Thursday, 16 August 2012

Two more John tenants

In the 1835 Tithe Applotment Book for Connor there is one John McIlhaggo. In fact he is the only John in all the Applotment Books for the county of Antrim. By the time the Griffith's Valuation was recorded in Connor in 1862, a generation later, in addition to a John in Ballycloghan and a John in Killygore, there were certainly two and possibly three John's in Connor. In addition to 'John W.' about whom I wrote last time, there was John McElhagga in map reference 26 and John McElhagga in map reference 27 and finally John McElhaggan in map reference 47a. He is referred to as John, Senior, the implication being that there were two Johns of different generations, one occupying plot 47a and the other (Junior, though not called that) having the adjacent plots of 26 and 27.

The first Valuation Continuation book for Connor clearly has John (Junior) continuing on his land rented from Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, of a total area of A27, R0, P10 for which he was paying an annual rent of £8.10.0 plus £1.10.0 for buildings, a total of £10. However in May 1864 John McElhagga (Senior)'s name is crossed out from Map 47a (a slightly smaller site of A14, R2, P20, rent total £8.15.0) and the name of William Christie inserted. Interestingly William Christie had married John (Senior)'s daughter Mary in Connor Presbyterian Church in 1859. The assumption we must make is that shortly before May 1864 John (Senior) died. The fact that the land was 'inherited' by a son-in-law rather than a son indicates that John and his wife had only female offspring, which I believe to be the case.

Until seeing the Continuation Books it had been tempting to think that John Junior was either a son of John Senior or was the John W. who was the son of John Senior's sibling William. However, the positive identification of John W(ilson) as the son of William clearly changes the picture. It looks to me now that John (Junior) was probably the son of John (Senior)'s sibling Henry. This is a very satisfying conclusion as up to this point I have had no information about where this John and his wife Mary Houston farmed in Maxwells Walls.

We can further note from the later Valuation Continuation Books that John McElhagga (Junior) continued with tenancies on plots 26 and 27 until 1882 when his name is crossed out and that of William Owens inserted. Clearly the McIlhaggas and the Owens who intermarried continued to be closely related as farmers in the Maxwell's Walls townland of Connor parish. There is a most interesting addendum to this transfer of the tenancy. A correspondent in Sydney, Australia posted information on this blog on 11 Dec 2010 to say that she had downloaded a Will fro PRONI for Patrick Owens who died on 28 May 1886. In addition to reference to his farm at Castlegore, Patrick also included the following, "I also leave and bequeath all my farm in Maxwellswalls known as John McIlhaggo's farm to my son John Owens...". Presumably the tenancy taken up by William Owens in 1882 had passed into the hands of Patrick Owens before 1886.

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