O'Conor-Eccles family genealogy

Arms: The Armorial Bearings of "Eccles"[1] are—Ar. two halberts[2] crossed saltier-wise az. Crest: A broken halbert az. Motto: Se defendendo.

SIR HUGH O'CONOR DUN, of Ballintubber[3] Castle, county Roscommon, who is No. 124 on the "O'Conor Don" pedigree, was one of the Irish Chiefs who sat in the Irish Parliament of 1585, and signed a Deed of Composition with Queen Elizabeth, as head of his family. He was Knighted by the Lord Deputy Sir John Perrott, and was styled "Lord of Connaught;" he d. in 1632 at a very advanced age. Sir Hugh O'Conor Dun m. the daughter of Sir Brian O'Rourke, of Breffni, and by her had several sons. According to tradition the posterity of the eldest son became extinct since the reign of Charles II.

125. Hugh Oge O'Conor, of Castlerea, who d. about 1635: second son of Sir Hugh; m. Jane, dau. of Lord Dillon, and by her had:

126. General Daniel O'Conor, of Castlerea (who d. 1667). This Daniel O'Conor m. Anne Bermingham, dau. of Lord Athenry, and left a son:

127. Colonel Andrew[4] O'Conor, who m. Honoria, dau. of Colonel Luke Dowell of Mantagh, and by her had four sons:

I. Daniel, of Clonalis, of whom presently.

II. Sir Thomas O'Conor,[5] Knight of St. Louis, and General in the French Service.

III. The Rev. Andrew O'Conor.

IV. Sir Hugh O'Conor, knight of Calatrava; Brigadier-General in His Catholic Majesty's Service; and Governor of Chili.

128. Daniel O'Conor Dun, of Clonalis (d. 1769): son of Colonel Andrew O'Conor; m. Margaret Ryan, and by her had three sons and two daughters:

I. Dominic O'Conor Dun, who m. Catherine Kelly, of Lisnaneen, but by whom he had no children. He willed his property to his brothers in succession, and, failing issue by them, to his cousin[6] Denis O'Conor, of Belanagare, and his descendants. (From Owen, son of said Denis, the present O'Conor Don is descended.)

II. Alexander O'Conor Don, succeeded his brother Dominic, and d. unm. in 1820. So displeased was he at the terms of Dominic's Will, that he refused to have said Dominic interred at Kilkeevan with the rest of the family. To Alexander succeeded in the Clonalis property, Owen O'Conor, of Belanagare, according to the terms of Dominic's Will.

III. Thomas, younger brother of Alexander, d. unm.

I. Jane, of whom presently.

II. Elizabeth, who d. unm.

129. Jane O'Conor: the elder daughter of Daniel O'Conor Dun; m. William Eccles,[7] a scion of the Kildonan (co. Ayr) family of that name. This Jane O'Conor was educated in France, like all Catholic young ladies of her rank during the penal days in Ireland; and was returning home under the care of the Very Rev. Dr. Clifford,[8] Priest of the Sorbonne, when she seized the opportunity to elope with her lover William Eccles; knowing well that her family would never consent to her marriage with a non-Catholic. This marriage greatly displeased the O'Conor family, who had lost so heavily through their steadfast adherence to the Catholic faith; and Jane's father refused to see her again. She and her brothers, however, became reconciled; and it was understood that her only son Daniel O'Conor Eccles, was, if he survived them, to succeed his uncles, as "O'Conor Don." But Dominic, who became seized of the lands of Clonalis, under a Patent from Charles II. (the estates which he derived from Sir Hugh O'Conor having been confiscated under the Cromwellian Settlement), by his Will devised same unto his brothers successively, as above-mentioned, in strict settlement, with remainder to Denis O'Conor, of Belanagare, for life, with remainder to his eldest son Owen O'Conor, of Belanagare, and his brothers successively, in strict settlement, with remainder to several other cousins successively; and thus, by this testament, disinherited his only nephew, the son of his sister Jane.

130. Daniel "Eccles O'Conor Don," as he continued to write his name until his death, in 1839: only son of Jane O'Conor and her husband William Eccles. This Daniel opposed the Will of his uncle Dominic, on the ground of "undue influence," on the part of Dominic's wife; but the proofs he adduced of that alleged influence were not, in the opinion of the court, sufficient to annul the Will, which therefore, unjust as it was, held good in law. This Daniel [9] m. Charlotte, dau. of Benjamin Pemberton, and by her had a family of five sons and three daughters, none of whom married, save Alexander.

131. Alexander O'Conor Eccles, of Ballinagard House, near Roscommon, who d. in March, 1877: son of Daniel O'Conor Eccles; married Mary, dau. of Matthew Richards, of Gorey, and by her had several children, of whom only two girls survive in 1887. (O'Brennan's History of Ireland, a very interesting work, refers to the descent of this Alexander O'Conor Eccles.)

132. Charlotte and Mary O'Conor Eccles: only surviving children of Alexander O'Conor Eccles; living in 1887.

It will be seen by carefully reading this genealogy, that these two young ladies are, through their great-grandmother, Jane [10] Eccles (née O'Conor), the sole representatives, in the senior line, of Sir Hugh O'Conor Dun, of Clonalis, who is No. 128 on this pedigree.


[1] Eccles: For the Arms of the "O'Conor" family, see those of the O'Conor Don.

[2] Halberts: It is worthy of remark that these Arms are identical with those of Robert Bruce, to whom the "Eccles" family of Kildonan, county Ayr, were related. The winning of these Arms by Bruce is beautifully described by Sir Walter Scott in his Lord of the Isles.

[3] Ballintubber: Sir William Wilde, in his Fisherman of the Suck, gives an amusing account of the siege of Ballintubber Castle. It seems that in 1786, a Will said to have been made by Hugh O'Conor, an ancestor of this line, was discovered accidentally between the leaves of a card-table which had been screwed together for a great number of years, and had lain among the effects of the late Lord Athenry. This document (from which it appeared that the castle and estate of Ballintubber, which had long before passed from the O'Conor family, had not been included in the original confiscation of their estates) passed into the hands of Alexander O'Conor, a man of very eccentric habits, who acted thereupon without further delay. He took possession of the castle, fortified it, and held high state for a short time until the matter was brought under the notice of the Irish House of Commons, which disapproved of Alexander's summary proceedings, and sent down a body of troops to dislodge him. The marks of the cannon balls fired on the occasion are yet to be seen.

[4] Andrew: This Andrew O'Conor must have had an elder brother Roderick, who died young; as a curious medallion or locket in possession of the family of the late Alexander O'Conor Eccles, of Roscommon, would seem to attest. The medallion is of gold, surmounted by a crown; the front, of cut crystal covering a small painting of an allegorical figure, surrounded by a chain of fine gold. The back bears this inscription:—"Rodrik O'Connor Dun dy'd the 22nd Feby., 1722."

[5] Thomas O'Conor: There is in the possession of the family of the late Mr. O'Conor Eccles an old pedigree written on parchment, partly in Irish, and partly in English; dated 6th July, 1738; signed and sealed by Charles Lynegar, then King-at-Arms, and by William Walker, the Lord Mayor of Dublin at that date. That pedigree traces from the earliest times the genealogy of Thomas O'Conor, Knight of St. Louis, and General in the service of the King of France.

[6] Cousin: If Dominic O'Conor Dun thought proper to will his property to his sister Jane, in succession to his brothers Alexander and Thomas, failing issue by them, there was not, in our opinion, any English or Irish law to prevent Jane's only son Daniel O'Conor Eccles from succeeding to the property; for, we find a similar case in that of the daughter of The O'Gorman, who married a Mr. Mahon, whose son on succeeding his grandfather was known as "The O'Gorman Mahon!"

[7] Eccles: The ancestor of William Eccles came to Ireland with Edward Bruce, at the time of Bruce's Invasion of Ireland, A.D. 1315.

[8] Clifford: Dr. Clifford's grandnieces still (1887) live,—one at Castlerea, county Roscommon, the other at Chambéry in Savoy.

[9] Daniel: Sir William Wilde, who is an excellent authority, having been born at Castlerea, where his father was family physician to the O'Conors, and whose sister moreover married Oliver Pemberton, nephew-in-law to Daniel O'Conor Eccles, adds the following interesting note to his Memoir of Gabriel Beranger (Gill: Dublin):—"I am perhaps the last writer who retains a personal recollection of three of the following descendants of Cathal Crove-Dearig, one of the last Kings of Connaught. Daniel, one of the direct descendants of Sir Hugh, of Ballintubber, was The O'Conor Dun (don or dubh) or the Dark O'Conor, to distinguish him from O'Conor Roe (or ruadh), the red (O'Conor), and O'Conor Sligo and O'Conor Kerry. He lived in great state at Clonalis, near Castlerea, and died in 1769. He had three sons: Dominick, Alexander, and Thomas; and two daughters, Jane and Elizabeth." Sir William goes on to say that Jane's marriage with a Protestant offended her family, and then adds:—"Dominick, who died in 1795, was reconciled to his sister, but made a will leaving his property to Denis O'Conor, of Belinagar, failing issue by his brothers. The third son, Thomas O'Conor, lived to a great age along with his sister 'Miss Betty,' at a place called Aram, near the mill bridge at Castlerea, where my father, who was their medical attendant, used frequently to bring me to see them. Thomas O'Conor died so suddenly, that foul play was suspected, as he was supposed to have had a large sum of money in the house; and an inquest was held on him. Both brothers and sister were very eccentric, and lived in great seclusion, but were highly esteemed by all the first families in the county. In the old house I remember seeing a beautiful Spanish picture of the Madonna, a large gold snuff-box representing on the lid the landing of Columbus in America, said to have been given by the King of Spain to one of the O'Conor family; and the silver and jewelled hilted sword of Count O'Reilly. These with the personal property of Thos. O'Conor passed into the hands of his nephew, the late Daniel Eccles, father of my esteemed friend Alexander O'Conor Eccles, of Roscommon."

[10] Jane Eccles (née O'Conor): The following inscription, copied in 1857 from a tombstone in Kilkeevan churchyard, which has been since wantonly defaced, sustains a great part of this pedigree, down to and including the name of the said Jane Eccles: "Here lies the remains of the descendants of the ancient Monarchs of Ireland. General Daniel O'Connor Don and Anne O'Connor, alias Bermingham, his wife, sister to Lord Baron Athenry; Colonel Andrew O'Connor Don, and Honoria O'Connor, alias Dowell, his wife, daughter to Colonel Luke Dowell of Mantagh; Daniel O'Connor Don and Margaret O'Connor, alias Ryan, his wife; Sir Thomas O'Connor, Knight of St. Louis, and General in his Christian Majesty's service; the Revd. Andrew O'Connor; Sir Hugh O'Connor, Knight of Calatrava, Brigadier-General in his Catholic Majesty service, and Governor of Chili; Thomas O'Connor and Jane Eccles, alias O'Connor."