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Clogher, County Tyrone

As discussed in "The Story of Hugh McKenna", Hugh and his family moved from County Tyrone to Belfast around 1851.  In County Tyrone, they lived in the Clogher Civil Parish, specifically in the townlands of Tamlaght, Tullanafoile and Killnaherry.  This area is described in different ways, such as: Eskragh, Cecil, Newtownsaville, etc.

The best description of this area, from the time period they lived there, is from the Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, published in 1837.  That is about the time Hugh and Mary married and Ellen, their eldest daughter, was born.  Lewis describes Newtownsaville as, "It comprises 13,768½ statute acres, and was formed, in 1820, by disuniting 29 townlands from the parish of Clogher, in the manors of Cecil and Cope, at which time the district was an entire waste of unenclosed and uncultivated common, having been since reclaimed by the judicious management of the proprietor. The land varies in quality, some being light, some indifferent, and some good, but there is none of the best description; a small portion is mountain: yet, in consequence of its judicious management, where nothing but bog and heath was to be found 20 years since, crops of corn, flax, and potatoes, and the richest verdure, are now general. The inhabitants combine spinning and weaving with agricultural pursuits."  

Lewis further describes the places of worship.  He first describes the Church of Ireland,which is St. Mark's,  "The church was built in 1815, at an expense of £895, of which the same Board gave £738, and the proprietor of the estate the residue: it is a neat edifice, in the Gothic style, with a lofty square tower. At Escragh is a R. C. chapel, and there is a meeting-house for Presbyterians in connection with the Associate Synod at Longridge."  The records for this church are available at PRONI (see page 136), but only go back to about 1860.

Lewis describes the town and Barony of Clogher in great detail and refers to St. MacCartans, the Church of Ireland cathedral in Clogher as follows - "The cathedral, which is dedicated to St. Macartin, and from time immemorial has been used as the parish church, was built in the ancient style of English architecture by Bishop Sterne, in 1744, at his own expense, but was remodelled in the Grecian style by Dean Bagwell, in 1818, ...  It is a large and handsome cruciform structure, with a lofty square tower rising from the west front, in which is the principal entrance: the throne, which is very beautiful, occupies the western angle of the south transept, and the whole of the interior is handsomely fitted up. There are several elegant monuments, among which are Bishop Garnett's, who died in the year 1783, and Bishop Porter's, who died in 1819. The chapter-house is near the entrance, on the right. There are two chapels of ease in the parish, one at Five-mile-Town, or Blessingburne, and one at Newtown-Saville;  and divine service is regularly performed every Sunday in the market-house at Augher, in several of the schoolhouses in distant parts of the parish, and also at Lislie during the summer."  The records for this cathedral are available at PRONI (see page 136) and date back as far as 1763. describes Eskra as follows: "Eskra  is a small village located in the south-west of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, on the Omagh to Clogher road, about 10 miles from Omagh and about 4 miles from Clogher. It was originally part of Clogher and also contains the hamlet of Newtownsaville.
The Roman Catholic parish church is named St. Patrick's. The Protestant Church of Ireland is named St. Mark's. Drinkers in the village are served by the Bridge Tavern (also known as O'Hagan's) and Marlow's Pub in Newtownsaville (formerly known as McSorley's).
Eskra is located in the hilly land overlooking Augher and the Clogher Valley. Its most notable geological feature and historical site is Knockmany Hill.
Until 1869 Eskra was part of Clogher Parish. In 1841 before the Potato Famine, the population of the present Eskra Parish was 4,713. In June 1995 there were 815 people in the parish, 70 percent of whom were Roman Catholic.

A WHILE WITH YOUR OWN ONES, by Patricia McSorley, was published in 1989 and included interviews that span back into the early 1900's. It was an attempt to gather together many of the historical and geographical facts that formed the thesis for some of the oral stories and anecdotes that emanated from the community of Eskra in County Tyrone.  Since her book is out of print, Jim Carroll has shared many snippets from her book at and at  Search these sites for snippets of Mrs. McSorley's book.  One snippet talks about Tamlaght, the townland where Hugh McKenna lived until 1851 as follows:  "TAMLAGHT – tamhlact (a burial place or plague monument) Population: 1841 – 236, 1988 – 56. Family names: Brogan, Donnelly, Hackett, Kelly, McGinley, McGinn, McKenna, McMaugh, McSorley.  [The Ordnance Survey Memoirs shows it as a townland which contained] …a sufficiency of bog land for the supply of its inhabitants with fuel. The village of Newtownsaville is situated in the north of this townland, through which the road from Ballygawley to Omagh runs. The mail coach road also passes within 1 and a half miles of the village, from which there is a direct road across to the mail coach road. This townland has several small patches of bog land scattered over its surface, sufficient for the supply of its inhabitants with fuel. There is a large ancient fort or mound, through the centre of which the road runs close to the village."  This book is available at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah - Call number is 941.64/C1 H6.