Arthur Talbott Oram 1853-1919 including oral history written by Daphne, Arthur’s granddaughter-in-law in 1970.
Arthur as a clerk at Paddington Station. When Arthur was sixteen years old, in July 1869 he started work as a clerk in the offices of the Great Western Railway at Paddington, London. He return to Burrishoole in July 1873 to take over part of his father’s work and duties when John went to live in Sussex.
Images of Arthur’s diaries are in UCD Digital Library
People and places at the start of Arthur’s diaries in 1887:
When John started his diaries he introduced people and places slowly. At the beginning of Arthur’s diaries it is as if one has entered half way through a party and missed all the introductions. Some of the surnames will have appeared in John’s diaries but these people may be of John’s or Arthur’s generation. Arthur’s father John had moved to Somerset in 1881, leaving William Rose as estate farm manager living at Burrishoole Farmhouse and Arthur taking over his agency work and farming at Wilford Lodge.
On 11 October 1881 Arthur married Catherine Love Anderson known as “Kitty” or “Kathy” at Hollymount Presbyterian church. In 1887 when his surviving diaries start Arthur’s local family included:
- His wife Catherine (nee Anderson), ‘Mrs’ or ‘Mrs O’ in the diaries. 1970 essay on Catherine’s life written by Daphne, Catherine’s granddaughter-in-law in 1970.
- His sons John born 1884 and Arthur “Attie” born 1885.
- At Mullaun, Newport his sister-in-law Isabella “Bella” Dick nee Anderson (Arthur’s ‘Mrs D’) , her husband farmer Robert Dick, who died in 1887 and their son James born 1885 and daughter Margaret born six weeks before her father died.
- About forty kilometres away on a farm at Knockroe, just south of Mayo Abbey lived Catherine’s cousin James Cowan, Catherine’s mother (Arthur’s ‘Mrs Anderson’), aunt, and sisters Maggie Anderson, Annie Anderson and Mary Anderson.
- Arthur’s friend and colleague William “Willie” Rose (Arthur’s Wm Rose or Mr Rose) can also be included as Willie was married to Jessie Dick, Robert Dick’s sister. Arthur always referred to their daughter as “Baby Rose”.
- The head of the Anderson family was Catherine’s uncle and farmer Ephraim Anderson at “Hollybrook House”, Hollymount.
Arthur’s interest in the local fisheries. Both John and Arthur were Conservators for the Bangor district fisheries. On 8 June 1900 Arthur gave evidence to the Royal Commission on Irish Inland Fisheries. Transcription of Arthur’s evidence
Arthur, as executor of Martin Carey’s estate ensured that under the terms of the disputed will that had many codicils £10,000 was given towards the building of the present Roman Catholic Church in Newport.
Arthur played a role in the building of the Newport-Achill railway line, mainly acting as a go-between between the construction company and the local farmers and landlords. The one surviving family tale is “One famous case was Pat Mack who owned a strip of land a mile long and 100 yards wide and the railway went down the middle!”.
Letters from Arthur and Catherine to their son James on the birth of their first son.
During Arthur and Catherine’s later life Catherine suffered from arthritis. In 1912 Catherine became a complete invalid and their daughter Isa nursed her until her marriage in 1919 when their unmarried daughter Emily came home and stayed until Wilford was sold in 1921. Their third daughter Gretta who had married a schoolmaster in Leicestershire visited as often as possible. Arthur’s grandson, the baby in the above photo, left a note about Arthur’s death on 6 August 1919:
I stayed at Wilford on holiday with my parents in summer of 1919. I have a feeling that I was there on the death of my grandfather. My mother told me later that they were sitting around when he said that he did not feel very well. He thought he would rest on his bed. He did and he died there. Obviously they did not tell me – a child of three.
Arthur’s death coincided with his son Arthur “Attie” being due long leave from his civil engineering job in the Indus Valley, now in Pakistan. Attie ran the Wilford farm with the help of David Deverell the son of Sam Deverell, the hotel keeper in Newport. By this time David had married Margaret “Hittie” Dick, daughter of Catherine’s sister Bella.
After Catherine died on 1 April 1920 Attie arranged for Wilford to be sold. The auction on 26 May 1921 was advertised in the 24 May 1921 edition of the Irish Independent outlining the furnished house, stock, farm implements and just over 100 acres of land to be sold ‘fee simple’. James Cowan of Knockroe, a member of the Anderson family was the auctioneer. The house was burnt down shortly after it was sold.*
Soon after Catherine died the Deverell family departed the USA where they farmed near Chicago. Emily acted as Attie’s companion and hostess until she died in Poona, India in 1942.
* If Carolyn remembers the story correctly Wilford was sold to a Captain or ex-Captain of the British army. A newspaper article states that Mr MJ Daly owned the house when it was burnt down sometime between the auction in May 1921 and December 1928. Did Mr Daly buy the property from the Oram family or was there an intermediary who abandoned the property? The compensation payment of £820 was not used to reinstate the house as Wilford Lodge remained a ruin until the McManamon family built a new house on the site early in the 21st century.