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John OLIVER is charged with stealing potatoes at Tullymore, Co. Armagh. This is a most curious case, one I have never seen the like of. Once can only guess at the circumstances which precipitated it.
Sharon Oddie Brown. August 12, 2015


1869 February 26 Ulster Gazette

1869 John Oliver



John Oliver[1] was charged by Mr. Malcolmson[2] of Tullymore[3], with stealing a quantity of potatoes on the 14th inst.

Mr. Harris[4] was for the plaintiff, Mr. Cochrane[5] for the defendant.

Mr. HARRIS said the case was not brought for the purpose of punishing the defendant but in order to clear his character. If he was not guilty, Mr. Malcolmson would take him into his employment again.

Catherine O’Neill[6], one of the plaintiff’s servants was examined by Mr. Harris and stated that she saw the defendant take a bag of potatoes from the bin.

Another servant was examined and stated that she saw the defendant with a bag containing something like potatoes on his back, but could not say he had stolen them.

Mrs McGlone[7], a respectable looking woman, entirely exonerated the defendant from the charge. She stated that it was a quantity of potatoes he was bringing to Mr. Brice[8], the plaintiff’s uncle.

Mr. Malcolm said he had been requested by a number of the workers to bring the charge in order to have the defendant’s reputation cleared.

The court dismissed the case, with 5s costs.

[1] John OLIVER (1841-1909). At the time of his death, he was living at Ballycrummy, Co. Armagh. He would have been 28 years old at the time of this court case, the husband of Margaret ROCK, and the father of three children. According to the Valuation Revision Books, John OLIVER, leased a little over 2 acres and buildings valued at 1.15.0 in 1869 from Robert MALCOMSON. According to ther marriage record held at the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library, this John OLIVER’s father was also named John OLIVER. Going from a range of property records, I am 90% sure that John OLIVER (b abt 1810) was a son of James OLIVER (-1853) of Brootally. The DNA of his descendants is a match with the DNA of the descendants of Benjamin OLIVER (1724-1770) of Killynure, and the two men were brothers. There is a reference in a July 21, 1880 letter by Eliza OLIVER (1814-1903) who mentions that her son-in-law, Thompson BROWN (1837-1915), believed that John OLIVER should have received 1/3rd of the proceeds of the sale of Lisdrumard, Knockagraphy and Drumgar. This never happened.

[2] Robert. MALCOMSON of Tullymore. NOTE: The Revision Books show that John Oliver held a lease for 2a .0r. 15p as well as a house and buildings worth £1.15.0. It had previously been leased by Andrew Carlson. The owner of this lease was Robert Malcomson, who himself held a lease for Tullymore House from the Church of Armagh. Robert Malcomson had taken over from Frederick Malcomson who in turn had taken over the ownership of the two acres from Osbourne Kidd.

[3] Tullymore, Parish of Armagh, Co. Armagh had been owned by Joseph OLIVER (1764-1837) until his death in 1837. Joseph OLIVER was a 1st cousin twice removed of John OLIVER (1851-1909).

[4] Mr. HARRIS


[6] Catherine O’NEILL

[7] Mrs. McGLONE

[8] Mr. BRICE



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