People on board
William Maxwell was born in 1872 in the townland of Slee, outside Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh on the island of Inishmore in Lough Erne. He was the fifth of seven children born to Michael Maxwell, a ‘Herd’ or ‘Farmer’, and Catherine McManus. William’s younger brother Michael was listed in the 1901 census as ‘Rural Postman’, a position he held for fifty-four years until his retirement in 1949. William went to Glasgow for some years, but he had returned by 1898 when he married Mary O’Toole in Fairview in Dublin. His occupation on the marriage certificate was given as ‘Postman’ but just a few years later in the 1901 census he was listed as ‘Post Office Sorter and Telegraphist’. At that time he was living in Portland Place, Dorset St. and he and Mary had two children.
By 1911 there were eight children and the family were living in Jones’s Road, beside Croke Park. Two, or possibly three, more children were born in the next few years, while William continued working in the Post Office. When the last two children were born the family was living at ‘Devenish’, 132 Connaught Road in Phibsborough. William’s mother died in 1906 but his father lived until 1921, dying aged ninety-five.
His brother Michael also lived until he was eighty-eight, so a potentially long life was cut short when William was drowned while sorting the mail on the RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918. He had twenty-one years’ service with the Post Office. His body was not recovered, but his name is on the memorial to the Post Office workers in both Dun Laoghaire Post Office and the G.P.O. in Dublin.