The Sextons of Timoleague

The Sextons from the Timoleague and Barryroe areas may well be descended from the Sisnane families who are recorded on the 1659 ‘census’ – as it is likely that Sisnane is an anglicisation of Ó Seasnáin. It would appear that the Sextons who now live at Carhue (or Carhoo), Timoleague have been living at that location since at least the 1700s and now run a well-known caravan park alongside their farm. The exact relationship between these Sextons and the Sextons of Castlehaven isn’t known but it seems probable that one group are an off shoot of the other – with the most likely scenario being that John Sexton (G1) of Castlehaven moved west from Timoleague to Scobaun/Toehead sometime around 1750. Perhaps DNA analysis may, in time, shed some light on this.

The Sextons of Carhue

(This section is based on information provided by Brian and Mary Sexton, Carhue, Timoleague, Bandon Co. Cork P72 VO52)

The earliest Sexton (G1) of whom there is any reliable account is a man whose Christian name is now lost but who is buried at Timoleague Abbey ‘ on the right hand side, by the far right door up the small slope or just outside the wall on the School side of the lepers’ window ‘. ll

This man’s son was a John Sexton (G2) and was recorded as being present at his son, John’s (G3), wedding in Barryroe Church on 22nd February 1887. This John Sexton (G3) was born some time around 1847 and married a Johannah Sexton of Cullineagh, Courtmacsherry. It seems to be merely coincidental that husband and wife shared the same surname as it is very unlikely that they were closely related.John, it seems, died young and when Johannah died, she was buried with her father’s family (Denis Sexton of Cullineagh) in their family grave ‘by the water in Timoleague Abbey just above the road‘.

Turbulent times for the Sextons of Carhue

Their son was John/Seanie Sexton (G4) who was born on 31st May 1892. Seanie married Margaret O’Sullivan, Ballymacwilliam Lower, Ring, Clonakilty. Seanie died in 1967 and Margaret in 1972 and both are buried in Timoleague Abbey (new side). Seanie had three brothers – Cornelius, Jeremiah and Gerard (all G4). Gerard moved to Minnesota in the United States. Both Seanie and Cornelius were involved with the old IRA in the War of Independence with Cornelius holding the rank of Lieutenant. As a result of this involvement, the Sexton farmhouse at Carhue was burned down by the Black and Tans in 1921 but was rebuilt in the same location in 1922/1923. Cornelius became friends with Eamon de Valera while fundraising in the US and is buried in Killeagh graveyard in East Cork. Cornelius had a daughter Joan who lived at Mount Uniacke, Killeagh. Joan died in 2017 but her son, Diarmuid, lives at Shanagarry in East Cork where he is married to Rachel.

There had originally been two Sexton farmhouses across the yard from each other at Carhue but when one family (known as the Red Sextons) moved to Minnesota around the time of the famine, their house was bought by the family who stayed and they converted it to a milking parlour in the 1870s. Much later again, in the 1970s, it was developed as a games room / rest rooms for the Caravan Park.

The Minnesota (and Florida) Sextons

Gerard moved to Minnesota where he joined up with the Red Sextons. He established a printing business (Sexton Printing) and later moved on to Florida. He married twice and a son (then in his 80s) from his second marriage attended the funeral of his first cousin, Joan, in Killeagh in 2017. The Sextons who continue to live in Carhue today continue to have contact with their Florida cousins.

Modern times in Carhue

Seanie’s son was Cornelius (Con) Brian (G5) and was born on the 22nd August 1940. He married Margaret Collins from Rathrout, Ballinadee in September 1967. Their son is Brian Vincent Sexton (G6), born in July 1968. Brian married Mary Deasy (born January 1967) in Courtmacsherry Church on the 15th August 1998. Con and Brian (father and son) live across the road from each other at Carhue continuing to occupy the lands their families have farmed for generations. Con and Margaret established the very successful caravan park business on their farm in the 1960s catering for the tourists who come to the area to enjoy the wonderful local beaches and relaxed West Cork lifestyle. Brian and Mary continue to farm at Carhue and have a son, Sean (G7).

Other Sextons in the Timoleague area

The Sextons of Carhue are related to another Sexton family living in the Timoleague area: John Joe and Eily Sexton, brother and sisgter, both in their 70’s, who live in the townland of Killavarrig, Timoleague. They have a younger brother living in Chicago. It is thought that this family of Sextons originated in Carhue as they are cousins of the Carhue Sextons.

There is a reference (in the Wills Records in Dublin uncovered by Brian Sexton) to another Sexton household living at Carhue in the late 1800s in a house (now disappeared) that was on land owned by the Hobbs family. Margaret Sexton (probably originally Margaret Keohane) died at the Workhouse in Clonakilty in 27th March 1896. Her effects of £13 0s 6d were left to her nephew, Jeremiah Keohane of Cullinagah, Timoleague. As she left her effects to her nephew, it might be assumed that she and her husband had no children or that they had emigrated. It might also be assumed that her house was rented from the Hobbses or that her husband was a farm labourer who lived in a house owned by the Hobbs family. The house either fell into disrepair or was demolished as it no longer exists.