1st January 1840
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A brief timeline of the Family of Mr. Robert Curran, Sr. a Whitesmith/Blacksmith of Portaferry, Co. Down, his wife Catherine, and their son, Capt. Robert Curran, Jr., also of Portaferry, Co. Down, Ireland.

I am the 2x great-granddaughter of Capt. Robert Curran, Jr. of Portaferry, County Down, who was born abt. 1838 and died on 7 Jun 1890.  

My 2nd ggrandpa, Capt. Robert Curran, Jr., was one of several sons of a Mr. Robert Curran, a Portaferry Whitesmith/Blacksmith, and his wife Catherine (maiden name unknown). 

Mr. Robert Curran, Sr. was born about 1806, and he died on 26 Dec 1871 in Portaferry, Co. Down.  His wife Catherine died a few years later on 3 Jan 1879 in Portaferry. 

Throughout the 19th Century, the Curran Family lived on what was then called "New Row" but has since been re-named "Shore Road or Shore Street"  in Portaferry, Co. Down, which at the time was located across the street from the old Portaferry's Gas Works (which no longer exists, but used to be next to or where the Saltpans is now located).

My 2nd g-grandpa, Capt. Robert Curran, Jr., who was a Ship Captain and Master Mariner, had at least 3 brothers (John, Thomas and Patrick Curran), who were also all Seafarers (see FB link below to check out an article about them from 1857).

On 2 Jan 1867, at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Chapel (Diocese of Down & Connor), Capt. Robert Curran, Jr. married the daughter of a Ship Captain/Master Mariner and Pub Owner from Killough, Co. Down, named Capt. Richard McSherry (my 3x great-grandfather). Her name was Mary McSherry.

Mary McSherry's father, Capt. Richard McSherry, was born in, and was associated with, a residence at Fisherman’s Row in Killough, County Down, during the early to mid-1800’s, before he moved his family up to Ballymacarrett, then over to Belfast’s Dock Ward in the early 1860’s, ultimately ending up operating his Pub/Tavern and Inn at 15 Corporation Square, Belfast from 1867-1890,  which he called either "The Harbour Arms" or the "Harbour Hotel". 

Immediately prior to his purchase of the Pub/Tavern and Hotel/Inn at 15 Corporation Square, Belfast in 1867, Capt. Richard McSherry owned/operated a Pub/Tavern at 20 Gamble Street and 58 Tomb Street in Belfast, which he called "The Killough Tavern".  Capt. Richard Mc Sherry did this in addition to being a Ship Captain/Seafarer, which I can only presume is how his daughter, Mary McSherry, ultimately met Capt. Robert Curran, Jr. of Portaferry, Co. Down.

For most of Capt. Robert Curran , Jr. and Mary McSherry’s marriage, they lived and raised their 7-8 children in the "Old Sailortown: area of Belfast, and assisted Mary McSherry’s father, Captain Richard McSherry, with the operation of his Pub & Hotel at 15 Corporation Square, located directly across the street from the Belfast Harbour Office.

However, after Capt. Robert Curran Jr.'s sudden and untimely death (from what is now known as "Secondary Drowning") on 7 Jun 1890, aboard his vessel “The Lorena” which was moored at the time in Sligo Quay, his widow, Mary McSherry Curran, following the burial of her beloved husband in Portaferry Catholic Graveyard on 10 Jun 1890, moved out of Belfast with their 7-8 minor children to Liverpool, England.  Mary McSherry Curran sadly died 3 years later in August of 1894, in the West Derby neighborhood of Liverpool, leaving the eldest daughter of Capt. Robert Curran, Jr. and Mary McSherry Curran- Jane Elizabeth Curran (my great-grandma), to raise her younger siblings on her own in Liverpool.

I am told that my paternal great-grandmother, Jane Elizabeth Curran (married name Oxton), every summer (at least up until she emigrated from Liverpool to Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, John F. Oxton, Jr., and their 2 sons in May of 1924, would return to the Killough and Portaferry areas of County Down to visit her extended family, and to ensure that her sons, Jack & Charlie Oxton (Charlie is my paternal grandfather), knew their Irish roots and their Irish relatives, and were able to spend extended periods of time every year in the beautiful part of Northern Ireland where their mother and their maternal family all grew up. 

I would love to connect with any remaining Curran and/or McSherry relatives (or anyone who happened to know of the Curran or McSherry relatives I speak about and describe above), regardless of where in the world they may live today.  It would be an added bonus to connect with any Curran or McSherry Cousins who may still remain in or around the areas of Belfast, Portaferry or Killough in County Down, Ireland. 

Both my McSherry and my Curran relatives from the Co. Down area of Ireland (at least the ones I’m specifically aware of) were all Seafarers/Mariners/Fisherman throughout the 1800's.  Another clue I have is that approximately 6 months before my 3rd great-grandpa, Capt. Richard McSherry died in 3 Sep 1887 at 15 Corporation Square, Belfast, his wife (and possibly the mother to his daughter, Mary McSherry), died at the same location, with her name listed as Mary Adair McSherry., presumably her maiden name being ADAIR.  Mary Adair McSherry died on 10 Feb 1887.

A funny little article about my 2nd great-grandpa, Capt. Robert Curran, Jr., and 3 of his brothers-John Curran, Thomas Curran and Patrick Curran, all seafarers and all from Portaferry, Co. Down.  This article (link below to Facebook post with screen shots of actual article) is from the 18 Jul 1857 issue of the Belfast News-Letter Newspaper, detailing the "Crown Court, County Down, Summer AssizesCriminal Trials

The alleged instigator of this melee happened to be my 2nd great-grandfather, Capt. Robert Curran, Jr., and his alleged co-conspirators 3 of my great-granduncles Patrick Curran, John Curran and Thomas Curran.  The incident apparently began one late night in May of 1857 outside of a Portaferry Pub between my great-grandpa, Robert Curran, Jr., and fellow Portaferry resident, Mr. James Hayes.  Mr. Hayes, at the time, lived at and was the manager of the old Portaferry Gas Works, after Robert Curran, Jr. believed to have caught James Hayes “insulting the Pope”.   The drama unfolds from there. It is quite the interesting read and provides a little insight into how devoted and how important the Roman Catholic religion was to my ancestors.  Not much has changed in that regard to this day.


I would love to connect with any Curran and/or McSherry relatives, anyone with a connection to any of these Curran or McSherry relatives, or anyone who happens to know of the Curran or McSherry relatives I describe above.  It would be an added bonus to connect with any Curran or McSherry Distant Cousins that may still remain in or around the areas of Belfast, Portaferry, or Killough in County Down, Ireland.  

-J'Aimèe L. Oxton

Please feel free to send me a message here, comment below, or message me on Facebook!


  • Hi Aimee 

    I'm wondering if we are related

    My great great grandfather is a John Curran from co.down portaferry...alls i know of him is he got to Liverpool using his brothers boat...before he did he married an Elizabeth Donnelly who I believe might if been from Dublin they both lived and had their first child who is my great grandmother Mary  Curran  she was also born in Ireland 🇮🇪 and later travelling to Liverpool with them. This is the place they resided and is why I'm here today still in the port of Liverpool. Hope to hear form u soon yours sincerely Clare x

    Ps my email is Jljoynson@googlemail.com 

    Saturday 17th February 2024 07:08PM

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