Gahan family genealogy

Arms: Gu. three fishes haurient in a fess ar. Crest: Arm embowed, holding in the hand a sword ppr. Motto: Dum spiro spero.

THIS family name, as well as Gahon, Gaghan, Gagham, and Getham, is, since the reign of King Charles II., one of the anglicised forms of, and the family a branch of, O'Cathain or O'Cahan, Princes of Limavady, in the county of Londonderry.—(See the "O'Cahan" genealogy.)

In 1607, O'Cahan was implicated in the O'Neill's resistance to the English in Ireland; he was imprisoned therefor, and his estates forfeited; and his wife was found by the Duchess of Buckingham in great poverty. In a letter dated 1607 King James I. recommended dealing leniently with O'Cahan, and placing his son in college for the purpose of his education. That son, it is believed, was the progenitor of this family, and was the father of the Captain Daniel Gahon, who, as a soldier of the Commonwealth, was granted land in Tipperary.—(See p. 415 of our "Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell came to Ireland." Dublin: 1884.)

According to an award of the Commissioners (which may be seen in the Public Record Office, Dublin), for the distribution of land in Ireland under the Commonwealth Rule, and which was enrolled on the 17th May, 1659, Thomas Ask became seized of the lands of Coolquill and other townlands in the county Tipperary, and devised them to his wife Susanna Ask, who afterwards became his widow and married Daniel Gahan, to whom and Susanna his wife the said lands were, under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, granted A.D. 1666.—(See our "Irish Landed Gentry," p. 458.)

A Letter to the Duke of Ormond, dated Feby., 1663, in Letter Book 1663 to 1637, in the Signet Office, recites that Con O'Rourke of Modoragh, co. Leitrim, died without heirs, possessed of lands in 1641; his lands became the property of the Crown (not forfeited): ordered that a grant of the lands of Modoragh be made to Daniel Gagham [1] (rectè "Gaghan"), his heirs, etc. The grant of the estate in Tipperary was made to Daniel Gahan and his wife Susanna in 1666.

In the Irish State Papers, temp. Charles II., appears a Letter to the Lord Lieutenant bearing date Feby., 1663, and entered at Signet Office, directing inquiry to be made into the lands, etc., of Con O'Rourke, deceased, "of our title thereto, in the co. of Leitrim, and, being found, we make a grant thereof to Daniel Getham,[1] Esq."

In the Irish State Papers, 334, Charles II., appears a Letter, dated 20th Dec., 1665, from D. Gahan [1] to J. Williamson, Keeper of State Papers, about Con O'Rourke's Estate, county Leitrim.

Rolls Office, London: Calendar of State Papers, Domestic. Vol. 153, April 1. 16. 1666: Memo: Captain Gahan, Governor of Dublin Post Office.

21st August, 1666: Letter from Sir William Domville to Lord Arlington, Principal Secretary of State, sent by Captain Gaghan, whom he highly commends, and by whom he sends a present of a wolf dog.

Letter, 16th Nov., 1666, from Lord Lieutenant (Ormonde) recommending Mr. Gahan, who had been very diligent in the management of the Postage of this Kingdom, to be continued therein.

Daniel Gahan to Walter York, Postmaster at Barnet, in Letter of 30th Nov., 1666, recommends M. Choisin (bound for Ireland) to Postmasters on road to Chester, to furnish him with post horses.

Dec. 18th (1666): D. Gahan to Robert Leigh, at Lord Arlington's.

In 1666, Charles II. granted [2] to Daniel Gahan and Susanna his wife the lands of Coolquill, Killnehone, Ballynonly, and Sleveardagh, in the co. Tipperary; and by another grant [3] to Daniel Gahan himself, the lands of Modoragh, in the co. Leitrim, the estate of Con O'Rourke who, as above-mentioned, died without heirs. Commencing with said Daniel Gahan and his wife Susanna, the following is the pedigree:

1. Daniel Gahan m. Susanna, relict of Thomas Ask, above mentioned, and had three sons, Daniel, George, and John. He bequeathed [4] to his son George his estate in the co. Leitrim, and his house in Church-street, Dublin, called "Turkey Cock House:"

I. Sir Daniel, the eldest son. was Knighted for faithful services to the King; and d. intestate [5] and without issue. He was succeeded by his brother:

II. George, of whom presently.

III. John.

2. George Gahan: second son of Daniel; mar. and had two sons:

I. Daniel, of whom presently.

II. George, who entered the army, settled in England, and was Governor of Scilly until his death.

George Gahan, brother of Sir Daniel, bequeathed all his real and personal estates [6] to his son Daniel.

3. Daniel: elder son of George; m. and had (according to his Will, Prerogative, Book A-Y, 1765) three sons—Daniel, Robert, and John:

I. Daniel who m. Sarah, dau. of Joseph Smyth of Ballintubber, Queen's County. He d. without issue male surviving him. Having barred the entail of Coolquill, etc., in the co. Tipperary, the estate was inherited [7] by his two daughters of his first and second marriages, viz., Maryanne, who m. William Tighe of Woodstock; and Penelope, who m. —— Gledstones of ——

II. Robert.

III. John, of whom presently.

4. John [8]: youngest son of Daniel; held the office of Surveyor-General; m. and had seven sons, of whom survived Beresford.

5. Beresford [9] (b. 1777): son of John; for some time of the 5th Dragoon Guards, 1st Royal Dragoons, and Brigade Major of the Donegal Yeomanry; m. [10] Henrietta Anna Margaretta (d. 1st Feb., 1825), dau. of John Townsend of Shepperton, co. Cork, one of the Commissioners of his Majesty's Revenue in Ireland, and had nine sons:

I. John, who m. Hannah, eldest dau. of Ussher Lee, Dean of Waterford, and had three sons:

I. Beresford, who d. in infancy.

II. John, who d. leaving no male heirs.

III. Edward, supposed to be living and unmarried.

II. Beresford (2), who d. in infancy.

III. Henry, who m. Celia, dau. of MacDonnell, Surgeon of the 57th Regiment of Infantry, in which he held a Commission, and d. without issue. He retired from the service with the rank of Colonel.

IV. Robert, who m. Anna-Mary, eldest dau. of Richard B. Osborne of Ballycushlane, co. Kilkenny, and had two sons: I. Beresford. II. Melmoth. This Robert d. of a wound received in the engagement of Moodkee, in India, in 1845.

V. Townsend, who d. unmarried.

VI. George, of whom presently.

VII. Alfred, who married Alicia, fourth dau. of the Rev. Henry Herbert, of Innistiogue, co. Kilkenny, and had five sons:

I. Beresford, who d. in infancy.

II. Henry:

III. Alfred, who d. in infancy.

IV. Alfred (2), who d. in boyhood.

V. Frederick.

VIII. Walter, who m. Georgina, third dau. of Charles Putland, of Brayhead, in the co. Wicklow, has no issue living.

IX. Frederick, who m. twice:—first, Henrietta, dau. of Edward Byrne of Carlow, who d.s.p.; and secondly, Katharine-Jane, eldest dau. of Edward Hume Townsend of Cuilnaconara, near Clonakilty, co. Cork, and had seven sons:

I. Frederick, who d. in infancy.

II. Edward, who d. in boyhood.

III. Townsend.

IV. Beresford.

V. Stirling.

VI. Reginald.

VII. Walter.

6. George: the sixth son of Beresford; is unm. and in America.

Of the nine sons of Beresford Gahan, three survive (1887), viz., George, Walter, and Frederick.


[1] Gagham.: In the next entry this sirname is spelled Getham: an instance of the various forms which Irish sirnames assumed in their transition from the Irish to the English language. See the "O'Cahan" pedigree for other variations in English of the illustrious Irish family name O'Cathain.

[2] Granted: Award by the Commissioners of the Commonwealth, enrolled 17th May, 1659, may he seen in the Public Record Office, Dublin.

[3] Grant: Letter of Charles II. to the Duke of Ormonde, dated 10th Feb., 1663. See Irish State Papers, temp. Charles II.

[4] Bequeathed: Prerogation, Will, Book 21, A to W, 1706-8.

[5] Intestate: Book 266. 1712 to 1716.

[6] Estates: Prerogative, Will, Book 33, A-W, 1731-2. Page 46.

[7] Inherited: Prerogative, Will, Book 133, A-K, 1800.

[8] John: Will proved, A.D. 1796.

[9] Beresford: Will proved, 1845.

[10] Married: Marriage Settlement dated 24th November, 1802.