For this post I want to present all I know about the family of my paternal great-grandmother Agnes Jane Anderson who was married to Edward Leviolett Wilson - these were the parents of my grandmother, Nessie Wilson.
The parents of Agnes Jane Anderson were William John Anderson and Agnes Keating. William John Anderson was the son of John Anderson and Jane Wilson Blair.
William Anderson (1804 - 28th January 1892) and Sarah Fay (1804 - 1887) :
John Anderson was the son of William Anderson and Sarah Fay of Kells, Co. Antrim, an area immediately south of Ballymena. William and Sarah Anderson were buried in St. Saviour's Church of Ireland churchyard and I came across their headstone on the History From Headstones website:
'1887 - Erected by Joseph Anderson, Belfast, in affectionate remembrance of his mother, Sarah Fay, born 1804, died 1887. And of his father, William Anderson, born 1804, died 1892. Also five brothers and one sister who died young.'
The children of William Anderson and Sarah Fay were:
- John Anderson, schoolmaster (born circa 1828 to 1835 - 1903)
- Belfast auctioneer Joseph Anderson (born circa 1850, died Bangor 1920)
- Ellen/Eleanor Anderson, born circa 1826, who married John Blair.
- Possibly Alexander Anderson, who witnessed the wedding of Eleanor Anderson and John Blair.
- Possibly Sarah Anderson, who witnessed the wedding of Eleanor Anderson and John Blair, although this may well be Eleanor's mother, Sarah Anderson, née Fay.
St.Saviour's Church is in Connor, the sister village to Kells. The Anderson family were actually Presbyterian but it was common for Presbyterian burials to take place in other churchyards. Also in St. Saviours was the following headstone commemorating James and Grizel Anderson of Gilgad (modern name 'Kilgad') which is found just outside Connor. I've no idea if this couple were related to our Andersons but I'll include them here anyway.
'Here lieth the body of Grizel Anderson, the wife of Jas.Anderson of Gilgad who died 17th Octr. 1818 agd. 58 yrs. Also the above named Jas.Anderson her husband who died 4th Feby. 1835 agd. 80 yrs.'
Update - I scoured the Tithe Applotment Books in the National Library for this area, which were compiled in the 1830's and came across few, if any Andersons. There were none in the townlands of Drummadaragh or Ballybracken where William and John Anderson taught later. The only two I discovered were in Kilgad, Ferniskey. James Anderson, Senior, was leasing 20 acres, as was his son, James Anderson Junior. This cluster of Fays and Andersons in Kells/Connor/Ferniskey south of Ballymena seems to suggest that this was the place of origin of our Anderson family and that the two James Andersons were of the same family.
The following headstone in the same graveyard commemorates Christopher and Sarah Fay who must surely be the parents of Sarah, the wife of William Anderson:
'Erected by C. Fay, in memory of Sarah Fay, his wife, who departed this life 2nd Jany. 1843 aged 72. Also the above named Christopher Fay, late of Ferniskey, who departed this life 21st March 1851 aged 83 yrs.'
A schoolteacher, Christopher Fay was mentioned in the reports of 'The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor' which was also known as the Kildare Place Society. He was noted as being the teacher in the Old Kells School in the 1820s, having 70 pupils and a patron named Rev. H. Henry. In the 1827 report he was noted as the teacher at Apultee school with the same patron and 33 pupils.
The Kildare Place Society was founded in 1811 by a group of philanthropists, mostly Quakers, to provide non-denominational education to the poor of Ireland. Among the trustees were Samuel Bewley, Arthur Guinness and Edward Pennefather. They established three model schools at their headquarters in Kildare Street, Dublin, in 1819 alongside a Teachers Training Institute. Christopher Fay was trained here from 22nd February to 22nd May 1828 following recommendation to the Society on his behalf by his sponsor Rev. H. Henry. In order to be accepted into the Society's training scheme, the candidate had to be aged between 18 and 35.
Although the schools were founded on the ethos of religious inclusion, the Society insisted that the Bible be read to the pupils everyday - this inevitably led to Protestant proselytizing in many of the schools, eventually leading to the loss of support of much of the Catholic population including Daniel O'Connell. Accordingly, in 1831, government funding was diverted to the newly developed National School system, establishing a network of centrally-funded schools.
A recent DNA test through Ancestry.com has linked me genetically to a fellow descendant of the Fays of Kells, Co. Antrim. His research confirms that Christopher Fay of Kells married Sarah Larimon or Larimore in 1797. These seem to be the parents of Sarah Fay who married William Anderson.
The children of the teacher Christopher Fay and of Sarah Larimore were Isabella, Margaret, Jane, Sarah who married William Anderson, James Fay born circa 1811, Esther born circa 1811, Joseph born 25th December 1812, Christopher born circa 1815, and Mary born 1832.
Daughter Esther Fay, who had been born in about 1811, married Charles Hall - in 1921, their elderly daughter, Ellen Hall, in a bid to qualify for the newly-introduced old-age pension, requested a search of the 1851 census, which revealed Esther Fay and Charles Hall as living in Lisnevanagh near Connor and Kells. In 1921, daughter Ellen Hall was living with a Mrs.Ellen McDonald at 80a East Main Street, Armadale, West Lothian, in Scotland.
Christopher Fay Jr. (1815 -1845) married a Mary Ann McKay.
Joseph Fay, the son of Christopher and Sarah Fay of Kells, had been born on 25th December 1812. He married Jane Irwin, and emigrated to the States where he died on 6th January 1897 in Fort Covington, Franklin, New York. A shoemaker, he had enlisted in the 98th New York Company at the time of the Civil War but was discharged because of disability in Philadelphia on 19th December 1862. Joseph's son was Christopher R. Fay who had been born in Antrim on 17th February 1838; he came to Canada with his parents, before they travelled on to New York in about 1852. Although he trained as a shoemaker like his father, he took to daguerrotypes and portrait painting, and settled permanently in Malone, New York, where he died on 25th July 1916. Christopher R. Fay's wife was Emilie A. Evans, the daughter of Nathaniel Evans and Elizabeth Fisk. Christopher and Emilie had two sons - Clifford E. Fay in 1867 and Eugene A. Fay in 1874.
William Anderson, and his son John Anderson, were teachers and worked in a variety of schools south of Kells and Connor. I found reference to them in several records. From an 1851 report on National Schools, I discovered that William Anderson was the principal and sole teacher of Tildarg National School in Ballyeaston Parish. This school joined the National School system on 22nd August 1833, and William Anderson was being paid £16. 13s a year.
At the same time, John Anderson, his son, was the principal and only teacher of Ballybracken National School in the same rural area. The school joined the system on 4th November 1841, and in 1853 John Anderson was being paid an annual salary of £4 11s 8d. In 1850 Ballybracken School had 52 pupils.
(I discovered a third Anderson, Elizabeth Anderson, who was the teacher at Ballyrobbin 2nd National School at this time. Ballyrobbin was a townland close to Antrim town. I have no idea if this Elizabeth Anderson was related to William and his son John Anderson but she would be the correct age to be a daughter of William and Sarah Anderson. She also appears the Census fragments for 1851, lodging in the home of Hugh Sherlock in the same Ballyrobbin townland where she was teaching. Her age in 1851 was 20.)
On 10th July 1856, the daughter of William Anderson and Sarah Fay, Ellen Anderson, married the farmer, John Blair in Drumadarragh - the ceremony was performed in the parish of Kirkinriola, Ballymena. William Anderson, the father of the bride, was noted in 1856 as a farmer rather than as a teacher; John Blair's father was the farmer, Andrew Blair/Blain. Both families were living in Drumadarragh. The witnesses were Sarah Anderson, who may be Eleanor Anderson's mother, and also what seems to be Alexander Anderson (this was faded) who must be a relation of some sort.
In 1862 William Anderson was leasing a house and garden from William Todd in Drumadarragh south of Kells/Connor. The Tithe Applotment Books of the 1830's don't show William Anderson; William Todd was there, however, leasing 26 acres.
William Anderson, retired schoolmaster, died at 46 Limestone Road, Belfast, on 28th January 1892; the informant was his son, the auctioneer Joseph Anderson of 30 Vicinage Park, who organised the headstone for his parents in St. Saviour's Church, Kells.
John Anderson and Jane Wilson Blair:
Six years earlier, his son, John Anderson, married Jane Wilson Blair on 24th October 1856. From the certificate we learn that John, a teacher, was born in 1835, and was living in Drumadarragh, Kilbride, Co. Antrim presumably still at home with his parents. Closeby, as can be seen from Griffiths Valuation, was a school in Ballybracken townland where John Anderson was the principle and only teacher. On the marriage certificate we see that Jane Wilson Blair lived her in Ballybracken. She had been born in 1837 to William Blair, a weaver of Ballybracken, and to his wife Shusoneah Susan Willson. The witnesses to the marriage were J.S. Rainey and Samuel Ferguson.
(The Tithe Books show up Blairs in the 1830s in the Grange of Kilbride - William Blair, 16 acres; Robert Blair, 18 acres. There were also a cluster in the Ballywee townland - Robert Blair, 15 acres; William Blair, 20 and 6 acres (two farms); David Blair, 17 acres.)
It was difficult to find information on John Anderson and Jane Willson Blair following their marriage, other than snippets here and there.
The children of the schoolmaster John Anderson and Jane Willson Blair were as follows:
His son, William John Anderson, was born in 1858 according to the 1901 Census.
In 1901, the widowed John Anderson was living with his daughter and her family in Derry and, from the Census information, we know that his daughter, Sarah, had been born in County Antrim in about 1865.
A daughter, Susan, was born to the couple on March 18th 1865 in the Templepatrick Registration District and was baptised in Ballylinny Presbyterian Church on 18th May 1865 - Ballylinny is in Newtownabbey south of Kells and close to Belfast. This child died of scrofula at the age of seven on 31st July 1872; her father, John, was present when she died at home at 59 Hardinge Street in the centre of Belfast.
A third daughter, Ellen, was born July 2nd 1867 in Belfast - she possibly died in 1875, aged 8 and the death was registered in Belfast. Ellen had been named after her father's sister, Ellen Anderson Blair.
On a government sessions report into Irish schools, I came across a reference to John Anderson, a teacher of Carnmoney No.2 Boys' School in 1865. Carnmoney is in Newtownabbey where his daughter, Susan, had been baptised in 1865.
(Three years later, in 1869, the 'Journal of the Society of the Arts' mentions that a John Anderson of 11 Carnmoney Street had just been appointed as secretary to the Belfast Board of Education but I am unable to work out if this is the same man. The 1870 edition of the Belfast Street Directory lists a John Anderson as living at 11 Carnmoney Street in Belfast which seems to suggest that this Carnmoney Street is in the city of Belfast and not in Carnmoney, Newtownabbey, so there may well be two John Andersons.)
The widowed John Anderson later moved to live with his daughter, Sarah, and her husband ( who was also a schoolteacher ) James Barbour in Aughansillagh, Lislane, Co. Derry. Their two eldest children were the twins, John and Joseph, who had been named after their grandfather and his brother. It is interesting to note the presence of twins here - the daughter of William John Anderson (Sarah's pawnbroker brother in Belfast) was supposedly a twin although her sibling died shortly after being born.
John Anderson died on 8th February 1903 at Aughansillagh, Derry, and the will was proved by his brother, Joseph Anderson, an auctioneer of Belfast. This was the same Joseph Anderson who had erected the headstone to their parents, William Anderson and Sarah Fay, in St. Saviour's Churchyard in Connor in 1892.
Joseph Anderson (1849 - 1920), son of William Anderson and Sarah Fay and brother of John:
Joseph was the younger brother of John Anderson, having been born in 1850 according to the 1901 Census.
He married Ellen Campbell on September 9th 1873 in St. Enoch's Presbyterian Church in Shankill, Belfast. At the time Joseph was a clerk; his father was, of course, the teacher William Anderson. Ellen - called Helen on the certificate - was the daughter of a ship carpenter, John Campbell and his wife Ellen McTeer. The witnesses were Jayne Call and Alex Tougher who was an auctioneer and colleague of Joseph's.
(The McTeer Family of Donaghadee: Ellen Campbell's parents were John Campbell and Ellen McTeer, who married in Belfast on 13th June 1848 - Ellen McTeer's father was Cornelius McTeer, while John Campbell's father was Robert Campbell. Ellen Cambell, née McTeer, was widowed in 1890, when her husband, John Campbell, died - she buried him in Donaghadee Church of Ireland graveyard:
'Erected by Ellen McTeer in memory of her beloved husband, John Campbell, who died April 2nd 1890 aged 70. Also the above Ellen McTeer widow of John Campbell who died 6th September 1906 aged 7...'
Ellen's father and grandfather were buried in the same graveyard in Donaghadee:
'Erected by Robert McTeer in memory of his daughter, Eliza McTeer, who departed this life 16th May 1833 aged 8 years. And also the moral remains of above named Robert McTeer, mariner, who lost his life in Cloughey Bay on the 30th March 1850 aged 49 years. Also his son, James McTeer, who departed this life 13th October 1870 aged 47 years. Also Ellen Nevin, wife of the above named Robert McTeer who departed this life 16th November 1882 aged 81.'
'Erected by Robert McTeer in memory of his father, Robert McTeer, mariner, who departed this life 6th January 1823 aged 45 years. Likewise on the left hand side lieth his son, James, who departed this life June 5th 1819 aged 14 years. In memory of Margaret, wife of Wm. Betconc who died in Hamilton, Ontario, September 24th 1885.'
Later, in 1912, Joseph Anderson would sign the Ulster Covenant in Donaghadee, the home of his wife's family.)
Joseph Anderson and Ellen Campbell got a mention in the Belfast Telegraph of May 10th 1874 when the birth of their son was announced, but not named, at 197 Nelson Street, which was the home of Ellen's parents, John and Ellen Campbell. Ellen Campbell's mother, Ellen McTeer, née Nevin, died at 197 Nelson Street aged 81 on 16th November 1882. ('Belfast Newsletter', 17th November 1882.)
The children of Joseph Anderson and Ellen Campbell were:
William Anderson born 10th May 1874 at 197 Nelson Street.
Ellen McTeer Anderson born 22nd December 1875.
John Campbell Anderson born 1st January 1886 at 20 Bentinck Street.
Joseph Anderson born 4th May 1888 at 23 Bentinck Street.
From 1883 Joseph Anderson's address was Vicinage Park in central Belfast - he appears here on both the 1901 and 1911 Census - and his auctioneer's premises was just south of that in the old market area of Smithfield. The old covered Smithfield market was destroyed by firebomb in 1974 at the height of the Troubles. From the street directories we learn that the business address was 16 Smithfield from 1884. In 1892 he also had a shortlived auctioneers enterprise at 33 - 35 Gresham Street.
Both of Joseph Anderson's sons went into the medical profession. In 1901 the eldest, William, was a medical student and John, aged 15, was a dental apprentice. His daughter, Ellen, was a schoolteacher, like her uncle John Anderson and her grandfather William Anderson before her. Although none of Joseph's own children seem to have followed him into the auctioneering trade, the son of his nephew, William John Anderson, is noted as an auctioneer's assistant and may possibly have been working alongside Joseph Anderson in Smithfield.
I wonder did Joseph Anderson and his nephew, the pawnbroker William John Anderson, collaborate somehow? The link between pawnbrokers and auctioneers was a tight one. Unredeemed pledges at the pawnbrokers had to be publicly auctioned rather than sold over the counter, thus the business of the auctioneer and the pawnbroker went hand in hand. Pawnbrokers were generally the only source of finance available to nineteenth century tradesmen. The laws governing the trade were a subject of constant debate - the opening hours of the pawnbroker were restricted by law to daylight hours, a law which was generally ignored in order to provide a usable service for the urban poor of the city. The police generally turned a blind eye to the flouting of the opening hours, recognising as they did the vital role of the pawnbroker in the poorer areas of the city.
On the 15th August 1885, Joseph Anderson, auctioneer, was mentioned during a debate on the subject at Westminster:
' Mr. Sexton (for Mr. O'Kelly): asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Is it a fact that William Hunter of Smithfield, Belfast, carries on the business of auctioneer and appraiser at the above address, he being a person appointed to office of appraiser over the pawnbrokers of County Antrim by the Grand Jury, and, in contravention of the Act, carries on the pawn broking business at North Queen Street and Shankill Road, also the business of moneylender and bill discounter; is it a fact that Joseph Anderson, being appointed as above, manages a pawn office, and carries on the business of auctioneer in Smithfield, Belfast, the owner of said pawn office residing in Gilford, County Down; is it true that those men do not conduct their business as directed by the Act.
The Chief Secretary (Sir William Hart Dyke): I am informed that the statements are substantially accurate; but I am not aware that the persons mentioned do not conduct their business as directed by the Act.'
Joseph Anderson seems to have been a business associate of the Tougher family. Alex Tougher was a witness at his wedding to Ellen Campbell; also Joseph Anderson and William Tougher, auctioneers of Smithfield, proved the will of a Sarah Ann Stewart (no relation) in Belfast in 1894. On the 1901 Census, this William Tougher gives his profession as a pawnbroker.
On 4th April 1888, a dinner was held, on behalf of Joseph Anderson, at which his fellow auctioneers/pawnbrokers, John Scott, John Bennett and Andrew Lavery expressed confidence in him following difficulties in his business.
Joseph Anderson proved the wills of his brother-in-law, John Blair, and of his niece, Jane Blair. John Blair, the son of Andrew Blair, married Joseph Anderson's sister, Ellen Anderson, (the daughter of William Anderson and Sarah Fay) on 10th July 1856 in Kirkinriola, Antrim. Ellen Anderson was, therefore, the sister of John Anderson and Joseph Anderson.
John Blair, Joseph Anderson's brother-in-law, died at 1 Newington Avenue, Belfast in 1901. He was a retired gardener and had earlier, in 1897, proved the will of his own brother Andrew Blair of Drumadarragh, Antrim. John Blair died shortly after the 1901 Census so he filled out a return: he was living at Newington Avenue with his wife, Ellen, and two daughters, Sarah Ellen, and Jane Blair, a teacher who died shortly afterwards in 1907. Jane Blair's will was also proved by her uncle, Joseph Anderson, auctioneer.
William Anderson, the son of Joseph and Ellen Anderson, appeared in the UK Medical Registers up until 1919, when his entry appeared but was crossed out in pencil. The 1915 Register gave his address as Hartley Road, Nottingham; he had been registered with the medical board on July 31st 1902. William had received his qualifications as a surgeon in 1902 from Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities.
He appeared on the 1911 census with his wife Rachel at 53 Hartley Road. She had been born in Augherlough, Monaghan, in about 1883. They had two sons, William, who'd been born in 1905 in Belfast, and Joseph, born in Nottingham in late 1910.
Ellen McTeer Anderson, daughter of Joseph and Ellen Anderson, married, in Fortwilliam Church on 26th April 1904, a commercial clerk, Andrew Anderson. This was the man who would later prove the will of Ellen's father, Joseph Anderson. Andrew had been born in Co. Down on 27th January 1871 to the Scottish-born Thomas Anderson and Ellen Cockburne. I doubt a family link between the two Anderson families here - Thomas Anderson may have been born to Irish parents in Scotland, and then returned home to Co. Down, or he may be truly Scottish. An insurance clerk, he settled in the Banbridge area, where the family had eight children, of whom only two survived - Andrew and Marion. The wedding of Ellen McTeer Anderson and Andrew Anderson was witnessed by Robert Maxwell Carson and the bride's first cousin Sara Ellen Blair, who was the daughter of Ellen Anderson and John Blair.
On 9th February 1905, Andrew Anderson and Ellen McTeer Anderson had a son, John Campbell Anderson, named after Ellen's brother; this child didn't survive and died of diabetic coma, aged only 3, on 22nd April 1908 at 137 Alexandra Park Avenue. He was buried in Carnmoney Cemetery in North Belfast; his grandparents were buried later alongside him - Thomas Anderson died, aged 78, on 15th April 1916 at 11 Manor Street, and Helen Anderson died at Manor Street, aged 81, on 19th April 1921. At the time of his father's death in 1916, son Andrew Anderson was living at 15 Park Avenue in Bangor.
On 19th October 1907 in Ballysillan Church, Shankhill, Belfast, John Campbell Anderson, son of Joseph Anderson and Ellen Campbell, married Elizabeth Smyth, daughter of Inspector Robert Smyth; the wedding was witnessed by Matthew Parker and Marion Stevenson. Matthew Parker was a relation of Elizabeth Smith.
In 1911, John and Elizabeth Anderson were living at 25 Grosvenor Road, Belfast; he was a master artificial teeth maker. John Campbell Anderson died on 1st June 1923 at 116 Grosvenor Road.
His father, Joseph Anderson, auctioneer of Smithfield, died aged 71 at 30 Ward Avenue, Bangor, on 17th November 1920, and his will was proved by his widow, Ellen Campbell Anderson, and by his son-in-law, the secretary, Andrew Anderson.
Joseph's brother's son was William John Anderson, whose daughter, Agnes Jane Anderson, married Edward Leviolette Wilson in Belfast in 1901 - Edward Leviolette Wilson and Agnes Jane Anderson were the parents of our paternal grandmother, Nessie Wilson.