Samuel Acheson (1840-1911)

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Samuel Acheson, a farmer in County Tyrone, Ireland, was one of three generations by that name; his father being Samuel and he named one of his sons as Samuel. The family descended from Scottish Plantation settlers in the early 1600's.


* Individual index: A.21
* Family tree: Samuel Acheson and his family tree
* Lineage: Samuel Acheson2 (Samuel1)

Samuel's Early Years

We find Samuel's father, Samuel Sr., living and farming on a 28 acre plot in the townland of Lackagh of West Longfield Parish in County Tyrone. This is a good size of farm, as the average size in County Tyrone was ten acres at that time. There is very little known of the elder Samuel, but his wife was likely named Jane. She outlived him, as she is the named tenant on the land by 1860.[1]

Samuel did have at least one sister, named Ann, or Anne. She married another Acheson, Alexander, son of Weir, in the adjoining townland of Collow. Likely Alexander Acheson was a first cousin, but not confirmed at this time.

Samuel and Elizabeth

Samuel Acheson and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Elliott were married in 1874 at Donaghmore parish, county Donegal in Northern Ireland. Together, they raised eleven children, eight girls and three boys. The last two children were twins: Rebecca and Catherine "Cassie".

The twins headed to New York City when they became 21 years of age, departing Londonderry, Northern Ireland on the 21st of September, 1912[2] and arriving some two weeks later in the Big Apple.[3] Their father had died the previous December, leaving the girls enough money to afford the voyage and likely enough more to start their new life. The Titanic had gone down the April of that year, perhaps leaving the twins somewhat nervous about this life changing decision to travel. However, with nine brothers and sisters, and no father, the future prospects for two spinsters in County Tyrone were looking slim.

Elizabeth was born in 1851 and died in 1918 at the age of 67 years. She died intestate, that is, without leaving a will. By 1954, the farm was being sold by the family and a court grant was finally filed. Her surviving daughter Mary applied for Grant of Letters of Administration to sell the property and farm assets, for the sum of 57 pounds sterling.

The Farm

Samuel Acheson homestead farm in Lackagh. Allan Acheson in doorway

From 1859 onward to 1923, the Griffith's Valuation was the prime source on land occupation, as any census records prior to 1901 were mostly destroyed in the fire at the Public Record Office in Dublin at the beginning of the Irish Civil War. The Griffith's Valuations for Lackagh Townland, co. Tyrone, are in the VAL/12B/35/21 volumes.[4] and images of the original pages can be researched at the PRONI website.

From 1860 to 1863, Jane Acheson, presumed mother of Samuel and a widow, is a tenant on the Lackagh farm. The farm is shown in the Griffith Valuation as map reference #7 in Lackagh, with 28 acres in size. Samuel is born on the farm in 1840.[1] Nearby, is a farm with Sarah Acheson as the tenant, possibly a sister to Jane. Sarah has three properties (map ref. 4A, 4B and 4C) with combined area of 18 acres.

From 1864 to 1879, Jane continues to have the 28 acres in Lackagh. Samuel marries Elizabeth in 1874, and they have five children in this period: Mary, Sarah, Annie, Elizabeth "Lizzie" and Josias. Sarah is now not listed for her farm. Property 3A on the map is now shown as "graveyard".[5]

From 1879 to 1881, Jane continues to have the 28 acres in Lackagh. Samuel's family continues to grow, with the addition of Jane "Jennie". He ages from 39 to 41 years. Sarah's farm is now rented by Charles Robb from a Robert Gordon.[6]

From 1882 to 1897, Samuel takes over the family farm from his mother, Jane. She likely has passed away and Samuel is now between 42 and 57 years old. Five more children are born in this period: George, Samuel, Margaret "Maggie" and the two twins, Rebecca and Catherine "Cassie".[7]

From 1898 to 1921, Samuel operates the farm, still 28 acres, until his death in 1911. It is then taken over by his daughter, Elizabeth. By 1921, it is son Samuel who is registered as the tenant.[8]

The 1901 Irish census shows eight people living on the farm: father Samuel, mother Elizabeth and six children: Jeannie, George, Samuel, Maggie and the twins, Rebecca and Catherine. The property has the house, a stable, cow shed and barn.

By 1911, the census tells us that all the children have moved on except for the twins, who are now 21 years of age. Samuel is now 71 and Elizabeth is 68.

From 1921 to 1923, the son Samuel continues to be a tenant on the Lackagh farm.[9]

Samuel's Will

Samuel's Will was registered in 1911. The text:

This is the Last Will and Testament of me, Samuel Acheson of Lackagh in the County of Tyrone, made this Seventeenth day of May in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Eleven. I hereby revoke all Wills by me at any time heretofore made. I appoint Archibald Stutt of Collow to be my Executor and I direct that all my just debts and Funeral and Testamentary Expenses shall be paid as soon as possible after my decease.

I hereby give and bequeath unto my wife Elizabeth Acheson this farm that I now occupy, also all chattle [chattel] that I may possess at my decease and farm implements, household furniture and all ready money that I may have at my decease.

My wife to pay my daughter Mary Acheson the sum of one pound one shilling stg [sterling]. Also my daughter Ann Chambers one pound one shilling stg. Also my son George Acheson the sum of one pound one shilling stg. Also my son Samuel Acheson the sum of one pound one shilling stg. Also my daughter Maggie Acheson the sum of one pound one shilling stg. Also my daughter Cassie Acheson the sum of twenty pounds stg. Also my daughter Rebecca Acheson the sum of twenty pounds stg or if there be any more for Rebecca and Cassie Acheson as the Executor may think fair. All to be paid out of said holding.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Griffith Valuation for Lackagh PRONI VAL/12B/35/21A p.5 (1860-1863)
  2. [1]Passenger list, SS California, departure Londonderry
  3. [2]Immigration list, SS California, arrival New York City
  4. Cover for Griffith's Valuation book VAL/12B/35/11A (1860-1863). Repository: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
  5. Griffith Valuation for Lackagh PRONI VAL/12B/35/21B p.5 (1864-1879)
  6. Griffith Valuation for Lackagh PRONI VAL/12B/35/21C p.4 (1879-1881)
  7. Griffith Valuation for Lackagh PRONI VAL/12B/35/21D p.6 (1882-1897)
  8. Griffith Valuation for Lackagh PRONI VAL/12B/35/21E p.5 (1898-1921)
  9. Griffith Valuation for Lackagh PRONI VAL/12B/35/21F p.31 (1921-1923)