McClure Family notes

In the late 1920s and again in 1946, Jeannie McClure, great-granddaughter of Jane Oakman and William McClure, made the following are notes about the McClure family.

To the editor of the Northern Whig

The Following facts were written by a Mrs Thompson in July 1906 when she was 95 years old.

About 1670-1700 a McClure lived in Budore. His first wife was a Miss Watson of Dunmurry by whom he had a son, who settled on the Dunmurry Property. He afterwards married a Miss Bell of Bellstran, and had one son Thomas, who married Margaret Reid of Ballygowan, and lived in Budore. He left two sons and two daughters. David married Nancy Oakman of Glenavy and had two daughters. William married Jennie Oakman of ?Ballyminniepurce? (Ballyminimore) and had six children: John , George, Thomas, William. One daughter married Frank Whittle of Gobrana. Jane my mother married James Kirker and I married John Thomson in 1834. Perhaps these facts may be useful to anyone interested in this old Scottish family. I would like to have some information as to who Miss Watson and Miss Bell were and whether Sir Thomas was one of this family.

Yours J.Davison


Mount Pleasant, Budore, Dundrod Aug 1927

I Jennie McClure was fifty four last November. My mother Mary was 29 when I was born and my father was ten years older. Fifty four from 1927 leaves 73. 29 from that leaves 44 and 10 more leaves 1834. He was the fourth of the family so his father would go back to 27. I always heard that my grandfather was married at the age of 44, his brother George at 33 and his brother William at 22. Take 44 from 1827 and it leaves 1783. He was his father’s eldest son and was called John. His father I expect was called William. William had lived with his brother David; down at Uncle David Patterson’s and built this house [Mount Pleasant] when he was going to be married to Miss Jane Oakman of Hopevale, Glenavy, probably about 1780 or so. So it is coming up to be being 150 years old. It was meant to be slated but old Mr Oakman thought they never could endure the cold of slates so high up in the hills and offered to give them as much wheat straw as would thatch it, and thatched it remains to this day. It was built, so I am told, with a second row of window, but with a tax called the light tax being imposed in 1784 they opened the windows in the gables, meaning to build up the first ones. The tax gatherer came round when the one lot was opened and before the old were closed, so they were taxed for both; but they built them up anyway, and they have never been opened.

My Grandfather married a girl called Rebecca Lyons, one of three daughters of a Margaret McComb who married a William Lyons, from about the Wolfhill and was left a Widow and married again a David Patterson, also a widower with five daughters: of this union there were two sons and two daughters. The eldest son David was my mothers Father, the other James died unmarried. The daughter Nancy married a David ?Mekang? and Sara was Archie Ramsey’s second wife and had one boy James who died young. The Mekang’s are all dead too so far as I know. David married a Jane Carruthers, only daughter of David Carruthers who lived across in Ballyhill where Mr Stewart lives now. They had a large family, my mother Mary, Nancy, Margaret, Jane, David, James, Sara, Rebecca, William and Archie who died at the age of five. None of them married except my mother and William, and he had no children.

My mother married her half-cousin George McClure and had eight of a family; myself Jane, John, Rebecca, Annie, David, Maggie, Willie, George. Annie died at the age of two and only the three youngest married. Maggie in 1907 to William Gawn Davison Harper, only son of Robert Harper and his wife Mary Davison and grandson of William Harper of Knockcairn. They went to Canada and had six sons and one daughter who died in infancy and was called Mary Dorothy. The boys are named Robert George, David Lloyd, William Howard, James Leonard, John Davison and Elmer Russell. Their present address is in British Columbia.

William married Minnie Bamford of the Wyebridge in 1912 and has one son David Patterson and four daughters: Sara Elizabeth, Mary Isabel, Jean Alexandra and Elsie Bamford, another boy died at birth.

George married Jane Bamford in 1913 and had two children, George Stanley and Rebecca [Ruby]. He died on Easter Sunday in 1920 and she married in a few years John Garrett. They have two children Kathleen and John Walter.

Rebecca, my sister, died in 1918.

My Grandfather, John McClure, had four sons and two daughters. Only my father and one daughter, Jane, married. She married Galway Boomer of Hillhall, Lisburn. She had one son and five daughters: James, Rebecca, Maggie, Annie, Sara and Jennie.

Annie only married, William David Maxwell also of Hillhall. She was left a widow with three daughters, a son had died a baby who was called James. The girls were called Margaret McClure, Sara Dunlop and Rebecca Jane.

Margaret is married to Samuel Thompson of Dunmurry, a great grandson of John Thompson of “The Dandry”, whose wife was a cousin of my father and her grandmother, and I think was called Kirker.

Sara or Sadie married a Samuel McCutcheon of Bangor and Rebecca is still unmarried, and lives with her mother and uncle at Bangor.

My great grandfather William McClure also had four sons and two daughters. I should have said that my grandfathers family were called William and Jane and John and George and Margaret and Thomas. My great grandfathers family seemed to have been called exactly the same: John, my grandfather, George who married a Miss Alexander and had two daughters Jane and Margaret. This Miss Alexander was his cousin, daughter of a sister of the old David and William.

Jane died when she was grown up and Margaret married Gilliland Kennedy. They lived in a house, the walls of which are still standing between this and Mr Crawfords. The Kennedys went to live at “The Hollow”, which I think belonged to the Alexander family. They had seven children, or eight.

William who was educated for a school inspector and died young, George who is still alive aged about 80 years, Jane also alive and James who married Isabella Ireland and died, both he and his wife without children. Catherine married Samuel Thompson of the Dandry, and is now a widow, and Alexander still alive and single and Maria who died two years ago, and Gilliland who married Susan Ireland and had a large family: Willie, Nellie, Tom, Maggie, Jean, George, Isabella and Gilliland. Willie married a Miss Purdon and has two children Gilliland and Kathleen, and Jean married a boy called Stewart Ceanse. They have one child called Stewart. Tom has gone to Canada. Their father died a good many years ago. And William who lived at “the Glen”, I don’t know who his first wife was, but she had two children John who died single and Jane who married John Connor of Stoneyford. I think they had four sons and a daughter, Eliza. The sons were George and John and Samuel who I think was a Doctor. I don’t know what they called their fourth, if there was a fourth. George married Helen McClure of Glenavy. They lived at Knockcairn till they had four children, 2 boys and 2 girls; Ewant, Dorothy, Sherwood and Helen. They sold Knockcairn and went to Australia where he died.

Thomas McClure never marred but lived with my grandmother who was left a widow when her youngest son was eight years old, and helped her to rear her family. He was a very kind old man and they all spoke highly of Uncle Tom.

Their sister Jane married a Kirker who I think wasn’t very well doing, my grandmother reared his daughter here till she married John Thompson.

Margaret married a James Armstrong who lived in Andy Frazer’s place and had two children, a son called James, who died single and a daughter who married Archie Ramsey. She had two children: Thomas who married a Margaret McCullough and had no family, and Margaret who married David Frazer and had four: Archie, Minnie, Sara, Jane and Andrew. Mr Frazer died this year.

June 1929

Jane Kennedy of “The Hollow” has given me a brooch of Scotch Pebbles set in silver, which she says was given to her mother 69 years ago by William McClure, of The Glen, to his second wife whom he married in 1860. She was Mary Ann McMaster of Seacash, whose mother was a Kennedy, an aunt of Archie Ramseys. Mary Ann had gone to take care of another Aunt Ramsey who died and left her £300, a large fortune in those days. She had but one sister who married soon after herself but died in a few years. Soon after she came to “The Glen”, her father took fever and my father used to drive her down to see him on a sidecar as being the safest for infection. Her father died soon but not first then I think, but the place was to be sold and she and her husband were very anxious that my father should buy it. But though a good place it was far from his home and in a great labouring country, different to what he was used to, so he did not.

Jane Kennedy’s grandmother died about 1860 and they bought “The Hollow” and went to live there. Maria was born the following year and William McClure and his new bride were invited to the christening. She bought Miss Kennedy this brooch, which was not new at that time. When Mrs Kennedy died it belonged to Maria and her initials are on the back of it. Mary Ann McClure and her sister both had a great taste in jewellery, and liked things a bit grander than their neighbours and as they were well to do they could indulge their taste in that direction. When her sister died she got her share too.

She gave Mrs Frazer a very grand gold brooch set with green stones on emeralds and with gold fringe to it and a smaller one the same fastened to it by gold chains, very elaborate. Mrs F got it divided and made into two and gave one each to her two girls. Mrs McClure also gave my Aunt Margaret a pearl ring which came to me, but to my great grief I lost it.

I am not very clear about my grandfathers five half sisters Pattersons but think that one of them married a Cunningham and was the mother of Sir Samuel and Josiah and David and I think there are two Miss Cunninghams.

One married a Fulton and had one daughter Mary that I remember visiting at Grandma’s but don’t know what became of her. Another I think was a Mrs McNinch who had two daughters, they are both dead. I remember Mary very well but did not know her sister. A family of McWilliams used to visit Grandma’s who I think must have been descendents of another sister. One of the boys called Albert was a great singer of country songs and came out every time. I must try and find out some more about them.

The Lyons’ came about the Wolfhill. Of the three daughters of William’s widow, one Rebecca was my grandmother and Margaret married John Boyd and had a large family and lived at Drumbeg. But they all died unmarried.

Jane married John Thompson who lived there. James Graham now lives at Thompson’s bridge. She had four sons and a daughter. Her husband was killed as he came home from Belfast. She went to town and kept a small shop and kept lodges. Her son William went to America and married and there and had four daughters who are all alive at present. Margaret and May are still single. Ella is married and I think has a son and daughter.

Anna is Mrs Conry and has a son, Allen, and daughter Mary Louise. They live in Jamestown N.J. John was twice married but died childless and Robert and Margaret never married.

Alex married Isabella Brady and had four sons and two daughters. James is not married. Jack married an English girl but has no family. Willie is married in Canada and had two children. Last time I heard Bertie was married this year. Jennie married a man called Heaten and has one son and Isabel is still unwed.

I have learned since that the Cunningham’s above mentioned are descended from my great grandfather’s brother David McClure who lived where Uncle David Patterson lives now. He had two daughters, Peggy and ‘Jane’ I think. Peggy married a Barbour Cunningham who I think would be the present Josiah and Sir Samuel’s grandfather!!

George Kennedy told me that a great many Budore people came from Ballinderry originally, around Portmore. Among them was the Higginson families and the Jordan’s and Neeson’s. He said that the late William Higginson’s grandfather was buried in the old churchyard at the edge of the Lough; that his body was ‘carried’ all the way and that his, George’s, grandfather helped to carry him and that it rained from when they left Budore till they got to Ballinderry. George’s grandfather and our great grandfather were buried in Carmavy, along with another David McClure, a cousin who lived where Bella Spratt lives now. They or their father were supposed to come from Scotland. There is the remains of an old chest of drawers upstairs that was said to have come with them.

I have a good mahogany bed upstairs that came from “The Glen”. There is another old mahogany one downstairs that belonged to my grandmother and perhaps to my great grandmother and an oldbox bed with a roof and three sides that is likely as old as any of them. Both these are rather short but that must have been the fashion then for it seems all the beds at the Glen were very short. And some Uncle was coming to pay them a visit and William said if all was well he would go to town and buy a bed that he could stretch himself in. The McClure’s were all tall. He bought the one we now own.

Jane Kennedy remembers her grandfather telling his memories of the troubles of ’98. He was going to school with his elder brother John. The school stood where Tom Ireland’s house stands at Dundrod. They wondered to see crowds of people standing about everywhere and nobody working. When they got to school the teacher gave them a holiday and sent them home and the crowds were larger than ever. They went to bed that night as usual, and when they woke up next morning all the McLannon (McLernon?) family were asleep on the floor. The house where Willie Graham now lives was burnt. It belonged to a man called-she thought-Hamill. He escaped to America, later a son and daughter lived here with the McClure’s till he was able to send for them.

Jane’s grandfather was a tall, slight good-looking man who had lived at his grandfather’s at Hopevale and got a good education at Crumlin Academy- riding to school on a pony. He was a great horseman always and hunted with the hounds sometimes. He was looked upon as his uncles heir; but his aunt took sick and some lady friend came to attend her. After she died the uncle married the friend and there was a son so that cut him out.

May 1946

I have been to Carmavy Graveyard and saw a stone erected to David McClure Budore who died in 1808 aged 64year, also his wife Agnes died 1826, probably the Nancy mentioned above.

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