Thomas Harland – son of John (1784) and Mary (1798)
m. 29 Sept. 1852, at Loughbrickland Presbyterian Church; &
25 April 1863 at Newry Registry Office.
d. 26 August 1885
buried in Mullaghglass Old Graveyard.
Old photograph alleged to be Thomas
Thomas Harland (1819 – 1885) is known to have lived in a large house in the townland
of Maytown, on the Newry to Mountmorris Road (B133). His grandson Jack (John Herdman
Harland, 1885) reported verbally that he had known since his childhood that his grandfather
had run a coal importing business, in addition to his farming.
From 1742 coal had been brought by the Newry Canal from Coalisland Co. Tyrone. Later
coal was shipped from England to Newry via Carlingford Lough and the Newry Ship Canal.
Horse-drawn carts then brought it out to Maytown. The only alternative sources of
heat for cooking had been the burning of wood or peat. Deforestation was one result;
while the turf had to be cut out of the local bog by spade - backbreaking manual
Griffith’s Valuation 1864 records that Thomas leased a house, offices (agricultural
buildings), and 34 acres 9 perch of land at Maytown, and a further 14 acres 1 rood
5 perch of land in Mullaghglass; both from Roger Hall of Narrow Water at an annual
rateable valuation of £46 and £13.14s.0d respectively.
His grandson Jack Harland (1885) also reported verbally that this house at Maytown
was ‘licensed’ as a public house at one time. This is almost certainly true, as a
description of the model village shows:
“Bessbrook: (approx. pop. 3,000) A village about 3 miles North West of Newry. It
is in the parish of Killevy and the barony of Orior Upper. Bessbrook is named after
Elizabeth (Bess) Nicholson, wife of Joseph Nicholson, who owned linen mills in the
area from 1806 to 1845. John Grubb Richardson founded the village itself in 1846.
Richardson was a Quaker and a son of James Nicholson Richardson and a relation by
marriage to the Nicholson family. The Richardson family was originally from Gloucestershire,
England and had first settled in Ireland, in Loughgall in the 1590's. The town is
covered by 3 townlands, which are Clogharevan, Maghernahely and Maytown. The Richardsons
built schools, a butchers shop, dairy, a savings bank and several churches. But they
refused to build any public houses and also refused permission for any building to
sell alcohol. To this day there are still no licensed buildings in Bessbrook and
is probably the only dry town or village in Ireland. Originally they also banned
police and pawnbrokers from within the village boundary”. (Sources)
It is safe to assume that there was alcohol on sale at Maytown, just over a mile
away from Bessbrook. The family did not discuss this openly in later years - possibly
because of their involvement with the Methodist Church, which put a cross against
Thomas Harland (1819) died on 26 August 1885 aged 65 years; but he had lived long
enough to meet his first three grandsons. He had married twice - to Margaret Herdman
in 1852 and Sara Herdman in 1863. Sara survived him and died in 1892. The two wives
were also buried at Mullaghglass. It is recorded in the Will Calendar of 1885 that
Thomas Harland’s estate was valued at £1,763 6s 9d.