Daughertys in Ireland


In County Donegal, Ireland, the name is Doherty, O'Doherty, or in the Gaelic, O'Dochartaigh is as close as the English alphabet can come. It means hurtful, disobliging. Since our Texas family spells its name Daugherty, that is used throughout my descendant data in America.


 Laggan Valley ("The Laggan"), Co. Donegal, Republic of Ireland, lies just south end of the Inishowen Peninsula between the River Foyle from Derry (Londonderry) on the east to Letterkenny on the River Swilley on the west, southeast through Raphoe to Lifford on the Republic side of the Foyle (across the river from Strabane). It comprises the ancient Tyrconnell, kingdom of the Clan O'Dochartaigh.


 Our immigrant ancestor Michael (Mor)* Daugherty was born in The Laggan; his wife Catherine Rodgers was born in Manorcunningham in The Laggan; their three sons William (the blacksmith), Michael (Oge)*, and Charles (my ancestor) were born in Muff, Inishowen; Lifford; and Raphoe.



Photos by Doris Johnston, Oct 2003

 Town sign for Raphoe, Laggan Valley, Co. Donegal

 Part of the Town Triangle (it is not a Square), Raphoe

Raphoe Castle ruins



  Michael (Mor)'s grandfather Liam (William) (Mor) was born on the Isle of Barth, Burt (a little south of Burnfoot-Bridgend on the British road map below, just below where the road turns off to the Inishowen).

He died at Raphoe in The Laggan. His son Liam (Oge) was born in The Laggan.

 Liam (Oge)'s son Michael (Mor) and his family immigrated to America in 1727, probably with the large Caldwell settlement to New Castle, DE. John Caldwell, the Daughertys' Presbyterian landlord and his wife Margaret Phillips Caldwell on ship Eagle's Wing from the port of Londonderry with five of their children, his brothers, and three brothers-in-law, including Thomas Daugherty and his wife, probably Anne, the sister of John Caldwell's wife Margaret Phillips. Caldwell was a prosperous Presbyterian landlord on Co. Donegal who left Ireland due to religious persecution of both Catholics and Presbyterians by the Crown. Initially they settled at Chestnut Level, Chester Co. (now Lancaster Co.), PA; and later moved to the then-wilderness area of the colony of Virginia.

Caldwell, Founder and elder of First Presbyterian Church of Virginia at Cub Creek, was born 9 Jan 1683 in Ballyogan of Record, and died 1750 in Charlotte Co., VA. He and wife Margaret married 4 Jan 1702, and Margaret died 1746.

In 1753, Augusta Co., VA, a lawsuit by Finney vs. Caldwell, John Caldwell of Balllibogan in the Parish of Lifford, Co. Donegal, Chapman, to be paid to William Hogg of the City of Londonderry, merchant, dated 1st August 1747. Process executed 1753.

About 1738 Thomas Daugherty departed for Albemarle (now Charlotte) Co., VA, to establish the famous Cub Creek Presbyterian settlement. Perhaps a relative, Hugh Daugherty was granted land in Albemarle 5 Aug 1737, and moved to Bedford Co. 1766.


Another of the families was Patton, seen in frequent contact with the Daughertys, Magills, and Pattersons in Augusta Co., VA.

By 1735 Michael (Mor) Dochartaigh/Doherty/Daugherty was a storekeeper in Newlondon Derry, Chester Co., PA. Abt 25 Jan 1737/8 he and his wife and sons moved with the colony southwest to Augusta Co., VA, settling on Borden's Great Grant in what later became Rockbridge Co. (There may have been daughters we don't know about).

William Daugherty (called "Sam" by the Cherokee) was one of the first Indian agents for the colony of Virginia; he married Elizabeth Bunch, a Cherokee. Michael (Oge) Daugherty married Mary Clark. Charles Daugherty married Rebecca Cunningham whose family came from Ireland with the same colony. Charles, our ancestor, was killed 17 Jul 1763 by Cornstalk's Shawnee raiding party on Kerr Creek; his family was spared by being at church. William's wife Elizabeth was a heroine, riding up the valley to warn other settlers. After those attacks, William and Elizabeth moved further south.

William and Michael (Oge) died in Montgomery Co., VA. Many of the children and grandchildren of Michael (Mor) Daugherty were pioneer settlers in Lincoln Co., KY, starting in 1775.

The O'Dochartaigh Clan Hq. & Research Center was established on Inch Island at least 15 years ago but is now on the seaside at Buncrana.

* NOTE: "Mor" means Senior, and "Oge" means Junior.


 "On looking at a map of the County Donegal, it will be seen that the north-eastern part of the county, which is the most northerly part of Ireland, is a peninsula washed on the eastern side by the waters of Lough Foyle and on the western by Lough Swilly. This is Inishowen, a mountainous and, to a large extent, a barren country. Immediately to the south of it is a fertile and comparatively flat country, lying between the river Foyle and the upper reaches of Lough Swilly, and extending in one direction from the City of Derry to Stranorlar, and in another from Lifford to Letterkenny.

"This is the district which in by-gone times was known under the name of THE LAGGAN, and formed the most productive and desireable portion of the ancient territory of Tyrconnell . . ."

  Alexander Lecky. The Laggan and its Presbyterianism. Belfast, N. Ireland: Davis & McCormick, 1905.

The O'Dohertys, a branch of the Cinel Conaill and of the same stock as the O'Donnells, were originally chiefs of Cinel Enna and Ard Miodhair, now angl. Ardmire, in the barony of Raphoe, but about the beginning of the 15th century, they became lords of Inishowen and one of the most powerful families of Tirconnell, a position which they retained down to the reign of James I, when, after the rebellion of Sir Cahir O'Dogherty, their possessions were confiscated and granted to Sir Arthur Chichester. The O'Doghertys are now one of the most numerous of Irish families.

The O'Dohertys of Inishowen descend from Conall Gulban, a Milesian prince of the royal house of Heremon who won possession of the area now known as Donegal, in the beginning of the fifth century. Conall was the brother of Eoghan (Owen) who conquered Tir Eoghan (Tyrone) and son of the Irish monarch, Niall of the Nine Hostages, the man responsible for kidnapping St. Patrick to Ireland in A.D. 405. From Conall the territory obtained the name of Tir Coneill, or the Land of Connell, and his posterity became known as the Cinel Connaill, or the race of Connell.

Specifically the O'Dohertys get their name from Dochartach, son and heir of Maongal and grandson of Fianan, Lord of Inoshowen, who was the third son of Ceannfaola, prince of Tir Connell, and 12th in lineal descent from the aoresaid Conall Gulban. In itself the name Dochartach means "hurtful" or "disobliging." It is a name of great antiquity.

Few early censuses in Ireland exist, but the Hearth Money Rolls for County Donegal in 1665 and for County Derry in 1663 listed dozens of O'Dougherty (the O means grandson of) householders, some in every parish.

On the Inishowen Peninsula on the north coast of County Donegal, many shop signs bear the name O'Doherty; it is the most common in the county, and indeed the 15th most common surname in all of Ireland. A Doherty Family Heritage Center has been established on the western foot of the peninsula, Inch Island, just north of Derry, where people from all over the world have collected genealogical data to visit and study their roots, and a Doherty Heritage Trail on the Peninsula leading to several Doherty castles or ruins dating from the 1300-1600s.

Derry (to the Irish republicans), or Londonderry (to the British), is the city on the River Foyle that separates Northern Ireland (part of Britain's United Kingdom), from the Republic of Ireland, and was the scene of bloody confrontations during the rebellions which led to Ireland's freedom, and even since then. At armed, sandbagged guard posts on both sides of the border, vehicles were halted and scrutinized by soldiers for the north or south, when I was there in 1988 and 1991.

The Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal lies between Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly where those rivers flow into the North Sea and is the home territory of the O'Dohertys.

Though a centuries-long history of the chiefs of the clan can be told, the last with any power was Cahir O'Dogherty, the son of John Oge. In 1608 grievous dissension arose between the Governor and Cahir; the Governor abused him with insults and contempt. Cahir vowed revenge, and attacked the town and killed the Governor. Following that, Cahir had several more encounters with the British and held his ground for several months in Donegal. The new British Lord Deputy put a reward of 500 marks o his head and the reward was son collected when Cahir was shot dead by an English marksman who crept up on him while he was encamped near Kilmacrennan. He was subsequently beheaded and the gory trophy sent to Dublin.

Cahir's vast estates were confiscated -- no doubt the reason the entire exercise was engineered. Those who had owned their property had to start paying rent to English landlords. In parts of the Donegal and other counties, landlords forced the people to leave their homes on very short notice, on little excuse. The abandoned, roofless houses are called "eviction houses" by the people. And that is how and why many Irish who could, came to America, as well as to Australia, England, or Scotland, more than a hundred years before the terrible Potato Famine of mid 1800s.

THE LAGGAN, of Co. Donegal, should not be confused with the Lagan Valley Constituency created just south of Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K., in 1983, which combined parts of the old South Antrim and North Down with bits and pieces from elsewhere.]

Next: Ancestry of Michael (Mor) Daugherty, immigrant ancestor



Seorise Fionbarra O'Dochartaigh. O'Doherty: People and Places. Ballinakella Press, Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland, 1998.

Inishowen Genealogy (O'Dochartaigh Clann Hq.), Buncrana, Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland.

Rev. Alexander Lecky. Roots of Presbyterianism in the Donegal. Davidson & McCormick, Belfast, 1905.

Rev. Alexander Lecky. The Laggan and its People.

F. B. Kegley. Virginia Frontier.

Kentucky Hitorical Society. Genealogies of Kentucky Families: From the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society: A-M (Allen-Moss). Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1981.

Augusta County, Virginia, Deeds.

The Filson Club History Quarterly.

Anthony Mathews. Origin of the O'Dohertys, 2nd Ed. Anthony Mathews, Drogheda, Ireland, 1978.