Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A tenancy for Samuel

There is one more name which appears in the 1862 Griffith's Valuation in Connor Parish. Like Francis he is in the townland of Ballymuckvea and he is Samuel McIlhaggert. His landlord was a representative of Samuel Densmore. The plot he was living on is in the Ballymena Union, Kells Electoral Division and is listed in Book A of the Continuation Volumes as number 17c. This number probably indicates that it is one of a row of cottages. The plot is very small, Acres 0, Roods 0, Perches 12, defined as a house and garden, for which Samuel paid 5/- for the land and 15/- for the house, a total of £1 per annum. However Samuel's name was deleted in 1864, so he had it for only two years from the time of the original valuation.

Who was this Samuel? Of all the Samuels I have on record there are I think two possibilities, though one first thought both rather remote. One is a man born within the Connor Parish family. The other is a man who would have moved in from Carnmoney. For reasons I will explain, I favour the 'incomer'. The 'local' boy isn't actually in Connor or indeed in Ireland. His grandparents were Henry McIlhaggo and Mary McDowell and his father was William Gage McIlhaggo. However William migrated to Rutherglen in Scotland where Samuel was born in 1844/5. We know this family were there in 1861 when Samuel is in the Census for Rutherglen, aged 16. The question is, would this teenager have 'moved back' to the parish of Connor within a year and have become a tenant of a cottage in Ballymuckvea? Admittedly his grandparents may still have been in the parish, so it is possible but I think unlikely. It looks as if by the age of 19 or 20 he was married to Jane Easton and living in Rutherglen where the following year, on 2 Jan 1865 they had their first child, also Samuel. It seems to me that he had been in Rutherglen all along.

The second possibility is that Samuel born into the Carnmoney family on 30 July 1842, about whom, at the present, we know very little, except that he was baptised in Carnmoney on 27 November 1842, is a candidate. He was the son of Nathan McIlhaggar and Ellen Wilson. In our records the surname of this family is spelled as McIlhaggar and McIlhaggart and this accords with the Griffith's Valuation spelling of McIlhaggert. This may seem a slender basis for preferring Samuel of Carnmoney over Samuel of Rutherglen, but the fact that he stayed only two years I think supports my preference, as does the fact that he would have been a bit older than the so-called 'local lad'. He would have been 20 to 22 while he lived in Ballymuckvea, at least a year older than Samuel from Rutherglen.

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