Matthew Anderson 1784-1867 was the father of the family of shepherds who moved with his offspring from Northumberland to Ireland. All these members of the family were mentioned in the English census records for 1841 and 1851. The family gradually scattered following the death of Matthew’s wife Jane and their 27 year old daughter Mary in early 1841 before re-uniting in Mayo. For the family’s history before their move to County Mayo see the page England and Matthew and its sub-pages.
Why did the family move to Ireland?
How did the brothers, who were born in a small building on marginal land in Northumberland hills come to be referred to as ‘gentlemen’ in County Mayo? After The Irish Famine Patrick Crean Lynch was one of the Irish landlords who deliberately cleared tenants from tracts of land to form large sheep grazing farms and looked for English and Scottish shepherds to manage their new concerns. At the same time in England Enclosure Acts were preventing small farmers from using areas of common grazing land, so adding to the difficulties for families like the Andersons to run viable farms. We do not know what finally triggered the brothers and their father Matthew move to Ireland, maybe just meeting a persuasive agent of Patrick Crean Lynch, but the main reason would have been to improve the quality of life for their families.
The family members who moved to Mayo:
Matthew’s sons and their spouses: John and Margaret, Ephraim and Mary Ann with five young children, George and Catherine with two young children and maybe Archibald and Jane.
Matthew’s daughters: Margaret who did not marry and Jane who married James Cowans
Parameters on the dates the family moved to Ireland:
Ephraim and Archibald: The English 1851 census, in which Ephraim and Archibald were recorded, was on taken 30/31 March and the first agreement between Patrick Crean and Ephraim and Archibald Anderson was dated 30 August 1851. [Carolyn expects to have permission to show transcripts and images of the agreement by August 2016]
The date of the above agreement is in line with a high school essay written c.1920 by one of John Anderson’s descendants giving 1852 as the year in which Matthew and his four sons moved to Mayo. Ephraim and Archibald may have been on a reconnoitre when they signed the lease.
Holdings in Mayo in 1856, Griffith’s Valuation:
Ephraim and George held in 1856 432 acres in Boleybeg, 97 acres in Cloonkeen, 243 acres in Derryfadda Upper, 227 acres in Parknakillew. Landowner Patrick C Lynch.[Hollybrook House and various tracts of land]
The role of Ephraim Anderson:
By moving from Northumberland to Mayo Ephraim Anderson increased the acreage he was farming from 122 acres to about 1,000 acres. Ephraim lived and farmed at Holybrook for the rest of his life, being sole tenant after Archibald assigned his share of the lease to him in 1866 and George emigrated to the USA in 1874.
The role of Archibald Anderson:
Archibald Anderson had entries in the census returns for 1851, 1861 and 1871 as a ’cattle salesman’ living in Malboro Crescent, Westgate, Newcastle -upon-Tyne. This is the same address he gave in the tenant agreement with Patrick Crean of Hollybrook. Therefore Archibald did not permanently leave his home in Newcastle and it maybe that the family maximized their profits by Archibald acting as the dealer when the Mayo farm stock was sold in England. Later Archibald was declared a bankrupt.
The role of George Anderson:
George Anderson, who had farmed 380 acres in Northumberland was not a signature on the lease agreements for land in the Hollybrook area, though he is shown as a co-tenant with Ephraim in the Griffith’s Valuation of 1856. In 1874 George and most of his family emigrated to Wood, West Virginia in the USA.
Holdings in Mayo in 1856, Griffith’s Valuation:
John and Matthew held in 1856 284 acres in Barnagreggaun. Landowner (or immediate lessor) Geoffrey Martin. [Brize House]
The roles of Matthew and John Anderson:
The English 1851 census shows that Matthew Anderson and John Anderson were the two members of the family who were not independent. Matthew was living with members of the Bolam family, his in-laws. John was working on his Uncle Ephraim’s farm ‘Silloans’ which would later be run by a member of the Bolam family. Without knowing the date of the agreement between Geoffrey Martin and Matthew and John Anderson for the property at Barnagreggaun it is impossible to know if they visited Mayo with Ephraim and Archibald in 1851 or maybe they later decided to join the family’s move to Ireland.
John Anderson married Margaret Stokoe on 30 April 1853 in Northumberland. Their daughter Catherine Love Anderson was born 25 February 1854 and baptised 2 May 1854 in Mayo. Did John returned to Northumberland to marry Margaret Stokoe in 1853 when the witnesses did not include any Andersons or did John and Margaret move after their marriage? John and his descendants lived at Brize House and then Mayo Cottage. Later some of his daughters married and moved away while the rest of the family lived at Knockroe with James Cowan.
The role of Margaret Anderson:
Margaret Anderson moved to Ireland, either with her father and brothers or later. She probably lived at Brize with her father and died at Knockroe.
The role of the Jane Anderson and the Cowan family:
Jane Anderson married James Cowans, a shepherd who was living with the family at Carlecroft at the time of the 1851 census. The couple moved to Mayo with the Anderson family before returning to Northumberland by the 1871 census. Their eldest son James, born 1856 is not included in the 1871 census so he was probably living at Brize House where John Anderson had daughters but no sons. When James was 18 years old he probably took over John Anderson’s farm on John’s death in 1874, that by then was at or near Knockroe where James farmed until the 1930s. The son James used the surname Cowan and in later life married his cousin Mary Anderson.