Pattons of Corporation Street

The first Patton I have identified thus far is George Patton of 150 Corporation Street in Belfast. Try as I may I have not found any photographs of the street from the Victorian period to show what George’s home looked like.

George died, aged around 59, in 1875. His death was reported in brief in the Newry Reporter of 7th September:

George’s age could be accurate or it could be wrong by 10 years or more. George had written no will, ironically. His wife, Jane, had died in 1872, apparently aged 63. If the ages are accurate it would mean she was several years older than her husband. George presumably wrote the newspaper insertion of her death and her age may be more reliable than his.

The map below gives some idea of the location of his home:

Corporation Street now lacks houses and comprises carparks, warehouses and modern industrial buildings and wasteland. I have not been able to find photographs of the houses which once stood there.

Street Directories show his occupancy at 150 Corporation Street but the first entry came before a lot more houses had been built, presumably, as it gives a very different number (30). This was in 1852.

George had been an accountant and house agent before moving into law writing as a clerk. Below is a newspaper advert bearing his name. It is not for a house but for a ship for sale:

It comes from the Northern Whig of 8th November 1842. George is mentioned in the Ulster Banner of 3rd February 1863, in an account of a meeting of Belfast Town Council the day before. The Finance Committee noted payment to 5 named men for their work preparing the Rate Books. The last named was George Patton, paid £1-9 shillings for his trouble. He was the least well paid member of the team.

George Patton’s death record:

Jane Patton died on September 28th 1872 at their home at Corporation Street, as shown below. The death certificate shows that the lingering illness was heart disease. George himself died of apoplexy at the City Workhouse. This is not necessarily an indication of poverty or abandonment.

I have not been able to locate the wedding record for George and Jane so have no knowledge of her maiden name. It might have been Ferguson since the name Ferguson is carried down into future generations but this is speculation. Perhaps at some point it will be possible to trawl through church records on microfilm at PRONI to pinpoint more information about the family.

Another mystery is where they are buried. Jane was apparently buried at the New Burying Ground, presumably in Belfast. Shankill, Friar’s Bush and Clifton Street cemeteries were all long established. Milltown and the City Cemetery were two Victorian cemeteries opened not many years prior. Milltown seems to have been the preserve of Roman Catholics and is still controlled by the RC Church, I believe. Its records are not accessible online.

Belfast City Cemetery’s records are accessible online yet several searches have failed to locate the grave of either Patton whereas even those buried in pauper’s graves are recorded. If the grave record could be found it opens the possibility of locating children who had died earlier or parents of one of the couple.

George Patton and his wife Jane had at least three children. These were Hugh Ferguson Patton (i), Robert Patton and Sarah Patton.

Hugh Ferguson Patton (i) died in 1914 but his birth was not recorded on official state records as it was well before 1864 when this became a legal obligation. If (as seems likely) George and Jane were Presbyterian there is a good chance that the birth could be uncovered at some stage.

Nonetheless, we know a fair bit about this man. He was married first to a Sarah Perry, with whom he had at least 6 children. After her death he married again, this time to an Anna Maria Dunn. This second marriage bore no children.

Hugh Ferguson Patton married Sarah Perry on 9th June 1854 at Berry St Church in Belfast. The church, at the side entrance to Castlecourt Shopping Centre, still exists but is closed. Notice was carried in the Belfast Mercury newspaper. Note that Perry is spelt as PIRRIE in the report but this was not how it was spelt on the state record. The ceremony was conducted by the famous or infamous street preacher, Reverend Hugh Hanna, known as Roaring Hugh Hanna.

The writing on the marriage certificate is difficult to read, with the occupation of Hugh and of his father in law hard to decypher. Sarah was a seamstress prior to her marriage but whether in a factory setting or at home we do not know. Her father’s name was Samuel but the mother’s name is not recorded, of course. What did Samuel Perry do? The first word is “coach” but the second word is hard to read. It does not seem to be driver or builder. Could it be framer?

Image result for rev hugh hanna
Rev Hugh Hanna

Hugh Ferguson Patton was mentioned in the newspapers on several occasions, eg making family announcements such as the death of his daughter Adeline in 1892. It is interesting that he moved to the house beside his father’s old home.

He placed adverts on at least 3 occasions for apprentices or housemaids, eg

Unfortunately, this did not go well for one of his employees, a Thomas Leathem. Mr Leathem fell to his death in an industrial accident which became subject to court proceedings in order to establish whether his widow and children should receive compensation. The story was carried in the Belfast Newsletter of 17th May 1906. The issue for the court was whether two separate ladders constituted “scaffolding” but that loses sight of the real tragedy. The excerpt below emphasises a woman left to bring up a large family, many of a young age. Her case was successful, ultimately, with compensation ordered. One third of this was for Mr Leathem’s widow, two-thirds for the raising of his children.

On 15th Feb 1897 a happier story for Hugh Ferguson Patton emerged in the Newsletter regarding the modernisation of a York Street church, as shown below:

Hugh’s first wife Sarah had died in April 1894. The notice shows that she was buried at Carnmoney but whether that was her family burying ground or Patton family burying ground is not clear. Sarah had been suffering from TB for 3 months and Hugh was present at her death. She was 57 years old.

Quite what their children made of events later is unknown to posterity but Hugh married again within a year, on 9th January 1895. His bride was Anna Maria Dunne, of 14 Mountcollyer Avenue. She was the daughter of a deceased sailmaker. Ages are generally not recorded on Irish marriage records but the 1901 census shows that there was a 13 year age difference.

Here is the family on the 1901 census:

Generation VII. Children of Hugh Ferguson Patton (i) and Sarah Perry:

  1. William Perry Patton 1863-1933
  2. Samuel Patton 1867-1918
  3. Sarah Maria Patton 1871-1961
  4. Hugh Ferguson Patton (ii) 1878-
  5. Frederick Patton 1878-1952
  6. Adeline Victoria Patton d1892

There were probably more children born between 1855 and 1863 whose births occurred before civil registration. Adeline was certainly born in that period. These children may have died young or their marriages and deaths may await discovery among the official records. Church records, perhaps for Berry St Presbyterian Church, may tell us more.

Hugh Ferguson Patton lived on at 148 Corporation Street with each wife until some time before the 1911 census. When that was taken they were living at House 23 Shore Road. There were no other residents and Hugh declared that he was a retired master house painter. Both were Methodists.

Hugh Ferguson Patton died on the last day of December 1914. He left behind £460. This is worth around £56,000 in 2022.

Hugh’s second wife Anna Maria Dunne lived on at their Shore Road home until her own death. This was on 1st April 1923. She left behind £82-2-0.

Now let us explore the family of William Perry Patton, the son of Hugh Ferguson Patton and Sarah Perry.

Sarah Perry’s Family. The writing on the Perry-Patton wedding certificate is appalling and the image quality is not good, either. As I despaired over these impediments I thought, could there be siblings who married and where the information is clearer?

Thus, I waded through the records of all Perry marriages in Belfast up to around 1875 and in the course of that had some success, locating two siblings.

Sarah Perry’s father Samuel was a coach guard. This is likely to have been on the railway line. Samuel’s wife was named Elizabeth. She died at Belfast workhouse on 8th February 1896, described as the widow of a coach guard and said to be aged 80. This would place her birth around 1815 if accurate.

Elizabeth was buried on common ground at the City Cemetery, so there was not enough money or inclination to buy a grave. Her address at death was 51 Trafalgar Street in Belfast. Her death was registered by the mark of her daughter, Eliza Davidson of 151 Nelson Street.

Samuel and Elizabeth Perry had a daughter named Elizabeth who married a seaman named John McAuley of Corporation Street on 14th January 1860. Elizabeth’s address was North Ann Street. John’s father bore the same name and occupation.

John McAuley and Elizabeth Perry had four children whose births I have located, three of them named John as well.

These were John, born 7th November 1867

John, born 13th November 1868

John, born 4th April 1871

and Eliza, born 6th December 1873.

Samuel and Elizabeth Perry had a son named William who married an Eliza Guin on 19th September 1861 at St Anne’s Church in Belfast. He was said to be 28, therefore born around 1838. As with Sarah’s marriage record, the official thought it acceptable to write “Belfast” as the place of residence.

This William died on 2nd May 1876, a newspaper reporting that William Perry of 19 North Ann Street died. HIs wife Eliza inserted the death notice in several papers, noting that he was 45 and had been a faithful employee of the Post Office for 30 years. This would place his birth around 1831.

Logic tells me that Eliza Davidson must be the same Elizabeth who had married John McAuley and indeed I have found the death record of a seaman of that name who died but no sign of a marriage between her (under either surname) and a Davidson or Davison up to 1896.

I have not been able to identify the death of Samuel Perry. Presumably it was between the 1861 marriage and statutory records of deaths commencing in January 1864.

Find My Past’s newspaper records bear some information which may relate to the family. On 28th September 1858 there was a death notice for a Miss M Perry who died aged 23 at her brother’s residence on North Ann Street. No Christian name given! This is likely to be another sister to Sarah Perry though it could be an aunt.