Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

Random Quote
Random Date





Arms: Sable, on a bend or, three martlets (or canary birds) vert.

Crest: Two anchors, saltier ways, proper.

Motto: I live in hope.


There have always been numerous variations to the spelling of the name with de Kyner, Kynner, Kynnier, Kenneir, Kinneir and Kinnear amongst the most popular. Writing in 1911, John Kinnier of Lynchburg maintained that the first Kinnears to emigrate from Ulster to Virginia spelled it 'Kinnier'. His father also adopted that spelling when he moved from Monaghan to Virginia.


The Kinnears of Dublin were a family of Scottish Presbyterian origin who moved to Dublin, by way of County Monaghan, during the late 19th century.

The family originally hailed from the parish of Kinneir on the banks of the Firth of Tay on the east coast of Scotland. The name is said to derive from a combination of the Gaelic words ‘ceann’, meaning headland, and ‘iar’, meaning west, and referred to a thanage in the parish of Kilmany. Indeed, the thanage of Kinneir was just one of four Fife thanages to survive the influx of Saxon and Norman immigrants in the 12th century. (1)

The earliest recorded member of the family was ‘Alwyn Kinneir of that ilk’ who was a witness to a charter during the reign of David I of Scotland (1124-1153). Alwyn is assumed to have been a man of Norman origin and may have been a vassal of the Prior of St. Andrews.

In 1165, King David’s grandson William the Lion ascended the Scottish throne and gifted the thanage of Kyner to William de Kinneir. Precisely why the ancestor of the Kinnears came into Royal favour is unknown. Perhaps he assisted the red-headed Scottish monarch during one of his ill-fated attempts to regain control of Northumbria from the Normans. Or maybe he offered his support when, in 1174, King William was captured by Henry II of England and forced to offer homage for his kingdom.

In 1213, William de Kinneir was succeeded by his son Symon de Kyner who, two years later, while King John was wrestling with the implications of Magna Carta in London, made a grant to the Augustinian priory at St. Andrew's, confirmed in 1216 by King Alexander II.


One of the earliest places associated with the family was Balmerino, a small village in Fife, where in 1227 William the Lion’s widow Ermengarde de Beaumont and his heir King Alexander II, co-founded a Cistercian monastery, dispatching monks from Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders to occupy it. (2)

Balmerino lies on the south bank of the Firth of Tay, directly opposite Dundee. The shore was peppered with small ports from which the Scottish fishing fleets and merchant ships enjoyed a thriving trade during the Middle Ages. In 1179, William the Lion had granted Dundee its Royal Charter, enabling the town to have its own court and local government, whilst simultaneously granting the earldom of Dundee to his younger brother, David, Earl of Huntingdon.

Under Earl David, Dundee boomed and it may be that the Kinnears were among the thousands drawn to the area at this time. (3) In 1292, John Baliol, a grandson of Earl David, became King of Scotland and Dundee became a Royal Burgh.

During the 13th century, the lands in Balmerino parish were partly demesne and partly servile. In 1234, Simon de Kyner made a grant of land to ‘Hugh of Kilmany’ and the Knights Hospitaller, otherwise known as the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.

Simon's grant, which included Balmerino Abbey, also known as St Edward's Abbey, was confirmed by Alexander III in 1260. It was confirmed again by Symon’s son Sir John de Kinnear shortly before Alexander III’s untimely death in 1286. (4)

When Edward Longshanks English army invaded Scotland, they captured Dundee Castle and installed an English garrison. However, William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace recaptured the castle in 1297.


In 1543, Sir John’s descendant John Kinnier succeeded as 14th Baron of Kinnier. By his wife Helen Ramsay, the 14th Baron had two sons, David, his heir, and Henry, who became second Commendator of Balmerino Abbey. It is to be noted that the first of the family to settle in Ireland also married a Ramsay.

1543 was also the year in which the promising young King James V of Scotland was killed at the catastrophic battle of Solway Moss. Indeed, it seems likely that the corpse of John Kinnier's father was among those strewn on the battlefield.

This was a time of tremendous crisis in Scotland. Not only had the country lost its king, but it was the first time a Scottish monarch had died without producing a male heir in 180 years. The kingdom was now vested in James V’s daughter Mary, Queen of Scots, born six days before his death.

Amongst the four peers given charge of the baby was John Lindsay, 5th Lord Lindsay of the Byres, who would later be father-in-law to David, 15th Baron Kinnier.

Mary’s mother Mary of Guise duly consolidated her position as Regent of Scotland but was immediately faced with a challenge when the ailing Henry VIII of England attempted to secure the young Mary as a bride for his son and heir, Prince Edward.

The Scots were reluctant to accept the marriage, preferring an offer from the French monarchy. Henry VIII took the slight badly and declared war in December 1543.

The Scottish lairds seem to have divided on the issue and it is not yet known were John Kinnear stood but one assumes he was pro-Mary, given that his son later married a daughter of Lord Lindsay, one of Mary’s trusted guardians. Indeed, Lord Lindsay was on the battlefield when the Scots scored a rare victory over the English at Ancrum Moor near Jedburgh.

It is also notable that the Lairds of Fife, of which John Kinnier was one, collaborated in the murder of the Francophile Cardinal Beaton, Archbishop of St. Andrew’s, at St. Andrew’s in May 1546. Indeed, the ringleader of the assassins was the young Master of Rothes, a brother-in-law of John Kinnier’s son David.

Meanwhile, the English army arrived. In July 1547, much of the walled city of Dundee was destroyed by a naval bombardment. Two months later, the English won a major encounter at the Battle of Pinkie which left approximately 6,000 Scots dead on a field near Edinburgh and placed much of southern Scotland under military occupation.

In December 1547, Balmerino Abbey was burned by an English force. It is not known how many monks were living in the abbey. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, it had approximately 20 monks. That same month, Mary, Queen of Scots, was taken to safety and, with Mary of Guise acting as Regent, she was betrothed to the French Dauphin, Francois, son and heir of Henri II.

In 1558, Mary, Queen of Scots, married the French Dauphin and all looked exceedingly promising for the House of Stuart. But then everything suddenly went belly up. Within the next three years, Mary was attending the funerals of Henri II (in a jousting accident), her mother Mary of Guise (with dropsy) and her husband Francois II (of a brain abscess). This coincided with escalating tensions across Scotland between Protestants and Catholics; Balmerino Abbey burned again.

In 1561, the year Mary returned to Scotland, John Hay became Balmerino Abbey’s first Commendator and was thus entrusted with safeguarding the church until order was restored. It is likely that Commendator Hay, or the Kinnears who succeeded him, did not actually live in the abbey.

In March 1563, John Kinnier’s eldest son David married the Hon. Elizabeth Lindsay, daughter of one of Mary, Queen of Scots childhood guardians. The marriage presumably boosted the family’s social standing and, in February 1564, John Kinnier ‘of that Ilk’ persuaded Commendator Hay, with the consent of those monks who remained at Balmerino, to grant him the ‘rents and fruits' of the Abbacy for nineteen years for an annual payment of 900 merks. This Tack, as such leases were called by the Highland clans, was confirmed under the Great Seal on 27th July 1565.

Meanwhile, Scotland was tumbling into another crisis. On 15th May 1565, Commendator Hay was present when Queen Mary hosted a Convention of the nobility at Stirling and announced her intention of marrying Lord Darnley. This was the first time Commendators had sat in Council since the Queen's return from France.

Four weeks later, Mary sent Hay as her ambassador to Queen Elisabeth, bearing a letter in which she sought her cousin’s consent to the marriage. In the letter, Mary also requested that Darnley’s parents, both held prisoner, should be liberated. Elizabeth apparently ‘flew into a rage’, sent Darnley’s mother to the Tower and practically declared Darnley an outlaw there and then.

The marriage to Darnley went ahead on 29th July 1565 in the Chapel-Royal of Hollyroodhouse Palace, Edinburgh. However, Darnley sealed his own fate when he and a band of fellow nobles, including David Kinnier’s brother-in-law Patrick, 6th Lord Lindsay, orchestrated the murder of David Rizzio, Mary’s dashing Italian secretary, in March 1566. The murder took place in full view of Mary who was then seven months pregnant with Darnley's child, the future King James I of England.

Within a year, Darnley’s bloody corpse was found in an orchard outside Edinburgh. Mary invited utter disaster into her life when she eloped with his alleged murderer, the Earl of Bothwell.


Whether these events directly affected John Kinnier or not is unknown but, by 1569, the 14th Baron was in financial trouble. Having obtained the rents and fruits of Balmerino Abbey, he had failed to pay Commendator Hay ‘certain of the teinds’ of Logy 'as a part of the patrimony of the said Abbay’ for the crop yield of 1568. John Kinnier was ‘denounced as a rebel and put to the horn’ by a decree of the Lords of Session.

He was also ordained to (and it is probably best to read this part aloud!) ‘devoid and red himself, his servandis and guidis, furth of the Abbay and Houssis of Balmerinoch, yairdis, houssis, and dowcattis perteining thairto, to the effect the said Commendator may entir thairto’.

As such, on 31st December 1569, the Crown gifted Commendator Hay ‘the escheat of the whole goods, movable and immovable, gold and silver coined and uncoined, corns and cattle, etc., belonging to John Kinneir’. [sic]

It seems that, despite this, John’s son Henry Kinnier was provisionally nominated to the post of Commendator, as heir apparent to succeed John Hay on the latter’s death. (5)

By 1st June 1573, the Kinniers had evidently redeemed themselves as that day Commendator Hay and the monks of Balmerino granted Henry Kinneir, son of the disgraced John and his wife Helen, a 'Tack of the teinds, teind sheaves, and other profits, rents, and duties of the towns and lands, with the pertinents, of the parochines and parish kirks of Logie and Balmerinoch, for nineteen years after Lambmas 1573 for 100 merks yearly’.

John Hay died at Edinburgh on 3rd December 1573, shortly before the Earl of Morton defeated Mary’s supporters in a series of routs and skirmishes. Morton was acting as Regent of Scotland during the minority of James VI. And it was as Regent that he signed a letter under the Great Seal, dated 7th May 1574, appointing Henry Kinnier to succeed as Commendator of Balmerino.

Lord Morton was obliged to resign as Regent shortly afterwards. He was later executed for his alleged complicity in the murder of Lord Darnley. Again, one is inclined to marvel at the similarities between 17th century Scotland and 20th century Iraq.

Patrick Adamson, Archbishop of St Andrew's, described Henry Kinneir as ‘a true professor of the Christian religion, conspicuous by his good behaviour and life, learned, and a Candidate in Philosophy in the University of St. Andrews, who had completed the twenty-first year of his age; and had made oath that he would obey the royal authority according to use and wont’.

Henry married Christina, daughter of Robert Betoun of Creich, by whom he had two sons, John and David, and a daughter, Jean. (6) His eldest son John became Abbott (and Commendator heir apparent) of the Abbey on 17th April 1582. Three years later, Henry was present when the Scottish Parliament met at St. Andrews and signed an Act empowering young James VI to enter into a Protestant League with England.

According to Robert Monteith's Theatre of Mortality, John Kinnier died in Dundee in 1584 aged 63. (7) His eldest son David succeeded as 15th Baron and we shall return to his story shortly.

In April 1586, John’s second son Commendator Henry Kinnier and the convent gave John Kinneir of Barnden, ie: his eldest son, that useful tack of the fruits of the Abbacy, for another nineteen years, with the rent to remain at 900 merks.

On 19th December 1588, the Kinniers handed over, or 'resigned', a sizeable parcel of land to the Crown and the following description gives some idea of the going’s on in that part of the world at the time.

Commendator Henry Kinneir’s interest in Balmerino comprised of ‘the Manor-Place, of old called the Monastery of Balmerino, with houses, dove-cots, and other things within the inclosure and precinct of the same; the garden and orchard of the monastery, and the yard or waste ground adjacent to it called the Cemetery of the Convent.’

At the same time, Henry’s wife Christina Betoun (as the free tenant) and son John (as feuar) resigned ‘the Wood of Balmerino with its lands; Barnden salmon fishing adjacent to it, and extending to Flisk Wood; four acres of Barncroft; the Green, with the plumyard possessed by John Yester, and inclosed by a stone dyke; with house and garden occupied by Richard Leyis; the Overmiln, miln-lands and multures; John Boyd's house; the malt-kiln and barn; the ward and nutyard, with the power of holding multure courts and of thirling the tenants of the monastery to the miln, with teinds of corn and fish; also the arable gardens of Balmerino, estimated at four acres ; the fruit- yard and ' brint-girnel,' with corn teinds; the lands of Wood-flat extending to five acres, the lands of Harlands to four acres, the lands of Crossfaulds to four acres, of which the ourth (acre) called Loiremereiswoll lies between the common road to the Cross, the Byres bridge, and the aqueduct; the barnyard, with usual common pasture, etc.’

King James VI (later James I of England) duly handed these lands in fee to the Kinneirs, noting that ‘the buildings of the said monastery have sustained great damage without any repair’.

Henry Kinneir was briefly deprived of his interest in the Abbacy for some act of rebellion, the nature of which is unknown. On 8th March 1600, a gift of his life-rent escheat was conferred by the King on James Bartlett (or Barclay) in Cultra. Bartlett died less than six months later and Henry regained his interest.

However, the end was in sight for the ancient Abbey at Balmerino with its fine lands and extensive fishing rights. King James had it earmarked for his friend and mentor James Elphinstone who, on 20th February 1604, was created a peer, with the title of Lord Balmerino. The situation became considerably easier to handle for the King with the death of John Kinnier, the Commendator heir apparent, sometime in or before 1603.

In November 1603, Lord Balmerino signed a contract with John’s father Henry, whereby the latter - with the consent of his wife and his younger son David – agreed to renounce the Abbacy in favour of Lord Balmerino. His lordship simultaneously agreed to grant Henry, for the duration of his lifetime, ‘the Abbey Place, yards, and orchards, with the cornyards, wood, park, and dove-cot, the overmiln, the east wood, and fishings’.

Lord Balmerino also agreed to present Henry’s son David to serve under Alexander Tyrie, parson and vicar of the church of Auchterhouse. In fact, this introduction had already taken place three weeks earlier, presumably because both parties were so confident about the contract.

After John Kinnier’s death, the post of Commendator heir apparent passed to Robert Auchmutie [sic], son of lawyer David Auchmouty, sometime MP for St. Andrew’s. In February 1604, Robert received official confirmation from James VI of his appointment as Commendator and Abbot of the Abbacy at Balmerino. However, in May 1605, as Gunpowder Plotters plotted down south in England, Auchmutie resigned the Abbey into the King’s hands so that James could ‘dispose of it to whomsoever he pleases’.

By 1607, the abbey had been created as a secular lordship for Lord Balmerino. However, in 1609, Lord Balmerino himself was disgraced when convicted of lying about his admiration of the Catholic church. He narrowly escaped a sentence of beheading and lived the last of his days in Balmerino, dying in the summer of 1612.

The Kinnier’s interest in the Abbey remained until at least 1619 when Henry’s son David, minister at Auchterhouse, ‘resigned the Manor-place and various small portions of lands, yards, woods, fishing &c’ to John, 2nd Lord Balmerino. He also renounced what had become the Kinnier’s hereditary office of Bailiery of Balmerino in favour of his lordship.


The 14th Baron’s eldest son David succeeded as 15th Baron Kinnier and remained Laird until his death on 24th February 1621. Back in 1563, David had married the Hon. Elizabeth Lindsay, seventh and youngest daughter of John, 5th Lord Lindsay of the Byres. Lord Lindsay, who died shortly before Christmas 1563, and nine months after David and Elizabeth’s wedding, enjoyed a distinguished political career as guardian of the infant Mary, Queen of Scots.

Under Mary of Guise, Lord Lindsay held the office of Hereditary Justiciar of St. Andrews and was invested as a Privy Counselor of Scotland in 1545. He also led some of the Scots forces during their victory over Henry VIII’s army at the Battle of Ancrum Muir. Elizabeth’s mother Lady Helen Stewart was the second daughter of John, 2nd Earl of Atholl, who was killed at the battle of Flodden. David and Elizabeth Kinnear had, with other issue, two sons, John and James.

During the 15th Baron’s lifetime, the political landscape of the British Isles changed utterly with the collapse of Gaelic Ireland. This followed a nine year war with some of the island’s most powerful chieftains which ended in a comprehensive English victory at Kinsale in southern Ireland in 1601. Amongst those defeated were the O’Neill’s and the O’Donnell’s. The penalty for the rebel chieftains was the wholesale confiscation of their land. With the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1602, this extensive land parcel proved a remarkable gift for her heir James VI of Scotland who now became James I of England.

In 1608, Sir James Cunningham, 17th of Glengarnock, or Glengarnoth, ‘an Ayrshire Laird of extravagant habits’ arrived in Ireland by the port of Londonderry. His wife was a daughter of the Earl of Glencairn. Sir James had been enrolled as an Undertaker for lands in the precinct of Portlough in the barony of Raphoe, Co. Donegal. (8)

Sir James's eight fellow grantees for Portlough were his son James, uncle James and cousin Cuthbert, as well as Alexander McAulay of Durlinge, the Duke of Lennox (Ludovic Stuart, see portrait on previous page) and three of the Duke’s kinsmen (Sir Walter Stewart of Minto, William Stewart and James Stewart). Sir James and the Duke were granted 2,000 acres each while the other seven received 1,000 acres a head.

on his proportion, preparing to build; as yet no estate passed to them.’ (10) One wonders whether any of these three families was that of John Kinnier, eldest son and heir apparent of David, 15th Baron, and his wife, the Hon. Elizabeth. John acquired from Sir James some land at Garshooey in the parish of All-Saints in the east of County Donegal, some five miles due west of Londonderry and close to Newtowncunningham.
When Sir James returned to Scotland, he left the administration of his affairs to his Donegal agent, Robert Young. (9) Shortly after Sir James’s departure for Scotland, Young is recorded as having built one Irish barn of coples; he ‘hath forty-four head of cattle, one plow of garrons, and some tillage at last harvest. Three families of British resident

John Kinnier passed away sometime before 6th July 1614, during the lifetime of his father. He was married twice and David, his eldest son by his first marriage, ultimately succeeded as 16th Baron upon the death of the 15th Baron on 24th February 1621. (11) David’s wife Jean was a daughter of Thomas Douglas, minister of Balmerino.

The next thirty years proved to be another bleak period for Scotland and across the water from Balmerino, Dundee experienced considerable hardship. In 1645, the first year of the Covenanting War, the city was besieged by the Royalist forces of the Marquess of Montrose.

In 1651, Cromwell’s General George Monck led the New Model Army into the city, destroying much of the centre and killing many of its inhabitants. The 16th Baron outlived his only son David who died in 1650 leaving no legitimate issue.


Balmerino thus passed to another David Kinnier who became 17th Baron Kinnier. David is presumed to have been the son of the 16th Baron’s half-brother John Kinnier, born from their father’s second marriage to Catherine Hamilton.

John inherited the lands of Nether Kedlock in the barony of Kinneir but, on 26th September 1618, assigned them to the 16th Baron in return for the lands at Garshooey in Ireland. It is believed he then settled at Garshooey. He was married in Edinburgh in August 1623 to Catherine Ramsay, believed to be mother of the 17th Baron

In 1672, the 17th Baron registered his arms with the likeable motto, ‘I Live in Hope’. (12) By his wife Anna Auchmoutie, widow of Mr ‘Aytoun of Finglassie’, he left a son David who succeeded as 18th Baron in 1680 but died within a few years.

The estate then passed to David’s son James, 19th Baron, who was the first of the family to spell his name ‘Kinnear’. There appears to have been trouble at this time between the 19th Baron and the Catholic Church, resulting in his excommunication.

Together with his wife, child and some relatives, the 19th Baron is said to have

emigrated to Ireland in about 1683, settling somewhere in the north-west, perhaps even at Garshooey. It is at this point that the family history becomes somewhat hazy.

It is said that the 19th Baron and his wife were amongst those who sought refuge in Londonderry when that city was besieged by Jacobite forces in the winter of 1688-1689. (13) Both James and his wife reputedly escaped at different times and lost contact with each other. Seven years later ‘they happened to meet each other and were overwhelmed with joy and ever after lived together’.

However, the Kinnear who was in Londonderry during the siege was not necessarily the same man as the 19th Baron. There were plenty of different branches of the Kinnear family in Ireland by that time.

In 1911, John Kinnier [sic], living at 1715 Grace Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, stated the family tradition of the American branch that in about 1610 not one but three Kinnears removed from Scotland and settled in Ulster.

For much of the early 17th century, appointments to the united diocese of Down and Conor were virtually all granted to graduates of St Andrew’s in Fife. This included Robert Echlin, Bishop of Down and Conor from 1613 to 1635. They still spoke in the dialects of the Scottish landscapes from which they came. At this time, they would have been Prescopalians, meaning they were partly Presbyterian and partly Episcopalian. (Proper Presbyterianism would not be established until Jenny Geddes threw her stool at the minister in 1637).

Indeed, if we stick with the Kinnears of Balmerino and its surrounding area, it is to be noted that amongst the alumni of St Andrew’s in Fife who settled in County Antrim during the early 17th century was John Kinear, who obtained his MA in 1622 and became curate of Kells and prebendary of Conor by 1627. (16)

The 19th Baron died in 1700 leaving two sons, James and Charles. James is believed to have been the ancestor of the Kinnears of Ballybay, while, in 1795, Charles Kinnear’s son, also called Charles, purchased the family estate in Scotland back from his distant cousin, Cecilia Maria Douglas Kinneir. (14) The castle and lands of the Kinnears had changed ownership a staggering ten times over the previous century. (15)


Quite how the Kinniers (or Kinnears) of County Monaghan connect to either John Kinear, prebendary of Conor, or the James Kinnear who was reputedly in Londonderry in 1689 is presently unknown. ‘Old John’ Kinnier, one of the earliest known Irish members of the family, was probably only one or two generations after the James who fought at the siege. However, it may be that he simply arrived in Ireland as part of a Scottish evangelical movement during the 1730s.

‘Old John’ was almost certainly a member of the Secession movement, or the Seceders, who had broken away from the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland in 1732. The Secession movement quickly spread from Scotland to Ireland and Seceder evangelists were active in County Monaghan during the 1730s.

In 1747, the Seceders divided again. At issue this time was an oath by which all town burgesses in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth were obliged to swear allegiance to the Church of Scotland. Two bodies were formed, each claiming to be the true 'Associate Synod'. Those who condemned the swearing of the oath became known as 'Anti-Burghers', while the other party were designated 'Burghers'.

Thomas Clark was still living in County Monaghan when, during the 1750s, a wily Presbyterian called Hugh Jackson built a new town on a ford on the birch-lined banks of the River Dromore. Located close to Lake Major, the area was particularly well-suited to growing flax, the raw material used for linen. Jackson called the new town Ballybay and, by the end of the 18th century, this was the third largest linen market in the county after Monaghan and Clones.
You can still get a clear sense of Ballybay’s prosperity from a walk through the town – the yards behind the shops where the flax was strung out to dry, the arched passageways between the houses, the two-storey market house constructed of black stone in 1848.

It is believed the Kinniers were Scottish Seceders of Burgher persuasion and that they were part of the first Seceder congregation in County Monaghan. They worshipped at a small church at Cahans, near Ballybay, where their first minister, Thomas Clark, was ordained in 1751. The field where he was ordained was thereafter known by the name of its owner, William McKinley of Caddagh.

The congregational area for the church in Cahans extended from the Castleblayney environs to Newbliss, and from Cootehill and Corraneary in County Cavan to Emyvale and Derrynoose in County Armagh. It is to be noted that the Kinnears of Ballybay, the Kinniers of Castleblayney and the Kinnears of Derrynoose were all thus from the same congregational area.

As John Kinnier of Lynchburg recalled in 1911, ‘there were many Kinnear's all more or less related’ in the neighbourhood where he grew up, about 3 miles from Castleblaney, specifically in the townlands of Drollagh, Tullmearly and Tullmamalro.

Thomas Clark selected a number of elders from each area and assigned them the role of looking after the various families in their locality, with instructions to assist the sick and maintain the faith. Clark himself was often to be seen, trotting down the muddy lanes on horseback, visiting and ministering, preaching and teaching. He established new congregations at Newbliss, Castleblayney and elsewhere, but his outspokenness led to trouble with the authorities and he was gaoled in Monaghan Town.

In 1764, shortly after the death of his wife, Clark and 800 of his followers left Ireland from Newry and sailed to New York, most of them settling in Salem. This became known as the ‘Cahan Exodus’ and was a profound example of 18th century Ulster Scots migration patterns.


While Clark and his 800 set off for America, at least one branch of the Kinniers stayed behind. John Kinnier, whom we’ll call ‘Old John’ for the sake of clarity, was a farmer and lived at a place his descendents later referred to as the Old Homestead, about three miles from Castleblayney.

Old John’s brother Michael emigrated to Virginia in the mid-18th century and settled in Culpepper County, where George Washington was the County surveyor in 1750. Michael later removed to Indiana, to get away from the ‘clank of the chains of slavery’.

It is believed Old John and Michael were brothers of the Rev. James Kinnear who was ordained at Clontibret, County Monaghan, on 25th June 1759 and died in this charge on 21st March 1777. There is also a strong possibility that the Rev. James Kinnear was the forbear of the Kinnears of Ballybay and Derrynoose, of whom we treat anon.

John's wife Mary Ballagh was also from County Monaghan. They may not have actually been legally married as Presbyterians were only allowed marry in a Church of Ireland church with the ceremony performed by a Church of Ireland clergyman. In 1701, the Presbyterians of Belfast sent a petition to the Lord Lieutenant in Dublin demanding the repeal of this law which obliged 'persons so married publickly to confess themselves guilty of the damnable sin of fornication…their children… being bastards.'

By the terms of the 1704 Bill to Prevent the Further Growth of Popery, all dissenters (ie: Catholics, Presbyterians and other non-Protestants) were also prohibited from holding public office unless they could produce a certificate proving that they had received communion in a Church of Ireland church.

After the Bill became law, Presbyterians like the Kinnears were no longer allowed to be members of municipal corporations. Nor could they be officers in the army or militia.

Daniel Defoe, author of 'Robinson Crusoe', was so appalled by the discrimination that he launched a fierce attack on the act. He declared that since the end of King William’s war in 1691, Ulster Presbyterians had, 'instead of being remembered to their honour… been ranked amongst the worst enemies of the Church, and chained to a Bill to prevent the further growth of Popery… Will any man in the world tell us that to divide the Protestants is a way to prevent the further growth of Popery, when their united force is little enough to keep it down? This is like sinking the ship to drown the rats, or cutting off the foot to cure the corns.'

Old John and Mary Kinnier had nine children, all born at the Old Homestead. All nine emigrated to North America prior to 1855, except their eldest son, the Rev. James, and possibly their eldest daughter, Jane Boyd. Old John and Mary Kinnier both died at the Old Homestead, dates unknown. Their family was closely related to the Kinnears of Ballybay. Their eldest son, born in 1784, was the Rev. James Kinnear (or Kinnier), pastor of Lower Clonaleese. He was the father of the Rev. John Kinnear, sometime MP for Letterkenny, and we shall return to these two anon presently.


Old John’s second son Robert Kinnier narrowly missed being the victim of a press gang. During the Napoleonic Wars, Britain’s naval fleet expanded to 600 ships (including 175 ships of the line), requiring a force of 140,000 sailors.

To achieve these numbers, Britain’s navy began halting US vessels, ostensibly to search for British deserters working in the US crews, but often to simply ‘impress’ naturalized US citizens into service. Indeed, this was one of the causes of the War of 1812 which broke out in June 1812 and famously resulted in the burning of the White House in Washington.

Robert sailed from Ireland to the USA at the height of the war and ran into a British Man-of-War within sight of New York City. He was amongst those seized for service but fortunately, 'through friends in the City, he was released'.

Robert later married and died in New York, leaving two daughters whose names are unknown. The peace treaty signed after that War of 1812 forbade any further impressment of American citizens.


Jane Kinnier, Old John’s eldest daughter, married John Boyd and had five sons and a daughter. Jane is said to have died in Ireland but all six of her children appear to have settled in the USA.

Their eldest son George Boyd died unmarried in Buckingham County, Virginia. The second son Hamilton Boyd married his cousin Margaret Kinnear and settled in Lynchburg, Virginia. They left no children.

The third son Samuel Boyd married Mary Jane Fullerton in Baltimore and had children. The fourth son James Boyd was married in Boutetourt County, Virginia, to Sarah Rebecca Toler Obenchain; their only child Annie Mary Boyd died aged 19.

The fifth and youngest son Andrew Boyd was married in Baltimore to Eliza Fullerton, presumably a sister or cousin of Mary Jane, and also had children.

The only daughter Mary Jane Boyd is believed to have died unmarried in 1903 aged 70.


Old John’s third son, Andrew Kinnierr, was born at the Old Homestead. He moved to Virginia as a young man and was married in Buckingham County to a Miss Stout, with whom he had a son, Hamilton Kinnier, who died young, and three daughters, Georgetta (who married J. H. Patterson but died soon after, leaving one son, Andrew K. Patterson), Margaret (who married Mr. Stuart and lived in Lexington, Va.) and Hope (about whom no more known at present). Andrew died in Virginia.


Old John’s fourth son and namesake John Kinnier was born at the Old Homestead in 1795 and moved to America in 1833. In 1840, he was married in Lynchburg to Mary Ann Perry, the 30-year-old daughter of Collin Perry who was born in Albemarle County, Virginia. John died in Lynchburg on 17th February 1858. His wife survived him by over forty years, passing away in Roanoke on 9th February 1899.

Three of John and Mary Ann's sons served for the Confederates in the American Civil War. Their eldest son John was 'fearfully mangled by a gun shot wound in action' during the battle of Lynchburg which left him with a limp for the remainder of his days. Lynchburg, a Confederate supply base during the war, was briefly capital of Virginia.

In June 1864, General David Hunter drove his Union army to within a mile of Lynchburg but faltered under the mistaken belief that the Confederates were much stronger than they actually were. He got this impression from watching train after train chugging down the tracks into Lynchburg, to be followed by loud whoops and cheers from the town suggesting yet more reinforcements had arrived. As it happens, it was the same train each time and the citizens of Lynchburg were simply pulling off a rather brilliant

illusion. They were aided by local prostitutes who spread the word that the Confederate forces were multiplying while unbuttoning the cloaks of the Union officers. The Confederate General Jubal Early then attacked, driving Hunter’s forces away. It was presumably during this action that John Kinnier was wounded.

John and Mary Ann's second son James was a member of General Robert E. Lee's Body Guard but was taken prisoner and confined in Camp Chase, Ohio, until the close of the war. He later became a clerk in the Auditor's office, dying in Roanoke in 1904. The third son Samuel served with the 11th Virginia Infantry but was one of over 7,700 Confederates taken prisoner at the battle of Sayler’s Creek in April 1865. He later settled in the railway city of Roanoke and became a grocery salesman.


Old John’s fifth son Dacre Kinnier was born at the Old Homestead on 18th March 1797 and married in Monaghan in 1833 to Mary Finley who was seven years his junior. They both died in Lynchburg; Mary on 5th August 1864.

In 1911, their son John Kinnier, living at 1715 Grace Street, Lynchburg, set down much of the history of this branch of the family on paper. John was born in November 1836 in

the townland of Tuhmamalro [sic], Co. Monaghan. This was presumably Tullynamalra in the barony of Cremorne. He went to school ‘in a little brick school-house, on a farm that was owned by the widow and family of Robin Hill.’

In November 1852, aged 16, John crossed the Atlantic with his parents and older sister Mary, settling in Lynchburg where his father already had two brothers and three sisters living, all married. (17) A generation earlier, John’s great-uncle Michael Kinnear (his father’s uncle) had settled in Culpepper County, Virginia, before moving to Indiana.

John was married in 1863 to his cousin Hannah Gray Kinnier and had no children. John’s sister Mary Kinnier was married in 1856 to another Lynchburg citizen, Andrew Gamble.


Old John’s second daughter Mary Kinnier married Robert Forsythe and moved to Lynchburg in about 1840. They had no children.


Old John’s third daughter Margaret Kinnier was married in Monaghan to Mr Lawson. They too went to America and settled in Baltimore. Their eldest son David Lawson died in Roanoke, leaving several children, and their second son, Joseph Lawson, died in Lynchburg, leaving one daughter who married Thomas J. Hunter of New York City.


Sarah Kinnier, the fourth and youngest of Old John and Mary Kinnier’s daughters, was born at the Old Homestead and married in Monaghan to her cousin Alexander Kinnier. They had two daughters. One married Samuel F. Wylie, and had several children, including a physician. The other married a Mr. Montgomery and had no children.


Old John Kinnier’s firstborn son James was born at the Old Homestead in Castleblayney, County Monaghan, in 1784. As a young man he returned to Scotland and, in 1802, he was recorded as being educated at the Associate Burgher Theological Hall in Glasgow. He was thus educated by the Burghers, the Presbyterians who were willing to accept the oath. But Presbyterians seem to have an extraordinary ability to keep on dividing and in 1799, when James was 15, the Burghers split again into the 'New Lichts' (who supported a revision of the Calvinist doctrine) and the 'Auld Lichts' (who opposed it). For good measure, the 'Anti-Burghers' were similarly divided in 1806.

In 1807 James was licensed by the Monaghan Presbytery. Four years later, the 27-year-old was ordained as Minister of Lower Clonaneese, County Tyrone. Established in 1728, the congregation of Clonaneese, or ‘Clenanes’, is located in the townland of Ennish. In 1782, the nearby town of Dungannon hosted the first Convention of the Ulster Volunteers which called for an independent Irish parliament. (18) This was also the heart of Ulster's booming linen triangle extending from Dungannon, east to Lisburn and south to Armagh.

James remained pastor of Clonaneese for 53 years, during which time ‘the congregation steadily progressed.’ His wife Ann was a daughter of Dr. James McKee, MD, a distinguished physician who practiced in Dungannon. The couple married before 1823 and had six children.

Their eldest son George Alexander Kinnear was born at Clonaneese on Christmas Day 1828 and went to America as a young man. In 1853, he married Margaret A Fullerton in Baltimore, presumably a sister or cousin of the two Fullerton girls who married his Boyd first cousins. George's firstborn daughter Margaret was born in Lynchburg the following year.

During the American Civil War, George served alongside his Kinneir cousins in Lynchburg’s Home Guard (Company B. Wise Troop, Second Virginia Cavalry). In June 1864, just over three months after his fathers’ death, he was wounded while serving under General Robert E. Lee for the Confederate’s victory at the battle of Cold Harbor. George died in Lynchburg some years later, leaving a considerable family. (19)

The Rev. Kinnear’s second son was the Rev. John Kinnier, MP for Letterkenny, about whom more anon. On 5th August 1845, the Rev. Kinnear’s eldest daughter Margaret was married in Clonaneese Presbyterian Church to Hamilton Boyd, Esq., of Lynchburg, Virginia. The marriage was reported in The Armagh Guardian. (20)) The couple later settled in Virginia where they had five sons and a daughter.

As for James and Anne Kinnear's other children, Mary Ann died unmarried in Baltimore in 1856; James died unmarried in Louisiana; and Robert married twice, had a number of children who all died young, and died in the Old Homestead.

In August 1834, James Kinnier, the Minister at Clonaneese complained ‘that the meeting-house had been erected in the centre of his congregation’ and petitioned against it. (21) 1834 was also the year in which the Second Ballybay congregation was formed following a disagreement in First Ballybay over the choice of minister. The

Ballybay schism traces its origin to two barn-style churches which stood outside the town. In the early 1820s, some members of the First Ballybay Presbyterian Church believed the Minister was a landlord’s man and broke away to build the second church. When John Morrell, the Minister, died in 1831, there was a further split over who should succeed him, resulting in the construction of a third church for the Second Ballybay Presbyterian Church of which the Kinnears later became members.

In 1840, the Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod united to form the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. In 1847, the Scottish branch of the Seceders likewise united with the Relief Church to form the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The Ballybay congregations did not reunite until 1972.

However, the Clonaneese congregation divided again during the 1860s which explains why there are still two churches, with one common burial ground, located less than half a mile from each other. This last schism may have contributed to the demise of the Rev. James Kinnear who died on March 24th 1864 aged eighty. He was succeeded as minister of Lower Clonaneese by Robert Gill.


The Rev. James Kinnear’s second son John was born at Lower Clonaneese, County Tyrone in 1823. It had been his fathers’ intention to enroll him at the Royal School, Dungannon, with a view to proceeding from there to college.

However, as the Rev John McKee, a subsequent minister of Clonaneese, wrote in Latimer’s ‘History of The Presbytery of Dungannon’, it wasn’t quite that simple. John was refused admission unless he would become a member of the Church of Ireland.

Mr Kinnear would not agree to these terms and his son John was deeply influenced by these events. As a result, he decided to work for the abolition of monopolies in religion in Ireland'. (22) John was instead educated at the old Royal College at Belfast, where he took the usual degrees, graduating in 1843.

In 1847, the 23-year-old was licensed by the Dungannon presbytery to preach the gospel. (23) That same year, Mr Moses Houston, minister of the First Presbyterian Church at Letterkenny, County Donegal, was set aside on a charge of immorality. On 27th December 1848, John Kinnear was ordained to the work of the ministry and dispatched to Letterkenny where he held ‘the charge’ as senior minister for over sixty years. His church was an old fashioned cruciform shaped building on the main street, occupying the site of the present Trinity Presbyterian Church. (24)

Dr. Kinnear proved a most popular minister in Letterkenny, enjoying ‘the full confidence of his brethren of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland; he has often been called by them to posts of honour, and has been despatched on important embassies’. He conducted one of his first weddings at Kilmacrennan Presbyterian Church on 30 June 1849 (Joseph Hunter to Miss Gailey, both of Letterkenny). At some point he managed to raise £2,000 for the purchase of a Manse (where he then lived) and the renovation of the 200-year-old church. Amongst his parishioners was a worthy couple who kept a dairy outside the then village of Letterkenny. Dr. Kinnear joked that the couple dispensed to the village 'the milk of the kine all the week through, and the milk of the Word on the Sabbath'. (25)

According to his first cousin John Kinnier, writing in 1911, Dr. Kinnear was devoted to the cause of rural Ireland from the outset. ‘He was not a politician’, wrote Kinnier. ‘He was raised among farmers and knew how they were oppressed by reason of the system of land tenure that prevailed in Ireland then. Early in life he threw himself earnestly into what was known as the tenant right movement, which aimed to deliver the oppressed farmers by securing legislation’.

Amongst his close allies in these early years was James McNight, celebrated as the founder of the Ulster Tenant-right agitation, which proved to be a powerful tool in forcing the British Parliament to pass a series of Acts protecting the rights of Irish tenant farmers.

Dr. McNight was a liberally inclined Presbyterian farmer’s son from Rathfriland, County Down. His father could speak Irish and enjoyed singing Irish songs. As a young man, Dr. McKnight would keep a book on the loom and read passages while he went about his labour. He became famously bright and after studying Latin and Greek in Newry, he entered the seminary at the old Royal Academical Institution in 1825. He was a sound theologian and a powerful speaker but eschewed the cloth in favour of journalism.

By the 1840s, Dr. McKnight had grown fearful that the tenant grievances he witnessed would erupt into another calamitous rebellion. In 1846 he became editor of the Londonderry Standard and commenced the great Tenant-right agitation. He developed the concept as editor of Belfast’s Banner of Ulster from 1848-1853, and again when he returned to the Standard in 1853.

The majority of small farmers in Ulster at this time were weavers, followed by 'tillers of the earth'. None could imagine the concept of defeating one of the Tory landlords who held all the Parliamentary representation in Ulster. Farmers were effectively serfs, paying a rent fixed by the landlord and living in permanent state of fear of increased rents and eviction.

As the Repeal agitation gathered momentum in the south, Dr. McKnight took command of the Presbyterian farmers of the North in a fight for freedom and the three F’s – fixity of tenure, fair rents and free sale.

Accordingly, in the summer of 1846, with the assistance of a few tenant-farmers and Presbyterian clergymen, he founded a Tenant-right Association. His main assistants were Mr. S. M. Greer, the Rev. John Rogers, the Rev. K. M. Brown, and the Rev. John Kinnear who led the Liberals of Donegal and ‘rendered valuable help in passing the Tenant Right Bill of 1881.’


On 25th May 1868, Dr. Kinnear sailed from Lough Foyle in Derry for America on the Allan company’s steamship Hibernia. Precisely how long he stayed in America is unclear but he presumably went to Lynchburg to visit his brother George (who had been wounded at Cold Harbour), his sister Margaret and her husband Hamilton Boyd, and his various cousins who had served for the Confederates and were now limping around the streets of Roanoke and Lynchburg in the somewhat safer guise of grocers and auditors. Dr. Kinnear occupied many pulpits during his time in the USA and earned ‘widespread commendation for his learning, eloquence and interest in human affairs’.

His first cousin James Kinnier had been a member of General Robert E. Lee's Body Guard during the war. Perhaps this was the reason why Dr. Kinnear opened contact with the Washington & Lee University in Lexington. The college president was Robert E. Lee, the much-admired Confederate general, who died in 1870. General Lee did much to develop the university, establishing the USA’s first school of professional journalism and adding both a business school and a law school to the college curriculum.

In 1874, Dr. Kinnear received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from the university. This did not necessarily require him to spend any time in residence in Lexington. As an honorary doctorate, the award would have been based on someone else’s recommendation. It was probably signed by Robert E. Lee's son, General George Washington Custis Lee, who succeeded his father as President, as well as a host of other prominent ex-Confederates who were serving on the Board of Trustees.


Perhaps in the wake of his American experience, Dr. Kinnear became increasingly political. He certainly enjoyed talking. A visitor to his church in Letterkenny in 1880 recalled how he preached from the pulpit for 50 minutes ‘without manuscript and very earnestly … his voice is clear and though loud, yet agreeably sonorous and his whole manner indicated a man intellectually the master of his work’. Dr. Kinnear also became ‘a frequent and a popular contributor to various Irish magazines’. More pertinently, he ‘pleaded vigorously for the extension of the “Ulster custom” of tenant rights to the whole of Ireland and for the establishment of a peasant proprietary’.

The summer of 1877 was one of the worst in living memory. Relentless rain throughout August destroyed the oat crops and left potatoes rotting in the ground all across Ireland. The harvest of 1878 was also poor while that of 1879 was the worst since the Great Famine. Indeed, 1879 was the coldest and wettest year since records began. It rained for 125 days in the six months between March and September, or two out of every three days. By the close of 1879, the Irish peasantry had been stirred into action, aghast at reports of widespread evictions of small tenant farmers who owed perhaps two or three years rent. The Irish National Land League was formed in October 1879 ‘to put an end to Rack-renting, Eviction and Landlord Oppression’.

In the elections of April 1880, the Liberals under William Ewart Gladstone annihilated the Conservatives to take the reins of government. Amongst those elected for the Liberals was the Rev. John Kinnear, DD, of the Manse, Letterkenny. He successfully stood, alongside (Sir) Thomas Lea, and defeated the Marquis of Hamilton, later the Duke of Abercorn, by 2,015 votes to 1,054. (27) The streets of Letterkenny apparently erupted with joy upon his election, Catholic and Presbyterian alike, and the county covered the costs of both his electoral campaign and the London residence he now required. He has

the distinction of being the first – and only - Presbyterian clergyman in charge of a congregation to sit in the Parliament at Westminster.

Clad in his clerical garb, Dr. Kinnear made thirteen speeches during his time in Parliament. According to Latimer, ‘he always spoke with power and was listened to with respect and attention.’ His maiden speech to the House of Commons took place on 2nd June 1880 when he voiced his support of a second reading of the Irish Land Bill. This was considered an extremely well delivered speech at the time and Dr. Kinnear is often credited with ensuring the bills’ enactment the following year. The act created the Irish Land Commission and offered a degree of security to tenants, but it transpired to be economically counter-productive as many farmers turned to the Irish land courts to cut rents and increase incomes, rather than focusing on improving productivity.

But John Kinnear would also show his broader knowledge of the world and, as well as concerns about Ireland, he continually raised questions about Britain’s policy to international lands such as Zululand and British Guiana.


On 15 August 1881, The Times noted Dr. Kinnear’s signature amongst those of eighty MPs appended to a memorial of 10th August sent to Gladstone, then First Lord of the Treasury, by Mr L.L. Dillwyn, MP, urging that ‘the captured Zulu chieftain Cetshwayo [sic]’ be released from his prison in the Cape Colony and, unless ‘paramount considerations of policy’ precluded it, that he be returned to Zululand. Cetshwayo had been king of the Zulu nation since 1872 but was deposed by a rival chief in the wake of his victory over the British at Isandlwana in July 1879.

Mr Dillwyn reasoned that ‘retaining in captivity prisoners of war after the restoration of peace is generally held to be inconsistent with justice and the usages of civilized nations’.

In Gladstone’s reply of August 12th, he explained that he had instructed Lord Kimberley, at the Cape, and Sir Hercules Robinson, ‘to consider whether a much greater amount of personal liberty might not be given to Cetywayo, provided that he will not make use of it to return to Zululand’. As it happens, the Zulu king made his way to London where he remained until 1883.


Dr. Kinnear’s ancestral links to Co. Monaghan were never far from his heart and, on 13th May 1884, he addressed the British Parliament and asked the Irish Chief Secretary whether he knew the story of John Ranson ‘who assumes to be the patron of the Carrickaslane National School’, near Castleblayney, ‘having been appointed to that position by his late father, without the sanction of the committee’. Dr. Kinnear explained that Mr. Ranson had lately sacked Miss Fitzgerald, ‘a thoroughly trained and efficient teacher [who] possesses the entire confidence of all the parents, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Episcopalian, whose children are attending the school’.

Dr. Kinnear sought to have Miss Fitzgerald reinstated but Mr Trevelyan replied that the Commissioners of National Education had no right to interfere in this instance. Evidently, his own unhappy experiences with the Dungannon Royal School had sewn in the Doctor’s mind a determination to free education from all sectarian hindrances. The Presbyterian historian W.T. Latimer described him as ‘a persistent advocate of united education’.


It was while he was at Westminster that Dr. Kinnear presented a book to William Findlater, MP for Monaghan, thus indicating the earliest known link between the Kinnear and Findlater families. Born in 1792, Billy Findlater was a solicitor, a brewery proprietor and a staunch Liberal from a Presbyterian background. The book is inscribed ‘to his esteemed friend Mr Findlater, MP, Co. Monaghan, from the Rev. Dr. John Kinnear, MP, Co. Donegal, in great remembrance of much pleasant and profitable intercourse. House of Commons, London, November 11th 1884’.


On 25th March 1885, Dr. Kinnear addressed the House of Commons and asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Venezuelan Government had ceded a large territory in British Guiana to an American named Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had formed a limited company called Manoa for the purposes of exploring the ceded country and developing its resources. This came at a time when the once prosperous British colony had been subjected to falling cane sugar prices, necessitating a shift toward rice farming, mining and forestry. Gold and diamond deposits were discovered in British Guiana at this time and, while they ultimately amounted to little of real value, the discovery of bauxite deposits certainly showed potential.

Dr. Kinnear’s concern was that Fitzgerald’s acquisition ‘comprised some of it is the most valuable, the most fertile, and the most densely populated of any part thereof’. He was particularly alarmed by reports that Fitzgerald’s men had rounded up residents of the area and ‘suspended [them] by the feet, head downwards, until they fainted’, that many Indians had been ‘forcibly taken away to work for the company’ and that others had been told ‘to go away into the far forest’. Dr. Kinnear wanted to know whether these statements were true and, if so, what steps Her Majesty's Government would take ‘to preserve the territory of the colony intact, to protect its inhabitants, and to punish the persons guilty of the cruel outrages referred to?' (29)

The Hon. Evelyn Ashley, the Under-Secretary, replied that the Manoa Company had not entered into possession of the territory, and that England was taking ‘steps to prevent their doing so’. He also assured Dr. Kinnear that the Governor of British Guiana had ‘sent a magistrate with a police force to notify the agents of the Company and the inhabitants of the disputed territory that it belongs to the Colony and that the Company will not be allowed to encroach upon it, and has taken steps to protect the inhabitants from further outrages. (30)


However, it was Africa and not Latin America which caught the British public imagination, not least with the death of General Gordon at Khartoum in January 1885. A general election was duly called. With the introduction of household suffrage by Gladstone’s government, Ulster’s Roman Catholics – who were generally small farmers or cottiers - were able to return 17 out of the 33 Home Rule representatives for the province. Like many Presbyterians, Dr. Kinnear did not support the Nationalist, or Home Rule movement, and threw in his lot with the Unionists.

The Liberal party, opposed by both the Nationalists and Conservatives, were completely extinguished in Ireland at the November election and Dr. Kinnear lost his seat. The election result left Gladstone with about the same number of followers as the Conservatives and Home Rulers combined. Gladstone duly stepped down and Lord Salisbury's Tory government came to power.


Dr. Kinnear was held in such high esteem that by 1890 he was a front-runner for the position of Moderator of the General Assembly, which was effectively the most senior office of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. However, according to Latimer, he ‘insisted on the withdrawal of his name as he never sought an honour for the sake of distinction’.

Although he retired from politics, he still occupied what Latimer described as ‘a foremost position in the fields of theological scholarship and pulpit oratory’ until his death. At the time of the 1901 Census, the then 74-year-old minister was living alone in the twelve rooms of The Manse with 20-year-old Jane Baird, a local Protestant girl, as his domestic servant. He was one of the oldest members of the General Assembly of the Church of Ireland.

The Rev. Dr. J.H. Bewglass who wrote a piece about Dr. Kinnear for the Donegal Annual in 1972 trawled back in time to the early years of the century when his father took him to visit to ‘the aged Doctor … the image of his white face, broad forehead and scanty white hair is faintly in my memory. I recall being exceedingly bored with the visit and the talk that I could not understand. I remember also, however, the old man, not overlooking a restless little boy, presenting him with a book from his voluminous

library. It must have been difficult to find in that array of theological works one suited to the requirements of such a juvenile reader’.

Dr. Kinnear passed away on 8th July 1909 and was buried in the old Letterkenny burying ground. His will, dated 1908, does not mention any relatives.

Although a Presbyterian, his memory is recalled by an obelisk at the east end of the Church of Ireland cemetery in Letterkenny. His life had much personal sorrow. He was apparently married twice. By his first wife Margaret Fanny Alexander of Donoughmore, he had three children, a boy and two girls, who all died of consumption when they were young.

His second wife was a daughter of William Osborne of Springtown House, Co Londonderry, but lived only a few years and left no children.

Perhaps his greatest legacy was his book collection. According to his first cousin, John Kinnier, the Doctor loved a good book.

‘When in parliament he spent a good deal of time in looking up valuable books in the book-stores of London’, wrote Kinnier in 1911. ‘He had some rare and valuable books, and I understood years ago that he had the finest library in Ulster. He gave away hundreds of volumes while living, mostly to Magee College in Londonderry, but some imperil the legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland’.


One reason for the gap in family knowledge may be connected to the emigration of William Kinnear and his brother James to New Zealand in 1920 or 1921, which was about the time that the Northern Irish border was created. The brothers owned a farm near Keady which their descendents today call ‘Rown’ or ‘Roughan’. This was surely a corruption of ‘Rowan’ and may well have been the farm where Alexander Kinnear grew up.
Perhaps William and James were grandsons of one of Alexander’s brothers. Having sold the farm in Ireland, the brothers both purchased farms at Tirau in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. Unfortunately they both had relatively short lives and both died aged 54. A report by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture in 1985 noted that a Nigel Kinnear was living at 59 Rowan Road, Derrynoose. It is tempting to consider the use of the name Nigel as further evidence that the forbears of the Kinnears of Dublin farmed at Rowan during the mid-19th century.[33]


Alexander Kinnear was born on 25th September 1838 and was a son of James Kinnear, a farmer from the townland of Derrynoose, County Armagh. Frustratingly it is not clear how James was related to either Old John Kinnear or the Rev. John Kinnear, MP for Letterkenny. However, given the subsequent interaction between James’s descendents, not to mention the close ties to Ballybay, we can assume that they were close kinsmen.

According to the 1837 survey by Samuel Lewis, Derrynoose was home to 8,000 souls at the time of Alexander’s birth. It occupied an area just north west of Keady on the road to Middleton which Lewis described as ‘rocky’. The principal crops were ‘oats, potatoes, and some flax’ while nearly all the farmers engaged in a little butter-making.[32]

During Alexander’s childhood, the picturesque valleys around Keady and Derrynoose, with their plentiful water supply and moist climate, were increasingly given to the growing of flax. Keady became an important centre for the flourishing Ulster linen trade, largely through the exertions of the hard-working entrepreneur William Kirk (1795-1870) who built the water-powered mills at Keady and Darkley.

By the 1840s, the Darkley works covered 137 acres, boasted 200 power looms, and 8,000 spindles, manned by 700 persons. The mill was operated by the second largest, if not the largest, water wheel in Europe. Kirk’s complex at Annvale was also a major factory for weaving, as well as bleaching and dyeing.

At the height of production, every ounce of water-power was utilized, the end-race for one mill providing the head-race for another. The town was also evolving as a centre of tailoring, which would reach its peak with the arrival of the railways in the second half of the 19th century. Before long Kirk’s linen empire expanded to include a magnificent warehouse on Donegall Square in Belfast, and branches or agencies in London, Manchester, New York and Paris.

Compiled in 1864, Griffiths Valuation of Ireland Index for the civil parishes of County Armagh refers to Alexander Kinnear as one of the community’s principal farmers. He lived at Rowan, about two miles west of the village of Derrynoose and just north of the present day border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Griffith’s Valuation did not mention Alexander’s father James suggesting that 26-year-old Alexander had by then succeeded to the family farm.

At the time of his marriage in 1865, Alexander Kinnear was operating as a merchant and based in Belfast. Perhaps he had simply decided to lease the farm at Rowan and try his hand at the linen trade. It is tempting to imagine that he was somehow involved with William Kirk’s growing linen empire and that he was perhaps involved with Kirk’s warehouse on Donegall Square in Belfast. He is not amongst the 80 linen merchants or 32 linen yarn merchants listed in the 1861 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory which suggests that he must have moved to Belfast between 1861 and his marriage in 1865.[34]


Alexander’s bride was Jane Wright, the 32-year-old daughter of Thomas Wright, a farmer who lived in the marshy townland of Feagh, just outside Newbliss, County Monaghan, on the road to Ballybay. Thomas was born on 17th March 1799, the first St. Patrick’s Day after the disastrous United Irishman Rebellion of 1798 in which so many Protestants, Presbyterians and Catholics alike gave their lives. Thomas Wright would have been 66-years-old when his daughter married Alexander Kinnear. He survived until his 86th year, dying on 12th August 1884. Thomas was probably a kinsman of the Wrights of Carrachor Hall and Drumloo, County Monaghan.[35]

Alexander and Jane were married on 26th September 1865 in York Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast, which had opened quarter of a century earlier. The wedding was overseen by the Rev Thomas Hamilton (1842-1926) who later became the first Vice Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast. Dr. Hamilton was also a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. The church on York Street was amongst the buildings destroyed by the German Luftwaffe during the blitz on Belfast in 1941. The witnesses to the marriage were William Hutchinson and Hannah Hamilton.


Alexander was Jane’s second husband. Born on 11th April 1833, she had previously married a man by name of Quinn. He died between 1857 and 1865, leaving one daughter Isabella Mary Robina Quinn who was born on 13th August 1857. Isabella was married on 23 October 1890 to Dr. David Draffin. It is to be noted that, on 5th January 1889, the British Medical Journal carried the news that David Kinnear Draffin of Ballybay, County Monaghan, had been awarded two licenses by the College of Physicians in Ireland – one to practice medicine, the other to practice midwifery. He had sat his exams from December 10th to 14th the previous year. A branch of the Draffins were living in the townland of Drumgrole near Ballybay in the 1820s which may be relevant. Several members of this family went to Australia, but by 1897 David and Isabella were settled in Merthyr Vale Glamorgan, Wales.[36] Their eldest son James Alexander Llewelyn was born in Wales in about 1892. At the time of the 1911 Census, James was living with his uncle and aunt, Thomas and Jane Kinnear, at Ashdale Road in Terenure, where he worked as an insurance clerk. Isabella and David’s younger children were Eileen Mary, Cecil David and Dolly.

It may well be the influence of the Wrights who persuaded Alexander to leave the City of Belfast and move to Ballybay, County Monaghan. The prosperous linen town stood about 10 miles west of the Wright’s farm at Feagh, 16 miles south of William Kirk’s factory at Darkley, 52 miles from Belfast and eight miles from the county town,Monaghan. It was easily accessible being on the direct line of road and railway from Dundalk to Enniskillen, with extensive corn mills just outside the town. In the late 1860s, the population stood at approximately 1,750. Markets were held on Saturdays, primarily for flax, while a fair on the third Saturday of each month was celebrated for its horses and black cattle.

Alexander and Jane’s eldest son James Alexander Kinnear, known as Jak, was born on Main Street, Ballybay on 5th June 1867. Three months later, 30,000 men joined an Orange Order parade from Bangor to Newtonards in County Down, mostly in reaction to the failed Fenian rising in Munster and Dublin City earlier in the year. By 1870, Alexander was operating as a ‘Grocer’ in Ballybay. He was still a ‘Grocer’ in 1880 but in 1881 he added the profession of ‘Watchmaker’ to his portfolio.

The Kinnear family worshipped at the Second Ballybay Presbyterian Church, founded by the now elderly Rev. James H. Morell whose father had been minister in Ballybay during the first three decades of the century. There were other Presbyterian churches nearby at Cahans, Crieve, Derryvalley and Loughmourne, as well as the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic churches in Ballybay itself.

Address and Presentation to our Dear Mother- 11th April 1883

Dear Mother,

Thou who hast nourished and nurtured us from our youth. Thou who hast cradled us and taken Care of us when we were not able to Care ourselves and at a time when *** our *** head into a Bowl of Water or putting our fist in the fire would only be considered Sport for us – thou by the good care assisted by God’s blessing saw us over [?] measles, whooping cough, small pox & all the other maladies which us children are prone to - but for thy care and attention, minding us & vaccinating us, we would be all at least Pit & Pock-marked. *** should not like that, neither would you have the Satisfaction & Travelers [?] saying as they have said. God bless these. Aren’t they like their mother – & now although we have not all arrived at the age of manhood and womanhood but there are none of us but knows that it is *** to *** on our head [?] into water or fire & indeed some of us think we are old enough to ****.

[Unintelligible paragraph here]

Now dear Mother, this being the 50th anniversary of thy birthday we think this a favourable opportunity of tendering you these our heartfelt thanks accompanied with this purse of money. It is a Mixture gathering of Farthings and Hapence & all Sorts of money. However we hope you will have at least the price of a new Bonnet and dress which will make you (we cannot say 50 years younger) but at least 10 years younger. Anyway [crossed out – ‘we have to thank some of our kind relatives for assistance in this – they seem to be only glad to have a finger in the pie’] –
And now wishing you good health to enjoy your new Bonnet and many, many years good health to watch over us.

We remain your devoted and loving children,

Edith (crossed out ‘One and All’)

L. Since we are all able to Romp about I propose that our great aim through life shall be to do everything which will tend to comfort our dear Mother.

W. I [wish?] to second the motion & at the same time I propose that we us Brothers & Sisters shall endeavour to agree among ourselves & live together if possible with our dear Mother as long as she is alive.

J. I second Brother W’s proposal & I further propose that as long as Mamma continues to patch our trousers and keep Boots on our feet, that we as one mighty body shall run for messages & do Everything we can to keep her in good heart.

From [?] Brother Tom. I second that and in addition that we do keep her in good humour. I propose as the best plan of doing so that we should be in the money [?] by all the honest means & ways which we can.

I [second?] your Mother James [?] & that you now [ma*****] have lived 50 years upon this earth and has met with a great many hard trials and during the most of that time you and Papa have taken care of us all and that it is now time to give you something although very little to what we should give you.

Well I think we cannot keep you in suspense any longer bothering [?] your **** to know what your present is, I must tell you. It is a purse with 5436 farthings in it, as in other words £5.13s.3d. I need not tell you to put it into good use for I know you will and can do it without having to be told. I for my part, though I am now as big as my Mother, but I know I was once as young and perhaps as witless as any of you, I now propose that whilst we all act our part in this great Drama of Life, our great aim shall be to live here with the hope that we shall hereafter reunite in heaven as one happy family & all look back with pleasure on this E**** meeting, etc.

JAK KINNEAR (1867-1958)

Alexander and Jane’s eldest son James Alexander Kinnear was born in Ballybay on 5th June 1867. From about 1872, Jak, as he became known, was educated at Ballybay National School.

According to Jak’s own notes, written in 1927, he moved to Dublin on 30th (or 31st) July 1880, aged 13. Perhaps he had acquired a patron who was willing to sponsor his further education. Maybe his patron was even his kinsman, the Rev. John Kinnear, who was elected MP for Letterkenny in the General Election of April 1880.

At any rate, it must have been extraordinary for the watchmaker’s son from Ballybay to arrive in Victorian Dublin. The Irish capital was still a largely Georgian city of soot-stained redbricks and brown streets, faded shopfronts, framed by the two canals with the trams and railway rumbling through its heart. ‘Dublin is grey-brown’, remarked F.J. Little, ‘ the colour of an autumn-frosted leaf misted by nun’s veiling in pearl’.

There was still something defiantly proud about Dublin, hailed as the second city of the British Empire, despite the fact that poverty, disease and unemployment were rife. Of the 24,000 or so inhabited houses in the city in 1881, over 40%, or 9,863 houses, were let in tenements.

Upon his arrival in Dublin, Jak went to the Central Model School situated opposite St Mary's Pro-Cathedral on Marlborough Street on the north side of Dublin’s River Liffey.

The Model School lay just a stone’s throw from Montgomery Street, known as ‘the Monto’, the city’s notorious red light district. An indication of just how popular the Monto was with the 4,357 British soldiers

garrisoned in the city in the year that Jak arrived can be garnered from the fact that over a third of them were admitted to hospital with venereal disease, 943 of them with syphilis.

Jak evidently thrived at the Model School, passing his exam for Monitor in June 1881. This was the year in which Gladstone’s land bill was passed, in spite of Conservative opposition, with the object of giving tenants fair rents, fixity of tenure and the right of free sale for their farms.

The following year, the city’s newspapers were replete with stories of the shocking murders of Lord Frederick Cavendish, Chief Secretary of Ireland, and a castle official called T.H. Burke while they were walking in Phoenix Park. A revolutionary group called the Invincibles claimed responsibility for the murders.


Towards the end of November 1881, 14-year-old Jak began working as an ironmonger’s assistant with Booth Brothers at 63 Upper Stephen Street, Dublin. His starting salary was £25 per year. His wage was raised by £5 at least once or twice a year over the next seven years so that by September 1889, he was earning £90. He worked from 8:30am to 6:30pm from Monday to Saturday, and until 8pm every third Saturday.[37] The streets of Dublin would have been awash with talk of Charles Stewart Parnell, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, who had been arrested in October and was now languishing in a cell in Kilmainham.

Booth Brothers had operated a mechanical tool warehouse, an ivory shop and a hardware store from Stephen Street since at least 1862. James Booth also ran a mahogany timber and sash store. (38) Christmas was a particularly busy time for wooden skates and “SKATES SKATES SKATES” was a frequent cry from the Booths on the advertising pages of The Irish Times and other papers.

In the summer they spoke of Garden Shears “ground by Steam Power daily” and offered to sharpen lawn mower blades and lathes. When the hunting season began, it was Clarke’s horse clippers they ground and repaired. Otherwise they specialized in straightforward mechanical repairs

By May 1879, just over a year before Jak arrived in Dublin, they had moved into the high-wheel bicycle and tricycle market, selling penny-farthings. An advertisement in The Irish Times announced the arrival of the ‘Duplex Excelsior’ which was ready for inspection or, if you were unable to visit, they could post a drawing of the bike out to you. They were also selling “1878” Bicycles and second-hand machines at reduced rates.

In 1880, there was a massive shift towards ‘safety bicycles’ and they quickly became seen as a vital transport tool for men and women rather than a thrilling but dangerous toy for young men.

The 1880 models were certainly much improved. Booth’s Brothers promised bicycles that could get people from “Dublin to Kilkenny in One Day”, that one could pedal for “Fifty Miles without fatigue” and, rather cryptically, one that “Can go up Steeper Hills each time I use it”.

Business continued to go well for the company through into the spring of 1883 when they launched a new fleet of bicycles– the Victor “Excelsior”, the British “Challenge” and the Facile “Safety” Bicycle, easy to use and a good hill climber - as well as their regular supply of Tricycles, Double “Drivers” and, a must for Father Christmas, ‘Boy’s Tricycles’


The shape of Dublin City was changing rapidly, not least by night. Throughout this period, the Alliance & Dublin Consumers’ Gas Company —more usually known as the Dublin Gas Company— was developing gas production, storage and distribution throughout the city. In 1881, the Mansion House, residence of the Lord Mayor, became the first building in the city to be lit by electricity.

The implications of public and private electric lighting were enormous. Industrial production accelerated at an unseen pace. The eyes of many a tycoon gleamed with the realization that these bright gas-lights could enable their unfortunate minions to work nightshifts too. The well-to-do could subscribe to have gas piped directly to their houses; the manholes from this era can be seen on the city streets today.

Gas quickly became the preferred fuel of Dublin’s middle class, particularly for their gas cookers and stoves. The streets also became safer, enabling people to feel more at ease socially, while the possibility of being able to read and write by night provided a huge boost to education.

Unless his employers at Booth Brothers gave him time off, Jak must have continued his studies by night. One of his greatest passions was Recitation where he would literally recite verbatim miscellaneous poems and essays. On the evening of 28th October 1884, for instance, the 18-year-old caught the attention of The Irish Times when he gave a recitation of a poem called “The Bashful Bachelors” during an evening of “Musical and Literary Entertainment” hosted by the Dublin Ironmongers’ Assistants Association in the Molesworth Hall. Eight months later, he took 3rd prize in the middle grade at a Recitation Competition held at the Ballsbridge Flower Show. Perhaps he simply enjoyed pedalling the streets of Dublin, talking to himself.

At any rate, Jak was clearly showing signs of eccentricity unusual to the Presbyterian demeanour by the time the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Ireland in the spring of 1885. (On 5th March 1885, he penned in his notes, his uncle William Kinnear was married). However, he was evidently earning his keep. In May 1885, his salary was raised to £55. The following month he received a Certificate of Knowledge of Shorthand. That same week the Marquess of Salisbury became Prime Minister.


In July 1885, Jak moved from Rutland Square to Hardwicke Street where he was presumably employed as some form of teacher at the exceptionally successful Hardwicke School of Science, Art and Literature. This was a Methodist teacher-training school located at the rather brilliantly numbered 38½ Hardwicke Street, adjacent to Findlater’s and St George’s Churches.

In Jak’s day, Hardwicke’s principal was J.H. Stewart who may have been connected to the Stewart Institution for Imbecile Children that Jak was later associated with. In his notes, Jak also refers to the passing of a man called

Walter Ramsay on October 23rd 1885. Mr. Ramsay appears to have been a Master of Classics, as well as General English and Commercial Knowledge, at Hardwicke. In October 1886 it was noted that the churchwardens at St Matthew’s Church in Irishtown were considering designs for a memorial window to ‘the late Walter Ramsay’.

Jak may also have been a patron of the Hardwicke Street Playhouse which operated from his old school between 1914 and 1920. The house had been bought at auction by Count Plunkett, father of the 1916 rebel leader Joseph Mary Plunkett, and converted into a theatre. Its players included Una O’Connor (later a Hollywood actress), Barry FitzGerald, Jimmy O’Dea and Michael MacLiammoir. There were several performances by pupils from Padraig Pearse’s school, St Enda’s, in Rathfarnham, and Pearse’s brother Willie also performed there. The building was felled in the 1950s to make way for Corporation flats.


During the mid to late 19th century, Dublin was frequently bighted by outbreaks of scarlet fever, known as scarlatina. On December 11th 1886, Jak was stricken with the disease which probably meant a sore throat, a fever, an itchy rash and a bright red tongue. He checked into the Adelaide Hospital, then on Peter Street, where he remained until January 19th 1886.

At this time there were over 212 medical students at the Adelaide’s medical school so one imagines that during his five weeks of isolated convalescence, he had an occasional opportunity to talk with learned men of his own age about the chronic state of Dublin’s health system.

Also on his mind at this time was the increasingly real concept of Home Rule for Ireland. Certainly the event was important enough for him to write in his notes how Gladstone’s first Home Rule bill was introduced into Parliament on April 8th 1886 but thrown out on June 7th. The bill, backed by both Parnell and Dr. John Kinnear, MP for Letterkenny, sought to create a devolved assembly for Ireland.

In his speech launching the bill, Gladstone memorably urged Westminster to pass the Bill and grant Home Rule to Ireland ‘in honour’, rather than being compelled to one day do so ‘in humiliation’. The Ulster Unionists vociferously objected to the bill. It was defeated but it was a relatively close call - 341 voted against it (including 93 Liberals) and 311 voted for it.

The following month Jak noted that there was “great rioting in Belfast”. On 10th July, he also noted that “Father and Mother went to Scotland for their holidays”. One wonders were the Kinnears still sufficiently in touch with their Scottish roots at this point for the trip to have been a visit to see relatives. Interestingly, Jak himself took a ship to Scotland on 21st August for his summer holidays and visited both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Shortly after his return to Booth Brothers in September 1886, Jak’s salary was raised again to £65. Earlier in the year he had become a signed up member of Dublin’s Ironmongers Assistants’ Association.

However, sadness was also afoot and on 8th December 1886, Jak’s father Alexander Kinnear passed away. It is believed that the widowed Jane Kinnear and her unmarried children then moved to Dublin where, by 1901, she was living at Cremorne on 85 Haddington Road, Ballsbridge.(39)


We know little of Jak’s activities in the year following his father’s death save that he continued to work at Booth Bros. In September 1887, his salary was raised to £70 and in September 1888, it rose again to £75. In this great age of Gilbert and Sullivan, he also continued to show his worth at Recitation. On the last night of April 1888, he took the stage in the crowded hall of the Christian Union Buildings and delivered a speech that earned him a gold medal in the evening’s Elocution Competition. The event had been organized by the Dublin Young Men’s Christian Association Elocution Class, which name requires a certain degree of elocution in order to even say it.

The class met every Monday evening and their teacher was James Edgar, a Scotsman and member of the United Free Church of Scotland, who lived at 2 Stephen’s Green with his wife Elizabeth and three small children.[40] The following October, the Christian Union Buildings were again packed out as Jak thrilled the crowd with what The Irish Times reviewer described as ‘a well merited encore for a brilliant recital’ of ‘The Fireman’s Wedding”.

Jak also took a turn on the boards, playing the Duke of Venice in a pre-Christmas extract from ‘The Merchant of Venice’ which was held at the Molesworth Hall as part of Miss

Wayland’s Grand Dramatic and Musical Recital. The event had the esteemed patronage of Her Serene Highness Princess Edward of Saxe-Weimar, a daughter of the Duke of Richmond and wife of the then Commander-in-Chief of Ireland.

Acting is hardly the sort of thing Ulster Presbyterians generally got up to with vigour, although perhaps the death of Jak’s father in 1886 had made his continued participation in recitations and the theatre more manageable.


In April 1889, Messrs. Booth Brothers store on Stephen Street was one of the places where the public could go to purchase a ticket for the Irish Cyclist Association’s Easter tournament. The event starred the best Amateurs from England and Ireland and promised “Splendid Contests” and military bands. It transpired to be something of a last hurrah for Booth Brothers

Two years earlier, a Scottish born veterinary surgeon based in Belfast by name of John Boyd Dunlop had invented the pneumatic tyre. He had devised the concept in a bid to prevent his small son experiencing headaches while he cycled on rough roads. He recorded his first successful ride on the new inflatable rubber wheel bicycle on 28th January 1888, rather epically in the midst of a total eclipse of the moon. He patented his tyre on 7 December 1888.

Dunlop swiftly evolved a business of replacing iron tyres on old bicycles, tricycles and other road cars with this vastly more efficient rubber option. In 1889, the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. Ltd was formed in Oriel House, Dublin, to acquire and commercialise John Dunlop's patent for pneumatic tyres. Dunlop’s British and Irish interests were acquired by the Pneumatic

Tyre and Booth's Cycle Agency in November, the same month that Jak left Booth’s. This included the cycle business of Booth Brothers, Dublin, and the cycle works of Messrs. Edlin and Co., Belfast.

In March 1889, William Hume of Temple More Avenue, Belfast, manufacturer, claimed to have been the first person to have purchased a roadster cycle fitted with Dunlop tyres. In May 1889 he purchased a Dunlop racer and won four first prizes at the Queen's College Sports, Belfast. About three dozen bicycles were manufactured and sold in the Spring and Summer of 1889. However, in 1890, Dunlop was told that his patent was invalid as a Scottish inventor, Robert William Thompson, had already patented the idea in France in 1846 and the USA in 1847. That same year, the company began adding a tough canvas layer to the rubber to reduce punctures. The following year, Edouard Michelin invented the idea of a detachable tyre which was held on the rim by clamps, rather than glue, which could be removed to replace or patch the separate inner tube.

Meanwhile, on 1st November 1889, Jak left Booth Brothers and joined the merchant company of Alex Findlater & Co. During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Dublin was invaded by Scotland. They came armed not with swords or gunpowder, but with currency and ideas. In 1780 John Jameson of Alloa established his whiskey distillery at Bow Lane. In 1818, Thomas Heiton set up his coal and steel business in the Docklands. Alexander Thom ran the city’s leading print house. The Johnston family set up a mill that became the heart of Johnston Mooney and O’Brien in Ballsbridge. And Boyd Dunlop of Ayrshire reinvented the pneumatic tyre.

Of particular relevance to this story was the business established by whiskey merchant Alexander Findlater who arrived in Dublin in 1823. The connection between the Findlater and Kinnear families dates back to at least November 1884 when the Rev. John Kinnear presented Billy Findlater with a book “in great remembrance of much pleasant and profitable intercourse”.

According to his own notes, Jak became ‘private secretary to W. John F. H.’ It is not clear who that could mean, although the present Alex Findlater, who met Jak in his youth, believes it probably refers to his grandfather Willie Findlater who, born in 1867, was a direct contemporary of Jak. ‘John F’ might feasibly refer to Willie’s father John Findlater (1828-1908) who was then Chairman and Managing Director of the company. Jak would go on to stand as executor to the will of John Findlater’s son and heir Adam.

Joining Findlater’s was a sound career move and Jak’s wage was duly upped to approximately £100 a year, plus dinner, while his working hours were reduced to a rather more pleasant 9:30am–6pm with two days off every week. We know very little about what he actually did in the ensuing eight years, save that 1895 was a rough year for the Kinnear family. On 8th March 1895, Jak’s ‘Aunt Bella’, a sister of Alexander, died aged 48. Five weeks later, Alexander and Bella’s younger brother John, or “Uncle John”, died on 13 April.

On 8th December 1897, almost nine years to the day after he performed in ‘The Merchant of Venice’, Jak was among those gathered in the Round Room of Dublin’s Mansion House, under the auspices of the Irish Financial Reform League, to discuss ways to implement new reforms. The Lord Mayor chaired the evening. Jak’s diligence began to pay off and on 5th April 1898, he started as a partner with Craig, Miller & Co. Auditors & Accountants, 38 Westmorland St. By the time he attended the marriage of his sister Vida to the Rev. Foster McClelland that November, the firm had become Craig, Miller & Kinnear.

On 17th March 1899, Findlater’s became a Limited Company and Jak was appointed Secretary. Perhaps this encouraged him to break away from Craig Miller & Kinnear because, by December 1899, he had started his own auditing and accountancy business, ‘J.A. Kinnear’, working from offices at 4 & 5 Westmorland Street, directly opposite his former office at Craig Gardener. His original partner James Boyes Cooper, CA, of Stoke Bros & Pim, left after a few months.


Vida Jane Kinnear was Alexander and Jane’s firstborn daughter. Born on 5th August 1869, she married the Rev. Foster McClelland on 3rd November 1898.

The Rev. McClelland, a Presbyterian minister two years her senior, obtained his license in Ballybay. He was ordained on 28th September 1893 and became minister at Kilmount in Cornasaus, County Cavan. This church, on the Mountain Lodge Road, six miles out of Cootehill, owes its foundation to the movement known as the '1859 Revival’, although it has since been founded again by the Congregations of the Monaghan Presbytery.

By 1901 the McClellands were living at Cornasaus with their newborn son, Howard William Aubrey McClelland (b.1900), and a 20-year-old servant called Lizzie McConnell. In 1911, they were still in Cornasaus and had been joined by a second son, Eric Edwin Kinnear McClelland, born in 1907. Lizzie had been replaced by a new girl, Maggie Jane Anderson, who was also 20 years old. On 13th April 1915, after 22 years at Kilmount, Foster McClelland accepted a call to Carlingford. However, he was re-called to Kilmount and installed again on 23rd January 1919. He retired on 15th May 1948 and passed away on 27th January 1949.[41]


In March 1901, a new census was taken in Ireland which suggested that the population of the entire island was 4.5 million people, with Catholics outnumbering Protestants and Presbyterians by almost three to one. At the time the census was taken, Jak was living at 85 Haddington Road, Dublin, with his 66-year-old mother Jane, younger brother Thomas and sisters Lillian and Edith. Also resident was a local Catholic lady, Mary Jane Wall, who was employed as a domestic servant. According to a notice in The Irish Times referring to his wedding that same year, Jak also had an address at 8 Northbrook Road, Leeson Park, Dublin.

On Wednesday 7th August 1901, the 33-year-old public accountant was married at the First Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney, County Antrim. Margaret Robinson, his 35-year-old bride, was the younger daughter of 70-year-old John Robinson, a retired Presbyterian publican from Queen Street, Ballymoney.

At the time of the 1901 census, Margaret was living at home with her widowed father, her older sister Maria (a teacher at the Model School in Ballymoney, born in 1864), younger brother Robert (a clerk in the post office, born in 1869), a boarder called John McCloy (aged 26, born in America and also working as a Model School teacher) and 20-year-old servant Jane Wilson. The service was conducted by the Rev. Alexander H. Dill, MA.

After the honeymoon, it was back to business for Jak. At the annual meeting of the Presbyterian Association in the Sackville Hall on Monday 20th January 1902, Messrs. F.T. Eason and J.A. Kinnear were elected honorary auditors, a position they were continually re-elected to until at least 1911.

F.T. Eason was presumably the Dublin printer, stationer and bookseller Frederick Tucker Eason who was born in 1865. While he and his mother were Baptists in 1901, his older sister Caroline Vause Eason was Presbyterian. In 1902, the Dalkey-based newsagent and bookseller Charles Eason (an uncle of F.T. Eason) was President of the Association and W.F. Moore was Vice-President. That same year, membership rose from 420 to 560, plus a further 150 affiliated members. The Association offered a varied diet of literary works, debating, recreations, a gymnasium, a Ping Pong Club and social and religious agencies. The accounts which required auditing included those spent on improvements to the drawing room, reading room and smoking room.

The 1901 annual report stated that ‘the excess of ordinary expenditure over income this year amounted to £72, which, with exceptional expenditure in connection with certain necessary alterations in the reading room and drawing room, and in providing a suitable office for the general secretary, a sum of £174, which, with an adverse balance at the bank of £142, made a total liability of £398.’ The report suggested increasing subscriptions by at least 10 shilling ‘with a view to keeping the Hall in a suitable way for the purposes for which it is used’.[42]

On 15th May 1902, Margaret gave birth to the first of their three children, a daughter whom they christened Winifred Marjorie Kinnear. The following month Jak removed his firm to much larger offices (& a floor lower) on 8 Westmorland Street. June 1902 was also the month in which Jak’s brother Thomas married Janey Foland and, five months later his sister Lillian married Dublin-based wine merchant John Leask.

Shortly after his uncle William’s death in 1903, Jak contributed five shillings to a fund collected to give a dinner in the main hall of the Royal Dublin Society’s premises at Ballsbridge for 650 officers and soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The men had been engaged in sixteen battles during the Boer War, and subsequently in the maintenance of order in ‘the Aden hinterland’. The Duke of Connaught, recently appointed their Commander-in-Chief, was in attendance. Jak’s contribution helped pay for food as well as cigars, cigarettes, tobacco, wines, fruits (including 900 apples) and coloured drapery.


The summer of 1903 saw the death of Jak’s 63-year-old uncle William Kinnear, a younger brother of Alexander. He passed away at his residence on Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk, County Louth, on 28th August. Born in County Armagh in about 1841, William has established himself as a hardware merchant in Dundalk. His wife Mary Amelia was from Co. Louth and 27 years younger than him. They had a son, William (born 1889), and two daughters, Sarah (born 1888) and Hannah (born 1894). On 5th November 1903, following William’s death, the administration of his Will and personal estate was granted at Armagh to his widow. Mary Amelia and the children appear to have either died or left Ireland during the ensuing eight years as there is no obvious reference to any of them in the 1911 Census.


Jak Kinnear may still have been in good voice on the long summer evening of Friday 17th June 1904 when he and a number of other members of the Rutland Square Presbyterian Church Choir gathered in the church’s Lecture Room to present a silver tea service and salver

to Mrs MacMullen who had, for many years, been a leading member of the choir but was now leaving Dublin. After tea, speeches were made by the Rev. J.D. Osborne, the Rev. W. Logan and six others, including W.F. Moore and Jak Kinnear, expressing much regret at Mrs MacMullen’s imminent departure. The evening concluded with a musical programme “by the Misses Irwin, Brownlee, and McNab, and Dr. Fannin”.[43]

Jak certainly had something to sing about because Margaret was pregnant again. On 7th September 1904, she gave birth to a second daughter Gladys Jean Kinnear, who would later marry Willie Moffatt, sometime Director General of the Iraqi State Railway.


Jak’s rise through the musty brown hierarchy of Edwardian auditing continued through into 1906 when his Westmoreland Street office was name-checked in The Irish Times as the liquidator from whom people could obtain particulars relating to the tenders for the assets of the liquidated firm of Thacker & Hoffe Limited, a wholesale chemist and druggist based on Molesworth Place, Dublin.[44]


In the summer of 1906, Jak was amongst a large party who attended an inspection of the works and buildings under construction in Dublin’s Herbert Park for the Irish International Exhibition of 1907. The Marquis of Ormonde, President of the Exhibition Council, and Council, and James Shanks, the Secretary, welcomed the party.
In April 1907, Jak was appointed chief accountant and cashier to the Irish International Exhibition Company. This enormously successful event opened in Herbert Park on May 4th by the Lord Lieutenant (the Earl of Aberdeen) and ran for six months.

Two years later, William A Murphy presided over a meeting of the company’s creditors. He drew loud ‘hear, hears’ when he gave Mr Kinnear ‘the greatest credit’ for his report. Mr. Murphy maintained that while he had ‘a good deal of experience in the keeping of accounts relating to large undertakings, he had never seen accounts kept more carefully and accurately than in this case, or where less leakage has taken place’.[45]


On Saturday February 9th 1907, The Weekly Irish Times carried the news on its front page that ‘Mr. J.A. Kinnear, FSAA, of J.A. Kinnear & Company, 8 Westmoreland Street’ had been appointed by the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury to act as public auditor for great Britain and Ireland ‘under the friendly and provident Societies Act for the United Kingdom’. (The small g on ‘great’ is perhaps the legacy of a Republican-minded copy editor).

Political sensitivities were undoubtedly heightened by the premiere of John Millington Synge's play The Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin 14 days earlier which had resulted in a week of rioting).

Less than seven weeks later, Margaret Kinnear gave Jak a son and heir when Nigel Alexander Kinnear was born on 3rd April at Merton, Sydenham Road, Ballsbridge. Nigel was their only son. For more on Nigel, see Appendix 5.


Jak’s experience at Booth Bros in the 1870s may have come in useful in early 1908 when he was one of three men appointed at a shareholders’ conference held in Dublin’s Hotel Metropole to a committee of enquiry into ‘the affairs and management’ antics of Charles Sangster, managing director of Components Limited, a company which specialized in cycle and motor parts.

He also had his oar in on the cycle business of Messrs. Turner Bros., Ltd of Thorncastle Street, Ringsend, of which he was appointed receiver and manager by the Chancery Division in 1909.

One wonders what he made of the celebration of the majority (ie: 21st birthday) of the pneumatic tyre which took place in London that November with a banquet held at the Hotel Cecil. In April 1908, Jak’s sister Edith married the Rev. Albert Pickles.

Three months later, Jak was appointed His Majesty’s Commission of the Peace for the Borough of Dublin. Over the next few years, Jak became both member and auditor of the Dublin Mercantile Association, as well as the Social Service Tenements Company, the Kingstown branch of the National Lifeboat Institution, the Royal Dublin Society and, during the Great War, the Hibernian Band of Hope.

Jak was also in charge of finances for Findlater’s Church on Rutland Square (now Pearse Street), which all of Dublin's Presbyterian merchants attended. According to the Moderator of the General Assembly, Rutland Square church was regarded as the Cathedral Church by Presbyterians of the South and West of Ireland. Jak and his brother Walter were prominent in the ranks as the congregations representatives.


Jak’s mother Jane died aged 77 at Cremorne on 4th January 1910. The Irish Times acknowledged her passing and stated that she was “deeply mourned by her sorrowing family”.


Precisely one year later, the death of Adam Seaton Findlater (1855-1911) also made an impact as Jak Kinnear was one of the late mans’ executors. In 1881, Adam Findlater had married Agatha Mary McCurdy, daughter of the architect John McCurdy who lived at Chesterfield House in Blackrock.

Adam subsequently served as Managing Director of Alexander Findlater & County Ltd., Chairman of Dublin City and Banagher Distillers Ltd and Chairman of both the Belfast Empire Theatre of Varieties and the Star Theatre of Varieties in Monkstown, south Dublin.

Adam’s theatrical interests must have appealed to Jak’s penchant for recitation.


As for Margaret Kinnear’s family, by the time the 1911 census was taken, her father John Robinson had celebrated his 80th birthday. He was still living in Ballymoney with his unmarried 47-year-old daughter Maria, by then a National Board teacher, and James Pettigrew, the Headmaster of Ballymoney Technical Institute from 1906 to 1935. Also in the household was a 37-year-old general servant, Lizzie Troland.

The summer of 1912 was a heated one in Ireland as the concept of Home Rule became increasingly inevitable. On 22nd August 1912, Jak went to 66 College Green, Dublin, to cross-examine Walter Hume, Chairman of the Beauparc Copper Mines. The mines were located in Dollardstown House, near Slane, County Meath.
Amongst Beauparc’s employees at this time was the poet Francis Ledwidge, a founder of the Slane branch of the Meath Labour Union, who organised a strike for tolerable working conditions.
Mr. Ledwidge later enlisted in the Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers and died at Ypres in July 1917.
Jak questioned Mr. Hume at length about a plan by the directors to vote themselves a pay-rise despite the fact company profits were in the rough.

By 1913, J. A. Kinnear, & Co., Auditors & Accountants, were based at Montrose, Church Road, Greystones (Tel: 25). The company had a telephone service by the time Lennon Wylie published a list of those subscribing to the 1913 Post Office Telephone Service. Jak’s brother Walter, now deeply involved in organizing health insurance in both Britain and Ireland, with offices at 8 Westmorland Street, also had a telephone (Tel: 69). When Walter and his wife Iris married that year, they moved into the family home of Cremorne on Haddington Road (Tel: 164).

On 18th June 1913, Admiral Sir George O’Callaghan sailed the Home Fleet into Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire). Jak was on the Reception Committee who greeted the Admiral, along with Sir Maurice Dockrell, a prominent Unionist businessman, and Sir Lambert Ormsby, Senior Surgeon at the Meath Hospital. The committee planned that evening’s ball for 400 ladies and gentlemen in the Kingstown Pavilion. At the ball, Jak sat at the top table with Lady Aberdeen (wife of the Lord Lieutenant), Stanley Cochrane (of Cantrell and Cochrane mineral water), Sir John Lentaigne (the Surgeon General), Sir Lambert Ormsby and eight others. His brother Walter and Walter’s wife Iris were also in attendance but there is no mention of Jak’s wife Margaret.

On 7th July, the Home Rule Bill was once again carried in the House of Commons, despite attempts to obstruct it by Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law.

On September 8th 1913, Jak attended the funeral at All Saint’s Church, followed by the burial at Mount Jerome Cemetery, of James George Powell, a senior Mason and former President of the Dublin Stock Exchange. The political situation was becoming ever more tense. Dublin’s Strike and Lock Out had been in full force since the end of August and violence was now spilling out onto the streets.

The day before Mr. Powell’s funeral, there was a large meeting on Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) where those gathered asserted the right of free speech and trade union representation, and demanded an enquiry into police conduct. Some form of relief came in the form of a piano duet performed by Gladys and Freda at the annual Christmas concert at Victoria School, Kingstown, in December 1913.

On 25th April 1914, Edward Carson’s Ulster Volunteers successfully landed 35,000 rifles and over three million rounds of ammunition at the port of Larne which were quickly distributed around Ulster with a view to defending the province against the impending likelihood of Home Rule.

Quite what Jak made of all this is unclear. Along with the Rev. Gordon T Clements and the Hon. Mrs Guinness, he was busy organizing a Bazaar at Sackville Hall in aid of the Lindsay Schools in May 1914. The Bazaar came complete with music bands, ventriloquists and stalls.

Addressing a meeting on the occasion, James optimistically told how he had ‘been in Dublin for 34 years and the changes that had been brought about in some districts were simply amazing.'

On Saturday July 18th 1914, Jak Kinnear’s portrait appeared in the Weekly Irish Times. The accompanying story described Dublin’s Civic Exhibition at the Linen Hall, attended by over 80,000 people, and noted how Jak was the events’ Chief Accountant and Cashier. Elsewhere on the same page, Edward Carson had marched 50,000 through the streets of Belfast. Three days later, George V hosted a conference at Buckingham Palace to discuss the Home Rule problem. And two days after that Erskine Childers landed 2,500 guns at Howth for the Irish Volunteers.

Jak’s brother Walter became closely involved with the war effort. On 10th June 1915, The Irish Times reported that Walter had accompanied Lieutenant Tom Kettle, WEG Lloyd, Captain Chevers, Henry McLaughlin and other speakers on an intense series of recruitment meetings held in Ballybay, Monahan, Cootheill, Cavan, Newbridge, Belturbet, Swalibar and Manorhamilton. The meetings were organised by the Travelling Recruiting Office. Tom Kettle was advocating both home rule and voluntary recruitment, maintaining that Irishmen had a moral duty to join the allied stand against Germany. By 1916 Kettle had published more than ten books and pamphlets, as well as numerous articles for journals and newspapers on Irish politics, poetry, philosophical treatises, literary reviews, and translations from German and French.

It is not yet known what Jak was doing during the 1916 Easter Rebellion.[46] Haddington Road, where his brother Walter lived, was the scene of one of the most deadly episodes of the rising when 234 British officers and men of the Sherwood Forresters were killed or wounded at Mount Street Bridge. The Linen Hall where the 1914 Civic Exhibition was hosted, and where William Moffatt’s company offices of Hugh Moore & Alexander were located, was amongst many buildings destroyed during the insurrection.


On 21st June 1916, Jak’s brother Thomas John Kinnear, known as Tom, was called to the Irish Bar. His certificate was signed by John Bartley and he was proposed by the Right Hon. Justice Wylie.[47]

Tom was born in Ballybay on 19th October 1870 and was living with Jak on Haddington Road at the time of the 1901 Census. In 1898 he was appointed a third class clerk to the Congested District Board in Dublin.[48] The CDB was established by Lord Salisbury’s Conservative Government in 1891 to encourage economic and social development in the 'congested' districts of the West, North West and South West of Ireland. It played a vital role in rejuvenating industries like fishing, carpet-making and Donegal Tweed.

In June 1902, Tom married Donegal-born Janey Beattie Foland, a Protestant telegraph clerk from Belfast. She was born in County Donegal on 17th August 1871. By 1901, she was living on Newington Road in the Belfast suburb of Duncairn with her uncle John Beattie, a clerk, and his five daughters who were aged between 11 and 21. The eldest three daughters were all typists.

Like Janey, the Beattie’s all came from County Donegal originally. Five months after Tom and Janey’s wedding, the Kinnear family celebrated another marriage when Lilian married John Leask. By 1911, Tom was working with the Irish Land Commission and living with Jane at 32 Ashdale Road, Terenure, Dublin.

Tom and Jane had no children but their 19-year-old nephew James Alexander Llewelyn Draffin was living with them at the time and working as an insurance agent. During the war, young Master Draffin served as a Lieutenant with the 10th (S) Battalion, The Welsh Regiment (1st Rhondda).


Ten days after Tom Kinnear was called to the bar, Tom Kettle was crouching in the trenches of the Thiepval Wood on the Somme as he and the Ulster Division prepared to charge the German lines. At 7:30am on 1st July, the officers blew their whistles and the Ulstermen advanced into No Man’s Land. Amongst the 10,000 or so soldiers were presumably many who had enlisted after hearing Tom Kettle and Walter Kinnear speak on their tour. The Ulstermen reached the line but were dangerously over-extended and exposed to incessant gunfire and shelling. Company after company were wiped out. Of the 600 Blacker’s Boys – men from the Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan Ulster Volunteers - who went over the top, only 64 returned. Lying in a trench after the battle, Tom Kettle wrote a poem for his little daughter Betty, which ended:

'So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,
And tired men sigh, with mud for couch and floor,
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,
But for a dream, born in a herdsman’s shed,
And for the secret Scripture of the poor.'

Days later Tom Kettle himself was dead on the battlefield. Elsewhere on the Somme, a young Royal Engineer called Willie Moffatt was injured and stretchered off the battlefield.


Like much of Europe, Ireland underwent phenomenal changes in the years immediately after the war. The deadly Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919 morphed into the War of Independence which itself led to the creation of the Irish Free State and the Civil War.

During this time the Kinnears influence continued to grow. In 1918 Walter was knighted by George V. In March 1920, Thomas Kinnear was appointed Secretary to the Food Control Committee for Ireland.[49]

In September 1916, Jak became the tenth Committee Member for the Society of Incorporated Accountants in Ireland. In October 1920 he was appointed Vice- President of the Society and a year later he was elevated to the Presidency.

By the close of 1922 Jak Kinnear had effectively retired from his accounting practice and was able to focus on other matters. He renewed his annual membership subscription with the Royal Dublin Society that year. By this time his address was Palmerston, Arkendale Road, Glenageary.


On 30th May 1922, two weeks after the last British troops left the Curragh Camp, Jak sold the business of J. Kinnear & Co. to Albert Cyril Storey and Thomas Bell.

On 27th May 1926, Bell and Storey removed the firm to larger offices at 3 & 4 College St, Dublin. By 1952, they had moved again to South Leinster Street and were a major business in Dublin.(50)


Jak was also increasingly involved with the Stewart Institute for Imbecile Children which occupied Palmerstown House, Lucan, during the 1920s and 1930s. Other companies with which he was associated were the Great Southern Railway Company and the Irish Rugby Union.

He served as Vice-President of the Society of Incorporated Accountants again from 1929 to 1931, and then served a second term as the Society’s President from 1931 to 1932; his time rather ignominiously coincided with the Wall Street Crash and the economic depression which followed it.

James and Margaret Kinnear celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary at Palmerston in August 1951.

Margaret died aged 87 in October 1952. Sir Walter passed in 1953. Jak passed away on 25th May 1958.


‘Politicians may be the architect of great measures of reform, but it is devoted Civil Servants who are the builders and translate the measures into workable and working schemes.
[Sir Walter] Kinnear was pre-eminent among the builders of this century … To him must go much of the credit for the efficient organization and financial stability of the British health and pensions insurance schemes before 1945’
The Times

Alexander and Jane’s third son Walter Samuel Kinnear was born in Ballybay on 8th March 1872. Educated at University College Dublin, he was to be closely involved with the founding of the Welfare State in Britain.

By 1911 he was manager of the Irish interests of Royal Exchange Insurance. That year Lloyd George launched the National Health Insurance Scheme and invited Kinnear to become Deputy Chairman of the National Health Insurance Commission (Ireland).

Walter organised the administration of the scheme so successfully that the following year the Prime Minister invited him onto the National Health Insurance Joint Committee.

This was the age when Britain’s health and pensions insurance scheme was the envy of the world and, as his obituary in The Times noted, Walter was ‘at the centre of it’. He was, added The Times ‘always proud – and rightly so – of the part he played’. Indeed The Times hailed him as ‘The Builder of National Insurance’.[51]

In 1913, Walter married 22-year-old Iris Mary, daughter of Dr. W. Young Orr, Clerk of Session, Presbyterian Church, Putney, S.W. London. During the war he acted as assistant to Sir Robert Morant, Chairman of the English Commission. He was a member of the Treasury Committee on Finance and Administration of Approved Societies, and took a prominent part in the passage of the Amending Insurance Act. He was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1918. Applauding his knighthood, the 'Magazine of the Central Presbyterian Association' (August 1918) stated ‘the appointment is a popular one … Sir Walter has a wide knowledge of Insurance, and is held in high esteem by all who know him.

He was also London Chairman of the Navy and Army Insurance Fund, which administered the benefits to discharged or invalided sailors and soldier. He was an elder of Rutland Square Church, Dublin (Rev. Dr. Osborne's). In May 1917 he attended the Synod of the English Presbyterian Church as a Deputy from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

In 1919, Walter was appointed Controller of the Insurance Department at the Ministry of Health. He held the position until he formally retired from public service on 1st January 1937, two years after the death of his wife Iris. He frequently advised the countries of the Commonwealth and the Empire on how to adopt similar insurance schemes. By the time of his retirement, 22 countries outside of Britain – including South Africa and Australia - were operating schemes based on Sir Walter's model and this may be directly attributed to him.

In 1937, he was called out of his retirement to become chief adviser to the National Joint Committee for two further years. During this time, he advised the United States government in Washington over difficulties which arose in the administration of the United States social security act.

Walter died aged 81 at his house in Wimbledon in April 1953. His funeral took place at Golden Green Crematorium and among those present were his only child Iris Alison and her husband Thomas Clifford Amies, as well as his nieces Freda Kinnear, nephew James Kinnear, Mrs Miller-Craig, other nephews and nieces and other reps of the insurance.


On 12th April 1873, Jane Kinnear gave birth to twin girls. The firstborn baby survived for just 13 days but the younger sister Lilian Maggie Kinnear survived. At the time of the 1901 Census, the 27-year-old was living with her mother, sister and two brothers on Haddington Road and working with the Telegraphs section at the General Post Office in Dublin.

In November 1902 she married a Scottish Presbyterian wine and cigar merchant one year her senior called John Leask. His premises were at 9 D’Olier Street which business, established in 1821, he had acquired from George Mitchell. They settled at Sutton in Howth where they had a son Norman Leask, born in 1908/9. Also living with them in 1911 was a 26 year old Catholic servant-cum-nursemaid from Westmeath called Mary Murtagh.

Norman may have later become a doctor as The Irish Times refers to Dr. Norman Leask departing Dublin on a Royal Mail steamer on 8th July 1932. John Leask’s business had been taken over by O. Trainor by 1937.


Alexander and Jane’s youngest daughter Edith Elizabeth Kinnear was born on 16th December 1874. At the time of the 1901 Census, the 27-year-old was living with her mother, sister and two brothers on Haddington Road and described as a teacher with a Bachelor of Arts.

In April 1908, she married the Rev. Albert Pickles (or Pykeless?), MA, who was presumably the same Albert Pickles appointed to the pastorate of Westgate Church, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, six years earlier.[52]

Edith died on 9th February 1924, less than a year before her 50th birthday. She was survived by a son, Walter John Kinnear Pickles.


Surgeon whose expertise was legendary in Dublin hospitals

Prof Nigel A. Kinnear who died on July 19th was a man with many talents. He was a distinguished surgeon, a dedicated teacher who acted as a role model for a generation of young doctors and medical students, and a gifted sportsman who enjoyed life to the full with a sense of humour and a remarkable wit.

It was said of him, on his election to honorary fellowship of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland in 1982, that he exhibited qualities of leadership, wisdom, skill and courage in his chosen field of vascular surgery.

Born on April 3rd 1907, he was the third of three children of a well-known Dublin accountant, James Kinnear and his wife, Margaret.

Nigel attended Kingstown Grammar School during the First World War. He often recounted memories of assisting his mother, a member of the Red Cross, to distribute sandwiches and tea to soldiers, some of whom were suffering from war wounds, returning by the mail boat to Kingstown from the Western Front. This left a lasting impression on the young Nigel Kinnear.

He was later sent to public school in England, Mill Hill, a school noted for its emphasis

on sporting excellence where he subsequently developed his love of sport and particular expertise at hockey.

He played at left half for Trinity and Three Rock Rovers and represented Leinster at inter-provincial level. He was an accomplished golfer and continued to play in Portmarnock well into his eighties. Having graduated from Trinity MB, BCh, BAO, in 1930 he was appointed to the post of house surgeon in Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital. At that time there was only one resident doctor who was expected to be available 24-hours-a-day.

He spent a further year as resident medical officer in the General Hospital Jersey, and later went to study in a postgraduate surgical institute in Vienna in order to perfect his surgical skills before taking his FRCSI in 1934.

He was appointed consultant surgeon in the Adelaide Hospital in 1935 and served there until his retirement in 1973. During his career in the hospital, he witnessed a veritable revolution in surgery: the introduction of antibiotics, improvements in anaesthesia, and a greater ability to prevent and cure surgical shock.

In 1945 he took leave of absence to serve with the organisation Civilian Relief under the umbrella of the British Red Cross. It was at that time that he met a young transport officer serving with the Red Cross, at 3 a.m. on the docks at Ostend. She was in charge of the convoy which was to escort four Irish doctors, Kinnear, Collis, McClancy and Murphy to Belsen concentration camp who were to become the first civilian medical team to enter following its liberation.

She was in fact their commanding officer. Thus began a loving relationship, which lasted for 55 years. Frances, a war widow, had seen war service in Finland, later served throughout the Blitz in London, crossed the Atlantic in war-time convoys to arrange evacuation of children, and finally served with the Americans and Red Cross in Europe. He married his "commanding officer" two years later in her home town of Lichfield, Staffordshire. The family was complete with the birth of their daughter Fiona, of whose success nationally and internationally in equestrian circles, he was so justly proud.

On his return to the Adelaide, he was largely responsible for the modernisation of the operating theatres in 1951 and the commissioning of Ireland's first intensive care unit in 1965.

The expertise of Nigel Kinnear became legendary in the Liberties and surrounding tenement areas of Dublin. He was known for his compassion and his particular concern.

He was elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1946 and served as President from 1961 to 1963. He served as President of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland from 1966 to 1969. He was Regius Professor of Surgery in Trinity and an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow.

Following a visit to the US with his friend, the late Prof Paddy Fitzgerald of St Vincent's Hospital, they realised that one of the greatest surgical challenges in the 20th century was vascular surgery. Until this time the only solution to gangrene was amputation. They pioneered aortic replacement and vein grafts in this country. He was ahead of his time in realising the importance of smoking cessation and exercise in controlling the problem.

He inspired his hospital staff with his exceptional surgical and clinical skill, his sense of duty, commitment to patients, and his ability to involve the most junior student as part of the team. He believed passionately in the importance of bedside teaching and allowing resident students and house staff to take responsibility, but ensuring that he was always available with advice and support. Above all, working for the professor was fun; it was important to maintain a sense of humour.

He was an accomplished shot and fisherman, a passion he shared with Frances. He had simple tastes; happiness was salmon fishing on the Slaney accompanied by his beloved wife.

Nigel Kinnear is survived by his wife, Frances, to whom he was married for 53 years and his daughter Fiona.

Prof Nigel Alexander Kinnear: born 1907; died, July 2000.

(The Irish Times - Saturday, August 5, 2000).


[1] One of the Thanages to survive was Kinneir, in the parish of Kilmany, as may be inferred from the fact that, when it afterwards became a barony, its lands included the third part of Straburne, Fordell and Pothers, which were still called ' Thane's lands. These doubtless formed the demesne lands of the Thane or Toshach of an ancient Celtic tribe, and would be cultivated by his serfs and bondsmen. The stronghold of the Thane of Kinneir would most probably be placed on the eminence rising out of the valley of the Motray at Easter Kinneir, where are still to be seen the remains of an edifice of later date, described in a charter of 1543 as 'the tower and fortalice of Kinneir, and where the surname of Kinneir or Kinnear appears to have originated.’

[2] This information comes from a remarkable work, “Balmerino and its abbey: a parochial history” written by James Campbell, MA, and published by W. Paterson in 1867. Indeed, much of the history of the family between 1216 and 1616 comes from Mr. Campbell’s work.

[3] King William died in 1214 and was buried in Arbroath Abbey, the site of the later Declaration of Arbroath, which he is credited with founding.

[4] In 1377, John de Kynneir obtained a charter of the barony of Kynneir from Robert II, which he had previously resigned in order to obtain a new grant of the same to himself and his heirs male. Just over a hundred years later, John’s great-grandson David Kinnear also resigned the barony for a new grant to himself and John Kinner, his son and heir-apparent. By his wife Marjorie Moncur, David had four sons: John his heir, Andrew (who md. Elizabeth, daughter of the said Marjorie), David and William. David had evidently accumulated some wealth as in 1491 he purchased an estate called Thanisland in the parish of Leuchars which comprised of Straburn, Fordale, and Fotheris. At this time, the Kynneirs also possessed land at Over Kedlock, Nether Kedlock or Dunbrae, Kittadie and Craigsanquhar, and Easter and Wester Torrs. Campbell, Balmerino and its Abbey.

[5] The office of bailiary of Balmerino appears to have been almost hereditary to the Kinnear family – Henry referred to it in 1587, John in 1599 and David in 1619 when it was passed over to Lord Balmerino.

[6] Henry and Christian Kinnear’s daughter Jean married Mr. Scott, by whom she had a son, Thomas. In 1629, Thomas succeeded his mother in an annual rent of 50 merks from Nethermylne and certain lands at Balmerino.
Beaton is sometimes spelled as Beatoun or Bethune.

[7] There is room for confusion here as there may have been two successive Lairds named John Kinnear. As James Campbell says in his history of Balmerino, the facts entered a period of uncertainty at this time, from the repetition of the names David and John as Lairds. See: ‘An theater of mortality: or, the illustrious inscriptions extant upon the several monuments, erected over the dead bodies, ... buried within the Gray-friars church-yard; and other churches and burial-places within the city of Edinburgh and
suburbs', collected and Englished by R. Monteith, M. A. Printed by the heirs and successors of Andrew Anderson, anno dom., 1704.

[8] The concept of travel between Ayrshire and Donegal was by no means unknown in Fife. The fleet in Dundee for instance had been busy importing wine and grain since the 14th century, and were also exporting hides and dyed wool.

[9] On 26th February 1616, Sir James Cunningham appears to have sold his Donegal estates to Sir William Alexander of Menstrey, while he sold “additional lands” on 20th January 1619 to his kinsman, Alexander Cuningham of Ballesallagh, Co. Down. It seems likely that Robert Young hailed from Devonshire and that he was the father of the Rev. Robert Young who was ordained by Andrew Knox, Bishop of Raphoe, in 1632, and later instituted as Rector of Cloncha (1640) and Culdaff (1661). The Youngs later lived at Culdaff House and included in their lineage Frederick Young, who is credited with founding the Gurkhas.

[10] Likewise, on Cuthbert Cunningham’s thousand acres, the Carew manuscripts of July 29th 1611 reported that two British families were resident and that they had “built an Irish house of coples, and prepared materials to re-edigy the castle of Coole McEctrean; hath a plow of garrons, and 80 head of cattle in stock."

[11] John Kinnear’s first wife Isobel was the second daughter of John Pitcairn, 14th of that ilk and Forthar, by his wife Agnes Ayton. She died on 17 December 1594, and left, with two daughters, two sons, the eldest of whom was David, 16th Baron.

[12] See ‘The Ratification of David Kinnear’s Charter by Charles II’ which took place in Edinburgh, 11 September 1672.

[13] It is believed, particularly by those branches of American Kinnears which originally came from Ulster, that the 19th Baron was actually a son or, more likely, grandson of James Kinnear, who procured the original land at Gashoey, and his wife Catherine. The Kinnears & their Kin in America by Mrs Emma Siggins White (Kansas City, Mo., 1916).

[14] The younger James had a son William who was ‘tolerably wealthy’ and married twice. James Kinnear, his son by his first wife, married Nancy Atchison and moved to America before the Revolutionary War, setting himself up as a wholesale merchant in Philadelphia. William’s second wife was Jane Simpson and they lived near Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Their elder son William married Eleanor Carney but it seems they both died young, leaving two children, Ann and William, who emigrated to America in 1791, with their uncle Alexander Kinnear and his family. Alexander Kinnear was born in Co. Leitrim in 1757, christened as a Protestant and described as ‘tolerably wealthy’. His wife Jane was a daughter of Michael and Jane (Runnels) Ganley, who had a large estate in Roscommon and were “much respected members of the English Church”. At the age of 16, Jane became a member of the Wesleyan Methodists, receiving the sacraments from John Wesley’s hands. Alexander and Jane had four children that died in childhood in Ireland, and one that died in infancy on the sea.
In 1791, they took passage on a ship at Killybegs “and were nine weeks and three days sailing” to Philadelphia where they spent some time with Alexander’s half-brother James Kinnear, a wholesale merchant. Then moved to Berks County, (part of Schuylkill County) Pennsylvania. He was “duly admitted a Citizen of the United States and of the State of Pennsylvania” under the terms of the Act of Naturalization which was (I believe) ratified by Congress on 26th March 1804.
That same year, the Kinnears removed from Berks County, to Centre County, Pa. They later removed to Franklin, Vernango County, Pa, where Alexander died and was buried." As a Protestant, Alexander apparently used to persecute his wife for her Methodism “but when he got the love of God into his heart he became a member of the M. E. Church, and continued therein a faithful Christian until his death” [aged 64] on 21st May 1821. Jane Ganley Kinnear survived him until 14th July 1843 and died at Kellersville, Ashtabula County, Ohio, aged 84. She remained a member of the Wesleyan church until her death, “having lived to see all her children converted in answer to her many and fervent prayers.” They were survived by five children:
[i] William Kinnear, a millwright, born in Leitrim on 30 May 1783, died on Dec. 24, 1851, in Warren County, Pennsylvania; m. Dec. 2, 1806, in Huntingdon County, Pa. Rebecca Mcllvain ( 1784-1853) of Huntingdon County. They had eight children. He bought a tract of 200 acres of land at the mouth of Oil Creek, Venango County, from Com Planter, Chief of the Senaca Indians, where he cleared 35 acres and erected a furnace. In 1826, he removed to Warren County settling in Deerfield township, at the mouth of Tidioute Creek where he purchased 200 acres of the "John Spangler Tract" from Alexander McCalmont, agent (including the Tidioute Creek for about one mile from its mouth). On this Creek he erected a saw-mill in 1827; the first one ever built in Deerfield township, which was run by water power. Other mills were later erected and the class of lumber changed to boards and shingles.
ii. Rev. JAMES Kinnear, a Presbyterian Preacher; b. April 20, 1793, in Berks County, PA, d. in Ohio; m., 1819, in Philadelphia, Jane Simpson. They had ten children.
iii. JANE Kinnear; b. Dec. 5, 1796, in Berks County; d. 1814, in Huntingdon County.
iv. JOHN Kinnear, a millwright; b. Oct. 2, 1798, in Berks County, d. in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Married Ellen, dau. of Isaac and Hannah Hawkins. They had five children.
v. MARY Kinnear; b. May 18, 1802, in Berks County; m. in Huntingdon County, William Davie, of Carlisle, Pa. They settled in Huntingdon County, but later removed to Philipsburg. Centre County, Pa. He was a boot and shoe maker.

[15] Seven of those transitions involved the marriage of heiresses into families such as Anstruther of Balcaskie, Macdonald of Cromarty, and Bayne. In 1751, the property passed to Cecilia Bayne Kinneir of Kinneir who married William Douglas of the Tilwhilly family, a shopkeeper’s son from Pittenweem whose younger brother John became Bishop of Salisbury. Their daughter, Cecilia Maria Douglas Kinnier of Kinnier, was married in 1776, to John Macdonald of Sanda [in Argyllshire]. It was she who sold the estate in 1795 to Charles Kinnear, thus returning it to the main line. John and Cecilia’s son, Sir John Kinneir-Macdonald, C.B., was the East India Company’s Envoy to the Shah of Persia in Tehran from 1824 until his death in 1830. Sir John’s brother, William, Archdeacon of Wilts, was grandfather of “the present representative, Douglas J. Kinnear-Macdonald of Sanda.” (Stoddart's Scottish Arms, vol. ii. p. 260, 1881.)

[16] Alumni of St. Andrews & the Settlement of Ulster, A. F. Scott Pearson (Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Third Series, Vol. 14, pp. 7-14 (Ulster Archaeological Society, 1951).

[17] Another of John’s Castleblayney neighbours was John Kinnear who married Miss Harrison and had quite a large family. They too emigrated to America and settled in Smithville Flats, Chenango County, N. Y. Their oldest son was a physician who died in London, while another son George was one of John of Grace Street’s greatest friends. Another connection between Castleblayney and Lynchburg was Richard Mathews who emigrated in the 1840s but returned to Ireland and married a daughter of John Hill of Castleblayney. (He too had relatives in Chenango County).

[18] In 1807, Dungannon was the birthplace of US Civil War General Andrew T. McReynolds.

[19] George and Margaret Kinnear’s children were Margaret, Pauline Powell (b. 1855), the twins Mary and Anne (b. 1857), Florence (b. 1859), George (b. 1861; m. Olive B. Almond, no children), Dr. Claude Hamilton Kinnier (b. 1868, married Stella B. Jetter of Anchorage and settled in Tacoma, Washington, one daughter, Lida Margaret, b. 1898 in Tacoma), Charles Saunders (b. 1871) and Carrie Davidson Kinnier (b. 1873, married Forrest Wills Whittaker of Enfield, North Carolina, one daughter Louise).

[20] Hamilton should not be confused with the Hamilton Boyd who served as mayor of Portland, Oregon in 1868-69. Mr. Boyd is thought to have come to Portland in 1860, worked as an assistant county clerk, and later worked as an accountant in the Ladd & Tilton bank. He was elected to a two year term as county commissioner in 1868. On the death of Mayor Thomas J. Holmes in 1868, the city council elected Boyd to fill the vacancy. He served as mayor from 1868 to 1869. Hamilton Boyd died in Portland in 1886 and is buried in the Lone Fir Pine Cemetery in Portland.

[21] Stewart, David, The Seceders in Ireland: with annals of their Congregations, Presbyterian Historical Society, 1950, p. 243, p. 369.

[22] See: ‘WT Latimer's ‘History of The Prebytery of Dungannon’.

[23] The Biograph and review, Volume 5, E.W. Allen, New York, 1881.

[24] In October 1856, he conducted a wedding in Letterkenny between William McCracken and Martha Stewart of Gortnalabin, near Letterkenny.

[25] Witherow, Thomas, Historical and literary memorials of Presbyterianism in Ireland, 1623-(1800). (William Mullan and son, 1880), p. 39.

[26] The other ex-Confederates included Gen. John Echols (Commander of the division which includes the VMI cadets at New Market), Col. William McLaughlin (commanded an artillery battalion at New Market), Col. William Allen ("Stonewall" Jackson's ordinance chief), Col. William T. Poague, author of a memoir which came to be known as "Gunner with Stonewall", and others.
In 1881, Gladstone's Government granted a Charter to the Presbyterian Theological Faculty of Belfast, which was combined with the divinity professors of the Magee College, Londonderry. From this united body, the degree of Bachelor of Divinity was henceforth obtainable by examination.

[27] Politics and Parliament - The New Members Of Parliament, The Times, Thursday, Apr 15, 1880; pg. 10; Issue 29856; col C.

[28] The Release Of Cetywayo, The Times, Monday, Aug 15, 1881; p. 4; col B.


[30] Ashley was the second son of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, one of the greatest supporters of the Jewish people during the 19th century, and a brother of the 8th Earl who, as Lord Ashley, was almost single-handedly responsible for carrying the Factory Act of 1847, which considerably restricted child labour.

[31] Letters to the Editor: The Protest Of Irish Nonconformist Ministers. W. E. BALL, The Times, Monday, Jun 20, 1892; pg. 3; Issue 33669; col E.

[32] Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837 - Co. Armagh - Derrynoose, Derraghnuse or Madden Parish

[33] Agriculture in Northern Ireland, Volumes 60-61, p. 117, Northern Ireland. Dept. of Agriculture, (H. M. S. O., 1985). Griffith’s Valuations for Derrynoose also listed Thomas Kinnear, Margaret Kinnear and Sarah Kinnear, all living just south-east of Rowan at Listarkelt. It is notable that a gentleman by name of Ernest Kinnear still runs a dairy farm on Tivnacree Road just north of Derrynoose to this day although when I spoke to his wife, she said they knew little of their family history.

[34] The 1861 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory lists Patrick Kinnear, 14 Corporation Street, Belfast, as both a ‘Linen Manufacturers and Merchant’ and a ‘Linen Yarn Merchants’. P. Kinnear is also given the address of Willowbank, Antrim Road, in 1861 which may have been his residence. Patrick Kinnear, Linen Yarn Merchant, 58 Mill Street, was also listed in the 1843 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory, as were Kinnears & Co., Linen and Linen Yarn Merchants, Castle Street; Patrick Kinnear, Grocer, Bridge Street; and James Kinnear, Linen Merchant, Cullybackey, Ballymena. It remains a distinct possibility that Alexander Kinnear, later of Ballybay, was connected to Patrick Kinnear or Kinnears & Co. of Castle Street.
The 1877 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory refers to three Kinnears living in Belfast, namely John Kinnear, tailor, 6 Snugville Street; Matilda Kinnear, described as ‘reference office for servants and lodgings’, 10 Carlisle Terrace, Crumlin Road; and William Kinnear, sea captain, 16 Kew Cottages, Castlereagh Street.
The 1898 Newry Directory lists Kinnear and Co., grocers, etc. on Hill Street. The 1907 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory refers to James Kinnear, jun., of Ballee, Ballymena, and Mrs. Kinnear, house agent, Waterfoot Cottage, Newcastle, Co. Down.

[35] From the Wrights of Carrachor Hall descend John Wright, sometime Rector of Killeevan, in which church this author was happily married to Miss. Ally Moore in May 2006. Other interesting descendants of this family are the ‘Fat Lady’ celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright and the singer Finbar Wright whose grandfather was a Presbyterian hackney driver from County Monaghan. Feagh Lough is on the southern edge of the townland of Feagh, and the northern edge of the townland of Mullymagaraghan.

[36] The British Medical Journal, 11 December 1897, p. 1752.

[37] J.A. Kinnear’s notes read as follows: “To Booth Bros about 21 Nov 1881 c £25 p year.

[38] Raised Nov ’82 to £35. May ’83 - £40. May
84 - £45. May ’85 - £55. Sept ’85 - £60. Sept ’86 - £65. Sept ’87 - £70. Sept ’88 - £75. Sept ’
89 - £90. Hours – 8:30am to 6:30pm. Every 3rd Saty 8pm. Holidays one week.”

[38] Thom’s Directory 1862. James Booth may have had his residence at 37 Harrington-street.

[39] No Kinnears were listed for Ballybay in the Belfast/Ulster Street Directory of 1901

[40] James Edgar’s children were William (b.1886) and daughters Charlotto (b. 1873) and Bessie (b.1877). See The Irish Times, Tuesday, May 1, 1888, p. 3). In 1901, Charlotto was also described as an Elocution Teacher.

[41] He was succeeded at Kilmount by Mr. Aston Robinson (lic. Dungannon), son of the Rev. William Robinson.

[42] The Irish Times, 21 January 1902, page 7.

[43] The Irish Times, Wednesday, June 22, 1904, p. 8.

[44] The Irish Times, Saturday March 24th 1906.

[45] The Irish Times, Saturday, June 5, 1909, p.9

[46] While the war was raging across Europe, Jak Kinnear was busily liquidating and disposing of going concerns across Ireland. In May 1915, for instance, he was occupied with the sale “as a going concern” of a well-established drapery business in New Ross following the death of its proprietor John A Browne.

[47] Mr. Bartley may have been Presbyterian minister in Tralee at this time.

[48] The Edinburgh Gazette, 16th December 1898

[49] The London Gazette, 30th March 1920.

[50] Thomas Bell was one of six sons born to a Presbyterian doctor from Portadown and had been attached to the Marlborough Street Training College. Educated at the High School in Dublin, Mr. Bell was apprenticed to JA Kinnear & Co in 1909. In 1922, he became a partner in the firm, and he later became senior partner. lived at Belmont,Howth, Co. Dublin, and was considered ‘an outstanding sporting personality and a widely popular business man’ by his obituary in The Irish Times on 19th August 1949. He was also chairman of the board Of directors of Fletcher & Phillipson, engineers and general contractors, of Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, as well as managing director of the Belfast Empire Theatre Company. A passionate rugby man, he was variously president
of the Leinster branch of the Rugby Football Union, the Association of Referees and Clontarf Club. He refereed two international games in 1933 – England v Wales and Wales v Scotland. He was one of the founders of the Cherrymount Lawn Tennis Club and its president from 1934 until his death. He was treasurer and life president of the Old Boy’s Union of his High School, and the originator of the Bell Cap, conferred annually “for the premier rugby performance”. He was treasurer or the Abbey Presbyterian Church and a member of the Masonic order. He left a widow and one son, John Bell.
Other notable employees of J.A. Kinnear & Co. include Howard Kilroy, Governor of the Bank of Ireland, and George McCullagh, born in Ballybay in 1936 who went on to become managing director of the Brown Thomas group. His schoolmaster in Dundalk got him a job with Kinnears when he was 16.

[51] Sir Walter Samuel Kinnear Obituary, The Times, April 6th 1953.

[52] The Times, Thursday, Oct 02, 1902; pg. 9; Issue 36888; col C – ‘Ecclesiastical Intelligence’.


Arnold, Michael, 'A game with dice: A Boy's Journey Through Three Cultures' (Heronhill Books, 2004).
Bassett, G H. ‘County Armagh 100 Years Ago, A Guide & Directory 1888’ (Friar’s Bush Press, 1989).
Beckett, J C, ‘The Making of Modern Ireland 1603 – 1923’ (Faber & Faber, 1966).
Benn, George, ‘The History of the Town of Belfast’ (1979).
Briggs, Asa, ‘The Age of Improvement’ (Longman, 1971).
Cox R.C, ‘Engineering at Trinity: An Illustrated History’, (School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, 1993).
D’Arcy, Aideen, ‘William Kirk, October 1795 - 20th December 1870 – A Merchant, a Magistrate, and a Senator’.
Farrell, Gary, ‘The Life and times of William Kirk MP (1795-1870)’.
Fuchs, Rainer, ‘Iraq Railway Post 1928–c1942’ (AMERICAN PHILATELIST, October 2007).
Gibson, William H, 'Early Irish Golf' (Naas, 1988).
Hamilton, Cosmo , ‘People Worth Talking About’ (Ayer Publishing, 1970).
Henderson, Gorodn, ‘A History of St. Andrew’s Church’.
Hughes, Hugh, ‘Middle East Railways’ (The Continental Railway Circle).
Kinnear, R. ‘Kinnear Family of Garshooey, Co. Donegal. Genealogical Notes’, Society of Genealogists: The Genealogists' magazine, Vol. 7, No. 8, Dec 1936. (National Library of Ireland Call No: G 9292 g 1). Also draft pedigrees of Kinnear of Garshooey, Co. Donegal and Crosbie of Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry, and Hamilton of Hamilton's Bawn, Co. Cavan, 1563 -- 1930. (NLI Genealogical Office: Ms.810, p.23).
Lyman, Robert, and Howard, Gerrard, ‘Iraq 1941: The battles for Basra, Habbaniya, Fallujah and Baghdad’ (Osprey Publishing, 2006).
Nesbitt, David, ‘Full Circle: A Story of Ballybay Presbyterians’ (Cahans).
Robinson, H.W., 'A history of accountants in Ireland' (Garland Publishing, 1984)
Shamash, Violette, ‘Memories of Eden – A Journey through Jewish Baghdad’ (Forum Books Ltd, 2008).
Siggins White, Emma, ‘The Kinnears and their kin; a memorial volume of history, biography, and genealogy, with revolutionary and civil and Spanish war records; including manuscript of Rev. David Kinnear (1840)’.
Smith, Cornelius, ‘A brief history of the Stillorgan Park golf club, 1908-1917' (Foxrock Local & District History Club, 1982).
Stark, Freya, ‘East is West’ (London 1945).
University of Dublin War List, Dublin, Hodges Figgis & Co, 1922.


The author would like to express his sincere thanks to the following kind people.

Jim Moffatt
Peter Moffatt
Alex Findlater
Ally Bunbury

Rev. Dennis Campbell (Blackrock)
Ron Cox (Engineering Department, Trinity College Dublin)
Dorothy Donnelly (Stillorgan Park Golf Club)
Eneclann Ltd.
Jeff Fallon (Portmarnock Golf Club)
Paul Gorry (Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland)
Andrew Grantham
Gordon Henderson
Beverley Kelly (Sapper Magazine)
Maeve Kyle
Bryan MacMagon (Kilmacud & Stillorgan Historical Society)
Sheena Rennie (Railway Gazette International)

Valerie Adams (Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland)
Jane Beattie (James Adams & Co.)
Kevin Bright (Royal Dublin Society)
Elisha Caulfield (Chartered Accountants Ireland)
Raymond Cuddy
Jeff Hanna (Washington & Lee University)
Rebecca Hayes (Irish Freemasons)
Brendan Holland
Bruce Lasenby (New Zealand Kinnears)
Pat Liddy
Aileen McClintock (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland)
Sean McQuillan
Grace Moloney (Clogher Historical Society)
Peadar Murnane (Ballybay Historical Society)
David Nesbitt
Eileen Quinn (Kileeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society)