Murphy Baldwin Correspondence

Repository: Cork City and County Archives

Identity Statement

TitleMurphy Baldwin Correspondence
Archive ReferenceIE CCCA/U6
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1796-1853
Extent Medium41 items (xerox copies)


Creator(s): Murphy Family, Ballymore, Co Tipperary (1689-1853)

  • Administrative History ↴

    The Baldwin family of Cahir and the Murphys of Ballymore, near Carrick-on-Suir, were prominent members of the Catholic middle class of south Tipperary in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and were part of the social circle of Charles Bianconi (1786-1875), the transport pioneer. The Baldwins owned a tannery in Cahir, while the Murphys moved to South Tipperary from Co Kilkenny in 1689 and came to farm lands at Ballymore . The families were united when Mick Murphy of Ballymore married Biddy, daughter of John Baldwin [died c1819]. This John Baldwin had a brother James, who served for a time as private secretary to the Duke of Bedfordshire, a son John Junior who served in Wellington’s army in Spain and Portugal, and later served in Columbia, and a daughter Mary Anne. Mary Anne lived with her sister Biddy Murphy and her husband Mick at Ballymore after her father’s death, and was apparently provided for by Bianconi while attending the Ursuline School in Waterford. Thomas Baldwin would appear to have been a brother of the elder John, while Edmund was a younger son, brother to John Junior and Mary Anne, as well as to Eliza, another sister. John Baldwin Murphy, a Dublin based lawyer, was evidently the son of Biddy and Mick Murphy. His brothers Daniel and Michael emigrated to the United States in 1849. The Murphy and Baldwin families were connected by marriage and friendship to many other prominent Tipperary and Suir Valley families, including the Burkes of Braenor, and the Ryans, Everards, and Minikins of Cashel. A Dr Edmond Murphy, evidently descended from the Ballymore family, married Elizabeth Clanchy, the daughter to TJ Clanchy, the prominent Cork butter merchant and nationalist figure, in 1899. Their daughter Sheila gathered together the documents which make up the related collections IE CCCA/U6 (Murphy-Baldwin Correspondence), IE CCCA/U76 (Murphy Papers, Ballymore, Co Tipperary), and IE CCCA/PR11 (Papers of TJ Clanchy (d1897) & Family).
  • Archival History ↴

    Xerox copies of family documents were presented by Miss Sheila Murphy to Cork County Library, from where they were later transferred to Cork Archives Council in 1972.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Murphy Family, Ballymore, Co Tipperary (1689-1853) ↴

    The present collection covers three generations of Baldwins and Murphys, from the older John Baldwin [died c1819] to his grandson John Baldwin Murphy, to whom the latest items present, letters from Bianconi from 1853, are addressed. The letters cover a range of subjects, but by far the most recurring is the financial difficulties encountered by family members attempting to establish themselves in the world, or to support their family and its respectability in the face of economic hardship. The letters of James Baldwin, brother of John, document his efforts to find a position in English society, culminating in his securing a secretaryship with the Duke of Bedfordshire at Woburn Abbey but having to travel there ‘without even a change of linen’ (U6/8). John Baldwin’s own financial problems created difficulties, with his son Edmund being obliged to give up his property to allow income for himself and his sisters to be provided (U6/25). Commissions and other expenses for his son John Junior’s military career also weighed heavily (U6/12). His daughter Mary Anne was taken in by her sister Biddy Murphy and her husband Mick following her father’s death, and her place as a pupil at the Ursuline School in Waterford seems to have been paid for by Bianconi (U6/30, 34).
    John Baldwin Junior’s military career saw him serve in the British army in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War, while he later served in Columbia, where he lost his brother James and suffered imprisonment and injuries from which he never fully recovered. Financial difficulties including the extravagance of his wife led to his returning to Columbia in later years, taking his similarly unfortunate brother Edmond with him. (U6/14-24)
    Bianconi’s letters to Mary Anne Baldwin show his affection and concern for her and the Baldwin and Murphy families (U6/30-35). This warmth of feeling persists in his later letters to John Baldwin Murphy, which make reference to Bianconi’s acquisition of property in Ireland, and to political developments in Ireland and Italy (U6/36-40).
    The letters to John Baldwin Murphy from his brothers Michael and Daniel in America, while optimistic in tone, are poignant as well as informative in their depiction of settler and emigrant life and the hardships involved (U6/27-29).
    The collection also contains letters by other family members, including Mary Anne Baldwin, Thomas Baldwin, and John Ryan, a family friend (U6/41). William Bourk (Burke) of Braenor, brother-in-law to the elder John and James Baldwin (married to their sister Biddy), and Mick Murphy of Ballymore, husband of Biddy Baldwin (sister of John Junior, Edmund, Mary Anne, and Eliza), are important correspondents.
    Taken together, the letters present an insight into the social and economic milieu of a prominent, respectable, but financially distressed Catholic family at the turn of the nineteenth century, with much incidental detail on Irish politics, Irish and British society, the Napoleonic wars, South American conflict, and emigrant experience. Aspects of Bianconi’s private life are also documented in this small but significant collection.

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  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The arrangement was revised as part of the 2012 review of the collection, meaning the earlier arrangement and numbering is no longer in force. The letters have been grouped by writer, with the letters of the oldest generation represented, that of James and John Baldwin, placed at the start, followed by the letters of John’s children, and then letters of his grandchildren. These are followed by letters by family friends Charles Bianconi and John Ryan.
    I James Baldwin 1788-1797 (10 items)
    II John Baldwin 1796-1812 (2 items)
    III Thomas Baldwin 1797 (1 item)
    IV John Baldwin Junior 1811-1822 (11 items)
    V Edmund Baldwin 1819 (1 item)
    VI Mary Anne Baldwin [1819] (1 item)
    VII Daniel J and Michael Murphy 1849 (3 items)
    VIII Charles Bianconi 1819-1853 (11 items)
    IX John Ryan 1823 (1 item)

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Open to all researchers holding a current readers' ticket
Conditions Governing ReproductionSubject to rules governing reproduction of materials of Cork City and County Archives
Creation Dates1796-1853
Extent Medium41 items (xerox copies)
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Characteristics Tech ReqXerox copies
Finding Aids Descriptive List Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialIE CCCA/U76 Murphy Family, Ballymore, Co TipperaryIE CCCA/PR11 Papers of TJ Clancy, Cork Butter Merchant

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteTimmy O Connor
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standards Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of DescriptionsJan-12