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Thursday, 11 August 2011

William John Anderson and Agnes Keating



This is my great-grandmother, Agnes Jane Wilson,on the beach at Ballywalter with my father, Paul Cuthbert Stewart, circa 1936.  She was born Agnes Jane Anderson in 1881 in East Belfast to William John Anderson and Agnes Keating.

William John Anderson had been born in Kells, Co. Antrim - just south of Ballymena - on 28th March 1858 to a teacher, John Anderson, and to Jane Wilson Blair. 


At some stage before his marriage to Agnes Keating, William John Anderson moved south to work as a pawnbroker in Belfast city, probably aided by his paternal uncle, Joseph Anderson, who worked as an auctioneer in Smithfield in the city centre.

William John Anderson and Agnes Keating married in Berry Street Presbyterian Church, Shankill, on 17th October 1877.  William John gave his profession as a pawnbroker. The witnesses were Alexander Reid and James Rainey. Agnes Keating's father was mentioned as Samuel Keating a cardriver.  She gave her address as the time of the marriage as Dunadry which is close to Templepatrick in Co. Antrim, this despite the fact that her family came from the Donaghadee area of County Down. She may possibly have been living with William John's family who had their origins in the area.  Or perhaps someone misheard 'Donaghadee' and transcribed in incorrectly as 'Dunadry' - both are phonetically similar.



You can trace William John Anderson through the street directories. Between 1884 and 1897, he ran two pawnbroking establishments, one at 69 Templemore Avenue and the other around the corner at 93 Castlereagh Street. 

In February 1892, William John Anderson was assaulted with a clock by a man named Thomas Houston when Houston was asked to leave the panwbroker's office on the Newtownards Road.
In 1897, during the Belfast Municipal Elections, William John Anderson of 93 Castlereagh Street, stood as assentor to the candidate Robert John Dawson of Cherryville, My Lady's Road, a building contractor.

By 1900, he has branched out into the bicycle trade at 134 Albertbridge Road while still running a pawnbrokers closeby at 215 Templemore Avenue. 
He later opened the first cinema to operate in the area and also ran several shoe shops.  The cinema was named The Princess Picture Palace on the Newtownards Road and seated 1,200 people - it opened on 16th September 1910, and closed down on 31st December 1926.

When William John Anderson signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912, the family home was at 418 Woodstock Road;  in 1911 they had been living at 360 Woodstock Road, while in 1901 they were at Number 410.  

William John Anderson


The children of William John Anderson and Agnes Keating were as follows:

Samuel Anderson, born 23rd September 1878 at 195 Woodstock Road. Samuel later married Marion Russell and died 13th May 1960.  He appeared on both the 1901 and 1911 as a pawnbroker, most likely working in one of his father's establishments,  but later managed one of his father's shoeshops.

Samuel Anderson signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912 and gave his address as 160 Madrid Street.

Samuel's wife, Marion Russell, was born on 21st June 1873 to the butcher, Matthew Russell, and his wife, Jessie Young, in Belfast.  Matthew and Jessie had been born in Ayrshire, Scotland, and married at Tradeston, Glasgow, on September 11th 1868, before moving to Belfast.  They lived off the Woodstock Road at 43 Castlerea Place.
Marion Anderson, née Russell, died on 23rd May 1917 at 160 Madrid Street.

Present on the 1911 Census were the two young sons of Samuel and Marion Anderson - William John Anderson who had been born on 11th June 1908 at 6 Lomond Avenue, and Matthew Aird Anderson who had been born on 18th March 1910 at 160 Madrid Street. 

Matthew Aird Anderson died at 10 Greenburn Park, Lambeg, Lisburn, aged 77 on 12th November 1987 and was buried in Plot E4-796 in Dundonald Cemetery.  Also there was May Anderson, aged 78, who died at the same address on 21st February 1994.  This was presumably the wife of Matthew Aird Anderson. Also buried in this same plot was a William J. Donald of 1 Queenside, Carryduff, who died aged 87 on 16th December 1970.

Agnes Jane Anderson, our great-grandmother, born at 56 Templemore Avenue on 25th March 1881.  She married our great-grandfather Edward Leviolett Wilson.

Agnes Jane had a twin, William John Anderson, also born on 25th March 1881.  A John Anderson died, aged 6, at the family home of 69 Templemore Avenue on 23rd April 1887.

Elizabeth Veronica (Lily) Anderson, who was born on 5th October 1884 at 69 Templemore Avenue;  present at the birth, according to her civil birth registration, was Elizabeth Jamieson of Wallace Street, Newtownards, who was a possible relation of Lily's mother, Agnes Keating, the daughter of Samuel Keating and Elizabeth Jamieson of Ballyhay, Donaghadee.  

Lily Anderson was a piano teacher who later lived at Gibson Park Avenue in Belfast.  Lily Wilson died aged 83 on 27th February 1968 at 13 Gibson Park Gardens and was buried in the family plot (C2-136) in the City Cemetery.

Kathleen Coey Anderson was born on 24th July 1887 at 69 Templemore Avenue, but she died aged only 1 year and 8 months at 69 Templemore Avenue on 5th March 1889.

William Mitchell Anderson was born at 69 Templemore Avenue on 28th July 1889, although his grave has his date of birth as 1884.  Relation Elizabeth Jameson, who now lived at 69 Templemore Avenue, was present at this birth too. William Mitchell Anderson later managed Andersons Picture House on the Newtownards Road which had been opened earlier by his father William John Anderson. He died aged 70 on 23rd June 1954 at 13 Gibson Park Gardens.

Ernest James Anderson was born on 3rd October 1897at 215 Templemore Avenue; his birth was registered under the name of James Ernest Anderson, but he was always known as Ernest. He died on 11th August 1968.  
He later emigrated to Canada, and met his Edinburgh-born wife, Mamie, on the boat going over. Ernest Anderson appeared on the 1931 passenger list of the 'Letitia' which was sailing from Belfast to Québec.  The list stated that Ernest had previously lived in Canada, from 20th October 1928 until 14th August 1931, at 1505 Makay Street, Montreal.  He was a stock-keeper, and his next-of-kin in Ireland was his sister, Elizabeth Anderson of 13 Gibson Park, Belfast. 

The family photo below shows Lily Anderson, the piano teacher, dressed in black to the right of the group. Her older sister, Agnes Jane Wilson (nee Anderson), is shown in the middle.  They are visiting our grandmother, Agnes Keating Wilson (aka Nessie), shortly after her marriage to our grandfather, Bertie Stewart, at their first home in Killyvolgan, Ballywalter, Co. Down.  Nessie is without a hat. Her sister, Kay, has her arm around her aunt Lily. The man to the far left is William Mitchell Anderson, the brother of Agnes Jane Anderson and Lily Anderson. Neither William nor his sister, Lily, ever married and the two shared a house together at 13 Gibson Park Gardens in Belfast. They also had a holiday home in Ballywalter, Co. Down.


William John Anderson seems to have been an enterprising and generous individual who employed many of his and his wife's relations in his various businesses.
William John and Agnes Keating Anderson witnessed the marriage of her brother, Samuel Keating, to Sarah Agnew of Bangor in 1885. By 1901, Sarah was widowed and living with her five children in Jocelyn Street close to the Woodstock Road where William John Anderson and Agnes Keating were living.  As can be seen from the Census, two of Sarah's adolescent children - William aged 16 and Samuel aged 14 - were working in the pawnbroking trade.
Agnes Keating's sister, Margaret Jane Keating, married Robert McWilliams in Westbourne Presbyterian Church in 1887.  By the time of the 1901 Census they were living on My Lady's Road off the Woodstock Road - Robert McWilliams was working there as a pawnbroker's assistant and one of their eight children has been named William John Anderson McWilliams.
On the same street - My Lady's Road - lived two of Agnes Keating's paternal aunts, Margaret McCully and her unmarried sister Agnes.  Margaret McCully's husband, George Cully, was a shoemaker and I wonder did he supply shoes to William John Anderson's shoeshops at some stage?

William John Anderson died at 13 Gibson Park Gardens, the home of his children, Lily and William Mitchell Anderson. Aged 70, he died on 15th October 1928.  
His wife, Agnes Anderson, née Keating, died aged 53 at 418 Woodstock Road on 21st March 1911.
The family plot was C2-136 in the City Cemetery and also held Lily and William Mitchell Anderson, neither of whom ever married.  
Also buried there were the two children of William John Anderson and Agnes Keating who didn't survive childhood - John Anderson died at 69 Templemore Avenue aged 6 on 23rd April 1887.  His sister, Kathleen Coey Anderson, died aged 1 year 8 months on 5th March 1889 also at 69 Templemore Gardens.







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