Isle of Man Family History Society Journal Vol 3 no 4 Oct 1981




Can you recognise this family ? (Curphey)

Mrs E.E. Scaletta, , has pieced together up to four generations of a family of Curpheys. We hope someone will be able to recognise it, and either fill in any missing sections, of put her in touch with someonewho can.

Curpheys 1800's

Great-grandparents: only one is known as yet; Tom Fayle.

My grandfather uas Robert CURPHEY, bap. 14th March 1841. he had four brothers and one sister, who are-
1. James
2. John, 1840-1914, never married, came to the U.S.A. and owned a brickyard
3. Anne, who married .James Casement Crellin.
4. Daniel, who had 2 children-
  a) Eleanor who married John Lace.
  b) a son, who dissapeared.
5.Henry, born 11th August 1847.

These above names were cousins to the following names, but no connection has yet been found.

Thomas Curphey, born Isle of Man, and married Ann Garrett on 14th April 1921.
2 . Catherine Curphey, born Isle of Man, and married Thomas Gawne.
3. Arthur Curphey, born Isle of Man.

Going back to my grandfather Robert Curphey, he married MARGARET FELL or FAYLE (1842-1884) died aged 42 years. They had 6 children who are:-
1. SAHAH JANE (1871-1883) IOM, when she died at 12 years old, she was 6' tall and thin.

2. ELIZABETH, born IOM, she married ...Lewin and had the following issue

(a) Janet, born IOM, married Reginald Quaye, who in turn had issue,

i) ISOBEL born 1923, married HUGH WILLIAMS, IOM.
ii) ELEANOR born 1936, married HECTOR DAWSON, IOM.
iii) WILLIE: born 1927, married ALISON McCOUCALL, IOM.
iv) WALTER born 1925, married RUTH BENSON, New Zealand.
v) ANN born 1934, married JOHN JAUNEY.

(b) Robert Lewin, born 1907, died 1979, IOM.

3. JULIA, born 1875, died 2nd January 1929, USA, she married EDWARD KINRADE, born 1873, died 22nd July 1941, and they had issue

(a) MILDRED, born 1910, died 1970, married EARL DAVEY, born 1907, died 1971, who in turn had issue an only son,

RICHARD, born 19p and married ALICE HULSE, and their issue was
la. TIMOTHY, born 1956, who married SUE RAVAS.
2a. PATRICIA, born 1959, who married JEFFERY PREDMORE.

4 . MARGARET ANNE, born 1878, died 1908 IOM, 30 years old:.

5. EDITH, born 1880, died 1966, IOM-USA-IOM, married JOHN ADAMS. they had had an only son, GEORGE CURPHEY ADAMS, born 1912 In Nova Scotia, and was married in 1945 to IRENE QUIRK, born 1912.
In turn GEORGE and IRENE had issue []


6. ROBERT FRANCIS, born 9th November 1882 USA, died 16th November 1954, married 15th May 1917 to MINNIE KERMODE, born 31st December 1882, died 6th June 1976. They had Issue'- two daughters. both born in USA,

(a) EDITH ETHEL, born 13th July 1918, married 1940, to John SCALETTA, born 1nth April 1916, died 6th July 1974, they had issue:


2a. SAYLE ANN, born 15th June 1950, who married MICHAEL SPADORO, born 31st January 1950, who had issue of a daughter, ANNETTE, born 21st February 1974.
(b) GLADYS, born 23rd February 1920 USA, married in 1947 to
ROBERT BOSWELL, born 18th April 1916, who had two daughters ~ -






The Manx in American History

The Shenandoah Valley and Southwest Virginia

As you travel southward from Washington, D.C., to Richmond, Virginia, for such of the trip you will be paralleling the Shenandoah Valley, roughly seventy miles to the west. This is the story of two Manx families which achieved distinction there, and left their names as geographic landmarks.

Looney of Ballagilley, Robert Looney, whom family tradition states came from Ballagllley, Maughold, arrived in the New world about 1731. In 1734, he, his wife and least seven sons (they were to have 14 more) left Philadelphia with an expedition bound for the Colony of Virginia. The following year he settled on a patent of 294 acres - for which he was to pay the Crown land rent of one shilling a year - on the south bank of the Cohongoronta (Upper Potomac) River, probably near the present-day site of Hagerstown, Maryland. by 1739-40, he had moved his family through the Shenandoah Valley, settling on a grant of 250 acres on the James River in what was to become Augusta, later Botetourt County. In 1742, Robert Looney gained another 400 acres in grants, and became one of the most prosperous farmers in the area, with his own mill, orchards, nursery, cattle and horses. He even operated a ferry across what may still befound not tar from the great Natural Bridge - Looney's Mill Creek.

At least three of Robert Looney's sons served in the Augusta County Militia. One of them, Absolem, was a true frontiersman, hunting and trapping inthe rugged south west of the colony. There, while living in caves to avoid the Indians, Absolem discovered a fertile valley, rich in blue grass pastures, to which he led his family and a few followers and established a settlement at least four years before the noted frontiersman, Daniel Boone, arrived in the area to build a fort. To this day, the quiet valley some seventeen miles from Bluefield, Virginia, in known as 'Abb'sValley', in honour of its discoverer, Absolem Looney.

The Indian wars had a tragic impact on the Looney family. Robert's son, Peter, was captured during the French and Indian war and held prisoner at Fort Detroit for almost a year, dying three years after his release.

Another son Samuell, was killed by the Indians in 1760, and daughter Lucy Jane's' homestead was raided and looted by the Indians. Absolem Looney alas recalled from his green valley to assist Robert Looney in building a fort, Fort Looney, to defend against French and Indian attacks. He was later to learn that those who had remained behind at the settlement had been massacred by the Indians, a fate which would befall him at Dunkard's Spring, Virginia, sometime batween 1791-96.

The American Revolution did not by-pass the Looney familly two of Roberts sons served in the American forces. David as a Major in the North Carollina Militia and Absolem in support of the forces under General George Washington, Fort Looney was reactivated once again to defend settlements against Indian attack, formented this time by the British. Three of Absolem's sons served in the Virginia Militia, with one dying of gunshot wounds in both legs during the Battle of Kings Mountain, North Carolina.

Absolem's son, Michael, homesteaded in Tennessee after the war. His log cabin there stood until 1919, and the 1,500 acre farm he acquired at at half-shlling an acre is still held by his descendants. The Seven branches of the Looney familly founded by the sons of Robert Looney of Ballagilley, now extend to fifteen of the United States.

[fpc - the link to ballagilley has been seriously questioned]



The Cannon Family of Eary ne Gowin, Kirk Michael

Few Manx families can have been studied with such interest as the Cannon family of Peel and their forebears, ancestors of George Quayle Cannon (1827-1901) the prominent member of the Mormon Church in Utah, and U.S. Congressman, and his posterity. It was his niece Ann Mousley Cannon(1860-1948), who as chairman of the Historical And Genealogical Committee of the George Cannon Family Association, was instrumental in gaining clearance for the microfilming of the Manx records by the Genealogical Society of Utah.

Many years before these microfilms were made, genealogical research had been carried out by members of the Cannon family, necessarily in the Isle of Man, based firmly on family records and traditions, and the results were published by the five year old Family Association in 1927. In this work, the family was traced back in the male line to John Cannon, who purchased the Quarterland of Coillshellagh, Kirk Michael, in 1689, and his wife Christian, whose surname was unknown.

In about 1965, Mr, R.E. Blakeburn, of the English Research Department of the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, carried out more research into the early history of the family, using microfilms of Archdiaconal Wills and the " Manorial Rolls". Due to the limited resources available, Mr. Blakeburn at that time obliged to leave some of his conclusions tentative.

When George Cannon Family Association published an expanded and revised volume "Cannon Family Historical Treasury ", in 1967 some confusion occurred'
While the narrative referred to

"The earliest Cannon from whom we have any present hope of tracing direct descent.,... John Cannon ...who was living to A.D. 1614(when)we find an agreement beween him and his brother-in-law John Garrett (or Carrett) as to the joint tenure of... the Coollshellagh... and stated "The John Cannon who acquired the family estate, in 1689 must be recognised an the earliest direct ancestor to whom we can positively trace"

the Genealogical Appendix by contrast provided particulars of an unbroken lineage extending even beyond the John of the "1614" document,

It was in order to clarify the link (if any) between the John Cannon of 1614 and his namesake who founded the Coollshellagh family that I commenced research into the Family, my interest stemming from my descent from two sisters in the third generation of the Cannon family of Coollshellagh; Christian, who married John Corjeag, and Catherine, who married Matthias Crowe.

The first step was to pursue a lead given by the Blakeburn research, an extract from Liber Vastarum (records of the Manorial Court in which change of ownership or more strictly, customary tenancy, of land ware recorded), dated 1705, In this entry, which related to land in the Treen of Cammall, the name of ''Willam Cannon was removed from the roll, and that of William Quaile substituted, with the explanation "William Quaile to entered for this rent by Statue of a bill of sale from John Cannon son of the said Wm. Cannon bearing date 11 November 1704 . This deed, which is preserved in the Manx Museum Library, was executed by

"Jon Cannon of the parish of Kk Michael with the consent and asent of my wife Christian Cannon als Cannell" who sold to " Wm, Quayle of Camnall ...half a daymoth of hay ground which was purchased by our father Wm. Cannon of the Quarterland of Cammel and bequeathed by him to us being of the years' single rent of fourpence"......

A search in the index to Wills In the Manx Museum Library led to this documents

Kk Mich 1699

The last will and testament of Will Cannon who departed this life
the 25th of August' first he comited his soule to God and his body
to Christian buriall -item hee left to bee distributed to the poore
at all hallowtid next two sheep - Item he left to his sonn Wm
Cannon five shillings legasie and all the lands hee. bought in the
Arie as well Quarterland as Intake:'- Item he left to his daughter
Margt Cannon five shillings legasie.
Item he left to his daughter Joney five shillings legasie
Item he left to his daughter Allice one shilling legasie
Item he left to his daughter Ellin Cannon one shilling legasie -
Item he maid mention that fortie years agoe hee was Moor of the
parishh of Kk Michaell and came to one Wm Cannell of the said parish
to demand rent who had no moneys to pay it to him but gave him
halfe a dayemoth of hay grond in morgage of 16s - and two years
after the said testator -was Moor again and when hee came to demand
the. rent of the said Wm Cannell he was fallen very poore and had noe
monies to pay him the ald rent wherefore hee sold to him outright
the said half daymoth of hayr ground for twentie shilllings and
agreed For the yearly rent of 4p single rent and afterwards the
said testator morgaged the said halft dayemoth of ground to Wm
Quayle of Cam ell for 20s the said Qualie paying the said yearly
rent thereof- In whose posesion it still continueth -
Item he left to Tho. Carrett one coate
Item To John Cannell one coate
Item To Katherin Cubbon one shirt -
Item To Gilbert Cowley one dublett
Item To Wm Caine. And his sonn two pane of breeches
Hee constituted and appointed his sons John Cannon his true and lawfull executor of all the rent of his goods moveable and unmoveable.

The witnesses of the will, which was of course Nuncupative (written down after death) were John Quayle and Richard Cowley,. The appointment of John as Executor acted as a residuary bequest, and as the land at Cammall had not been specifically mentioned elsewhere in the document, and was not a"property of inheritance" (beinge, as the will carefully explained purchased land) it passed with the residue and fell to John Cannon. Coollshellagh.

The connection with "the Arie" which was hinted at in William Cannon's will was confirmed by the burial entry in the Kirk Michael Parish Register

Wm Cannon Ne heary August the 27 1699

Reference to the transcript hold at the Manx Museum of the Northside Composition Book of about 1704 revealed that a William Cannon was paying Lord's rent of 7/6 and 3/4 respectively for two portions of the the Quarterland of "Arigau " in the treen of Ballaskyr Kirk Michael. (This is north-east of Little London, and now known as Fairy Farm)

Further research led to the discovery in the same volume of entries relating to other land occupied by the same man; part of the quarterland of "Ballaquiggin " in the Treen of Shuglailg (modern Shaughlaigue-e-Quiggin), and several Intacks, all within Kirk Michael. It was straightforward to trace the entries relating to these pieces of land in Liber Assedationes and Liber Vastarum, and assemble an account of the Cannon landholdings in the area prior to 1703.

I should at this juncture explain that one of the effects of the Act of Settlement of 1704, on which modern Manx land-tenure is based, was to double permanently the Lord's rent payable on the type of property known as Quarterland. Other rents - for Mills, Cottages and Intacks, were unchanged.

The Cannon family appears first to have been associated with Eary ny Gowin (J.J.Kneen's spelling) in 1616, when the following explanation accompanied the entry of John Cannon as owner of a half share in part of the quarterland, on which 7/6 (single) rent was levied and also certain Intacks

"John Carrett hath joyned with him John Cannon his brother in laws to have and enjoy the same to him and the issue of him by Margrett his now wife And if yt happen that there be noe issue by her then the land to return againe to John Carrett and his heirs and assignsl he or they returning XIIII's of money to the said Cannon or assigns and this is concluded upon with consent of Margrett the wiefe of the said John Carrett "

The other portion of this Quarterland to belong to the family of 1/8 single, 3/4double rent, was acquired about 1624, in which year Liber Vastarum recorded ;
"..Jo: entered by virtue of a bargaine alleged yet enye man his right referred. "

As this John and his wife both left wills, which verify information from the Kirk Michael Parish Register and amplify the gleanings from property records, details of the familly at this period are clear. At John Cannon's death, in1642, the farm passed to his eldest son John, who assigned it to his younger brother William, before 1645. This was the William who lived until 1699. His various land transactions included the purchase on the 9th November 1655 of

" one parcel of farm land...of the annual rent single of 14d and commonly known by same Ey Nary "

This was sold by John Cannell and John Quiggen, and formed a remote and detached portion of Shuglaig Treen, separated from the remainder by a ridge of Common Land, but contiguous wih Eary ny Gowin.

About this time, Cannon also made several encloses of Common Land legally termed Intacks which were variously described as an " inclosure out of the highway " this only " provided it prove not prejudicial to the way ", "an Enclosure of the Commons at the out end of his tenement ", 'a parcel of waste land adjoining to the fell ditch " and 'a parcel of mountain lands...Containing about 3 acres. "

A problem was encountered in identifying Willam Cannon's wife - the Genealogical Appendix to the Cannon Family Historical Treasury gives her name as Mariod Christian, died 11 April 1695, but this woman's will names only one child, a son William, also his wife, and daughter Mary. There seemed to be a lack of proof that she was the woman sought., a view which had also been expressed by earlier researchers. It was in these circumstances that I turned to " a remarkable record of a Marown family", as the late Mr. William Cubbon, a former Director of the Manx Mueseum described it the Commonplace Book of the Kewleys of Ballafreer. in this is to be found "an account of the women that have been married in (Ballafreer) for many years past, who they were, of what kindred they descended, And from what parrishes they came as far as we could hear by our antecessours brought down by word of mouth from father to son to this present year of o'er Lord (1763)". After discussing one William Kewley, this account states

"this Willam Kewley died about the year 1686, and his wife died about the year 1688, and left behind them one son, called Nicholas. He was married to Elliner Cannan daughter to Wm of Ailrey ny Coan in the Parrish of Kirk Michael. The Cannans were not long . They were out of Ball Chruink in the Parrish of Kk Braddan Baldin. Her mother was daughter to Stoan y Chruink in Kk Michael and the Stoans are there to this day.

Later it is stated that Nicholas and Elliner's eldest son was baptised 27th September 1673, and that Elliner died about 1725.

If the Wm Cannon mentioned here was identical with the owner of Eary ny Gowan from 1645 to 1699, as seemed likely, the possibility arose that his wife was a Stephen, not a Christian. (Stoan was a corruption of Stephen). Careful searching amongs early wills revealed the following document


Michaell 1699

The last will and testament of Bahie Steven who departed this life about the 7th of November.
First she bequeathed her soule to God and her body to Christian buryall. Item. She left to the poore 2 sheep and the rest at the discretion of her executors
Item. She left to which of her children would live to Inherit the lands all her part of the cropp of come and of the lands which her selfe and her husband bought;
Item. She left to her daughter Elline Cannon one peticoat.
item. She left to her daughter Alic and her daughter Jony all her linen clothes that be shaped betweene them and two sheets.
Item. She left to Issable Tobman 1 lambe.
Item. She left to Bahey Steven 1 peticoate.
Item. She left to Pattericke Cowley one sheep.
Item. She left to Tho. Cannell one lambe.
Item. She constituted ordained and appointed her 4 children namely Alice Will Jony and John Cannon her true and lawfull Executors of all the rest of her goods moveable and unmoveable.
further she mayd mention that it was agreed upon betwixt her self and her husband Will Cannon that her sayd husband is to give 3L. apeece to everyone of her children that is nominated Executor of lawfull money for the executorship in regard the said children is under age and himself --- be bound for all debtors who afterwards might lay clayme against her Executors."

The witnesses were Thomas Cannell and Patrick Cowley.

On turning to the General Registry Transcript of the Kirk Michael Parish register, I could find no reference to the burial of Bahie Steven. There was, though a puzzling listing; of " Bahee Lewn wife of Willm Cannon " buried 7th November 1669.

The Eccleslastical courts depended on the parochial Registers for the lists of decedents whose wills awaited probate, or whose estates required administration.

It is apparent that, bearing in mind that the probate records are contemporary, while the surviving versions of the Parochial Register is a copy, a transcription error has taken place - readily understood where the chameleonic Stephen name is concerned!

Another document from the Archdeaconal Registry, the administration of William Stephen, of Kirk Michael, who died 10 June 1658. His four children were appointed administartors, and " the unkle and aunt on the father's side viz. Jo and Bashee supervisors" The said Bahee being sick her husband Wn Cannon being sworn. " Bahee's father also died intestate, about the 1st August 1659, his name was Do Stephen, and as Donold Stephen his name had in 1637 been entered as Lord's tenant of an intack of 3d rent in Kirk Michael which was in the possesion of a descendant " John Stephen a Cruink " (ie of the Hill) in 1703. John Rowley, the family's, 18th century chronicler seems to be vindicated.

Having proved the connection between John Cannon of Coollshellagh and his grandfather, further research into the Eary ny Gowin Cannons ran beyond my original aim. During the coourse of other research on my pedigree though, I had traced two futher ancestral lines, one stemmed from Jony, daughter of William and Bahee Cannon who marrie first Thomas Corlett who purchased half of the Nappin, Lezayre, and secondly William Christian of Ballamin , Bride. The otherr link was through her elder brother William, who inherited from his father in 1699. By two marriages, William had at least twelve children. including a William, a Margaret, and a Mary by each marriage. " Ah, but the elder ones died young" you say? Both Margarets were alive in 1724!

William's heir was his son John who inherited in 1715, he died young, in 1723, leaving two daughters surviving him. Isabel, the elder daughter and heirress, married -- Kewley, (no known connection of the. Ballafreer family) the farm remaining in this family until 1827, when her Paul Kewley sold the place to John Cannel. Thus when John Kewley wrote about his grandmother, the Cannons of "Airey ny Goan " were a well remembered family. He soon had cause to recall them again; on 11th December of the same year, 1763, his son, John Kewley " the third of that name " married Catherine Clague, of Crosby, Marown. Her mother was, it was discovered: "Daughter of William Cannon of Airey ny Gione...the Cannons were not very anciet there for they descended of the Cannons of Balla Chruink Baldin in Kk Braddan, and so much of them"

By early in the present century all connection with that remote corner of Michael where the family had first been established, was forgotten, and attention was focussed on Coollshellagh, where the Cannons, as they had become, still farmed, Perhaps this account can redress the balance.

Principal Sources used


a) Wills and Administrations
Arch. - Archideaconal Probate Court) All in Manx Museum Library
Episc - Episciopal Probate Court "
Arch. 1642 John Cannon
Arch 1645 .John Cannon and Margt Garret

E 1658 Willm Stephen
E 1659 Do. Stephen
A 1669 Bahy Stevan
E 1699 (2) William Cannon
E 1703 (2) Jane Cannon als Patterson
E 1723 (2) John Cannon
E 1724 (2) William Cannon
A 1725 (1/41) Christian Cannon
A 1755 (2/44) Mary Cannon als Carter
E 1781 (2) Thomas Cannon

b) Deeds of sale and mortgage
At Manx Museum if before 1847, otherwise at General Registry.
N., S., S.S., M., North, South Side Sales, Mortgages.
Liber. Cancell - Liber Cancellarii.


Property ln Kirk Michael

Lib. Cancell. 1657/8 p. 25 Cannell ~ Quiggin to William Cannon.
Ibid. 1689 p. 61 Cannell & Others to John Cannon,
Michael Old Deeds No. 36 John Cannon and Wife to Quayle.
NSS . May 1827 - 3 Paul Kewley to Cannel.

Property in Peel

N.S.M. May 1742 - 118 ,Thomas Cannon & wife to James Clague assignment.
N.S.M. Oct 1745 - 64, Thomas Cannon & wife to J.H.Shimmin
N.S.S. May 1781 - 18, Thomas Cannon & others to Thomas Cottier
N.S.S. Oct 1781 - 15 Thomas & Christian Cannon to Robert and Henry Corlett
N.S.M. Oct 1763 - 8 John Cannon & wife to Hugh Cowin
N.S.M. May 1788 - 8
S.S.S. May 1800 - 16

August 1877 - 9

c) Manorial Records

Abbey Rentals
Liber Monasteriorum
Liber Assedationis
Liber Vastarum

d) Parish Records
St. Mathew, Douglas

II printed
Journal of the Manx Museum', vol. III pp. 157-9.
The Place-names of the Isle of Man, J.J. Kneen (Repr. 1973,Yn Chesaght Guillckagh)
George Cannon, Ancestry, Posterity and Native Land, J.Q.Cannon (1927, George Cannon Family Association)
Cannon Family Historical Treasury,ed B.C. Evans & J.R.Cannon. (1967, George Cannon Family Association)

Nigel Crowe



The Family of John Mc Christen, First Protestant Vicar of Maughold 1580-1625.

Had issue: 3 sons and 2 dau's

1. John McChristen or Christian called the young vicar as he was probably his father's curate born 1590 died 1663 aged 73 wife unknown , had issue William, born 1612 died 12 June 1668 , aged 56

2. Edward Christian of Ballakilley and Loghmolla . Born 1590, died 19th January1661, aged 71, married 19th January 1626 to Elizabeth Maycott, daughter of Sir Cavaller Maycott, knight of Dover, at St Mary's Somerset, London. Edward, Governor of the Isle, Commandant of Manx Forces......

3 William Christian of Knockrushen, Castletown, died 1652. ....

4. Margaret Christian, married John Tear , Captain of the Parish of Jurby. He was buried 5th April 1706, and was one of the Covenanters at. Ronaldsway in 1651. They had issue: a son John, who died 24th January 1713, aged 43; and was buried at Jurby.

5 . Isabell Christian who married Ewan Christian of Cranstall in the Parish of Bride, a relative. He was one of the Covenanters at. Ronaldsway . .Issabell got as dowry a parcel of land at Maughold known as 'Ye Head' . They had Issue.


R. Christian

[fpc sorry my copy is barely readable and does not scan - the historical accuracy of the article other than the genealogical info is also rather questionable]


Notes of American Research Aids

Mrs Walters of Highland Lakes, New Jersey writes to say that she now has the new passenger and immigration lists index edited by P. William Filby with Mary K. Mayer~ published by Yale Research Co , 1981. it is is a guide to published records of 500,000 passengers who went to the U.S.A. and Canada in the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries and she would be glad to search it for any members of the Society who desires information from It. It is an alphabetical listing by surname stating each persons name age (If given) date and port of entry and source from which information was obtained.

Family Groups are linked together as well as by Individual. It is far from complete .

[fpc - see my comment on my emigrant manifest's page]

Mrs. Walters also writes about the US. Census records. Those from 1790-1810 show names of heads of families only, other family members are tallied by age groups, sex and race. indexes by State. are available. The 1851[sic 1850 ?] Census was the first to record each person's ago. name, occupation if over 15 years, and place of birth. It is indexed under the name of the head of the household and the state in which they lived. The 1860 and 1870 Censuses are not Indexed......




Memorials of God's Acre




John Killey Foxdale d Australia 22-10-1869


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