Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sligo's Free Thinker 1911

I mentioned before in a post my fascination with the fact that one person inSligo when filling in the 19111 Census of Ireland form described himself as Freethinker. With the Census online I decided to try and find this individual and can now reveal his identity.

He was Herbert Quinton, a 34 year old Dental Surgeon who lived with his wife, Elizabeth Sarah, and two children, Herbert Jack and Arthur William, in Wine Street, Sligo. He had been born in Surrey and his wife in London and they had been married four years. The children had been born in Sligo. His wife's religion was entered as Independent as was that of his children. So indeed was the servant who had been born in Wicklow but the two Sligo-born servants were Catholics.

The dentist must have been the Mr Quinton who wrote to the White Cross in Dublin in late 1921 during the Truce complaining that some Sligo traders contributed to the local White Cross collection under duress. The letter was passed back to Sligo and details were published locally. The White Cross was a fund set up to assist republicans and their families who were suffering hardship because of their involvement in the Irish War of Independence.

As well as these four Quintons in Sligo town there were three Quintons living in Mullaghmore, Sligo a coastguard and his wife and child.

Herbert Quinton was still practising as a dentist in Sligo in 1931.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. A James Hanly of Garryclogher (Parish of Kilmore, North Tipperary) also listed himself as a 'Free Thinker' in the 1911 Irish Census. The 'Nenagh Guardian' described Hanly's father, also James, as a 'good Protestant'. His mother, Anne Callinan, was a Catholic. James Hanly's (who died in 1942) self-description might also be explained by his various public and legal disputes with some (of the many) Gleeson Catholic families of Silvermines - one dispute dated to the dowry paid to his grandfather, Michael Hanly in 1814.
Damian Gleeson, Sydney, Australia