Woodvale History from Deeds
Going from an 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. SEE:
Currently, there are no lakes beside Woodvale, but then Pete Schermerhorn had a great thought: There may not be a lake now, but the stream running along the north side of the road at Woodvale may have been dammed at some time. After all, Ballsmill implies some sort of "mill", and water power was always a good option when available. And I suspect that the Woodvale estate included that land across the road (a bit wooded on the 1982 NI map). If you look at the watercourses across the border into Louth, you'll see some definite straightening of the stream bed which actually forms the boundary between Tatnadarra and Drumbilla townlands - so the stream had been "managed" for a long, long time. I would suspect that somewhere near the Armagh/Louth border, there was a dam on that stream, to form a reservoir or 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):
* I suspect there will be more info when I can find the 9 children of these JOHNSTONs: William JOHNSTON, M.D. , one of the Founders of the Lodge, was the fourth son of John Johnston, of Woodvale, Co. Armagh, and grandson of " Johnston of The Fews," the celebrated " Tory Hunter," who built " Roxborough," beyond Newtown Hamilton, as a residence for himself, and to strengthen whose hands the Government of the day erected " The Fews Barracks." He was born in 1760, and married, in 1793, Eleanor (who d. 14th October, 1837, aet 71), second daughter of the Rev. Walter Lindsay, by whom he had nine children, the youngest of whom was the Very Rev. Norman Johnston, Dean of St. Andrew's. He died, 16th October, 1832, at Dundalk, and is buried in Creggan Churchyard. He practised as a physician for some years in Carrickmacross, and removed to Newry in 1802, living in the house in Hill Street now known as " The Atheneum," at the rere of which, in 1813, he erected Public Baths, which, however, did not prove a financial success. In 1816 he removed from Hill Street to Trevor Hill, and in 1828, on going to reside in Dundalk, he was presented with an Address and a Piece of Plate. Bro. Johnston resigned his membership of the Lodge 8th November, 1816, and was elected an Honorary Member. The History of Nelson Masonic Lodge XVIII Newry (1809-1909)
I suspect that the tree above is connected to the one beneath. I will be looking for these links when I am next in the Deeds Registry in Ireland.
In the 1862 Thoms Directory, a Thomas JOHNSTON is listed as a magistrate from Longfield, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan.
 John JOHNSTON, the 3rd son of JOHNSTON of the Fews.
 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.
 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.
 John JOHNSTON of Woodvale, Ballsmill, owned 79 acres in the 1876 Landowners list. He was a Justice of the Peace.
 M.E. JOHNSTONE. SEE:Biography of Mary E. JOHNSTON. http://www.thesilverbowl.com/biographies/JohnstonMaryE_Bremner.htm
 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. . . . .
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