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The Whiteboys demanded that rents not be paid,that land with expired leases not be rented until it had lain waste
for three years, and that no one pay or collect tithes demanded by the Anglican church.
They sent threatening letters to landlords,debt collectors and occupants of land gained from eviction,demanding
that they give up their farms. In March 1762 there was a further escalation of Whiteboy activities
when armed groups entered several towns in county Waterford and fired shots at the garrisoned troops
there. There was also trouble in the town of Lismore and in Tallow where a jail was broken into and prisoners
released.The movement was by now developing into an open rebellion.
The law dealt mercilessly with anybody suspected of being a member of the Whiteboys. Up until 1761
the groups activities had been relatively isolated and were dealt with by the local authorities.
However after the events of March 1762 a small force of troops under the command of the
Marquis of Drogheda was sent to Munster to crush the Whiteboys. They were ruthless and
sentenced many men to death with minimal evidence. In the town of Bruff, 5 miles from Kilmallock
17 Whiteboys were arrested in one night. By mid April over 150 Whiteboys were arrested.
Clogheen in county Tipperary bore the initial brunt of the assault as the local parish priest,
Fr.Nicholas Sheehy had spoken out against tithes. Both he and another man,Edward Meeham, had false
murder charges brought against them. They were hanged with Fr Sheehy being hung,dawn and quartered.
The trial was a mockery of justice.
The Whiteboy movement had spread to much of the country by the end of the 18th century.
In Thomas Flanagan's "The year of the French" the Whiteboys of Killala in county Mayo are
referenced several times. French troops landed in Mayo in 1798 to aid the Irish rebellion
against British rule. The were joined by the local Whiteboys and the United Irishmen.This
rebellion failed but the pattern of rural unrest continued.
(Ref : Fant Genealogy book, www.Wikapedia.com)