Biography of Andrew Bradford OLIVER
If all we had to go on to build a picture of Andrew Bradford
OLIVER were the comments by his sister, Eliza, we would have to conclude that
he was a very sorry piece of work - a man who was motivated only by whiskey and
law. But then again, her version was
tainted by the fact that the two of them were locked in a pitched battle over
disputes about an inheritance from their brother William. So it is worth starting
at the beginning and building a picture of him as best we can from a range of
fragments. We don’t have much to go on.
Andrew Bradford OLIVER was born in 1818, in all likelihood
at the family home at Killynure, Co. Armagh. He was the second youngest known
child of a family of six, the children of Benjamin OLIVER and Elizabeth
BRADFORD. Both of his parentes came from reasonably prosperous Presbyterian
families whose lives had been supported by both farming and the linen industry.
He was only seven years old when his mother died at age 40, possibly of a
lingering illness. Her daughter Eliza mentioned in a letter that her mother wished
a situation which must have been hard for the children to endure.
Not only did young Andrew lose his mother when he was a
child, but then his father died in 1831. Andrew was only 13 years old at the
time, a delicate time for a boy to have lost their only surviving parent. We
have no record of who then cared for the dependent children. The two oldest
sons would have been old enough to take this on, but it seems that although
they were good souls (and bachelors to the end) they were also a bit on the
rough and ready side and quite likely fully engaged on the family farm. I
suspect that the younger children might have gone to Cavananore to be cared by
a maiden aunt, Margaret BRADFORD and their aunt, Mary Jane OLIVER, a younger sister of Andrew Bradford OLIVER. Their great-uncle, Andrew Coulter BRADFORD, was also
living at Cavananore at the same time.
Andrew’s mother, Elizabeth BRADFORD, had been born at
Cavananore. Her family was supposedly given the land after the Battle of the
Boyne, although I have yet to corroborate this. Be that as it may, her family
had flourished on that land for at least a hundred years earning their keep as “strong
farmers” as well as working at other small business enterprises of various
sorts and also taking on small-town civic posts from time to time.
indication of the importance of her roots in Co. Louth, his mother’s life was remembered
in a gravestone inscription at the Presbyterian Kane cemetery nearby. If there was also a
grave marker near her home at Killynure, there is no record of such. Unfortunately for
posterity, the private graveyard where many OLIVERs were buried is now a grazing
field for cows. If time and the elements had not already eroded the
inscriptions, the hoofs of the cows would have done the rest. As for Andrew Bradford OLIVER, his family is remembered in a grave marker in Lislea. Since this is in a Church of Ireland graveyard, perhaps that was the religious denomination of his second wife.
Andrew Bradford OLIVER's father’s family were supposedly of Huguenot stock,
although other than oral family history I have yet to prove this. We do know
that the family farmed in the area at least as early as the late 1600s. When
Andrew was a child, most of the land on either side of the road connecting the
City of Armagh to Monaghan between Killynure and the outskirts of the city
would have been owned or leased by his OLIVER relations. Through a series of
misadventures, ill timed business decisions, the luck of the times and shortage
of competent male heirs, it all came a cropper in the years just preceding and
just after his birth. It probably didn’t feel great that other families scooped
up the leavings (mostly legitimately) and built fortunes on the lands that the
OLIVERs had to let go.
So, in one way or another, Andrew grew up and followed in
his family’s footsteps by becoming a farmer. His first wife died in her early 20s, and on March 22, 1843 at Eglish
Parish, Co, Armagh, he married Anne HANNA, the third daughter of William HANNA,
deceased of Terraskane [aka Tereskane]. He was 25 years old at the time and she
was 21. A John HANNA of Terraskane acted as trustee on her behalf while William
OLIVER of Brootally and Andrew Coulter BRADFORD of Cavananore were the trustees acting
on Andrew’s behalf.
As part of the wedding agreement, William OLIVER and Andrew Coulter BRADFORD made over to James HANNA 25 acres, 3 roods 10 perches in
Brootally, Parish of Derrynoose, Co. Armagh. This land had been included earlier
in a November 1, 1828 in a lease by Maxwell CLOSE to the OLIVERs. A second parcel in Brootally
included another 4 acres, 2 roods. A third parcel included 18 acres 2 perches
in Killylea, Parish of Tynan, Co. Armagh held by a James OLIVER.
This latter holding recited a lease on August 15, 1830 between Sir James
Maxwell STRONG, Henry Samuel CLOSE and John Tew ARMSTRONG (executors of John
MAXWELL of Fellows Hall) and William OLIVER.
By the time of Griffiths Valuation, it appears that James OLIVER had sold his
acreage and moved in to the Village of Killylea where he leased a house valued
at £1.15.0 (looking at a map, I believe this would have been row housing of a
fairly decent quality). He died about this time. Interestingly, given the name
that Andrew would choose for his first daughter, there was also a Martha OLIVER who leased lands at Killylea as
I know nothing more about the HANNA family other than the
fact that in Griffiths, a Samuel HANNA had clear title to about 15 acres and
buildings valued at £2.0.0 at Terraskane and also leased an additional 22 acres
and buildings valued at £2.15.0 there. Also, a Jemima HANNA leased about 32
acres and buildings valued at £7.10.0 at Ballyscandal as did a Samuel HANNA who
leased a further 8 acres, 3 roods 22 perches there. This is the townland where
both Andrew and his wife would live out at least part of the latter part of
their lives. The townland of Terraskane is on the eastern border of Ballyscandal,
so I suspect the family farmed in both townlands.
Andrew Bradford OLIVER and Anne HANNA had at least 5
children. Two of them, Mary Jane and Barbara died in infancy.
Their first born, Martha Eliza, was probably born in early
By age 19 or so, she had already emigrated to Queensland, Australia. I do not
know under what circumstances she emigrated or when. I suspect she was slightly
south of the legal age of 21 when she married and hence fudged the date for her
marriage certificate (on February 20, 1864). She and husband George NORRIS had three children (George, William (b. 1868) and Mary Jane (b. 1869)) before
poor Martha died November 26th, 1872 at age 28 from peritonitis. Her aunt Mary
Jane OLIVER, who died three years later, took care to bequeath £100 to her four year old daughter Mary Jane
This photo was contributed by Ruth Murdoch of Australia. This is her great-great-grandmother. Martha Eliza OLIVER was married at age 17, had three children and had died by age 25. This picture was possibly taken just before she left Ireland. Check out the waistline!
Receive this as a token of
Love from your loving
Niece, Martha E. Norris
WH Schroeder’s Photographic Gallery
645 George Street
(opposite the Haymarket)
Copies may be had by sending the
NOTE: The rest of the NORRIS Family tree (deceased descendants only) can be found at my "Silver Bowl" family tree at Rootsweb
. I do note that an earlier generation of OLIVERs in Ireland also intermarried with an Irish NORRIS family, so although George was born in England, it is hard to say how long his family had been there and they may have also come from Ireland.
|This photo was contributed by Ruth Murdoch of Australia.
Benjamin OLIVER was the eldest and possibly only son of Mary Jane HAYES and Andrew Bradford OLIVER. He was mentioned
in a letter June 8, 1874 when Eliza OLIVER is telling her son Thomas
about her brother Andrew’s attempts to get some of the family land (this may
have included Killynure).
On July 16, 1880 the OLIVER estate was sold for £2,350, much to the surprise of
Her brother William had died 7 years earlier in 1873. She thought they might
contest the outcome, but also realized that it could take another seven years
and would incur more legal costs. According to Thompson BROWN, the property in
the estate had never been legally deeded and hence he suggested that a Benjamin
and a John OLIVER should get 1/3 of the property. Benjamin was left money in the will of Mary Jane OLIVER (his aunt); he is not mentioned on the family headstone (which mentions the deaths of other children as well as the death of their mother in 1891); and he does not show up anywhere in Ireland in the 1911 census.
Since I first wrote this biography, new DNA evidence and correcpondance from descendants of Benjamin OLIVER have shed new light on the picture.
Although his picture was in the same family album (CD1) at Gilford, it was not on the same page. The other members of this family were grouped together. His photo was on a page with Tom MOONEY,S.E. McCORMICK and Mrs. McCORMICK .
Then, there was the black sheep of the family, William
OLIVER who would have been in his early 20s when he died in 1867. The inscription on the back of his
picture speaks volumes about the family attitudes towards him [note – I need to
find old emails about this photo and people in the States who thought they
caught a glimpse that could be meaningful]. Thanks to Carolyn Hendry, we have since learned that he is buried at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and a few years before his death had served as a private in the Unionist Army:
Height: 5 feet 5 inches
Weight - 8 stone 13 lbs
Age 18 years and 3 months
Left his country for his
62 Deleware St.,
NOTE: I keep switching him in my rootsweb tree between being a son of Mary Jane HAYES or else a son of Anne HANNA. Until I find a birth date, I cannot be sure. He does bear a family resembalnce to his younger brother (or half-brother) Bradford OLIVER.
Finally, the second youngest of their children is Margaret
who was born in 1853 and died at age 28 in 1881at Aughrafin. Parish of Eglish. I have no idea who she may have
been living with at the time, if anyone. Her father had died at Aughrafin 4
years earlier, so it is possible that her mother still maintained a home there.
By the time of Griffiths Valuation, there is no remnant of any known OLIVER
family connection to this townland. Margaret’s will was probated by Thompson
BROWN of Killynure, a son-in-law of her Aunt Eliza OLIVER. She left an estate
of £364.5s.8d.. Some of her personal wealth had been topped up by a bequest
from her Aunt Mary Jane who studiously avoided giving money to the fathers of
her nieces and nephews – and her bequests went to the children directly. In the
picture beneath, she is probably about 12 years old. When I look at her picture
and wonder about her life, I notice that she would have been the same age as
her cousin, Margaret JACKSON. Hopefully, they had some happy times together
playing at Urker, Cavananore, Killynure or other family homes.
Bradford & Margaret Oliver
(Photo about 1866 given that Bradford was born about 1859)
|This photo is undated, but Margaret looks here to be in her late teens, early 20s.
Last but not least is Andrew Coulter Bradford OLIVER who was
born in 1859, the baby of the family. He was sometimes simply known as Bradford
OLIVER. By 1888, at age 29, he was living and probably farming at Ballyscandal (Bassettts Directory 1888) - possibly
on the same land that had been in the HANNA family a generation earlier. According
to his death certificate (thanks to Maria Beattie for this document), he died
June 14, 1899 of asthma:
1899 Jun 14
Oliver, Bradford Farmer/ bachelor
Probably Asthma 20 years no medical attendant
present at the death.
So, once again we see a fairly large family, the 7 children
of Andrew Bradford OLIVER and Anne HANNA, and out of all of them only two lines produced
known descendants - the NORRIS family in Australia, and the descendants of Benjamin OLIVER is Scotland, Canada, and USA. Their descendants are amongst
the ones who provided much additional information that made this page possible.
Andrew Bradford OLIVER died at age 59 at Aughrafin,
Killylea, Parish of Tynan, Co. Armagh, His wife, Anne HANNA, died on March
29,1891 at age 69. She had outlived all but one of her children. Her effects were £90.10.
|WILL PROBATE: 1891 Anne OLIVER late of Ballyscandle, widow d. 29 Mar 1891 at Ballyscandle. Granted to Andrew C.B. OLIVER, son. Effects 90 pounds 10 shillings.
|HEADSTONE: Sacred to the memory of Andrew Oliver of Killylea who departed this life November Killylea, Parish of Tynan, Co. Armagh. 27th 1877 aged 39 years Also his children William Oliver April 17th 1867 Martha E Oliver December 2nd 1872 Margaret Oliver April 13th 1881 Also Mary J and Barbara Oliver who died in infancy And his wife Ann Oliver died 28 March 1891 aged 69 years.
NOTE: The transcription that I first received was incorrect. His alleged age at death of 39 can not be correct as his mother was already dead in 1825. A GRO record showing the same date of death and gives his age as "59" - a much better fit.