The Shirley Association has been a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies since 1988
  Shirleys of Co. Derry

Shirleys of the Rhee, Agivey Parish, Derry

Shirley's at the time were tenants of substantial farms. The Griffith Valuation gives Robert (s/o Alex) and Robert (s/o Robert) in Rhee. These were distinguished in the family as "Roadman Robert." because one took roads to repair and Elder Robert because he was the Elder of the church.Both Rhee farms once owned by the two Shirley families are now in possession of William Hull of the Rhee, at present treasurer of the Aghadowey, and son of William Hull and Catherine Shirley.

1. Robert "Robin" Shirley

"Elder Roberts' father was Robert or Robin Shirley, who never did any farm work, but spent his life weaving. Robin married Betty Gray and they ad a number of children who died young, while three survived. They include the one who became Elder Robert Shirley and he married Margaret Harper of Tamneymore. An old tombstone in Agivey commemorates "Elizabeth wife of Robert Shirley , late of Rhee, died (1825?), age 40. Also 4 other children." This must be Robin's first wife. He married second to Nancy Miller, who stories of her family were remembered by Elder Robert's children, one of whom Catherine who married William Hull of Segory in 1890/ Nancy Miller's father was a united Irishman, and she told how he and another man had shot an informer near Ballymoney. The father disappeared at the battle of Antrim and was never heard of again. His wife Catherine Miller was left to ring up two children. Nancy born 1795 and George born 1797.

married 1) Elizabeth "Betty" Gray died ?1825 age 40 (tombstone in Agivey "wife of Robert Shirley, late of Rhee. Also 4 other children")

married 2) Nancy Miller born 1795

Only 3 surviving children:

2.i "Elder" Robert Shirley born about 1810; died Mar 31, 1901 (91yrs) and buried in the Presbyterian Church yard.

Probate of the Will (and Codicil) of Robert Shirley late of Rhee Aghadowey County Londonderry Farmer who died 24 March 1901 granted at Londonderry to Mary Shirley Spinster and Catherine Hull Married Woman. Date Of Death: 24/03/1901 Date Of Grant: 14/05/1901 Effects: Effects £520 Registry: Londonderry Londonderry Registry of wills

The Presbyterian Church yard:
In memory of:
Robert Shirley, died Mar 31, 1901 (91yrs)
Margaret Shirley, died Oct 24, 1892 (73 yrs)
Elizabeth C. Loughery, died Sept 17, 1919 (67 yrs)
Mary Jane Shirley, died Jan 11, 1922 (61 yrs)
William Hull, died Feb 26, 1914 (72 yrs)
Margaret A. S. Hull, died Dec 28, 1910 (19yrs)
Lizzie C. Hull, died May 31, 1934 (33 yrs)
Catherine Hull, died Dec 5, 1956 (94yrs)

married Margaret Harper of Tamneymore; born about 1819; she died Oct 24, 1892 (73 yrs)

Robert Shirley married Margaret Harper April 15, 1846. The 2nd Presbyterian Meeting House in the Parish of Errigal. Son of Robert Shirley, farmer of Rhee. Daughter of James Harper, farmer of Tamnamore.


3. Mary Jane Shirley born about 1851; spinster died Jan 11, 1922 (61 yrs)

3. Elizabeth C. Shirley born about 1852; married Loughery; she died Sept 17, 1919 (67 yrs)

3. Catherine Shirley born about 1862; died Dec 5, 1956 (94yrs)

married William Hull of Segory. Owner of the two Shirley farms at Rhee

1. Alexander Shirley


2. "Roadman" Robert Shirley born about 1781. Likely the brother of Valentine Shirley, also a son of Alexander Shirley of the Rhee

"Roadman Robert Shirley's father I take to be Alexander who had the larger of the two Rhee farms in 1853. This may be the Alexander Shirley who has one of the seats in a group allotted to prominent local linen merchants and others who might be termed as "the quality". This second Robert Shirley had a son Robert Mooney Shirley [sic] who married Rachel Cochane and had a large family of 8 boys and 4 girls, one of them marrying David Kennedy and one John McKee of Camus.

Robert Shirley died Sept 26, 1871 in Rhee, 92 years old. Died of old age, labourer. Robert Shirley present at death. Aghadowey Presbyterian Church

married Nancy ________she died June 6, 1873 (age 79)

Nancy Shirley died June 7, 1873 Rhee, Aghadowey, 79 years old. Cause of death listed as Debility Anasenca. She was widow of the late R. Shirley, farmer. Margaret Shirley was present at her death. Aghadowey Presbyterian Church

Erected to the Memory of:
Bobby Shirley, died Jan 18, 1856 (8yrs)
James J. Shirley, died Feb 10, 1856 (6yrs)
"Suffer little children to come unto me"
Nancy Shirley, died June 6, 1873 (79)
Maggie A. Shirley, died Dec 11, 1876 (30 yrs)

[not sure if this Robert who undoubtedly had wife Nancy is the correct Robert Shirley. There seems to be an Alexander who may have lived in the 1830s as a posssilbe father, rather than the elder Alexander]

2. Robert Alexander Shirley of Rhee born say about 1820 died 3 November 1894

20 May 1894 Will of Robert Alexander Shirley of Rhee Londonderry. Appt Joseph Mooney of Cullyvenny farmer and Joseph Hunter of Culcrow farmer exutors. Bequeath to my son John Mooney Shirley charged with the yearly payment to my wife Nancy Shirley during her life sum of 20 pounds support in the dwelling house on my farm. Bequeath to my son John Mooney Shirley residuary legatee 20 May 1894. <s> Robert Alexander Shirley Wit: Robert O'Neill solicitor, Coleraine, Thomas J Martain, law clerk Coleraine. 26 Aug 1894. L229.0.0

married Nancy______possibly 2nd, Nancy Kelly [Keller] on 4 November 1853 at Aghadowey Prebyterian Church.

1853 - Robert Shirley married 4 Nov 1853 of full age widower farmer of Ree son of Alexander Shirley farmer, married Nancy KELLER [Another transcription says KELLY] of full age widower of Knockaduff daughter of John Keller; wit: David Smyth Robert Hickeson page 97 #98 Aghadowey Presbyterian Church


3. John Mooney Shirley born 1840 (tombstone); living in Agivey Parish in 1901 Ireland census; died 1910

Presbyterian Churchyard Burial
John Mooney Shirley 1840 - 1910
Rachel Shirley 1843 - April 20, 1921
also their children...
Robert Shirley 1865 - 1866
William Shirley died Oct 30, 1930 (60yrs)
Robert Shirley, died April 7, 1944 (75)

1901 Census

Shirley, John 60 m Head Presby farmer
Shirley, Rachel 58 f Wife Presby
Shirley, William 30 m Son Presby
Shirley, Andrew 25 m Son Presby carpenter
Shirley, James 23 m Son Presby
Shirley, Joseph 23 m Son Presby tailor
Shirley, Annie 17 f Dau. Presby
Shirley, Rachel 16 f Dau. Presby
Shirley, Samuel 15 m Son Presby
Shirley, Jennie 13 f Dau. Presby

married Rachel Cochraine born 1843 died April 20, 1921

John Shirley married Rachel Chochrane Nov 22, 1864, 2nd Presbyterian Meeting House in Parish of Errigal. Son of Robert Shirley, farmer of Rhee. Daughter of John Chochrane , farmer of Curragh.

children: supposedly 8 boys and 4 girls

4.i Robert Shirley born 05 MAR 1865 to John Shirley and Rachel Cochraine (at Aghadowey); died 1866 according to tombstone.

4.ii John Alexander Shirley born 11 FEB 1867 to John Shirley and Rachel Cochraine (at Aghadowey); He appears in Ellis Island records having arrived in New York 9 Sep 1904, age 37, last residence Culcrow Londonderry, traveling with wife Willie to his home in San Antonio Texas; Lived at 523 Milam Street, San Antonio in 1910 census; Texas death record says he was born 11 Feb 1867 to John M and Rachel (Cochran) Shirley, and died 28 Sep 1954 at San Antonio Bexar Co TX. Buried 2 days later; Lived San Antonio Texas

married Willie Maggie Haynes on 17 Jan 1900 in Bexas Co TX; She was born 23 Jan 1879 TX; She is listed as an American citizen in 1904 Ellis Island immigration record She was the daughter of John James Haynes and Mary Melissa Phillips. Willie Maggie Haynes died on Jun 27, 1965 at Comal County, Texas. Buried at Confederate Cem, San Antonio, Bexar TX


5.i John Shirley born about 1910 TX, age 6 months in 1910 census; known as "Jack" he is age 10 living with his mother Willie Shirley and uncle James C Shirley in the Chowning HH in 1920 Bexar TX census;

4.iii Robert Shirly born 26 MAR 1869 to John Shirley and Rachel Cochraine; died April 7, 1944 (75) buried Presbyterian Churchyard

4.iv William Shirley born 10 OCT 1870 to John Shirley and Rachel Cochraine; Age 30 living in parents household in 1901 census; He died Oct 30, 1930 (60yrs) buried Presbyterian Churchyard

4.v Margaret Shirley born 30 MAR 1872 to John Shirley and Rachel Cochraine Andrew Mooney Shirley born 13 Feb 1876 (death cert); Age 25 in 1901 Derry Co Ireland Census, carpenter living in the HH of parents; He arrived at Ellis Island NY on Mar 5 1912, age 36; He was age 41 self employed as a mill wright carpenter in San Antonio TX at the time of his WWI draft registration 12 Sept 1918; He was age 62 b Ireland (about 1878), single living in the 1940 census household with named brother John Alexander Shirley in Bandaras Uvalde Co TX; Texas death record says he died 22 July 1957 at San Antonio Bexar Co TX, naming both his parents Lived San Antonio Texas

4.vii James Cochran Shirley born 4 Dec 1877 (death cert); Age 23 living in parents HH in 1901 Ireland census; He was age 32 b Ireland (about 1878) and named brother of John Alexander Shirley in 1910 and again in the 1940 (age 62, single) in Bexar Co TX USA census. Ellis Island records show him immigrating through New York on the ship Glasgow on 29 Dec 1904, age 27, single, residence Ballymoney; Living at 230 Nolan Street San Antonio TX, age 64, born Dec 4, 1877 at Derry Ireland, working for Andrew M. Shirley, at time of 1942 WWII Draft Registration; Texas death record says he died 27 Aug 1957 at San Antonio Bexar Co TX, naming both his parents Lived San Antonio Texas

4.viii Joseph Shirley born about 1877, age 23 (same age as brother James C.) living in parents HH in 1901 census.

4.viii Archibold Shirley born 20 JAN 1879 to John Moony Shirley and Rachel Cochraine (source: LDS pedigree); Not found in parent's HH in 1901 census.

4.ix David Shirley 09 JAN 1881 to John Shirley and Rachel Cochraine (source: LDS pedigree?). Member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Enlisted 1900. Age 19

4.x. Annie K Shirley born 20 July 1883; age 17 living in parent's HH in 1901 Ireland census; nurse US Army; died 27 Nov 1918 at San Antonio TX USA, born Rhee Ireland; dau of ____Shirley and Rachel Shirley (death cert); News clipping "Annie K Shirley 431 Van Street died at 9 o'clock last night at the Base Hospital Fort Sam Houston of pneumonia..."; likely Annie Kelly Shirley b 1888 Coleraine; Annie Kelly Shirley in 1911 census Newcastle England age 27 b Aghadowey Derry; Lived San Antonio Texas

Aghadowey memorial: Nurse Annie Kelly Shirley, Aged 35, Born: 20th July 1883, Daughter of John Mooney and Rachel (Cochrane) Shirley, Died of pneumonia 1918

4.xi Rachel Shirley born about 1885, age 16 in 1901 Ireland census, living in parents' HH.

4.xii Samuel Mooney Shirley, son of John and Rachel Shirley of Coleraine Ireland, born 18 Dec 1888 (death cert.); age 15 in 1901 Ireland census, living in parents' HH; died 27 Apr 1955 at Ocean Falls, British Columbia Canada (death cert)

4.xiii Jennie Shirley born about 1888, age 13 in 1901 Ireland census, living in HH of parents.

4.xiv dau Shirley married David Kennedy

4.xv dau Shirley married John McKee of Camus



William Shirley, laborer of Rhee. born about 1801, age 93 at time of his death in 1894 (if same) He was likely the farmer of Rhee enumerated in the 1858 Griffith's Land Valuation census and possibly the man of the same name and location enumerated in the surviving 1831 census of Londonderry, a Presbyterian household with 2 males, 1 female and 0 servants in the household. He was named in the 1866 marriage record of son James Shirley; He apparently died in 1896

1894 Jun 23 - Aghadowey Reg Dist - Death of William Shirley at Rhee, married age 93, farmer. James Shirley his son informant (by mark)


1(i). James Shirley of Rhee, and later Curragh, born say 1846, son of William Shirley of Rhee. He was at various times a shoemaker and also a farmer as listed on the birth records of his children.

married Margaret Hunter on 17 August 1866 at the Presbyterian Church of Aghadowey, Derry. She was the daughter of Henry Hunter, a weaver of Rhee

James Shirley married Margaret Hunter Aug 17, 1866, Presbyterian Church of Aghadowry. Son of William Shirley, labourer of Rhee. Daughter of Henry Hunter, weaver of Rhee.


2(i). Margaret Shirley born 6 Aug 1867 at the Aghadowey Reg Dist, daughter of James Shirley of Rhee, shoemaker and wife Margaret Hunter. Elizabeth Hunter of Rhee informant at birth, likely died young

2(ii). Margaret Shirley born 20 January 1872 at Aghadowey Reg Dist, daughter of James Shirley of Rhee, farmer and wife Margaret Hunter. Elizabeth Hunter of Rhee informant

2(ii). Ellen Shirley born 20 March 1874 at Aughadowey Reg. Dist, daughter of James Shirley, labourer of Rhee and wife Margaret Jane Hunter; Elizabeth Hunter of Rhee informant at birth

2(iii). Henry Shirley born 16 February 1876 at the Aughadowey Reg. Dist, son of James Shirley, farmer of Rhee and wife Margaret Jane Hunter; Elizabeth Hunter of Rhee informant at birth

2(iv). Mary Shirley born 2 May 1878 at the Aughadowey Reg Dist, daughter of James Shirley shoemaker of Curragh and wife Peggy Jane Hunter; Sarah Wallace of Curragh informant at birth






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