Proven in 1901 - Thomas Orr's Will, Grocer of Belfast, Ireland

Thomas ORR is believed to have been born somewhere within County Antrim, Ireland, around 1817. He was married in about 1843 or 1844 to Mary DUNLOP, and several children followed (and died) until her death in Belfast in 1868. Thomas found work in the late 1840s and early 1850s as a 'road master' or 'road overseer' in Malone, just south of Belfast, and during this period he and Mary were associated with the Balmoral Presbyterian Church in Malone. By at least 1858, and until he sold his business and retired in the late 1880s, Thomas ran a grocery and spirit dealer's enterprise on the Malone Road opposite the Botanic Gardens on Clink Hill.

Thomas ORR wrote his Last Will and Testament1 on the 7th of October 1897. At that time he was living within the household of his son-in-law and daughter, Hugh and Margaret LEDGERWOOD, at 239 Dalton Road, Barrow in Furness, Lancashire, England. Hugh Ledgerwood, himself also a grocer, was appointed as the sole Executor and Trustee of the Estate. Witnesses to Thomas's signature on the Will were Frank W Taylor and Arthur E Nicholson, both clerks to Frank Taylor, solicitor of Barrow in Furness.

Thomas decreed that the following legacies should be given to his surviving children or their offspring:

    - to his daughter Margaret Ledgerwood, £400.

    - to his daughter Jane McCUTCHEON, £300.

    - to his daughter Mary RODGERS, £200.

    - to his son Edward Orr, £200.

    - to his grandson Thomas McCutcheon, £60.

    - to the daughters of his daughter Mary Rodgers - Agnes, Jane & Mary, £50 each.

    - to the daughters [not named] of his deceased daughter Elizabeth JOHNSTON,

             £60 to be divided equally [Elizabeth had died in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in 1889].

    - to the sons of his deceased daughter Elizabeth Johnston - William & Albert Edward, £20 each.

    - to the daughters of Margaret Ledgerwood - Mary, Jane & Margaret, £120 each.

Thomas also declared his wish that any residual parts of his property remaining after the above disbursements should be equally divided between his daughters Margaret Ledgerwood, Jane McCutcheon and Mary Rodgers, excepting £150 already advanced to Hugh Ledgerwood, which should be 'taken in part payment of the legacy given to his wife'.

The usual caveats were included in the Will, with respect to bequests due to any of the named people who died before Thomas did leaving children surviving. His son Edward was noted as an exception - Thomas declared that if Edward died before Thomas, the bequest of £200 due to him was to be divided equally between the daughters of Margaret Ledgerwood and Mary Rodgers. This implies that Edward Orr was not the father of any children.

On the night of Sunday, 31 March 1901, Thomas Orr was enumerated at 7 Lower Windsor Avenue, Belfast, Ireland, as a resident within his son-in-law William McCUTCHEON's household.2 William's wife was Thomas' daughter Jane. Thomas was described as being a 'retired spirit grocer'. He was also described as being a 'widower' who had been born in 'Co[unty] Antrim'. He was said at that time to be 84 years of age [so born, possibly, in about 1817]. William McCutcheon was the one who signed the Enumerator's forms, so he was obviously the one who responded to the Enumerator's questions. 

Thomas Orr died at his daughter Jane McCUTCHEON's home on 22 April 1901.

Probate of Thomas Orr's Estate was granted in the London Probate Registry (England) on 3 August 1901, to the sole Executor that Thomas nominated - his son-in-law Hugh Ledgerwood. Thomas Orr's Effects in England [i.e. combined Real and Personal property] were valued at £1,658.11.6. The facts associated with the issuance of Letters Probate concerning Thomas Orr's Last Will and Testament were published at the very top of Page 67 of the 1901 edition of the Probate Calendar of the Principal Probate Registry, in the section containing details for surnames starting with N, O, P, Q & R. 

The Grant of Probate issued to Hugh Ledgerwood in England on 3 August 1901 was 'resealed' in the Dublin Probate Registry of Ireland on the 3rd of October, 1901, and published in the pertinent Calendar on Page 390 (3rd entry from the top).4 Thomas Orr had apparently owned property that was situated in Ireland. Thomas Orr's 'Effects in Ireland' were valued to £230.8.2. Whether this was Real or Personal property is not specifically known, but more than likely it was probably just Personal Property.

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1. An online 'search and [fee based] ordering service' is offered through <https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate>. A copy was ordered on 2 June 2020, and downloaded from this service on 8 June 2020.

2. 1901 Census of Ireland; accessed through the National Archives of Ireland, Genealogy Section on 2 June 2020.

  • Form A: William McCutcheon Household - William, gardener, head, 49 years, born Dublin; wife Jane, 49, born Co. Antrim; son Thomas, carpenter, 24 years, born Belfast City; Jane Rodger, niece, 21 years, born Belfast City, single; Thomas Orr, father in law, retired spirit grocer, 84 years, widower, born Co. Antrim; No 8 on Form B.
  • Form B1, House and Building Return: No 8; Private Dwelling, 4 rooms, 3 windows in front of building, 2nd class house, occupied by 1 family, 5 persons; Antrim County, South Belfast Parliamentary Division, Belfast Poor Law Union, Windsor Ward, Belfast City, Urban District Belfast No 4, Lower Windsor Avenue, Shankill Parish.
  • Form N, Enumerator's Abstract for a ... Street - No 8, 1 inhabited house, 1 family in said house, 3 males, 2 females, all Presbyterian; Antrim County, South Belfast Parliamentary Division, Belfast Poor Law Union, Windsor Ward, East Belfast Constabulary District, Belfast [City], Donegal Pass Sub-district, Lower Windsor Avenue, Upper Belfast Barony, Shankill Parish.

3. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Principal Registry [England and Wales], and in the Several District Registries of Her Majesty's Court of Probate, 1901; Surnames beginning with N, O, P, Q & R; Page 67. Indexed through <www.familysearch.org> [free] and <www.ancestry.com> [subscription].The image linked above was accessed and downloaded through the last named site.

4.. Calendars of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1922 [Ireland]; Calendar for 1901, Page 390; National Archives of Ireland, Genealogy Section online index database with associated images, accessed 2 June 2020. 

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.