The editor’s response to “Who Was Cardinal D’Alton?”

In this month of St. Patrick, it seems fitting to pay homage to one of the most famous of contemporary Irish D’Altons. We are grateful to the following who sent biographical material or documentation that allows us to piece together this account: Reverend Martin Gleeson, St. Colman’s Parish, Claremorris, County Mayo; Dean Farragher, Blackrock College, Blackrock, County Dublin; Chief Archivist. Bro. Dermott Mc Dermott, Archdiocese of Armagh, County Armagh, and other sources.

To list the lifetime achievements of this man would take up the entire web page. This account will highlight some of his accomplishments on the path to becoming Primate of All Ireland. Wherever names of relatives appeared in documents, they are included in the text for future research by his American and Australian relatives.

John Francis D’Alton or Jackie as he was known, was born in Claremorris, County Mayo on October 11th 1882. He was baptized at St. Colman’s Church on October 15th 1882. His father was Joseph P. D’Alton and his mother was Mary Brennan. Joseph and Mary were married in Claremorris at St. Colman’s Church on November 3, 1881. The witnesses were Peter D’Alton and Julia Brennan. (Dr. P. J. D’Alton of Oranmore is identified as an uncle of John Francis as is Monsignor Edward A. D’Alton, a noted historian and antiquarian, and Dean of Tuam). The ;ponsors at the christening of John Francis were Michael J. Brennan and May Brennan. This was the second marriage for Mary Brennan D’Alton who had a daughter, Mollie Brennan, by her previous marriage. John Francis was the only child of this couple, and Mollie Brennan was his older half-sister.

John Francis was born on Church Street on the site where “Tommy Higgins built the D’Alton Hotel.” The street was later re-named D’Alton street after the Cardinal. Prior to his birth, his father, Joseph, spent time in Kilmainham prison. He was confined for being a feinem (one who allegedly plotted to overthrow the British government). His health was broken and he died on April 1st, 1883 at his home, when John Francis was 5 months old. The family operated a pub and grocery store at the hotel, and Mary Brennan continued to do so after Joseph passed away. She married a third time to Terence McElroy but had no other children. The McElroys maintained the shop at the hotel.

Jackie received his early education in Claremorris at the local Convent of Mercy and later in the boy’s national school in Church Street. At age 13, in 1895, he entered Blackrock College where he met his lifelong friend, Eamon de Valera, future President of Ireland. Jackie excelled in the Classics and won exhibitions in all grades. From there he went to Dublin and the Holy Cross College; in 1903 to the old Royal University and took his B. A. degree with first class honours in Mental and Moral Science. He finished his theological course at the Irish College Rome, and in 1908 Dr. D’Alton received the Doctorate of Divinity, summa cum laude, in the College of Rome He spent a year at Oxford and Cambridge, and in 1910 took his M. A. degree in the National University and was then Lecturer in Classics at Maynooth College. He was appointed to the Latin Chair and was Professor of Greek until 1936 while being President of the College.

In 1938, he was appointed a Domestic Prelate to the Pope and in 1943 Dr. D’Alton became Bishop of Meath. The honor of Archbishop of Armagh was conferred upon him in 1946 and in November 1952, this distinguished Archbishop was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Pius XII. Prior to this time he had other degrees conferred upon him, such as Doctor of Letters and Doctor of Law. His classical works included: Horace and His Age, 1917; Roman Literary Theory and Criticism which was published in 1931; and Selections from St. John Chrysostom, 1940. His Archdiocese of Armagh was partitioned down the middle and then, as in his earlier life, he advocated the elimination of partition in Ireland.

Cardinal John D’Alton 1882-1963

As Primate, he traveled to many parts of the world. Twice he visited the United States; once to New York, and later in 1956 to officiate in St. Louis at the dedication of the Cardinal Lennon Memorial Hospital for Children. He died in Dublin on February 2, 1963 and was buried on a snow covered slope on the grounds of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh. Despite the weather he was accorded a funeral befitting a Prince of the Church.

Among the items from Ireland was a short biography from The Blackrock College Annual, 1967, p28. It is an account of Father Peter Walshe, son of John Walshe and Mary (Mollie) Brennan, of Ballynew, Holly mount, County Mayo. In Dean Farragher’s note he lists Peter Waishe as a cousin of the Cardinal. Also in a handwritten note from Rev. Gleeson is the name, Dr. Roderick Maguire, Ardeevin, Claremorris, County Mayo, who is noted as a relative. When the Cardinal’s mother moved to Dublin, she remained there for several years. She returned to County Mayo and built a home, Ardeevin, in Clarernorris. She died there on December 13, 1924.

In a front page article of the Standard, “Dr. D’Alton to Rule Primatial See”, appearing on May 3, 1946, there are several pictures of the Cardinal. One photograph shows him with his niece, Maura Ryan, of Sutton, Dublin. It is quite likely that she is still living.

A long article appeared in the Irish Independent, 8th April 1953, and is devoted to the ceremony and welcome accorded the Cardinal on his return to Claremorris. He was met by several dignitaries and relatives. The relatives were; his niece, Mrs. G. Maguire, Dr. George Maguire, (nephew -in-law) and by the Chief Justice and Mrs. Maguire. It also lists a Mr. M. Tighe and Joseph Griffin, cousins of the Cardinal. One article mentions that on a visit to Claremorris he went to his mother’s home, Ardeevin, celebrated Mass, and gave First Holy Communion to his god-child, Nuala, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Maguire. Nuala would be a grand-niece and she is also likely to be living.

Our appreciation goes to Pat Wood of Washington State who did some look-ups in the Telephone Directory of Ireland. Elizabeth Maguire, barrister, is listed at the Ardeevin address with Dr. Roderick Maguire; Phone 096/6 22 15. The use of the apostrophe in the name D'Alton is extremely limited in Ireland and the telephone book yielded three names in the Galway/County Mayo area. They are: Clodagh D’Alton, 68 The Green, Galway, Phone: 091/56 14 10; Michael Dalton, Elphin St., Strokestown, Phone: 078/3 32 25; and Robert D’Alton, High St. House, Belmont, Phone: 0902/5 72 18. One, Maura Ryan, appeared in the Dublin area and is listed at 12 Monkstown Sq., Monkstown.

Joanna Hughes, a member of the Guild of One Name Studies, offered the following entries from Phillamore’s Calendar of Wills in the Diocese of Cloyne (1910).
Mary Dalton, Ardoyne, Kilcolman (Claremorris) Mayo 1835, LBS Reel No. 926222
William Dalton, Kilcolman (Claremorris) Mayo, 22 June 1835, LDS Reel No. 926222
Another entry appears to be from Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland.
John Dalton, Ardoyne, 1853.

Since Kilcolman is the Parish of the Cardinal, these last three entries may have an ancestral connection. It is also worth mentioning that the names Ardeevin and Ardoyne are names given to the actual residence of the person, a custom prevalent in the British Isles.

Our intent in this article is to provide as many clues and as much family data as possible for further research. We trust that those who have sent in queries about the Cardinal will continue this pursuit and present their findings for a follow-up article. We now have an answer to “Who is Cardinal D’Alton” for Aileen, Ann, and John of Australia, and for Tina Dalton and others in the U.S. who have asked.

by DGS member, Joyce Browning, Reston, VA.

When the old patriarch, Samuel Dalton, and his wife Anne and six children decided to leave their Albemarle County home in 1763, they first tested the landscape near Augusta, Georgia and found it wanting. The family traveled back to the north and sought out the homes of David Dalton on Snow Creek and Letitia Dalton Moore on Double Creek in the Sauratown Mountains, and the home of John Redd, his wife’s brother. Samuel Dalton, now nearing seventy years of age, ranged out and found a tract of land where he would build his home.

Samuel and Anne (Redd) Dalton’s daughters Letitia, Sally, and Jane who married Colonel Matthew Moore, Captain Jonathan Hanby, and Lt. David Hanby, respectively, and David Dalton all settled among these gentle peaks of the lovely old Sauratown Mountains in the North Carolina and lower Virginia Piedmont. Jane and David Hanby moved later to live near the Dalton home in Rockingham County, NC. The tract of land in Rockingham County that Samuel selected for his home lay on both sides of Paw Paw Creek within sight of the Mayo River, a short distance east of the higher mountains. He built a substantial plantation home, with outbuildings, that Looked out over the Mayo River on the east and the splendid array of blue hills dappling the horizon on the west. The house, painted a rich Spanish brown, retained its color for many years.

My grandmother was born on the farm that joined the gggrandfather Dalton’s farm in Rockingham. When she married John Fulton in the 1890’s, she moved about 15 miles west to Walnut Cove. I grew up in the little villages of Danbury and Walnut Cove in Stokes County.

In 1997, by great good fortune, I had an opportunity to return to the scenes of my childhood that stand in such bold relief in my memory. I was in the company of new-found cousins from the Surry County branch of my family. After touring family sites in Surry and Patrick Counties, we turned our eyes to the Sauratown Mountains. Our first stop in Stokes was to pay our respects to the old home of the daughter of Samuel and Anne Redd Dalton, Letitia and her husband, Matthew Moore. Their house, built in the 1780’s, is still occupied. If there was any one moment that stands out for me as the apogee of this three-day sojourn, it was standing by the Moore house and remembering a little four-year-old girl who stood in the broom straw field below it. On the left she easily discerned the outlines of the old brick house crowning the hill. To be sure, someone has added stairs that overwhelm the facade and a deck to the side; but without question it is the same old house the little girl saw. And below the broom straw field where the breeze still whispers by in wispy puffs, hillside treetops still peep above the lip of land at the top of the slope. Over there, off in the distance, the old giant, Moores Knob, still dominates the landscape. And I, the little four-year-old girl, remember standing there in the tan field of broom straw, holding my parent’s hands while they told me that this was where we would build our new house. It’s the only time in my life, before April 19th 1997, that I ever beheld that sight. I’m surprised that the scene has hardly changed. Instead of building the house, my family moved to Raleigh.

The gate was open, but there was no one at home. We stood around in the yard wishing we could find someone to tell us about the old home and grounds. Here and there were clumps and patches of woods. Where, a companion wondered, would a cemetery be? Soon he began walking across the cornfield to a stand of trees farther up the hill. He says he barely remembers walking up that red hill across the growing corn, so intent was he on the stand of trees. He entered the wooded enclosure and there he found the final resting place of Matthew and Letitia Dalton Moore, and father, Samuel Dalton.

The ground was covered by periwinkle. There were very few stones visible, but you could tell when you stepped on the depression of a grave under the periwinkle. We counted fifty or more graves there, but the site had been badly weathered and larger stones removed. Only one stone still contained visible lettering, that of Lydia, wife of E.G. Moore. The place where Matthew and Letitia Dalton Moore apparently rest is surrounded by a very low rock wall. Once slabs of marble formed table top tombs over their grave sites, but only chips of the marble can be found there now. Even the low wall shows signs of vandalism.

Set aside was another stone-walled table top tomb - a single grave site. We knew that family tradition holds that Samuel Dalton was buried at the home of his daughter, Letitia. Could this single site be his tomb? It was clearly an important grave site. Later we stopped for a visit at Tom Bowman’s who owns a nearby bed and breakfast, is a local historian, and was once a caretaker at Vade Mecum (a summer camp). He married one of the Joyce girls, Linda, who lived in the house on the little lane leading into the camp. Tom informed us that as a child and young man, he had lived in the Matthew Moore house, before the graveyard was damaged. Indeed, he told us, the single table top grave site was the final resting place of Samuel Dalton.

In my young years, I was a camper at Vade Mecum; and Tom Bowman came there as a staff member during the summers. In the evening after dinner and Vespers, campers would amble across to a hillside campfire ground. As we sat on that fire-lit slope singing, telling stories, watching skits, enjoying a quiet evening’s entertainment, we were observed by the looming presence of Moore’s Knob backed by a starry sky across the valley. Little did I know then that I was looking at the final resting place of my ancestor. Other descendents of Samuel and Anne Redd Dalton who wish to contact Joyce may do so at:

It will be fifty years in April 1999 since our Secretary, Lucy Joan Slater of Cambridge, first set foot in the Computing Laboratory of Cambridge University, England. Lucy, a Professor, was given user number 78 and she was only the second female allowed to use the monstrosity, name Edsac. It was assembled from a collection of spare parts purchased at auctions of war surplus materials from the American Air Force radar installations. Edsac, a first all electronic computer, actually worked and made complex mathematical calculations. Gradually other war surplus items were added including an electric typewriter and a punched paper tape reader. It took up an enormous amount of office space as well as space in the basement for generating equipment, supplies, etc.

A general view of the EDSAC

The racks in the front row contain (from left to right): part of the store (two racks), pulse generator, and input-output units. Behind are three racks containing the control, and in the rear, the remainder of the store (two racks) and the arithmetical unit (three racks). On the extreme right of the photograph may be seen the tapereader for the input tape, and the teleprinter in which results are printed.

Many of the original office workers have passed on but those remaining will participate in a 50th anniversary celebration of Edsac on 15th April 1999. The Laboratory will hold an exhibition on early computing and a seminar on the first Cambridge computer. Although Edsac will not be present there will be a display of Edsac memorabilia from that era. Mr. Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, will host a dinner to honour the “Golden Oldies” as he calls them, and Lucy will be one of the honourees.

Mr. Gates has established a foundation in England to educate young people in the computer sciences, and is committed to upgrading the information system at Cambridge University. He is currently house hunting in the Cambridge area for a home away from home. Our computer scientist, Lucy, is quite excited about the forthcoming tribute to Edsac. Lucy still cherishes a bit of paper tape from her days in the lab showing results of calculations that would have taken years to do by hand. Lucy is descended from the Oldham Daltons and a story of her family will commence in the April 1999 issue of "Daltons in History".

from William Derek Dalton

For the last twenty nine years, the Parbold Hill Race has been an exciting event and this year was no exception. Parbold is a town in Lancashire, England and Derek Dalton, Councilman, is the organizer of the Hill Race. This year it was held on February 13 and there were over 400 entrants including 70 women. The field also included several International and County representatives and a runner 71 years of age.

The race crosses stiles, ditches, fences, gates, hills and ploughed fields. The winner completed the course in 37 minutes to win a prize of 100 pounds (just one of 800 pounds worth). Prizes were presented by the West Lancashire Council Chairman and his Lady. For the first time the race results are being shown on the internet.

This race is regarded as a Classic Event on the Running Calendar and on the Friday before the race, Derek, a former runner of note, did a live radio interview on Radio Merseyside about the history of the race. That evening the running club held a dinner and dance which was well attended.

Two of Derek’s children have followed in their father’s footsteps. Andrew Dalton has become a runner of note and Allison Dalton McNabb and her husband, Angus, also participate in the sport. Allison and Angus came from the Isle of Skye to run in the event. Allison is running in the London Marathon in April and Angus is going to Marrakech to do a 140 mile cross-desert run, also n April. Running has become a family affair with the Daltons.

If running is your sport you might consider participating in the millennium event at Parbold next winter. Parbold is just a few hundred yards from the first ancestral home of the Lancashire Daltons, Bispham, an area that is steeped in Dalton history. Derek is a descendent of this line and also a Committee Member of the Dalton Genealogical Society. You may contact Derek directly if interested.

The following Daltons were casualties in World War I and World War II. In many cases the parents, spouse, and location of survivors are given which may be helpful in family research. Source: Commonwealth War Games Commission. Caution: This may not be a complete listing.

Name: Allan Edward Dalton, Private, New Zealand Infantry, d. 1 Nov 1940, age 34.
Parents: Leonard Dalton and Elizabeth O’Connor Dalton, Christchurch, Canterbury, NZ
Burial: Ismailia War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.
Alfred James Dalton, Private, 1st Battalion, Australian Regiment. d. 1 October Name: 1918, age 28.
Parents: James Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Dalton of NZ
Burial: Masnieres, British Cemetery, Nord France.
Name Gilbert Thomas Dalton, Serjeant, 20th Regiment, NZ., Armoured Corps, d. 17 Dec 1943, age 39.
John Richard Dalton and Marie de Fillippi Dalton; husband of Daisy Rona
Dalton of Ashburton, Canterbury, NZ.
Burial: Italy.
Name: John Dalton, Private, 1st Bn, Canterbury Regiment, N. Z. E. F., d. 13 Jan 1918.
Parents: Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Dalton, Ponsonby, Auckland, NZ
Burial: Belgium
Name John Brian Dalton, Serjeant, Otago Mounted Rifles, N. Z. B. F., d. 2 Dec 1915, age 35.
Parents:John and Katherine Dalton, Howera, New Plymouth.
Burial: Surrey, England
Name: Ronald George Dalton, Private, 21st Bn., N. Z. Infantry, d. April 1943, age 24. Arthur Clarence Dalton and Bessie Dalton of Parnell, Auckland, NZ.; husband
of Mary Dalton.
Burial: Tunisia.
Name: William Charles Dalton, Saddler, N. Z. Field Artillery, d. 8 Nov 1918. age 25.
Parents: Charles Wyatt Dalton, Tairua, East Coast, NZ.
Burial: Surrey, England
Name William Henry Dalton, Trooper, Canterbury Mounted Rifles, N.Z.E.F., 19 May 1915, age 30.
Parents:Annie Dalton and the late William Henry Dalton, NZ.
Burial: Turkey.

From Mary Rumsey, a member of the GOONS (Guild Of One Name Studies) in England comes an interesting piece on variants of the name, Dalton. Mary writes that her maiden name is Dawton. Her immediate ancestors were paper makers in the Exeter area of Devon, England. Beginning in 1600, the Dawton family first appeared in St. Paul’s Parish as curriers and cordwainers (shoemakers). This name had many spellings including Dotin, Dotton, Dotyn, Dottyn, reflecting the Devonian pronunciation of Dawton; and also Daulton and Dowton, although the latter seems to have at times been a name in its own right. The name, Dawton, seems to be dying out in England with a rapid reduction in the number of males. Her late cousin, Basil Dawton, the last legitimate male descendent of her line, requested that on the marriage of his only grandchild, a girl, her husband shall adopt her name. If you are a Dawton you may want to contact Mary at:

A query from Maggie Dalton arrived seeking the origins of her family who founded the Dalton Lace Manufacturing Co. in Chicago, IL and who exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair. In the mid- 191h Century, the lace making industry in England began its decline. Two of the important silk lace making centers were Honiton near Devon close to Ottery St. Mary and Nottingham. The suggestion is to examine the Censuses of these two areas, and also to use the files of the FHS. To establish a lacemaking factory in the U.S. suggests that your ancestor had previous knowledge of the trade before he arrived. Thanks to GOONS member, John Bending, of Leicester for the place names. He also mentioned that Queen Elizabeth’s lace wedding gown was made at Devon.

Lisa Linden is trying to establish her English and Irish ancestry. Her great grandmother, Elizabeth Dalton, left Ireland to take a position as a maid in the Hesseigrave household in England. Mr. Hesseigrave, Lisa’s ggrandfather was an architect in Leeds so the family is assumed to either have lived in Leeds or nearby. Elizabeth and Mr. Hesselgrave’s son, William, fell in love and were married, but the whereabouts and date are unknown. Elizabeth was born in May 1888 in Ireland and William was born in Feb 1888 presumably in the Leeds area. The date of marriage is estimated to be between 1905-1908. They emigrated to the US and eventually settled in Indianapolis, Indiana where they raised a family which included Eileen, Michael, and Joseph. Hesselgrave is not a common name in England and currently there are at least two families living in Leeds with the variant spelling Hesselgrave, and several families in nearby Wakefield using the variant Hesslegrave. If a reader has contact with these families you may send an e-mail to Lisa: Thanks to the GOONS for look-ups of variants.

Kathy O’Hagan’s line is focused in Jersey City, New Jersey. John Dalton was born Feb. 1850 in Ireland, the son of Matthew and Mary Smith Dalton. John emigrated to the US and was living in Jersey City, NJ about 1875. He married Mary Miles/Mills on September 1875 in Jersey City. Their children’s marriages are:
John m. Margaret Gould, 1906, in Jersey City
Agnes, m. Paul Frey (widowed) in Jersey City in 1922
Matthew m. Elizabeth McAvoy, 1899 in Jersey City
Ella, m. Frank Flynn, 1915 in New York City
Mary married?
These Daltons are all buried in the Holy Name Cemetery, Jersey City, NJ. Kathy is hoping to make more connections with branches of her family and you may reach her at: