American emigrant to county Tyrone

Samuel Carson Huggins was a young man when he removed from Philadelphia to Strabane sometime between 1795 and 1802. [1] By 1802, the Rebellion of the United Irishmen was just four years in the past. The Act of Union (1801) had not only joined Ireland to Great Britain, but also extinguished the Irish Parliament. The manufacture and export of linen was increasing, as was the cultivation of the potato and, consequently, the population of tenant farmers and cottiers.

Situated in the north end of the county Tyrone on the river Mourne, the town of Strabane had a considerable linen trade. [2] Here, Samuel claimed the legacy from his uncle Robert Carsan [3], that is, houses in the Town Parks and acreage in Drumrallagh at the southeast end of the town. Samuel's cousin, John Barclay, lived at Mourne Lodge nearby. He had Sproull relatives in the neighbourhood, and the Macartneys at Rosebrook near Armagh. These family lines came to Samuel by his mother, Nichola, daughter of Andrew and Barbara Carsan.

Unless one of his Huggins uncles had sailed to America during his minority, Samuel was meeting his paternal Irish kin for the first time. His uncle John Huggins had died in 1795: John's widow, Jean, and eight of her ten children lived at Glenarb townland, in the parish of Aghaloo. Samuel had an extended family on his father's side: at Glenarb, of course, and Huggins cousins who were indigo planters in India, with Marshall and Girvan relatives in the parish of Aghaloo. He was also related to the Kennedys of Gortnaglush in the parish of Donaghmore where, until recently, his great uncle William Kennedy had been minister of Carland Presbyterian church. Rev. Mr. Kennedy's niece, Sarah Kennedy, had married her first cousin, William Huggins.

William Huggins had died just recently. His will was proved in 1802 [4], resulting in the appointment of his nephew, Samuel Carson Huggins, as trustee and guardian of William's "then wee infants." In 1810, Samuel renewed the lease agreement for the children's property, consisting of twenty-seven acres at Gortgonis, near Coal Island, in the county of Tyrone. Samuel was involved as trustee as late as 1836, when that property was finally devolved on the eldest of William's children. [5] 

Though Samuel had inherited property at Strabane, he appears to have rented out the houses and acreage. For a number of years, Samuel's family lived at Ivy Lodge in Donnydeade townland,* parish of Clonfeacle, where Samuel held sixty acres from the Earl of Ranfurly. [6] Donnydeade lies about three miles southeast of the town of Dungannon, on the east side of the old Moy road. * Link is to map, which opens in new window.

Samuel placed an advertisement in the 9th September 1816 edition of the Belfast Commercial Chronicle, for the farm of Ivy Lodge, consisting of about thirty acres. [7] Twenty years later, the deed registering the transfer of lands, held in trust by Samuel Carson Huggins, to his nephew, John Huggins (cited above), shows the family still resident at Ivy Lodge in 1836. [5] In 1842, when Samuel's son was attending the Belfast Academical Institution, his home was shown as Bushmount, Dungannon. [8] There was a residence named Bushmount in Mullaghteige townland, parish of Killyman—comprising eighteen acres, and situated between Dungannon and Coal Island—advertised within months of Samuel's death in 1850. [9] This may have been the family's home after Ivy Lodge: the question needs to be researched further in the Registry of Deeds.

As for Samuel's holdings in Strabane, his name appeared for the property in Drumrallagh townland on a list of persons who had served notices on the Clerk of the Peace of their intentions to register Freeholds for 1829. [10] In 1834, an  agreement concluded with Robert Killen, of Portinaghey, county Monaghan, shows that Samuel Carson Huggins stood indebted to Mr. Killen for £118 3s., secured by Bond and promissory notes, and had applied to him for a further loan of £281 17s. The application was acceded, and it appears that some portion of Drumrallagh was made over to Mr. Killen in lieu of payment of £400 of Interest. [11] In the following year, Samuel entered into a lease agreement with the same gentleman, for two tenements, houses, and gardens in Strabane and three acres in Drumrallagh, for an annual rent charge of £3 17s 6d. [12] In the 1834 deed, the signature of James Huggins, of Strabane, Gent., was affixed to the deed, while the name of John Huggins, of Strabane, Gent., was named as a party with Samuel. A baptismal record has been found for a son named John, but not of James: whether this was an error in transcription is not clear.

Then, in the 7th May 1839 edition of the Derry Journal, Samuel advertised twelve acres in the Town Parks of Strabane for sale as a perpetuity. [13] It seems unlikely that the property meant here was in the heart of the town. More rural in nature, this advert probably refers to Drumrallagh, which was subsumed under the district name of the Town Parks of Strabane. It is difficult to decipher the meaning of these transactions though, at first blush, they might suggest a certain amount of financial distress. Here, as for the family's residences near Dungannon, more work needs to be done in the Registry of Deeds, Dublin. At some point, Samuel conveyed his interest in the rural small holdings in Drumrallagh and the tenements on Main street in the town to his uncle William Huggins (though the deed was not registered until 1855), in exchange for the considerable sum of £1928, [14] – and yet the twelve or so acres in Drumrallagh remained in Samuel's and his descendants' hands till the early 1930s. In order to trace the lines of ownership, mortgages, conveyances, &c. further study at the Registry of Deeds in Dublin is indicated!

As for Samuel's political views, some clue may be gleaned from his signature appearing with those of the Roman Catholic clergy and other inhabitants of Strabane in an address to Earl Mulgrave, when the latter was installed as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1835. [15] To put this letter into context, six years had elapsed since the passage of the Roman Catholic Relief Act (1829). By this Act, Catholics could be admitted to Parliament and to most public offices. As explained by Cross and Livingstone in their work, the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, within the past decade Roman Catholics and liberal Protestants had formed the Catholic association, 

  ... an association created by D. [Daniel] O'Connell for
  the defence of RC interests in Ireland. It was founded
  in May 1823, but did not come into effective existence
  till the following February.
  Through the exertions of the RC clergy a branch of it
  was established in nearly every parish, and it mobilized
  all classes of the RC community and liberal Protestants.
  In Feb. 1825 the government suppressed it, but its work
  was continued under other names. Its influence largely
  contributed to the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief
  Act 1829. [16]

The tone in the address to Earl Mulgrave, and phrases such as "three cheers for the emancipator of the slaves," &c., are suggestive of the existence of such an alliance in the town of Strabane.

For several years after the passage of the Relief Act, movements were still afoot for Repeal of the Act of Union (1801) and the abolition of tithes. With the installation of Earl Mulgrave as Ireland's new Lord Lieutenant on the 29th April 1835, it was felt that, "A new era was brightly dawning on Ireland." [17] He was hailed for his sympathetic and "conciliatory intentions towards Catholics on the one hand and his attacks on Orange partisanship on the other." O'Connell extravagantly dubbed him "the best Englishman ever to come to Ireland." [18,19]

Within a few years, the Tithe Commutation Act for Ireland (1838) transferred one-quarter of the tithes to the landlords while, instead of receding from view, momentum for the Repeal of the Union gathered strength. While the politicians played their chess pieces, a temporary stalemate occurred as the Great Famine overshadowed all from 1845–1852.


Inevitably, the older guard began to die off. First was Samuel himself on the 30th July 1850, at his residence in Dungannon. [20] Then, in 1860, Samuel's cousins (and his wife Mary's siblings), James Huggins of Glenarb, followed by Eliza Ann in 1861.

Samuel's wife, Mary, lived on at Castle-Hill, Dungannon. [21] The townhouses on Castle-Hill are situated just a stone's throw from the ruins of the castle on the Hill of the O'Neills. Mary survived her husband by fifteen years, dying on the 1st October 1865, at Castle Hill, Dungannon. [22]


  1. Samuel Carson Huggins emigrated to Ireland sometime between the 29th July 1794 and the 7th May 1802. On the former date, William Matthews, Samuel's guardian, submitted his account to the Orphans Court of Cæcil County, Maryland. After this date, there is a six-year gap in the records that survive for that court, from 1797 to 1801, when subsequent accounts may have been submitted by Mr. Matthews to the court. In any event, Samuel had settled in Ireland by 1802, as shown by the presence of his signature as a witness to two deeds, viz.: Memorial no. 355920, Huggins to Marshall, and Memorial no. 359921, Huggins to Marshall, each dated 7th May 1802.
  2. Brown, Thomas. Union Gazetteer for Great Britain and Ireland. Vol. II. Printed in London, Edinburgh, Sanquhar, and Glasgow (1807).
  3. Last Will and Testament of Robert Carsan, of the city of Philadelphia, and Strabane, county Tyrone. Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills (1384-1858). Public Record Office, The National Archives (UK), Kew, Richmond, Surrey. TNA ref. PROB 11/1121; order no. I/04/00137736R. Purchased and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2002-12-09.
  4. Prerogative Court. Wills and Probate, ref. W97. "William Huggins, 1802, Coal Island, county Tyrone." Original record: Ireland Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administrations indexes 1595-1858. Second entry in the 1809 index, ref. W235. Additional source: Sir Arthur Vicars, Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810, and Supplement (1914). Digital copy online at (2015-09-19).
  5. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins to Huggins. Memorial no. 1836-4-36, dated 10 February 1836. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/649 (accessed 2003-11). Extract by Alison Kilpatrick.
  6. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. Estate map of Donnydeade, county Tyrone, surveyed by William Armstrong (1815). PRONI ref. T871/19. Studied by A. Kilpatrick, November 2003.
  7. Belfast Commercial Chronicle, 9 September 1816. "Lands near Dungannon to be sold," re: Samuel Huggins, Ivy Lodge. Digital copy online at The British Newspaper Archive, (accessed 2015-12-27).
  8. Ibid., 2 July 1842. "Royal Belfast Academical Institution," re: S. Huggins (Bushmount, Dungannon). Digital copy online at The British Newspaper Archive, (accessed 2015-12-27).
  9. Tyrone Constitution, 4 October 1850. "To be let, The Dwelling-House, Offices, and Farm of Land, called Bushmount, in the towland [sic] of Mullaghatague, in the county of Tyrone. / The Farm contains about Eighteen Acres of prime Land, with a sufficiency of Turbary. / The above is a most Desirable Residence for a respectable family. The House is large and commodious and in perfect repair. It is situated one mile and a half from Dungannon, and the same distance from Coal Island. Immediate possession can be given. / Apply to Samuel Young, Solicitor, Dungannon."
  10. Strabane Morning Post, 19 May 1829. “List of Persons who have served Notices on the Clerk of the Peace, of their intention to Register Freeholds at the ensuing Special Sessions, to be held at Clogher, Omagh, Strabane, and Dungannon, in the month of June next, as appointed by the Lord Lieutenant pursuant to the 10th Geo. IV. Chap. 8,” re: Samuel C. Huggins, resident of Strabane, Barony of Strabane, Drumrallagh. Transcribed by Faye Logue, and posted to
  11. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins to Killen. Memorial no. 1835-9-159, dated 15 May 1835. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/635 (accessed 2003-11). Extract by Alison Kilpatrick.
  12. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins to Killen. Memorial no. 1835-15-208, dated 15 July 1835, registered 12 September 1835. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/645 (accessed 2003-11). Extract by Alison Kilpatrick.
  13. Derry Journal, 7 May 1839. "Perpetuity for Sale," re: Samuel Carson Huggins, twelve acres in Drumrallagh, near Strabane. Digital copy online at The British Newspaper Archive, (accessed 2015-12-27).
  14. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Huggins to Huggins. Memorial no. 1855-29-262, dated 19 November 1855. Copy on microfilm at the PRONI, Belfast, ref. MIC/311/801 (accessed 2003-11). Extract by Alison Kilpatrick.
  15. Dublin Morning Register, 8 October 1835. "Reception of the Lord Lieutenant in Strabane," re: signature of Samuel C. Huggins on Address. Digital copy online at (accessed 2015-12-27).
  16. Cross, Frank Leslie, and Elizabeth A. Livingstone. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford: The Oxford University Press, 1957; repr. 2005.
  17. Lenihan, Maurice. Limerick; Its History and Antiquities, Ecclesiastical, Civil and Military, &c. Dublin: Hodges, Smith and Co., 1866.
  18. Blackstock, Allan, and Eoin Magennis. Politics and Culture in Britain and Ireland, 1750–1850: Essays in Tribute to Peter Jupp. Belfast: The Ulster Historical Foundation, and contributors, 2007.
  19. In exchange for suspending his demand for Repeal, O'Connell would "give a general support to the Government, and to aid the Irish Executive in maintaining English authority in Ireland; they were to introduce remedial measures (particularly a tithe aboliton bill with the Appropriation clause, and a bill to reform the corporations), and to appoint to official positions in Ireland men of popular leanings and sympathies. In fact, as O'Connell put it, a 'real union' between the two countries, 'involving equal rights, privileges, and franchises,' was to be established, and practical effect was to be given to the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 by 'taking the Government of Ireland out of the hands of the Ascendancy faction, and identifying it with the nation at large.'" Citing O'Connell, letter to Cloncurry, Kilkenny Moderator, 21 October 1835. Source: O'Brien, R. Barry. Fifty Years of Concessions to Ireland. Vol. I. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, undated.]
  20. The Armagh Guardian, 5 August 1850. "Died.—July 30, at his residence, Dungannon, Samuel C. Huggins, sen., Esq." Transcribed by A. Kilpatrick from microfilm copy (British Library).
  21. Griffith, Richard. General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland ... Union of Dungannon ... County of Tyrone. Dublin: Alex. Thom and Sons, for her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1851. Digital copy online at "Griffith's Valution," (accessed 2016-01-02).
  22. General Register Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Civil Registration of Death. Mary Huggins, died 1 October 1865; widow of S.C. Huggins, Gent. Present at the death: Jane Huggins. Dungannon Registration District. Vol. XVII, pg. 621. Transcribed by A. Kilpatrick, November 2003, at the GRONI.

Links to other segments of this biographical sketch:

Link to Huggins–Carsan–Maxwell–Barclay family tree.

Return to Samuel Carson Huggins (d.1850) index page.
Return to Huggins of Glenarb, parish of Aghaloo 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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