The Anderson and Cowan families at Knockroe
When the Anderson and Cowan families moved from Northumberland to Mayo in the early 1850’s father Matthew and his daughter Margaret, and son John with his wife Margaret nee Stokoe farmed at Brize House while Matthew’s othr sons were based at Hollybrook House. After father Matthew died in 1867 the Brize House branch moved to Mayo Cottage where John 1811-1875 died and then the short distance to the farm at Knockroe House. John and Margaret had no sons so their nephew James Cowan probably joined the family with a view to taking over the farm after John died.
James Cowan 1856-1936 born in Co Mayo, exact place of birth not known, son of James Cowan (sometimes Cowans) and Jane (nee Anderson) who moved to Ireland with the Andersons in the 1850s. James was a farmer, auctioneer and keen huntsman. James also had an interest in land at Enfield, to the west of Dublin, no doubt used to hold livestock on their way to England. In 1898 James married his cousin Mary Anderson about three weeks after their Aunt Margaret had died. All three were members of the household at Knockroe.
Margaret Anderson born 1817 in Upper Coquetdale, Northumberland daughter of Matthew Anderson, moved to Mayo in the 1850s with her father and brothers. Margaret died aged 78 yrs at Knockroe in 1897.
Margaret Anderson (nee Stokoe) 1828-1906 was born in Northumberland, near to the farm where John Anderson was working for his uncle. Soon after their marriage they moved to Mayo. John had died at ‘Mayo Cottage’ in 1874. Margaret died at Knockroe in 1906.
John and Margaret Anderson were parents to six daughters:
Catherine Love 1854-1920 married Arthur Oram of Wilford Lodge
Jane 1855-c.1910 married Andrew Dowie Hardie in 1877 and emigrated to USA. Their one daughter Margaret did not marry and had no issue.
Isabella ‘Bella’ 1857-1945 married Robert Dick of Mullaun House
The three youngest daughters lived at Knockroe though ‘Maggie’ and ‘Annie’ often spent time in Edinburgh after they became friends of widow Joanna Weddell nee Hunter, daughter of James and Helen Hunter of Newfield House.
Mary 185?-1943 married James Cowan, see above
Margaret “Maggie” 1861-after 1945
Ann “Annie” 1862-c1950
Knockroe Farm and the De Clifford family:
Move to Mosney, County Meath
The Andersons and James Cowan leased the land they farmed at Knockroe and in the surrounding area from the De Clifford family and then, from 1914 The Congested Districts Board. Transcripts of Dáil Éireann debates suggest that James Cowan exchanged the land he was farming in Mayo for Mosney in County Meath. Their story continues on the Mosney page.
Dáil Éireann: historical-debates.oireachtas.ie 25 March 1931: One of an number of entries concerning James Cowan at Knockroe:
Mr. Nally: asked the Minister for Lands and Fisheries if he is aware that acute congestion exists in the parishes of Balla, Kiltimagh and Mayo; if he will state the cause of delay by the Irish Land Commission in acquiring the farms of Brize and Brownhall, held by Messrs. McEllin, which contain over 800 acres, and the farms of Knockroe and Knockadorraghy, held by Mr. James Cowan, on De Clifford Estate, County Mayo; and if he will state the number of times those lands were inspected by the Irish Land Commission during the past 5 years.
Mr. Roddy: The Land Commission are aware of the congestion to which the Deputy refers, and have under consideration the question of the acquisition of the lands of Tullymore, Tullybeg and Barnagreggaun held by Mr. McEllin, and the lands of Knockroe and Knockdorraghy held by Mr. James Cowan, and the matter is being expedited as much as possible. The lands of Knockdorraghy were purchased under the Land Purchase Acts,  and Mr. Cowan requires to be provided with a holding in exchange, and the Land Commission are not at present in a position to state when they will be able to provide the required exchange. The lands of Mr. McEllin have been inspected twice, and as the Deputy has already been informed, the lands of Mr. Cowan have been inspected and valued once during the past five years.