Crowe of Leagar (Legarhill), county Monaghan – Research & analysis

This section of Arborealis presents genealogical notes and family outlines for that branch of the Crowe family in the county Monaghan, headed by John Maxwell Crowe (d. c.1800) of Legarhill and Elizabeth Young, his wife, of Corlismore.

Please note that many of the links open in new windows. The footnote references are hyperlinked to the Sources section at the bottom of this page.

My interest in the Crowe family stems from an ongoing study of the Huggins family of Glenarb, county Tyrone. In 1823, Thomas Huggins, formerly of Gortgonis, county Tyrone, married a young Irish woman named Margaret Crowe in Lexington, Kentucky. [1] Two years after Margaret's death in 1833, [2] Thomas remarried to Catherine Pilkington, née Crowe, widow of Samuel Pilkington of Lexington. [3] Margaret and Catherine were said to be sisters. [4] 

As to the parents of Catherine Crowe, a quick browse of a long list of associated family trees online (e.g., on Ancestry™, MyHeritage™, RootsWeb, and so on) reveals that many family historians show Christopher Crowe, son of John (sometimes James), and Catherine “Kate” Armstrong of Clones, county Monaghan, as the parents. This couple are shown as having emigrated to the Maritimes in Canada sometime before 1851. Unfortunately, none of these trees cites source references other than other (unsourced) family trees.

The purpose of these pages is to present findings from a survey of records for the purposes of, first, determining whether Margaret and Catherine Crowe were sisters; and second, corroborating the names of their father and immediate family, and the family’s domicile in Ireland.

The scope of this review is limited in that it does not comprise an exhaustive survey of the available records. Indeed, these notes should be treated as a sound basis for other interested researchers to do a more thorough rummage of the Irish records, in particular, the church registers, the Registry of Deeds, and estate records. The records which were reviewed are identified throughout, with source references hyper-linked to footnoes appearing at the bottom of this page.

Despite this limitation in scope, a sufficient depth and breadth of records have been consulted in order to advance answers to both research questions, subject only to the responsible genealogist’s caveat—that new records might be found at some point which could alter the findings discussed in the Conclusions section, below.

As to the first research objective, the information reviewed, to date, is insufficient to identify Margaret Crowe as the daughter of John Maxwell Crowe and Elizabeth Young. However, it may be said, with a high degree of confidence, that there were strong ties between the Crowe family, the Pilkingtons, and Thomas Huggins, to wit:

  • Margaret Crowe was the wife of Thomas Huggins until her death in 1833;
  • Samuel Pilkington, husband of Catherine Crowe, died in 1832; he named Thomas Huggins his executor; and Thomas succeeded the late Mr. Pilkington in his grocery business in Lexington;
  • Catherine Pilkington, widow of Samuel, remarried to Thomas Huggins in 1835, and the couple continued to occupy one half of the Pilkington double-house;
  • the daughter of Catherine Huggins (otherwise Pilkington, née Crowe) and the late Samuel Pilkington, Mary Jane Pilkington, married her first cousin, the Rev. Charles E. Crowe—to which marriage Catherine gave her assent, her daughter being yet a minor, and Catherine's second husband, Thomas Huggins, co-signed the marriage bond;
  • the Rev. Charles Crowe (nephew of Catherine) and Joseph M. Pilkington (son of Catherine) lent considerable sums to Thomas Huggins—Mr. Huggins’ houses were heavily mortgaged;
  • two years after Catherine Huggins’ death in 1849, Rev. Mr. Crowe foreclosed on the mortgages.

Only one reference has been found citing Margaret Crowe and Catherine Crowe as sisters, in a history of Lexington written in 1943. [5] The author could not have had personal knowledge, but perhaps there are (as yet elusive) records in the Lexington library system or Kentucky state archives which would serve to corroborate the statement.

Unfortunately, Margaret was born just a few years (c.1798) after the Exchequer Bill was filed (1795), and which named her parents and siblings. Further, none of the records that were studied during this review, whether on their own or taken together, add up to a genealogical proof of relationship between Margaret Crowe and the Crowe family of Legarhill in the parish of Clones, county Monaghan.

With respect to the second objective, a family tree has been developed with several types of documentary evidence that, taken together, admit of an unbroken line from Catherine Huggins, formerly Pilkington née Crowe, to her parents, John Maxwell Crowe and Elizabeth Young. In the course of developing this genealogical trail of evidence, a series of family outlines have also been developed, based on the collection and analysis of many source references. The result forms, I believe, a reliable basis for interested family historians to develop these outlines further.

For example, while the content of these outlines is reliable, there may be omissions, in particular, of children. These are easy to miss before the mid-1800s.

It must be acknowledged that the basis for the family outline of John Maxwell Crowe and Elizabeth Young, that is, the Exchequer Bill (1795), [6] is derivative in nature. However, other records (cited in the Sources section, below) corroborate the content of that abstract.

Related, or otherwise interested, family historians might wish to develop these family outlines further. Suggested records for study and analysis include:

  • the Church of Ireland records for the parishes of Clones, Drumsnat, and Newbliss in county Monaghan, and of the parishes in the Rev. Mr. Crowe’s charge in county Fermanagh;
  • historic newspapers;
  • local history journals and books;
  • the Registry of Deeds; and
  • any relevant estate records held by the National Archives of Ireland (Dublin) or the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast).

A word to those “family historians” or “genealogists” who have been circulating an incorrect family tree for this branch of the Crowe family, while also omitting source references on the one hand, and copying freely from other people’s unsourced family trees (mistakes and all) on the other: ☛ Of course, these trees tend to be riddled with errors and/or unsubstantiated claims, resulting in family mythology or speculative family fiction, but certainly not a well researched, reliable family tree. There are many courses available to learn the art and science of genealogical research. For a good start, see How-to Genealogy Learning Online.

Please refer to the menu in the top right-hand corner for family outlines.
☛ As the Crowe family are not one of my ancestral lines, my work is done here.

  • The "John Lowman House,” in Lexington, Kentucky – historical notes
  • "A Letter from Ireland," by James Fitzgerald Crowe to the Crittenden Record (Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky), seeking information about his missing half-brother, Joseph W. Crowe (30 October 1906)
  • Historic map (c.1864) of Farm Hill in Cloncallick townland (northern portion), parish of Drummully, county Fermanagh — the former residence of Charles Crowe, Esq., J.P. (c.1781–1861)
  • Modern overview map (adapted from Google Maps), to depict the location of Ballyhobridge Presbyterian Church (which lies about .75 km west of Farm Hill) in relation to the towns of Enniskillen, Clones, Monaghan, Cootehill, Castleblayney, Aughnacloy, Glaslough, and the city of Armagh.


(a) Dodd, Jordan, compiler. Kentucky Marriages, 1802–1850 (database online). Provo, Utah:, 1997. Extract: Thomas Huggins and Margaret Crowe, at Fayette, Kentucky, 25 March 1823. Original data: electronic transcript of marriage records held by the individual counties in Kentucky. Index online at (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2015-03-02.
(b) U.S. Marriages. Fayette County, Kentucky. Extract: “Know all men by these presents that we Thomas Huggins & Samuel Pilkington are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the Sum of Fifty pounds Current money of Kentucky to the payment of which well and truly to be made We bind ourselves Our heirs &c Jointly firmly by these presents seal’d and Dated this 25th day of January 1823. The Condition of the above obligation is such that Whereas there is a marriage shortly intended to be solemnised betwen [sic] the above bound Thomas Huggins and Margaret Crowe of the County of Fayette Now if it shall always hereafter appear that there is no legal obstruction to said marriage then the above obligation to be void else to remain in full force and Virtue [signed:] Thomas Huggins (Seal) Sam’l Pilkington (Seal).” Microfilm copy of original record held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (FHL film no. 9001). Digital image online at (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2019-07-10).


(a) Observer and Reporter, 4 July 1849 (pg. 3, col. 6). Death notice: “Died of cholera on the 5th Mrs. Catherine Huggins, consort of Thomas Huggins.” Local History Index, hosted online by the Lexington Public Library, at (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2015-03-05).
(b) The Louisville Daily Courier (Louisville, Kentucky), 3 July 1849 (pg. 3). “Cholera in Lexington.—By private advices, we regret to learn that the cholera is on the increase at Lexington. Much alarm is beginning to be experienced in that city on account of several recent cases. Mrs. Huggins, wife of Thos. Huggins, Esq., was attacked on Sunday night and died yesterday morning. …” Digital image online at (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2019-06-27).


(a) State of Kentucky (USA). Marriages, 1797–1865, by the Kentucky Historical Society (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1966), pg. 85. Also in, The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society. Vol. XXXVII (1939). Extract: “Thomas Huggins to Mrs. Catharine Pilkington, both of Lexington. M in Christ’s Church, Dec. 2, 1835. OR 12/16.” (pg 36.)
(b) Clift, G. Glenn, compiler. Kentucky Marriages, 1797–1865. Extract: “Thomas Huggins, md Mrs. Catharine Pilkington, both of Lexington, in Christ Church, on Dec 16, 1835.” Transcript by Sandy Sanford; posted to “Moore News,” Vol. I, Issue 14 (14 Aug 1996), online at (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2019-07-11).


Leavy, William. “Memoir of Lexington and Its Vicinity: With Some Notice of Many Prominent Citizens and Its Institutions of Education and Religion (Continued).” In, Register of Kentucky State Historical Society. Vol. 41, No. 135 (April, 1943), pp. 107–131.


Leavy, William. “Memoir of Lexington and Its Vicinity: With Some Notice of Many Prominent Citizens and Its Institutions of Education and Religion (Continued).” In, Register of Kentucky State Historical Society. Vol. 41, No. 135 (April, 1943), pp. 107–131.


Crossle, Dr Francis Clement (1847–1910), and Philip Crossle (1875–1953). Crossle Genealogical Abstracts. "Exchequer Bill: Clarke v. Young, 2 January 1795." Citing a family tree with the surnames Young, Crow, and Walsh. Original record held by the National Archives of Ireland (Dublin). Archival ref. [not cited]. Digital images hosted online by (accessed by subscription, and extract transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2019-01-01).

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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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