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Beech Sandford and Alice Mc. Cullagh

My grandfather’s notes give a good description of his great grandparents, Beech Sandford and Alice Mc.Cullagh.

Beech was born in 1775 and died on 6 Feb 1841. He lived in Tuam and was buried there. His Altar tomb at Tuam Cathedral is inscribed as follows:

who depd this life on 6th February
A.D. 1841, in the 66th year of his age
I am the resurrection and the life
saith the Lord. He that believeth
in me though he were dead
yet shall he live. John XI 25
For me to live in Christ and to
die is gain. Phil I 25

He married Alice Mc Cullagh, daughter of John Mc Cullagh, of Tuam. The marriage took place on 29 Jan 1807. Alice Mc Cullagh had a sister Maria Mc Cullagh, who married John Hackett. Alice was buried in Scotland. My own father said he remembered his father going to Scotland for his grandmother’s funeral as his recollection was that his father brought back presents for the children, and his present was a scotch cap and kilt, which pleased him greatly. From the fact that he was so pleased with his scotch cap and kilt I imagine that this must have been about the year 1850.
It is strange to say, in my grandfather’s record at Trinity College, Dublin, he is said to be the son of “Bartholomew Sandford, Gent. of Galway.” This may be an error. It may be that his father’s full name was “Bartholomew Beech Sandford.” He was always known as Beech Sandford. Again “Galway” may mean “Co. Galway,” not the town of Galway. That Beech was the father of my grandfather is well known, and also that he lived and died in Tuam.
Beech Sandford had three sons: John who is mentioned in his grandfather’s will, William my grandfather and Charles Beech.
We know nothing about John beyond the fact that he is mentioned in the will. I have never heard that his brother William mentioned him to my father. Possibly he died young.

If we could find Alice’s grave in Scotland, it might lead us to Scottish roots for the Mc Cullaghs. At present there appears to be no easy way to narrow the search to a particular area. However, it appears that a national burials index is in preparation covering the years before the general registration, which started in Scotland in 1855. In time, therefore, it may become feasible to conduct a search efficiently.

Christopher Sandford says that Beech was a schoolmaster in Tuam in 1823. This is confirmed by the following extract I found in a directory for Tuam. Since it is dated 1824, it could possibly be this reference that lead to Christopher’s statement.

Extract from Pigot & Co. Directory of Tuam 1924
Rev. Thomas Feeny (principal, and professor of theology)
Rev. Thomas Keelty (professor of the belles letters)
Michael Magee (professor of mathematics and writing master)
Rev. John Morris (professor of philosophy)
Charles O'Callaghan, Mall
Beech Sandford, Dublin Road
Seminary of St. Jarlath's, Bishop Street

I assume the list heading Academics means both school teachers and schools. The last entry is the well known Catholic School. Doubtless Protestant boys would have had a separate small private schools. Such private schools and small groups under a tutor were very common in England in the 19th century, and I imagine the same would be true in Ireland.

Notice that Beech’s address is Dublin Road. Beech House photographed in the introduction is on the corner of Dublin Road and Circular Road. Perhaps this was the house where Beech lived and taught his pupils. Also the mention of Charles O’Callaghan as a schoolmaster is interesting. I wonder whether this is the man who married Beech’s sister Katherine.

Beech witnessed a marriage settlement between Potter and Malley of Tuam in 1827.

Here are the children of Beech and Alice based on the baptisms that took place in St. Mary’s

Eliza SANDFORD (1809)
John SANDFORD (1811)
Thomas SANDFORD (1812)
William SANDFORD (1815)
Robert SANDFORD (1818)
George SANDFORD (1820)
Anne SANDFORD (1823)
Charles Beech SANDFORD (1828)

This list is consistent with what Christopher and my grandfather knew, but also adds further children, about whom nothing more is known.

I have more to say about William on another page, which is devoted to him. Here we will address what is known about Charles Beech Sandford.
First I should make a comment about a discrepancy in the date of Charles Beech’s birth. The baptism records referred to above give 1828, whereas my grandfather and Christopher in their correspondence argued that the birth date was 1816 or 1817. They argued for this date since they knew of only three sons of Beech: John, William and Charles. Since their grandfather’s will mentioned the eldest son, there must have been at least three sons born by the time the will was written in 1817. This would place Charles’s birth in 1816 or 1817. However, we now see the record shows that a son Thomas was born before 1817. There is therefore no reason not to believe that Charles Beech was born much later as is suggested by the register of baptisms.

The following letter, which bears on Charles Beech, I will quote in full. The original envelope is addressed to my grandfather, as Vicar of St. Mary’s Bury St. Edmunds, and is post marked Warren Ohio 21 May 1929,

To whom it may interest.
Charles Beech Sandford and Mary Connely(sic) Sandford came to the U.S. from Manchester Eng. In 1852 they settled in Philipsburg, Camden Co., Pennsylvania, where C.B. was superintendent of the public schools for many years.
They had a family of 12 children of whom 6 survived 5 daughters and 1 son. The oldest son William Henry was born in England. Of the relatives in England there is very little known, as there was some family trouble and Charles was not on friendly terms with his family and never communicated with them. It is known however that he had two brothers William and I believe Henry. It has been brought to my attention that there is or was an Episcopal minister by the name of Henry Sandford. Charles Sandford was educated for a minister as was his brother.
Walter L. Sandford the living son is greatly interested in knowing if there are any relatives of his father now living in England and who his grandparents were.
Whoever gets this letter will they kindly communicate with Walter L. Sandford
101½ S.Park Ave Warren Ohio U.S.A.
and he will answer and give you information he has in regard to his father.

There might be a record somewhere perhaps in Manchester. A Charles Sandford did indeed marry a Mary Connoly in Manchester in 1850. I shall obtain the marriage certificate, which should confirm the identity. My grandfather commented that all his father ever remembered being told about Charles by his reticent father, William, was that music was the downfall of his brother Charles. It is some 75 years late, but a search for Charles’s descendants in the U.S.A. could be mounted. Already the web shows that Charles B Sandford taught at the Town Hall School, Clearfield, Pa. sometime between 1851 and 1872 . Clearfield is just 20 miles from Philipsburg mentioned in Walter Sandford’s letter.

The mention of Clearfield and Philipsburg brings me in a neat circle back to journey to Tuam. After my visit to the families roots in Tuam in June 2002 I set out for a conference in State College in central Pennsylvania, which is only 20 miles from where Charles Beech Sandford had taught up some 149 years earlier!

Michael Sandford - 30 May 2004

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