Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ardstraw and the Scot Settlement



Some history of the Parish of Ardstraw will give a better feel for the area where 'Loves' and 'Killens' lived. It is a parish of about 10 miles by 15 miles comprising about 32,000 acres. Some of this area is composed of bogs and mountains and is unsuitable for farming. The residing Earl of Abercorn was very fair in this regard and the tenants were not charged rent on the land that was not arable. The arable land along the rivers is very fertile.

Harry Avery's Castle
Ardstraw Parish has records of habitation back in the 9th century when there was a Monastery in the area. In 1397 the Lord Archbishop stayed at Ardstraw Village on a Visitation. Ardstraw was part of the area of land controlled by the O'Neill clan. In 1999 there are still ruins of Harry Avery's Castle at Newtownstewart. His actual name was Henry Aimbreidh O'Neill and he died in 1392.

In the 16th century the population of the whole of Ireland wasn't more than 500,000 people. In the Ardstraw area there were practically no roads. However, there was a bridge at Ardstraw Village in 1564, indicating it was a place of some importance. The Ardstraw Bridge was where the chiefs of the O'Neill and O'Donnell clans signed a peace treaty in 1564.

The bridge at Castlederg was not built until 1609 and the ones at Lifford and Derry were not even there in 1690. The rivers were crossed by fords or, in the case of the larger rivers, were crossed by ferry. The land was completely rural and even Strabane was only a tiny village of about 30 families.

Armstraw Bridge over the River Derg
In those days, life was centered on thefamily and survival. There was not a national concept of Ireland as a united country. The history was one of individual Irish Chiefs fighting each other for control of land and cattle. By the late 16th century Ardstraw was inhabited mostly by Irish of the O'Neill Clan. 

Turlough Looney O'Neill was Chief of the Clan from 1567 to 1595 and made his headquarters at the village of Newtown which later became known as Newtownstewart. His wife was Lady Agnes Campbell, daughter of Archibald Campbell, 4th Earl of Argyle in Scotland. At one time O'Neill employed as many as 3,000 Scottish mercenaries, mostly highlanders from the Islands.

Culture and religion in the 16th century in all of Ireland and certainly in Ardstraw was at an extremely low level compared to England and Europe. The Church which had been continuous since St. Patrick's time was undergoing a transition. The Reform movement of the mid 1500s, with it's adherence to the Book of Common Prayer, was throwing religion into turmoil. Just as in England the swings from Catholicism to Protestantism and back created utter confusion. The clergy were not properly trained and in Ireland it was worse because many of the clergy could not speak Irish.

Arrival of Scots in County Tyrone

The Plantation of Ulster (Irish: Plandáil Uladh) was the organized colonization (plantation) of Ulster by people from Great Britain. Plantation by King James I of England began in 1609. All land owned by defeated Irish chieftains of the O'Néill and O'Domhnaill (along with those of their supporters) was confiscated and used to settle the colonists. This land comprised an estimated half a million acres.

James Hamilton
King James I asked for applicants for land grants in Ireland who would be called undertakers. James Hamilton, who was the first Earl of Abercorn, was granted 3,000 acres on the east side of the River Foyle and extending down the west side of the Mourne River. The river valleys are extremely fertile. He started to build a castle and bawn at Strabane which was part of the agreement. A castle was really a building that could be defended and a bawn was an enclosure around the castle which could contain the animals in case of attack. These castles weren't what we envision as a castle. They were about three storeys high and built of stone.

Part of the agreement was that all native Irish had to be expelled. These native Irish had leased the land from the Earl of Tyrone who had fled the country. They could not be hired or they could not intermarry. This was modified later and Hamilton could lease land to Irish as long as they were dispersed and did not form a large group to be a threat to the Scottish settlers. Some intermarrying occurred even though it was illegal.

The King had several surveys made to assess the progress of the endeavor. By 1613 they reported 220 families living in County Tyrone which represented 770 adults. Of these 220 families, 170 of them were on the settlements of either James Hamilton or his brother George Hamilton. The survey at this time did not show any Loves.

The years between 1613 and 1619 were the height of the planting of Scot settlers in County Tyrone. Between 1611 and 1614 only 15 Scots were granted Denization (citizenship). But between 1615 and 1616, 336 were granted Denization. The peak year was 1617 when 170 were granted Denization. The first Love settler, a William Love, settled in County Tyrone at this time.
The diligent research of Mr. Linton E. Love is the source for much of the foregoing description of life in Ardstraw and the Scot settlement.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ancestral Irish Origins

Map of the island of Ireland showing the traditional counties
According to family stories, Anna Love’s ancestors came from County Tyrone in Ulster, Northern Ireland. In addition, my father remembered that Ann 'Nancy' Graham Killen (Anna's maternal grandmother), lived in Londonderry adjacent to Tyrone prior to emigrating to America.

Confirming such family memory is more difficult in Ireland than other parts of the British Isles. The difficulty is due to the destruction of Irish records prior to the 20th century, including virtually all census records. Census returns 1821–51 were almost entirely lost in 1922 in the destruction of the Public Record Office in Dublin during fighting in the Irish Civil War. Census returns 1861–91 were completely destroyed by government order, many during the First World War as scrap paper.

Whatever the reasons, the result is significant difficulty in tracing family roots in Ireland prior to the surviving 1901 Census. The 19th Century being our time of interest - Anna's Irish relatives having left for America prior to 1900 - we are faced with a most difficult task.

Nevertheless, some records in churches and other sources did survive to the present era. Over time more of these are coming to light and finding their way onto the internet where they have been indexed and made available to researchers. Primary sources for northern Ireland are PRONI and the all Ireland Irish Family History Foundation.




Surviving marriage and lease records show the 'Loves' inhabited and farmed land in the Parish of Ardstraw on the northwestern boundary of County Tyrone (See maps below) since the 17th Century. The earliest surviving records of Anna's ancestors in Ireland are of leaseholds held by members of the Love family from the Earl of Abercorn. Virtually all the Irish lands granted to the Earl of Abercorn were in County Tyrone.

There are a number of lease records involving the Love family, so the family chart is presented to clarify the persons involved. The earliest extant record relating to a direct ancestor is the leasehold (Map #1 below) from James Hamilton, 8th Earl of Abercorn to William Love (ca1728>1806) in Listymore in 1771 for 186 acres. This is a huge area for those times but it turns out most of this was on a mountain and therefore not arable. So he only paid annual rent of £16.17.8. In 1777 he was still renting the same land.

The next leasehold (Map #2 below) is for more than 100 acres of land leased in 1860 to the Love brothers of William, James and Thomas. Interestingly, there is a 'Graham Town' shown across the road from the leaseholds in the latter map.

All these leases are in the Listymore Townland. Note the location of Listymore on the Ardstraw Parish Towns map above. (These Love leases were brought to my attention by Linton Love.)

Griffith’s Valuation from 1853 to 1865 provides detailed information about land tenure, names of lessors and occupiers, their land and buildings. It is the only island wide census/survey of Ireland that survives from the 19th Century. An excellent free source regarding these records is the Ask About Ireland website. The valuation in County Tyrone was completed in July 1860.

The brothers William, James and Thomas are listed in the survey, as well as William's son Samuel. Properties listed include the brothers' leaseholds in Listymore discussed previously. Thomas also has listed property in Magheracreggan. James has property in Ballyfolliard and Tievenny townships. Samuel has property in Ballyfolliard (26 acres) and Crew Upper (45 acres) townships. All of these other townlands of Ardstraw either adjoin or are close by to Listymore, as shown in the 'Towns of Ardstraw Parish' map above.

The closest Presbyterian Church to the townlands where our Loves first settled in the 1700s would have been at Ardstraw Village, four to five miles away. This was the oldest Presbyterian Church in the neighbourhood. In this church on January 10, 1844, Samuel Love (1821~1900) married Mary McClintock per the surviving marriage record to the right. Mary's father was Thomas McClintock. There is no record of him leasing land in County Tyrone during the Griffith survey 16 years later.




Land records show the Killen family was farming in Ardstraw Parish in the 19th Century. According to the Griffith Valuation published in 1858, Robert Killen was leasing land in Kilstrule Townland from the Marquis of Abercorn.

Robert and Ann 'Nancy' Killen had six children, all but one being girls. I could find no birth record for the girls, but lucked out with the boy John. So far as I know, he was the youngest child and the Ardstraw Church baptism record shows him born on July 27, 1859. His parents are listed as Robert Killen and Nancy Graham and their address as Kilstroll (an alternative spelling of Kilstrule) in Ardstraw Parish, County Tyrone.

Robert Killen died October 17, 1862 when his children were still minors ranging from 3 to 14 years of age. Eliza Jane Killen (Anna's mother ) being the oldest. The estate (under £450) was granted in 1872 (10 years after his death, and we thought our courts were slow) to Anne Killen in Londonderry. (In Ireland Nancy can be used as a nickname for Anne/Ann or Agnes, or as its own name.).

Ardstraw Village Church today with the River Derg in the foreground. The present church building was rebuilt in the latter part of the 19th Century.

We know Nancy/Anne never remarried. A widow mother with six minor children was unlikely to operate a 21 acre farm. We know she retained the Kilstrule land many years after Robert's death. The book, Irish Landowners in 1876 shows a Mrs. Robert Killen holding 21 acres in Kilstrule Townland, Ardstrawbridge, Newtownstewart worth £14 & 10 shillings.

My guess is she sublet the land to another farmer, giving her a steady income, and took employment as a dressmaker or other work available to women at that time. Based on family stories, she may have moved to Londonderry to live. We know she left Ireland in 1874, so she probably ended her lease on the land before she left and the 1876 book failed to record the change in tenancy.




In the Ardstraw Presbyterian Church, on January 20, 1842, Sarah Love, daughter of William Love (1785~1860) married an Isaac Graham. This is one of the few definite records of Anna's Graham ancestors that has survived.

Based on this marriage record we know Isaac's father was named James. The Griffith Valuation for County Tyrone in 1860 shows a James Graham leasing property in Town Parks of Strabane, Camus Parish. Camus Parish adjoined Listymore Townland in the parish of Ardstraw. (See County Tyrone Parishes map above.)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Anna Love Graham

Anna Love Graham circa 1895 at the age of 19
Anna was my paternal grandmother. She was born in 1876 on a farm in Townsend, Schuyler County, New York. The County Seat being the town of Watkins Glen. The county is located at the southern end of Seneca lake in New York's Finger Lakes Region. Three boys were also born to her parents, but the oldest and youngest did not survive infancy. She was the oldest of the two survivers. Her surviving brother was named Samuel Wesley Love. Anna was named after her father's first wife who had died.

Anna’s heritage was Irish on both sides. Her father William was a ‘Love’ and ‘McClintock’, whose parents were married in 1844 in the Ardstraw Presbyterian Church in County Tyrone, Ireland. Her mother Eliza was a ‘Killen’ and a ‘Graham’, also from County Tyrone. To reinforce the tight Irish connections, following the death of Anna’s father, her mother Eliza married a ‘Graham’ who was the cousin of her first husband as well as her own cousin.

She attended the one room school in Sugar Hill through 8th grade. She was sent to school in Philadelphia in 1892 for a year after her mother’s second marriage. She went to Starkey Seminary for High School where she graduated in 1897. After Starkey she attended Cook Academy, Montour Falls, New York for teacher’s training for 2 years.

Watkins Express, Oct 23, 1918
She taught country school in Schuyler County until she married Hiram Graham (no relation to her mother's family so far as we know) in 1903. During his life, Hiram was a coal and vegetable dealer, New York State Assemblyman for a term, and a land agent for the New York Central Railroad. Anna and Hiram bought a house and settled in the Schuyler County village of Beaver Dams. They had four children, three girls and a boy.

The boy, Joseph, was named after Anna's stepfather and would become my father. The three girls were Mary, Hebe and Irene. Mary was named after Hiram's widowed mother. Hebe was named after Anna's cousin and best friend, Hebe Love. Irene was born when Anna was 45. Anna decided when she arrived that she was going to give her a name she had always loved.

Anna never went to the hospital to have babies, they were all delivered at home by the only doctor in the village or by a midwife.

Washing the car (Circa 1915, one of the first Model Ts in Beaver Dams) in the front yard - Anna sitting on porch steps, mother Eliza standing on porch, Hiram standing with hose behind car with son Joseph next to him & daughter Hebe by the rear wheel
As reported by her youngest daughter, Irene; Anna was a beautiful woman with long black hair which she wore in a bun. Stood about 5’6”. Dad admired her good looking legs. She hated housework. She was never happy living in the house in the small village of Beaver Dams, NY. She dreamed of living elsewhere. The days in Albany, NY around 1918-1919, when her husband Hiram was a member of the New York State Assembly, were the happiest of her life. She was a very social woman in Beaver Dams with friends dropping in daily. She was kind, gentle and very direct. She said exactly what she thought.

Mother's dreams enriched her life while she made the best adjustment she could to living in Beaver Dams. She was active in church and the 'Ladies Aid'. There was no library in the village, but she and some other ladies formed a book club. They would take turns buying books and passing them around. She did take some magazines. She liked those that had articles about flowers and 'fancy work'. She gardened in the summer and loved crocheting and embroidering in the winter. At the County Fair she always entered some of her work.

Anna remained a resident of Beaver Dams almost to the end of her life. She died at the age of 79 in 1955 at the home of her oldest daughter in Cazenovia, New York, a town on the south end of Cazenovia Lake on the eastern edge of the Finger Lakes Region. Beside her four children, Anna had 13 grand children.


Parental relationship

The family relationship of Anna's parents serves to illustrate the restricted social climate of rural western New York State - an area that had been the frontier only 50 years before Anna's birth - and the significance of homeland connections for marriage decisions among the first generation of Irish immigrants. Young people met future marriage partners primarily through church and family connections. For Anna's parents the latter would prove crucial. The chart below illustrates those connections.

Anna's father, William Love, had a farm in Schuyler county, New York. In 1872, he lost his first wife, Anna Caldwell, to unknown causes when she was 26. They had a son who did not survive infancy. After her death, he traveled to Philadelphia where lived the sisters of his Uncle Isaac Graham, also a farmer in Schuyler County. These sisters had all immigrated to Philadelphia from Ireland in the 1840s. One sister, Nancy Graham Killen, still remained in Ireland. Her oldest daughter, Eliza Killen, had immigrated in 1865 from Ireland. William met and married Eliza in Philadelphia and brought her back to the farm within a year of Anna Caldwell's death.

William Love died of spinal meningitis in 1885. Seven years later Eliza Killen Love married Joseph Graham, a farmer in Schuyler County and a cousin both of her and her late husband William Love.