Immigrants Dennis McEVOY and Ann Jane CARSON arrived separately in SA in 1840 & married 1843
Other family links below


Dennis (Denis) McEvoy, an agricultural labourer, embarkation no, 7111, aged 28 years, came out to Australia from Blackrock in Dublin, Ireland, arriving at Pt Adelaide on 17th June, 1840 aboard the
Charles Kerr, accompanied by his sister Catherine McEvoy, a dairymaid aged 20, embarkation no. 4264. Their agent was RJ Lang, Esq. Rumour has it that another sister was set to accompany Dennis but changed her mind and Catherine took her place. It is thought they were half English on their mother's side. The Charles Kerr left London on March 6th, 1840 and travelled via Gravesend. There were 216 passengers with Captain Harford Arnold.

We know nothing about the life of Denis and Catherine before they came to Australia or even where they came from, though it is assumed it was County Laois, then called Queen's County.


Ann Jane Carson born 17-4-1824, Milecross Newtownards, N Ireland, near Belfast, died 22-8-1920, arrived in Australia on 1st October, 1840, aboard the Mary Dugdale with her family. She was the daughter of John Carson and Mary Ann (Wells) Carson and was one of 4 children including Matilda Carson born 1826 died 16 Jan, 1908, Robert Johnson Carson born c. 1828 died 11-11-1913 and Johnson Carson born c.1833 died c.1897. The family is said to have come from Milecross Newtownards in Northern Ireland, near Belfast.

According to The McPharlin Family history, Matilda Carson, sister of Ann Carson married John McPharlin. Their son, John, had a house, Lysander, built "by two local lads both under 30 years of age named McEvoy." These lads were obviously also nephews of Matilda living in the same area near Two Wells. In fact, there is now a McPharlin Road very near the area where the McEvoy family lived.

The Directory of SA, 1876, lists the McEvoy brothers as farmers, Broughton Extension and Dennis McEvoy as a farmer, Grace Plains. The directory of 1881 lists the McEvoy brothers as farmers at Booleroo, Dennis as still at Grace Plains and Joseph as a farmer at Tarcowie.

Mary Carson (pictured at left in a collage of Old Pioneer women from the SA State Library) was born Mary Wells c.1789. Her death notice appeared in the South Australian Advertiser on Monday, January 29, 1883:

CARSON.-On the 23rd January, at Native Point, district of Port Gawler, Mary, the wife of John Carson, sen, aged 94. Arrived in the colony in 1840.

She is buried at Two Wells Cemetery under the name Mary Carsons.

John Carson born c. 1789 was a wheelwright and a farmer in Australia and died aged 96 or 98 years on 28-3-1887 at Pinery Point, District of Gawler and is buried at Two Wells Cemetery. The local history association has now marked his grave and many others with a cement cross and plaque, for which the family sincerely thank them.



Dennis married Ann Jane Carson, usually known as Jane, pictured at left, born 17-4-1824, Ireland, on 25th April, 1843 in Adelaide. They were employed by Mr Angus McLean at first but bought land at Dry Creek, 20 miles from Adelaide. Some details (not necessarily correct) of their early life were given in an obituary about their daughter Catherine, on her death.

The first six children were born at Dry Creek but they then moved to the hundred of Port Gawler to live near the Gawler River at Lewiston close to Two Wells in 1854. They paid 300 pounds for the property. The last two children were born at Port Gawler.

'The Adelaide Observer' of Saturday, 28th April, 1855, reports that the Muddla Wirra Council meeting resolved that Messrs. Henry Hornhardt, James McCord, Johnson Carson, Dennis McEvoy, and Samuel Cassidy, be requested to act as a Building Committee for the proposed school at Port Gawler, and to furnish the Council, at their next meeting, with a plan and estimate of the cost of the building.
This information is also to be found in Life around the Light and in Two Wells Then and Now by Bet Williams.
At right is a plaque for the
Lewiston School. The Adelaide Almanack, (on micro fiche) Town and Country Directory, Guide to SA for 1863 and 1865 by Josiah Boothby, lists Dennis "McIvoy" as a farmer, Section 163, Reeves Plains.
An article in the 'Southern Cross' on Friday 9 September 1949, page 8 lists Denis McEvoy as one of the people who contributed towards the 1850-1851 work on St. Franis Xavier Cathedral, Adelaide.


There were nine children, one daughter first, followed by 8 sons. Of those, Edward (6th child) and Robert McEvoy (7th child), did not marry. Daniel McEvoy (8th child) had 5 children but there seem to be no descendants from that family-2 children died young and 3 daughters appear not to have married. Francis (9th child) had 4 children, one of whom, Harrold, died at Gallipoli but the other children also appear to have had no issue. This means that of Dennis and Ann Jane Carson's 9 children, only the first 5, Catherine, John, William, Joseph and Dennis (twins) have current descendants.

1.1 Catherine Mary (Kitty) McEvoy born Dry Creek, 1844 to 19-8-1928
1.2 John Peter McEvoy born Dry Creek, 1-4-1845 to 30-6-1898
1.3 William Andrew McEvoy born Dry Creek, 4-8-1847 to 20-7-1921
1.4 Dennis Matthew McEvoy born Dry Creek, 31-1-1850 to 26-1-1935
1.5 Joseph Michael McEvoy born Dry Creek, 31-1-1850 to 29-7-1930
1.6 Edward McEvoy born Dry Creek, 30-6-1852 to 3-7-1939
1.7 Robert McEvoy born Dry Creek, 8-3-1855 to 6-10-1931
1.8 Daniel Mathew McEvoy born Port Gawler, 19-6-1859 to 9-2-1947
1.9 Francis McEvoy born Port Gawler 18-6-1862 to 14-6-1910


Catherine McEvoy, (pictured at right), born 1820 married another Irish immigrant,
Thomas Henry, son of John Henry and Ann Murphy born in County Meath, Ireland in 1812, on 6-7-1841, only a year after she arrived in Australia, and in March, 1842, moved to New Zealand. The Henry family bible states that Catherine was the daughter of Patrick McEvoy and Mary Bowes (best guess-this surname is almost unreadable) of Queen's County (now Laois), Ireland. Catherine and Thomas were married in Adelaide by William Benson, the same priest who later married Dennis and Ann. They had 7 children: Mary, John, Thomas, Catherine, Ann, Margaret and James Francis. Thomas died 9-9-1890 and Catherine on 9-10-1895. Thomas and Catherine Henry are buried in Mangapai Cemetery, 150 Kms north of Auckland together with their son, John Henry. Photos courtesy Pete Steer. There are a number of other family graves nearby.

Below are death notices for Catherine McEvoy Henry and her daughters, Margaret and Catherine

SNELL - On December 12, at her late residence, Maungakaramea, Catherine, wife of William C. Snell and second daughter of Thomas Henry, Ruakaka, aged 34 years.
NZ Herald 21-12-1881

HENRY - On Wednesday, October 9, at the residence of her son-in-law (James Sloane) Ruakaka, Catherine, relict of the late Thomas Henry; aged 75 years. R.I.P.
Auckland Star 11-10-1895

HENRY - On July 17, 1919, at a private hospital. Auckland, Margaret (Maggie), youngest daughter of the late Thomas Henry, formerly of Belle Vue, Ruakaka, near Whangarei. Private interment. No flowers.
Auckland Star 18-7-1919

Here is a letter supplied by Keith Sloane of New Zealand, written to Catherine McEvoy Henry. Some words in this letter are not decipherable. There are no paragraphs and some errors in punctuation and spelling but I thought it best to reproduce the letter as faithfully as possible. It is beautifully written and most evocative of life lived closely in the shadow of death. The picture shows the 1902 wedding of Mary Neville, to Henry Sloane, grandson of Catherine and Thomas Henry (pictured below with thanks to Wilson o'Halloran of NZ) in New Zealand. Mary Henry married James Sloane in 1865 and both are seated at front on the right.

Athy County Kildare Ireland
January 3rd, 1858.

My dear Sister,
I have received your most welcome letter and was rejoiced to hear of you and all your family being in the enjoyment of good health. My own health has been very delicate for some time past, and indeed I cannot say I am improving; but Catherine is getting on well after recovering from a tedious and lingering illness, which I thought would prove fatal, but happily she is now in a fair way of recovery, and I trust will soon be quite well again. The other children are all well. But Bryan you would not know him now, if you saw him, he is no longer the strong healthy man that you knew him; he is very much changed and very delicate. Mary and her family are well, also Anne and family, and send their love to you. I have had a letter from Denis, a day or two after I received yours, himself and family were quite well at that time. And he also asked me most particularly to send him your address. He said he thought you must have changed your place of residence as he wrote to you several times and received no answer. I have not heard from Edward (best guess by Keith Sloane, as of 19-7-2019) this long time indeed I'm beginning to think I shall never hear from him again I don't know his address.

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I now beg to return you my sincere thanks, for my sisters as well as for myself, for your kind present, which was one we neither expected, nor deserved, and which you were kind enough to leave at my disposal. But you may rest assured my dear sister that I will dispose of it in such a manner, as I think you would approve of, and my poor Mother would wish if she lived. Bryan desired me most particularly to present to you and to Mr. Henry, his sincere thanks for your great kindness, which he says he never can or never will forget...Indeed we can never thank you sufficiently, and particularly Mr. Henry, who never saw us nor never knew us. This country is in a sad state at present, no business doing, the shop-keepers and trades-men are perfectly idle walking through the streets, banks failing and bringing ruin on hundreds of poor families, the most respectable houses failing in business; all these things have occured so frequently of late that people cease to wonder at them. The tide of emigration has (started) again there are great numbers going to Australia. During the last three or four years this country improved very much, and commerce was in a most flourishing state. So that I'm entirely at a loss to know how to account for the recent dullness. Doubtless the war with India has contributed to it in a great measure. It gave me great pleasure to read Mary's letter for I judge from it that she must be a sensible, good-natured child and I'm sure it must

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be a great pleasure and blessing to you to possess such a child. And it is to me a great consolation to know that we have children, who though living so far apart will still correspond with each other when perhaps we no longer exist. Aunt Bridget and all the family send their love to you, they are all quite well. I'm sure you must think it great neglect on my part for not answering your letter sooner, but at the time I received your letter, Bryan was lying dangerously ill of inflamation of the bowls, this was the third attack of it that he has had; his life was dispaired of by Doctors Hereen(?) and Kinsey, and he received the last rites of the church and was prepared for death; but thank God he is recovering and able to be up though he still continues very delicate. And that was the reason I delayed not wishing to write untill he would be better, myself and the children were round him while he continued bad expecting every breath he drew to be his last. Denis mentioned in his letter that he purchased a new farm, for which he gave 3 hundred pounds and he is getting on very well, he has 7 children. I wrote to him this week and sent him your address his address is, Port Gawler Adeliade South Australia. Bryan and the children join me in love to you Mr H. and the children.

I remain dear Catherine
your affectionate sister
Margaret Kilbride.


Margaret McEvoy, the only other proven and known sibling of Dennis McEvoy, apart from Catherine, married Bryan Kilbride at the Athy parish church on 4 February, 1838. Bryan Kilbride, a tailor, died on 16 January, 1874 aged 76 years at Duke Street in Athy (pictured) from chronic bronchitis. Margaret was present at his death. Margaret died suddenly of natural causes at Duke Street on 20 September, 1876 aged 66. This would mean she was born in 1810 and aged 28 years when she married Bryan in 1838.

As far as we know, Bryan and Margaret Kilbride had 6 children whose baptism dates (usually close to the birth) are shown:
Mary 10-02-1839, Thomas 02-05-1841, Margaret 11-06-1843, Felix (birth 24-5-1845) 01-06-1845, Catherine 04-07-1847 and Anne 15-07-1849. Bryan Kilbride is called Bryan 3 times and Bernard 3 times in the register, which might mean that his name was Bernard Bryan but he was usually called Bryan, since Margaret calls him Bryan.

In the 1911 census, Felix Kilbride aged 65, master tailor, is recorded as living at Duke Street Athy with his wife of 26 years, Mary Kilbride nee Murphy 55, his son Bernard 23, a teacher, daughter Annie 17 and son Felix 15, both scholars. They have had a total of 9 children born living of whom only 5 are still alive. Living with the family is Felix senior's sister, Margaret Kilbride, aged 67, single and a seamstress. All members of the household can read and write and are Roman Catholic.

Felix Kilbride emigrated to the US in 1914. In the census of 1920 the family are at Cook, Illinois. Living with Felix and Mary are Joseph, 30, Annie, 26 and Felix 24. Felix died 1-1-1937 at Northfield, Cook County, Illinois aged 91, occupation merchant tailor. His wife, Mary Kilbride was born 24-12-1855 in ireland and died at Chicago, Cook County, Illinois on 23-4-1923 aged 68 years.


Dennis McEvoy died in a tragic accident on 25-7-1865 at Pt Gawler aged 60 years according to the certificates but aged 53 years if he really was 28 years old when he arrived in Australia. We presume he was actually 35 years old when he came to Australia. The 1840 South Australian Almanac states that money raised from the sale of land was to be used to pay free passage to the colony from Great Britain and Ireland for poor persons, "provided that they shall, as far as possible, be adult persons of the two sexes in equal proportions and not exceeding the age of thirty years."Cause of death was an injury to the spine. A death notice in The Register for Friday, August 4th, 1865 said,

McEVOY:On the 25th July, Denis McEvoy, Port Gawler, aged 60 years-a colonist of 25 years' standing, and regretted by a large circle of friends.

A news story about him in The South Australian Advertiser left, from Monday, August 7th, 1865 gives the sad circumstances of his death and says that he was buried in Gawler. The Supplement to The South Australian Weekly Chronicle of August 5th, 1865, on Page 328 (microfilm) contains exactly the same article.

Another similar article about the death appeared in The Register, right, on Monday, August 7th, 1865. The same article also appeared in The Observer of about the same date.

Pat Sheehan of Gawler, kindly consulted the parish register of St Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Gawler, and in February 1863 the Catholic priest from Gawler, Father Roe, left and after that the district was without a resident priest but attended by Adelaide clergy until 1866. Records of burials were not kept during this time although a note does say that all burials were in the existing council cemetery, which would be Pioneer Park, since Willaston Cemetery was not opened until 1866. The town council also seems to have been in disarray at the time. The investigation continues. Here is Dennis McEvoy's will

Ann then married Luke Plunkett, farmer, son of Thomas Plunkett, at St Patrick's Church, West Terrace, Adelaide on 7-2-1873. She was 49 yrs old. Patrick J. Corcoran was the officiating minister. Luke Plunkett's birth date is variously given as 1828, 1834 and 1839 born Ireland died 19.6.1901 Port Gawler South Australia, Australia. His father was Thomas Plunkett, Mother, Ann Daly and Siblings were James Plunkett, Christopher Plunkett, Ann Plunkett Jeffcott, Thomas Plunkett, Catherine Plunkett Daglish, William Plunkett, Ellen Plunkett Alexander, Susan Plunkett Coffey, Rosa Plunkett Corner. (information via Ludwig Kraayenbrink)
Ann Jane lived to 96 years of age and is buried as Ann Jane Plunkett in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, with her son, Dennis Matthew, and daughter in law, Ellen Jane McEvoy (nee Case). She was the widow of Luke Plunkett, labourer, who died 19-6-1901, aged 74, and is buried at the Willaston cemetery, and her usual place of residence was Balaklava.

Another obituary giving more details of Jane's life with Luke Plunkett appeared in the Balaklava Newspaper, The Wooroora Producer on September 2nd, 1920
Mrs Plunkett died at North Adelaide on August 22,1920. The deceased lady was born in Ireland on April 13,1824, and arrived in this colony with her parents, John and Mary Carson, in the ship Mary Dugdale in 1840. Mrs Plunkett was the eldest of the family, all of whom are now dead. Shortly after arriving she entered the employ of Mr Angus McLean as a domestic, where she married Mr Dennis McEvoy, who was also employed by Mr McLean, The couple were married at North Adelaide in 1843 by the Rev. Father Benson, and afterwards went to Dry Creek, where Mr McEvoy secured a small piece of land. They reared nine children, one daughter end eight sons, the eldest and youngest of whom are dead. In the year 1865 Mr McEvoy died at Gawler River to which place they removed in 1854. Mrs McEvoy moved to Grace Plains in 1869, when she disposed of her holding and went to live at Alma Plains where she married Mr Plunkett. On the Broughton Areas coming out she and her sons secured land, but being a dry part in those days, and one year proving a total failure in the crops, they were compelled to leave the Areas from where they proceeded to Boolereo Centre where they again took up land and remained there for a couple of years. As they were desirous of trying dairying and farming combined, they disposed of their land at Booleroo Centre, and secured some selected land at Pinda, near Hammond, where, with her son Robert she lived for over 20 years, until the great drought set in, and as they lost most of their stock through starvation, and funds getting very low they were compelled to leave the district. Their next move was to Gawler, in 1876, where Mr Plunkett died in 1901. After remaining there for 12 years Mrs Plunkett moved to Balaklava, where she and her son Robert, lived until May 21st of this year but owing to old age and other infirmities, and being a great sufferer she was compelled to seek medical attention and went to the North Adelaide hospital where she passed peacefully away to rest on the 22nd inst.

Two of her grandsons served in the late war, one being killed. She leaves one daughter and six sons, 43 grandchildren, 50 great and 4 great-great-grandchildren to mourn the sad loss. Mrs Plunkett was loved and highly respected by all, being of a kind and benevolent spirit.

And the Chronicle of 18-9-1920 said:
Mrs. Luke Plunkett, a pioneer, who arrived in South Australia in 1840, died recently in her 96th year. She was a native of Ireland, and came out with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Carson, in the ship Mary Dugdale. The trip occupied four months. Three years later Miss Carson married Mr. Dennis McEvoy, who died in 1865, and left nine children. Her second husband was Mr. Plunkett, who died 19 years ago. When living on a farm at Dry Creek she walked many times into Adelaide with her butter, and back home again. Mrs. Plunkett left a daughter, six sons, 43 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren, and four great great grandchildren.

The following article comes from The Adelaide Chronicle, April 26th, 1919 on page 36, columns D and E.

Mrs Plunkett, who completed her 95th year on April 17, came to South Australia in the "Mary Dugdale" in 1840 with her parents (the late Mr and Mrs John Carson).

She was born in Ireland on Easter Sunday morning, April 17, 1824. She was married to Mr Dennis McEvoy by Father Benson at North Adelaide in 1843, and settled on a small piece of land at Dry Creek. There were few horses or cattle here then, and the cultivation even of a few acres was difficult. She bought two cows from the South Australian Company and often she walked across Gilles Plains with her butter to Adelaide.

Her husband secured a team of bullocks and carted ore from Burra to Port Adelaide. There were many natives about, but she stayed alone, as they were friendly and harmless. It took nine days to do the trip via Port Adelaide to Burra . There was a camping ground where Salisbury stands and she would always tell when her husband would be home by the notes of his bullock bell.

They moved from Dry Creek to Gawler River, then named Lewiston, in 1854. The land was hard to break up and not very good. Mr McEvoy met with an accident which caused his death in 1865, and his widow was left with a young family. This was the first red rust year in the state, and many crops were valueless.

She married Mr Luke Plunkett some years later (on 7-2-1873, 8-9 years later) and he died in 1901, (so they were together for 28 years) She says the day of the wooden plough and sickle were the happiest days. She has 43 grandchildren, 72 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. The youngest and oldest of the five generations are living. Mrs Plunkett, who lives in Balaklava, can still thread a needle and do a little sewing.

The picture above comes from a compilation of photos "SA Pioneers arriving 1836 to 1845" in the state library and 14K is labelled McEvoy, so it is likely that this is Jane McEvoy nee Carson. Whether she qualified as a pioneer I am not sure, as a librarian recently told me dismissively that if they weren't pioneers they were probably emigrant laborers. I'm presuming that you can start as an emigrant laborer and become a pioneer. The picture of Grandma Plunkett, formerly Ann Jane McEvoy nee Carson, at right, was supplied by Frances Mysior who acquired it from a friend at Victor Harbor.

The Advertiser June 25, 1901, page 4
PLUNKETT: On the 19th June, at Gawler Plains, Luke Plunkett, aged 74 years. R.I.P.

The Adelaide Chronicle September 4, 1920, page 27
PLUNKETT: On the 22nd August, at North Adelaide, Ann Jane, the beloved wife of the late Luke Plunkett, aged 96 years. A colonist of 80 years. Dearly beloved and highly respected by a large circle of friends. R.I.P.

Family Index
1.1 Catherine McEvoy Family
1.2 John McEvoy Family
1.3 William McEvoy Family
1.4 Dennis McEvoy Family
1.5 Joseph McEvoy Family
1.6 Edward, 1.7 Robert, 1.8 Francis, 1.9 Daniel McEvoy Families
1.5.1 Fred McEvoy (3rd generation)
Home Page

Find a name and it will link to the appropriate web page. Women are listed by maiden names.

The whole McEvoy family as known is listed in these 9 web pages based on Bob Munro's book and other information received, but I've focussed on my own line by having a separate page for Frederick McEvoy 1.5.1 and descendants. Only the McEvoy descendants (of whatever name) are followed because you have to have some kind of cut off point or it is never ending. My main aim is to list as many descendants as possible.

This is an amazing 425 page account of the descendants of Dennis McEvoy and Jane (Ann Jane) Carson and the starting point for information on these pages. It is illustrated with many old and new photos and was updated and reprinted in Feb 2023.

FACEBOOK: Please join us. McEvoy Family History, South Australia

Many thanks to Robert (Bob) J. Munro for his book 'A Wee Deoch and Doris, The Family of Doris Amy Munro nee McEvoy' on which these pages are based, to John Kilmartin (sadly missed, died October, 2009) for researching much family information and to Allan McEvoy born 1902 who produced a sheet of information I have which was written in 1976. Thanks also to other family members who have contributed information including Max Shackleford and Richard Quinnn for Quinn family information.

Thank you to Tony Drewry, who generously gave me the CSS code for colouring separate generations which can now be distinguished by number, colour and amount of indent on the family web pages .

Please email me with details of any mistakes you find or with further information.
Updated 24-6-2024