William Carleton, a well-known Irish author, was born in Prillisk, Ireland, March 4, 1794, the fourteenth child of James Carleton, a farmer, and his wife Mary Kelly. He was educated in the village school and the school at Donagh, and for six months was a tutor in the family of a wealthy farmer. He later went to Dublin, where, after the experience of a religious pilgrimage, he turned Protestant. In 1822 he married Jane Anderson. For a time he earned a bare living as a clerk in a Sunday School Society and as a journalist until a pension of 200 pounds per annum after 1848 made living easier. His first great success as a writer came in 1830 with the appearance of the first series of his "Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry." The second series came in 1833. "Tales of Ireland" appeared in 1834, and "Fardorougha, the Miser" in 1837. Other stories of Irish peasant life appeared in rapid succession, the tale reprinted by Beadle, "Rody, the Rover; or, The Ribbon Man of Ireland," having been published originally in 1846. Besides these shorter stories, he also published several longer novels; "Valentine M'Clutchy" (1846), "The Black Prophet" (1847), "The Tithe Proctor" (1849), "The Red Hall" (1852), and "Willy Reilly and his Dear Colleen Bawn" (1855). He died in Dublin January 30, 1869.
While his sketches and novels give a good picture of Irish peasant life, most of them are rather depressing and lack the rollicking humor of Lever and Lover.
REFERENCE: D. J. O'Donoghue, Life of William Carleton.
Dime Library. No. 133