James Gardiner b 1724 and CATHERINE SKERRETT b 1724

Generation 3

James Gardiner was born Abt 1724 in Lisburn, Antrim, Ireland, was christened in Belfast, Antrim, Ireland, and died in Lisburn, Antrim, Ireland. James married Catherine Skerrett Abt 1760. Catherine Skerrett, wife of James Gardiner, daughter of James Skerrett and Ellen Lynch, was born in 1724 in Carrownecroagh, Killursa, Galway, Ireland. She was christened in 1724 in Carrownecroagh, Killursa, Galway, Ireland, and died in 1794 at age 70.

Although we dont know anything about James and Catherines personal life, we do know they lived through the Irish Famine of 1740-1741, which was perhaps of similar magnitude to the better know Great Famine of 1845-1852, which is more commonly know at the Potato Famine.  The famine of 1740 was due to extremely cold and then rainy weather in successive years, resulting in a series of poor harvests. Hunger compounded a range of fatal diseases. The cold and its effects extended across Europe, and it is now seen to be the last serious cold period at the end of the Little Ice Age of about 1400 – 1800. In spring 1740, the expected rains did not come, and though the Frost dissipated, the temperatures remained low and the northerly winds fierce. The drought killed off animals in the field, particularly sheep in Connacht and black cattle in the south, and struck farmers by destroying by the end of April much of the tillage crops sown the previous autumn (wheat and barley). Grains were so scarce, the Catholic Church in Ireland allowed Catholics to eat meat four days each week during Lent. The potato crisis caused an increase in grain prices, which translated into smaller and smaller loaves of bread for the old price. Dickson explains that the wholesale rise in the price of wheat, oats and barley reflected not just the current supply position, but the dealers assessment as to the state of things later in the year. By summer 1740, the Frost had decimated the potatoes and the drought had decimated the grain harvest and herds of cattle and sheep. Starving rural dwellers started a mass vagrancy towards the better-supplied towns, such as Cork in southern Ireland, where beggars lined the streets by mid-June 1740. During the famine there were many food riots through-out the summer of 1740.Documentation of deaths was poor during the Great Frost. Cemeteries provide fragmentary information, e.g., during February and March 1740, 47 children were buried in St. Catherines parish. The normal death rate tripled in January and February 1740, and burials averaged out about 50% higher during the twenty-one-month crisis than for the years 1737-1739, according to Dickson. Summing up all his sources, Dickson suggests two estimates: 1) that 38% of the Irish population died during the crisis and 2) that between 13-20% excess mortality occurred for 1740-1741. Out of a population of 2.4 million, (half the present day 2010 population of Ireland) between 310,000 and 480,000 people may have perished during the crisis.  In the first week of July 1741, grain prices at last decreased and old hoarded wheat suddenly flooded the market. Five vessels loaded with grain, presumably from America, reached Galway in June 1741. The quality of the fall harvest of 1741 was mixed. The food crisis was over, however, and seasons of rare plenty followed for the next two years.

The child from the marriage of James Gardiner and Catherine Skerrett were:

1.  Mary Gardiner , born 1764 in Lisburn, Antrim, Ireland; died Mar 1821.  She  married on 20 Aug 1782 in Lisburn, Antrim, Ireland William Black , born Mar 1744 in Belfast, Antrim, Ireland; died 4 Feb 1834 in Lisburn, Antrim, Ireland, son of  William Black and Eleanor Thetford .