Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Story of Wills

A last will can sometimes be the only available source for what life was really like in the past life of a family at a certain time and place. The wills associated with the Pollock family are excellent examples of such revelation.

Descendants of Sarah Graham Pollock

Sarah Jane Graham was born in 1840 when her mother was about age 50. She was the youngest of the Graham sisters. Sarah married Andrew Pollock in 1858, when she was 18 years old. They had four children, 3 sons and a daughter. Their names and birth dates were as follows: William (1859), James Graham (1860), Andrew John (1868) and Bessie (1870).

The Wills


Sarah died in Londonderry, Ireland on Novermber 17, 1894 when she was 54 years old. She wrote her will in February of that same year, and had it witnessed by Margaret and Robert Hamilton her sister and brother-in-law. The will left all her meager assets (£20) to her daughter Bessie who was 24 years old at the time of her mother's death.

Will of Sarah Graham Pollock

Sarah's husband Andrew Pollock died at age 67 on July 4, 1898 in Castlederg near the farm he worked in Ballyfolliard Townland. Probably this is the Graham's Town location mentioned in his sister-in-law Ellen Graham's will.

In Andrew's will he left to his three surviving children (William had died in 1882) the following: James Graham (one shilling [a shilling was worth 1/20th of a pound]), Andrew John (one shilling), Bessie (one hundred pounds sterling, his watch and gold chain, and all his furniture, household goods and effects). The remainder of his estate, including the proceeds from sale of the farm, he left to his brother John James Pollock. His brother and another man were appointed to sell the farm, its implements and machinery with son Andrew John given first chance of buying "same at such valuation as may."

Will of Andrew Pollock

Andrew John Pollock and Siblings

Location of Castlederg and the former Graham's Town
Both James Graham Pollock and Bessie Pollock lived in Londonderry for the rest of their short lives, dying respectively at age 42 in 1902 and age 31 in 1901.  Both appeared to have died childless. The family future lay with any possible children of Andrew John Pollock whose death was not found in the public record.

An Andrew John Pollock, born in 1868,  is found in the 1901 and 1911 Irish Censuses to be living in the Artigarvan Townland in Leckpatrick Parish. Leckpatrick Parish adjoins Ardstraw Parish where the Ballyfolliard Townland, Graham's Town and the former family farm were located.

Artigarvan is about 14 miles from Castlederg where Andrew John Pollock was born and his father died. The former location of Graham's Town is between the two places, about 3 miles from Castlederg. Given the same name, year of birth and location of residence it is pretty definite that this man is our Andrew John Pollock.

Children of Andrew John Pollock

Robert Pollock - 1918
The 1901 and 1911 Irish Censuses indicate that Andrew John was married to Minnie Barnhill. They were parents of 11 children born between 1896 and 1910.  After the 1911 Census, no record or other evidence can be found regarding any of member of the family, with one exception. That exception is the oldest child Robert, born in 1896. He died in French Flanders from the effect of wounds suffered in battle during World War 1.

Thus ends the Pollock story until new information becomes available.

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