CLAIMS IN DOCUMENTS ON VAGRANT’S BODY
A letter in which he claimed to be the great-grandson of the “King of
Ireland,” and which had a footnote stating that it had been sent to the “King’s Court of Justice, London,” on December 6th, 1931, and was never answered, was one of the many documents found on a 69 year old vagrant, whose body was found in a rat infested barn at Lanthwaite Gate, near Crummock Lake, Cockermouth, on Wednesday.
The discovery was made by Thomas RAWLING, farmer, who Informed P. C. HUCK.
Police-inspector WOOLCOCK, Cockermouth, reported the facts to the Coroner who considered an inquest unnecessary, a medical examination having shown that death was due to natural causes.
The body was that of Hugh McKEOWN, a native of Whitehaven.
“A full account of the great Clare race,” was the heading of the letter,
which was written in indelible blue pencil, and went on: -
“My grandfather’s name was James O’BRIAN. His mother’s maiden name was GALLACHER, and my grandfather born at Killcock, near Dublin, was the son of the King of Ireland in the year 1798 and lost the property. He was married before he left Ireland to Mary BURK from County Mayo or County Clare. She had a sister married to the late William MURRY, who had a ship building yard, Birkenhead, near Liverpool.
“My grandfather had four of a family born at Middle Row, Newhouses,
Whitehaven - Catherine O’BRIAN, Matthew O’BRIAN, James O’BRIAN, and Elizabeth O’ BRIAN.
“There’s a big estate in County Clare, Drummond Castle, and the other estate in County Galloway, near Athlone, and the deeds of the two estates are in my grandfather’s name, James O’BRIAN, from the year 1665, and I am the last descendant of the great Clare race and still carrying the Royal descent. My late father’s name was Hugh McKEOWN. He was born at Tandregee, County Armagh, Ireland. My name is Hugh McKEOWN. I was born at 15 Back Ginns, Whitehaven, Cumberland.”
Army papers also found on the body showed that McKEOWN, who had been a miner at Cumberland, joined the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Calgary on May 22nd, 1916, came over to England with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, and on his return was discharged at Vancouver on February 11th, 1919. The documents also included pension papers, a passport, photographs and a Canadian bank cheque
dated March, 1936.
Up to the time of the writing the police have been unable to trace any
McKEOWN had been in the Crummock district for about two years and existed on “tips” received for doing odd jobs in the locality.
Marks showed that the body had been bitten by rats - on the feet and face.