Signature Of US President Ronald Reagan’s Tipperary Ancestry Uncovered

ReaganHistorians have revealed that US President Ronald Reagan’s great-great grandfather Thomas was among 250,000 signatories, on the Morpeth Roll of 1841. Thomas Reagan put pen to paper in honour of George Howard, known as Lord Morpeth, latter a supporter of the then repeal laws and who fought against religious discrimination and unfair taxes, while chief secretary for Ireland.

The Morpeth Roll had been stored on a mahogany spool and held privately by Lord Morpeth’s family in a basement in Castle Howard, Yorkshire for more than a century. The Morpeth Roll is one of the few now surviving primary resources containing detail of the people living at that time in Ireland and members of the Reagan family put their signatures to the roll while residing in the civil parish of Templetenny, which includes Ballyporeen Co Tipperary.  Other Signatures from the nearby townlands of  Doolis, Knocknagapple and Skeheenaranky are also represented on this roll.

As a labourer, Thomas Reagan signed the Morpeth Roll in 1841, somewhere in Co Tipperary and Ronald Reagan, his great-great grandson, who served two terms as US president between 1981 and 1989, visited the village in 1984 when he was in Ireland. It was on this visit, amid unprecedented security, that the Irish people came to see the most powerful man in the world for the first and only time, face to face. President Ronald Reagan passed to his heavenly reward in 2004.

Thomas Reagan’s son Michael and great grandfather of President Reagan, would take the family name eventually to the United States and this Morpeth Roll also appears to contain the signature of President Reagan great grand Uncle Thomas. This same great grandfather Michael would marry Catherine Mulcahey, also from Ballyporeen, in St Georges Catholic Church, Southwark, London, after they left Ireland for England in 1852. The wedding would be witnessed by Nicholas Reagan, possibly one of Michael’s older brothers; however their father Thomas was now deceased.

According to the 1860 census, on November 28th 1857, Michael and Catherine both arrived in New York on the “Joseph Gilchrist,” sailing from Liverpool with three children; Thomas, John and Margaret all who eventually settled in Carroll County, Illinois.

Among other names to turn up on the Morpeth Roll are the second Arthur Guinness of the famous stout dynasty, who lived from 1768-1855 and ran the brewery and the Bank of Ireland in the 1820s and 1830s.


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