Woodvale History from Deeds

NOTE: This is a page in which is still very much in process and includes me thinking out loud about JOHNSTONs.




Going from the 1881 document concerning the COULTER Estate, it first appeared that Woodvale was in the Townland of Ducavan, Parish of Roche. What confused me about this is that although a Thomas JOHNSTON was the immediate lessor of all of Ducavan in 1854, there was no building or set of buildings in that townland worth more than £1.0.0. And Woodvale was supposedly a building of some substance.


Then a conversation with Eilie RYDER née McBRIDE who was born at Freeduff in 1920 tipped me off about a new place to look. She recalled visiting Woodvale in the 1930s. Her older brother Billie was engaged at the time and the family visited the JOHNSTONs as part of the rounds that one did at such a time. This wasn’t long after Billie and Eilie’s sister Mary Francis McBRIDE, a promising second year medical student at Trinity, had tragically died of TB that she caught during her medical rounds. The grief over her death was still hitting the family hard and although that may have not been the cause, this engagement didn’t result in marriage. But back to Woodvale. Eilie remembered that the farm was situated such that it straddled the border between Armagh and Louth, a convenient placement in those times for all sorts of reasons. This was curious since Duncavan was not on the border. Eilie also told me that the house was a substantial 2 story house. Although there was “no cordiality with the Johnstons” and the McBRIDEs, they were still “cousins” of her father and therefore needed to be included in the family social circles. They were likely 2nd or 3rd cousins since Dr. William Scott McBRIDE, their father, had only one sibling - a brother Alfred who died unmarried and without issue.


HUNCHES? When it comes to possible relations, the Freeduff Church records show an Olivia DONALDSON & an Alexander JOHNSTON of Cloghog having 3 children: Mary Jane b.1863; John James b. 1865; and a second Mary Jane b. 1869 (presumably the first one died in the interval).


Thanks to Pete Schermerhorn, master of all things map related, I then learned that Woodvale was actually in the townland of Glassdrummond: ...And there is Woodvale House ... between the border and the road fork in Ballsmill village - it looks as if it's the very first place on your left after you cross the border from Louth into Armagh (perhaps an "active" place, during the Troubles).  SOURCE: Discoverer map Number 28 - First Series, published in 1982. In a second email, Pete added: ......the road into Ballsmill is a minor, unnamed/unnumbered road. There are some areas off woodland shown around Woodvale House, and across the road.  Perhaps a demesne?


So, then I figured that I had it. Glasdrumond, Parish of Creggan, Co. Armagh with part of the holding in Co. Louth. Except that the Griffiths holding relating to John JOHNSTON includes a lake and there are none near Woodvale. SEE:


Ord S 31

GLASSDRUMMAN, Parish of Creggan, Co. Armagh









75 a


John Johnstone

James Eastwood

House, offices and land










John Johnstone

James Eastwood

Water (lake)





John Johnstone

James Eastwood

Water (lake)






Other than this, there were other sources that I checked for Woodvale:





My interest in Woodvale comes out of trying to run down the stories of the JOHNSTONs who may be related to Sir Thomas JACKSON and it would seem that they are the JOHNSTONs who are also connected to Woodvale:


At present, I have a very modest stub of a family tree (NOTE: I suspect that others can fill in more of this for me):


Descendants of John Johnston                   


  1. John Johnston - 1753 +Unnamed
    1. Thomas Johnston +Angel Unnamed  

                                                              i.      John Johnston

                                                            ii.       Henry Johnston

    1. Graham Johnston

                                                              i.      Elizabeth Johnston

    1. John Johnston 1729 – 1816 (of Woodvale & Urcher) +Mary Unnamed 1721 – 1805

                                                              i.      John Johnston (Eldest son – of Longfield)

                                                            ii.      Thomas Johnston (NOTE: only a hunch)

                                                          iii.      James Johnston of Woodvale (NOTE: only a hunch) + Jane?

1.      Graham Johnston (NOTE: only a hunch)

    1. Ann Johnston  +Adam Noble
    2. Charity Johnston +Thomas Shekelton           


*2nd Wife of John Johnston:  + Catherine Darby     

    1. Richard Johnston +Anne Jackson      




As does http://thesilverbowl.cm/documents/1851APr28-COULTER-CHARLETON.html

In the 1862 Thoms Directory, a Thomas JOHNSTON is listed as a magistrate from Longfield, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan.





Thomas Ball paid Hearth Roll Tax for 4 households in Glassdrummond – possibly including Woodvale.

1784 Feb 10

A Robert JACKSON of Woodvale was a witness to DEED: 241557, 1784 Feb 10 SEAVER –BRADFORD SEE: http://www.thesilverbowl.com/documents/1784Feb10-SEAVER-BRADFORD.html

1789 Sept 2

A number of deeds mention Richard Jackson of Woodvale (NOTE: I have yet to do more than a few fast notes of these ones):

HALL to JACKSON Book 2 (1739-1810)  Deed: 414-234-270591

  • Henry Hall of Loigh in the County of Tyrone, Gent. To Robert JACKSON of Woodvale, Co Armagh Esq. Townland of Bellaghy, CO Armagh  Also mention of Ballynahon Beg

HALL to JACKSON Book 2 (1739-1810)  Deed: 414-235-270597

  • Henry Hall of Loigh in the County of Tyrone, Gent. To Robert JACKSON of Woodvale, Co Armagh Esq. Townland of Bellaghy, CO Armagh  Also mention of Ballynahon Beg

WATSON to JACKSON Deed: 414-235-270598

  • John WATSON of Teemore, Co  Armagh Gent.  In the consideration of 300 pounds paid to him by Robert JACKSON  of Woodvale, Co. Armagh ... 94 acres with appurtenances in Parish of Mullaghbrack and County of Armagh ... lease of three lives was formerly under Robert Sibthorpe


A Jonathon JOHNSTON of Woodvale sent a letter acknowledging payment for ₤31:10 to John and Andrew COULTER and other sums were paid to him at this time by Samuel BRADFORD.  (I have not yet transcribed this note from a family archive)

1830 Sept 2

Indenture between James JOHNSTON of Woodvale in the County of Armagh Esquire and William JOHNSTON of Dundalk in the County of Louth Doctor of Medicine of the first part and Elizabeth Jackson of Urker in the County of Armagh Widow of the second part.


NOTE: In 1826, a Samuel BALL had sent a letter re: rent reassessment to Elizabeth JACKSON (she would have been a widow for almost a decade at this time): http://www.thesilverbowl.com/letters/1826_Ball_to_Jackson.htm


John JOHNSTON of Woodvale, Ballsmill, owned 79 acres in the 1876 Landowners list. He was a Justice of the Peace.


DUCAVAN: John [4]Miss M.E. JOHNSTONE[5], Woodvale, Ballsmill[6], Hackballscross, Dundalk. He has no agent. SEE: Coulter Estate document.

1884 June 4

Letter from Eliza JACKSON née OLIVER: Mr Johnston of Woodvale is now Agent to the Ball estate. I hope we will soon get our affairs settled; & we can settle any [day?]. He dined with us, one day lately; & advise very favourably dispensed. All the books & accounts of the Estate are to be given up to him on the 10th inst. Mr Brooke has made a total mess of his employers business in more cases besides ours. SEE: file:///C:/Users/Sharon/Documents/Webstuff/theSilverBowl2/letters/1884June4-ElizaJACKSON-Thomas.html


Census. At House #10 in Glassdrummand. Unfortunately, the sheet linked to this page turns out to be the preceding sheet, so I can’t read the description of the property on line. Nonetheless, I did learn:




JOHNSTON, Elizabeth A.








Son Farmer & Justice of the Peace.

JOHNSTON, Richard N.


Son & Civil Engineer

SMITH, Dorothy







John T. JOHNSTON. First Northern Ireland revaluation

SOURCE: http://www.devlin-family.com/timelineglassdrummond.htm


[1] John JOHNSTON, the 3rd son of JOHNSTON of the Fews.

[2] David JACKSON (aft 1755-1796) son of George JACKSON & Margaret M’LOUGHLAN. A Richard JOHNSTON was the husband of his sister Ann JACKSON. They married 1767 at Creggan Church. I am assuming that this Richard JOHNSTON was the half brother of John JOHNSTON, born of a relationship that the John JOHNSTON sr. had with his housekeeper, Catherine DARBY.

[3] Jackson WRAY. In 1828, there was a reference to a Rev. Jackson WRAY. I don’t know if he is the same one. SOURCE: 1829, Jan 11. Newry Commercial Telegraph.

·         Belfast Newsletter 1752 Jan 19 The Lordship and Manor of Forkhill in the County of Armagh, part of which is within [?] Miles of Newry and part within 2 miles of Dundalk [?] Seaport and excellent markets for linen, yarn, and a [?] Things fit for home consumption, or exportation; it be likewise a good number of inland towns, where there are fairs and good yarn markets held, within a short distance of it: the whole will be taken out of lease next May: there is a great convenience sea of turf and water, with proper falls on the river for Mills, and good ground for bleaching-greens from 3 to 6 acres, which can have the advantage of springs, with a farm to each green of about 60 acres, more or less as shall be agreed on.  A gold Corn Miller, with a well attested character, will meet with employment; and there will be good encouragement given to protestant weavers, bleachers and industrious farmers, there being several thousand acres, mostly arable, to be let.  For further particulars inquire of Hugh Boyd Esq.: at Ballycastle, Jackson WRAY, Esq. At Coleraine and or Richard [...] NOTE: The clipping I worked from was missing part of the right-hand margin.

[4] John JOHNSTON of Woodvale, Ballsmill, owned 79 acres in the 1876 Landowners list. He was a Justice of the Peace.

[5] M.E. JOHNSTONE. SEE:Biography of Mary E. JOHNSTON. http://www.thesilverbowl.com/biographies/JohnstonMaryE_Bremner.htm

[6] Ballsmill is a village of about 10 houses, 5 miles, Irish, from Dundalk, and 4 miles, Irish, east of Crossmaglen. It lies within a quarter of a mile of the Louth border and is only a mile from the famous Roche’s Castle. . . . .
The land of the district is good. Potatoes, oats and flax are the chief crops. SOURCE: 1888 Bassett Armagh Directory.