probable value of $200 to his son John, who had been appointed administrator of the estate. No other heirs are mentioned in the Petition for Administration which was filed January 5, 1857, and published in the Waukesha County Plain Dealer. The hearing was held in Oconomowoc on March 2, 1857 at 1:00 P.M by Waukesha County Judge Martin Field.