LARKIN FAMILY HISTORY
George Larkin was born in Roger's Court, Lurgan, Ireland in 1858. His father was John Lurgan. Father & son shared the occupation of "weavers". It was in Lurgan that George met Rachel Tumbleson. The couple married on July 12, 1879 at the Parish Church. The ceremony was witnessed by Samuel & Mary Brown(unknown). Rachel's father, Thomas Tumbleson, was originally from England. Her mother's name was Margaret, maiden name Moore.
Rachel (Tumbleson) Larkin
George and Rachel had 10 children(!): George Jr., Robert, Elizabeth, Charlotte, John, Henry, Mary(Minnie), Joe, Thomas, and David.
Their second child, Robert Larkin, was born in Lurgan on September 13, 1881. Below are two photos taken of Lurgan around the time of his birth...
Church Place & Edward Street.
Church Place leading to Market Street.
The Larkins eventually made their way to Belfast. George and Rachel resided at 122 Tennant street(George died there on October 23rd, 1943, of "myocardial degeneration"). Robert married Elizabeth Robinson(on December 31, 1900), whose father was Captain John Robinson(born 1854 in Ireland), and mother was Jeannett (Moore) Robinson(born in Ireland in 1852). Robert and Elizabeth resided across the street at 147 Tennent Street. They had 5 children: Rachel, Robert Jr., Alfred, Marion, and Gwendoline(click HERE to learn about another child) .
Robert Sr. worked as a "hackle setter" at the Lindsay-Thompson linen thread mill. Unlike many others, Robert was welcome on both sides of the Catholic/Protestant line in Belfast, as he was a labor-union man and distributed the disability checks, each Saturday, on his bicycle. He was a pacifist for religious/spiritual reasons, and refused to support or participate in violence for any cause; thus his refusal to join either the Orange Lodge (which resulted in permanent alienation from his father, George) or any IRA group.
Grandpa(Robert Larkin, Jr.) remembered racing home after curfew (9pm) when the Black & Tans were patrolling the streets, and his mom cuffing him on the side of the head as he ran into the house! (Read more about the Black & Tans by clicking HERE.)
From Ted Larkin, son of Al..."Dad told stories about being sent round to the back door of the neighborhood pub in Ireland ("the local"), after supper, to fetch a mug of beer for his Pop; evidently that's the only way it was sold (bring your own mug - no bottles). However, Dad told me that his father was a "Temperance man", that he reportedly never touched hard liquor, and rarely indulged in any alcohol. As a child, I was fascinated by grandpa's pipe; it had a silver cap over the bowl to keep the ash in, and let the smoke out, and I loved to watch the smoke emerge from the holes in the cap and swirl like a genie around Grandpa's head."
Al Larkin also remembered bullets hitting the upstairs walls of the house and coming in the windows upstairs. Once, he said, a grenade came through an upper-story window, but must not have detonated or there would have been casualties, and the house might not still be there today. Al always believed that the bullets were random, not personal, as they lived on a "border" street between Protestant/Unionist and Catholic/Republican areas. But you never know, anyone on either side might have wanted to do harm to a "non-joiner".
In his later years, Al Larkin often talked of Ireland, and was especially fond of recalling family summer holidays on Island Magee, which is actually an 8 mile long peninsula near Belfast. Island Magee is a farming community that also has fantastic fishing. The family rented a guest house on a farm from a Mrs. Houston, whose husband had died, and whose sons were all sailors, sea captains, or fisherman, when they weren't farming.
Here's an Island Magee memory told by Al to his son, Ted...
And another Island Magee story, again from Ted Larkin...
Today, Island Magee remains much as grandpa, Al, and the rest of the family last saw it 85 years ago. Here are a few recent photos...
Portmuck, on the NE coast of Island Magee.
Portmuck and the surrounding countryside.
COMING TO AMERICA
BELFAST POSTCARDS 1910
QUIRK FAMILY HISTORY
A TIMELINE OF IRISH HISTORY
Email Jeff Delaney by clicking HERE
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