The Anderson family came from the Cheviot area of Northumberland, England. Their ancestors, who came from both the Scottish and English sides of the border were millers and shepherds.
In the early 1850’s, a few years before John Oram moved to Burrishoole, Matthew Anderson 1784-1857 and his offspring moved from Northumberland to farms at Hollybrook, near Hollymount and Brize House, near Mayo Abbey in County Mayo. In Northumberland only Matthew Anderson’s sons Ephraim and George ran their own farms, and then of only 122 and 360 acres. The move to County Mayo gave the family a total of over 1,300 rented or leased acres on which to run sheep and other livestock.
Matthew Anderson’s offspring who went to Ireland with him were John, Ephraim, George, Archibald, Margaret and Jane.
James Cowan (senior) accompanied the Andersons. Jane Anderson married James Cowan (senior), who had a son called James Cowan (junior). Jane & James Cowan (senior) and their offspring, except James (junior) soon returned to Northumberland. In this site ‘James Cowan’ always refers to the junior James stayed in Mayo with his Anderson relations.
By the time Arthur Oram’s diaries start in 1887 Matthew Anderson and John Anderson (Arthur Oram’s father-in-law) had died, George was farming in the USA and Archibald had returned to England. John Anderson’s gravestone states that he ‘died at Mayo Cottage 19 June 1874’. Therefore John Anderson, his family and probably James Cowan had left Brize by 1874 and move to Knockroe where there were two houses ‘Mayo Cottage’, that was enlarged in the 1940s and is now named ‘Ivy Cottage’ and ‘Knockroe House’. It appears that the family lived in Mayo Cottage before moving to Knockroe House, always referred to as ‘Knockroe’.
John Oram, in June 1881 mentions in his diary visiting Knockroe and Enfield on his way to Dublin for England. Later Arthur Oram, in his diaries goes to Enfield, to the west of Dublin to look at James Cowan’s land there. Therefore the members of the Knockroe household, below were probably almost unchanged between October 1881, when Arthur Oram married Catherine Anderson and 1887 when Arthur’s diaries start. The one change would have happened when Bella married Robert Dick in 1884, see below.
In January 1887, as Arthur Oram’s diaries start:
- John Anderson’s eldest daughter Catherine Love Anderson had married Arthur Oram on 11 October 1881 at Hollymount Presbyterian church, witnessed by James Cowan and Isabella Anderson. Since their marriage Arthur and Catherine had lived at Wilford Lodge.
- Essay on Catherine Love Anderson written about 1970 by Daphne, her granddaughter-in-law based on information from Catherine’s offspring.
- John Anderson’s second daughter Jane Anderson had married Andrew Dowie Hardie, one of the youngest children of a Scottish farmer. Jane and Andrew had emigrated to the USA in 1879 and their daughter Margaret was to be born in 1888 in Emmet, Iowa where the family were farming. Always referred to as Mrs Hardie, Jane occasionally visited her sisters in Ireland.
- John Anderson’s third daughter Isabella “Bella” Anderson had married Robert Dick and was living at Mullaun, a townland just to the east of Newport.
- John Anderson’s widow, sister and three youngest daughters were living at Knockroe about 2 Km south of Mayo Abbey. The farm at Knockroe was run by John Anderson’s nephew James Cowan.
- John Anderson’s brother Ephraim Anderson continued to live at Hollybrook 4 Km NNE of Hollymount, the farm he had rented when the family first moved to County Mayo.
- The Anderson family history: Northumberland & County Mayo looks at the Anderson history in Northumberland and their move to Ireland.
- After Arthur Oram died in 1919 James Cowan and members of the Anderson family continued to live at Knockroe before moving to Mosney, County Meath