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William Gallagher (1821-1880) Donegal, Ireland M. Catherine (1819-1891)

William Gallagher, was born in 1821 in Donegal, Ireland. Little is currently known about his early years but in 1847, as the country was gripped by famine following the failure of the potato crop he married Catherine. They set up home in a small, thatched cottage in the village of Ballyholey, in the townland of Ballyholey
Far, Donegal. William worked as a labourer on the land and by April 1849, Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Anne (known as Nancy). By 1850, they had a son, James, followed, in 1854 by another son, Charles. Other children were to follow; Matthew, circa 1858, William in March 1860, Daniel in May 1862, Catherine (Cassie) in 1863, Mary Anne in 1864 and Mary Jane in February 1866. William became a well-known character in Ballyholey, growing to almost seven feet tall and earning the nickname Lang Willie. Williams life was to be tainted through tragedy, losing three of his four sons to illness. Little is known about Matthew, although family folklore suggests he may have been a Fenian who fled to Argentina to escape arrest. It is believed that he died in Buenos Aires in 1885, cause unknown.

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