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1876 May 15. This letter is from Eliza JACKSON (1815-1903) to her son-in-law Thompson BROWN re: court cases looming over various land transactions.This page is not brilliantly formatted, but I wanted to share it quickly because it follows up on aspects of a talk I recently gave to the Armagh Historical Society. Thanks to Gary Barnes who passed this letter on to me.
Sharon Oddie Brown. May 21, 2021



Eliza JACKSON to Thompson BROWN re: Upcoming Court Cases.


See also: Case of John E. MORTON and 1847, March 26 Will of Andrew Coulter Bradford


Urker May 15th 1876

My dear Thompson[1],

On the 6th inst I wrote

to Mr Gillmer[2] as follows –

“Mrs. Jackson requests that Mr Gillmer

will have the half year’s annuity

now due her, from the property

of her late Uncle Bradford[3] paid

in the course of next week together

with the year’s interest on her

Grandmother’s[4] legacy now due

She also calls Mr. Gillmer’s attention

to what she frequently wrote to him

about giving some security for

the principal of Grandmother’s

money; and hopes that he will

see the propriety of giving security

without further delay or solicitation”

   I also demanded my annuity

from Mr. McCullagh[5]; but in more

friendly terms. Neither of them

made any reply. Andrew[6] also wrote

to them both for his own annuity

and Mr. Gillmer sent him a part

and desiring him to apply to the

Revd. Mr. Reid[7], Mount Pleasant, who

had funds to pay the annuities.

Andrew wrote to Mr. Reid, enclosing

the part paid; and this day letters

to him and to me from Mr. Reid

have arrived. Mine contained two

bank orders, each for £14.11.9 and

two receipts to be signed which I

enclose to you. Will you be so good

as to submit them to Mr. McCombe[8]

and ask him must I pay the

poor rate that is deducted? I have

been receiving that annuity for

twenty eight years; and no poor

rate was ever deducted before,

nor any mention made of it;

and I think it very strange that

it should be claimed now, espe-

cially as the Trustees[9] have abun-

dent funds to pay all demands;

and there is no mention in my

Uncle’s will of the legatees being

liable to pay any thing of the kind.

Also please to instruct Mr. McCombe

on my behalf to take whatever steps

he may think requisite to compel

Mr. Gillmer to give security for the

legacy of my Grandmother (Mrs. Elizabeth

Bradfords) and to make him pay

the year’s interest £3 now due.

His [? ?] me the interest ever

since my Grandmother’s death which

took place in the year 1844, but

I have no security for the principal

except that in one of his letters re-

ceived several years ago, he acknow

-leges that he had it in his own

hands. By the terms of Grandmother’s

will £50 were to be vested in real

security for my benefit, and the in

-terest paid me during my life [?]

but over the principal. I have no

control, except to bequeath it.

   I thought it better to write you

than to Mr. McCombe; as you or

Johnny[10] can call with him; and

can inform him of any particulars

which I may have forgot to mention.

   Mr Reid’s letter is as follows –

My dear Mrs. Jackson

   I herewith send you your

half year’s annuity which you

will please acknowledge by signing

and returning the accompanying

receipts. Mr. Jackson[11] will please sign

one of them with you.

              Yours sincerely

                       W. Reid

I shall write to inform Mr. Reid

that his letter came safe; but

that I will not submit to any

deduction for poor rate until I

have advice on the subject.

    Nothing new among us here.

Andy[12] is gone to Camlough fair.

He has not yet named any time

for going to his new place.

     All are well, and write

in love to you and all with you;

with yours affectionately,

           Eliza Jackson.

Thompson Brown Esq.


These other letters offer context to the letter above: Eliza to her son Thomas.

1874, October 15: Your Uncle Andrew[13] has made a formal declaration of war, or rather law. He has noticed Mr McCombe[14] not to proceed with selling or dividing Uncle William’s[15] property, till the case is tried. He has been going about ever since he came home trying to get some lawyer to take up the case on spec, but did not find anyone willing to do so; but now he has prevailed on Ben[16] to produce the needful, promising to give him Killynure, as soon as it is won. Ben came up to consult Aunt Mary[17], but returned without doing so. He promised to write to her; but no letter had arrived last Sabbath. She and Andy dined in Liscalgot[18] that day. She intends to be quite [neuter?] in the matter. I think she is right. If they win any part of the property, they will have it. If they do not win, they will have the satisfaction of having done the best; so let them see it out. It will all be as God pleases, and even if it goes against my brother’s will; what my children never had, they never lost. Just this day twelve months, dear William departed this life. If he could have foreseen the work that is going on, he would have been an angry man. I feel very thankful that he got leave to die in peace; which would not have been the case, had his [?lty] brother[19] arrived a few days sooner.

A letter from Mary Jane OLIVER to Sarah McCULLAGH first cousin once removed of Mary Jane OLIVER, later married WHITESIDE

1874 October 19 There is a letter from Mr. [McCombe]  to day & counsels opinion is that the Oliver estate [must go with chancery to be administered, & I believe my brother Andy  is going to take proceedings to lease Kilynure  from Thompson , so there are a fresh lot if [????]

A letter from Eliza to her son Thomas.

1880 Jul 21. According to promise, I write to inform you of the sale of the Oliver[20] estate which was appointed for Friday the 16th inst. We had no idea that it would be sold at all; times were so bad, and so many properties offered for sale; without a bidder; yet it was sold, and well sold, all things considered ₤2350 was what it went at. I have received a note from Thompson Brown[21], since then which surprised me a good deal. He says that it never was legally [deeded?] that Ben[22] and John Oliver[23] should get the third of the property, and that the case should be argued again before the Vice Chancellor. I suppose Mr McCombe[24] to be the author of this opinion; though Thompson did not say so; and whether it is a bona fide advice; or whether it is only another seven years wait and more law costs; I cannot say. May the Lord direct whatever is best. I expect Thompson here today; when we will hear more particulars, and discuss the affair.



[1] Thompson BROWNE[E] Esq. (1837-1915), son-in-law of Eliza JACKSON (1815-1903) of Killynure.

[2] James Birch GILLMER aka GILMORE. His grandfather, Alexander GILLMER (1835-1773) was the 2nd husband of Elizabeth BIRCH (1733-1812). Elizabeth BIRCH had married 1stly William BREAKEY (1712-bef1760) and they were the parents of Elizabeth BREAKEY (1758-1844) who married Thomas BRADFORD (1739-1790) of Cavananore. Elizabeth BREAKEY was one of Eliza’s grandmothers.

[3] Thomas BRADFORD (1739-1790) of Cavananore.

[4] Elizabeth BREAKEY (1758-1844), wife of Thomas BRADFORD (1739-1790).

[5] Thomas McCULLAGH (1793-1877) of Derryvalley, who married his cousin Sarah McCULLAGH (1816-1857). She was a daughter of Thomas McCULLAGH (1786-1849) & Mary BRADFORD (1782-?). Mary BRADFORD was a daughter of Elizabeth BREAKEY (1758-1844) and Thomas BRADFORD (1739-1790).

[6] Andrew Bradford OLIVER (1818-1877) of Killylea, brother of Eliza.

[7] Rev. Mr. William REID (1829-1906) was the husband of Mary McCULLAGH (1840-1919). She was the daughter of Thomas McCULLAGH (1793-1877) of Derryvalley, and Sarah McCULLAGH (1816-1857).

·         When William Reid, minister of Derryvalley from 1854 moved in May 1883 to nearby Stonebridge, Ballybay Presbytery wrote to the Convener of the fairly new Committee on Unions of Congregations (note: suggesting the union of two parishes?) SOURCE: Full Circle David Nesbitt. 1999. p. 96

·         "Rev. William Reid of Scarva ... had a ministry there of some 48 years and was succeeded there by a nephew, John Reid. The Reids were a ministerial family - John's son, Robert McAlister Reid, was minister of Glascar from his ordination in 1880 to his death 4 years later."

... educated at Old College Belfast gaining the General Certificate in 1849. He was licenced at Banbridge on 7 September 1852.As minister of Derryvally congregation he served almost 30 years until he resigned on 13 August 1883 having accepted a call from Stonebridge congregation. His ministry was one of a series of short ministries there, from 28 August to 31 March 1884, when he moved to Cremore, Co.Down.

"When minister of Derryvally he was Clerk of Ballybay Presbytery from1875 until he left 'the bounds'".

"It seems that the Reid family moved house several times in these years since when the first two children were born they lived at Cordevlish, at Balladian at the time of Thomas' birth, Caddagh for the next 3 and Ednaferkin for the remaining 4. SOURCE: Full Circle David Nesbitt. 1999.. p.344

·         William Reid retired as minister of Cremore on 4 July 1898 and lived in Belfast until his death on May 1906.. SOURCE: Full CircleDavid Nesbitt. 1999.p. 346

[8] Alexander McCOMBE, a lawyer, had offices on Dame St. Dublin This was near where Thompson BROWN's father also had an office. My hunch this Alexander McCOMBE was related to Rev. Alexander McCOMBE, a minister of Freeduff Presbyterian Church. On a deed dated 1800, an Alexander McCOMBE of Castletown, Co. Louth Attorney was a witness. This may be the connection. SEE: ROD: 530-381- 348624. An Alexander McCOMBE was a lawyer who was a signatory in other DONALDSON documents. This one would likely be his son.


[10] Based on context, this is most likely to be John OLIVER (1841-1909) of Ballycrummy. I believe that he was the grandson of James OLIVER, a brother of Eliza’s father Benjamin OLIVER. It could also be his father, but I have no death date for his father who was also a John OLIVER (1810-?) of Tullamore

[11] This would be David Jackson, Eliza’s husband. The mention of him in this context would be particularly galling since he was responsible for the loss of all the assets Eliza had brought into the marriage.

[12] Andrew Coulter Bradford JACKSON (1846-1929), Eliza’s 3rd son. He and his wife Eliza GILMORE were about to move to Lions Den, Co. Meath, a property that he had bought since Cavananore was not available to him (although Eliza felt it should have been).

[13] Andrew Bradford OLIVER (1818-1877), Eliza’s brother.

[15] William OLIVER (1815-1873) Eliza’s eldest brother.

[16] Most likely Benjamin OLIVER (1842-1905), son of Andrew Bradford OLIVER and a nephew of Eliza.

[17] Mary Jane OLIVER (1821-1875) of Cavananore – sister of Eliza

[18] Liscalgot, home of Eliezer GILMORE (1845-1919) & Sarah JACKSON (1848-1942), 3rd daughter of Eliza.

[19] Andrew Bradford OLIVER (1818-1877), Eliza’s brother.

[20]. Killynure & Enagh SOURCE: Irish Times April 28, 1875.

[21] Thompson BROWN (1837-1915) husband of Elizabeth JACKSON & son-in-law of Eliza.

[22] Benjamin OLIVER,  son of Andrew Bradford OLIVER

[23] John OLIVER (1841-1909) – HUNCH: There is strong circumstantial evidence that he was the son of John OLIVER (1810-?) of Tullymore, a nephew of Benjamin OLIVER.

[24] Alexander McCOMBE. See above




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