Born: 1778 in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Died: 29 May 1854 in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Family Profile: Family Genes
Very little is known about our original Weir Acheson ancestor, our first known settler in County Tyrone. My first knowledge of him is in the Acheson book.1 She identifies him as the patriarch of the Acheson line, but does not mention his spouse, unfortunately.The middle name of “Weir” is very unusual, as it is not common in that country. However, a traditional practice of the Irish was to use the mother’s or the grandmother’s maiden name for a second given name to a son. So there is the possibility of a relationship to Weir (or Wier) families in the area at that time.
The spouse for Weir is unknown. The land records for Weir do not mention a spouse. The Griffith’s Valuation survey and the census records of 1901 and 1911 for the sons do not mention either parent being in the house.
Joseph Acheson 1815-1901
Alexander Acheson 18XX-1897
Margaret Acheson unknown-unknown
There is a marriage record of a possible daughter. On February 16, 1855, Margaret Acheson, of full age of Lackagh, daughter of Weir Acheson, a farmer, is married to John Turner, of full age, of Drumquin, son of William Turner of Lackagh.((Original research booklet; by Robert J. Williams of Londonderry, N. Ireland; compiled October 2015, 32 pp., plus photocopies of original documents, in private collection.)) The original document is very faded.
Death of Weir Acheson
Life in West Longfield, Ireland
“Weir Acheson died May 29th 1854 – aged 76 years”. This is recorded in the 1700’s Acheson family bible (see left), whose whereabouts is currently unknown. Weir most likely passed away in the family cottage in Collow, but certainly in Lower Langfield, county Tyrone, Ireland.
From his age of 76, recorded in the bible, we can estimate his birth year as 1778.
London Hibernian Society school, 1 mile to the west of Drumquin, established 1825; income: Reverend G. King give 3 guineas per annum and a dwelling house, from pupils 1 s a quarter, physical education: rod; intellectual education: Dublin Society books, testaments; moral education: a Sunday school held; number of pupils: 80 males, 40 females, 120 total pupils, 80 Protestants, 40 Roman Catholics; master John Rogers, Presbyterian.
The dress worn by the inhabitants differs in no respect from that of the surrounding parishes, and there are no remarkable peculiarities in it. Their diet consists principally of potatoes and porridge made of oatmeal, and sometimes their dinner is varied by the addition of a little bacon and greens, or oatmeal cake. Their manners are generally civil and obliging. They complain much of the short leases and high rents, and with justice, if we may judge from the squalid and poverty-stricken appearance of many of them. The farms average about 10 acres, the rent 1 pound an acre.
Townland of Callow
The townland of Collow has also been spelled as ‘Callow’ and ‘Cullow’. I will use the spelling on the posted sign on the access road. To locate Collow on an electronic map, it is near 54°36′ north and 7°31′ west. The Acheson farm is pinpointed at: 54o 36′ north and 7o 32′ west.
Neither barley nor wheat are grown in this parish. Oats are sown in March and April and cut in September. Potatoes are put down in May and taken up in November. Hay is cut in August. Crops are rather worse than the surrounding parishes.
In the nearby townland of Lackagh of parish Longfield West, only a mile from Weir, we have Cunningham Acheson on 26 acres of land and William John Acheson on 40 acres of pasture. About four or five miles furtheer, in the parish of Ardstraw, we also find two Robert’s, Samuel and William Acheson.
|1826||paid the taxes||In the Langfield Tithe Books,(Tithe Applotment Books (1823-1837). From the Langfield Tithe Books Ref. Fin/5/A/22) we have a record of a Wm. (William) Weir Atcheson, in the county of Tyrone, the parish of Longfield West, the townland of Collow in the year 1826; paying tax on 14 acres of arable land, 50 acres of pasture, 37 acres of arable and 58 acres of pasture. His neighbours in Collow were: William Johnston and two Thompsons.|
|1829||Weir owns the farm||In 1829, three years after the above-mentioned property tax, Weir registered his freehold at Collow with the Clerk of the Peace at a Special Session held in the courthouse Strabane, on May 9, 1829, a declaration of ownership of the farm (The Strabane Morning News; a local newspaper; May 19, 1829).
Freeholders’ records are lists of people entitled to vote, or of people who voted at elections. A freeholder was a man who owned his land outright (in fee) or who held it by lease, which could be for one or more lives. For example, his own life or for the lives of other people named in the lease. From 1727 to 1793, only Protestants with a freehold work at least 40 shilling a year were legally permitted to vote. Between 1793 and 1829, both Protestants and Catholics with 40 shilling freeholds could vote. But, in 1829, the franchise level was increased to ten pounds, so 40 shilling freeholders were no longer allowed to vote. This last measure increased the influence of landlords by effectively confining membership of Parliament to the propertied or monnied classes.
|1845||The son Joseph Acheson marries Isabella McKennitt in December. By next year, they will be fleeing the Irish Famine to start a new family in North America.|
|1845-1852||The Great Famine|
|1850||Joseph and Isabella have returned to Ireland and settle in Lower Longfield. Their second son, Weir Acheson, is born in July 1850. The Great Famine in not yet finished with its misery.|
|1854||The father, Weir Acheson, passes away in May of 1854 at the age of 76 years. He has seen and lived through so much in his lifetime, and has started a dynasty of Acheson descendants.|
|1855||The daughter, Margaret, now marries John Turner from Drumquin. John’s father was William Turner of Lackagh.|
|1859||The family members are now tenant farmers.|
|1860||Alexander marries Anne Eliza Acheson from Lackagh. She is daughter of Samuel Acheson; we do not know the relationship, if any.|
|1862||By 1859, some five years after Weir’s death, the farm is listed as being leased by his two sons from a Thomas Auchinkleck.|
- “Who’s That Sitting in our Family Tree? by Gert Lawrie.