Born in Rathbeagh, near Freshford, Co. Kilkenny, Arundel Elias Disney (c.1801-1880) is best known as the familial link between Walt Disney and Ireland, something which Walt was known to refer to often.
The Disneys were members of the Church of Ireland who came into grazing lands in Co. Kilkenny through marriage. Arundel's father, Kepple Disney Sr. through his father-in-law, Arundel Caulfield Best Esq. (who is listed next to him on the Tithe Applotment Records) became Kepple Disney of Clone near Freshford, Co. Kilkenny. The "Lands of Clone" were also known as "Knockaunour otherwise Sweet Hill".
Arundel Caulfield Best Esq. was the son of Elizabeth Caulfield of Clone, who married Elias Best in 1749. (The ancient manor-house of Clone was formerly the residence of Sir Toby Caulfield, ancestor of the Earl of Charlemont). Here, in the townland of Clone (parish of Rathbeagh) Disney held a sizeable 114 Irish acres of land in 1826. The family home (a slated house rated at £7 in 1853) was in the adjoining townland of Rathbeagh (civil parish of Rathbeagh).
In September 1832 Arundel Disney married Maria Swan and in early November of the same year, she gave birth to their first son, Kepple Disney (1832-1891) named for his paternal grandfather. Family history researchers have come up with varying responses to questions regarding how many children the Disney's had, with some saying 5, others 8, and others as many as 16, but it is their first born son, Kepple who would later become Walt Disney's grandfather.
In 1834 Arundel Disney and family made the long journey across the Atlantic to North America, settling in Ontario, Canada. Something had happened. In 1837, the Disney estate at Clone was advertised immediately TO LET by James Disney of Clone.
TO BE LET (FOR SUCH TERMS AS MAY BE AGREED UPON AND IMMEDIATE POSSESSION GIVEN): The dwelling house, Out-offices and an excellent Kiln and Quarry, together with fifty-six acres of the Lands Clone, well known by the name of Sweethill, all in the County of Kilkenny, within six miles of Kilkenny, two of Freshford, and one mile and a half of Ballyvraggett- These Lands are of the best quality, fit for Meadowing or Tillage, well fenced and secured - There are present 17 Acres of Wheat, sown these Lands, and the rest in grass. For further particulars apply to K, Purcell, Esq, Solicitor, Coal-market, Kilkenny, or Mr James Disney, Sweethill, Clone, Freshford, who will immediately close with a Solvent Tenant. [Kilkenny Journal 2 December 1837]
Arundel Elias Disney would later be named as having an interest in the Disney estate at Clone, but only when the great Irish Famine had driven this family estate into debt.
The 1853 Griffith's Valuation of Co. Kilkenny recorded "Sweethill House" (Rathbeagh #4) in the name of Arundel's brother Henry Disney of Clone. Their brother Kepple Disney Jr of Clone lived nearby on a 36-acre farm (combining Rathbeagh #8 and Clone #5). However, in April 1852 James Dunphy brought an ex parte petition to the Encumbered Estates Court against the Disney estate at Clone Co. Kilkenny naming Henry Disney of Clone, Kepple Disney of Clone and John Swan, a Minor, of Freshford. By May 1858, when the Disney Estate at Clone was announced as sold, "Henry Disney, Kepple Disney, and John Swan, a Minor of Freshford, Arundel Elias Disney, Robert Disney, and William Power and Mary Anne Power, his wife" were named Ex Parte.
Arundel Elias Disney died in Huron, Ontario on the 31st of May 1880.
His son, Kepple Elias Disney (1832–1891) married Mary Richardson (1838–1909) with whom he had a son named Elias (1859-1941). This Elias would later become the father of the famous Walt Disney. In 1878, Kepple moved his family to Ellis, Kansas.
|Date of Birth||1st Jan 1801 (circa)|
|Date of Death||31st May 1880||VIEW SOURCE|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Frances Best||VIEW SOURCE|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Kepple Disney|
|Townland born||Clone, Rathbeagh, Co Kilkenny||VIEW SOURCE|
|Names of Siblings||Robert Disney of Clone | Mary Anne Disney | Charlotte Disney | Kepple Disney of Clone | James Disney of Clone | Frances Disney | Henry Disney of Sweethill House.|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Maria Swan m. 1832|
|Number of Children||5? 8? 16?|
|First Child||Kepple Disney (1832-1891) b. Co. Kilkenny IRL d. Ellis, Kansas, USA||VIEW SOURCE|
|Names of Children|
|Place of Death||Huron, Ontario, Canada|