John Huggins (c.1773–), of Glenarb

John Huggins was the eldest son born to John Huggins (d.1795) and Jean Thompson (d.1826), of Glenarb, parish of Aghaloo, county Tyrone. [source no. 1] He was the fourth of his namesake to live at Glenarb. [2]

John left the following documentary trail in the Registry of Deeds:

  • in July 1795, as co-executor of his father's will [1];
  • in 1798, a lease of lands at Greenvale (Tullynamallog), parish of Keady, and in Tullyglush, parish of Tynan, both in the county of Armagh, to James Girvin, of Greenvale [3];
  • in May 1802, a deed poll for £1180, between John Huggins, James Girvin, and Huggins Marshall, for lands in Tullyglush, parish of Tynan, and Tassagh, parish of Keady [4];
  • in May 1802, a deed poll for £120, between John Huggins, James Girvin, and Huggins Marshall, for lands in Tassagh [5];
  • in December 1819, an indentured deed between the same parties, above, for lands in Tullyglush and Tullynamallog [6]; and,
  • in the same month, an indentured deed between the same parties for land in Lisglin, parish of Derrynoose, county Armagh [7].

   In all of these transactions, John Huggins was acting as one of the executors of his father's will. James Girvin was his uncle, by marriage, and Huggins Marshall, Attorney, his brother-in-law.

   Two newspaper articles have been found, pertaining to this gentleman:

  1. An advertisement, published in the 24th February 1797 edition of the Northern Star, offered a lease of land in Roan, of 48 Acres, English statute measure, with bleach-mills, machinery, &c. installed thereon. [8]

  2. A legal notice, published in the 27th February 1817 edition of The Dublin Evening Post, declaring John Huggins, an insolvent debtor confined to the Gaol of Dungannon. [9] From the list of Creditors, which included several merchants as far afield as Baltimore in the United States, it appears that John Huggins was also engaged in business as a merchant—an adventure in the nature of trade, perhaps commenced with the £600 inherited from his father.
       Interestingly, a legal notice had been published in the Belfast Commercial Chronicle just the day before, naming Oliver Allen as an insolvent debtor, in which John's brother, Thompson Huggins, of Dungannon, had been listed as a Creditor. [10] Equally intriguing is the fact that just three months later, Thompson landed at Philadelphia on the 17th May, having embarked the ship Prosperity at Londonderry. [11]
       As for John Huggins, another legal notice was published in the 17th May 1817 edition of the same newspaper, indicating that he was then confined to the Four Courts Marshalsea in Dublin: he would be discharged out of custody, subject to court proceedings scheduled for the 7th June. [12] Unfortunately, a subsequent news account has not been found.

John Huggins' name was also given, as a minor reference, during court martial proceedings held in 1798. After the rising of the United Irishmen, the local yeomanry raided the house of the Huggins' neighbour in Glenarb, Ferdinand O'Neill, on the pretext that he had been involved in the incidents at Toome, in the county Antrim. En route to Mr. O'Neill's house, the corps enquired, first, at Mr. Huggans' house, then at that of Best Fair. Upon the arrival of the corps at the house of Ferdinand O'Neill, a scuffle ensued, shots were fired, and the house was set on fire, in which blaze, Mrs. O'Neill died. Ferdinand O'Neill prosecuted Lieut. William Hunter, of the Moy corps of yeomanry with the murder of his wife and the destruction of his house. In fine, the Court Martial found that the charge was not proved, and acquitted Lieut. Hunter. [13]

In this manner, the turbulent events of 1798 visited tragedy upon the O'Neills of Glenarb townland, at a time "when religious animosity ran high in the district." A "favourite instrument" of Arthur O'Neill's was lost in the fiery conflagration—for Arthur, the renowned Irish harper, was brother to Ferdinand. For years to come, the local peasantry would recount this tale of "the wrecking of the O'Neills of Glenarb." [14] The Rev. James Stronge's renewal of his lease at Glenarb, two years later, must have given but small comfort to Ferdinand O'Neill. [15]

Our last confirmed sighting of John Huggins is in the 1819 indentured deed between himself, Huggins Marshall, and James Girvin. By this date, John Huggins was above forty years of age.

The following death notice was published in the 29th October edition of The Armagh Guardian, viz.:—

     Suddenly, at Strabane, on Friday last,
   Mr. John Huggins, formerly of Dungannon. [15]

This notice is more than a little ambiguous. By this time, there was another John Huggins in the family, a nephew to the subject of this biographical sketch. The nephew would have been thirty-eight years of age and, given the propensity for Huggins men to die young, the younger John Huggins may well have been the decedent named in this notice. His (the younger John Huggins') father, Samuel Carson Huggins, maintained a house in Strabane; however, the notice also states "John Huggins, formerly of Dungannon" where, apparently, John Huggins the elder had operated a mercantile concern. In 1849, the elder John Huggins would have been seventy-six years of age: would a newspaper describe the death of a man, well advanced in years, as "sudden"? In the absence of other documentation, it is impossible to determine which John Huggins was meant in this death notice.

The end of John Huggins' life is a mystery. Did he, eventually, follow his brother Thompson to America? or die in obscurity in Ireland, leaving no trace?

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Note (2015-12-02): The following deeds were listed in a legal notice, published in the 10th May 1867 edition of the Armagh Guardian (re: William Huggins, executor of James Huggins, deceased), in which John Huggins was named a part. The newspaper notice lists only abstracts, which need to be looked up in the Registry of Deeds (Dublin) records, and extracted  more fully.

  • Deed of Rent-charge, dated 6th June, 1805, and made between Jane Huggins, John Huggins, and Jas. Girvan.
  • Deed of Mortgage, dated 29th November, 1806, from John Huggins, James Girvan, and Jane Huggins to Anne Girvan for £500.
  • Deed of Assignment in Trust, dated 22nd April 1812, made between John Huggins and Best Fier [Fair].

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See also Local history notes for Glenarb townland.

Sources and notes:

  1. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. Copy will of John Huggins, Glenarb, parish of Aghalow, county Tyrone, dated 28th July 1795. PRONI ref. D889/1/41B.
  2. Leet, Ambrose, compiler. Directory to the Market Towns, Villages, Gentlemen's Seats, and Other Noted Places in Ireland. "Name of place: Glen-arb; County: Tyrone; Post Town: Caledon; Resident or Description: Mr. John Huggins." Dublin: Brett Smith, 1814.
  3. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins and Girvin. Memorial no. 342927, dated 1798?. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/279.
  4. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins and Marshall. Memorial no. 545-432-359920, dated 1802-05-07. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/394.
  5. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins, Girvin, and Marshall. Memorial no. 545-432-359921, dated 1802-05-07. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/394.
  6. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins, Girvin, and Marshall. Memorial no. 749-40-509375, dated 1819-12-16. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/505.
  7. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins, Girvin, and Marshall. Memorial no. 749-41-509376, dated 1819-12-16. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/505.
  8. Northern Star (Belfast), 24 February 1797, re: Bleach-Green and Farm, to be let, at Roan. Digital copy online at The British Newspaper Archive, www.newspapers.com (accessed 2014-10-23, by subscription). Note: It is not clear whether Roan townland was that in the parish of Derrynoose (more commonly spelt, Roughan), or that in the parish of Clonfeacle, county Tyrone.
  9. Dublin Evening Post, 27 February 1817, legal notice re: John Huggins, insolvent debtor, confined to the gaol of Dungannon. Digital copy online at The British Newspaper Archive, www.newspapers.com (accessed 2014-10-23, by subscription).
  10. Belfast Commerical Chronicle, 26 February 1817, legal notice re: Oliver Allen, insolvent debtor, with Thompson Huggins listed as one of the Creditors. Digital copy online at The British Newspaper Archive, www.newspapers.com (accessed 2014-10-23, by subscription).
  11. Tepper, Michael, general editor; and, Elizabeth P. Bentley, transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia, 1800–1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. "Thomason [sic] Huggins, departed Londonderry, arrived at Philadelphia 26th May 1817, via the ship Prosperity." Original record: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1800-1882. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Micropublication M425, rolls # 1-71. NARA ref. series no. 425, microfilm no. 24, list no. 69. Digital copy online at ancestry.ca (accessed by subscription).
  12. Dublin Evening Post, 17 May 1817, legal notice re: John Huggins, insolvent debtor, confined to Four Courts Marshalsea, Dublin. Digital copy online at The British Newspaper Archive, www.newspapers.com (accessed 2014-10-23, by subscription).
  13. Ó Muirí, Reamonn. "A 1798 Court Martial, with reference to Arthur O'Neill, harper." Seanchas Ard Mhacha. Vol. XII, No. 2 (1987).
  14. Bigger, Francis Joseph. "Arthur O'Neill, the Irish Harper." Ulster Journal of Archæology. Vol. VII. Belfast: M'Caw, Stevenson & Orr, Limited, The Linenhall Press, 1901, pp. 6–7.
  15. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. Lease for 21 years or 2 lives. Rent £20 sterling yearly. Rev. James Stronge to Ferdinand O'Neill. Part of Glenarb in the parish of Aghaloo, Co. Tyrone. PRONI D2433/A/1/45/7.
  16. The Armagh Guardian, 29 October 1849. Death notice for John Huggins (c.1773-1849). Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, and published in The Armagh Guardian, 1844–1852: Vol. I. Births, Marriages, and Deaths (2nd ed.), compiled and edited by A. Kilpatrick (Ontario, Canada: Quercus Arborealis Publications, September 2015).

This page was published on the 14th November 2015, and edited subsequently on the 30th November 2015; 3rd December 2015, for the entry found in Ambrose Leet's "Directory to the Market Towns, Villages, Gentlemen's Seats, and Other Noted Places in Ireland" (pub. 1814); 4th December 2015, for the wrecking, by the local yeomanry, of the O'Neills' house in Glenarb; 13th December 2015, for a link to John Huggins' father (John Huggins, d.1756); 3rd January 2016, for links to newspaper extracts.

If you have a family history connection to a Huggins family from the county of Tyrone—or if you have information to add to the biographical sketches presented here—please consider getting in touch via the contact page.

Return to Huggins of Glenarb, parish of Aghaloo index page.
Return to Biographical sketches, outlines, and timelines index page.

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© Alison Kilpatrick, 2015. All rights reserved.
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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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