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The Diaries of Benjamin Greene of Hill House, Lecarrow - Part 1 (1920).

By Mai Byrne ( St. John's Parish Heritage Group).

It wasnt until 1924 that Benjamin Greene of Hill House, Lecarrow was officially
commissioned to use and keep a diary for the general information of the Hill House farm inmates. The entry for that year continues, He has been duly credited with the keeping of similar diaries in previous years and his name will go down in history as a trustworthy chronicler of events of interest concerning his time. Perhaps he did not realise at the time just how prophetic those words would be.

Benjamin Greenes diaries started in at least 1920 and continued up to at least 1930. Diaries
exist for the years 1920, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926 and 1930. Where the missing diaries have gone is not known (the 1921 diary would have been of great interest from a local point of view). The diaries are important in that they show what things were like around Lecarrow during an epic part of our history. This was the time of the War of Independence though such things did not seem to impinge much on normal farmers lives.

The diaries were written in a dispassionate style that was favoured by diarists at the time (see
similar diaries for Val MacDonald published in various issues of the Journal of the Roscommon Historical and Archaeological Society). We have published the first two weeks of the diary for 1921 as they appear in the diary. After this we reproduce what we feel are the important entries.

There is much of local value in these publications. We hope to bring you more of them in the
future. In the meantime here is the news from Lecarrow and area for 1920. Thursday 1st. January. This was a fine day for the New Year. A letter from Mio Tyner (sic). Brought 2 loads of hay, also 1 load of potatoes and turnips. Kate got New Year cards. Friday 2nd. January. The red cow calved a heifer calf. This was a fine day. Harry, Pattie and Baby went for England on the 9 train. We went to the fair in Knockcroghery with seven fat pigs, we got 104 for them or 14 - 17/- each, brought in 1 load of hay and turnips, got papers from John H. McKnight, Belfast. Saturday 3rd January. This was a fine day, we threshed 1 load of oats in the afternoon, in the forenoon brought in 2 loads of oats. Dick and I put down about a perch of a paling in the at the river, a letter from Stones, also Irish Farming also a paper from Harris. Monday 5th January. Yesterday was a fine day, the Westmeath paper came and Ms Annie Jackson called. This was a fine day. Dick went to Moate on the 9 train. James, Jack and I threshed 3 loads of oats. Brought in 1 load of hay. Tuesday 6th January. This was a fine day. We were not doing much as it is a holiday 12th day. Dick cycled from Moate. We had a party and danced all night, 25 attended, Munros, Jacksons, Poyntons, and Sloanes and Mr Bratty of Athlone were all here. Wednesday 7th January. This was a wettish day, Jack and I were working round the yard. Dick went to kill a pig for the Munros. Mrs. Cameron ordered 1 ton of potatoes. A letter from Harry. Thursday 8th January. This was a wet day; we put up about 30 barrels of chaff oats on the cow house loft, brought in 1 load of hay and turnips. Mrs. Cameron got 10 cwt of potatoes, got notepaper from Hely, Dublin.

Friday 9th January. This was a fine day. Dick boned the pig for Mr. Munro. We threshed a load of oats in the afternoon. Brought in 2 loads of oats in the forenoon, 1 load of hay and turnips. Tom Ward, Corrigan bought the Springer at 33 without the calf. Saturday 10th January. This was a wettish day, James and Jack brought in 3 loads of oats and 1 load of hay and I stayed in bed with a cold. Tom Ward brought home the Springer. The Farming World paper came and many other letters. Monday 12th January. Yesterday was a wettish day, the Westmeath Independent came. This was a wet day, Dick and Jack went to the fair in Roscommon with the red cow, they sold her for 33 without the calf, brought in 1 load of turnips and hay. Stayed in bed in the afternoon with a cold. Tuesday 13th January. This was a fine day, Minnie cycled to Athlone. James and Dick got the year and a half filly shod at the forge. Jack and I drew in 1 load of hay, turnips and potatoes. We threshed 1 load of oats in the afternoon, a letter from Roscommon also one from London also one from Willie McAllister, Dublin. Wednesday 14th January. This was a fine day. We killed the pig, got the year and a half pony shod. Brought in 1 load of hay, turnips and potatoes. James, Minnie and Dick came in at 6.30 this morning as they were all night at a dance at Jacksons, Knockcroghery, about 26 attended. A Letter from Florrie Green, Paul and Vincent, also a receipt from the Secretary of the Midland Great Western Railways Ireland for rent paid. Dick cycled to Mr. Munros, Gaily. Thursday 15th January. This was a fine day, we sold the fat bull to Mr. McQuaid for 70, brought in 1 load of turnips and 2 loads of hay. Dick boned the pig, a letter from Harry. Friday 16th January. This was a fine day, James and Dick drove to Athlone. Brought in 1 load of turnips and 2 of hay. A letter from Mary Stones, Ferboy. A dance at Bond Villa, 23 attended, didnt get home till 6.30 o clock. Saturday 17th January. This was a fine day brought in 1 load of oats and hay and turnips. We threshed 2 loads of oats in the afternoon. The Farming World paper came. Mr. Munro and Mr Sloane spent the night with us. Monday 19th January. Yesterday was a wet day, the Westmeath paper came. This was a fine day. James, Mr Munro and John Rooney went to the Athlone horse fair with 2 year and a half horses. But didnt sell as it was a bad day. [] and Bernie Kelly brought in the fat bull and [] and Davie Munro brought in 2 cows 1 of ours [] of Mr. Munros. Dick sold the cow, the pale one to Mr Heaton for 35. A letter about sugar for bees. They also bought a hunter for 25. The following highlights from the diary contain items of local and national interest such as local names, prices for farm animals and goods , dates of fairs for Roscommon, Knockcroghery, etc. Thursday 22nd. January. Hugh Heaton bought Fitzgeralds cow at 37-10. Friday 23rd. January. Luke Tracey died last night and he was brought to Knockcroghery Chapel this evening.

Saturday 24th. January. Dick attended Luke Traceys funeral in Knockcroghery Chapel to Killenvoy graveyard. Monday 26th. January. Mr. Dennison RIC bought the year and a half pony for 19. The Miss Jacksons spent the night with us. Jack Gately got 3 cwt. of potatoes. Tuesday 27th. January. Dick brought 3 cwt. of oilcake & 5 cwt. of palm nut meal from Knockcroghery Station from Paul & Vincent, Dublin. Friday 30th. January. Dick gone to Munros and James is gone to a dance at Mrs. Jacksons, Knockcroghery. Monday 2nd. February. 50 or 60 rebels arrested and will be deported to England. Wednesday 4th. February. Jack went to Colman Maguires with the young sow. Thursday 5th February. Dick attended Matt Curleys funeral of the Valley to Killenvoy. Monday 9th February. James spent the afternoon at David Munros, Gaily Hse. Maggie Poynton came home. Tuesday 10th February. Maggie Poynton is engaged to be married to Mr Lee Draper, Portarlington. Thursday 12th February. Miss Annie Jackson spent the night with us. Friday 13th February. Lizzie and Maggie Poynton and Mary and Jessie Munro spent an enjoyable night with us. Tuesday 17th February. Mr and Mrs Munro and Davie spent the night with us. Wednesday 18th February. Dick went to the pig fair in Knockcroghery it was a good fair for fat pigs. Jack Coyle sold his pig for 16. Friday 20th February. Dennison brought the pony, another policeman shot in Dublin. Saturday 21st February. Dick bought 2 bonhams at 4-10/- each. Monday 23rd February. (Sunday) James attended Tom []ivens funeral to Killenvoy. Tuesday 24th February. Martin Coyle was picking potatoes. Friday 27th February. A dance at Miss Jacksons, Minnie and James attended, they had a good night. Thursday 4th March. Dick came home from Dublin on the 4.40 train, he also brought home a white bull yearling. He paid 78 - 15/- for him. A ploughing match in Jack Gatelys of Killighan. Friday 5th March. James cycled to Moate and Minnie cycled to Roscommon. Mr. Frank Shaws-Taylor was shot dead in Athenry going to the fair of Galway in his motor by the rebels. Tuesday 9th March. James attended Uncle Ben Marshs auction he sold his farm, it went dear at the high price of 2000 and 120. A letter from Miss Padden, Mote Park House...

Monday 15th March. Mrs. Coady Martins house now John Connells was burned to the ground this morning. Tuesday 16th March. A dance at David Munros, Gaily. James, Minnie and Dick went, 35 attended Monday 22nd March. James and Dick cycled to the fair of Athlone. They sold the 4 stallfeds at 35 each making 140. Saturday 27th March. Dick went to Athlone on the 9 train. He bought 2 bonham at 4 10/each Monday 29th March. The new time came into place at 2 o clock this morning, the clocks put on 1 hour. Tuesday 30th March. Brought down 4 barrels, 4 stone and 7 lbs of oats to Coffeys Mill and got 4 cwt 2 stone and 11lbs of oatmeal. Gately got 16 stone of oats. Wednesday 31st March. Dick went to the fair in Roscommon. The cattle were very dear. The police barracks in Lecarrow was closed today, Sweeney, Donhough and .Dowherty is gone to Beechwood. Sergeant McLoughin, Dennison is gone to Kiltoom. Thursday 1st April. This was a fine day. We were threshing oats George Coyle with us. We killed 18 rats in the stack. Monday 5th April. Yesterday was a fine day for Easter Sunday, but great harm done through Ireland. 60 barracks were burned to the ground that was closed, Lecarrow barrack was burned to the ground and 4 others in the Co. Roscommon. Wednesday 7th April. Dick came home from the fair of Moate on the 4.30 train, he sold 10 heifers for James and 33 5/- each making a total of 332 10/-. Thursday 8th April. The papers gives account of how many barracks burned in Ireland. The amount is 219. Roscommon 7 or 8. Saturday 10th April. John Martin bought 3 barrels of oats. Monday 12th April. Pat Diffley got 3 barrels of oats. Tuesday 13th April. Great strike on the railway and quarry, no train going, it is on account of the S/F prisoners in Mountjoy. Wednesday 14th April. Great railway strike not over yet, also all the shops in Athlone and other towns closed. Thursday 15th April. The great railway strike is settled, all trains going today. Willie Murphy got 5 cwt of potatoes and Pat Watson got 1 barrel of oats and 2 cwt of potatoes. Monday 19th April. I went to Athlone on the 9 train bought a pair of fine boots at Dixons for 42/- also a cap and suspenders. Fred Greene came for holidays on the 10 train. Friday 23rd April. Dick and Jack went to the fair in Roscommon with 2 stripper cows, they sold them for 51. 29 for 1 and 22 for the other. He also bought 16 heifers for James at 26 and 27.

Monday 26th April. Alice Selvey spent the day with us. Wednesday 28th April. Jack went for a load of turf to the bog, we brought it from John Tracey. Monday 3rd May. (Sunday) Fred and I spent the afternoon and night at Bondville and Gaily House. (Monday) A races in Garrycastle, Athlone. Tuesday 4th May. 14 cwt of hay from Ton Poynton 5/- a cwt. Wednesday 12th May. 2 policemen shot in Cork yesterday. Thursday 13th May. Bernie Kelly brought home Pat from Roscommon. A football match at Tom Poyntons. Saturday 15th May. We had Jem Coyle and Mick Cunningham in the afternoon. Tuesday 18th May. Jack and I went to Paddy Brannans of Carnamaddy for a load of hay, we bought 10 cwt and paid 2-10/- or 5/- per cwt. Thursday 20th May. A fair in Roscommon. Friday 21st May. The police were taking up guns we had to give ours. Saturday 29th May. A Co. Limerick barrack burned to the ground, 2 policemen burned also and some others injured. Tuesday 8th June. Dick and Jack went to the fair of Athlone with 2 cows but didnt sell as it was a bad day for the sellers. Saturday 12th June. James went to Athlone on the 3.30 train and bought a motorbike at Pooles for 63. Mr Dennison R.I.C. called. Monday 14th June. (Sunday) Dick spent the afternoon at Lord Croftons, Mote Park. Wednesday 16th June. A cheque from Father Kelly, Knockcroghery for 2 8/- for potatoes and service of cows. Thursday 17th June. Maggie Poynton was married to Edward Lee of Portarlington. They went on their honeymoon to Dublin. Thursday 24th June. A Pattern in Lecarrow, about 10 attended. Saturday 26th June. Dick attended Mr Canons funeral from Knockcroghery chapel to Killenvoy graveyard. Wednesday 30th June. James attended Jem Donnellys funeral from the Chapel in St. Johns to Killcommon. Thursday 1st July. James brought the mares to McManus, Lecarrow. Saturday 3rd July. Minnie was at a picnic at Galey bay, which the Rev. T.S. Humphreys, got up about 20 attended. Monday 5th July. (Sunday) I attended Mrs. Mullallys funeral of the Valley to Killenvoy. Thursday 15th July. James went to the races of Lenabane.

Monday 19th July. Dick. Jack and I sold 24 lambs in the fair of Roscommon at 3 10/- each and 71 fat sheep at 5 10/- each. Thursday 22nd July. Dick went to the Mt. Plunkett meadow auction it went 14 per acre, he didnt buy any. Friday 23rd July. Dick, Jack and I dipped 100 sheep at Denis OBriens, Knockcroghery at 2d per sheep and paid 16/8-. Wednesday 28th July. The 10.30 train this night was held up for mail. Thursday 29th July. A races in Garrycastle. Tuesday 3rd August. Dick took meadow in Mt. Plunkett at 7-10/- per acre some of it went 13. Wednesday 4th August. We could not hold the picnic at Gaily Bay as it was so wet. A letter from Mr. Humphreys, Knockcroghery Tuesday 5th August. Miss Munros of Gaily House spent the night with us. Friday 6th August. Pat Kearney bought 2 bonhams from us. Monday 9th August. (Sunday) Tom Poyntons house was raided at 1 o clock today. (Monday) Lizzie Coyle bought a bonham. Wednesday 11th August. Paddy Kelly, Killoy died today. Got raffle tickets. Thursday 12th August. Dick attended Mrs. Martins funeral to Killenvoy. Dick and I also attended Paddy Kellys funeral of Killoy to Knockcroghery chapel. Friday 13th August. Dick attended Paddy Kellys funeral to Portrun. They had the picnic at Gaily Bay, Munros, Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. Humphreys and children and Mr Dennison attended. Tuesday 17th August. James motored to Athlone and gave in his motorbike and bought a Rover at 155. Friday 27th August. Mr. Potter R.I.C. Kiltoom was shot in Knockcroghery at 2 oclock this morning. Wednesday 1st September. Dick, Jack and I went to the fair of Roscommon, we sold 60 sheep they were very dear, we sold 20 cast ewes to Fred Jackson at 5-10/- each making 110, also 2 ewes to Jack Kelly at 4-15/- making 104 10/-. James sold 45 sheep in it at from 5-5/6 each making 234. Monday 6th September. Mr. Dennison RIC got out of the police force. Tuesday 14th September. Loveday and Mollie Poynton came today. Thursday 16th September. James and Dick went to the fair of Knockcroghery. James bought 40 lambs at from 4 to 4 10/- and Dick bought 2 cattle for 39. Wednesday 22nd September. Dick bought a pair of strong boots at Dixons at 35/-. Thursday 23rd September. Dennison sold the pony to Tom Mullooly for 21.

Friday 24th September. James bought 8 lambs in Athleague at 4 15/- each and Jem Higgins and Hynes bought 55 lambs. Monday 27th September. (Sunday) The sowing machine was raffled, Pat Fallon, Toberdon was the winner. (Monday) Tom Leonards son of the Warren was shot in Belfast. Tuesday 28th September. Dennison went to Tipperary from Athlone. Tom Leonards son was buried today. Thursday 30th September. Dick and Jack went to the fair of Roscommon with 3 heifers but didnt sell as there was no demand, he bought 11 ewe hoggets at 6 5/- each 68 15/-. Tuesday 5th October. Sold a shin of a heifer to Pat Coffey for 1. Monday 11th October. James sold 4 cattle at 35 each making 140. Tuesday 12th October. 3 policemen shot at the four mile house and 2 wounded. Friday 15th October. Dick motored to the Glynwood auction it was dear for bulls. Monday 18th October. Dick and Harry went to John Traceys and bought 40 clamps of turf at 18/- a clamp. Dick paid John Tracey 16 for turf. Great shooting in Athlone 3 solders shot and the Westmeath Independent office burned. Monday 25th October. A sheep fair in Knockcroghery. Tuesday 26th October. We went to the fair of Knockcroghery with 6 cattle but didnt sell as there was no demand on account of the coal strike. The Lord Mayor of Cork died yesterday. Tuesday 4th November. James sold 10 cattle at 30 each making 300 and 20 lambs at 5 each making 100. Friday 5th November. Mr. Munro of Gaily House had a public auction of all his furniture and outdoor effects, it was a dear auction. Dick bought 3 stacks of oats at 12 a stack and 1 cock of hay at 7 also a few other articles. James bought 2 bullocks at 23 10/- each. Joe Fallon bought the pony and trap for 90. Tuesday 9th November. A fair in Roscommon. Thursday 11th November. This was a holiday all over Ireland for shopkeepers and businessmen on account of Armistice Anniversary. Friday 12th November. A dance at Miss Jacksons, Knockcroghery on account of the Munros going to New Zealand. Tuesday 16th November. I attended Mr. Eddie Kellys, funeral to Killcommon graveyard. Wednesday 17th November. Railway strike not settled yet. Friday 26th November. We went to the Knockcroghery pig fair with a sow but didnt sell, nor neither did anyone on account of railway trouble. The Black and Tans came up today to fix their motor lorry. Monday 29th November. Mary Kelly spent the day with us. Mr. Munro left Lecarrow at last for New Zealand.

Tuesday 30th November. Dick bought 20 bags from Lysters at 2/9 per bag. Saturday 4th December. Jack got 6 barrels of slack lime at Richard Smiths at 3/- per brl. Monday 6th December. Dick and Jack went to the fair of Roscommon with 2 heifers but didnt sell. James and I went to Lecarrow to show the Shorthorn bull, he passed the test. Thursday 9th December. Mike Connaughton, Mick Mac, Martin Coyle and I went to John Traceys bog with 3 asses and drew out 18 loads of turf to a clamp and brought home on ass load. Friday 10th December. Jack Coyle bought the blue springer and calf. Friday 17th December. We got the threshing mill in the evening to thresh oats. Pat Daly was the owner of it, we threshed over 32 barrels, we had 25 men. Monday 20th December. This was a fine day, we finished the threshing, we threshed 2 stacks of wheat, we went to Malachy Kellys in the evening and threshed his. Saturday 25th December. This was a fine day for the Christmas, a good lot of xmas cards, spent the night in Bondville. Monday 27th December. Yesterday was a grand day, a few wren boys came. (Monday) A dance at Miss Jacksons. Dick and I went, 16 attended. Wednesday 29th December. Jack went to Joe Fallon and Ned Fallon to help them to thresh to oats. The author would like to thank the Beades family for allowing access to the diaries. We hope you found someone or something of interest in them.