Photographs and more on Arthur and Catherine’s offspring

John Oram 1884-1953

John Oram senior, the diarist arranged for this grandsons John and Arthur to attend Sexeys School in Somerset. Neither were happy there. Then, through his uncle Alfred Oram’s connections John joined the Ulster Bank which proved another disaster for him. After the 1914-18 War when John served with the Artists Rifles he refused to return to banking. Through the influence of his “uncle” James Cowan he joined Gavin Lowe, auctioneers in Dublin. Following a breakdown and a few years as a freelance cattle salesman he moved to Mosney, Co Meath in 1933 to help James Cowan run his farm there.

John Oram b1884 with his prize mare

According to family lore sometime during the 1930’s he owned the Prize Mare in the Dublin Horse Show, though this needs verification. Eventually John inherited Mosney and continued to farm there until he sold the property, later Butlin’s Mosney Holiday Camp, to live with his siblings Arthur “Attie” Oram and Isabella “Isa” Robertson nee Oram in Glenageary.

There is a mystery surrounding John’s death as his body was washed up on the shores of Anglesey, the local coroner thought that John had died before entering the water. At some stage John became an alcoholic which was a factor in his dismissal from Gavin Lowe and probably contributed to his death.

Arthur “Attie” Oram 1885-1965

After an unhappy spell at Sexey’s School, Somerset Arthur attended the Royal School Raphoe, that he described in 1961 as a ‘crammer’.

Royal School Raphoe

From there he gained a place to study Civil Engineering at Queen’s College Galway, now called the National University of Ireland, Galway, gaining his degree in 1907. At Galway Arthur won a scholarship every year so he was able to complete his studies despite the family’s strained finances. On 1 November 1907 his father Arthur Oram recorded in his diaries: “To Royal University Dublin and saw B.E. degree conferred on Arthur”.

During September 1908 he started working for the Indian Government Public Works Department in the Indus Valley. In 1937 Arthur was appointed as Chief Engineer of the North West Province. Arthur’s working diaries are held by Cambridge University, see Oram under O in the “A-Z Index”.

In 2017 Shabnam Vasisht’s excellent article on Arthur’s military career was published on this page of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust’s website.

In 1919, after 18 months in Afghanistan Arthur took a long leave and came home to run Wilford when his father died, subsequently selling Wilford after his mother’s death in 1920. On retiring in 1946 he lived with his brother John Oram and sister Isabella “Isa” Robertson nee Oram in Glenageary until Isa’s death in 1959; John having died in 1953. Arthur then lived the remaining years of his life with his cousin Molly Malone nee Oram , daughter of his uncle Alfred Oram and Molly’s husband William A. “Billy” Malone.

Margaret “Gretta” Oram 1888-1967 m Sidney Thomas 1886-1970

Gretta was Arthur and Catherine’s  eldest surviving daughter and seems to have been a dependable ‘big sister’ and ‘eldest daughter’.  Gretta was close to her aunt Maggie Anderson who, in 1903 arranged for her to attend cookery school near Maggie’s home in Edinburgh.

Gretta, seated on the far right at The Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy, known locally as ‘Atholl Crescent College’. It was the founding institution of Queen Margaret University.
Margaret “Gretta” (nee Oram) & Sidney Thomas

By 1910 Gretta was working at Melton Mowbray Grammar School where she met her future husband Sidney Thomas. They married in 1915 and lived with their family in Melton Mowbray for the rest of their lives.

James “Jim or Jimmy” Oram 1890-1964 m Ida Talbot 1887-1972
James was the elder of two twins, being born 45 minutes before his sister Emily Oram.

Protestant Schoolhouse, Newport

In 1961 while visiting the ruins of Wilford Lodge James told me, Carolyn that he had been very upset when he first went to school as he was not allowed not walk to the local school with his friends. Instead he had to ride in a trap to the Protestant school in Newport. While Miss Edgar was teaching his children James’ father Arthur Oram often mentions her in his diaries.  James was always full of praise for Miss Edgar as she gave him a love of history and music.

In 1906 James’ father Arthur Oram had lost much of his agency work and could not fund James’ further education. James would have probably studied law. James accepted Alfred Hinxman’s offer of a job at his family’s coal factoring business in Devizes, Wiltshire, England where he lived for the rest of his life. Alfred Hinxman was the husband of James’ aunt Emma Agnes Oram.  When Alfred Hinxman was appointed Managing Director of the firm in 1909 Alfred and his family returned to Salisbury leaving 19 year old James in charge at Devizes. James’ son John said that James lived for his holidays in Ireland and on returning to Devizes his wonderful soft brogue was so broad that it was difficult to understand him.

At the time of the abdication of King Edward VIII and the coronation of George VI James was Mayor of Devizes.

James Oram, Mayor of Devizes 1936-37

Emily Oram 1890-1942

Emily Oram

Emily was the younger twin of James Oram.  After attending school in Dundalk, County Louth Emily gained a BA at Queens University Belfast in 1913. She taught in Bristol until appendicitis forced her to resign. This was followed by a spell teaching in Basingstoke until 1919 when her younger sister Isabella “Isa” Oram wished to marry. Emily returned to Wilford to take over nursing her mother Catherine who was by then crippled with arthritis.

Emily and Arthur

Following her mother’s death Emily became companion to her brother Arthur”Attie” Oram in India, dying in Poona Hospital in 1942 as a result of a car accident head injury. Some letters that Emily wrote from India to her siblings are held by Cambridge University with Arthur’s papers.

Isabella “Isa” Oram 1891-1959 m William Shera “Willie” Robertson 1877-1935

Isa was educated in Dundalk, County Louth staying on as a member of staff until, in 1912 she returned to Wilford to nurse her invalid mother. At her sister Gretta’s wedding she fell in love with the best man William Robertson, son of an Irish Methodist minister. Willie’s mother Auderiah Laird also came from a staunchly Methodist family.

Auderiah Robertson nee Laird

Isa and Willie Robertson were married in 1919 and lived near Ilkey, Yorkshire, England until Isa was widowed in 1935. Then Isa spent five years in India with Arthur and Emily before joining her brother John, Anderson aunts and James Cowan at Mosney. After Mosney was sold Isa spent the rest of her life with John and Arthur and then just Arthur in Glengeary, dying in 1959.

Isabella “Isa” nee Oram and William “Willie” Robertson

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1 Response to Photographs and more on Arthur and Catherine’s offspring

  1. Enjoyed reading your history of the Oram family and seeing the many photographs which accompanied it. The Oram family names are familiar to me because Arthur Oram’s offspring were fellow pupils of my late mother, Elizabeth Louise Clinton (1902-1999) when she attended the Protestant school in Newport, Co Mayo – great to see the contemporary picture of that edifice. Also mention of the Schoolmistress, Miss Edgar, who taught my father and his siblings.
    Another connection is that my father’s first cousin, Mary Emma Mairs, married Walter Prideaux Pridham of Wilford Lodge in 1869. Four of their offspring were born there before the family emigrated to Australia (I have the exact date somewhere) ca 1875. They settled in Wellington where they named their home Wilford. Presumably the Orams took up residence at Wilford Lodge following the departure of the Pridhams?
    Many thanks for this trip down memory lane,
    Sheila Arthur, nee Mairs

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