John Huggins of Glenarb, parish of Aghaloo (died c.1741)

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John Huggins, the first of this name to occupy Glenarb townland, is the oldest known ancestor in this line. Our first sighting of him is in the Vestry Minutes of St. John’s parish church (Church of Ireland) in Caledon, in an entry dated 14th April 1718. On that date was recorded the election of John Huggins, of Glenarb, as one of three sidesmen for the ensuing year. Mr. Huggins was re-elected in 1719, one of two sidesmen who represented the manor of Caledon—the parish of Aghaloo then comprising two manors (or estates), the second of which was called Ballymagrane. [1]

Presbyterians, like the Hugginses, were represented on the Vestry, alongside the "churchmen," or members of the Church of Ireland. The Vestry not only managed administrative matters pertaining to the parish church, but also affairs which, today, generally fall under the mandate of municipal government, such as approving expenditures for: overseeing new roads within the parish; building a new school house, and subsequent repairs; applotting Captain Hamilton's estate and the rest of the parish; nursing and placement of foundlings; relief of the poor; appointing constables to collect cess; etc. etc.

John McWilliams Johnston Marshall (1862–1944) compiled these Vestry Minutes in 1935. In the introduction, he enumerated the surnames still extant in the parish, while lamenting that "others, such as Huggins, Glenarb, [&c.] have disappeared from the parish during the nineteenth century, or even in the recollection of the older people of the present generation." [1] Indeed, the last of this line to reside at Glenarb was the first John Huggins' great grandson, James Huggins (c.1775–1860), who appears to have given up the farm there in the late 1840s. Thus, the history of the Huggins family in Glenarb townland runs to four generations, through about 125 years.

From what part of Ireland, or elsewhere, John Huggins arrived when he took up residence in Glenarb, there is, as yet, no trace. However, from a family memoir, penned in 1962 by a sixth generation namesake—John Alfred Huggins (1896–1962), of Toronto, Canada—we have the following:

          Family tradition had it that the Huggins family settled in
     Armagh during 1650's when Cromwell was arranging Ireland

If this oral tradition is true, then John Huggins—whose birth may be safely placed no later than 1698 (for it is hard to conceive that anyone younger than twenty years of age would have been elected to the post of sidesman in 1718!) was a son or grandson of the original adventurer. Would that we could learn more about this emigrant to the venerable city of Armagh!

Curiously, there are two early entries from Armagh of note:

  1. the marriage on the 28th November 1710 between John Huggins and Mary Bailie, at the Presbyterian Church in Armagh (now, Armagh First Presbyterian); [3] and,
  2. the name of John Huggins, at Drumad O Kenan [4], on a list of the "Chief and Under Tenants of the Manor of Armagh," in 1714. Drumad O Kenan was situated about a mile east-southeast of St Patrick's Church of Ireland cathedral. The Chief Tenant of Drumad O Kenan was Thomas Dawson, and the other Under Tenants were Jas. Draffin P, Gilbert McGlenney P, Neile McKee R, and David Anderson P. P designated Protestant, and R, Roman Catholic. [5]

Sorry to say—these two genealogical gems must be consigned to the footnotes section of our family history, because no evidence has yet been (and might not ever be) discovered which proves that John Huggins of Glenarb was related, in any way, to John Huggins of Armagh.

On the 30th August 1731, John Huggins entered into a lease agreement with Lord Charlemont. The terms included a rental fee of £23 per year, with six pence per pound for Receiver's Fees, to hold 80 acres in Glenarb. [6] In addition to continuing their tenure at Glenarb, in 1735, John Huggins was granted another lease by the Hamiltons for 73 acres of land in Kedew townland, due north of Glenarb. From this deed, we learn that John Huggins was required to build a sizeable dwelling house, with suitable offices (out buildings), and to plant an orchard of 60 apple and pear trees—an undertaking which his son, John jun., would complete by 1752. [7] In addition, John Huggins held 74 acres 7 perches in Drumacanver and Lisglynn townlands in the parish of Derrynoose, county Armagh, from Edward Mathews of Newcastle, county Down. [8]

Of particular interest, however, were the notes written into the margin—that John Huggins, the original lessee, had died (date not cited)*, and his son, John Huggins, had also died by 1756. [7] In a genealogical research context where church records do not survive from the early to mid eighteenth century, these entries in the margin have proven invaluable to the study of this family line. * In fact, John Huggins, sen., died c.1741. [8]

Three children are known to have succeeded John Huggins:

  1. John Huggins (d.1756), mentioned above;
  2. Margaret, wife of David Ferguson of Farriter, parish of Killeeshil; and,
  3. Ann, wife of Joseph Marshall of Blackwatertown, county Armagh.

In 1730, Margaret Huggins married David Ferguson, son of Andrew, of  Farriter townland, parish of Killeeshil, in the county of Tyrone. [9] An abstract of the will of Margaret's father suggests that the towns and lands of Kedie [Kedew] were bequeathed to David Ferguson. [10]

John Huggins' second daughter was the wife of Joseph Marshall [11]—a branch of family history research that remains very much a work-in-progress.

A fourth child, Joseph, may be attributed to this family. The one and only reference, found to date, consists of the name, Joseph Hugins, of Clenarb [sic], as party to a lease agreement transacted with the Marshall family, of the parish of Aghaloo, on the 5th May 1755. [12] It is hoped that more research of other documents held by the Registry of Deeds will clarify the relationship of Joseph Huggins to John Huggins (died c.1741).

☛ 2017-01-09 update: A review of Memorial no. 180-10-119002 (dated 30 May 1755), reveals that this memorial recorded deeds of lease and release made between Joseph Marshall the younger of Glenkeen of the one part; John Huggins of Glenarb (d.1756) and Cornelius Marshall of Caledon (d.1785) of the second part; and Joseph Marshall the elder of Dyan (d.1773) of the third part—as part of a settlement made in anticipation of the marriage of Joseph Marshall the younger of Glenkeen (d.1792) with Jane, daughter of Joseph Marshall the elder of Dyan (d.1773). This memorial does not contain a reference to a Joseph Huggins.

Though the original will document was lost (as were so many probate documents in the fire at Four Courts in 1922), the following abstract of John Huggins' will was compiled by Ellis and Eustace:

  HUGGINS, JOHN, Glenarb, parish of Aghalow, Co. Tyrone.
  7 April 1741.  Précis, 1/4 p., 23 April 1742.
  His son-in-law David Ferguson. Town and lands of Kedie.
  Witnesses: Wm. Peebles of Rahachy near Carrantall, Co.
  Tyrone, a Dissenting clergyman, Wm. Maxwell, Guinea near
  Callidon, Co. Tyrone, gent., Robert Huggins, Glenarb.
  Memorial witnessed by:  Wm. Maxwell, Hugh Carmichael,
  Dublin, gent.
    David Ferguson (seal) [13]

... which abstract yields another question: what relationship was Robert Huggins to John Huggins, sen.? The Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland yields this solitary clue (which may or may not pertain to the same man): "Huggins, Robert, Dublin, gent. 1780." [14] Otherwise, no trace has been found of the elusive Robert Huggins.




Marshall, John J. Vestry Book of the Parish of Aghalow (Caledon, County Tyrone). Dungannon: The Tyrone Printing Co., Ltd., 1935. ☛ See entries for 4th April 1718, and 30th March 1719.


Huggins, John Alfred (1896–1962), Toronto. Family history notes (1962). From the collection of his niece, Mary Elizabeth Brandum née Huggins (1926–2007), of Ohio. Gratefully received from C.H., 2015-01-25.


Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Armagh First Presbyterian. Marriages, 1707–1728. Abstract: marriage of John Huggins and Mary Bailie, 28th November 1710. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. Archival ref. PRONI MIC/1P/4/1 (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2003-11).


Place Names of Northern Ireland Project. says this is Drumadd townland, parish of Armagh. Online at (accessed 2015-12-03).


(a) Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Rent rolls of the See of Armagh, including a return of the tenants' names returned at a Manor Court held by the Archbishop of Armagh, 1714. Archival ref. PRONI ref. T729/3B (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2003-11). 
(b) Glancy, Michael. “The Church Lands and Armagh: No. 1. The Lands of the City and Manor.”
Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society. Vol. II, No. 2 (1957), pp. 327-55. Glancy wrote that Drumad O Kenan, also Drumadokenean, was formerly "part of Ballynahonemore, and belonged to the sept of Patrick McKenny. It was set in 1615 for one year to Art McShane but was subsequently leased for 60 years to John Symons, Clerk. It was held by his family until 1710, when it was leased, with its corn and tuckmill (i.e. for shrinking linen) for 21 years to Thomas Dawson, as Chief Tenant." (pg. 340)


Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Memorial no. 79-503-57084: Lord Charlemont to John Huggins of Glenarb, parish of Aghaloo, county Tyrone (dated 30 August 1731, registered 14 November 1735). Outline and extract from copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/50 (accessed 2003-11). Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (FHL microfilm no. 522815; digital images online at Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick and submitted to (2016-07-12). ☛ Note: An earlier lease, held from the Hamiltons or the Earl of Cork and Orrery, has yet to be found.


Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Transactions Relateing [sic] to Caledon Estate Since the Grant Thereof to William Hamilton Esq. by King Charles the 2nd. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. PRONI D2433/A/5/3 (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2003-11).


(a) Ireland Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administrations Indexes 1595–1858. Extract: "John Huggins, Glenarb, co. Tyrone, Prerogative Court, date of will: 7 April 1741." Index entry online at (accessed by subscription, 2015-09-19). Please note that the original will document has not survived.
(b) Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Memorial no. 128-511-87797John and Nathaniel McCall of Mullyneal, parish of Aghaloo, co. Tyrone, formerly of the Dyan, to John Huggins of Glenarb, parish of Aghaloo, to McCall (dated 21 January 1747; registered 23 February 1747). Extract from copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/84 (accessed 2003-11); transcript from copy per FHL microfilm no. 522833. Extract, transcription, and annotations by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to, 2016-08-12.


Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Memorial no. 109-245-75752John Huggins of Glenarb, parish of Aghaloo, co. Tyrone, to Andrew and David Ferguson of Farriter, parish of Killeeshil, co. Tyrone (dated 2 Oct 1730, reg'rd 7 Feb 1742). Extract made from copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/72 (accessed 2003-11). Transcript by A. Kilpatrick from FHL microfilm no. 522823, and submitted to (2016-07-12). 


(a) Eustace, P. Beryl, ed. Registry of Deeds, Dublin. Abstract of Wills, Vol. 1 1708-1745. Dublin: Dublin Stationary Office 1956. Extract: "No. 656. Huggins, John, Glenarb, parish of Aghalow, Co. Tyrone 7 April 1741...His son-in-law David Ferguson...Town and lands of Kedie..." Abstract online at Colin Ferguson's web site, (accessed 2003-12).
(b) Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Memorial no. 106-283-73771: 
John Huggins, his Will.  (dated 7 April 1741, registered 23 April 1742). Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (FHL film 522822); transcribed and annotated by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to, 2016-07-12.


Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Memorial no. 137-440-93968John Huggins, sen., of Glenarb, parish of Aghaloo, co. Tyrone, to John Huggins, jun., and the Rev. John Kennedy of Edenderry, parish of Eglish, co. Armagh, to John Huggins, jun. (dated 31 Aug 1739, registered 3 March 1749). Extract from copy at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/89 (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2003-11). Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (FHL film no. 461353); digital images online at Transcribed and annotated by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to, 2016-07-13.


Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Memorial no. 180-10-119002Marshall to Hugins [Huggins] & another (dated 30 & 31 May 1755; registered ?-?-1755). Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (FHL film no. 461377); digital images online at Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to, 2016-09-28.


Ellis and Eustace. Abstracts of Wills. Vol II. (1708-1745). Ref. 106, 283, 73771. Dublin: Stationery Office for the Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1984.


Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810 (pub. 1914). "Huggins, Robert, Dublin, gent. 1780."

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This page was published on the 3rd December 2015, and edited on the 4th December 2015 (for the size of the acreage under lease in Kedew townland, and to transfer the 1752 inventory of buildings, &c. to the sketch of the son, John jun.); on the 5th December (for the addition of Joseph, as probable son); on the 13th December, for a link to the biographical sketch for John Huggins' son; on the 9th January 2017 to provide the correct information recorded in Memorial no. 180-10-119002 (30 May 1755); and on 12th June 2019 for general editing and improvement of the footnotes section.

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.

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