chapter eight

The 60s, 70s, and 80s

By 1868, his son Patrick and wife Rose had moved out and were living at 29 Millen's Place (in the York Street area) with their young sons Thomas and Patrick (b. 14 December 1868 – later to live in Iris Street married to Margaret Garrity, no children, listed as a carter in the 1901 census and later became a bread server). Father Patrick was working as a bookkeeper at Mosley Mill (Newtownabbey) at the time so he must have been educated, at least in sums – possibly the reason he ran away in the first place was that he was too good at sums! In this year, father Thomas and his family moved next door to 7 Galway Street in the Pound Loney where he lived until around 1877. In that year he is listed as living at 4/6 Alexander Street – that's two houses! In the street directory for that year he is listed as “coal merchant”!

1870 seems to have been a momentous year for Thomas and his family: his wife Catherine died (on her death notice it simply says “wife of carrier”) at the age of 49 years; she had already buried possibly two of her children when she passed away two days after Christmas. Thomas would have been 46 that year and he never re-married. In the same year, his second granddaughter Rose was born to Patrick and Rose on 13 December 1870, his son Patrick abandoned his wife and three children and went to America, and his daughter Catherine married a guy called Wright (first name unknown).

In 1880, Thomas and family were living at 68/70 Pound Street (again two houses in the Pound Loney area), and he is still listed as a carter. I can find no further listings for him after that year and am assuming that he stopped work sometime in the mid 1880s when he was in his 60s. The head of the household then would most likely have been his other son John. According the local news (The Glenravel Timeline Project), in 1887, a coalman named John Carabine was charged with recklessly driving his horse and cart in King Street; he injured a lad named O'Connell. John was fined 5 shillings plus costs, and 10 shillings In compensation – a lot of money in those days.

In 1895 – the year Belfast got electric light – his grandson Thomas married Annie Carson when grandfather Thomas was 71 years of age. Thomas lived to see the birth of three of his great grandchildren: Thomas and Annie's eldest son Patrick Malachy in 1896, who was later killed at Gallapoli in August 1915, their eldest daughter Mary Catherine born in 1898 who sadly passed away in 1901, and James (my grandfather) who was born in 1899.

After Patrick Bengamin ran away to America in 1870 (the year of his mother's death and the year his only daughter was born), it would appear that father Thomas lived on in Pound Street possibly with son John and family. It is most likely that Thomas and Annie Carson lived with them too – Nancy Nolan always said her grandfather lived there. His daughter-in-law Rose (wife of the bad 'un) was at that time living with her daughter Rose, husband John Toner and their children at 70 Plevna Street. Here she kept house for them and looked after the children since both Rose and John worked in the linen industry. When Rose died at the age of 56, she was buried in the Carabine plot in Milltown with her son Thomas and his family (see the picture of the Carabine Plot).

Having previously lived at 18 Cinnamond Street (again in the Pound Loney), John was living at 59 Plevna Street until just a short time before the 1901 Census. Perhaps the death of his father forced them to move house. After John left Belfast in 1901 to go to England, his grandson Thomas and his wife Annie Carson continued to live at 59 Plevna Street before moving to Kane Street (where her father lived) and then to Cavendish Street.

When old Thomas died in 1900 after a long life of hard work, he left behind a fair number of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He had lived 30 years without his wife, buried two children, supported Rose and her family after Patrick ran away, and was the impetus for naming a child Thomas in every generation of the Carabines to date with the exception of my own generation. It was now left up to grandson Thomas to carry on the family name in Belfast.