The Gradys
Of Connaught





Author: Allan Grady

Dedicated to the Irish Pioneers who helped settle the farm community of Connaught, Ontario, Canada, as we know it today.



The subject is a family history which was researched during the years 1976 to 1978. It covers the story of four Grady (O'Grady ) families who immigrated from Ireland and settled in a farm community north east of the village of Chesterville, Ontario. No doubt, due to the heavy concentration of Irish immigrants in the immediate area they were to name the local rural post office "Connaught". I recall, as a young boy back in the early 1940's , peering through the windows of an abandoned farm log cabin which was the site of the Connaught Post Office. I noted special shelves were attached to the kitchen wall with "pigeon holes" evident which held the mail for the local residents.

My research was confined to only the Grady families in and around the Chesterville and Crysler area, ie. Dominic Grady, Daniel Grady, James Grady and James O'Grady, as well as their respective families and descendents. The first three mentioned settled on adjacent 100 acre farms in Connaught, on Crown land which they subsequently purchased from the Parish, while James O'Grady resided a short distance away closer to Chesterville. The probable year of immigration to Upper Canada was about 1845 although I have no proof to support this theory. It has been said that they may have lived in or near Ottawa, our nations capital, before settling in Connaught.


The aim of this chapter is to record what precious little information I succeeded in gathering about our Grady (O'Grady) ancestors who immigrated to Upper Canada. The earliest records for these four families was found in the Canadian Census for the years 1851 and 1861. In the 1851 Census, Township of Finch, County Stormont, there appears three families, namely, Dominic Grada and his wife Margaret (Coyne) Grada. The second family was Daniel Grada and his wife Margaret (Coyne) Grada. (Note that both wives had identical maiden names but the latter was known by "Peggy"). Also recorded as livng next door was James Grada and his wife Bridget (Brennan) Brada. All adults were recorded as having been born in Ireland. The family name "Grada" suggests the census taker was not accustomed to their Gaelic accent or perhaps these families were known by the name "Grada" before it became anglicized. In any event their names were recorded as "Grady" in a subsequent census.

In the Township of Winchester, Dundas County there appears for the first time in the 1861 census Sarah (Coyne) O'Grady, widow of James O'Grady and her two young sons. No record of this family was found in the 1851 census although that isn't to say that they were not livng in the area at that time.

Further research revealed that our Grady ancestors were natives of Terenair, County Mayo, Ireland. Within Terenair there is a community known as Sandhill. Terenair, which was also known as 'Tierna' and in modern times 'Tiernaur" is situated mid way between Mulranny and Newport, on the north shore of Clew Bay, County Mayo. Incidentally, there is a Dominic Grady and his family currently residing in that same area today.

I wasn't able to confirm as to whether or not Dominic, Daniel and James Grady were brothers or perhaps first cousins, but in any event an elderly 'widower' by the name of John Grady appears in the 1861 and 1871 census. He was residing with Dominic and family before his death two decades later. We have to assume that he was in fact Dominic's father and perhaps the father of Daniel and James Grady as well. In addition to his son Dominic, John had a daughter Bridget (and perhaps other sons and Daughters) who married a Thomas Manley and they also settled in Connaught. The Manley name is still very prominent in the Connaught area.

It is interesting to note that no government or church record was found that mentions old John's death although it had to have occured in the mid to late 1870's. The 1871 census records John as bedridden and blind (age about 86). In the year 1881 Dominic and Margaret made the decisoin to move to yet another foreign country, this time to the USA. Along with most of their family (they) followed the earlier footsteps of their son Patrick and relocated to Dunlap, Iowa, leaving behind their eldest son John D. and daughter Mary, both of whom were married by the year 1881. This move would have been a major decision by Dominic and Margaret because of their age and no doubt leaving behind a few small grandchildren, not to mention the other three Grady families. For the most part, the other three Grady families remain intact in Canada for the balance of their lives but the same can't be said for many of their children. Dominic and Margarets' descendents are now scattered throughout the USA.

In the following paragraphs I shall provide the reader with the names of the children for each of the four families. Any irregularities or further information from other researchers would be welcome.

Dominic Grady (1824) County Mayo Ireland-1898 Dunlap Iowa Married Margaret Coyne (1831) County Mayo Ireland-1902 Dunlap Iowa

Daniel Grady (1812) County Mayo Irelnd-1880 Chesterville Married Margaret (Peggy) Coyne (1815) County Mayo Ireland-(1916) Chesterville

James Grady (1822) County Mayo Ireland-1883 Connaught Married Bridget Brennan (1830) Ireland-(1895) Connaught

James O'Grady (Born ??) County Mayo Ireland-(Died ??) Married Sarah Coyne (1836) County Mayo Ireland-(1901) Chesterville


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