Part 2 People
The "Seed of Isaac" is an essential book for those investigating the KISSACK family name. Written by Revd Rex Kissack in the 1980's and published here by kind permission of his widow Elizabeth Kissack.
Here is the second part of Part 2:
- Kissack Quarterlands
- Lezayre Kissacks
- The Merchant of Ramsey
- Maughold Families
- Kissacks in Jurby
- Ramsey Town
- The West and South
- South by East
- Gilbert MacKissack and his ilk
- End Product
- The Fencibles in the Family
- The ever-open end
- Historical Hinterland
- Quest for a hero
Any study of the Kissacks must begin in Lezayre. That doyen of Manx scholarship, W. Cubbon, wrote in 1954 to Jimmie Kissack of Cleveland, who preceded me in this search :- 'Our mutual friend, David Craine tells me he has been a-chasin' Kissages all over the north, and he feels that he's got ye! - at last My own feelin' is that you are a Kirk Christ Lezayre family, near the Kerrowmoar, near Sulby Glen'. And it is in that parish that they are to be found in greatest profusion when parish records begin in 1696. But all efforts to trace the senior family, who held the quarterland of Kerrowmoar before the marriage of Ewan (LzV) to Catherine Christian in 1700 can only rely on the incoherent information from wills, land-changes or law-suits. Yet these show conclusively that Ewan's father was William, and his grand-father Edward. An Edward inherited from another William in 1654, whose will sounds as if he were the last of the family to enjoy any special political importance. He had, for instance, a daughter Christian who had married into the 'Mr and Mrs' class, first to a Radcliffe of Knockaloe, and then to a Quail of Ballaquayle, an area on which most of Douglas now stands.
This William is most likely the one who features in an incident of 1639, when the body of William Mac-a-Fayle was discovered in suspicious circumstances, and tells how the murderers, two Casement brothers, were detected through a combination of parish gossip and the psychological trauma of making them lie down beside the corpse, in the expectancy that it would bleed freely were they guilty. The case was conducted by William Kissag as Coroner of the Ayre Sheading, an office normally held in turn by the occupants of the chief quarterlans. (Such records of the 24 Keys as survive show a Kissack as among them in 1585, 1612 and 1634. Since when none of the ilk has ever graced the Keys again).
Family History has been likened to the game of Snakes and Ladders, ladders the luck of good marriages to heiresses or good business deals, snakes to bankruptcies and lack of heirs. In this way the story of the Kerrowmoar Kissacks from the mid-l7th century is a snake. Economic circumstances were increasingly difficult. William and Ewan constantly cry poverty when in arrears with the Lord's Rent. The Ewan who came into his inheritance about 1690 gives every sign of instability both of judgment and character. Not only do his land transactions show evidence of imprudence and impulse, so as to be progressively more disastrous, but also he could be equally high-handed with any power he had. In 1706 he was appointed to the public office of Sumner of Lezayre. However we can read his character in the Presentments. Once he absented himself from the Sheading Court when complained of by John Crow for calling him the son of a bitch, and that cost him 3 days in St. German's. A year later he was sent again there for 'being drunk and cursing'; and the same year we read : 'Ewan Kissage, on the complaint of the Vicar, that he had charged the Jury of Servants to meet on the day set for the Court, to avoid, as is supposed, his own appearance. Moreover he has charged William Kissage, one of the Quest to be on the above Jury'. He had his private troubles in plenty. In 1714 he lost three of his children, which in addition to two who had died earlier, reduced his family to a single son, Ewan.
In 1721 his trouble was again public. He and his neighbours, Dan and Mary Cry, were at least united in being notoriously absentees from church. But that did not keep them from public altercation nor from their dragging his domestic quarrels into public, and he had to answer in Court for cursing his wife. "A rash word", was his defence, "not a curse!"
Isabel Kissag - I believe an elder sister of Ewan - at least he was held responsible for her - could outswear them all. And one day the curses began to fly between Crys and Kissacks. The Crys called her a blind whore, and she finished up in the Mill-stream. But the matter only ended before the Vicar General, who must tell it in his own words :
"It being proved by Mary Cry and Ewan Kissack that Isabel Kissack reflected on Alice Kissack in a very base and bawdy manner . . , and Mary Cry having deposed that she cursed the said Alice Kissack, saying Skeablome to her doors, with other base and wicked expressions, not seemly to be named amongst Christians, many o f which have this day been uttered within my own presence, to such a degree as to require the most rigorous punishment the Law affords; the said Isabel Kissack is therefore to be 7 days confined in St. German's, and before releasement to give bonds of £3 with security to perform 3 Sundays penance, vizt., the first in Lezayre, the 2nd in Kirk Andrews, and the last in the parish church again; at all which times she is to ask solemn forgiveness on her knees for the offence given and to pay all fees. Dat ut supra.
Wm Walker, Vicar Genl.
Two other pieces of paper are attached :
"August 20 1721 "Isabel Kissage did this day con form herself to the Order by performing her first Sunday's penance, expressing sorrow, and asking forgiveness for her offences, and therefore is recommended for a Mitigation of her Censure by Hen. Allen, Vicar of Lezayre".
Wm Walker replies :
"The further Censure agt Isabel Kissack is, for the trial of her behaviour, suspended for 2 months time from the date hereof".
The other scrap dated Oct 27 reads :
"Since the within Isabel Kissag's behaviour has been tolerably good, she is therefore recommended to the favour of the Rev. Court by Henry Allen". And underneath : "Eodem die. The further censure is remitted."
In 1725 Ewan again stood before the Court :- "Ewan Kissage Lockman, for being a common curser and swearer. He humbly asks forgiveness; therefore the Vicar to forgive him. Performed".
In 1733 his son married, and the contract gave him half the ownership of the land and all the responsibility (LzX). So the tense and battered Ewan was able to relax and keep out of the courts. The single son of Ewan II, John married Christian Kissack the youngest daughter of Ewan the Miller (LzXXIV). Their single son, also John, took a bride Ann Fargher from Lonan in 1807, but they had no children at all, and the line ended with their deaths, his in 1861, hers in 1866.
The failure of this, the senior branch of the family, can be attributed in no small degree to the failure to produce enough male offspring. After the death of Edward (PLz5) in 1671 there followed three generations with only single sons, and the fourth produced no issue at all. The lack of sons must have affected the efficient cultivation of the land, and this is reflected in the financial crises which became so acute in the last quarter of the 17th century. Economic insecurity shows itself reflected in behaviour. Drunkenness, quarrels with neighbours, open ruptures between husband and wife, absence from worship, suspicions, if not actual acts, of immorality. And so the woes of Ewan I were compounded, and failure escalated.
Ewan II does not feature in the Presentments, and John I's misdemeanours seem limited to being persuaded by madcap Standish Christian to ride their horses to the sea at Ramsey in church hours one hot day in 1753 His son John II, last of the line, gives the impression that he had steadied the fortunes somewhat. He provided the land for a Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1825 and was a Class Leader there.
The quarterland of Kerrowmoar slopes from the curragh level upwards into the hills that rise in a steepish escarpment which once must have been the coastline, they then ease into the upland valley, named Narradale, or the Eary, and beyond the terrain reaches upward to the rough moors, that go on to climb to the summit of Snaefell. The quarterland of Ballakissack in Santon is by contrast, smooth meadow and gentle wold. And, as if by analogy, the story of the other landed branch is a much smoother and more gentlemanly matter.
Yet Santon is no farmer's paradise. Proverbially it is the parish of Stones and Poverty. Granite boulders lie in the soil, and are dug out to make hedges and walls of buildings. Harder living, then, and harder working than in the better tilth of Kerrowmoar may have bred better sons for Ballakissack. They have found medieval silver groats in the Ballakissack street , and the place has been the home of farmers from Manx times immemorial.
The Kissacks came there through a fortunate marriage, I suspect, which brought William Kissag, a member of the Ballaugh family, into the treen of Bendoill in Santon in 1598. There were never very many Kissacks in Santon - only 87 recorded baptisms in 200 years, as against 159 in Lezayre. Yet these births are evenly spaced. In each of those 20 decades, bar one, there has been at least one baptism. The average is four, and there are only three or four families to divide them among. By the mid-17th century they were calling their farm Ballakissage.
By the mid-18th they had made marriage connections with the established and respected families of the South-east - Moores, Brews, Clucases and Kellys (SaVII ). In 1772, John Kissack who had married a daughter of Captain John Clucas, found himself aligned with one brother-in-law against another, in a dispute over responsibility for the Captain's widow and her debts and it cost him £65. No poverty there.
Equally they steered well clear of the Spiritual Courts, although in 1757 John Kissack got involved in what seems a Marriage Guidance case. and was charged to 'behave as a husband to his wife, and to his father-in-law', (who was John Moor). In comparison with the matrimonial problems of the Lezayre Kissacks, this was nothing. In August 1667 a Lezayre William was imprisoned in Castle Rushen for some crime, when he was also sentenced to St. German's 'till he agree to undergo the censure of the Church for his abuse of Mary Corlett his wife, to be obedient unto his father as becometh a child and to respect, love and use his wife as a husband ought to do.' Indeed the Santon family provided church-wardens , even if in the mid-19th century Edward Kissack (SaXIII) got written into the parish registers for locking the communion-wine away from the Vicar, and sundry other derelictions of duty. Though there are no registers for the 17th century we know that besides a succession of Williams, there were also sons of the names of John, Gilbert and Thomas, for when in 1731 trouble arose over the demarcation of burial spaces - for holders of quarterlands had the right of burial below their pews - one Christian Brew aged 80 testified 'Ballakissage families buried eastward of Rogane and adjoining' for she had seen those three worthies laid away. By the mid-l8th century the family were also farming Ballachrink, and that tyrannical warden, Edward, went on to farm lands also at Port-y-chee, Braddan, till his operations covered some 250 acres.
Other Kissack families lived in Santon. An early l8th century one lived at Faragher's Mill, near Ballakissack (SaII). Would John its head , have been a miller? Another was in the south-east of the parish in Meary Vooar (SaIII). Early in the l9th century, another branch is found at Ballavale; possibly as a result of an 1821 marriage of a William to Ann Juke, of another established family in that part of the Island (SaXII). This William was born in 1795, and so may have been one of the MacKissacks (MaVIII), or a son of John Kissack and Jane Corrin (MaVII).
Another family established itself in Santon, when Thomas, Isaac Kissack's second son, moved there with his first wife, Margaret Cowle about 1820 (SaXI). He was a labourer and was living at Port Grenough at the time of his death in 1892, aged 95. James, one of his two surviving sons is to be recognised in Tromode in 1871 as an Engine Driver (BaXIX).
The Ballavale family saw the ancient Ballakissack family pass out of the parish, and in 1881 were farming Ballachrink themselves. Edward Kissack had had five sons, but three had died before him in 1877 (SaXIII). Of the rest, John Bridson had been farming in Braddan in the '60s, but seems to have left the Island, while Christopher (SaXII) then living as a boarder in Queen St., Douglas, described himself to the 1881 Census as 'retired former'. Of the five sons of John and Elizabeth (SaXIV) the third died in 1871, the same year as his father, also in Douglas, whither the family had already retired. The other two, Allan Jocelyn (MiII) and Alfred (WeIII) moved to Ballafageen, Michael. And so Ballakissack hardly survived Kerromoar by more than a decade after all.
The largest of he Lezayre Kissack families was the one associated with Close-y-Killip. 'There was a case in 1773 about the proper maintenance of ditches on Close-y-Killip, when it was stated it had come into being as an extension northwards of Kerrowmoar by reclamation of curragh land across the Sulby River. By 1700 two Kissack families were in possession, one of them headed by William a miller, the other by a Ewan. By 1773 it had been divided into several holdings, some of which were still held in the Miller's family. Other information given was that peat had been extensively taken from it, in parts up to 21 spade's depths. No records survive to tell what would have been the fascinating story of the reclamation of the Lezayre fen-lands. Certainly the family had played its part, and still looked back to a William of the Curragh. It is a fair inference from its origins with Kerrowmoar that the Close-y-Killip families must have emerged from cadet lines of the quarterland family.
The miller's family was not the only one to live on Close-y-Killip and the neighbourhood, but it is the one which seems most clearly delintated. There was also William the Cooper and his wife Jane (LzXII); a 'Ewan Kissag from Kirk Andrews' (LzXVI); and another Andreas family, one of whom (Thomas) had a craft on the Nappin (LzXVIII). Another was Robert the Wheelwright. In 1770, there is allusion to a William the Tailor.
As with the Kerrowmoar family, the lines of descent in the l7th century are mere conjecture from other documents. But again, there was a William who died in 1654, designated the Miller, and a Ewan who died in 1681. His wife was Jane Sayle, and in 1667 the couple had faced the Courts for 'living together as man and wife', a phrase that may reflect the attitude adopted by post-Restoration clergy to the Commonwealth regime which had not recognised church-marriages, and so let them fall into controversial abeyance. But the legitimacy was not challenged at his death. In 1691 at Braddan, another William designated 'de Lezayre' married Mariod Killey (LzVI). This couple can be identified with the parents of Ewan the Miller, c1696-1778 (LzVIII), who made a marriage contract for him with Mary Kinread in 1717, and left wills, hers of 1718, his of 1720, in which her name is Gill, this being the alternative form of Killey in those years.
If the Kerrowmoar family failed from lack of sons, that was a fate far from the Close-y-Killip one. There were to be some 120 Kissack baptisms in 18th century Lezayre, far ahead of any other parish. Of these 14 were children of Ewan, 22 his grandchildren, and 4 his great-grandchildren. 18 of these 40 were male, 13 of them died young or left the Island and were lost to sight. Three only of his legitimate sons - Michael, Mark and John (LzVIII) had male issue, but their male lines failed, those of Michael and John after a single generation, that of Mark when his great-grandson William (LzXXIX) was reported on the Electoral Roll as living in America.
We catch a glimpse of Mark, Robert and Mark's son John (known as John-Vark) in a case of 1768, which also lifts the curtain on contemporary Manx horse-trading and treatment of animals. The deal was a 'swapp' in which William Crow traded the unhappy horse in question plus 7/- 'boot' to Mark in exchange for a mare. But the very next day, as John-Vark with William Crow's son were bringing in a load of peat from the mountain, the horse fell at a place called by the long-forgotten name of Top o the Mealey. Resort was made to a sailor who had skills in curing horses with oil, but in vain. Pages of evidence survive on man's inhumanity to man in selling a horse in suspected distemper, without ever a word of concern for the poor creature itself.
The best of Ewan's sons were Michael, by his first wife, and Robert by Mary Corkish, his second. His first-born son William appears only in Presentments. In May 1745 a Court was faced with a blank refusal from Michael 'to make oath concerning the goods of his brother William Kissage, the father of Bahee Corlett's illegitimate child.' Twelve years later a William was presented for 'repeatedly damning at cards'. Could it be he? He does not feature in either of his father's wills (1764 and 1774). A burial entry of 1769 reads: 'Will, son of Ewan Kissack, miller', a strange entry for a man of 50, and perhaps a mistake for a young son of Michael's. Ewan's will refers to Ann and Thomas, children 'off the Island', whose inheritance depended on their returning to claim it. In 1757 a Thomas was presented for 'habitually swearing by his conscience', and two years later he, or a namesake, had a similar concern shown for his morals, when presented for not attending divine service in Ramsey. Have we here two examples of sons leaving home from a distaste for the life of a miller's family in Lezayre? One maybe out of shame, the other out of boredom. It would hardly be from poverty; in contrast to his Kerrowmoar namesake the Miller never seemed short of money. But his house was no place for a 20-year old to ape the idle rich.
Indeed the Close-y-Killip story could be told with the moral that too many sons could threaten a family's existence as badly as too few, unless they were all Michaels. Yet as we have seen, all four of Michael's own sons disappeared (LzXVII), as did two of Edward, Ewan's brother (LzXX). John, the eldest son of Ewan's second wife, Mary Corkish, showed similar restlessness. He ran off to Liverpool with Margaret Crow, returned with a son and a tale of a dubious marriage and was properly married in Lezayre within the time limit that legitimised the child. Thereafter Margaret bore 7 children to him in 3 different parishes in 8 years, as he worked as a miller. He died in 1785.
At this period, unless one was a sailor and jumped ship in a foreign port, emigrating Manx usually made for Liverpool. It was only in the 1820s that America began to call them. The trail was via Baltimore and the Alleghennies to the Ohio River. When a Manx army doctor came home in 1825 to proclaim the prospects of the West, he opened up a steady stream of emigration around Cleveland, over 200 arriving in each of the years 1827 and 1828, and following the expanding frontier. This would be the route taken in the 1840's by a great-grandson of Ewan in an abortive emigration into Illinois. But he was in the line of Ewan's illegitimate son.
For if Close-y-Killip was free of some of the problems of Kerrowmoar, it was not free of its passions. The identity of the William whose own wife had him presented in 1718 'for being drunk 5 or 6 Sundays in succession', and of the one who in 1721 and 1723, with his wife, appear as fellow-sinners with Ewan and his Cry neighbours for missing Easter communion, and of the one who in 1727 stood in court with M Garrett, solemnly to swear they had no carnal knowledge of each other, are all unproven, but none were of Kerrowmoar. And then in 1766, Ewan the Miller, who must have been 70 at the time, had to answer for siring a son Isaac, by Ann Garrett.
After the Christians of Milnthorpe, the Garretts were probably the most prominent Lezayre family in the 18th century. Their memorials in the parish church carry a coat of arms - a very un-Manx thing to do but in the tradition of those ambitious families who cultivated marriages with the English squirearchy. Their senior line had Ballabrooie for their quarterland. But all their pretensions were to end when William Garrett died after a fracas by the Sulby roadside in April 1799, with his son-in-law Henry Quayle, who was acquitted of the charge of murder. But there were so many debts against the estate that it had to be sold in 1806 to the Bacon family.
Ann was not of so distinguished a branch. Born in 1729 and unmarried, she had borne two other illegitimate children, and featured in 1759 as one of six women named in an episcopal edict for repeated lapses. At the time of Isaac's birth she was a servant on one of the Kella farms adjacent to Ewan's mill. When the farm was sold up in 1770 she is recorded as buying for a few pence old coverlets and crock-pots and some oats. Thereafter her story is not clear. An Ann Garrett 'of Jurby' (the next parish) with a similar reputation seems to have married in 1773 a husband with a correspondingly indisciplined past. An Ann Garrett "of Sulby" died in 1772. But which was Isaac's mother is unknown.
Ewan acknowledged paternity and served his 14 days in St. Germans, but it was only 4 years later that he reluctantly performed his penance and made judicious peace with the Church. He no doubt paid Ann the legitimate damages, but there are no indications that he took any further interest in Isaac. There is no mention of him in a will he made in 1774, presumably motivated by the deaths of his son Michael and Eleanor his wife both within a few weeks. In this he expresses dubiety about his son John (husband of Margaret Crow) ever assuming the responsibility for his mother, and settling part of Close-y-Killip on Mark. He was apprehensive lest Mark should demand more. But Ewan does not seem to have died till 1778.
There is little out of which to build up any portrait of Isaac. He left no will. He served as a parish Questman twice. He features as a witness in two cases of animal trespass. In one he is a firm witness for a William Garrett, which strengthens the belief that he must have been brought up by Ann's family. When he had a home of his own it was clearly up Narradale, and he testifies that it was within sight of the mountain fence that separated the holdings from the common moorlands. In the second case of trespass, brought by a Thomas Shimmin, he was both a defendant and a witness for the prosecution. He admitted that four of his own sheep were at fault, and the Court finds : " . . . Isaac Kissage to have agreed with the plaintiff as far as his damage is concerned". It suspiciously sounds like 'grassing', but a twist is given to the mystery when Isaac next presents Thomas Shimmin for "damning Isaac Kissage's soul repeatedly, being one of the Quest".
For the rest, he married Mary Kinley of Lonan, though the event is not recorded, probably through a lacuna in the Lonan registers. Her parents were Thomas and Alice, and ultimately they settled with Isaac in Lezavre. He had 11 children (LzXXVII). Of the girls only two can be traced. The eldest, Elizabeth never married and died in 1839. Mary (1810 1850) was unmarried but had 3 illegitimate children. Jane (born 1796) conceivably married John Blevings at Michael in 1811, and Catherine (b. 1807) married John Kelly in German in 1828, (he was a miner), but nothing can be surmised of Margaret (1792) or Isabella (1812). Nor can any creditable trace be found for two sons, James and Robert. The oldest three all' left Lezayre in their twenties. William the eldest married Jane (Note 1) Kaighin and moved about 1820 to Cronk-y-Voddy, German. Jane was 10 years his senior, and they settled in a croft in an area where her relatives owned land. Thomas moved to Santon, and John to the Ballagilbert area of Malew and Arbory, where he married Ann Watterson, the daughter of a local farming family. It seems all of a pattern, a desire to escape from a place whose associations were humiliating. At any rate the 1841 census shows only Mary the widow and her daughter Mary with a 10 year old James Skinner living up Narradale. Mary died in 1846 at 79, and her daughter in 1850 at 40.
Will and Jane settled in a croft on Corvalley, aptly known as The Tops, which was to be their family home for three generations. Fred, Will's grandson, has described the site on the Staarvey Road, stretching up to the crest of the ridge whence one looked down on the sea and Peel:
"To the east are the mountains of Sartfield, Penny-Pot and Slieu Dhoo; underneath are the villages of Cronk-e-Voddie, Bargarrow, with the farms on the slope. To the north, the Scots mountains, and the north of the Island; to the west the Sea and the Irish mountains. To the south is South Barrule mountain, and Higher Foxdale with a white road winding round its base . . " To Will and Jane it must have been reminiscent of the high lookout of Narradale, whence the north of the Island and South West Scotland were equally displayed. It could well be that a remote isolated home with broad far vsitas chimed in with an aloof, hurt, and rejected family.
Here the couple raised their family (GrVII). Two sons died in childhood. There was a daughter Jane, who never had much to do with the family after marrying into a Scots family, named McArdle, living in Douglas, one of whose sons would one day snub Fred Kissack in a Cleveland street-car. Will II, too, the elder son, had the desire to go further, and in the 1840's emigrated to Illinois. However he returned after a quarry accident had impaired his capacity for the kind if labour the New World required. From then on he worked on various farms around the Michael-German border, often with Kaighin connections. He is said to have brought back three objects never before seen in those parts - an 8-day clock, a boat's log, and a scythe. Especially does legend make his scythe the wonder of the harvest field, when others had no better than the traditional sickle.
Yet his were not to be the happiest of fortunes. He married Margaret Kermeen in December, 1849, and between then and 1864 she bore him 5 sons and 2 daughters. But then they both died, he in December, 1865 at 46, she 6 weeks later at only 36. The children were scattered. John James (GrIX) and perhaps one of the girls joined the Tops household. Known a; Johnny Kissack he was to become a legendry Methodist local-preacher, and to follow his Uncle James as an expert drainsman. Another of the children James, was farming Ballacross In German, when he died, again at only? in 1894. He left his widow, Jane Fargher, with 4 small children (WeI) ultimately to emigrate to Canada as Homesteaders in 1908/9.
It was another James, the second son of WiIIiam I and Jane Kaighen whose life was to be completely identified with the Tops at Cronk-y-Voddy He was born there in 1824, and with his death in I903, the family's connection with the area ended (GrX). He grew up working the croft with his father, and though his mother, Jane was to end her days in 1858 under the roof of William II and Margaret, William I died at the Tops in 1861 aged 67. James is said to have been the last man in the neighbourhood to have worn the old country dress of smock-waistcoat. Perhaps he had little natural taste for farming. Certainly his name ranked higher as a digger of field-drains. They say he drained fields of the Bishop's demesne, 5 miles away, and would join in doughty theological arguments with his Lordship in the process. He was a firm Church of England man. His grandson recalls how he and his grandfather formed the entire congregation at the Cronk-y-Voddy chapel-at-ease on the day of the Methodist Anniversary. The tale is also told of how he and a fellow-spirit stayed at home by the fireside one night while the womenfolk went to a revival meeting. The two discussed the mystery of the faith that moved mountains. They had been instructed to have the porridge on the boil for supper. They decided to test out the potency of naked faith, and put no oats in the pot. The women returned; but there was no porridge in the pot. The old men shook their heads in resignation. Said his friend: 'And wasn't I thinking all the while there wouldn't be any?' 'And me too', James confessed. He was a great reader of the Manx Bible. The Manx had better scriptures than the English, he would tell his grandsons; for they were translated direct from the Hebrew and Greek. I have in my possession a leatherbacked book, the cover scratched and cut across, and some 30 pages at the end torn out. My great-aunt told me : 'He bought it at the Douglas market; it was just the thing to strop his razor on. And he would tear out the pages to wipe the blade'. And it turned out to be a first edition of The Vicar of Wakefield. I also have his armchair, eaten by woodworm, and banished to the garden shed. 'Chalse a Killey sat in that chair often enough,' I was told. The Tops standing on the ancient Staarvey road, that legendary itinerant character, immortalised by T. E. Brown, a kind of Manx mendicant equivalent of Scott's Edie Ochiltree, would use the house as one of his calling-places.
So little did James seem to like farming that he told the officers of the 1871 and 1881 censuses that his occupation was Fisherman (or was it his pride in the Buttermilk boat?). His economic battle to be a farmer and landowner ended in defeat. Nor did he make it easier for himself with his determination that none of his sons should be fettered to the land as he was. Thomas was apprenticed to a baker, James to a miller, Charles to a Douglas grocer, Fred to a joiner, and Will' (who had no special aptitude) to work in Peel; there were only a daughter Bessie and a grand-daughter Lillie to work the land with him. His wife Margaret Cubbon died in I89I.
Isaac's third son, John, was also to move into German, when after years in Malew and Arbory, he returned about 1860 to farm first Ballalis and later Ballacross. Left a childless widower of 71, he married a second wife, the young widow, Eleanora Cooil, in 1873, and had two children by her before his death in 1877. The boy John Joseph Benjamin, (GrXIII), was the father of Mabel Kissack, of Crewe College of Education, who can boast thus of a grandfather born in 1802 and a great-great-grandfather, Ewan the Miller, born no later than 1696.
The eldest son of William II and Margaret, himself a William, went to Onchan, whence his mother's family came, and worked as labourer at Baroose in Lonan (LoVIII). His gravestone stands at Lonan Old Church. Dying in 1922, he was spared the knowledge that Thomas Edward, the youngest of his 6 children would in 1933 shoot and kill a man and be found guilty of murder. As a youth, a fall over Clay Head cliffs, and the resulting exposure to hot summer sun for the better part of a day, left him permanently disturbed, mentally and psychologically. Today State care could have helped him, but left to his own resources as he then was, he could merely sink deeper in failure and trouble. The army, dishonourable discharge, prison, perversion and ultimately the Asylum brought him at 47 to the tragedy. His one happiness, it was said, was to hunt rabbits. So when he slipped his guard on a working party from the Mental Hospital, he took to the hills and stole a gun. Startled, discovered and cornered up the staircase in an isolated mountain cottage, he fatally shot his finder, and died in Broadmoor. It is an irony of family history that the publicity of his trial means that more has been written about him than almost any other of the people this book deals with.
After James' death in 1903, the Tops passed through mortgage to the Cannell family, and Christian, Bessie and Lily moved into Douglas, Christian, widowed of her sea-captain husband, kept a series of boarding houses, retiring in the early '30s to a cottage in Peel, where she died in 1952, aged 93. Bessie's efforts in the same direction were not so successful, and I have memories of her destined to pass the last 20 years of her life, moving from one rented bed-sitter to the next, dependent chiefly on the not-over-regular remittance from her brother Fred in the States. If I recall aright, she would pay some 4/6 a week for her room, which she would have to vacate at the approach of every Visitors' season, and find accommodation which could not be devoted to them. She had been a wonderfully beautiful girl in youth, and seemed possessed of some fatal atavistic sense of gentility, which made her utterly averse to manual work. Once she said 'I can't bear to see butter on the table in its paper'. She felt constantly sick, and once asked me what the word 'hypochondriac' meant. She carried from room to rented room a few nick-nacks of the Tops, including a brass candle stick that had been her grandmother's, into which she rested the point of her poker, as she crouched over the tiny bed-room grates, and a memento of Queen Victoria's golden jubilee, in the form of a model Manx cottage arm-chair, painted gold but made of Manx lead, with '1887' on the backrest. The first is now with a great-grand-niece in Tennessee, and the other purchased back from a Junk-shop after her death in 1943, is kept by me as a memorial of what spinster aunts and daughters had to endure in the pre-Welfare State era.
In Douglas also, mercifully, were Christian and her brother Charles. He had stuck to the Island and to his first avocation in a grocer's shop. He soon had his own in Murray's Road. He had four sons, Frederick the eldest was lost in World-War I, Alfred and Oliver became clerks with the Island's railways, while Ernest the eldest surviving followed him in the shop. (DrIX, DrXXIX & DrXXX). Two other brothers from the Tops went to Liverpool. William had a sweet shop, but did in 1899, having tended to separate himself from his family. Tom, the eldest, went as a journeyman baker with his first wife, Mary Cottier, daughter of 'Cottier-Cretney' the Peel Auctioneer. He acted as secretary to an early local bakers' union, but later entered the Corporation service as Inspector of Bakehouses. He would retire as Chief Inspector of Lodging Houses, filling one of his Manx nephews on a visit to Liverpool, with awestruck admiration at his power to smell opium-smoking just by passing by in the street. He died in 1937, and was buried in Liverpool, the only one of his male line, I belie ve, to have been buried off the Island.
Fred Kissack's homecoming journal of 1903 gives us a glimpse of him, when on November 12 that year, Fred lands at Liverpool from the liner Cedric :
".. . I pass into the Liverpool Customs House, walk up to the letter 'K', and am about to turn away to the same letter higher up, when my brother Tom puts his hand on my shoulder. He takes me to one side to answer the question I have asked him, and I learn for the first time I am too late to see Father . . I get through Customs very easy. I had to open my case, and they put the Government stamp on my trunk without me having to open it. I never got through in the same way before, but I attribute it to my Brother, who had on his tall hat and Government suit . . . At Castle St., we wait for the car for Salisbury Rd., where my brother lives. The Car is crowded. My brother loses sixpence which I give him to pay our fares. We find it just as we get out . . . At his home I meet his new wife for the first time, and have supper and a long talk, and go to bed after midnight"
The 19th century saw a progressive decline in the Kissack population of Lezayre. Whereas 113 baptisms in the family were recorded in the 18th century, there were only 42 in the 19th. A family whose births had peaked at 20 in the 6th decade of the earlier century fell to 2 in each of the three decades between 1860 and 1890. Only three of the 18th century families survive to the 1841 census - Isaac's widow and daughter, childless John and Ann of Kerrowmoar, and the line of John Vark (LzXXIX). Only this last persists into the '80s, reduced to a widow and an unmarried daughter living on 5 acres. The last male had been described as Gardener and Agricultural Labourer. Three other Kissack families had meanwhile established themselves. but they all originated in Jurby (JuXX, JuXII and JuXVII), For it is in that parish and in Maughold that we find the family now increasingly locating itself.
There was a moment in the Kissack Saga when it seemed as if the family might break out upwards, perhaps even to reach the importance that trading success had brought to the names of Christian, Moore and Quayle. For in the first decade of the 19th century a William Kissack in Ramsey was building up a business house able to circulate its own hard currency, so much so that it attracted the attention of forgers, and cautionary notices appeared in the press, whilst all over the north of the Island Mr. Kissack's store was the place to find anything you needed. But we look in vain for any personal portrait of the man, such as other Maughold and Lezayre members managed to leave of their colourful personalities. He gives the impression of being a retiring man, unostentatiously cloaking his shrewdness in civic decencies, forwarding the building of St. Paul s Church, counting his pew there as a privileged asset, serving as Churchwarden from the 1780s, and (apart from one mysterious incident involving the Fencibles) in every way fitting the only two words the press seemingly used as his obituary, "much respected", and receiving from society in general the accolade of 'Mr'.
In Maughold the family-lore goes :- 'Callow, Christian and Kerruish all the rest are mere refuse'. William married Margaret Christian in 1772 (MgXII). Over the next 21 years she bore him 16 children, and died in 1811. He himself died in 1813 within a year of his three-score and ten. Only nine of their children survived them - two daughters dying in the brief interval between the parents' deaths. There was a dispute over his will between his eldest daughter Isabella, and his eldest son William. So an inventory of his possessions had to be made. It totalled £9,943.9s.3d., a remarkable figure for those days, especially for a Kissack.
In the event there were legacies for 4 sons and 4 daughters. Of two of these sons, John and Ewan, no trace remains. But another, James was a doctor. But though the Merchant Kissacks were prolific, they were not long-livers. The doctor died at 36. It was William who inherited the business, which he at once began to expand and diversify. He had mills in Glen Auldyn and Andreas, a rope-walk at Milntown, as well as shares in a whole fleet of light craft. He was Consul for Sweden, and shipping agent for Scandinavian firms. It was to his office in Ramsey that Colin Watson and his teenage crew went on Saturday, June 24th, 1815, when their ship Elizabeth, was 'obliged to bring up in Ramsey Bay, an accident throwing off one of our paddles'. Here they drew 6 guineas on William in the name of their company, made repairs and continued the voyage that was to be historic, the Elizabeth being the first steam-driven vessel to enter the port of Liverpool. (As Watson`s log shows, the voyage from Glasgow to Liverpool lasted from June 2 to June 28, and most of the period, June 4-24, (during which the Battle of Waterloo happened to be fought) detained in Portpatrick 'by accident but principally the want of money'.) In 1814 William married Sophia Mary Hill, an Irish girl, and they had 8 children (RyXII), six of whom hardly lived to be 40, though John James lived to 77.
But William himself was to die at 55, and this ended the hopes of any commercial empire There was no son of mature enough age to succeed. Indeed the eldest died at 23, three years after his father. The second, Edward Hendry, began as a draper in Douglas, but died at 31, leaving a son and two daughters (DmXIII). It was the third, best known as James Kissack the Grocer, who inherited his father`s warehouses, and put his inheritance to best effect (DmXV). He showed the family acumen in establishing the Douglas House of Provision Merchants which was to carry his name for almost a century after his death in 1893, and over half a century after any member of the family was actively engaged in it. This was to be the climax of what William the Merchant had begun.
The son of Edward the draper entered the Church, and served the parishes of Andreas, Rushen, Ballaugh and Bride, before leaving the Island for Chillington, Kent, in 1890, where he was buried in 1902. Three of his sons by Jane Le Mare (RuI), also entered the Church, Edward becoming Archdeacon of Orkney, Wilfred Archdeacon of Demerara, and Bernard Vicar of Knaresboro'. Henry a fourth son remained on the Island and died in 1966 (NrIII).
The fourth son of William II was Henry Oscar. Like his brother Edward he married a Corlett, Catherine Stephen (DmXIV). Ten years later the family is living in Ramsey where he is an Accountant. There is no record of his death, but in 1861 Catherine is living at Ballamanagh Cottage, Lezayre, with three of the younger children, and is described as 'Annuitant', which suggests that she had been widowed. In 1871 she lives at Sulby Bridge with two adult sons (Robert and Oscar, both 'mariners') and Kate a schoolmistress daughter. In 1881 with an unmarried daughter Catherine, she is in the Grange, Lezayre. Edward's widow Eleanor, aged 55 and Sophia Elena, her daughter, are also living in the neighbourhood. She is described as 'owner of houses'. In 1881 they were living in 19 Oxford St., Douglas. One later glimpse of this family is the marriage certificate of Robert Kerruish of Ballastole and Catherine Ethel Kissack in 1923. Her father is described as John James Kissack, Gentleman. He would be the third son of Henry Oscar.
James the Grocer (DmXV), lived long enough for his wife Eliza Clague to bear him ten children. Among them were twins, born in 1854. The girl died, the boy Arnold later went abroad as a trader in Australia and the neighbouring Pacific Islands. His grave is in Cookstown, Queensland, where he died in the '90s. Two other children died in infancy. Five never married, including the eldest, John James, who succeeded his father in the business, which on his death in 1924 passed out of the family involvement. William, another bachelor, owned the Billown Quarries. His impeccable dress and aristocratic bearing earned him the epithet of "Lord Kissaige". Frank Hill was found drowned in 1919, also unmarried. The only grandchildren of James were, Freda, daughter of Alfred Douglas of Windsor (a photographer, who did much professional work for Eton College), and the 2 daughters and 2 sons of Edward Thomas (DmXX), who as one of his nieces put it, was a dentist in Manchester, and did exceedingly well. "He charged a guinea a visit when other dentists charged 7/6d." He returned to the Island and lived in Eyreton in Quarterbridge Rd. The charisma of old William the Merchant was clearly on him. He laid out his money well, and when he died in 1928, he was worth £20,000. He won this distinction for the family; as a director of the Isle of Man Railway, he had locomotive No. 13 named after him, and so Kissack is the only Manx surname to be borne by a Manx engine!
He was probably the wealthiest of the Kissacks, but his sons followed other careers, Percy (SaXIX) as a farmer in Santon, Harry (DmXXand DrXXXIII) as a professional soldier, who bore the sword of State before the Governor at Tynwald through the '30s.
Percy's only son Lawrence (SaXIX) was killed in the R.A.F. in 1941. Harry's issue was Paul, William and Ann (DrXXXIII). Paul is a doctor in Australia, and his 2 sons are the last of James' male line. William returned to the Island in 1982, on retirement from the Zimbabwe Police, and writes poetry in Manx.
But of what stock did William the Merchant come?
From time to time families encounter a plug of silence in their family traditions. No-one has ever heard who were the parents of someone only a few generations back. This seems to have been the case for six generations of the Merchant`s family.
There are a pair of graves in Maughold Churchyard of John and Isabel Kissack, who died 1775 and 1776 (MgV). John's age is given as 70 years. It is not hard to recognise these as William`s parents : two of the children of William and Margaret have been buried later, one in each grave. Since both Isabel and John died intestate, the Court's grant of administration mentions two sons, Ewan and William. Ewan declined administration; he spent periods away from the Island in Whitehaven, so William accepted it. There exists also a bill of sale from Ewan to William of his share in his parents' house in Maughold St., which not only identifies the relationship. but indicates that Ewan was married to Mary Magee, and was a tobacconist.
John had married Isabel Kerruish at Lezayre in 1726. Their home was in Kirk Maughold St., Ramsey, and they had a shop, as custom was, in their home. Isabel features in the case of the disputed will of an aunt, Ann Kerruish, in which the evidence contains a lot of women's chatter and gossip by which she shows her social environment and family to be of the commercial bourgeoisie of the Ramsey of the day. We do not know what sort of a shop it was. Was it tobacconist, as their elder son Ewan's trade was?) Or general goods, as William later favoured? Was it based on evasion of the British customs operation? In any case William grew up in commerce. He was their youngest child. His four eldest brothers all died in childhood.
It was round John's provenance that the mystery lay. His tombstone and the parish registers indicate that he would have been born in 1705. But there is just no record of any such John Kissack. A child of that name was born that year in Lezayre but died within the year. A John, son of Ewan of Kerrowmoar was born in 1708, but died in 1714. In Maughold, no John was born in the family between 1692 and 1726.
It was a sheer piece of serendipity that solved the mystery. Dredging through a microfilm of 18th century wills of Maughold, I suddenly noticed the name of John Kissack in the text of a will made by Ewan Christian in 1716 - and incidentally, witnessed by a Ewan Kissack. He left a sheep 'to my grandson, John Kissack'. There was something out of place here. His wife was Ann Gill, his executor seemingly his only child, a daughter, Ann Kermeen. How then could he have a Kissack grandson ? Then it dawned on me that I had stumbled on the answer to the question of the identity of the characters of that adultery and incest case for which a William Kissack had been so heavily sentenced in 1705. The woman had been Ann Christian. Here was a child, John Kissack, which smacked of illegitimacy. Ann Christian's mother was a Gill. I could identify a William Kissack whose wife was Mariod Gill. Ann Christian was indeed the "wife's sister's daughter" of the miller of Close-y-Killip (LzVI), the father of Ewan the Miller. (see note 2)
And the child that was the centre of the scandal? Though there was no baptism at Maughold of any John Kissack in 1705, there was a baptism on Jan. 6, 1704/5 of John the son of Will Kermeen, Ann's husband. When the scandal broke a few months later, Manx custom would have given the child his confessed father`s surname. I found too a shred of corroborative evidence. Some of William the Merchant's Card-money has survived. One piece of 1805 is signed 'William Kissack, Ballig, Merchant'. The name Ballig is puzzling. There seems no place of the name in Ramsey. Maughold indeed has a Ballig, but it as the other extremity of the parish, and there is no record of Kissacks residing there. But it was the home of Kermeens. Though William's father John, lived his adult life in Ramsey at his shop in Kirk Maughold Street, he had probably been brought up by his mother, Ann, with the Kermeens. He could conceivably have spoken of Ballig as the quarterland of his provenance, and his son might have adopted the gesture in his turn. So through two illegitimacies by father and son, William the Close-y-Killip miller was grandfather to both William the Merchant of Ramsey, and Isaac the labourer of Narradale.
There is surely sociological significance in the stark contrast of the lives of those two families that sprang from those two misdemeanours in the Close-y-Killip family. William's son John (MgV) was mothered by one of the family, accepted, recognised in the wills of both father and grandfather, brought up by Christians, married to a Kerruish, and set up in a shop in Ramsey.
Ewan's Isaac (LzXXVII) was mothered by a notorious woman, unrecognised by his father's family, and soon separated by death from both his natural parents. While he, an illiterate labourer up Narradale, watched sheep stray into Shimmin's crops, William kept his books and watched his investments.
In the next generation, Isaac's William and his brothers were turning their back on the shame and misery of Lezayre (GrVII and GrXIII, SaXI) while William the consul for Sweden was superintending his Ramsey Rope-walk on the Lezayre Road (RyXII).
In the next generation, Thomas leaves the Tops for Liverpool and local government service, and Fred to help build the Rockefeller mansion in Cleveland; while the Merchant's Edward Thomas (DmXX) becomes the fashionable dentist of Manchester, and Edward William (Run is Rector of Ballaugh. And so on, balancing Henry Oscar`s ships with the Buttermilk boat, and, most poignant of all, the wretched Thomas Edward of Isaac's line hunted on the mountains, with Col. Harry Kissack carrying the sword of State.
Then in the 7th generation from the Miller's sin, members of each family had holiday homes in the same glen on the Island, and without knowing anything of this history became good friends with mutual regard. The scion of Isaac's line had in 1929 managed to write the family name among the Alumni Cantabrigienses. He admired the life-style of an officer and a gentleman; they were taken by academic prowess. Ten years later Paul Kissack kept up the name at the same College, and in turn another of Isaac's line followed him there.
For the two great new factors in Manx life in the 19th century were the linking of the Island with the Mainland by reliable steamer service, and the development of popular education. For Education is the great social equaliser, and exposure to English culture a quickener of Manx potentialities. Families driven off the Island by economic stringency have often found in Britain, and even more America, advancement through education denied to the more comfortably placed Manx who stayed behind.
Note 2 - Correspondence received casts some doubt on Rex's conclusion - read more
The 18th century saw a significant growth in the presence of Kissack families in the parish of Maughold. W. & C. Radcliffe, historians of the parish, are of the opinion that though our family were not among the ancient quarterland holders, they settled there in the 17th century, probably from Lezayre, and made themselves much at home.
Maughold registers reach well back into the 17th century unlike those of Lezayre, and therefore can testify to a comparative absence of the name. The first occurrence of the name is the burial in 1680 of an Elizabeth, followed by the baptism of Christian, daughter of Hugh, 1683, and in 1685 by the marriage of Margaret to John Corkill, and the baptism of Michael, son of Ewan Kissag (MgI).
In the 1690s, John married Mariod Christian in 1692, and their children were baptised, John (1693), Edward (1697), William (1701) and Ewan (1705) (MgIII).
Other documents fill in some of the events of the `80s, particularly the story of Ewan Kissag, Milner, and Mary Costean. In October 1683, a vicar-general allows his feelings to get the better of him, and he scrawls his outrage on the charge sheet :
'Kissag hath soe far prevailed with some of the Clergy as to be joyned in matrimony (within this five weeks) to this said woman, who is now near the time of her deliverance. How consonant this with Christian discipline or the purity of that profession the revd. Court can best judge. In regard that the above Ewan hath been censured for a late incest which he hath not yet performed, and which the Sumner of Kirk Maughold is ordered to put into execution, and that when the same is done, he is to perform the Like censure once again for this repeated and aggravated offence to God and his church . . . and the woman to perform her penance in Ecclesia and two weeks in prison . :'
With what extra trouble for Ewan and the Clergy is not known, but the matter must have dragged on, for finally someone has written 'mortuus' by Ewan's name, and it looks as if he cheated if not the hangman, at least the Vicar General and St. Jaronyms. That the John and Michael of the baptisms were his children by Mary Costean is proven by his will (1686) in which he left his miller's tools to his son Edward, and the residue of his estate to his wife and his sons, John and Michael.
There is no further sign of Michael, but a generation later we have the wills of John and Edward. John died unmarried in 1711: he made his mother executor, and left his fishing boat to his uncle John Costean. His half-brother Edward was miller of Cornaa, who seemingly continued the family`s war with the Church, and was in 1707 presented for 'His frequent excess drinking to ebriety, and was very lately so drunk at Port-y-Vullen that he was desperately sick and weakly to a great measure ... And also for not coming to Church for 7 months by past, and despising all admonitions for his reformation.' No surprise then that the same year he was charged for milling on Sundays, or that in 1709 he was ordered 'to pay Mr. Allen (the vicar) a Tythe pig of the Mill Crofts for two years'. Kissacks of that age do indeed illustrate the image of the Miller of the Dee. They cared for nobody.
His will, dated 1716, mentions no wife. Yet Jurby registers mention the marriage of an Edward Kissag to Catherine Christian in 1682, and the death in 1696 of Catherine Christian, wife of Ewan Kissag. Should we have read Edward for Ewan? Nor does the will mention any children, but it raises intriguing vistas of family ramifications. His legatees include William Kissag, Sr., and William Jr., of Douglas, a sister Jane and her eldest daughter, a sister Averick, a David and a John Kissack. To Ewan Kerruish and his wife he left house and croft for the use of their daughter Margaret. Other legatees were Margaret Cannan and Joney Cannan, and there is mention of a debt of £5.0.0. to John Callow, Quaker, acknowledged. If we are to assume some family connection with Douglas, we can identify the family that had two Williams in it as (OnI). William Jr., must have died about the same time as Edward. He left legacies to his brothers, John, William and Paul. Edward's legacy to John Kissag was '1 /- legacy due to me from Widow Kissag of Kirk Andreas'.
Here then are pointers to a possible family linkage between Andreas, Maughold, Douglas and even Jurby. Edward would be the son of an earlier wife of Ewan (? the Elizabeth who died in 1680 ?), and his birth could probably be dated about 1660.
Was Widow Kissag the relict of James, who got herself presented in 1688 for not frequenting church? James had three children (Ann. In Andreas a Thomas had been buried in 1655, and an Alice married Pat Kewley in 1660.
Though there is equally no obvious link with any of the Maughold families of the l8th century, the fact that Ewan's will had been witnessed by two John Kissags at least suggests that one might have been the miller of Purt-y-Vullen presented in 1688 'for not receiving the sacrament'. It was certainly a trait that was running in the family. And of course it was at Purt-y-Vullen that the miller of Cornaa disgraced himself in 1707. If it were not for their un-puritanical lapses, we might ask if the family in Maughold were associated with the Quakers of Maughold, whose sufferings for conscience in the l7th century is a dark part of the Island`s history.
However the descendants of the John who married Mariod Christian in 1692 (MgIII) were to spread in the parish and beyond. John was a miller and had a house in Ramsey. We need more than parish records to reconstruct their story. The sons John and Edward of the registers (MgIII) never feature elsewhere; Robert and Mary never feature among baptisms. Was Edward a mistake for Robert in the baptisms? Robert's marriage settlement survives, and Mary features in John's will of 1731, but in it Ewan is the chief character, charged with seeing his brother and sister received their due. In 1731 also, Mariod contracts with Joney Skinner of Andreas for Ewan to marry her niece Ellinor Kneale. Perhaps as a result Ewan possessed land in the Nappin of Lezayre. 1731 also saw the death of Mariod, and Ellinor died in 1737 leaving three children, John, Ewan and Joney (LzXII).
From this point, and in contrast with Ewan of Kerrowmoar and Ewan the miller of Lezayre, this Ewan leaves little or no trace at all. A court case in 1741 shows that he had not honoured all the conditions of the 1731 contract, by which Ewan and Ellinor were to have housed and maintained Joney Skinner. But Ellinor`s death must have so disrupted the household that her nephew Robert Kneale had taken Joney in, and was suing Ewan for the cost of her upkeep. The case had some interesting side-lights. It confirms the conjecture that the Ewan Kissag who sired a family of six by Mary Cowley (though no marriage record can be found) was indeed the same Ewan (LzXVI). It hints at an illegitimacy involving Mary Cowley and Robert Kneale; and comments as the judgment of the Court that the sum charged by it to Ewan was 'a fair one considering the present scarcity', a sidelight on a year when, following two successive failed harvests in the Island, plague had followed famine, and 123 burials took place in Lezayre in a single year, against a yearly average of 24. After this Ewan lives unobtrusively, unpresented, with no will surviving, to be buried in 1774 as 'Ewan Kissag from St. Andrews'.
Mary Cowley's children are part of Lezayre's history. Philip was in court from time to time for being reluctant to part with his money in paying his debts, and in the end was killed by lightning. Barbara her youngest daughter had two 'lapses' in her sex life. Both Philip and Robert left issue, but they are lost to sight after the second generation (LzXXI and LzXXIII). Ellinor's children were left in the care of the Kneale family, and I would identify the Ewan with the Hugh Kissack, shoemaker, who died in 1819, aged 86 (RyIV), and conjecture the John Kissack who married Catherine Martin might be his brother (RyIII).
John and Mariod's other children lived out their lives (not always long) in Maughold. Robert was miller at Purt-y-Vullen. He had ten children by two wives, of whom 8 were sons (MgIV). Wm. and Constance Radcliffe in their history of Maughold tell us that it was his brother William that succeeded him at Purt-y-Vullen in 1749. He had married Margaret Callow (LzXIII). Their eldest son was Robert (1736-1813). When his first wife Mary Corkill died in 1807, he married Joney Callow (MgVIII). He made over to her his croft at Purt-y-Vullen, by then known as 'Big Rob the Miller's croft', with £10, or 5/- annually, 'not to marry anyone else'.
It will be remembered that William the Merchant's family derived from the Close-y-Killip side of the Lezayre branch. But there was also a Maughold line which came from the Kerrowmoar branch. There was Hugh Kissage who died in 1699, an uncle and guardian of Ewan the Old Sumner, who held land on the Nappin adjacent to Kerrowmoar. His family was all daughters (LzIV), one of whom married Philip Kissage in 1707. (It was this Alice who got the venomous side of Isabel Kissage's tongue). It is unclear where Philip fits into the family, but he must have come from the Close-y-Killip side. They had 8 children of which at least four died in childhood (LzVII). In 1737 they had a double wedding though not all on one day; weddings were too good occasions to spoil that way. Their daughter, Elizabeth married John Kermode, and Ewan Kissage his sister Isobel (MgVI). Philip died the next year, and a year later Alice remarried to Robert Callow of Maughold.
In the next generation one of Ewan and Isobel's sons, Ewan, married Catherine Kerruish (MgIX), and another, William, Margaret Kennish (MgXI). This settled the first in the Rhenab and the second in Ballagorey. The Rhenab line can be followed in MgXVII, MgXX and MgXXI, MgXXIV and MgXXV: and the Ballagorey in MgXVIand MgXXII. Ewan of the Rhenab 1769-1853 combined weaving with farming, Ewan (1808-1885) shoemaking. On the Ballagorey side, William (1775-1842) and his wife Jane Joughin used their farmhouse as an inn.
By 1850 a new trade was entering Maughold life. One of the sons of William and Margaret Morrison (MgXX), T homas Henry, took to mining, and married Isabel Quarrie (MgXXVI). John (b 1843) son of Ewan and Ann Skillicorn, also was a miner, but one of his sons, Robert James (1890-1966) was farming Crow Green in the 1920s (NrIX), and another lived at Glen Mona and worked as a quarryman ( NrX).
Of the Ballagorey family, the eldest son of William and Jane (Joughin), William (b 1798) went to Ramsey as a Blacksmith (RyXV), another Thomas set up as a Hatter in Onchan ( LoIV), his only son emigrating. John (b 1802) who stayed with the land left a widow who remarried in 1869, and only a daughter for issue, Ann Jane, who married William Caley in 1882 (MgXXII).
Behind MgXXIV is the story of William dying at only 40 in 1881, having buried his firstborn son in 1875, and with a second son born in the same year. His daughters married - Helena to. Thomas Wardle of Bristol, Ann Jane to Caesar Clarke, and Catherine Christian to Albert Chrystal of the Land Agents, and his son Henry became a Warehouseman in Ramsey (MgXXV). By his first wife, Henry had three daughters, one who emigrated; by his second, two sons, Henry Jackson (b 1928) who is now Property Negotiator in Chrystal's and John Ramsey (b 1932), the current Town Surveyor of Ramsey.
These four families, all with Lezayre origins, form the main structure of the Maughold Kissack presence. Of the Merchant's family, after Isabel Kerruish and Margaret Christian, there was little local intermarriage in the line, and the family tended to move to Douglas, although one son of William II, Henry Oscar lived in Ramsey as an Accountant in 1851. The other three families, however, intermarried and stayed. They took their wives not only from Callows, Christians and Kerruishs, but also from the equally proud Kermodes, Kennishes, Corkills and Corteens. In relation to the land, they did not possess it in large acreages, but they combined other livelihoods with the care of it, inn keeping, weaving, shoemaking, tailoring and mining, not to exclude milling, though this ceased at the beginning of the l9th century.
These Maughold families then were thus released in a very large degree from the frustration of the agricultural labourer's life. Out of the 25 or so family units of the parish, in only two cases are the heads of the family labourers. This is not to say that individuals at various parts of their lives were not so employed. But it suggests that the Kissacks who moved from Lezayre into Maughold fared better than those who stayed. Had they stumbled on the secret of survival in Manx agriculture, not to be encumbered with too much land, but to diversify between trade and crops?
Though the Jurby parish registers show only one Kissack baptism in the 17th century, the family had been present there for many years. A 1643 land entry tells of a Close-y-Kissack, and the will of Mally Kissagg, dated 1686, mentions a son Philip Tear, another son, possibly James, an unmarried brother and an unmarried niece, and 3 daughters who are to be her executors, though only one Mary Tear, is on the Island. In 1692 a William Garrett enters a claim against the estate of Alice Kissag, for what was due to him by the death of her father. Alice was married to Michael Moore.
The one recorded baptism in the 17th century is that of Esable daughter of John and Esable. Weddings are those of William Kissag and Catherine Corrowne (1673), William and Mary Garret (1679), Edward Kissag and Catherine Christian (1682), Pat Kelly and Jaine Kissag (1683), Besides Mally, Eales Kissag was buried (in 1610), and Catherine Christian, wife to Ewan (sic) Kissag (in 1696). The occurrence of the Garret name suggests a special relationship between the families, and it is to the wedding of William Kissag and Esther Garret in 1751 that the Jurby sept trace their descent.
Not only did this couple marry that year, but so did William Garret and Ann Kissage, alias Kewish, and it is a safe hazard to see here a double marriage, the second couple being parents of the first pair. As such Esther's husband was the eldest son (b 1729) of a William who married Ann Kewish in Lezayre in 1727. Ann's will of 1767 refers to William as her only son, so that two other children, Elizabeth and Robert, baptised respectively in Andreas and Jurby, must be presumed to have died. The fact that the children were all baptised in different parishes argues that the father followed an itinerant trade, possibly of miller.
Above 200 names compose the tree that can be constructed across 230 years, out of their marriage. This fact makes one of the contrasts with the Maughold Kissacks. A second one is that there is no sign of any of them ever having owned much land, or been millers. Predominantly they were labourers. They left few wills, but a goodly number of graves Even though the four sons of Esther and William were all labourers, and both Stephen (JuV) and his wife Ann Quayle were buried as paupers, both she and her brother-in-law William ( JuVI) have tombstones in the parish churchyard. Their nephew, John, 1795-1869 ( JuXII) also a labourer, put up a stone to his 2 year old daughter.
Nicholas, 1793-1849 ( JuVI), a grandson of William and Esther, became a shoemaker. Two sons, William ( JuXXII) and John ( JuXXIV) followed him, though William had reverted to the farm by 1861, and Nicholas' widow also became a farm labourer. Thomas 1798-1883, ( JuXIX) progressed from agricultural labourer to butcher. The next generation saw Daniel, 1835-1906, ( JuXXIII) a joiner, and Thomas, 1825-1867 ( JuVIII) a tailor. At least two of those who stayed with the land described themselves as farmers in the 1861 census.
As the Lezayre family died out or moved away, Ewan's legitimate line to America, his illegitimate one to German, Jurby families moved in. One was that of William and Margaret (Wade) ( JuXX), who settled in upper Narradale, first as Steward of 150 acres of Par kin Larkin, and later in the Geary. After his death his widow and some of the children moved to Ramsey and kept a dairy. This family was preceded by a son of Stephen, John, 1796-1868, ( JuXII). He had 13 children by two wives. His widow married Thomas Criggall, and in 1881 was living in Glen Auldyn, with three of John's children, Edward a weaver, Robert and Isabella.
Another Jurby gravestone commemorates Robert ( JuXXVIII), 1830-1902, 'loved and respected by all, Jesus called and he bade his farewell' a far cry from the millers of Maughold and Lezayre a century before. A grandson of William and Esther, the 1851 census shows him as an agricultural labourer with his father in the Curragh. Ten years later, married to Margaret Caley, he is labouring on a farm in Lezayre. The 1871 census shows him farming 13 acres at Ballacrellin in Andreas, and the 1881 census shows him settled at Purt in Bride, where he remained till his death. He had 3 sons, but they do not seem to have left issue on the Island.
This is somehow in keeping with the anomaly that Bride, the northernmost parish on the Island, has never been a home for long to any Kissacks. The only occurrence of the name in the parish registers are in connection with the marriages of William Kissack and Margaret Martin in 1834 ( JuXVIII); of Eliza Kissack and Henry Corkish in 1839; and of James to Jane Skillicorn ( BiI) in 1844; in connection with the baptisms of the children of James and Jane, and of 3 children of the Rev. E. W. Kissack and Jane le Mare (Run: and in 1906 with the marriage of one of those sons, Henry to Tina Hutchinson ( NrIII): plus a solitary burial in 1845 of Ann Kissack, an infant, probably the daughter of James and Jane above. There is also the record of the baptism in 1799 of Catherine and Ann, daughters of Matthias Kinrade and Jane MacKissack, who had been married in Bride in 1776.
The censuses connect another family which settled in Michael about 1845 with an origin in Jurby. But who was this John who died in 1859 aged 40', born in Jurby? All the available clues - including the suspicious absence of family tradition - point to the illegitimate son of Leah, daughter of Stephen ( JuV), born in 1817. He is found at Shughlage as a farm-servant of 20 in 1841, married to Jane Kneale at Lezayre in 1845, and living on 'the mountain' near Ballaskyr in 1851 ( MiI). His eldest son John emigrated for a while to Cumberland, where he married and had a daughter Mary Jane. But being widowed he returned to the Island, married Henrietta Renton in 1889, and had 4 further children ( MiII), 'all born after she was 40. He worked at Ivey Cottage, Michael, as gardener following a period as a lead-miner, whilst he was caring for his mother and his sisters. (His mother died in 1891). His own son John was a builder in Kirk Michael, who married Ada Quayle ( WeX).
Other families, as one would expect, emigrated further afield. Leah's youngest brother William married Mary Lewin ( JuXI). Their son cousin, John in 1851. They emigrated to America, finally settling in Wisconsin. (It was a photograph of her grave, recording her birth in Michael, sent on random chance to the post-master in Peel, that led to the ultimate meeting of her great-grand-daughter with the descendants of John Kissack above).
One of the largest Jurby families, that of John and Catherine Craine, ( JuXXI) has its own saga of emigration. The grand-daughter of Elinor the eldest child relates: 'All grandma's brothers went to the States, except Danny. Johnny the eldest did exceptionally well in Illinois. The railway needed his land . . . He contributed largely to building the first Methodist Episcopal Church in Farmer City. William also went out. My grandmother said he was the one closest to their mother. She had one letter from him and after that nothing.'
Daniel, the one that remained behind, did not stay in Jurby. He married Mary Ann Oats ( AnXIV) and worked for the Post Office.
The census returns from 1841 onwards, and the standardised certification of birth and marriages which began about the same time, and became compulsory about 1880 provide much information about the condition of families, so that in subsequent generations families descending from a background completely agrarian and uneducated can be found in occupations such as Fisherman, Mariner (even Master Mariner), Coal-merchant, Wharehouse-man, Provender-dealer, Baker, Engineer, Foundry worker, Gas-worker, Advocate`s clerk, and (especially on the mainland) Policeman. Wesley Kissack, six generations from William and Esther, held important posts in social welfare institutions in England ( NcVII).
In the 5 censuses, 1841-1881, it is possible to locate 16 of the 33 family units that make up Jurby's contribution to the Gazeteer. A count of the children in those censuses gives 11, 19, 31, 18 and 15 respectively. The peak, in the decade '51-'61, corresponds to the graph of baptisms-per decade which I use as a density-quantum to measure the family presence in a parish. This also shows a peak for Jurby in the 1850s (18), as also in the 90s (14). But then after 13 in the 1870s, it falls to nil, for the first time since 1740s. As the tribe of William and Esther drew away from the soil, they also drew away from Jurby.
The house of Johnny Nick the Shoemaker, in Jurby, now demolished but for long years known as Kissack's Cottage, gained its fame as the place where W. C. Gill, the folklorist, discovered and recorded the Manx folk tune 'Ramsey Town'. Ramsey was always the town of those northern Kissack homelands.
The last of the five parishes that make up the area in which the family originated lies immediately north of Ramsey. Andreas never had a Kissack presence as deep-seated as Jurby, Lezayre or Maughold, but always rather larger than Bride, though like Bride, families do not seem to settle there for long, and their use of it was as fluid as of Ramsey Town itself.
We have seen how Andreas Kissacks may have had connections with families in Ramsey, Maughold and Douglas. Parish and Land Registers reveal a 17th century presence with possible connections with Lezayre and other parishes. `Pat Quay and Ann Kissage and her sister are charged 6d rent for a parcel called Croit-y-Kissack, compounded for in 1643 by Thomas Kissage . . to pay 4d . . . The other 2d is compounded for a late enclosure of 1666 by John Kissage'.
Could this Ann be the daughter of James (AnI)? Could this Thomas be the one buried in 1655? And/or the father of James? Even the father of John? And grandfather of James?
We can however recognise the situation when we read :- '1706. Robert Kissage . . . rent 4d, compounded by Peter Clucas' and
'Joney Clucas, John Kissage for Ballamigg . . . Robert Kissage is entered as right heir'. It can be read in all its pathos (
AnII). In 1704 Robert
the Miller married at Andreas Bessie Christian of a good Bride family (
AnIIa), and had a son John in 1705. His parents, John and Joney, both died in 1705, as did baby John. In December 1706 Robert himself died within a few days of the birth of a daughter Elizabeth. So Bessie in one cold January week saw both her husband buried and her child baptised.
But the genealogical interest is that it was Lezayre that was the centre of the events of Bessie's tragedy, and two of Robert's sisters, Catherine and Esther may have there made marriages with other Kissacks, Esther to a Ewan of Close-y-Killip, (not the miller), and Catherine as a second marriage in 1715 to John 'in the Curragh', (whose shoes, it may be recalled, she was willed in 1733). This John had a brother Hugh in Marown, who died in 1719 leaving two children ( MrII).
Equally transient was the association with Andreas of the family of Robert and Alice (AnIAnIII), who pass into Lezayre. There is no mention at all of our name in Andreas between 1730 and 1773, and then come the references to the MacKissacks ( AnIV, AnV, AnX, AnXI). This mysterious and highly mobile family will be treated later.
But in this case, one MacKissack family ( AnV) did persist, as did a family of schoolmaster and shoemaker ( AnVI). Though the Parish Clerk of the day dubbed the Mac a little too lavishly (even splashing an occasional spot of it on both the schoolmaster's family and on that of John and Margaret (Quayle) ( AnIX), which also persisted a further generation (AnXIII), usage speedily dispensed with the prefix. The family of John and Jane (Mylcharaine) ( AnXI) emigrated to America, and that of Thomas and Margaret (Cormode) moved to Douglas. A Directory of 1894 gives no Kissack households in the parish.
Ramsey listed 8 such households in that volume but on the whole they came chiefly from Maughold, of which parish Ramsey geographically forms part. Here for instance in the 18th century we can trace Hugh the shoemaker, 1733-1818 ( RyIV), and maybe his brother John ( RyIII) Hugh's wife was Margaret Cammace. One of their 8 children was Hugh the schoolmaster, 1772-1867, who married Alice Sayle ( AnVI). This family can be traced to today, through a younger son, John, who with his sister went to Liverpool, marrying a brother and sister named Whiteside, and being, like them, shoemakers. John`s son Robert became a shipwright and ship's carpenter, but returned to the Island to farm at Leodest, and marry Emily Crellin in 1891 ( NcIII). Meanwhile his unmarried uncle Robert and aunt Catherine lived on in Close-y-Sayle, Andreas.
The marriage registers of Maughold in the second decade of the 19th century pose a genealogical crux through a super abundance of John Kissacks. One married Catherine Quayle in 1809 ( MgXVIII), another Mary Curphey in 1813 ( RyXI), and a third Ann Kerruish in 1815 ( RyXIII). The Baptismal registers offer as candidates the sons of Hugh the Shoemaker ( RyIV), 1773, of Ewan and Catherine Kerruish ( MgIX), 1774 and of William and Margaret Kinnish ( MgXI), 1783. The husband of Ann Kerruish died in 1827, leaving a fair amount of property in Ramsey and Bride. The situation would not be inconsistent with having either Margaret Cammace or Catherine Kerruish for his mother, but the scale of probability is tipped through the Kerruish connection.
John the son of Margaret Kinnish is found in the 1841 census living in Church St., Ramsey, married to Mary Curphey. His eldest son, John ( RyXVII), was also a blacksmith, and in 1871 was Clerk to the Commissioners. His second wife kept a shop. They had a son, Henry, born in Liverpool about 1847, who at the age of 14 is a Pupil Teacher. Ten years later he was a Watch-maker. The daughter, Anne, was a dressmaker. Next door in Church St., lived the younger sister of John the Clerk, who had married Thomas Radcliffe in 1855.
Another blacksmith of the time was William, a son of Robert MacKissack ( AnV). William married Jane Kerruish ( RyXV). His son Thomas (born 1830) married Jane Spranger. William was still alive in 1881.
Charles Kissack, born in 1786 to Ewan Kissack and Mary Stole was a mason. He married twice, first to Jane Kermeen of a prominent Maughold family, in 1808, but the 1861 census shows he had a new wife of 30 ( RyX). His younger son William was a sailor in 1841, but by 1861 he had settled as a tailor in Washington Terrace, Ramsey.
Charles` second son (also Charles) married Sussanah Young in 1831. They had two children, Jane Catherine (1832) and Charles Young Kissack (1834) ( RyXVI). Mrs. Mona Lillian Kissack Maclean, of Paisley, Ontario, has lifted the curtain for us on the story of Charles Young Kissack :
'My great grandfather, Charles Young Kissack came to Canada in 1852, and purchased a concession in Bruce Township, Bruce County, for £I00. He named his farm Ballamona, and built a shanty on the east side of the creek that runs through it. He returned to the Island for his wife Elizabeth Camilla (Kermode). They sailed from Douglas Bay. Upon arrival in Canada, they took train to the end of the rail-line at Fergus. It was February They set off walking by a primitive road through the woods for Paisley, driving a cow. Elizabeth rode the cow. She was wearing hoop-skirts, which became frozen and caked with snow. Charles took her into the hotel where they thawed out her clothes before proceeding the final three miles to the farm.
That Spring they planted the first crops. Until harvest they lived mainly on cow-cabbage and edible wild-plant. Charles and Elizabeth had 10 children, 2 boys and 8 girls. In 1875 they began the construction o f the house that still stands on the farm. When it was framed a windstorm blew it down. While they were putting on the roof Charles Young fell from it and broke his hips and was unable to farm again actively, so my grandfather, Charles William, took over the farm work when he was 12 years old. Charles Young Kissack and Elizabeth died in 1923.
'Charles William, my grandfather, spent most of his life on the farm. With his son Jack (Cecil John) he had an electrical plant at Tweed, Ontario. His children were a daughter Rebecca, and two sons Charles Wesley (1906-1984) and Cecil John. Charles Wesley was my father. His other child, Charles, died in infancy. Cecil john (1910-1954) had a son Larry, but we have lost track of him. Since Charles Young's second son John had 3 daughters (Mona, Elizabeth and Frances) but no sons, Larry will be the only one to bear the name on' ( Tra10).-
If there is romance and drama in that tale, there are occasional scenarios of romance even in the Census returns. For instance in 1841 Christian Kissack is a maid in a house in Dale St., Ramsey. In 1851 a widow Ann Kissack lives with her daughter Christian at No. 18. Ten years later Christian is the wife of Thomas Mulcaster Fletcher, M.R.C.S.E., whom she had married in 1857, and still lives in Dale St. She was the daughter of John Kissack and Ann Kerruish ( RyXIII).
The censuses occasionally reveal the existence of families that do not appear on the parish records. One such ( RyXVIII) consists of William and Jane, farming in Maughold with 4 daughters, at the Howe, in 1851. Presumably their stay on the Island was brief. For some reason in 1841 the family of John and Alice, with children William and Alice, appears both in Ramsey and in Montpelier, Michael. He can be identified as the son of John Vark ( LzXXIX). Another mystery in the 1841 census surrounds the James and Robert Kissacks, aged 35 and 15, drapers, living on the east side of Church St., Ramsey. No single family accounts for them; the records can only (most improbably) suggest LzXXVII for James and MgXIX for Robert.
A family that appears prominently in the parish records for Ramsey is that of a Robert, who married Ann Jane Callow in 1866 ( RyXIX). Before she died in 1881 she bore him 7 children. They lived in 36 Church St. Then in 1886 a widower of the same name married Isabella Kerruish. They had 5 children, and family addresses are Ivey Castle, Promenade and Brookfield Rd. The certification of these family events describe Robert as Baker, Mariner, Railway-crossing Keeper and Master Mariner, this last for the second marriage. Can they all be one man? It is equally difficult to determine his father who is documented as a labourer, named John. Was it James Robert, son of John and Jane (Cleator) ( JuXII), or the posthumous son of John and Margaret (Quayle) ( AnIX) ? Clues from America suggest the latter ( Tra2).
We have noticed a decline in the Kissack presence in Jurby and Andreas, but most of all in Lezayre, over the 19th century. What of Ramsey Town? The census shows a decline in the number of household units - 9 in '41 and '51, 6 in '61, 2 in '71, 6 in '81, but 8 in the 1894 Directory. This last source shows none at all in Lezayre or Andreas, 2 in Jurby and Maughold and one in Bride, indications of a drift off the land and into the towns.
If we look at the occupation of the Kissacks in the period, we find Blacksmith, Mason, Shoemaker, Draper, Tailor, Baker, Sailor, House Carpenter, Accountant, Teacher, Dressmaker, Dairy keeper, as well as Labourers and Domestic Servants, notably the figure of Judith Kissage, female labourer, born 1781, never married and active at 75.
Having now concluded a survey of the family in the 5 northern parishes, we should look at some statistics of the relation of the Kissack population to the Island in general.
The Mormon Microfilms give the total of baptisms recorded as 189,113 of which 1,094 are Kissacks, a proportion of 1 : 172 of the total population. The four areas however vary considerably; for the North it is 1 : 81, for the West, 1 : 420, for the South, 1 : 317, and in the East 1 : 608.
The years of course have brought changes in respect both of family residence and of ratio to the general population. In 1727 the North represented 27% of the Island population, and 50% of our family population. In 1981 it held only 15% of the general population and 31% of the Kissacks, while Douglas area had 52% of the general and 48% of the Kissack population. The West and the South have always had low percentages of the family presence :- the West 3% of the 18th, 13% of the 19th, and 14% of the 20th century figures; the South, 14%, 11% and 5% respectively.
The decline in the family numbers can be seen in that whereas the 18th century registered 437 family baptisms, and the 19th 623, the Civil Registers 1880-1980 only score 399. I have drawn up a table of baptisms decade by decade and parish by parish. By setting the relevant decade totals against the population figures at census points for the Northern area, it is possible to see that between 1726 and 1784 family births rose more steeply than did the general population, kept at a steady level until 1792 after which it declined below it. The table itself shows that the peak of Kissack births was in the 1850s, when 102 baptisms were registered, the next two decades showing 97 and 71. The Registry Office figures for the decade 1880-90, and succeeding decades up to 1970 are :- 90, 75, 52, 42, 32, 29, 25, 11 and 19.
We shall next consider the family in the West and the South, and finally in the East.
The picture that emerges from the Registers of the western parishes of Ballaugh, Michael and German shows that before William (LzXXVII) brought his wife Jane Kaighin and their baby son from Lezayre into Cronk-y-Voddey about 1820, the family name was very rare. The Ballaugh and Michael registers are probably the best kept of the Island, and it is eloquent testimony of the absence of the family to find 76 burials of Kaighins recorded in Michael alone between 1600 and 1745, and only 5 Kissacks up to 1881 in that parish and only 12 in German.
The Ballaugh pattern has its own significance, between 1600 and 1881 there are 14 burials recorded, all but one (1875) in the 17th century, and 10 of these between 1600 and 1610. There must have been a substantial family presence in the pre-registration age, a phenomenon that will be considered later. But the registers indicate no sign of any settled family of the name after 1617, if we except the transitory presence of William (JuXXII) and Jane Kneen between their wedding there in 1847 and their removal to Ramsey where the 1851 Census locates them.
The Michael presence begins when Leah's son John (JuXIV) brought his Lezayre bride, Jane Kneale into the parish about 1845. The family have remained there, his great-granddaughter now married to Tom Cashin the Schoolmaster (WeX). More transient were the brief residences of the family of the eldest son of William and Jane, William II and Margaret Kermeen (GrIX), in the '40s, and of two sons of the Ballakissack family of Santon in Ballafageen in the '80s (MiIII) and (WeIII).
As we have seen it was German that was to be the home of William and James' progeny at the Tops for some eighty years.
And it is in old St. Peter's in Peel that we find the oldest and probably the most pathetic of monumental inscriptions to bear our name. It is a fragment of slate, only some 2' by 9", artlessly carved, with clear indications that the stone had split off after only a single line had been laboriously cut. The carver had faced his frustration by placing his second line above the first, and his third above that. It is now fixed to the eastern gable of the roofless church, just above where the altar stood, and it reads : "1663 Rest her soul / body of Elin Kisic. I pray God / Hereunder lyeth the".
No professional handiwork here. Whoever carved it loved her, and knew his letters in mid-17th century, no common achievement. The parish records give us no clue at all, neither baptismal, matrimonial or burial. There is no evidence of any Kisig living in Peel in those years, except allusions to William Kissig, a pirate who made it his home port round about 1648, a courtesy seemingly not appreciated by the inhabitants. Could she in some way have been related to him?
It is in German too that we come once again on the tracks of that Lezayre family, left by John Kissack the Miller, when he died in 1785, He had been the eldest son of Mary Corkish, the second wife of Ewan the Miller. The last glimpse of the family (LzXX) had been of Margaret Crow his widow left with 8 children. Now it is a document resulting from the loss at sea of Hugh (or Ewan) their second son that reveals their subsequent story. He had been Captain of the African vessel, Penny, of Liverpool, when she parted company from her little convoy about 1800, never to be heard of again. So a Court needed to decree how his estate should be disposed of, and consequently listed all the survivors of the family. His two younger brothers, Thomas and Edward, were then off the Island, but his brother John, his mother Margaret, and his sisters were in court. One, Margaret, had married John Corkill (or Corkan), Catherine was then wife of Robert Cain, and Ann of Adam Cain. William is not mentioned, but would surely have been the 'young man from Kirk Michael' of that name, buried in Lezayre in 1796.
This however is not the last to be heard of them. In October 1814 brother Edward died in Peel, where he had property described as 'considerable'. It was at any rate considerable enough to unite the brothers John and Thomas, and Adam Cain and John Corkill, to contest the claim of Isabel Cain, his niece, that Edward had dictated a will leaving all he had 'to the last halfpenny', to her. It was all complicated by the death of Margaret their mother in 1814, leaving her estate (and not a few debts) to Edward. The documentation shows what a feast the lawyers were able to make of it, before in the end the nuncupatory will in Isabel's favour prevailed over the claim that in reality he should be considered as having died intestate, like his brother Hugh. Of interest too, is the note the Vicar-General penned to the scribe who had written the record of the proceedings, ordering him to change to "Deceased" and "Death" throughout his own words of "Deceded" and "Deceasment"!
But there are several German families that elude even conjecture in identification, certainly GrVI, GrII and GrXII. The marriage connections with the Cain family would lend credence to the identification of the above John as the husband of GrIV, and the possibility that he may have married Margaret Mylrea in 1801, after being widowed in 1800. Conjecture too must arise over the mystery of where this family got its wealth, and whether other brothers besides Hugh were sea-farers. Were they all in the Africa trade? The most famous of contemporary slaver captains out of Liverpool in those years was a Hugh Crow (1765-1829) of Lezayre. His gravestone memorialises his parents Edmund Crow and Judith Tear, his sister Judith, her husband and son, two brothers, William and John (who died abroad seemingly slaving), and adds 'also John Crow Snr. who lies interred in this (Maughold) Church Yard'. This sounds as if he were Edmund's father. A son Edmund was baptised to John Crow in 1733, and a daughter Margaret in 1734. She may well have been the widow of John Kissack the miller and mother of these boys, so making them cousins of Hugh Crow. It must however be admitted that the inscription implies that Edmund had been born in 1730. There is a strange legend in the family that there had been a 'black woman' in it. I had come to assume that it referred to Ann Garrett and her morals, but who knows?
However the bulk of the German Kissacks sprang from the immigrants from Lezayre (GrVII). And for these Cronk-y-Voddy Kissacks, Peel was their local town, 7 miles distant, yet visible from the top of their fields. Here the girls would serve their time in a domestic service which would also be a course in domestic science, to lift up the l9th century cottage home above the squalor of the 18th. But only one of their sons, James, settled there after his marriage in 1887 (GrXV). The family would sometimes call themselves the Smerwick Kissacks, for Cowley Terrace, where they lived, had been built from the proceeds of a profitable fishing season out of that port. For his health's sake James had exchanged the mill for the sea. He had always got the head-high independence of the earlier Kissack millers, without however their vices. Once in his youth he made too merry at St. John's and spent the night in a ditch on the Staarvey Road. That delivered him. He died in 1929 in circumstances that provided me with the only personal evidence I have of Manx second-sight.
I was a schoolboy spending my Easter holidays in Douglas with his sister Christian. He had had a stroke some two and a half weeks earlier, but seemed well set for recovery. Aunt Christian had an occult friend who exercised her art through tea-leaves, and at a tea-taking one winter afternoon previously, she told Christian that she saw in her cup Sickness in the West, and No Recovery. But of who and when she would only say : 'I see a bunch of Easter Lilies'. Acquainted of this, I went to Cowley Terrace, oblivious of such old wife's tales, on Easter Saturday, till on entering the house I saw lying on the hall-way table a bunch of daffodils (which the Manx call Easter Lilies.). Next morning in Douglas, against all expectation a telegram reached us to say he was dead.
Three of the Smerwick Kissacks followed their uncle Fred to America - both the sons, Jimmie and Charlie, and the youngest daughter, Maggie. She never married but her name earned fame in Cleveland for her nursing skill and personality. Jimmie went first to Canada in 1908, and later to Cleveland. Like his uncle he was a carpenter. He married, but had no issue. In 1981, aged 93, he returned to the Island, remarried, and now at 97 he has attained the record for longevity of all our Clan. Only Charles left issue, 2 sons and a daughter.
At Cowley Terrace I would be told : there are other Kissacks 'down the street'. I assume they would be WeVIII, but we had no contact.
It is at Peel that German meets Patrick, and Patrick is the parish that links West and South. Into it a Kissack population arrived in the 19th century with almost explosive force. Before this they had only the flimsiest of presences. Parish registers begin late, but an early entry is the burial of Alice Kissag in 1725. A legal case in 1745 alludes to a receipt for the rent of the Nass from Widow Joney Kissag. In 1780 John Kissack marries a widow, Ann Gorham, and in 1795 another John marries Catherine Quirk. The entry in 1760 of the birth of Robert MacKissack heralds the advent of this mysterious family, and their story here will be dealt with later.
There were to be 43 Kissacks born in Patrick between 1820 and 1880, nearly all to have Richard Kissack the Tailor for sire or grandsire. All four of his sons by Catherine Leece settled in Patrick. Richard, we find in ArIII, John's family in PaII, Thomas' in PaIV and James' PaV. All were miners except James. He was an Agricultural Labourer. In the 1841 census, he features as 'James, 15, disabled', which suggests that an accident had left him unable to follow his brothers into the more demanding and more rewarding work in the lead mines.
Like his parents James resided at Ballakerka. Though he is a farm labourer in the censuses, on his own marriage, certificate, 1849, he appears as Mariner as also on his daughter Elizabeth's certificate at her marriage to Robert Clarke in 1877, eight years after James' death at the age of 47 in 1869. Had he been to sea before his marriage? And did he meet disability there?
One of the great grand-daughters of Elizabeth and Robert Clarke, Amelia Edna Harbottle, has supplied details of some of the family's subsequent history. Their son Joshua Stephen married Alice May Cashin in 1902, and Elizabeth emigrated with them to Boisevaine, Manitoba, where she was buried in 1936, aged 83. Family legend tells how when Elizabeth's youngest brother Stephen as a child fell out of a swing and broke his leg, Jane their mother got out horse and cart, and took him to a blacksmith who set his leg perfectly. And on a psychic note, when her eldest brother John was lost at sea in the West Indies, she knew by a dream 'all lost at sea', before ever the news arrived. Of the rest of the family. Ellinor married John Creer and they too have left issue in the United States, and a chance encounter with an Australian John Kissick, has led me to think Stephen may have emigrated there. After James' death, his wife Jane, with their youngest daughter Jane, farmed a small croft in Glen Rushen near the Beckwith Mine.
As for the other, the mining brothers the Patrick labour force of miners was detailed in the 1851 census. There were three grades - Miner, Miners Labourer, and Ore-washers. There were 87 in the first, and 37 in the second. Two of the miners would be Kissacks; in 1861 there would be seven, in 71 two, in '83 three. The family of John (PaII) seen through the censuses, shows himself as lead-miner in '41 and '61; his son Thomas in '61, sons Richard and William in '71, and Richard in '81, with a nephew, Thomas, 21, also miners. But by '71 John had left the mine and was farming 10 acres. Ten years later his widow Catherine Callin and a son William had doubled the holding.
Thomas, John's brother, husband of Catherine Quirk (PaIV) was an agricultural labourer in '41, a miner in '51 and '61, but in '71 and '81 he was also farming a small croft, a widower living with a daughter Ellen and her husband, Wm. Lees, or Lace, himself a lead-miner in the Rushen Glen area. Age and relative affluence tended to plan the cursus honorum: - Ag-lab, Labourer in Mines, Miner, Crofter.
In the '71 census, the family had given its name to a couple of cottages near the Primitive Methodist Chapel at Patrick, where Thomas and Mary (Nowell) were living (PaVI). (If the 1856 Braddan marriage certificate of Thomas and Mary did not say Thomas was the son of Richard, miner of Foxdale, I should have thought he too was a son of John and Catherine, born 1839 (PaII). There is no baptismal record of any son Thomas born to Richard (PaIII), and in 1881 two nephews in the household of a son of Richard and Catherine, Richard married to Mary (Mylchreest) (PaXI) - Thomas, aged 21 and John aged 9 - would correspond to members of Thomas and Mary (Nowell)'s family but do not fit in with any part of Richard's tree.)
There were only four of Richard's great-grandsons who worked the mines. The decade count of Patrick family births is also measure of the decline of the Manx mining industry. Against the 43 births of the 6 decades, 1820-1880, the next 6 decades yield only a total of 25, in figures that trail from 9 in 1880/90 to one in 1930/40.
Nevertheless the Patrick family goes on today. The Ralph Kissacks of Ballacannell, Lonan, can go back via DrLVIII, WeIX, PaXI, PaIIand ArIII to Richard. And John Frederick, Secretary to the Local Government Board, can trace his line upwards via his grandfather, John Thomas, who for years worked by day in a London foundry, and at evenings and weekends in a slum Mission. His route is :- DrXL, WeVII, PaIX, PaIV, ArIII.
The Patrick patriarch would be the Richard, buried in 1850 aged 69, and I am sure, the Richard who enlisted in the 3rd Corp of Manx Fencibles on October 26, 1807, the son of John Kissack and Ann Corham, a widow nee Cubbon, born 1783 (PaIX). All his children, from Richard (1806) to Elizabeth (1824), were baptised in Arbory, (except Catherine (1809), in St. George's, Douglas). The mother of his first five children (ArIII) is entered as Catherine Leece, the last three as Elizabeth. But his widow's burial of 1863 reads 'Catherine Kissack of Castletown, 83 years'. Aged 81, she was living, at the '61 Census, in Clogher in Malew, with a daughter Elizabeth, 36, married to Samuel Keggin. Both she and her daughter have German recorded as their birth-place.
There is no record of the baptism of another Richard, who married Eleanor Clarke at Arbory in 1788 (ArII), and apart from these two families all of whose entries fall between 1791 and 1824, only one other baptism is recorded for Arbory, that of William, son of William Kissig and Catherine Bridson in 1750 (ArI). He might be a brother of Eleanor Clarke's husband, or even the bridegroom of Margaret Quilliam in 1799. Of other Arbory marriages registered without sign of offspring, certainly the John who married Anne Watterson in 1833 was Isaac's second son in flight from Lezayre. He came to the borders of Rushen and Arbory to labour and farm at Ballagilbert and Kerrowmoar. He married into a landowning family, and even came to share ownership of a few acres on the fringes of South Barrule with the family. He returned north to German in the 1850s. Anne bore him no children, but Leonora, the second wife who he married when over 70 gave him a son and a daughter (GrXIII). But he is buried with Anne in Arbory.
With equal certainty, the Catherine who married William Hutchin in 1781 was a daughter of the Kerrowmoar family (LzX). Other fragments bearing our name can be found :- A John Kissack with a Robert Cannan was functioning in the unpopular office of Lessee of Tithes for the parish in 1778, and the Henry Kissack who features in Malew records is designated 'from Arbory'.
This Henry married first Elizabeth Green in Malew in 1725 (MaVI). Her tombstone in Malew is one of the few Kissack inscriptions recorded by Feltham in his record of Manx grave-yards in 1799:- 'Elizabeth Kissack, alias Green, buried 15 November 1742, aged 43'. The next year he married Joney, the widow of William Bell, at Malew, and in 1745 he was being sued by Richard Bell, William's executor, for £5.18s.1d. Joney died in 1751, and Henry in 1774, aged 87. The sum here involved, and the fact that he was a juror in Castletown in 1728, suggests he was a bourgeois of some substance. It is not however easy to follow his family forward.
Adjacent to and west of Arbory, Rushen makes the extreme southerly tip of the Island, and has an even fainter Kissack presence than Arbory. Its total baptismal record is of three of the children of its vicar, E. W. Kissack (RuI). This is the more remarkable since it is in Edremony, one of its quarterlands that the family name is found in the earliest land registers of 1510. But it had disappeared by 1631 before the parochial records open A like phenomenon marks Ballaugh, and seems of a piece with what happens later in Lezayre, Jurby and Patrick. Not perhaps to be described as a Clogs to Clogs syndrome, but an indication of a rhythm in the fluctuations of a family never blessed with wide land h oldings. The Manx saying is that a name stays only four generations on a farm. Either the line dies out altogether, or the heiress takes a husband in whose name it is then entered.
We have however been given one vivid picture of the Rev. E. W. Kissack in Rushen from the pen of William Cubbon himself, in his letter to Jimmie Kissack. In his boyhood, he writes :
'Parson Kissack came to our School always on a Monday morning. His chin nad a dimple, and in slzaving he of ten bled it, and that always caught my eye. He gave us a Bible lesson.
I can never forget that Parson for another reason. He came to my Father's house. And Father said : "Has Parson . Kissage ever been in our house before?" And Mother said "No". Then said Jem Cubbon : "I'll mark the event! " He went into the back-kitchen and brought out a hatchet, and with it made a V-mark on the wood rafter that carried the ceiling above. "There now", said Jem Cubbon, "I've been going to Church in the Sunday morning when I'm in port, and you've seen me there, and I go to Chapel in the evenings, and this is the first time you've been in this house! When we look up we will be reminded of that". And Parson Kissack enjoyed the experience, I think. And somehow or other Jimmie, when I remember your face, with the twinkle in your eye, Pazon Kissack comes into my memory'.
Parson Kissack was in the 4th generation from William the Miller (in the Merchant's line), and Jimmie Kissack (of Smerwick and Cleveland) in the sixth of Isaac's line.
But if the family presence had faded in the South-west, eastward it is more marked, due perhaps to the fact of Castletown, situated near the borders of Arbory and Malew, very much as Ramsey lies between Maughold, Lezayre and Andreas. It was the ancient seat of government, evolved out of its natural facility to protect fleets from storm and foe. At the end of the 15th century the area had a high proportion of non-Manx, mainly Lancastrian surnames, not unnaturally under the Derby dynasty. Equally its Manx families were drawn from all over the Island, playing on a more restricted scale the role that Ramsey had in the 18th and 19th, and Douglas in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1656 a John Kissack sells a croft in Lezayre, though he himself is of Castletown, and the will of Isabel Kissack in 1725 shows she had a sister Elizabeth in Castletown, married in 1691 to an Edward Killey.
Malew shares with Braddan the possession of the earliest baptismal records of our name, from the 6th decade of the 17th century, those of George, Sarah and Alice, children of the above John. Extraneous records (Manx Note Books (1886) vol. i) reveal the baptisms of a son Hugh in October 1651 to John the Fiddler, and an unnamed child in 1665, and if these refer to the same family, it points to a Lezayre origin, which the name Hugh might substantiate.
It seems best to associate the parishes of Arbory, Santon and Marown with Malew, since the relatively thin presence in the area of the family tends to move between them. Even so some of the family groups completely elude identification, even the David of MaV. Despite the rarity of the name, no David can ever be convincingly placed. And here we are faced with a plethora of Father Johns. Until about 1730, and even after not invariably, Manx parish registers tend to disregard maternal names. Malew seems particularly irritating in this respect. (Santon is much more obliging, and its clergy delighted in such titillating glosses as 'From the Sheet to the Ring', to pillory shot-gun occasions). We know the name of the wife of MaI, Alice Cowley, simply because his will shows her assenting to the disposal of his property, for a Manx wife had a l egal right to half her husbands goods. Such a share required to be noted, but not her share in his child.
There were Kissacks in Santon long before the parish records open, for in 1719 Jane Kermode, alias Kissack, complains against the slander that her husband, Philip Kermode, had been hanged in Ireland, and of course the Ballakissack family had been established before the end of the 16th century. But in the 1720s in the Santon-Malew area three families were headed by a John. One (MaIIIand MaIIIa) is well traced. Other records show that the wife in (SaII) was Ellinor Looney. The burial of a daughter Isabel in 1728 indicates an association with Faragher's Mill. But the mother's name is less apparent in (MaIV), The children are Hannah, 1722, Ellinor, 1725, Robert and Mary 1727. In November 1728, a John Kissack was 'found dead beneath the Great Mill near Castletown'. Then in 1734, a widow, Mary Kissack, married Arthur Bridson. When her eldest son was lost at sea in 1749; court records show that her three Kissack children were Hugh, Ellinor and Robert (all then 'off the Island'). This strongly suggests the (MaIV) family, and the probability that the dead miller was this John. There is still another tragedy in search of a John's identity. The Santon Burial register for 1729 reads : 'John Kissack who was found dead under the full sea mark at Grenick on June 6. Buried the day following'. But of him we have found no clue.
A second problem of Johns arises later in Malew. Who were the husbands of (a) Jane Corrin in 1772, (b) Elizabeth Gell in 1798 and (c) Ann Brew in 1809 - units MaVII, MaIX and MaX respectively? Before such situations genealogy becomes a kind of Computer Dating. In the absence of ancillary documents, probability rests on 'availability' factors who is the right age, who lives in the neighbourhood, 'co-evality' and 'propinquity'. A survey of all the Johns available in the indexes, born between 20 and 40 years before, with 23 in mind as the likely average age for marriage, and with regard to the same or adjacent parishes, suggests for (a) the son of John and Elizabeth Corrin, born 1750 (DmII); for (b) the son of John and Ann (Brew), born 1770, (MrV); and for (c) the son of Robert and Jane (Corrin), born 1777 (MaVIIa).
There are other families that bring links that themselves are intriguing. In the story of the Lezayre Kissacks we told the pathos of the family of Robert the Miller who was buried in January 1706, within days of his daughter's christening, and only months after the death of his infant son. Perhaps it will be recalled that he had four sisters, one of whom, Catherine then married to a Corlett, herself later widowed had in 1716 remarried with John Kissack who lived in the Lezayre Curraghs. His will (1733) indicates a link which can be traced for three generations in the south-east. Besides bequests to his wife and executor (including his shoes), he left 40/jointly to his sister Joney and the children of his brother Hugh, which was to be paid them after the death of his wife (which did not occur for another 20 years).
Hugh himself had died in 1719 in Marown, only six years after he had married Ann Bittel in Malew, leaving two small children, Thomas, born 1715 and Ellen, 1718 (MrII). He left 6d each to his father, his brother John and his sister Joney. Among his debts which came to £5.2.11 were items of 7 / 8 for Croft rent, and 12/10 for mill rent, which suggests strongly that he too was a miller. His friends did their best to help the poverty that faced his widow. They managed to set a debt of 6/- due from his sister against his 6d legacy, and 'an old razor in his brother's hand', and 'a leather belt in his father's hand', at a shilling each against their account. Since wives legally possessed half of the matrimonial estate, Ann was left with half the debt to pay. Little wonder then that in May 1722 she is petitioning the Court. Left with two small children, the elder being a cripple, ('the older he grows the more feeble he is') and 'she has nothing to subsist by but her daily labour'. She was awarded 5/-.
One would hardly then have expected young Thomas to have survived till 1733 to feature in his uncle's will, even less to inherit his few shillings after his aunt Catherine died in 1750. But he did, and sired Ewan, John and Ellinor by Ellinor Kneale, and Ann, Bessie and Thomas by Jane Cain, before dying in 1765 (MrIII). In 1766, the second wife brought a case against Hugh Kissack of Kirk German, John of Marown, and Ellinor of Malew, for them to pay their share in the maintenance of 'the orphan child of their father, Thomas Kissack'. Seemingly Ann and Bessie had not survived. They were ordered to contribute 9/- quarterly between them. But in 1770 Jane was asking them again for a year and a half's default - 7/8 due from John 5/2 from Hugh, and 9/- from Ellinor'. Possibly this little Thomas, the cause of the family dispute, was later to be the Thomas who served in the Fencibles.
There was a strange slander case in Malew under the date April 1742. Capt. Thomas Bridson was condemned for making allegations concerning the wife of Kissag, a servant of William Taggart. The Captain had spread the rumour that she was of child by Taggart, who had bought a horse and bag for Kissag and sent him begging to maintain the child. The Captain was forced to withdraw his slander. The occasion would hardly anticipate the impending birth of John in 1743, but more likely refer in retrospect to Ewan's in 1740. Is history to say No smoke without fire? At any rate, history as such has all too many faceless personalities, and too few vignettes of a pedlar with horse and bag, making his living in the lanes of the island; all in keeping with one who had been crippled from birth.
Another vignette of another Thomas in the same year comes from the case book too. This Thomas was 'a poor labourer from Douglas'. His wife complains that an Ann Callow had left her child with her, purporting to be paying a visit to Ramsey. But she had slipped off the Island altogether. Left holding the baby, indeed. The Callow family were obliged to accept their responsibilities. The transcript of the case uses the interesting word 'transmarian' to denote Manx citizens abroad. It is no doubt significant that these years were the occasion of famine and pestilence following the failed harvests. Thomas is to be identified with the bridegroom of Elizabeth Taylor (or Christian) at Braddan in 1737. It was also in 1742 that a stone in Malew simply records that in that one year five children of John and Jane Kissack all died under two years old. It seems a hard fact of life, in more senses than one. Records show no such couple marrying, baptising or burying any children in the Island in that decade, but it is true to the tragedy of those years.
owards the end of the 18th century we find the family of Ross MacKissack and Catherine Stowell in Malew (MaVIII). This then seems the place to speak of the MacKissacks. Is their name a mere linguistic anomaly, an antiquarian throw-back to an earlier form, a creation of eccentric clergy or parish clerks? Or is it a new sept altogether appearing about 1760? And what are we to make of its diffusion over the island? The metaphor of cuckoo suggests itself, for MacKissack eggs seem laid in far-scattered baptismal nests. But what are the facts?
There are 58 entries in all of the name, and they are spread over the 8 parishes of Andreas, Ballaugh, Braddan, Bride, Malew, Michael, Patrick and Santon, but chiefly in Andreas and Malew. There are records of six marriages under the name:
- Ross with Catherine Stowell at Malew in 1783;
- Quayle with Joney Christian at Andreas in 1793;
- William with Isabella Corlett at Michael in 1798;
- Thomas with Mary Kennaugh at Braddan in 1825;
- John with Margaret Sayle at Malew in 1861.
There are also five families whose marriages are not recorded, but baptisms of children to them are :
- Gilbert and Ann Quayle, beginning at Patrick in 1760;
- Robert and Ann Corlett, in Santon and Andreas, from 1796;
- John and Catherine, in 1850 at Patrick;
- Also, Jane, daughter of Ann, in 1816 at Andreas.
- Marriages of daughters of the family are recorded):
- Jane to Matthew Kinread, 1776, at Bride;
- Ann to William Kaneen, 1816, at Malew;
- Mary to William Sayle, 1838 at Malew, (Widow of Thomas);
- Christian to John Birrell, 1839, at Braddan;
- Mary Ann to John Cowin, 1846, at Malew.
Robert and Ann (AnV) had 9 children baptised between 1796 and 1817, the two eldest at Santon, the rest in Andreas. Quayle and Joney had 8 in Andreas (AnIV). In Malew Ross and Catherine (MaVIII) had 8 baptised (one in Douglas) between 1785 and 1805. In Malew also, John and Margaret (MaXIII) had 7 children between 1862 and 1870. William and Isabella, though married in Michael, had 4 children baptised in Douglas (DmIX). Thomas and Mary had 3 children (BaXV).
Yet there was never great consistency shown in the use of a name. Even Gilbert, who originated it, is referred to without the prefix in some parishes, and also in the of a Lezayre farm sale in 1770. It is also used in entries of families which have no calculable relationship with Gilbert - notably in 3 instances; 2 in Andreas, first in 1801 in respect of a daughter of Hugh the schoolmaster, the second in respect of children of John Kissack and Mary Quayle (AnIX). But the most inexplicable of all is in Ballaugh. The only baptismal entry of the whole family in the 18th century took place on January 19th 1762, in circumstances most unusually described. Because of the floods of the Sulby river, which cut them off from their own parish church of Lezayre, they baptised Philip, son of Michael MacKissack and Catherine Kewley. The matter is more curious, since the then rector of Ballaugh, Matthias Curghey, had himself been vicar of Lezayre since 1729 up to the previous February, and must have had intimate knowledge of Michael's family, and had never in all his registers there (which, admittedly, he had not kept over well) had he given the Mac to the family. There is a further ins tance in Patrick (in 1850); here the couple seem to be identifiable with John and Catherine (PaII).
For the most part the Mac form fades out completely. It does not appear in the north after 1830, but one family proudly sustained it in the south. Not that of the original Ross and Catherine, though these lived on in Castletown and died there in 1842 and 1837 respectively, but descendents of Thomas, whom I take to be the son of Quayle MacKissack, born in 1800 (AnIV), though he could be the son of Robert, his brother born 1803 (AnV). He married Mary Kennaugh in 1825, but died in 1834 (BaXV). We can trace the history of Mary and her two sons, Thomas and John, in the 19th century censuses.
In 1838 Mary remarried to William Sayle, and in 1841 lives at Ballahot, Malew. She works as a charwoman. Ten years later she is there with John, aged 22, a miner. Thomas is again in the household in 1861. He never married and worked as a shoemaker. John however has left the mines, and is Clerk to the Lime-kilns. There his address is Peel Rd. In 1871 he is married and lives at 5, Malew Road, with his wife Margaret and 7 children ranging from 8 years to 4 months. His brother Thomas the shoemaker is at Ballahot. In 1881 their address is Limekiln Corner House, and his daughter Margaret is under-housemaid at King Williams' College.
Thomas died in 1888, and John's wife, Margaret, in 1911. Their eldest son, John Ross, a Railway clerk, married Elizabeth Jane Skelly in 1891, but tragically died of pneumonia at 30, leaving three small children, Margaret Jane, John Ross and Thomas Elgie (MaXIV). John Ross II (1894-1917) won the Military Medal, but lost his life in World War I. Margaret Jane married John Booth and died in 1963. Thomas Elgie emigrated to the U.S.A., and his grandchildren can be found in Parma, Ohio.
Though other families descended from Gilbert have dropped the prefix, several of the line can be traced to today, but I can only be sure of one single line, which runs :- GrI, AnIV, AnX, BaXXI, BaXXIX, and BaXXXII in Britain; but William Quayle Kissack (AnXI) has carried the line into America. There may be other descendents in the female side, through William the blacksmith of Ramsey (RyXV), and through James (BiI). The family of Gilbert's second son, William and Isabel Corlett (DmIX) was most tragic. The youngest son died a year old in 1809, the same year in which his father serving as pilot on board the American vessel Minerva was lost when she dragged her anchors and was wrecked on the Pollack rocks on December 14. Both sons William and James died at the age of 23, James (by drowning) in 1823, his brother in 1826. There may have been another son, John, born in 1798, and a daughter, Christian, who married John Birrel in 1839.
There is however an earlier appearance of the name, not in Manx parochial registers, but in records of land transactions in which the Kerrowmoar family were engaged, towards the end of the 17th century. A John MacKissack of Mutehill in Kirkcudbright, executed deeds in 1693 which imply that he bought Kerrowmoar lands from Ewan Kissage, and then leased them to Hugh, whom he describes as 'his loving friend and kinsman'. and states that the purpose of the transaction is for 'the said Hugh to keep up the name of Kissage in the said Kerrowmoar'. In another place, allusion is made to the motive behind the dealings - 'to the end that the said ancient estate may be brought again into one entire holding and possessed in the ancient name of the Kissages as formerly it hath'.
We can gauge the private motives of John MacKissack, and the insecure state of Scotland, when he writes into the contract the clause : 'always providing that if he, the said John MacKissack or his heirs be compelled or constrained to flee for refuge to this Island, he is to enter and receive one half of the said lands of Kerrowmoar paying one half of the moiety'. However he never took any sort of possession, and other names are finally entered for the parcel of land involved.
But the personality of John MacKissack is an intriguing one, as is the flourish with which he signs his name in contrast with the crosses made by the Manxmen. Mrs. May Cannell, of the sixth generation from Gilbert, has investigated John in the Dumfries Record Office.
She has found a series of references to him between 1675 and 1698, in documents in which he sometimes features as a witness to signatures, in one case in the purchase of a boat, the Mary of Carlingford, but on occasion he lends money or buys property on his own account. In 1685 he is 'Servitor' to a Thomas Lidderdale, who among other things collected taxes for the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. In 1694 allusion is made to an Edward the 'fourth lawful son of John MacKissack'. A William Kissock and a John Kissock, merchants of Cumnock, are also mentioned in the papers, and another Manx name, Alexander Cannon, also occurs.
To have a fourth son of age to be in business in 1694, a father must have been married quite 25 years, and so be himself 45-50 years old at the time. We may hazard then that John's life-span would be approximately 1645-1715, quite two generations before Gilbert.
Of the 345 occurrences in the Scots microfiche indexes, of the names of Kissock or MacKissack (the earliest being in 1702) - 31, it may be recalled, are connected with Kirkcudbright. And there is an interesting vagary in them. There is only one MacKissack entry - the baptism in 1773 of James, son of Samuel MacKissack and Margaret Brown. But another entry is of the baptism in 1761 of an unnamed child of Samuel Kissock and Margaret Brown, a fact which strongly suggests that the Scots too were inclined to sit as lightly to the use of the Mac as were the Manx.
Interesting too, to note that one of John's colleagues in those transactions was a John Mulligan, tailor burgess of Kirkcudbright. There is a family in the records, of three sons and three daughters, born to a John Kissock and Janet Mulligan, who must have been married about 1753. Here is indication of another generation of the family, a Samuel and a John born about 1720-1730, conceivably sons of Edward MacKissack or his brothers Gilbert must have been of this generation. We have no record of either his birth or marriage on the Island, even though his wife Ann Quayle sounds Manx. Is the Mulligan connection an indication of John MacKissack's family two generations on? And could Gilbert's advent be due to an atavistic instinct that when a MacKissack is compelled or constrained to flee from Scotland, he makes for the Isle of Man, even if his hypothetical forefathers did not possess lands in handy Lezayre?
On this head there is a curious piece of family tradition in the Ballakissack family. Essie Kissack (MiIII) told Tom Cashin that the Santon Kissacks believed they originated from Scots Covenanters. This could not be true of her own line of Ballakissack who had entered the holding in the l6th century. But it could make sense for the Ballavale family, if the husband of Ann Juke (SaXII) was indeed the William MacKissack, born in 1795 (MaVIII). Though the connection between the two families eludes me, William Cubbon (in his letter to Jimmie Kissack of 1954) implies his own belief that the two were related, and this might be the basis of the legend.
But the presence of other Manx names besides Kissock in Galloway indicates the existence of quite a colony of northern Manxmen across the 20-odd miles of water. There is even a Balkissock in Ayrshire. The Mary of Carlingford was both a symbol of a relationship with the Island and a means of exploiting it.
Within this context, what weight is to be put on John MacKissack's talk of 'beloved friend and kinsman'? Does it mean a genuine family connection between himself and the Lezayre Kissacks, and that they were well aware of it? Or was the phrase a mere cliche' by which a stronger Scots clan generally recognised a relationship with a smaller one, assuming blood ties without being necessary able to establish them? If there were indeed some known kinship between Kerrowmoar and Mutehill, a glimmer of light is thrown on the mysterious behaviour of Matthias Curghey in 1762, when he gave a Close-y-Killip Kissack the accolade of the Mac. Perhaps he knew more about the family after all, and indulged an antiquarian pendantry aroused by the recent appearance of Gilbert in the area.
The Eastern Area centred on Douglas is the natural climax of the story of the Clan, for today the town and its environs contain over half the Island population. But in 1725 its population, according to Bishop Wilson, was only 810. A list of householders there in 1730 contains three Kissack households : William and Catherine, William and Elizabeth and John and Isabel. We can identify the last, the only one with children, as DmI, and the first as BaIV.
As for the second, there is no record of a William married to an Elizabeth, but as the implication is that (if they were not childless) their children would be independent, we might relate them to BaII or BaIII. Indeed there is a document, dated 1745, in which William and Elizabeth Kissack make over a dwelling-house in Douglas to John Kissack. Now John Kissack married Elizabeth Corrin in 1744 (DmII), and it would be natural to infer a close relationship. He could not be a son, but conceivably he could be a grandson. In which case it is possible that John the Tobacconist would be the intermediate generation. We do not know the name of William the Soldier's wife. It could well be Elizabeth. (BaII and DmI).
In May 1742 a William Kissack was presented for not having paid his contribution of 10d towards the erection of a gallery in Braddan church. Since the Sailor had died in 1734, he must have been the Soldier or the Fiddler. In 1747, 28 citizens of Douglas signed a petition supporting Dan Curghey in his candidature for the Clerkship of Douglas. These included 'John Kissag and John Kissag senior'. This suggests that we can add DmII to the above series. The will of Elizabeth (alias Corrin) in 1803 reveals that John had not followed his father in the tobacco trade, but had been a mariner. They had lived in a house called Muckle s Gate, and owned another in the market-place. Only one of their sons, John reached manhood, and the Corrin family connection suggests to me that he might have become the husband of Jane Corrin in 1772 (MaVII).
But behind these early register entries lies a 17th century hinterland, populated by shadowy figures, such as Robert Kuisake and family (Ban, or William of Lonan, presented with others in 1669 for rendering cloth on a Sunday, or the William who witnessed the will of Ann Quill in 1685 in the same parish. Was he the husband of Joney Atkinson, whose children were Philip, William, Katherine and Bessie ? And who was William the Carpenter who owned a house in Laxey ?
Sometimes the glimpses we catch are vivid and colourfully human. What sort of fellow was 'Cut and Trump Kewley' with whom Catherine Kissag had dealings in 1683? Or the vignette of 17th century social life in Douglas that landed unhappy Alice Kissag before a Court on January 13, 1667, when she was sentenced for 'execration against the Governor and Bishop, which aggravates the censure. The said Alice Kissage is censured to wear the Bridle for the space of 2 hours at the 4 market crosses of this Island . . and in the interval is to be committed (to St. German's) until she give bonds to perform the censure'.
And her sin? 'John Wooley, Alice Taylor and Ellin Wooley sayeth that Alice Kissag being in company with them Saturday last, they had some discourse concerning licences to be granted to midwives, and of the said Alice, her Joney, going to England, who then was lost. The said Alice said : 'My curse upon the Bishop that ever he came to the Island'' .
A glimpse here too of Manx history, both social and political. Political, because it shows the mentality, if not of Bishop Barrow himself, at least his Vicar-general, in taking so seriously the fact that Barrow had been made by the Stanleys Governor as well as Bishop of the Island (a Manx miniature of the contemporary French Richelieus and Mazarins). So the disrespect of poor Alice was that much compounded. And social because it also reveals the Bishop's typical concern for the improvement of living standards on the Island, in this case hygiene.
Other glimpses come from wills. There seems a special pathos in the death-bed scene of Christian Quail, alias Kissage. She was the daughter of William of Kerrowmoar (PLz1), she had married first Mr. Sylvester Radcliffe of Knockaloe and had born him a son Thomas and a daughter Jane, before she was widowed and married Quail of Ballaquale, Douglas. The scene on the February night in 1675 is described by Mary Malawherry and Katherine Koonill in the artlessly graphic style that is the mark of a nuncupatory will - how she took off her ring and asked where her , daughter Nelly was, and being told she was in bed with her child, said 'she has had a great adoe with the child'. She asked them to give her the ring, and 'bid her look to and be careful of my linen and clothes', and her children Mary and Robert were to have coats made of serge in the loft. 'And for the rest of my goods I have in the world, I leave them to her for she best deserves them, and I have nobody else to leave them to . Then she 'fell to prayer again, beseeching God to pardon and forgive her sins' . However, two children of her former marriage, Captain Thomas Radcliffe and Mrs. Jane Fletcher thought there certainly were others to leave them to, and claimed their share in an estate which came to some £20. And the nucupatory will was over-turned.
But on a more purely genealogical plane, we have seen that those years may mask some connection between the Millers of Cornaa (MgI) and the Douglas Kissacks (OnI) and possibly (BaII) through their trade. The only 18th century miller named in the region is the Henry of (BaVII), whom his will of 1816 shows as identical with a Henry 'the Butler' . . . A generation later there is a similar conjunction of Henrys (DmVII and DmXI), but here they can be distinguished, (DmVII) as married first to Margaret Garrett, with a daughter, Margaret, born in 1796. Widowed in 1803, he married Jane Jones of Patrick the next year. Her will of 1850 shows they were childless, and that they lived in Collister's House on the South Quay, and owned another at 60 Strand Street, Douglas. This Henry was a Boat-Carpenter. Of the other (DmXI), we know nothing. Doubtless one was the son of Robert and Christian Cain (DmIII), but which of the two it is not quite clear.
Douglas expanded rapidly in the 18th century, largely by its being a free-port that sustained a thriving smuggling trade with the mainland. It also attracted immigrants from the rest of Britain. The population in 1757 was 1,814; in 1784 it was 2,850; in 1821, 6,054; and by 1811 it had almost touched 10,000. This represents a 12-fold increase over 1726, whereas the Island population as a whole had increased by less than 4-fold.
But if the Douglas of 800 souls had included 3 Kissack households in 1726, the Douglas of 10,000 in 1851 only numbered 5 househ olds of the name, and an 1892 Directory only shows 7. The rough image of the family revealed in the 19th century censuses is of a work-force with 13 in domestic service. 10 general labourers, 4 lodging house-keepers, 6 in construction trades, and 14 in baking or garment making. Nor was there a large build up of families in the neighbouring parishes. Braddan had a single family in 1841, 3 in '61, and 4 in '71 and '81; Onchan, 2 in '41, 5 in '51, 2 in '61, 3 in '71 and 2 in '81. In Lonan a single family of Philip and Jane (LoVI) persisted.
We can make a broader survey of the eastern area based on the parish and civic registers from 1700 to the present day, using what information is available of the circumstances of the heads of families. Of the 100 or so households traced, about 70 carry some sort of clue. Before about 1830 this is inevitably very sketchy. But over all, it would show 11 mariners, 18 in construction trades, 6 in shops (chiefly clothing or groceries), 5 bakers and 2 millers. 6 described themselves as farmers and 9 as labourers. 15 were in office jobs, and 5 in catering or entertainment (the last class naturally containing William the Fiddler).
We can begin to gauge the social status of families, if we set these figures against a time scale. The last to call himself a farmer on a birth or marriage certificate was in 1950, and a general labourer in 1920. The clerical and administrative category begins about 1910, and the catering and entertainment (apart from the fiddler) about 1950. The occupations of course are only those of heads of families, but give an indication of the homes in which the family grew up. The wives had their own businesses. In Bent's Business Directory of 1902, 6 Mrs. Kissacks are listed with boarding house facilities; in 1907 there were 2 in Ramsey - a high proportion of Kissack households.
These same households can reflect the movements of population during the 19th and 20th centuries into the towns. Some 70% of the eastern area families seem to have lived there over the whole period. Of the rest some 20% came in from the north, 7% from the south, and 3% from the west.
A more specifically genealogical analysis shows that many of these households can be credibly structured into a pattern of some 9 families, whose branches are traceable over the generations.
Five of these are of northern origin. Three have already been sketched and go back to the 17th century (LzIV), (LzVI) and (MgIII). A fourth is the Jurby family (JuII). The other is the MacKissacks (PaI). A Lonan family (DrLVIII) goes back to (PaII).
Of the other three, one is a family of 19th century bakers (OnVII). William (1813-1878) assisted by two wives, Ann and later Dinah Quine, holds the Clan record for progeny - 9 sons and 7 daughters. Mortality however was high, and though 5 of his sons carried on the line, (at least 4 of them as Bakers in Douglas), none of his grandsons seem to have settled on the Island, even if descendants can still be found in Liverpool. The genealogical challenge of William is to identify his father. Documents imply that he was born in 1813, in Douglas, and that his father was a farmer named John. Records however show no such John connected with Douglas fathering a William about 1813. Indeed only two Farmer john couples could be considered - John and Catherine (Quayle) (MgXVIII) or John and Ellinor (Kaighin) (JuVIII) The northern family of William and Margaret (Wade) (JuXX) are equally in search of a father for the same date. I can find no decisive evidence : but the likelihood between the two would be a Maughold provenance for an Onchan settler, and a Jurby one for a northern farming family.
I would however like to conclude this survey with notice of two families in the eastern region of particular interest. I designate them as the Flaxdressers and the Crosby Kissacks.
Flaxdresser was the trade of the James Kissack, born in 1813, who married Jane Mylrea in 1835 (BaXVII). They lived at Tromode on the Braddan and Onchan border, and had 6 sons and 3 daughters. In the first generation, Thomas, the eldest, became a miller working first at Union Mills and then in Michael (BaXXIII). James went to sea (DrI). Robert became a blacksmith (DrIII). William and Philip worked in Douglas William (DhI) as a coachman.
Thomas the Miller and his wife Ann Jane Cain had 12 children (BaXXIII), 5 of whom died young. One son, William was Ship's Purser (DrXVIII), and another Stanley Thomas emigrated to South Africa. Blanche a daughter of Thomas and Ann Jane, married her cousin, Robert Frederick, a son of James the Mariner (DrI). The second son of the Mariner also James, was a Douglas Hairdresser, (DrXX), and his son, Frank, born 1914, became one of the Island's leading accountants (DrXLIV).
Robert the Blacksmith had 4 sons (DrIII) :- Thomas Arthur (DrXXVII) was in the Grocery trade, as manager or traveller; Geo. Albert (DrXXII) was in the Isle of Man Steam Packet office; Edward (DrXXVI) chief clerk in a Plumbing firm; Robert James, a printer with an Island newspaper. One of Thomas Arthur's sons, Geo. Albert II was Chief Registrar (DrLI); two others, Thomas Arthur and William Frederick, served the Steam Packet Co., the former as General Manager (Note 3) ' (DrLXIV) His youngest son was an accountant with the Electricity Board (DrLX).
Thomas Arthur's second brother, Geo. Albert I (DrXXII) had a son and a daughter; the son retired from a sea-going career as a Steam Packet captain, took Orders, and joined the Board of Northern Lighthouses. (DrXLI); the daughter married a future Deemster. William the Purser s son, William Mylrea (DrXXXV) was first a Marine Engineer and then an Agricultural Merchant. His elder son, Paul, born 1937, is a Chartered Accountant in Vancouver; his second, Brian, Vice-President of an American Bank in Frankfurt (Tra17).
Most of this family's 5 generations were lived in Douglas, in a spread of occupations from the sea to high administrative posts, in commerce and public service, including General Manager of the Island s Steamers, a Chief of the Rolls Office, and a Captain and Reverend Overseer of Lights. No sign here of Clogs to Clogs.
Of more direct genealogical interest is the quest for the ancestry of the old Flaxdresser. Despite omissions and a confusion of the names Thomas and James at times, all the evidence points to the paternity of the Thomas who married Anne Bridson at Braddan in 1808. The real crux is to identify his parents. There seems to be only two serious candidates - the son of John Kissack and Margaret Crowe, born 1777, (LzXX), or the son of James Kissack of Onchan (OnIV). The first of these (LzXX) seems more associated more with the west and possibly the sea. Bridson is a southern name, and more likely to have found an Onchan husband. This Thomas was born in 1788 (OnIV). A Thomas was buried in Braddan in 1837, aged 45. Could this figure be a mere guess? It looks suspiciously rounded-off. Certainly someone born in 1792 could hardly have married in 1808, and in any case no Thomas is recorded as baptised nearer to that year than this Onchan one in 1788.
Thomas was probably a Cordwainer, as was another son of James, who managed to enlist in the Fencibles twice in one day. Another brother was Philip (DmVIII) who settled in Lonan, where his son, also Philip, and his family are also found (LoVI). Father James had married Elizabeth Crow in Lezayre in 1766, and was most probably the son of William, baptised 1740 (OnIII). Earlier than this it is impossible to go. Those were the years when it was rare to append a mother's name, and the list of children with a William for father in Onchan extends from 1718 to 1747.
The other family is that called Crosby Kissacks. If the Flaxdressers symbolise the ability to do varied jobs with constant efficiency, the Crosby family exemplifies a sustained concern with a single basic industry, in their case building and construction. As with the Flaxdressers, they have a founding father, a Philip whose children begin to appear in baptismal registers in German about 1785. His wife then was Hester Cottier, though we have no record of their marriage, a fact that strongly suggests that it took place in Marown, where marriage registers of that period have been lost. Apart from his first two children the rest of the family of 5 sons and 3 daughters were baptised in Marown. He had his children confirmed: he bought Manx prayer books. He also bought wood at a Marown farm sale, and so gives some indication of a solid personality and a carpenter. He had a second wife, Margaret Kinrade, married at Marown in 1828. There is no record of his burial, but his will was proved in 1838 (MrVII).
It is a fair inference that his parents were Henry Kissack and Margaret Cubbon (BaVII) who though married in Braddan, were chiefly associated with Marown. Another of their sons, Robert, 1765-1825, is buried there in the same grave as his mother, (died 1804), his wife, Isabella Cain, (1864) and their son John (1850) (MrVI). Only one of Philip's sons, William (MrVIII), left the issue that has led to the flourishing line of today. He had 10 children. In 1841, having married Margaret Fayle in 1833, he was living at Ellerslie. Ten years later he had 8 children under his roof and is described as 'Joiner employing 4 men'. In 1861, he is 'Joiner and Cartwright', and has John and Thomas his adult sons with him, though his wife seems to have a separate establishment nearby, with their youngest daughter, Elizabeth, aged 20. In the same neighbourhood, at Ballaglionney, is his brother, Philip, also a carpenter. His wife, Catherine Cannell, calls herself a charwoman, their 15 year old son, William, an agricultural labourer (MrIX).
William died in 1870 having established the dynasty. In the census the next year, two of the daughters live together in Ellerslie. Philip now, 73, and alone, lives on the Peel Rd. And it is Thomas, the youngest son who resides in Crosby at what has since been the family home, Pink Cottage (later to be named Rose Villa). Thomas is 33, married to Mary Jane Quinney since 1869. Their first child is a year old MrX(). Thomas was to consolidate both business and family. And he too would have a large family, 6 sons and 3 daughters.
And here chances a remarkable family encounter. It so happens that Fred Kissack of the Tops (Cronk-y-Voddey) family (GrX) lifts the curtain to leave a somewhat embarrassing glimpse of life in Pink Cottage around 1880. In his account of his journey from Cleveland, Ohio, in 1903, in the vain hope of finding his father, old James, still alive, he passes through Crosby in the train, and recalls how he started out his career as a Joiner himself :
'I have a tender recollection of staying just one week here a good many years go. I went to work with a man the name of Kissack (not my relative). I was to live with him. I found he was a hard drinker, and had a big family. We were on short rations, so when Saturday afternoon came around, I shipped my tools home, and footed it myself. I did not get any money for my week's work. I was fortunate to be able to get home.
Thomas' older brother, Robert, also a Joiner, married an Irish wife (BaXX) and added the skills of millwright-fitter to those of carpentry. In 1861 they lived at 2 Callow Place, Douglas, and 20 years later his widow lives at Cronkbourne. His eldest son William Edward (MrXI) followed him as a fitter. In the next generation, however, William Edward's son, Edward took to farming in Braddan, and served as Parish Clerk (DrXXIV). One of his daughters, Annie Leece, married Thomas Conibear of the Greengrocery family, and his youngest son entered the Customs and Excise Service (DrLVa). In the next generation. John Edward (DrLVb) was an Hotelier.
Fred Kissack's judgment on old Thomas is to some extent corroborated by the family. They commemorate him as 'the one who made money and lost it'. They recall how at the turn of the century they were sold up, and had to part with a large portion of their land-holding. But it was not the end of the family enterprise even if it was one of the women of the family that inspired the revival. 'Mary Mountain bought back the family silver, and brow-beat back Harry from Liverpool'. Howard Kissack finds the strength and glory of the century-old family business in such a spirit, through which in succeeding generations there have been sons who both developed their personal craft skills of carpenter, blacksmith or engineer, and then pooled them in dedication to the ancestral enterprise. Quite unpretentiously, or perhaps with a subconscious instinct born of memories of the near-failure at the turn of the century, they have refused to leave their shop-floors for any directorship status, and when things were bad (e.g. in war-time) have worked through almost single-handed.
Harry died in 1956, aged 80. His son, Robert Reginald, succeeded him, but died, aged 59 in 1979. He had been joined in 1965 by his elder son, Howard, When Derek, the younger son, came in in 1972, Kissack Bros. became a Limited Company, from which Derek has since moved out to be his own master.
What is now Rose Villa stands on the same site as what was called Reid's Cottage in the 1840s, and among its outhouses one of the first power saw-mills on the Island was set up, no doubt to challenge the joiners and blacksmiths of the family to develop engineering aptitudes too. But this talent surfaced notably in George Henry (MrXV), who, having served his apprenticeship as an automobile mechanic, and with the R.A.F., entered the Peel Engineering Co. in the immediate post-war years, when there was a great demand for cars, and out of his work on Ford-10 Specials developed the Peel Bubble-Car. It was an enterprise that deserved a success it never attained, largely because it was quite 25 years ahead of its time.
Not that all the Crosby Kissacks made their careers out of construction and mechanics. Ralph (MrXV) was a journalist of note, and another Ralph (DrXXXIX) is a solicitor in the South of England.
It is often felt that in the absence of painted portraits we can never know the colour of the eyes of the dim silent and often immobile figures of a family tree. But among Manx records are the old registers of the Corps of Manx Fencibles, which faithfully list the physical qualities by which a soldier can be identified. Manxmen of course have given military service in other forms, but only between I779 and 1811 were units of the regular army raised and maintained on the Island. It has been said by those who are interested in such things that the Manx Fencibles, standing shoulder to shoulder, covered more ground than a similar number from any other regiment in the British Army. Certainly they were not the tallest. The lower limit of height was 5' 3", 'except for growing lads' who might be accepted at the age of 15, and 5' 2". Their average height was about 5' 6". Four corps in all were formed and served : 1779-1783, 1793-1802, 1795-1802, 1803-1811, the first being called The Manx Fencible Corps, the others The Royal Manx Fencibles. Normally they formed the Island garrison, but some served in Ulster at the end of the 18th century and took part in the suppression of the Irish Rebellion.
Eight of our families had sons who served, mostly men born about 1780. There was a Robert, a James, a Richard, a Thomas, and 4 johns. The first four can be identified with confidence. Robert was a weaver, from Marown, 26 years, 5' 6", fair complexion, round visage, grey eyes and dark hair. He enlisted first in 1796, and again in 1803. He would be the son of john and Ann (Brew) (MrV). (His younger brother, Edward, who died in a shooting fatality in 1799, was then described as a private in the Fencibles).
Richard, a tailor of Patrick, was 25 when enlisted by Major Stewart in 1807. We have already met him as the patriarch of Patrick Kissacks (ArIII), the son of john and Ann (Corham), born 1780, with the relevant vital statistics :- 5' 7", dark complexion, blue eyes, black hair.
When Thomas (the oldest of them) married Ellinor Gell at German in 1794 he was styled the Fencible. Enlisting in the 3rd Corps in 1803, he was credited with 9 and a quarter years previous service, and his age given as 40. That suggests the son of Thomas and Jane (Cain) (MrIII). He is described as a labourer born Malew, 5' 4", swarthy, round face, hazel eyes, black hair.
There is comedy and tragedy in the story of James. Comedy where , two James enlist on January 9, 1799. One was "5' 2", fresh complexion long visage, grey eyes, dark hair, born Onchan, Cordwainer, age 16, Enlisted by the Colonel," the other :- "5' 4", fresh complexion, long visage, grey eyes, dark hair, born Onchan, a shoemaker, aged 17, Enlisted by Lieut. Kewley". The feeling of both the Colonel and the Lieutenant can be imagined once the truth came out, for bounties were paid both to each recruit and to each enlisting officer. At least we get a glimpse of the situation in a letter from the Paymaster, writing from Moneymore on March 10, 1800, to Lieut. Kewley :
'You will give Kissack a short time to par for his son's discharge, and if he does not, I will send instructions to have him taken up and sent here a prisoner, that he may be tried by court-martial for being an imposter. I will afterwards oblige him to serve abroad for life or get a good flogging'.
(in the same letter he adds the grim news :
'We have been busily employed after these damned rebellion defenders, many of whom are hung and many more under sentence. Their leader, Archer, will be hanged, drawn and quartered and gibbetted tomorrow'.)
However James survived, and in July 1803 was re-enlisting for the 2nd Corps, with 4 years previous service. It is possible he married in 1804, if DmXII refers to him. But his unresolved tragedy is that on the morning of Sunday, March 8, 1807, his body was taken from Douglas harbour, and buried the next day in St. George's.
He would have been the son of James and Elizabeth (Crow) (OnIV), and a brother of the Flaxdresser's father, Thomas. Cordwainer is not only his trade, but is the trade assigned to Thomas on the marriage-certificate of his younger daughter, Isabella, and makes it probable that their father, James, was also a shoemaker.
But the 4 Johns set a genealogical puzzle, part of which is to assign them to families, and part to assign them to incidents. One we know, was from Lonan, enlisted by the Chaplain on July 7, 1795, aged 15, 5' 2", brown complexion, round visage, blue eyes, dark hair. His initial reference is LoIII, but he was living at the '51 census in Cattlemarket St., Douglas , aged 72, with wife Catherine, aged 64. In 1802 he volunteered into the 43rd Regiment.
Another, aged 15, was enlisted by Capt. Tobin. He was from Lezayre, fresh complexion, round face, blue eyes and dark hair. He was probably a drummer in Capt. Christian's Company, in June and July, 1797 His dates correspond with the son of Philip and Catherine (Corteen) (LzXXILzXXI).
The other two Johns are from Maughold One was enlisted by the Colonel in September, 1799, aged 17. He had a sallow complexion, a round visage, grey eyes and black hair, a labourer. In 1801 he was one of the 120 men who in March volunteered for the line, and were marched to Newry. He was posted to the 38th Regiment. His will (1813) shows he was the son of William the Merchant (MgXII (Note 4)).
The other John of Maughold is older. When enlisted in 1804 by Capt. Christian, his age is given as 27, and his trade as Tailor. He was 5' 5?", fresh complexion, hazel eyes, dark hair. He may have married Catherine Quayle in 1809. When their son John married in 1856, his father is described as Tailor (MgXVIII), but John of (LoIII) may equally have been her husband.
It used to be said in the services in the last war, that commanding officers met only the defaulters under their command. The same fate befalls the genealogist in respect of his ancestry. There are four crimes laid at the doors of John Kissack in the Fencibles' Punishment-book. At Whitby, whither the Company of Capt. Bacon had moved in 1796, John was confined 24 hours in the Black Hole for 'wilfully breaking his bayonet'. He would have been John of Lonan, only 16 years. A fellow officer's diary describes Capt. Caesar Bacon as a man of 'hasty and rather ungovernable temper'.
The other three cases took place in Ulster in 1800. At Strabane in January, 1800, John Kissack and Dougal MacDougal of Capt. Christian's Company were sentenced to 300 lashes for being absent from parade on January 17. On December 2 the same year, John Kissack of Capt. Christian's Co. was sentenced again to 300 lashes 'for throwing burning turf in the Guard Room'. The answer to this Who-done-it I feel must be the one-time drummer boy of that company, the John of Lezayre.
But the worst crime remains . At Omagh, on June 3, 1800, Jo Kissack of the Major's Co. was sentenced to 400 lashes, for 'striking and abusing and tumbling down stairs Henry Corlett of the said Company, and ending his life'. Evidence showed that Corlett had spat on Kissack as he was cleaning his breeches.
My verdict would be that the unhappy man here would have been the sallow-faced John from Maughold, sadly the son of the Merchant. He was the biggest of them all at 5' 4?", he was only 17 when enlisted the previous September, and the following March he got out of the Fencible by volunteering for the 38th Regiment. None of the others appear as defaulters. Equally no Kissack ever seems to have been promoted. It was in every case when on overseas service, particularly under the fearful and inhuman conditions of the Irish Rebellion, that the incidents occurred. Today it is impossible to imagine the stress under which these Manx-bred youths must have existed. Or could it have been the blacksmith son of Margaret Kinnish (MgXI))?
The story of the Royal Manx Fencibles was written by B. E. Sargeaunt in 1947, and he records one other connection between the family and the Regiment. When conditions permitted, as for instance at harvest time, the Fencibles were allowed to work on occasion for civilian employers. Seemingly, the Merchant of Ramsey used this faculty in a way that casts a shadow on his reputation for respectability. In December, 1806, Sergeant James Redhead was court-martialled for some undisclosed crime and was stripped of his stripes. The Court were told that it was at the instigation of Mr. Kissack of Ramsey, and the C.O. ordered that no N.C.O., drummer or private should on any account be permitted to work for Mr. Kissack. Within a month Redhead had his rank re-instated.
The presence of the Fencibles in Northern Ireland tantalisingly raises the question whether one of them could have been the John Kissack to whom a family over there traces itself. He served with the 40th Regiment of Foot, and they treasure his medal for service in the Peninsular War at Ortes, Toulouse and Vittoria. Their tradition is that he was born in 1793 and married Anne McKeon in 1824 in Derry. The family later lived in Moneymore and Magherafelt.
The dates however are too much out of phase to suggest that he could either himself have come from the Island about 1799, or that he could have been the son of a Fencible who did. A study of such microfiches of Irish registers as are available provides evidence of entries of the name (in one spelling or another) :- Births, Robert 1792, John 1794, James 1796. (These in Dromore, Co. Down, and spelt Kishog.) John Kissick, b. 1824, Lifford, Donegal. Marriages, John Kissock to Maria Reid, 1824, Shankhill, Belfast, Maria Martha Kissick to Jas. Robt. McNichol, 1835, Down, and Rosanna Kisack to John Wilson, 1854, Ballymena.
The inference is rather that there was a constant connection with N. Ireland, instanced as early as 1720, in a Lezayre allusion in a will to Joney Kissag, alias Cowle, 'who died in Ireland about 17 years ago', and to her daughter Catherine, who still resided there.
(Note 4)MgXIII not listed in 'Seed of Isaac' - probably should be MgXII"
Any genealogical study of this nature must always be open-ended, first in the sense that so many linkages between family units lack absolute certainty, and can only be offered for correction, and secondly, because a relatively high proportion of its children will always be lost to a small Island, through the pressure of economics, leaving a gap in knowledge of them that cries out to be filled.
The size of this gap may be expressed this way. To take as a round figure of 1,400 for the Kissack births between 1700 and 1950 means that there will be some 700 males to be accommodated on some 350 cartouches of legitimate families. It has not been difficult to list every household to be inferred from our parish registers. However erroneous may have been my individual assignment of the fathers, the fact remains that some 50% of the male children born have not found on the Island a family to father. Allowance must be made for bachelordom and premature death, but even so quite one male in three in Manx families seem to have left the Island. This survey then must end in inviting news of the destinies of our Manx 'disappeareds'.
So this study is offered as an aid particularly to family units overseas in search of the homes where their father was a child. In fact I have been stimulated beyond measure by the incentive provided by queries about the family from overseas. They made me probe at deeper levels, and unravel mysteries such as the MacKissack question. These stimuli have come in many forms. It was a photograph of a gravestone nearly a century old, that tumbled out of an envelope on the desk of the Librarian of the Manx Museum, bearing two particular words - my surname and the parish where I lived - at the precise moment that I passed the desk, that gave me the task of satisfying Vesta Hendrick's longing in Wisconsin to know something of her Manx grandparents. Then again my wife's occasional contribution to the American Methodist devotional manual, The Upper Room, over the name of Kissack and the Manx address, brought in several enquiries. And the more obviously, the global growth of membership of the Manx Family History Society and its Journal bring in more.
But the most intriguing of all began with the sudden appearance in the burial ground of a small Wisconsin town of a splendid memorial curb and headstones for five graves. No-one knew whose graves they were, except that the name was Kissack. Nor was anything known of any local people of so strange a name. Conversation at a Family History Conference led to someone suggesting that the problem be put to me. So again came photographs, and there was my mystery - Five Graves at West Salem. It was a strange situation. No-one in the family had asked any questions, nor was there anyone to tell whatever I might find out.
The photographs told the story of a Manx lad from Onchan Village, emigrating first to Barrow-in-Furness, marrying a Cumberland wife about 1870, who there bore him two children. Some time between 1874 and 1.882 they emigrated to Wadena, Minnesota, where their third child, Ethel G. was born in that latter year. William lived to 84, his wife, Mary Agnes to 88. Their son, Thomas A, had died at West Salem in 1915, when only 41, but the elder daughter, Eleanor, then Mrs. Shoults, was 90 when her time came at Hayward, California in 1961, and the younger Ethel G. Mars reached the age of 98, and had died at Las Vegas as recently as April, 1980. Clearly it was her death that had prompted someone to set up the family memorial in one of the places where this scattered family had had their home.
Later I learned who she was. She had been the wife of Frank C. Mars, who had made his name world-famous with his Milky Way candy bars. After his death in 1934, she had directed Mars Inc ., until in 1964 it merged with the other family concern of Forrest E. Mars of Las Vegas, their son. It was this son who had raised the memorial, and who also gave the name 'Ethel M.' to one of his own special high-class chocolate products.
But of what Kissack line did she come? It was not hard to find the William born in Onchan Village in 1846, to learn his father's name was Thomas, and to identify his mother as Eleanor Gell, married in Lonan in 1828. The 1841 Census showed them living in Factory Lane, Douglas, Thomas aged 35, his trade that of Hatter. The '51 Census locates him in Onchan, where besides William, aged 4, there is an elder sister of 18. Later I found that two children had died young, a Thomas and another William. Ten years later, William is a widower, living with his son in Maughold, the parish of his birth, with a widowed sister Jane, whose husband had been a Thomas Callow of Ballaskeg-beg. In 1871, Thomas, now 66, has a new wife, Mary, the daughter of John Fell, a shoemaker of Finch Hill, Douglas. Thomas died in 1876.
The next stage was more difficult, for Thomas proved to be one of those whose names somehow are not on any baptismal list. But fortunately, his stay with his sister being recorded in a Census, and her identity being clear, their parents are known to be William Kissack and Jane Joughin (MgXVI), and the line can be traced upwards through William and Margaret (Kinnish) (MgXI), Ewan and Isabel (Kermode) (MgVI) to the Hugh Kissage (LzIV) who died in 1699. He was of the Kerrowmoar line, and it was he who made the contract in 1693 with John MacKissack of Mutehill, Kirkcudbright over the Kerrowmoar lands 'to the end that the said ancient estate may be brought again into one entire holding, and possessed in the ancient name of the Kissages, as formerly it hath , and whom the Scat called 'his loving friend and kinsman'. That is as far in antiquity, and as near to aristocracy, that any of our lines could reach, should these lines ever reach this unknown family.
I hope that this study may link such families more and more with their parent Manx stock. So the Gazetteer ends with an ever-open arboretum to be stocked with plantings from the native trees. I call it 'Transmarian', and code it Tra.
With the 5 graves in West Salem (Tra6), are saplings on both sides of the Atlantic from MgXXV, whose line unites with theirs in MgVI. We can see MacKissacks continuing in name in Parma, Ohio, but also in line in the family of Bob Kissack of Winnebago, Illl. (from AnIX).
Gerald Miller's enquiry from Champayne, Ill., about his grandmother, Louisa, born in Ramsey about 1866, links up with RyXIX, but the more I look at her father, Robert, the more chimeric he becomes. He once looked as if he were the son of the John Kissack, Labourer, of JuXII, but now he looks more like the posthumous son of John and Margaret (Quayle) (AnIX). What is more, he may also be the Robert of RyXXI. If so, he seems to have been a Jack of all trades, yet a Master Mariner. When Louisa was born, he was a baker, he went to sea, but also was one of the earliest Crossing Keepers on the Railway (Tra2).
Flossie Anderson of Eaton, Colorado, asked about a grandfather born on the Island, named William Kissack, whose birthday was believed to have been in November, 1837, who died in Nebraska, in 1927, and was buried in Champayne, Ill. He could well be the William of AnIX, although dates are not exact fits (though they rarely are in a pre-birth certificate age). This would make him the elder brother of Robert above, a possibility more plausible through the connection of both families with Champayne. It would also explain the tradition in the Miller family that Louisa had come out alone of her own family from Ramsey but with 'some sort of relatives'. There are several Island families that descend from the John and Margaret on AnIX. It is interesting to note that whether Louisa's father was of JuXII or AnVI, his great-grandfather in each case would be the same, the William of Jurby who married Esther Garrett in 1751 (Tra2).
Throughout the 19th century a single family appears in Lonan in the censuses. It originates in the Philip of DmVIII, and continues with his son Philip (LoVI). The descendants of Philip and Jane (Hogg) have preserved a good record of the family. It bears a tinge of resentment of the way that the elder Philip neglected his daughter-in-law when she was widowed in 1858 after only six years of marriage, when her Philip died at 46 after an accident in the Laxey mines. However their children did well and cared for her. The central figure of the saga is the one son of the family, John William 1853-c1914 (LoVI). He loved a girl named Henry, and emigrated to America to make enough money to marry her. Whilst working at the building of the railway through South Dakota he noticed a similarity between some of the rocks there and those of his native Laxey. As he had worked in the mines there, with other ex-miner members of the gang, he stayed in S. Dakota when the line moved on. Their hunch was right. They discovered and successfully mined there and founded Lead City.
In 1885 he returned to the Island, and like the miner of song, finding his sweetheart had died, he married her little sister, Louisa Catherine, the next year. They returned to S. Dakota, raised their family, were joined for longer or shorter stays by his sisters and their husbands, and prospered so well that just before the first World War, he bought his son Claude 'the first motor car in the State'. Tragically he met his death in it, when on the eve of a visit to the Island, he was killed when it collided with a tree. Jane, the mother, died in comfort in her home in Rencell, Laxey aged 78 in 1894. John William's sister Margaret, married to James Kewley, died of cancer in Lead City and her family returned to the Island. Here was a family which kept in close touch with its mother, and with each other, perhaps because of that, and so with the Island. This no doubt accounts for the richness of their family memories (LoIX).
Few things can obliterate such family memories like the dispersal of a family of young children on the death of both parents. This was the fate of a branch of the Isaac sept of the Kissacks, when William of Llergy. dhoo and Margaret Kermeen died in 1866/7 (GrIX). There were six children, ranging from William, 17 (LoVII) to Daniel, 1. Their cousins from the Tops (GrX) only maintained contact with two of the children, John James (Johnny) (GrXI), and James of Ballacross (WeI).
Johnny the Preacher married a widow, Bella Corlett, nee Maddrell in 1881. They had 4 daughters, Clara, Emily, Margaret and Christian. The parents lived all their lives in Michael, and both died in 1933. Clara and Christian emigrated to Canada in 1908, Clara ultimately became a Mrs. Fred Columbain living in Baltimore, Maryland. Her husband was a Catholic, and fear of her father's Methodist displeasure kept her from ever writing home. Yet for the rest of their lives the old folks would kneel on their kitchen floor at night and pray for their lost child.
But the pattern of his brother James' life was destined to follow that of his father. He married Jane Faragher in 1887, and died 5 years later, leaving her with 4 children. Compelled to leave Ballacross, she moved to Peel, and reared them as best she could until the boys were old enough to emigrate as Homesteaders to Canada, in 1908. The Tops Kissacks lost track of them, but they left behind the memory of their names, 3 boys, James, Frederick and Stanley, with little sister, Maud, and the fact that 'they had red hair'.
Then in 1983 Kathleen Parcey, her sister Margaret and her daughter came from Cowan, Manitoba, in the Manx Homecoming of that summer, and through the Family History Society later came into touch with myself, a grandson of Thomas Kissack of the Tops, who had been first cousin to Johnny Kissack, and from her I learned the story of Clara and Christian, the two daughters of Johnny, who emigrated in their teens in 1908 (Tra11).
Christian had married Charles Prosser in Winnipeg in 1922, and they had lived in Cowan. She had died in 1933, in the same year as her parents when Kathleen was only 9. Here again the loss of a parent in childhood had cut off the transmission of family lore. In her case the complete destruction by fire of the family home soon after, had removed any keepsakes or letters that might have carried hints of a story. But when we from the Manx side told her of the lost Ballacross family, it stirred in her memory the childhood sight of her mother's travelling trunk with the words painted on it 'Moose Jaw Saskatchewan'. So her mother and her teenage sister had begun their Canadian life, like the Ballacross family, in Saskatchewan, and at precisely the same period. Could they have travelled with an aunt and cousins? Kathleen wrote to the Saskatchewan Archives, who located the family's homestead near Sovereign , and a letter to the Postmaster there found its way into the hands of Margaret Leverington, the sole grandchild of James and Jane, the daughter of Maud. Let her tell the story :
'In 1907 with the Canadian Government advertising for people to come and homestead, my uncles Fred and James came to Canada. They took up a homestead in the Sovereign-Wiseton district in Saskatchewan. In 1908 my grandmother Jane, my uncle Stanley and my mother Maud also came to Canada. I remember Mother speaking of being on the train on May 24th, 1908.
'They have all passed away and I am the only grandchild. I am retired and live on a farm at Zehner. The homesteaders could purchase 160 acres of land for 10 dollars. They had to break a certain number of acres of land each year. It was a good enough deal, but it certainly brought a lot of hardship to many.
'In 1907 Uncle Fred and Uncle James came to Canada. They each took a homestead in the Sovereign district which is about 170 miles from Zehner. They built a sod shack on Uncle Fred's land in the summer of 1907. First, they had to haul poles to frame the house from about 60 miles away. This would be a 4 or 5 day trip with horses. The next thing was to plough furrows of soil and grass about 18 inches wide. These would be laid in layers like bricks and made a very warm house. In May, 1908, Grandma Jane and Uncle Stanley and my mother, Maud, came to Canada. They travelled for about a week by train till they arrived at Hanley, Saskatchewan. Uncle Fred met them with a team of bronchos and a buggy. They had to cross a river on the ferry. Grandma sat firmly in the buggy with the horses jumping about.
'I am sure the next years were hectic. Money was scarce , no conveniences, or telephone, or radio. Uncle Stanley went to work on telephone construction, and my mother went to work in Regina. (Uncles Fred and James worked on a dairy farm near Regina the winter of 1907-8. Then in spring they went back to the homestead, and Uncle James bought my Grandma her first cow.)
'Somewhere about 1916 Grandma had a new lumber 2-story house built. It was painted white and could be seen for miles. Mother had learned cooking and management and decided to go home and help Grandma there. She was a wonderful cook, and the best mother I could have had.
'In 1920 my parents married and came to live, again on a homestead, here at Zehner. My father had spent over 4 years in the army, and soldiers were given the choice to buy land the Government had acquired from the Indians.
'Uncle James had asthma and died in February, 1922. He was only 33 years old. He was 6' 6" tall, had red hair and blue eyes, and he never married. He gave my Dad an anvil, and my mother a meat-grinder which I still use after 64 years. Uncle Fred died in July, 1924. He was a haemophiliac. He was about 5' 10", with black hair and blue eyes. He was 36, and he never married. They say he was very clever, very serious, very honest, a devout Methodist who never smoked, drank or swore. Grandma died in 1942 at the age of 88. She was very short in stature but every inch a woman. She too was a firm Methodist, and a great manager. Each year I would visit her, and she gave me a nice keepsake - her gold ear-rings, a sugar bowl which is over 160 years old and came from the Isle of Man. One thing I cherish as the only keepsake of Grand father James is his butcher's steel. Grandma, Uncle Fred and Uncle James are all buried at Sovrreign.
'My mother Maud was the only one who married, and I was the only child. Mother was about 5' 8" tall, with brown hair and brown eyes. Everyone liked her, and after 25 years still speak of missing her. My father died in 1938 when I was 15 years old. Mother was so upset and worried because there was a debt on the farm. I had promised my father I would complete Grade 10, and so in 1939 I approached my mother and told her I would quit school after Grade 10, and I would drive a tractor or do anything there was to do around the farm. At first she would not believe I could really drive a tractor, but for the next five years 1 drove a tractor (tilling and harvesting in the fields), fed pigs, milked cows, and looked after S00 head of poultry, besides doing all the other jobs about a farm. My wages for S years were food and a few clothes, but after about 6 years she got a clear title to her 320 acre farm which 1 now own. In 1944 I married John Leverington, who had managed and worked our farm too. We have 3 children, Shirley, John Stanley and James Garnet.
'I have never really got over my mother's death. Her worry over the farm led to hospitalisation for a while in a psychiatric ward. She committed suicide on April 7, 1958. She walked a quarter of a mile and drowned in a dug-out. All the family were searching for her and I found her. My screams brought neighbours from a distance. I ran home and phoned the police. They came and interrogated me. Then they gave me their condolences and went away. I feel that she needed surgery, but she would never let doctors examine her. I was really devastated, for 1 had supported her for 20 years, and had thought I had been a very good daughter to her. She is buried in Regina.
'Uncle Stanley was the last of the family to survive. He died in 1974 He had little real joy in life. He was very good to his mother, and took care of her to the end. He continued farming with horses, and when visiting Wiseton, 7 miles away, always drove team and wagon there. He paid a visit to the Isle of Man in 1960, and stayed at Crosby with a Faragher relative. He never married, drank or smoked. He was poor when it came to business affairs. In the end I was given responsibility for handling his affairs. If I could have done it sooner things could have been much better for him. He did not know how to invest his money, otherwise he could have been really rich. He stayed on the farm till 1960, then for 2 years he lived in Saskatoon. In his latter years he lived in Regina, living in old hotels. He was a bit temperamental and it was better not to make too frequent visits. I was able to have him taken care of in a private home after he became ill in 1973 with heart trouble. He died on November 27, 1974, and is buried in Regina".
So there is sunshine at eventide and reuniting in kinship for two great-granddaughters of William Kissack and Margaret Kermeen.
With nonagenarian wisdom Jimmie Kissack would say : "I've sometimes thought that the Kissack womenfolk were better than their men."
The late Syd Bolton devoted much of his later years as the doyen of Manx journalists to stories of Manx emigrants. Among a fair-sized colony of Manx in California (whose story is told in South Fork Country, by R. Powers) was the couple William Kissack (NrXIII) and Jessie Kissack (MgXXVII), one-time Schoolmistress of the Dhoon. From such sources I hope the Saga of the Seed of Isaac will grow.
I suppose each family will have its own questions to ask of history. What was the reason why sudden silence fell so utterly between Catherine and the son William that had been so close to her? (JuXXI). Or the children of Michael (LzXVII) T Or if the line of the Close-y-Killip millers still goes on in America whither John Vark's son William went (LzXXIX)?
The real thrill of genealogical research is in its backward thrust from the many descendants to the one ancestor. In the Kissack saga the frontier between recorded data and the speculative is 1696, beyond which Lezayre, the parish where they were chiefly found, has no parochial baptismal, marriage or burial records, and the track must be made through such auxiliary documents as exist, the Presentments of the Spiritual Courts, Probates, Land-transactions, and the rare Marriage Contract.
So in the case of Lezayre (and also of Santon) there is an added section of family units so constructed, under the reference codes of PLz and PSa (P for pre-history) with Arabic numerals. Dates are usually those of death, and even so these barely extend upwards of mid-century, where there is however a useful starting-point in the Land Registers that had to be remade under the fiscal exigencies of the Civil War.
Santon having only 6 wills and no Land transactions in the 17th century, as against 17 wills and numerous land-deals in Lezayre, its four family units may be looked at first.
These reveal links with Braddan as well as the Santon records. The Robert Kiusake of (BaI) may well be the Robert of (PSa1 and PSa2), the spelling of the name there, and even more in (PSa3), having a flavour of the Irish Cusack, suggesting that in the Douglas area this may have influenced the pronunciation.
One must ask too, whether the William of (PSa1) is the same as the William of Kirk Santon mentioned in the Ballaugh will of 1600, and the first of the name to be entered in the Bendoill treen in 1598. If so he must have been 80 or more at his death in 1660. This is, however, by no means impossible, for none of the four sons of his will survived him by more than a dozen years. (It was their burials that Isabel Brew was to recall in 1731). But he could well be the William who compounded for the new rates in 1643 for Ballakissage and its intacks. Other early rent rolls name as William the grandson and great-grandson of the compounder, and it is a fair inference that this last is the William of (San who married in 1695. Yet this succession of Williams highlights the absence of the name from the wills, explicable by the custom of not mentioning the heir in a will, or even children who have already had a marriage settlement.
The real challenges lie in Lezayre. There the family holdings of Abbeylands (whose records only begin in 1610, a full century later than the Lord's lands) in the early part of the century amounted to nearly a quarter of the whole, and were held in the names of William and Hugh. In 1643 intack land was held by Edward and William Junior.
Research produces traces of some 20 family units, disjointed and tantalising, so few details corresponding precisely with each other. So much the greater then is the incentive to press pedigree upward, with the particular objective of discovering the point of divergence of the two chief branches, where the tradesman family of Close-y-Killip parted from the senior, landowner branch of Kerrowmoar.
The transcript of an 18th century Inquest into the watercourses on Close-y-Killip explains how the area came about as the extension of Kerrowmoar seawards across the reclaimed curragh-land. By the end of the 18th century the name was obsolete, lost among the new names formed as the land was divided up and sold in parcels. The last portion of it that Kissacks held was called Close-y-Voddey. But in 1643 when the Stanlagh Moar offered his new rent settlement to landholders, all Close-y-Killip was entered under one name, William Kissack junior.
There is little difficulty in tracing the Kerrowmoar line back to the William who died in 1654 (PLz1). We might call him William the Coroner (after his murder investigation of 1639). He would have been born perhaps as far back as the 1580s. He was succeeded by Edward (PLz5) (1607-1671). An entry in the land records at the end of the century expressly states his heir was William (PLz9) his son, and William's, Ewan (LzV). Details of the inventories of the deceased and the claims made against their estates at death confirm the impression that the landed branch was already in sad straits in 1654. Almost the first act of Edward was to sell part of the Nappin to John Standish (whom he called 'my loving friend and kinsman', suggesting a link somewhere with the family of Miles Standish of the Mayflower.) Formidable debts are revealed in the wills of Edward himself, 1671, and his wife Jane Woods, 1665 (PLz5), and even more in those of William and his wife, Margaret Crow (PLz9) in 1683 and 1676 respectively. She died when only one of her four children , were of age. Ewan must have barely reached 14, when on his father's death he was summoned to court at Ramsey in March 1681/2, and required to give solemn surety for his dead parents' debts. It was a hard start for what was to prove a hard life all the way.
Ewan's uncle Hugh was made his supervisor. At his father's, (Edward) death in 1671, the Court was unsure whether Hugh had married or not. So we can assume that it was about then that he married Ann Roberts (LzIV). They had four daughters, one of whom was to marry Philip Kissage in 1707 (LzVII).
But the rest of the Lezayre Kissacks do not readily fall into any sort of convincing pattern. Indeed the families of Edmond (PLz3), Jane and her child (PLz6), Henry and Joney Kinry (PLz4), William and Joney (PLz7), William and Ellin (PLz11), William the Cooper (PLz13), John (PLz10), John and Joney (PLz15), John of the Corragh (PLz17), and even Ewan and Jane Sayle (PLz8) find no easy place. Mysterious also is the domestic situation of that William Kissage who was sent from one prison cell in Castle Rushen in 1667 to another in St. German's, until he be 'obedient unto his father as becometh a child, and respect, love and use his wife as a husband ought to do'.
In the end the challenge of Close-y-Killip is to identify the characters known (1) as William Junior, and (2) as William of the Curragh. To this end two documents are of special usefulness. One is Ewan Kissag's Contract-Bargain of 1717, and the other the will of Isabel Kissage of 1725.
The 'Bargain' is dated June 13, 1717, and begins : 'Forasmuch as I, Ewan Kissage, Weaver, son of William Kissage Corragh, gave and made a contract-bargain to my son Ewan Kissage and his former wife, Jonny Cowle deceased several years ago . . .' Its purpose is to except a parcel of land of 1/10.5 rent in Close-y-Killip, which by right should be inherited by the eldest of his sons, John, who had just turned up after being lost to sight for 20 years. Thus the document gives a clear 3-generational descent to a Ewan who died in 1741, outlived by his second wife, Esther Kissage, also mentioned in the bargain. (These had no children left to care for them, and so finally they were to trade their parcel of land to John Corlett in return for an annuitance of house and board for the rest of their lives - in Esther's case till 1754.)
The will of Isabel Kissage is extremely full, mentioning circumstances and a wide circle of people, but basically it shows : (1) her husband was a William Kissag; they had married in 1705; (2) she herself was also a Kissack; (3) there were no children, but she named three brothers, Ewan, John and Philip, a sister Jane, and another Elizabeth, married to Edward Killey; she had a sister-in-law Esther, also Kissack by birth; (4) she had a concern that a mortgage on part of William Cowley's Close should be redeemed.
Although there must have been little difference in ages, she cannot have been Isabel of the foul tongue. Who her husband was is another conundrum. A mortgage of 1704 calls him 'junior'. The same mortgage then and a decade later associates him as backer of Philip Kissage.
Philip is also a problem character. He was to marry into the Kerrowmoar family in 1707 (LzVII), and his progeny would spread far and continue long. His name appears linked with Isabel in the will of that other William who married Mariod Gill (or Killey) (LzVI). This last had died in 1720, directing in his will that Philip and Isabel settle a debt for him. This suggests a close family connection. They could hardly be his children (even if there was a Philip son of William baptised in Lezayre in 1698); could they be his brother and sister, born presumably in the 1660s?
It would be of great value to establish the paternity of this William, being a character of importance in this history. From him descend the septs of William the Merchant and Isaac, as well as the legitimate line through Ewan the Miller and Mark (LzVIII). He may have been William the Miller, entered in one of the early rent-rolls for half of Close-y-Killip with a Ewan in the other half. That he was a miller seems fair inference from the circumstantial details of his will, and the fact that his son Ewan was a miller who testifies that he was 'raised at Garrett's Mill', Lezayre. He married at Braddan in 1691, Mariod, later documented as 'Gill' but then as 'Killey', an alternative form. In 1690 Elizabeth, Isabel's sister, had married at Malew Edward Killey, a circumstance which might reflect a double brother and sister marriage arrangement. This all contributes to the possibility that William also was a son of Ewan the Weaver (PLz14), brother of Esther's husband Ewan, and of Philip who married Alice Kissage, as also of Isabel Kissage, Elizabeth Killey and the shadowy figures of John and Jane.
It remains then to determine William of the Corragh and William Junior, of whom no definite indication survives. One candidate for the former could be William of (PLz11). With his wife Ellin and son Ewan he features in land transactions in 1686 and 1695, the latter being with a Thomas Cowley, and so possibly concerning the parcel that so concerned Isabel in 1725, then held in William Cowley's name.
The nickname of Junior will mean different men in different generations. We are looking for a man at the height of his powers in 1643. As such he could be the son mentioned in the will of William the Coroner in 1654. (And with less dignity, in a regrettable situation that issued in a law-case whose papers have become attached to the will. Mystery must make what it can of the bare and crude facts. In August 1654, William called Jane Woods, his sister-in-law a bitch and a whore. Next January she called him a bastard-curst. After the first incident William apologised and was forgiven. The second ends with the investigating official's comment : 'Jane Woods refused her sworn, because 'he is in her sister's child'.)
This William must have been born about 1620. It would not have been impossible for him to have been still active in 1695, and so to have been identical with the Curragh William, yet as his brother Edward and sister Christian (Quail) died in the 1670s, and his other brother Ewan in 1662, it would be more reasonable to look for "Coragh" in the next generation to Junior, and even as his son.
On this hypothesis the two major families of Lezayre would unite in William the Coroner, the last of the Optimates that the family produced After him the line declines to a lower social sphere. Geographically, Kerrowmoar rides the Lezayre escarpment from the upland plain to the marshy river-meadows (Claddaghs) at its foot. There Close-y-Killip begins and stretches flat and lowly northwards towards the coast. So in our human history, William begins the decline from a more elevated past to the low estate 'exposed to feel what wretches feel'.
The amount of conjecture in the foregoing can be assessed in the cartouches, in realising there are quite a dozen undated Williams in the period. In 1690 three Williams are involved in a single Inquest, one as defendant, and two as Quest members. And who was that hapless prisoner of 1667? In 1698 Margaret Corlett, his widow, was declaring her age as 60, her name changed back to Corlett by marriage to Robert of the ilk. She died in 1705. But no William can be found to fit the categories of birth in the 1630s, a father still living in the '60s, survived by a wife Margaret, residing in a Kerrowmoar curragh, with Curpheys for neighbours and Ewan for a son.
Nor are Ewans more distinguishable. Three of them give evidence at another Inquest in 1720; and quite six of them must have been about in the parish at the time. Ewan, husband of Jane Sayle, shows in his will that he was of Close-y-Killip, had a brother, William, and a sister Mary, but is equally un-placeable anywhere that all conditions can be seen to apply. Nor can we relate the Miller who died in 1653 with the millers at the end of the century.
When in the next chapter we consider possible lines of connection between our family branches, we shall find a key person in a Mally (or Mary) Kissack, daughter of a William Kissack of Lezayre who married John Tear of Jurby married 1634 and died in 1686. There is a singular absence of Marys in the PLz units as they emerge from parental wills, even though not only the Ewan of PLz8, but also the William of PLz9 speaks of a sister Mary. Her dates make her a contemporary of both men. Could she possibly be located in PLz1? Having had a marriage settlement in 1634, she would not normally expect any further legacy from her parents.
But here, in a genealogical jungle of fragmented personalities, speculation is apt to grow increasingly excitable, while logic halts and stares perplexed. At this point in the specifically genealogical trail it is best to stop.
Theologians of the 16th and 17th centuries coined a pair of words of impossible and goggling magnificence to indicate that Man had known two states, one before, one after the Fall. They were Supralapsarian and Infralapsarian. So far our story of our little segment of Mankind in Mann has been infralapsarian. It started with the Lezayre family as it emerges out of the 17th century on its way down in the world, and showing most human weaknesses, socially, morally, economically inadequate. Since then it struggles with its destiny, and in the end it begins to rise again. But the family had had its supralapsarian age. Indeed the very first rays of light in the dawn of factual Island history fall on a scene of Kissacks trailing some kind of clouds of glory.
When the new King of Mann, Sir John Stanley, set out in 1405 to build the Manx kingdom again after generations of political chaos, he was most particular in reconstructing it on the pattern of the old Norse kings a century and a half before. Central in that model was to be the Court of all the Commons of Man, the Eldest and Worthiest of all the Land of Man'. The records of the meetings of such a body between 1405 and 1429 always contain the name of a Gubon (or Gilbert) Kissack. Indeed his name appears on an Indenture of 1417, the oldest Legal document on the Island. It was however, not the Legislators but the activists that drew the limelight, and stole the scene - the scene that was to open Act One of the story of the Stanley regime.
This present study, I think, really began when my grandfather told me; 'A Kissack was hanged, drawn and quartered for leading an insurrection against the imposition of a Poll Tax, and I'm proud of him' (the last sentence with the faintly defiant air that the orderly world of 1920 required). And I felt the boy's reaction that I wanted to prove my descent from him.
The relevant passage from The Acts of Sir John Stanley reads :
'In the same Court (as confirmed the new constitution) . . , Howlac McKissacke is arraigned that he feloniously rose upon John Walton, Lieutenant of Man, sitting in the Court at Kirk Michele upon the Tuesday after the Feast of Corpus Christi, in the year o f our Lord God, 1422. And men there being with him did beat and misuse the Lieutenant's men in the Churchyard : and there Hawley came and entirely withsaid all his deeds, and put him to the Country.'
He was condemned to be drawn with horse, hung and headed. 'After that doom, he put him into the Kynge's hands'. Also dealt with in the same way were some 20 others in smaller batches, including Donald McKissaacke.
A. W. Moore has suggested that this 1422 uprising may have been triggered by suspicion that the new regime was intending to frustrate the powers of the Court of all the Tenants and Commons of Man. This Court consisted of 6 men from each sheading, chosen by the whole Commons of Man. From this panel of 36, it looks as if 24 would be called on to serve at need, but seemingly only in a judicial capacity. This Court would be referred to as 'the Country': Suspicions that it had become a tool of the Establishment could only be confirmed when the Country so readily condemned Hawley and his men.
Others however think that it was the Church who were the opposition to the Stanleys, and that Hawley might have been instigated by the Bishop. This much can be said for the theory. The Gubon McKissaacke who features among the 24 may well have been the Gubon Issacke involved in a case in 1430. There he is the Commissary of Bishop Richard Pully, and was complained against by Ffinlo McKye and others, who were refusing to pay 'particle rent', on the grounds that it was being withheld from its proper use, (to pay for the education of poor scholars so as to ensure a supply of clergy).
Whether Gubon the Commissary was indeed the Gubon who led the six of the Michael Sheading in the Court of the Country, depends on how one transliterates l5th century calligraphy. As with the name Ysage, the compilers of the l9th century edition of The Acts decyphered the name as McKimbe. Since then scholars have preferred in each case that the names should be Kissack. If this be accepted, an interesting fact emerges.
A few years ago, Michael Crellin discovered some pages among the earliest volumes of the Manorial Roll (i.e. the Rent Book of the Lords of Man), which he calculated from internal evidence must be even older than the 1510 date on the cover, and he dated them about 1490. They happened to include the Treen of Broctarge in Ballaugh, and show that Kissacks were living in that Treen then, only 60 years after Gubon's case, as well as that of Ballamoaney.
Now Broctarge is the modern Broughjearg, the quarterland that immediately abuts on the Bishopcourt demesne to the north. Normally round the borders of ecclesiastical land would be a strip of so-called Particles, whose misuse had evoked McKye's protest in 1430. Is this perhaps the fact that lies at the core of the issue? Had Gubon appropriated the disputed land or part of it ? With or without the Bishop's connivance? Was Gubon the Bishop's neighbour because he was his Commissiary ? It seems certain that the Kissacks were well established in the Sheading, otherwise Gubon would not be in the 24, nor would Hawley be able to command a rebellion. Ballaugh then was the setting of the Clan in its supralasarian age.
Our ultimate objective in genealogy is to find one's way, if not to a Proto-Isaac, at least to an Eponymous Hero. And Hawley must serve as such - a Manx Che Guevara. But whether he was a martyr or not is disputed. Certainly we do not hear of him or Donald after 1422. But equally certainly we do not hear of any executions. A softly-softly approach was always characteristic of the 15th century Stanleys, and paid them off very well in that most tortuous of centuries. Thomas Stanley, for instance, would be prudent enough to renounce the title of King for that of Lord, lest its presumptuous sound call the wrong sort of attention. As a result the family rose so high as to rank as an alternative candidate for the English throne, had it not been offered and accepted by James of Scotland. Sir John, then, would be wiser than to alienate his not-very-powerful new kingdom by over-severity, when clemency and indulgence could undergird his ascendancy (and maybe incidentally show that a Keys that was not quite so strong as some hoped, was not so sad a fate as some had thought). Nor does the career of the other Kissack, Gubon, seem affected by the events of 1422, whatever was his destiny after 1430.
When 170 years later, the Ballaugh parish registers open in 1598, (precisely the year which canon law demands), they reveal a truly tragic death scene. The 17th century was less than a week old, when William Kissaughe died on the last day of March, 1600. Two years later, Ffynlo (or Philip) his eldest son is buried, and in the same year, another William, seemingly in his prime (his wife was pregnant with their first child, though he admits also to a bass son). His uncle Thomas follows the next year; in 1605 Christian, wife of Donald Corlett. A Donald Kissack dies in 1613, Bahee in 1647, Margaret in 1663.
Six of these burials were 'within' the old church at Ballaugh, such was the privilege of Quarterland families. These were years of pestilence, yet how much compounded must its deadliness have been by piling corpse on corpse under the seats where the family worshipped Sunday by Sunday?
Yet though these carefully kept registers bear no sign of baptism or wedding in the Ballaugh family (though curiously 3 entries concern the Lezayre Kissacks), there was a William Kissack about in the 1630s and '40s inventorising for wills in the parish. And a most valuable insight is left from this dark period, in the will of that first William. He leaves 'a milcher and follower, and 4 sheep to William Kissack of Kirk Santan' - and so enables us confidently to assume that the William Kissack whose name is entered for the first time under the Treen of Bendoil in Santan in 1598, came of the Ballaugh branch. Thus the Ballakissack family have the strongest claim to descent from Hawley.
No other branch of the clan has any sure linkage with the Broughjearg or Ballamona families. It is not hard to believe that cadets of these families found their way a few miles into Jurby, Andreas and Lezayre, but how and when is unrecorded. On the death of Margaret, heiress of Broughjearg, her quarterland and intack properties passed to her Corlett son (and the line which was to include Sir Mark Collett.) Likewise the Manorial Roll indicates how, on the death of Mally Kissack (1686), her intacks in Jurby and Ballaugh passed into Tear possession. Mally was the daughter of William Kissack of Lezayre and Katherin Charrin (Mylecharaine), who bestowed on Mally and John Tear at their marriage in 1634 a property called Ballacharlaine, lying across the boundaries of Ballaugh and Jurby (and so on Ballamona quarterland, which had been in the name of Patrick McIssak in 1490). This might suggest a definite link between the Ballaugh and Lezayre families, were it not for the fact that our name had disappeared from Ballamona by 1583, although throughout the 1570s Gylbert Kyssage had been in constant litigation with a William McGawen over problems of Ballamoaney.
In land records, we can trace Kissacks on intack land in Lezayre from 1539, under the names of Donald (1539), Edmond (1540-'89), William (1576ff) and a second William (1580ff). Law suits involved a Hugh, (who was aged about 50 in 1633) in a dispute with a William Garrett and a William Kissack, over 'half a Water-mill', - another evidence of the family's milling interests even in the 16th century.
The name Donald suggests a linkage. Broughjearg was held in that name in 1490. The William who died in Ballaugh in 1600 had a son Donald. Under the name intacks were registered in Ballaugh in 1589, in Jurby after 1583, and in Lezayre about 1600. A Donald was one of the 24 Keys in 1485 and 1504; he would certainly have been of Broughjearg, maintaining the family place held by Gubon in 1408, 1422 and 1430. The tradition was being carried on by a William in 1585, and lasted until 1637, since when the family name has never reappeared among the 24.
Who, it is interesting to ask, were these Williams who served for that last half-century? Could any have been of the Kerrowmoar family
The Manx Note Book vol. i (1885) published a stray document of 1601, which represented an agreement between representatives of the Islands landowners and the Government Officers over the means of payment of customary dues for the upkeep of the garrisons of the two Castles. A serious cattle epidemic prevented the normal payment in the form of beasts, and a cash substitute was negotiated. The document bears 92 signatures (the 24 Keys and 4 representatives of the 17 parishes). These must have been the most important people on the Island at the time. Three of them bear our name. Twelfth of the list is a William Kissagge, who makes his mark; and among the last 5 names are Phinlo Kyssage and William Kyssagge, seemingly straight signatures.
As Phinlos name features in the Ballaugh burials of 1602, it looks as if he and the second William must be of that parish. As the first William Kissagge appears alongside Standish and Garrett, this could denote Lezayre. Logic might suggest that the first 24 names represent the Keys, but a comparison with contemporary lists does not confirm this li kelihood. Otherwise it would look as if the Lezayre family, for all its illiteracy, had somehow taken the seat. The Ballaugh William however could not have been the father of Phinlo; having died in 1600, he could not have signed in 1601. Clearly there had been more Williams to succeed Phinlo, despite the absence of any in the parish registers, enough at any rate to have continued to supply the Keys until sometime about 1640, when the male Broughjearg line must have ended. Certainly in 1629 a William Kissake was signing among the 24 in a fine fluent hand.
As for the problem of the entrance of the family into the Lezayre Abbeyland of Kerrowmoar, G. V. C. Young offers an interesting conjecture arising from his researches into the Standish family. These had shared intack land in Lezayre with the Kissacks since at least 1540, and he suggests that the Kissacks may have succeeded them in the quarterland of Kerrowmoar. The Abbeylands passed at the dissolution of the Monastries in 1537 into the control of the Lord of Man. One single page of the first Rent Roll (called a Computus) dated 1540 has survived, and by chance it is for Lezayre. It shows no Kissacks holding Abbeyland then, but Hugh Standish has the outstandingly large assessment of 23/- out of a total of £11 4s. 8d. The next surviving such list (1609) shows William Kissack paying a like outstanding sum (28/-).
Examination of such interim Abbeyland records as survive reveal that a John Standish was holding Abbeyland in the early 1580s and that about then the name of William Kissack first appears and features (not infrequently) among the litigants. In 1583/4 he charges John Standish with 'witholding from him a piece of ground called Close Moar', which he claims he had purchased legally the preceding Michaelmas. (Incidentally, he lost his case on a legal technicality). It is however unlikely that this Close Moar could be identified with the quarterland of Kerrowmoar. There is even a stray item of land transfer (about 1597) recording the acquisition of Abbeyland, rental value of 15/-, by William Kissack, but not from a Standish, but from William and John Kewney. So the fragmentary nature of the evidence is inconclusive. What could be of significance is that it was precisely at the juncture when a contentious Gylbart Kissauge disappears from the Ballaugh quarterland of Ballamoney, that an equally contentious William appears in the Abbeylands of Lezayre.
Maughold had already given indications of probable mid-l7th century links with Andreas on the one hand and Douglas on the other, and Lezayre of links at the same level with Castletown. The Kissacks who occupied part of the treen of Edremony in Rushen in the 15th century leave faint tracks there till 1631, and these, with the steady persistence of the Ballakissack family, are enough to account for, even if not explain, the few southern households. The strong milling associations of the family in those years would mean that their specialist trade drove them farther afield in the search for work than the casual labourer ever had to go.
This then completes the delineation of our Clan. What are we to make of ourselves?
Isaac and his seed, like Adam himself and all the Manx, came from the earth. We were peasants, the landed class, not in the sense of owning broad acres, but as the people who live on the land, by the land and for the land. Sharing its vicissitudes of dearth or plenty; loyal to it, though fate fettered us in its clods; finding nobility in enduring poverty.
Spared the uneasiness of heads that wear crowns, or minds that take too much though for the tomorrow of their wealth, we were wise with the wisdom of Agur the son of Jakeh when he said :
"Give me neither poverty nor wealth
Provide me only with the food I need :
For if I have too much, 1 shall deny Thee,
and say : Who is the Lord?
And if I am reduced to poverty, I shall steal and blacken the name of my God".
Not for us however the meekness that inherits the earth; we had that streak of sullen independence that could burst out in tempers that might unleash the virulence of Isabel's tongue, or tumble a sneering Corlett down the cellar stairs, though equally drive Hawley into battle for democracy against the Establishment, or the Maughold Millers against the Church and convention.
Only in 1422 did we make any history. Since then we have set neither the Thames nor the Sulby burn on fire. Even our Lezayre neighbours had their glories. But we never produced a bishop like the Nappin Crowes, nor a Pilgrim Father like the Ellanbane Standishes, nor a dynasty of hereditary Deemsters like the Milntown Christians, nor ever had an escutcheon like the Ballabrooie Garretts.
Nor, when we have left the Island, have we reached the professional eminence of other Manxmen. No academic professors like Kermodes or Kinvigs. No Vice-Chancellors like the Quirks of Cronk-y-Voddy. We did not win the American West like the Cannans in Utah, nor restructure a currency like the Moores in South Africa. We did not guard Napoleon on St. Helena like the Wilkses, nor administer the Indian Empire like the Cubbons. Nor can we claim any share in novelists like the Cains, nor in our national poet, T. E. Brown, as can Scarfes and Cosnahans and Stowells.
But we have captained ships and manned their sails and engines : we have built houses and machines, stocked shops and served in them, taught in schools and trained teachers, tended the sick in surgery and hospital wards. We have pen-pushed and administered in responsible offices in Island government, and directed the Island's Steamship Company. We have given lay and ministerial services in the Church. We have done jobs that hold communities together, and kept the wheels of social life turning.
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