Mosney: Members of the Oram, Anderson and Cowan families

Here we are following James Cowan and the Anderson sisters who had lived at Knockroe to Mosney in County Meath. Mosney, that became a meeting place for the wider family, was left to Arthur and Catherine Oram’s son John.

The move from Knockroe to Mosney

As late as July 1931 the Irish Land Commission was in discussion with James Cowan as to the acquisition of his land at Knockroe and elsewhere, as shown in the website.


Some time after mid July 1931 and 1933 James and Mary Cowan moved from Knockroe to  “Mosney” south of Drogheda, Co Meath.  In 1933 they were joined by John Oram, born 1884, son of diarist Arthur Oram who helped James Cowan run the farm at Mosney.   According to entries in the National Probate Calendar James Cowan died 17 March 1936 at Mosney and Mary Cowan died at Mosney died 22 October 1943.  On Mary’s death John Oram inherited Mosney.  The best source for the next step in the story, unless the details of the sale of Mosney become available, is a 1953 newspaper article in the family archive about the death of John Oram by drowning:

“Hailing from Newport, Co. Mayo, Mr Oram came to live at Mosney, where he inherited a farm from his aunt, Mrs James Cowan, in 1943.  Some years ago he sold the farm for £13,000 to Mr Fred Best, of Lurgan, who subsequently disposed of it to Messrs Butlins as the site of the present holiday camp.”  Irish Press, 22 June 1953 

[The Oram family archive includes newspaper cuttings on the death by drowning of Matthew Anderson’s great grandson John Oram 1884-1953 and letters sent by John’s brother Arthur to their brother James in Devizes, Wiltshire, England]

As internet sources suggest Billy Butlin’s bought Mosney in 1946 and opened the holiday camp in July 1948, then John probably sold Mosney in 1944 or 1945.

In 1940 John Oram’s sister Isabella “Isa”, by then a widow, went to live at Mosney to “look after the Anderson Aunts” (family oral tradition) so Maggie and Annie Anderson may have been spending time at Mosney as well as at Mrs Weddell’s home in Edinburgh.  The Anderson sister Isabella “Bella” Dick may have also spent time at Mosney as well as with her son and daughter-in-law at Mullaun, Newport where she died in 1945.

Family photographs show that various members of the family visited Mosney including all John Oram’s siblings and two of his nieces.

In 1946, a year before the partition of India and Pakistan John Oram’s brother Arthur retired from the Indian Public Works Department and went to live in Glenageary, south of Dublin with John and Isa.  If Maggie and Annie were still alive, see below they may have lived in Edinburgh for the rest of their lives.

Bella Dick nee Anderson, Maggie Anderson, John Oram, Joanna Weddell nee Hunter, Emily Oram
Mary Cowan nee Anderson, Isa Robertson nee Oram, Annie Anderson
at Mosney between c1936-1943

The six Anderson sisters

Catherine Love Oram nee Anderson was the eldest of the Anderson sisters and the first one to die.  Catherine died in 1920 when she was 66 years old.

Jane, the second sister who was known as “Mrs Hardie” died sometime between the US 1900 and 1920 censuses. In 1900 Jane, Andrew and their daughter Margaret had been farming in Clay, Indiana.  There is no sign of them in the 1910 census and at the time of the 1920 census widower Andrew had retired and was living with his daughter Margaret, a teacher, in Cook, Illinois.  Andrew Hardie died on 10 January 1923.

Isabella “Bella”, the third daughter who married Robert Dick died in 1945 in the Westport Registration District aged 87 years, so no doubt Bella was living with her son James Dick and his wife at Mullaun when she died.

Mary, who married James Cowan died at Mosney on 22 October 1943, over six years after James Cowan.

It is difficult to ascertain when Maggie and Annie Anderson died but when Joanna Weddell died on 15 November 1945 the probate register stated ‘confirmation by Margaret Anderson spinster …’.  There is a 1952 probate record that may refer to Maggie’s death on 24 December 1951.  Likewise there is a possible probate record for Annie Anderson, living in Morningside, Edinburgh, spinster who died 13 August 1949.   Unfortunately the last person who would have known the answers died in 2005.


Slide show of the Anderson sisters, James Cowan and Joanna Weddell nee Hunter

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