O'Rourke (No.2) family genealogy

Chiefs of Carrha, County Leitrim

[1] Arms: Same as "O'Rourke" (No. 1).

ARTHUR, one of the two younger brothers of Tiernan Oge who is No. 122 on the "O'Rourke" (Princes of West Brefney) pedigree, was the ancestor of this branch of that family.

122. Arthur: a younger son of Teige na Goir.

123. Loghlan: his son.

124. Shane: his son.

125. Shane Oge: his son.

126. Owen: his son; married to Margaret Nugent, of the family of the Earls of Westmeath.

127. Shane Oge: his son.

128. Brian: his son: married to Bridget O'Rourke, dau. of Owen Oge, who was son of Owen Mór, who was son of Tiernan, who was a brother of Brian na Mota, who is No. 126 on the foregoing (O'Rourke) pedigree.

129. Owen: son of Brian.

130. Count John O'Rourke, living in 1782: his son; had two brothers—1. Brian; 2. Con. This Con, who was a colonel of horse, was m. to a niece of Count Lacy, who was a field marshal in the service of Austria.

This John O'Rourke was born at a village near the ancient castle of Woodfort, in the county Leitrim, which was the residence of his ancestors. In his 25th year of age he went to London, where he remained for five years, experiencing many disappointments, but ultimately fixed on the military profession as the best suited to his genius and disposition. In the first troop of Horse Guards he received the rudiments of arms; but, being a Roman Catholic, he was forced to resign. He then went to France, and presented to the King, at Versailles, a petition, specifying his princely origin, and praying for a regiment. In consequence of which he was, in the year 1758, made a Captain of the "Royal Scotch" in that service. As a few instances of irregular promotions had been made in the brigade, the lieutenants were hurt at his appointment, and resolved to contest the matter with him. Accordingly this John O'Rourke, in the space of a few days, fought four duels, in which he gained great reputation—not more by his gallantry in the field, than by his honourably confessing that he thought it an injury to the national regiment, that he as a foreigner should be thrust upon them. He therefore gave up his commission, informing the French monarch that it was a dear purchase to fight for it every day. With strong recommendations from France to the Court of St. Petersburgh, John O'Rourke went to Russia, which being then engaged in a war with Prussia, was a scene for adventure and fame. He was appointed first major of horse cuirassiers in the regiment of body guards; and, in the course of the war, he greatly distinguished himself, in particular, by storming the City of Berlin, which he laid under contribution. At the end of that war he returned to France with certificates of his gallant conduct from Peter the Third, Prince-General Wolkousky, and General de Sonverow; and was appointed by King Stanislaus one of his chamberlains in the year 1764. In 1770 he was appointed by the French king a colonel of horse, was enrolled among the nobility of France, was granted a pension from the French civil list, and in 1774 was honoured with the order of St. Louis.

For interesting incidents in the life of Count John O'Rourke, the reader is referred to the Hibernian Magazine for March, 1782.


[1] O'Rourke: In the Fiants Elizabeth, A.D. 1585, July 6th, is the following: "4732. Commission to Sir Richard Bingham, Knight, Chief Commissioner of the Province of Connaught and Thomond; Ullic, Earl of Clanrickard; John, Bishop of Elfyn; Lyseus, Bishop of Ardagh; Edmd., Baron of Athenry; Sir Thomas Le Strange, Knt., one of the Privy Council; Thomas Dillon, Chief Justice of the Province; Charles Calthorp, Attorney-General; Sir Brien O'Rowirk (and) Sir Donell O'Conor, Sligo, Knights; Owen O'Harte, and others, to be Commissioners under the Statute of 11o Elizabeth in the Province of Connaught and Thomond, to survey all the 'countries' in that Province that are not now their ground, and to divide them into counties, baronies or hundreds, or add them to any counties or baronies now being."—See Appendix to 15th Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office, Dublin.