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Mary McDonnell (1794–1869), born in county Mayo – Part II of III: 1839–1853

Home > Family history > Ireland > McDonnell of county Mayo > Mary McDonnell (II)

… or more precisely :
Mary Hodder otherwise Anderson formerly Burke née McDonnell alias Macdonald.

Contents :

On this page:—

  • Part I : 1794–1839opens in new page
    • Birth c.1794
    • Birth of daughter, Margaret Jane
    • Life at Gillingham, Kent
    • Births of James and Maria Anna
    • Death of John Burke
    • Footnotes
  • Part III : 1854–1869opens in new page
    • Marriage to Charles Hodder
    • Who was Charles Hodder?
    • Who was Mary’s father, John Macdonald [sic] ?
    • Return of daughter Margaret’s family
    • Illness and death of son, James
    • Death of Charles Hodder
    • 1861 Census & life with her daughter, Margaret (Burke) Huggins
    • Death of Mary Burke [sic]
    • Footnotes

Part II : 1839–1869

An interesting trail of genealogical bread crumbs follows Mary from the time that her husband, John Burke, died at Chatham in May 1839 :

Inmates of the workhouse:

Six days after the death of her husband, Mary Burke made application to the Board of Guardians in Medway Union. 1 The Minutes of the Guardians recorded the following entry: 2

The weekly meeting of the Guardians at the Board room Wednesday 8th May 1839 … The following persons were ordered to be admitted … Mary Burke and 2 children were admitted at the charge of Chatham.

Mary’s daughter, Margaret Jane, having been married to John Joseph Huggins recently, 3 , 4 the two children admitted to the workhouse, with their mother, were almost certainly Maria Anna (b.1828) 5 and James (b.1832). 6

1841 Census / Marriage to John Anderson:

The following enumeration from the 1841 census 7 indicates that Mary had found a new partner during the two years since John Burke’s death :

  • John Anderson, age 40 [born c.1801], occupation: Tailor, born in Ireland
  • Mary Anderson, age 45 [born c.1796], occupation: D [“D” was struck through]
  • James dto. [ditto.], age 8, born in Kent
  • John dto., age 15, born in Ireland
  • Anne dto., age 2, born in Kent
  • census place: [The] Brook, Gillingham, Chatham, Kent

A marriage record for John Anderson and Mary Burke née McDonnell has proven elusive. Either the record has not survived or has yet to be discovered, or the couple were engaged in an irregular marriage.

All of the children were listed with the surname, Anderson. However, James was almost certainly the son of Mary Anderson (formerly Burke née McDonnell). Efforts to discover whether John (the younger) and Anne were Burke or Anderson have been unsuccessful to date. Absent from the household was Mary’s daughter, Maria Anna (or Mary Ann Burke).

The Brook in Gillingham :

The map in Part I of this biographical sketch shows the location of The Brook (lane), cited in the 1841 census. The Brook lies just east of Holborn Lane where Mary had lived two years earlier.

Formerly a stream, and anciently powerful enough to power a mill, by 1800 The Brook had become an open sewer and was called the “town ditch.” The neighbourhood was a slum, a hotbed of vice, and a breeding ground for disease. As a former resident, Charles Dickens might have found inspiration in The Brook for some of his novels. 8 , 9

Phipson, E.A. (Edward Arthur Evacustes) (1854–1931). The Brook (1880). Original held by Medway Archives Centre (MAC), Medway, Kent, UK. Archival ref. CHA/STR/B/24. Digital image hosted online by MAC, Cholera, sanitation, and the Brook (accessed 13th Oct. 2023).

Who was John Anderson?

According to his British Army service record, John Anderson hailed from the town of Sligo. He was twenty-five years of age (born c.1801) and a tailor by trade when he attested to the 3rd (Buffs) Regiment of Foot at St Albans in Flintshire in 1826. His total period of service was 13 years 240 days, of which 10 years 8 months were with the regiment in India. Having a good character, Mr Anderson was promoted to Corporal. However, he was hospitalized frequently from about 1834 and by 6th May 1840, was transferred into the General Hospital at Fort Pitt, Chatham. Several days later, Corporal Anderson was discharged unfit for further service on 10th May 1840. At that time, John stood 5ft. 7-1/2in. tall, and had light coloured hair, grey eyes, and a fair complexion. 10

Little else has been gleaned about this man, in large part because the church records for the parish of St John in Sligo survive from the relatively late date of 1858. The surname, Anderson, was well known in the town. Slater’s Directory of Ireland (1846) published the following Anderson entries: 11

  • Charles Anderson, 49 Mall – publican
  • John Anderson, 1 New Bridge st – grocer
  • John Anderson, 12 Market st – tallow chandler
  • Richard Anderson, 14 Knox st – wine & spirit merchant
  • Samuel Anderson, New Bridge st – publican

Denominationally, the Andersons of county Sligo appear to have been Roman Catholic or adherents to Methodism. 12 , 13

Attestation of James Burke to the 39th Foot:

On the 10th February, 1843, Mary’s son, James Burke, was attested to the 39th regiment at the age of thirteen years eight months. James was born at Gillingham, taken into the regiment at Rochester (the town due northwest of Chatham), and given the post of drummer. 14 The 39th was the same in which his late father, John Burke, had served. 15 It was not an common practice for a regiment to take in the underage son of a deceased soldier as a drummer or a servant.

1851 census:

By 1851, the children were no longer in the home, and the household was again enumerated in The Brook (lane) in Gillingham: 16

  • John Anderson, age 52, married, occupation: tailor; born in Sligo, Ireland
  • Mary Anderson, age 50 [sic]; born in Mayo, Irel
  • Tomas Allen, traveller, married, age 31; born at Ludlow, Shropshire
  • Maria Allen, wife, married, age 23, born in Surrey
  • John William Allen, son, age 13 days; born at Chatham, Kent
  • census place: [The] Brook, Gillingham, Chatham, Kent

Maria Allen was not Mary (McDonnell) Anderson’s daughter. 17

Death of John Anderson:

John Anderson died at home in Chatham on 10th June 1853. His age at death was registered as sixty years [sic], and the informant was a woman named Mary Ann Court. 18 , 19 The body of John Anderson was buried in St Mary’s churchyard, Chatham. 20

See also :

Proceed to Part III (of III) of this biographical sketch.

Footnotes :

  1. Collins, Deborah, compiler. Index for the Minutes of the Board of Guardians, Medway Union. Index entry: Mary Burke, 8th May 1839. Record held by Medway Archives (Chatham, Kent), “Minutes of the Board of Guardians,” archival ref. G/ME/AM/2 (14 Aug 1837 – 10 June 1840), Kent Poor Law Union, 1835–1841. Index online at (accessed 2021-01-21). ↩︎
  2. Medway Archives (Strood, Kent). Minutes of the Board of Guardians, Medway Union 1837–1840. Entry: “The weekly meeting of the Guardians at the Board room Wednesday 8th May 1839 … The following persons were ordered to be admitted … Mary Burke and 2 children were admitted at the charge of Chatham.” Archival ref. G/Me/Am/2, pg. 272. Information per research commissioned by Alison Kilpatrick (2021-07-26), from Medway Council, 2021-08-03. ↩︎
  3. A marriage record has yet to be found for John Joseph Huggins (1816-1876) and Margaret Jane Burke (1823-1898). Their first child was Mary Ann, born on the 14th June 1839 at Windsor Barracks, Berkshire. John was then a corporal in the 45th Regiment of Foot. He had been on pass to Chatham from December 1-24, 1838, which seems the most likely period during which John and Margaret were married. ↩︎
  4. The National Archives. British Army. Pay Lists, 45th Regiment of Foot. Extract: March 1838, John Huggins received into 1st Battalion from Depot at Canterbury; from April to June, and Sept. to Dec., at Canterbury; October to December – at Canterbury, on pass to Chatham December 1–24, returned on 24th December 1838. Record held by The National Archives (Kew, UK); archival reference WO 12/5747. Research commissioned from [RN], military researcher (London), 7th Dec. 2004. ↩︎
  5. Roman Catholic Church (England). Parish of St Paul [Paulinus], Brompton, Kent. Record of Baptism. Transcript: “Die 6’â [6th] novembris anno Dei 1828° nata et Die 17’[xx] [17th] ejusdem mensis et anni Baptisata est Maria Anna Burk filia johannis Burk [—] militia ex 39° Regto et Mariæ Burk (olim McDonnal) conjugum. Patrinus fuit Andrew Sidny – matrina Mary Berwick[?]. A. me R’s Salmon M’so Apo.” Digital image online at (transcript by Alison Kilpatrick, 2021-08-03). ↩︎
  6. Roman Catholic Church (England). Parish of St Paul [Paulinus], Brompton, Kent. Record of Baptism. Transcript: “Die 8 Decembris A D 1832 et die 16 ej. mensis Baptisatus Jacobus Burke filius Joannis et Maria Burke/olim McDonnell / conj: patrinus fuit Jacobus Coleman matrina Maria Colemana me / J [E?] McEany[?] Mig’o Apo.” Digital image online at (transcript by Alison Kilpatrick, 2021-08-03). ↩︎
  7. England 1841 Census. Household of John Anderson, age 40, and Mary [alias] Anderson, age 45, in Chatham, Kent. Original record: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1841. Archival ref. HO 107, piece 487, book 2, folio 8, pg. 8; civil parish of Chatham, hundred of Chatham and Gillingham, registration district: Medway, sub-registration district: Gillingham, enumeration district no. 16. Digital image online at (transcript by Alison Kilpatrick, 2021-01-21). ↩︎
  8. Medway (municipal government), Kent, U.K. Medway Archives Centre. “Cholera, sanitation, and the Brook.” Online at (accessed 13th Oct. 2023). ↩︎
  9. Cook, Peter. “At the heart of Chatham, a babbling brook…and sewer.” Online at (accessed 25th Jan. 2021). ↩︎
  10. British Army Service Records, 1760–1915. John Anderson, born c.1801 in the parish of St John, county Sligo; Corporal, 3rd (Buffs) Regiment of Foot. Original record: The National Archives (TNA), London. Archival ref. WO97/248/13. Digital images online by FindMyPast (extract by Alison Kilpatrick, 22nd Jan. 2021). ↩︎
  11. I. Slater’s National Commercial Directory of Ireland. Manchester & London: Isaac Slater, 1846 (pp. 137–41). ↩︎
  12. Scan of Anderson births in county Sligo from 1858–1868 per search of, 24th January 2021. ↩︎
  13. Nicholson, Alex. “Andersons of Sligo.” Online at Anderson Family History, Sligo, online at 2021-01-22). — Please note that Mr Nicholson’s pages refer to specific branches of the surname in Sligo. ↩︎
  14. British Army Service Records, 1760–1915. Record for James Burke, no. 2397, Private, 39th Regiment of Foot; born June 1829 [sic], Gillingham, Kent; attested ar Rochester, Kent on 10th February 1834; discharged at Québec on 7th May 1859. Digital images online at (extract by Alison Kilpatrick, 2013-06-16). ↩︎
  15. British Army Service Records, 1760–1915. John Burke, [in or near] Claremorris, parish of Kilcolman, county Mayo (1795–1839), regimental tailor, 96th and 39th Regiments of Foot. Original record: The National Archives (TNA), London. Archival ref. WO97/551/9. Photocopy obtained by research commissioned from Dr. Christopher Watts, military historian, 2003; confirmed to digitised copies held online by (extract by Alison Kilpatrick, 2012-03-25). ↩︎
  16. England 1851 Census. Household of John Anderson, age 52, and wife, Mary (50), with lodgers; in Gillingham, Chatham, Kent. Original record: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1851. Archival ref. HO 107, piece 1611, folio 24, pg. 40; registration district: Medway, sub-registration district: Gillingham, enumeration district no. 1a. Digital image online at (transcript by Alison Kilpatrick, 2021-01-21). ↩︎
  17. General Register Office (UK). Civil Registration of a Birth. Extract: John William Allen, born 19th March 1851 at Chatham [Kent]; son of Thomas Allen, traveller, and Maria Allen formerly Taylor; informant: Thomas Allen, father, Brook, Chatham; registered 25th March 1858,, A. [-]eary, registrar. Archival ref. Superintendent Registrar’s district: Medway, Registrar’s District: Gillingham, 1851, no. 29. Purchased by Alison Kilpatrick, ref. COL344564/2021, 12th Aug. 2021). ↩︎
  18. General Register Office, England and Wales. Certified Copy of an Entry of Death. Extract: Registration district: Chatham, sub-district: Gillingham, County of Kent. Date and place of death: 10th June 1853, Brook, Chatham. Decedent: John Anderson, male, aged 60 years [sic], rank: pensioner, 3rd Regiment; cause of death: disease of heart 2 years, dropsy 2 months, certified; informant: Mary Ann Court of Brook, Chatham, present at the death; registered 30th June 1853, registrar: [–] Tracy. Copy purchased by Alison Kilpatrick, 24 January 2021; archival ref. COL826440/2021 ↩︎
  19. The informant, Mary Ann Court of The Brook, Chatham, could not be found in that neighbourhood in either the 1851 or 1861 censuses. However, one Mary Ann Court d.1858 in Medway RD, aged c.77 years, while another Mary Ann Court b.1813 in Chatham was living with John Court 44 miles away in Eastry, Kent in 1851/61. The elder Mary Ann Court was the more likely to have been the informant. ↩︎
  20. Church of England. Parish of St Mary, Chatham. Solemnization of a Burial. Extract: John Anderson of Chatham, aged 60 years; buried on 13th June 1853 by the Rev. G. Chambers, Curate. Original record held by Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, archival ref. P85/1/89, pg. 29, no. 231 Digital image online at Medway Archives (accessed 2021-01-21). ↩︎

Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “Biographical sketch for Mary Burke née McDonnell (1794–1860) of county Mayo – Part I.” Published online to Arborealis,, 24th January 2021, edited 14th Oct. 2023; accessed [insert date of access]. All rights reserved.

Updated 16th Oct. 2023.