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MARTHA IRVINE, was the first of at least 6 children to issue from the marriage of Thommas Irvine of Killes, co. Fermanagh and Jane Sproule of Carraghulteen, co. Tyrone – both of Ulster Province and within near range of Enniskillen. It is yet an assumption the parents were married shortly after the 21 August 1755 "Article of marriage" (q.v. pg.25) contract between Jane’s father Joseph Sproule and Thommas Irvine. Following the natural course of events Martha perhaps was born in 1756-7. A great grand-son, Irvine Thompson Holloway has positively stated her marriage to Mathew Thompson as of 1780 – and that a daughter Anne was born in 1781 (the daughter who married the ‘sporty’ Henry Irvine only to leave him and bring her 4 children to Mt. Vernon).
However, the 1850 Census of Knox County, Ohio lists:-
"Monroe Twsp. Home 973 Family 1015
Anne Irvine 45 b. Ireland
The Census tabulation could be in error, although if answers to the Census Taker were mere rough estimates it would appear quite strange that an approximation would miss the mark by 24 years. It is being assumed the Census data are correct – which makes this Anne nee Thompson Irvine to have been born in 1805, the last of Martha’s children, not the first.
Also, listed in the 1850 census is the family of Anne’s older brother – Irvine Thompson – who in 1831 had come to Mt. Vernon with his wife and 8 of 9 children (q.v. Thompson Section).
Home 1078 Family 1120
Irvine Thompson 65 b. Ireland (1785)
((Such Records are assumed proof that Irvine Thompson was 20 years senior to his sister Anne. This discrepancy in Irvine Thompson Holloway's notations is one of several, however most of his information has proven accurate.))
Our lack of specific information on Martha – and circumstances then existing in Ireland – seems a queer circumstance, for her younger brother (Thomas) came to America in 1797, her son (Irvine) with his wife and 8 children in 1831, 2 grand-sons (John and Henry Irvine) preceded their mother Anne (who herself left her husband and came with her two younger children before the 1850 Census to Mt. Vernon. All were in association in America – within a small community – one of these grand-grandchildren (Martha Thompson) with her American-born cousin (Martha Elizabeth Irvine) have a well-known-to-the-family mutual yen for family lore – and both were grown women before their common grand-mother/great aunt passed away. Yet among the letters and notes of family information no mention is found of relatives nor circumstances in Ireland.
So as to Martha’s early life we can hope for forgiveness for a bit of speculation. Taking a queue from Dr. Elizabeth Reed’s discovery of the shifting places of residence of Thommas and Jane between 1751 and 1776 – as lessee of various farm lands – it can reasonably be assumed he was a farmer – by inference from the terminology in the ‘Article of Marriage’ a "gentleman farmer". This might suggest a measure of affluence although the legal phraseology of ’gent.’ Could be mere formality. Rather would it seem logical to assume that these shifting residences speak for an absence of an hereditary base, and were evidences of aspirations to better his status?
Considering the era – mid to late 18th century – we can reasonable assume there was little by way of luxury in the lives of the children. If the ’gent.’ Appellation had significance undoubtedly there were retainers to do the chores, though my hunch is that the shifting sites means the kids were raised to be ‘helping hands’ about the operation of the farms. In what time remained after tending chores (even including slopping the hogs) we can rest assured they enjoyed the run of the countryside and partook of whatever farmer folk activities were in vogue. Under such circumstances formal education perhaps was relegated to the non-planting and non-harvesting seasons – maybe some tutoring in between. Assuming these surmises Martha was undoubtedly a sturdy young woman by the 1780 date of her marriage to Mathew Thompson, perhaps not only well experienced as her mother’s helper but by then willing – even anxious – to assume management of her own establishment.
On Mathew Thompson, Martha’s husband, little is know except that he farmed and remained in the environs of Enniskillen.
Issue: - (details in Thompson Section)