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TOPIC: Clan McShane-Johnson History

Clan McShane-Johnson History 2 years 7 months ago #5476

The history of northern Ireland is wrought with the people of and connected to the McShanes. It is important to note that we have a convoluted history, and there is a varied background to what is today the McShanes. One thing that has to be remembered about McShane history is that it is threaded through and indelibly a part of the greater O’Neill family history. There have been numerous O’Neill connected family groups that have at different times taken the name McShane. Over time, they were linked back to that small group that has inhabited Killetragh and Glenconkeyn for at least 500 years, so that today the relations are seamless.

I see four main family groups that became the McShanes of today, and possibly a fifth. In addition to these four branches, there are doubtlessly men and women who simply took the "Son of Shane or Son of John" as their last name upon census record, immigration, or church record. Also there are those many families who fell victim to an English clerk who changed the spelling of the name or dropped a “Mc” or an “O”, thus giving us historic examples of “the wide Clan Shanes”. The historic original sources of the name go back to the early Middle Ages of Ireland. But that is past, and we are looking to re-unification of the family.
Tricia the Great O'Neill
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Re:Clan McShane-Johnson History 2 years 7 months ago #5477

The Ancient Period Eoghan Mor, King of Cenel Eoghan - Eoghan Mor was a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. He was of the Kings ruling what is now central Ulster and the greatest dynasty in Gaelic Ireland. Eoghan Mor was given an estate comprising the modern County of Tyrone, Derry and some of Donegal. He had a son or grandson that was known as “Mac Seain”. This sub-tribe held lands in an area of a smaller kingdom known as Cenel Moine. In turn the “McShanes” held a lordship therein called Magh Itha. In a Clan census done in the 12th century, the Mac Seains or McShanes were listed as a "Noble, Chiefly, Sept of the O'Neills, and Chiefs in Moy (Magh) Itha." The placement of this family was at the lower part of the region, roughly in the south of Tirkeernan Parish-upper Ballinascreen parish in modern County Derry, just about where the modern day holdings of the family today in Ireland. At the time, this area was a vast uncharted forest and mountains, and the sole territory of the McShanes. These were the “MacShanes” written about in 1425, 1542, 1593 and the “Wild Clan Shanes” fabled in English reports of 1607-1610 of which Hugh O’Neill became Chief. As a sept of the O’Neill Mor dynasty, the clan would have maintained a continuous relationship with their over-lord cousins, occasionally deriving their Chiefs from the pool of O’Neill Princes and Princesses.

(ie: from @ 1585-1620 Phelim MacTurlough, Red Hugh, and Hugh McShane were all O’Neills, and became Lords of Killetragh and thus, Chiefs of the McShanes)
Tricia the Great O'Neill
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Re:Clan McShane-Johnson History 2 years 7 months ago #5478

The Modern Period

Hugh “McShane” O’Neill Chief of the McShanes and Prince of Ulster born 1560-d. sometime after 1615
Hugh “McShane” O’Neill was the last recognized, Lord of Killetragh and inaugurated Chief of the McShanes for the 16th and 17th Century. He was a great-grandson of Conn Bacach O’Neill, King then Earl of Tir Eoghan. His grandfather had been the eldest son of Conn Bacach and Tanist of the O’Neills, until his early death in 1542 at the hands of a McDonnell galloglach in a raid along the Bann River. Had he lived, Shane the Proud and Mathew of Dungannon may never have come to prominence. But his death left his small children at the mercy of the greater family. They were farmed out to different families and kept at bay by their cousins and uncles. Over the latter part of the 1500s, they carved out a minor lordship in the O’Neill lands west of Lough Neagh. Conn Bacach’s grandson, Turlough “Brassilagh” held one lordship in northern Armagh, then later another in southern Tyrone. He was called “Brassilagh” due to the fact that he’d been fostered by the McCans in the territory known as “Clan Brassil”. He and his sons were a thorn in the side of their “Uncle Shane”, then later cousin “Earl Hugh” in the inter-family wars, were frequent raiders of Maguire in the 1570s-80s. However they fought with Earl Hugh in the 9 Years War. Turlough and sons being assessed at bringing more than 240 men into battle under their standard. Turlough’s son, Hugh took advantage of the loss of control their cousin the Earl had after their defeat in 1602, and usurped the Earl’s claim to the title of Lord of Killetragh. His nickname probably meant that he’d been fostered by the McShanes as a child, and simply returned to them, becoming their Chief. His brothers all received lands in the adjoining area after the Flight of the Earls and were known to prosper until the coming of the new Planters. After that, the brothers drop from site. Hugh stays prominent and is mentioned in English dispatches for another 12 years. The last known historical entry was in 1615, when, during the Native Conspiracy Rebellion, he was noted as living illegally on English planters lands and being able to bring a good many men into battle under his standard.
Tricia the Great O'Neill
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Re:Clan McShane-Johnson History 2 years 7 months ago #5479

2.

Shane "The Proud" O'Neill, Chief of O’Neills and Prince of Ulster b. 1535-d.1568
In an effort to consolidate power in Ulster in the 1540s, Conn Bacach O’Neill, then King of Tir Eoghan, helped the English put down a rebellion in the south. Then submitted his title to King Henry VIII, and was re-granted the title of 1st Earl of Tyrone. Shane was the second, Catholic son of Conn O’Neill and only a child when his father gave away his King title and become the 1st Earl. Though, he did retain his title of The O'Neill Mor. In Brehon (Irish) law, a ruler can only submit for himself, not his children. So with the death of his older brother Felim Caoch, his son Shane, rightly assumed had no worries about becoming the head of Ulster. However, Queen Elizabeth called upon Conn to submit one child to be raised by the English court. Conn submitted a son, Mathew, by another woman named Kelly. When Mathew came of age, the Queen recognized him as Baron Dungannon and heir to the title, Earl Tyrone.
By the 1560s, Shane was a powerful man in his own right, and was recognized as the Tanist O'Neill by his kinsmens’ nobility. In retribution to Mathew’s elevation, Shane led a rebellion for nearly 10 years that alternately led to his capture and appearance before Queen Elizabeth, being named the 2nd Earl of Tyrone, his release, the killing of his half brother Mathew, another rebellion against the English, his claiming the Kingship of Tyrone, and his eventual death at the hands of the MacDonalds of Antrim.
Shane had 10 sons: Shane Og, Hugh “Gaveloch”, Henry, Art, Conn, Cormac, Niall, Brian, Turlough and Edmond. From these "Mac Shanes" many others are descended, especially the descendants from Conn and Henry in Tyrone, north Armagh, and Fermanagh. And at least three children were known to have gone as children to Scotland with their mother, the Countess Mar.
Tricia the Great O'Neill
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Re:Clan McShane-Johnson History 2 years 7 months ago #5480

3.

The Clanaboy & Fews O'Neill-McShane Link
In about 1505, Hugh (Aodh) O'Neill, a Prince but younger son of the O'Neill King of Tir Eoghan, left on a conquest to establish his own territory. He took with him some younger brothers and cousins, and a small army of knights and soldiers to the south of Dungannon into a great forest called the Fews that was held by a rival family.
After about 3 years of fighting, Hugh gained the entire area, and was established as Hugh (Prince) Lord of the Fews. As time passed, the Clanaboy O'Neills drifted further west from their Antrim stronghold. Some Clanaboy cousins stayed and prospered in the Fews, combining the families. Hugh's grandson, Sir Turlough O'Neill eventually became "The O'Neill of the Fews". He had a difficult role to play as he bordered both the Pale in the south and his cousins rebel territory in the north. During the rebellion starting in 1593, Sir Turlough had to play both sides. His cousin Hugh the Red, 3rd Earl of Tyrone (of the Flight of the Earls fame) was pressing him to fight the English. The English forces were making him adhere to English treaties. He ended up doing both at the same time. Finally, the rebellion collapsed in 1602, and Sir Turlough had to ask Queen Elizabeth for a pardon for his entire Clan.
He was granted a pardon for his family members only. Of the remaining blood kin, a total of 19 McShanes are listed in the Census of 1602 as either "horsemen" (knights) or yeoman farmers/herdsmen. The key point is that he lists these McShanes as family members.
My belief is that many of the Armagh McShanes are descendants of these families. I believe they came with Aodh O'Neill on his campaign into the Fews and settled as vassals/cousins of The Lord of the Fews. Later, the grandsons fought with the grandson Lord. Those that survived started the McShanes of Armagh. Due to their origins, they would be a sept of the McShanes of Sperrin Mountains, just north of Dungannon (the seat of O'Neill power) in the area making up east Tyrone and west Derry counties of today.
Another sept in 1648, Thomas O'Neill McShane (son of another Shane O’Neill, who grew up as McShane) grandson of Sir Turlough, after having been banished to Mayo by Cromwell, anglicized his name to Johnson to conform to the strong English presence in the area. His grandson,General Sir William Johnson, Bt. Of New York is of this line. He had an older brother who stayed in the area and kept the McShane name. Further, at least two sons of Shane The Proud settled and took lands in northern Armagh. They were collectively known as “The Mac Shanes” and it is known that some of the later generations took McShane as their surname.
Tricia the Great O'Neill
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