A Family Reunited

      For two decades Nancy Duffy Rogan and her son, Bernard, born December 12, 1774, lived in County Tyrone awaiting word from Hugh. They most likely lived with her family, though we know very few details of her life in Ireland. She was born in Strabane on March 17th, 1757. She was the only daughter of Charles Duffy, and she possibly worked in the local flax industry. We know that she was a lifelong Catholic. After waiting for twenty-two years for her husband to return, she learned that Hugh was alive and living in Sumner County. She wrote to him around1795, entrusting her letter to a relative who was travelling to America. When Hugh returned for her the following year, she left her home and family, sailed the Atlantic, and made the journey overland with Hugh and Bernard to Sumner County in 1797. The journey took nine months and ten days, according to her granddaughter, Clarissa Rogan. The following year she gave birth to a second son, Francis. Other members of the Duffy family of County Tyrone also made their way to Sumner County over the years. Nancy Duffy died on Ash Wednesday, February 13, 1839, "after a long, happy, and useful life" as recorded by Clarissa Rogan in her journal.

      We do know something of Bernard's activities as a young man growing up in the troubled Irish countryside. Like his father, he fought on the side of Irish independence and was involved in a group called the United Irishmen that participated in the Irish bid for independence, culminating in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. By that date, though, Bernard was living in Sumner County, though we know from his obituary that he continued to soldier in this country.

Glentown from OFlagherty Farm
Glentown (centre left), Lisdoo or Lisduff (centre right), as seen from Gortkilly farm. This photograph is taken in County Donegal looking east from what is thought to be the farm of Captain Murtaugh O'Flagherty, the leader of the local United Irishmen unit to which Bernard belonged, according to his obituary. The farm overlooks the pocket of land in Tyrone where Hugh Rogan and Nancy Duffy's families are reported to have lived in the 1770s and where Bernard could have travelled to the clandestine gatherings of the outlawed organisation with discretion and in relative safety via a number of narrow interconnecting lanes as his father is reported to have done.
Duffy's Field
Above and below are photos of a historic farm, parts of which are known as "Duffy's Field." This is very near Glentown. Until recent years, an eighteenth century house still stood here.  While it is not known where Nancy and Bernard lived for the twenty-two years of Hugh's absence, their home was most likely in this general area.
Another view of Duffy's Field

      The story of why Hugh left his wife and young son for so many years is pieced together from several sources. During the American Revolution, which began just after Hugh Rogan and Daniel Carlan landed in Philadelphia, no passenger service was available for several years. Following the resumption of civilian ships between America and Ireland, Rogan did indeed start the return journey about 1786, ten years after leaving County Tyrone. On his way to the coast to book passage on a ship, he visited Carlen who was living in North Carolina with a new wife and family. Carlen, not wanting the Irish family he had abandoned to learn of his current situation, lied to Hugh saying that he had heard from Nancy. Having received no word from her husband for so long, she assumed he was dead and had remarried.

      Believing his kinsman, Rogan abandoned his plans to sail and returned to Sumner County and continued fighting and farming for another decade. It was in 1795 or 1796 that Hugh received the letter from Nancy telling him that she and Bernard still waited for him to come for them.

      With the Indian wars over and statehood about to be granted, Hugh Rogan left for Ireland in 1796. He returned to his farm in 1797 with Nancy and Bernard. Francis, born in 1798, was a first generation American. As a new century approached, the Rogan family, now Tennesseans, had political and religious freedom, economic opportunities, and a farm of hundreds of acres of fertile land in Sumner County.


Rogan Cemetery
In this long-abandoned cemetery, that is believed to be the burying place of Hugh and possibly Nancy, is the gravestone of Charles Duffy with the inscription "Born in Ireland 1770-- Oct 1826 A True Republican." He is thought to be the brother of Nancy Duffy Rogan.

Charles was the father of Michael and Patrick Duffy who operated M & P Duffy, a general store in Hartsville. The grandson of Charles and son of Michael was William Read Duffy. William lived with his uncle and aunt, Francis and Martha Reed Rogan, during the Civil War.  His mother, Cornelia Reed Duffy, was Martha's sister.