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Mathias Ahern

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Mathias Ahern
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: Farmer
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Irish rebel
Convicted at: Ireland, Limerick
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Atlas
Departure date: 29th November, 1801
Arrival date: 7th July, 1802
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 199 other convicts

References

Primary source: National Archives of Ireland State Paper Office 620/10/108 Sir James Duff 620/9/10/1 Charles Ormsby British Second report from the Committee of Secrecy 1801. Origin Irish pedigrees p.4 Bruff Church records birth/death. Murtogh/Murtagh Ahearn.
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Eric Harry Daly on 27th December, 2012 wrote:

Died on the Atlas

Robin Sharkey on 29th November, 2016 wrote:

It does not appear that MATHIAS AHERN was actually transported to NSW.

Mathias Ahern and three brothers were tried in June 1801 for rebellious practices.  They had first been removed (presumably from Limerick) to Dublin by writ of Habeas Corpus. Then they were returned to Limerick on Wednesday 2nd June 1800, by a military escort and lodged in the provost prison there; ” in order to their being tried by a General Court Martial, for rebellious practices. 

Courts Martial had been introduced to try people engaged in rebellious activities in the aftermath of the 1798 rebellion. The other brothers were recorded on board ship as Rebels.

The Ahern brothers were Mathias, John, Michael (who was aged around 24 yrs) and Mortagh who was only around 18 years.

Also with them being sent back from Dublin to Cork were John Byrne, James Byrne and James Carvey.  (Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Sunday, June 6, 1801; Page: 3).

However, John, Michael and Murtagh Ahern were recorded as being transported to Australia.

Brother Mathias is not recorded as having been boarded with them. Nor is he recorded in newspaper as having been sent to Cork with them to sail for NSW:

Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Tuesday, June 23, 1801; Page: 4
“LIMERICK, June 20th
Thursday last, John Ahern, Much. Ahern and Mort. Ahern, and Thomas Browne were sent to Cork to be transported pursuant to the sentence of the Court-martial.”

He may have been found not guilty (unlikely), or to have been drafted into the army or navy instead.
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Robin Sharkey on 30th November, 2016 wrote:

What were the crimes of the four sons? Not spelled out. But evidently all acting together.

They were probably charged over offences related to the crime in March 1800 that their father was found guilty of three years later in March 1803. There had been an extremely large crowd of men assembled at the time. Or they could have been involved in other Whiteboy style actiivity.

FATHER’S CRIME AGAINST BOLAND FAMILY
(See full details written up by Eric Daly under the ‘Atlas’ entry for Murtagh Ahern Jnr).

- Murtagh Ahern was hanged in March 1803 for murder, THREE YEARS after the murders he was found guilty of - five males in the Boland family.  John Boland senior, who was the tithe proctor in the local area, got an order in the civil court for recovery of tithes against one Patrick Ahern and sold Pat Ahern’s cow to recover the tithes.

Patrick Ahern was described as a very poor man with a large family. No doubt he was a close relative (brother perhaps?) of Murtagh Ahern senior.  In March a great number of men attacked Boland’s house, found to have been led by Murtagh Ahern Senior. Inside were Boland’s brother James and sons James & Matthew as well as his wife and two daughters. The thatched house was set fire to. John senior, his brother James senior and his sons Matthew & James were killed as was another brother Edward coming to assist them.  (See THE LIMERICK CHRONICLE.  Wednesday 12th March 1800).

Murtagh Ahern Senior, father of the four Ahern brothers, was not found guilty until March in 1803 - three years after the crime against the Bolands. (LIMERICK CRONICLE:
Saturday, 12th March 1803. Re: The Bolands Murder of 7th March 1800. )

His sons by then had long been sent to NSW as convicts on “Atlas” and had arrived in NSW in July 1802.

The story of the the murder of tithe proctor John Boland and his family was related by Irish author, William Carleton, in his 1849 novel “The Tithe Proctor”. While the book was a novel, Wm Carleton related in a preface to the book, the story of the murder of the Bolands, stating that he had based the novel on this - although he incorrectly named events as has having happened in 1808 instead of 1800, and as “Michael” Boland whereas the tithe Proctor’s name appears to have been John Boland.

William Carleton’s preface comments that dozens of people proceeded to be tried in guilty and either hung or transported for these murders for several years after the event.

[ It can be read here through the Gutenberg commons: https://ia601406.us.archive.org/7/items/thetitheproctor16010gut/16010-h/16010-h.htm]

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Robin Sharkey on 30th November, 2016 wrote:

Book from Project Gutenberg: The Tithe-Proctor: The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two.
https://archive.org/details/thetitheproctor16010gut

Robin Sharkey on 1st December, 2016 wrote:

NOT GUILTY
On the 10th June 1801 Mathias Ahern was judged not guilty at the Limerick Court Martial for the murders on 7 March 1801. his brothers John, Murtogh and Michael were found guilty and sentenced to death. Their sentences were commuted to transportation for life on the intervention of Maj-Gen Sir James Duff.
All from FROM “Journey into Hell” Chapter 11 “Beyond the Sea’ by Brian Ahern

Brian Ahearn on 3rd December, 2016 wrote:

Mathias Ahern

Some notes:

Mathias lived with his family in Bruff and surrounding townlands. He was charged at the Limerick Courthouse on the morning of June 8, 1801, along with his brothers Murtagh, John and Michael with the murders of all the male members of the Boland family, including John Boland’s brother. The four brothers were also charged with Acts committed on the same Night, especially against one James Mulcahy, a Proctor, in furtherance of Rebellion.

They had previously admitted to being sworn United Irishmen. Their brother Patrick Ahern, a known principal at the Boland Murders had turned ‘Approver’ for the military and after
accepting £200 had agreed to turn King’s evidence against them. He did not for obvious
reasons attend the court.

The court-martial of the four Ahern brothers lasted three days and called on thirteen witnesses. A fifth brother, James was bailed shortly before the commencement of the trial on the grounds he was too ill to attend. Another brother Mathias Jnr. was not charged. Their father Mortogh Ahern was incarcerated waiting further interrogation and trial.

Evidence against the Aherns had been gathered over the last seven months of their incarceration. In addition, His Excellency Charles Marquis Cornwallis (who lost the American colonies) was Lord Lieutenant General & General Governor of Ireland. He sealed their fate before going to trial in part:  ‘John Ahern. Mathias Ahern. Michael Ahern. Murtagh Ahern have been severally Guilty of being concerned in Treasonable Practices in the County of Limerick’. This statement was given to the Limerick gaoler Mr. Cope.
At the conclusion of hearing the evidence the court asked if the prisoners had any other witnesses they wished to call before the court. They declined, saying they had no further evidence to present. However, it was announced that the prisoner Mathias Ahern wished permission to make a statement before the court. The Judge Advocate said this was permitted and the prisoner may proceed. Expecting some inconsequential statement,

Mathias excused himself from his brothers and walked forward and stood facing the bench and then handed a note to the clerk who read the contents:

‘The prisoner Mathias Ahern humbly submits to the court,
that Mrs. Boland the wife and mother of the murdered men
was his God-mother and therefore submits the improbability of
him being guilty of having taken any part in the murder’.

He asked that this statement be given consideration by the officers of the court. Mathias had during the giving of his evidence and questioning witnesses, that he was at home on the night of the murders attending with help of a friend Alley Lyons to the health of Eleanor Collins the wife of James Ahern. This was the last statement made to the court. Having heard enough, the President announced the court-martial was now closed and the court was adjourned to consider a verdict.
After a short deliberation, President, Major Archibald Drummond, asked the four prisoners if they had anything to say before the sentence of the court was passed upon them. They declined to speak further. The Deputy Judge Advocate Mr. Reginald James, stepped forward and stood in front of the bench and faced the four prisoners. The court was formally called to attention and silence to hear the decision of the court, part:

‘...that they are of the Opinion that the Prisoner Matthias Aherne is
not guilty and therefore do acquit him and he is hereby acquitted
accordingly. The Court are of the Opinion that the other three
Prisoners Vide licet John Aherne, Murtough Aherne and
Michael Aherne are Guilty and they do therefor sentence them to
suffer Death in such a manner, time, and place, as His Excellency
the Lord Lieutenant may think most proper.

The grim announcement made, Mathias was free, his guilty brothers were later, thanks to luck (Cornwallis had just been replaced) and intervention of Sir James Duff had their sentence was commuted to transport for life to New South Wales.
The correct spelling of Mathias’s father is ‘Mortogh’ and his brother ‘Murtagh’, often misspelt. It was left to the scribes to write it down phonetically. If it sounded right that was good enough. This occurred often during Murtagh and Michaels Aherns life in Australia. Again, with the execution of their father in 1803 for the Boland murders.

Brian Ahearn on 3rd December, 2016 wrote:

Mathias Ahern

Some notes:

Mathias lived with his family in Bruff and surrounding townlands. He was charged at the Limerick Courthouse on the morning of June 8, 1801, along with his brothers Murtagh, John and Michael with the murders of all the male members of the Boland family, including John Boland’s brother. The four brothers were also charged with Acts committed on the same Night, especially against one James Mulcahy, a Proctor, in furtherance of Rebellion.

They had previously admitted to being sworn United Irishmen. Their brother Patrick Ahern, a known principal at the Boland Murders had turned ‘Approver’ for the military and after
accepting £200 had agreed to turn King’s evidence against them. He did not for obvious
reasons attend the court.

The court-martial of the four Ahern brothers lasted three days and called on thirteen witnesses. A fifth brother, James was bailed shortly before the commencement of the trial on the grounds he was too ill to attend. Another brother Mathias Jnr. was not charged. Their father Mortogh Ahern was incarcerated waiting further interrogation and trial.

Evidence against the Aherns had been gathered over the last seven months of their incarceration. In addition, His Excellency Charles Marquis Cornwallis (who lost the American colonies) was Lord Lieutenant General & General Governor of Ireland. He sealed their fate before going to trial in part:  ‘John Ahern. Mathias Ahern. Michael Ahern. Murtagh Ahern have been severally Guilty of being concerned in Treasonable Practices in the County of Limerick’. This statement was given to the Limerick gaoler Mr. Cope.
At the conclusion of hearing the evidence the court asked if the prisoners had any other witnesses they wished to call before the court. They declined, saying they had no further evidence to present. However, it was announced that the prisoner Mathias Ahern wished permission to make a statement before the court. The Judge Advocate said this was permitted and the prisoner may proceed. Expecting some inconsequential statement,

Mathias excused himself from his brothers and walked forward and stood facing the bench and then handed a note to the clerk who read the contents:

‘The prisoner Mathias Ahern humbly submits to the court,
that Mrs. Boland the wife and mother of the murdered men
was his God-mother and therefore submits the improbability of
him being guilty of having taken any part in the murder’.

He asked that this statement be given consideration by the officers of the court. Mathias had during the giving of his evidence and questioning witnesses, that he was at home on the night of the murders attending with help of a friend Alley Lyons to the health of Eleanor Collins the wife of James Ahern. This was the last statement made to the court. Having heard enough, the President announced the court-martial was now closed and the court was adjourned to consider a verdict.
After a short deliberation, President, Major Archibald Drummond, asked the four prisoners if they had anything to say before the sentence of the court was passed upon them. They declined to speak further. The Deputy Judge Advocate Mr. Reginald James, stepped forward and stood in front of the bench and faced the four prisoners. The court was formally called to attention and silence to hear the decision of the court, part:

‘...that they are of the Opinion that the Prisoner Matthias Aherne is
not guilty and therefore do acquit him and he is hereby acquitted
accordingly. The Court are of the Opinion that the other three
Prisoners Vide licet John Aherne, Murtough Aherne and
Michael Aherne are Guilty and they do therefor sentence them to
suffer Death in such a manner, time, and place, as His Excellency
the Lord Lieutenant may think most proper.

The grim announcement made, Mathias was free, his guilty brothers were later, thanks to luck (Cornwallis had just been replaced) and intervention of Sir James Duff had their sentence was commuted to transport for life to New South Wales.
The correct spelling of Mathias’s father is ‘Mortogh’ and his brother ‘Murtagh’, often misspelt. It was left to the scribes to write it down phonetically. If it sounded right that was good enough. This occurred often during Murtagh and Michaels Aherns life in Australia. Again, with the execution of their father in 1803 for the Boland murders.

Convict Changes History

Eric Harry Daly on 27th December, 2012 made the following changes:

convicted at, term 99 years, voyage, source, firstname, surname, alias1, alias2, alias3, alias4, date of birth 0000, date of death 0000, gender, occupation, crime

Eric Harry Daly on 27th December, 2012 made the following changes:

source, date of death 1802

Robin Sharkey on 29th November, 2016 made the following changes:

crime

Robin Sharkey on 30th November, 2016 made the following changes:

source: http://www.nationalarchives THE LIMERICK CHRONICLE. Wednesday 12th March 1800 and also Limerick Chronicle 12th March 1803. Secondary Reference - William Carleton "The Tithe Proctor" preface, 1849 (prev. http://www.nationalarchives.ie)

Robin Sharkey on 30th November, 2016 made the following changes:

source: http://www.nationalarchives THE LIMERICK CHRONICLE. Wednesday 12th March 1800 and also Limerick Chronicle 12th March 1803. Secondary Reference - William Carleton "The Tithe Proctor" preface, 1849. https://archive.org/details/thetitheproctor1601

Brian Ahearn on 3rd December, 2016 made the following changes:

date of death: 0000 (prev. 1802), occupation

Brian Ahearn on 3rd December, 2016 made the following changes:

source: National Archives of Ireland State Paper Office 620/10/108 Sir James Duff 620/9/10/1 Charles Ormsby British Second report from the Committee of Secrecy 1801. Origin Irish pedigrees p.4 Bruff Church records birth/death. Murtogh/Murtagh Ahearn. (pre

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