Home Biographies History Places Documents Letters Family Tree Misc. Contact NEW Blog


NAMES: Thomas POWELL; William HILL of Ball's Mill, Glassdrummon, Co. Louth (wife: Esther COULTER).
Sharon Oddie Brown. September 16, 2009
Updated March 21, 2010.
Updated May 21, 2011 Footnote on parentage of Esther COULTER.

1841 Mar 23

The Newry Telegraph



Life is not safe in the Barony of Upper Fews, County of Armagh. We have said so repeatedly. We reiterate the assertion. Several murders, five or six, have been perpetrated in that Barony within the last four years. It is little more than two short months since Mr. POWELL[1], a peaceful and offending stranger, was brutally assassinated in the Barony. And this day, it is our painful duty to announce that the blood of another of our countrymen has been wantonly shed in the same Barony.

Read the subjoined communication. We avouch its correctness. The writer is one in whose faith worthiness we implicitly confide:

(Extract of a letter from Balls-Mill[2], County Armagh.)

It is my painful duty to inform you that in this Barony of Upper Fews, another atrocious murder has been attempted in the open day.

On Friday, the 19th inst., about three a clock, PM, Mr. William HILL[3], of this village, was about his usual employment, that of a farmer in one of his own fields; a man (a stranger to him) came up, saluted him, and then fired a pistol at him. The ball lodged in his groin; he fell, and afterward struggled to his own house. The intended murderer walked away at an easy pace. Comment is unnecessary.

Mr. Hill is Protestant and an inoffensive man.

This is the seventh murder, all unatoned for, in this Barony, within the last four years.

We abstain from comment. If the Lord Lieutenant be not more or less than man, he will act without any suggestion from us. In the name of our country, and of its violated laws -- in the name of the victims who have been sacrificed, and of the numbers whose lives and properties are imperilled -- we implore his Excellency to hasten the adoption of such measures as the urgency of the crisis demands.

[1] Thomas POWELL (?-1841) was an “agriculturalist” who was hired by William QUINN to put in drainage on lands at Lough Ross in the townland of Tullyard (lands that QUINN had inherited from an aunt who died in 1840). POWELL received a threatening letter days before his murder. It was likely connected with the fact that QUINN, the landlord, was displacing some tenants. QUINN alleged that he was giving them alternate and comparable land, but this is likely a generous estimate of what was on offer. For the small cottiers, such acts by landlords were to them literally a matter of life and death. Moved off their farms, they would die. As a consequence, Thomas POWELL was murdered January 2, 1841. SOURCE: Seanchas Ard Mhacha. Vol. 10 No. 2 pp380-416. Agrarian Disturbances around Crossmaglen, 1835-1855. Part III. Kevin McMahon and Thomas McKeown. (NOTE: This series of articles is well worth reading!).

[2] Balls Mill is just south of the R177, about 7km north-west of Dundalk. It is also just slightly north of a clutch of townlands where many of the COULTERs were known to reside (Cavananore, Shortstone, Annaghavackey and so on). It is on Ballsmill Road (on some maps – otherwise Glassdrumman Rd on other maps) and is in the Parish of Glassdrumman  SEE: http://www.devlin-family.com/timelineglassdrummond.htm 

Ballsmill (Baile na gCléireach) Armagh. Ballinaglera 1838. ‘Ball's mill’. Thomas Ball was granted land here in the 17th cent. The Irish name means ‘townland of the clerics’. SOURCE: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O40-Ballsmill.html

[3] William HILL (1770-1852) of Balls Mill in the County of Armagh gent. Initially, I had thought that his wife was Esther COULTER, and that she was probably the Esther COULTER, daughter of John COULTER and Jane BARTLEY.Recently, I found a new clue in the 1873 will of Launcelot COULTER, who names a sister, Esther COULTER. She seems to be a much better fit. The fact that she was a COULTER comes from an 1842 Deed: otherwise COULTER of Balls Mill aforesaid the wife of the said William HILL.

·         He had a son: SOURCE: PRONI Will Abstracts: The Will (with one Codicil) of John William Hill late of Ballsmill County Armagh Farmer deceased who died 2 May 1875 at same place was proved at Armagh by the oath of Esther Hill of Ballsmill Widow the sole Executrix. NOTE: The Esther HILL may have been the mother of John WILLIAM - or he may have also married an Esther.

·         In 1832, a William HILL had a freehold at Ednasbarrow from Charles EASTWOOD aand was resident at Ballsmill.

·         In 1823, a William HILL held a freehold at Tullydonnell and was resident at Ballsmill.

·         William HILL is in the 1828 Tithe records.

·         NOTE: An Edward HILL leased out considerable lands in the townland of Mounthill in the Parish of Creggan.

·         In 1824, a William HILL held a freehold at Tullydonnell for the lives of William and Edward HILL and was resident at Ballsmill.



Site Map | Legal Disclaimer | Copyright

© 2006-2023 Sharon Oddie Brown