Tuesday, May 28, 2013

William Fant of Fethard Tipperary - Nailer

Fethard Tipperary is not the origin place for my family but actually the place where I first found them. William Faunt as he is called in British Army records is a Nailer or a blacksmith as was both his brother Patrick and his father William. They lived on the Cashel Road and Kerry Street.

I found this on the Fethard Tipperary website: " Should a walker turn left at the dance hall rather than right at the bridge leading to town he would find himself  in Kerry Street  and on the road to Clonmel.
In the days when nails were made by hand in a forge rather than by machinery  in a factory, Kerry Street was the place where the Fethard nailers lived and worked. Tradition has it that their workshops were situated on the left hand side of the street as one goes toward Clonmel. Specimens of their long, sharp produce can still be picked up around the town."

Fethard was a walled  market town from Norman times which had laws and customs about  where people live and work. Nailers were sort of  hereditary occupations in a way, much like weavers ,  millers, milliners and midwives, passed down in families anyway. All the birth records on the family that had addresses were "Kerry Street " or " Valley" and none in the town. Patrick Faunt my great great uncle's wife was a daughter of a Nailer as was Bridget Fant his sister's second husband.

James Fant the oldest sibling later raises his family on Kerry Street suggesting to his  occupation also.

Initially told there were two William Faunt’s born in 1840 and asked which one was mine? When I told them there was a probably sibling named Patrick I was given the baptismal record of my ancestor. What a thrill that was!

Fast forwarding, we, ( John McDermot and I ) have now deduced that William Fant who was father to my William is in fact the grandfather of the William Fant born in 1840. He seems to have had  two marriages. Here is our family in Fethard Tipperary between 1819 and 1854. 

William Fant marries Margaret Hickey June 24,1819 in Fethard in the presence of Susan Graham and Miss M. Fitzgerald. Their known children were James Fant born Oct. 31, 1819 on Kerry Street, Margaret Fant born 1826, William Fant 1828,Valley Fethard and Bridget Fant  baptized on  31 March 1831.  

Margaret Hickey must be deceased by 1835 as William marries Honora ( Nora or Norry) Cunningham 17 Sept. 1835 in Killanaule in the presence of John Nolan and Edmund Cunningham. Their known children are Patrick born 16 March 1838 in Fethard ,my William Joseph Fant 5 June 1840, Edmund 16 Dec. 1845, Johanna Dec. 31, 1848 and Judith 19 June 1852.  

William Fant is born c. 1790 most likely in Cork or Limerick and dies after 1865 and probably came to Fethard to work his trade of Nailer or Blacksmith. His father’s name was likely James. Margaret Hickey’s father was probably James. Norry Cunningham was born 3 July 1809 in Powerstown Tipperary to Edmond Cunningham and Bridget Slattery, she had siblings Janet, Edmond, John.  

Generation two starts with James Fant, who married Mary Nolan daughter of Michael and had William, Michael,  Mary and Patrick. Margaret Fant married Jeremiah Maher, Bridget Fant married William Maher and later Pierce Keevan.  Patrick Fant marries Margaret Dwane, William Fant son of Norry Cunningham and William Fant marries Ellen Lynch, Johanna ( Jane) Fant became a nun in the Presentation Order in Fethard and died in Cashel in 1910. Nothing is known about Edmond, Judith or the older son named William,they may have died before adulthood.  

Ellen Lynch’s parents were Michael Lynch and Ellen Hannon from Limerick. Both of Bridget Fant’s husbands were from Fethard.Margaret Dwane’s father Patrick was also a Nailer in Fethard as was Pierce Keevan. 

Generation three begins with James Fant and Mary Nolan’s son. William has 2 children  James and Patrick who both immigrated to the US.  James Fant was in Manhatten married to Margaret and died about 1920. Patrick Font ( as they spell it) married a Margaret Reed near Philadelphia PA. Michael Fant married Margaret Hickey in Adfinnan Tipperary and had a daughter Mary in 1875. (There is a Michael Fant who is in Philadelphia with a wife Mary has a son Walter in 1901 who dies as an infant, but no proof of who he is. He may fit into this family.) Bridget Fant and William Maher had  two children Patrick Faunt Madden and Margaret Madden,  Margaret Fant and Jeremiah Maher have 3 children Thomas, Mary and William in London England. 

Patrick Fant and Margaret Dwane  married in Fethard in 1865 after Patrick left the Army. They had  William Joseph,Patrick,Mary,James Vincent and Jane and moved to Cork City. William Fant also went into the British Army, married Ellen Lynch and emigrated to Beverly NJ. They had Patrick Edward in Limerick City in 1865, William Joseph in Belfast, Nellie ( Ellen) ,Jennie ( Jane), Michael and Louisa in New Jersey as well as 4 babies who died young.


  1. Saw your blog listed at Geneabloggers, congratulations. Just what ever you do keep blogging it is very rewarding and you will soon meet new cousins.

    Take care,

    Moises Garza
    We Are Cousins - My personal blog about Northeastern Mexico and South Texas Genealogy

    Mexican Genealogy - Blog where anyone with Mexican roots can get started with their family genealogy and history.