Morrows of Timulkenny, Co. Armagh, Ireland.


Tracing the Morrow family from Timulkenny in County Armagh (early 19th Century) to Glasgow, Belfast and then to the New Worlds of Australia and New Zealand.


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The Morrow Name

According to Wikipedia the Morrow surname has several origins. It could be either French Huguenot, English, Irish or Scottish in origin. But most sources give it as either Irish or Scottish, and many people with the surname are also described as Scots-Irish. Which certainly fits our family history.

The Scottish roots of the name come from "Mac Muireadhaigh", pronounced "MacMurray" and it is found in both the Lowlands and the Highlands of Scotland. Many Scottish Morrows migrated to Ireland during the plantation of Ulster. This probably explains, at least in part, why in the 1881 Census of Govan, Lanarkshire, Scotland, 'our' Morrow family, which was then living at 29 Wilson Street, Partick (Parish of Govan) is listed with the family name of "Murray".

The Irish Gaelic origin, comes from "Murchadh" (muir and cath) meaning "Sea Battle" or "Sea Warrior", which anglicised as Murrough, Murrow, Morrow and Morra. In certain parts of Ireland, mostly rural areas in Ulster however (particularly in County Armagh), the surname Morrow is pronounced "Morroh" or "Murroh", which shows its descent from MacMurrough. Throw in the strong accents and 'Morrow' and 'Murray' sound so alike.

Many Morrows in Ireland descended from the Scottish branch as well as the Irish branch, through the Plantation in the 17th century. Scottish Morrows would have settled in the Irish province of Ulster, giving rise to the Ulster-Scots (or Scots-Irish) people. Our Morrow roots originate in Armagh, Ireland, migrate to Glasgow, Scotland, then swing back to Ireland in Belfast before dispersing around the globe.

Try as we can, my cousins and I cannot find if 'our' Morrows are a result of the plantation of Ulster, or were Irish before then, but their movements and family culture suggest a Scotish link.

Narrative of William Morrow (1811-1874)

Ireland is sub-divided in a very unusual way; four provinces (Leinster, Munster, Connacht & Ulster), provinces into 32 counties, counties into baronies, baronies into parishes and parishes into townlands. County Armagh has 27 civil parishes (not including Magheralin being part of county Down and Kildarton being newly formed after 1851 from surrounding parishes). Clonfeacle Parish extends into both counties Armagh and Tyrone.

Timulkenny Farmhouses (2006). (upper) Dumanphy Road - occupied. (lower) Spring Lane - deserted.

William MORROW snr., whose parents were Robert and Jane MORROW, was a tenant farmer at Timulkenny, a townland in the Parish of Drumcree, Barony of O'Neilland* West, County Armagh, in Ulster Province, Northern Ireland. (Timulkenny is near Portadown). He was born 1 May 1811 in Armagh, Church of Ireland, (Record of Birth) and died 3 August, 1874 at Portadown, Co. Armagh.

* Also spelt Oneilland, especially in recent documents.

Morrow Hill is a small rise nearby Timulkenny, not now gazetted nor shown on current maps of the area but is shown on ordinance maps of the 19thC. It is tempting to think that this is the ancestral 'Home of the Morrow Family'. My thanks to cousin Christopher John Morrow for much of the material on the Morrow family and their antecedents.

William Morrow's Farm, Timulkenny.
Morrow Hill, Co. Armagh. It's the small rise on the horizon!
Timulkenny Townland, from the gate off Drumanphy Road to the mid-distant copse.
Timulkenny Townland between Drumanphy Rd (yellow) and Moy Rd (B28). Note nearby Morrow Hill in Canoneill Townland.

(Photos, G. Wilkinson 2006.)
Author at the junction where Cannagola Road joins Drumanphy Road, Timulkenny.

A short walk up the main Portadown-Dungannon Road (Spring Lane) from Timulkenny is the Old Windmill dating from the early 18thC, indicated on the map above at the intersection with Drumanphy Road. This is Cockhill, one of the most elevated sites in the district where the foundations of the old mill still stand. Read W.E.C. Fleming's account of CockHill (aka Drumanphy), the Hoope Settlement and the significance of the mill.

The Cockhill Windmill, 2006. (Photos, C. Morrow)


William's son, William MORROW jnr. (1830-1900?) was a farmer, like his father, and married Isabella STRUTHERS** (1830?-1908?). (Marriage Cert) (William Morrow is listed in the Griffiths Valuation of 1860 and as a farmer in the 1824 Valuation*, for Timulkenny, Drumcree, Armagh.) They lived at Timulkenny and worked the farm there. William died around 1900 in Armagh.

* Note the alternate spelling 'Morra' in this listing. Literacy was not widespread in rural Ireland before the 20thC .
** Also spelt 'Stuthers', 'Stoothers', 'Stothers', &c. in various documents. No mention of spelling of "Struthers" in Griffith Valuation - but "Strothers" and "Stothers" are listed. (Joseph Strothers and Stothers of Cannogla Beg, Drumcree, Armagh). "Stothers" is the spelling in the Emerald Ancestry marriage record.

The old 'Permanent Way', PD&O Railway, Drumcree, Armagh. (G. Wilkinson, 2006)

Isabella may have come from the adjacent townland of Cannagola Beg. A Joseph Stoothers (various spellings exist) is listed in the Griffith Valuation as: living (landowner) at Cannagola Beg Townland, Druncree Parish, County Armagh and is the presumed father of Isabella. The name 'Joseph' occurs in the name of the Morrow's 4th grandson - names tended to run in families at that time - and Cannagola Beg townland is adjacent but one to Timulkenny where the Morrows lived (see map above). There's a Stothards Bridge linking areas 10A & 10B, Cannagola Beg. over the now defunct - Portadown-Dungannon-Omagh rail-line in the mid-19thC map (left).

19th century map of Cannagola Beg Townland. Morrow's Hill can be seen in the lower left-hand corner (in Canoneill Townland) and Stothard's Bridge over the Dungannon and Omagh Railway, lower right.

William and Isabella had a son, William John MORROW who was born in Timulkenny around 1853. He appears to have lived there, working as a painter, until his marriage to Rebecca McCULLOCH from nearby Vinecash, Portadown in 1871, after which they promptly moved to Glasgow, Scotland where their son William James MORROW was born the following year. Rebecca and William, both minors when they married, had a large family which we trace in later pages.

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Note on the Griffith's Valuation of Ireland

The Primary Valuation of Ireland, 1848-1864, gives a complete list of occupiers of land, tenements and houses. Better known as Griffith's Valuation, it is arranged by counties and within counties by Poor Law Union Divisions and within Unions by Barony and then by Parish and Townland.

For each townland the following information is recorded:

  • Occupier of the land or houses
  • Name of the person from whom the property was leased
  • Description of the property
  • Acreage of the farm
  • Valuation of the land and buildings

The Griffith's Valuation is a useful, if flawed, substitute for the 1851/1861 census returns, in that it only gives the name of the leaseholder, and does not list the other family members. {}

Armagh History

Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid (which gave the name to present-day Ulster) before the fourth century AD. It was ruled by the Red Branch, however they were eventually driven out of the area by the Three Collas, who invaded in the 4th century and held power until the 12th. The Clan Colla ruled the area known as Airghialla or Oriel for these 800 years. The chief Irish septs of the county were descendants of the Collas, the O'Hanlons and MacCanns, and the Uí Néill, the O'Neills of Fews.

Armagh was divided into several baronies: Armagh was held by the O'Rogans, Lower Fews was held by O'Neill of the Fews, and Upper Fews were under governance of the O'Larkins, who were later displaced by the MacCanns. O'Neilland East was the territory of the O'Garveys, who were also displaced by the MacCanns.

Timulkenny Townland to the far west of Drumcree Parish, O'Neilland West. With Canoneil Townland between it and Cannagola Beg.

O'Neilland West, like O'Neilland East, was once O'Neill territory, until it was then held by the MacCanns, who were Lords of Clanbrassil. Upper and Lower Orior were O'Hanlon territory. Tiranny was ruled by Ronaghan. Miscellaneous tracts of land were ruled by O'Kelaghan. The area around the base of Slieve Guillion near Newry also became home to a large number of the McGuinness clan as they were dispossessed of hereditary lands held in the County Down.

Armagh was the seat of St. Patrick, and the Roman Catholic Church continues to be his see. County Armagh, once strongly Protestant following the Plantation of Ulster, is presently one of four counties of Northern Ireland to have a majority of the population from a Roman Catholic background, according to the 2011 census.


The Boys from County Armagh

A traditional Irish folk song, often heard at Football Clubs and the like.

There's one fair county in Ireland
With memories so glorious and grand
Where nature has lavished its bounty
It's the orchard of Erin's green land

I love her cathedral and city
Once founded by Patrick so true
And it bears in the heart of it's bosom
The ashes of Brian Boru

It's my own Irish home
Far across the foam
Although I've oft times left it
In foreign lands to roam
No matter where I wander
Through cities near or far
Sure my heart's at home in old Ireland
In the County of Armagh

I've traveled that part of the County
Through Newtown, Forkhill, Crossmaglen
Around the Gap of Mount Norris
And home by Blackwater again.
Where the girls are so gay and so hearty
None fairer you'll find near or far
But where are the boys that can court them
Like the boys from the County Armagh


The noble and the brave have departed from our shore
They've gone off to a foreign land where the wild canyons roar
No more they'll see the shamrock, the plant so dear to me
Or hear the small birds singing around sweet Tralee


No more the sun will shine on that blessed harvest morn
Or hear our reaper singing in a golden field of corn
There's a band for every woe and a cure for every pain
But the happiness of my darling girl I never will see again


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Updated: 10 March, 2018