The Story of Keans in Claremorris started circa 1792 when first known relative Bridget Kean was born, she died in 1867 aged 75yrs. In 1866 Bridget Kean (Widow) and John Kean were the holders of 18 acres of land under Lease from James Denis Browne for the life of Thomas Kean aged 40 years, in 1866, Bridget was a widow, and the forename of her husband is unknown on record. They had 2 sons, Thomas Kean named on the lease(above), he is thought to have immigrated, and John Kean their 2nd and youngest son.
John set up as a Shopkeeper in James Street Claremorris in 1866, he is listed as a grocer in James Street on Slaters Directory 1881, this premises is now owned by Gilligan’s Auctioneers. John with his wife Bridget had 5 Children, Patrick, Anne, Delia, Thomas and Michael. On the census for 1901 Thomas H. Kean 34 was unmarried and is listed as a shopkeeper and his brother Michael is listed as a shop-assistant, due to a dispute between John Kean (father) and Thomas H. Kean (Son) father decided to leave business in James Street to his 2nd son Michael.
Thomas H. Kean then having felt slighted as the first son set up in Mount Street in 1905, as a Provisions Merchant, this included selling Grocery, Animal Feed, and a 7-day License. This is where the business currently now operates but on a much larger footprint.
Michael Kean then decided to add the (e) to the Kean to differentiate between the Mount Street business and the James Street one, both were successful business with their own clientele and operated independently although both brothers had relatively good relations otherwise.
Thomas H Kean was born in 1867 and died in 1942 aged 78, his first wife Bridget Kelly died in 1914 aged 50 years. He secondly married Margaret Fahey and they had 3 Sons, Thomas H Kean Jnr, John Patrick Kean, Fr Michael J. Kean. Thomas and Margaret resided in Mount Street, with their 3 sons, living over the shop until his death in 1942, he was associated strongly with the Fenian Movement and was involved and present at the famous Land League meeting with Michael Davitt in 1879. In the War of Independence, he was unanimously elected first President of Sinn Fein club in 1919 and later as President of South Mayo Comhairle Ceanntair of Sinn Fein from which he resigned. After the Treaty in 1934 he unsuccessfully contested the local election on the Fianna Fail ticket. He was known to be fond of the “Drop” but was also known locally as “Honest Tom”.
Thomas H Kean Jnr inherited the business in Mount Street in 1942, he was born in 1916 and died in 1992, he married his first wife Nancy Clarke in 1945, they had one son Thomas H. Kean V.S. Nancy unfortunately contacted TB and died as a result in 1947. He secondly married Ita Curran in 1952, they had 5 children, John Kean, Michael Kean, Ita Kean, James Kean and Breda Kean. Thomas H. as he was locally known, was very associated with the Claremorris Agricultural Show Society, Claremorris Town Hall Committee, Claremorris GAA and was widely respected as a good businessman and judge of livestock.
James Kean inherited the business in 1992, he was born in 1958, he married Patricia Higgins, from another well-known business family in Claremorris in 1984. They had 3 Children, Andrea, James Jnr and Mark. James and Patricia are immersed in the local community and would be associated with, Claremorris Chamber, Claremorris Swimming Pool, Claremorris GAA and support many other organizations in Claremorris. Having expanded the business with the help of their 3 children to the footprint of today situated on 2 acres on and behind Mount Street offering, Electrical, Gardening, Paint, Tools, DIY, Agri and Fuel Supplies to the locality.
While James and Patricia are, currently, still involved in the business James Kean Jnr, Mark Kean and Andrea Kean (Dowling) are now running the business on a day-to-day basis.
With the Fourth generation now running the business we look forward to the next chapter in Keans Claremorris Great History……