Francis Annett married Charlotte Shields about 1874
at Kilkeel, Northern Ireland. The couple lived for a time at Fern
Hill, Warrenpoint, and also at Brecknogh, the present Brackenagh.
Charlotte lived to over 90, and died about 1941 (?). Francis was
a labourer, working wherever he could find employment. A
Francis Annett was born on 16th March 1855 to John Annett and Eliza (or
Elizabeth) Adair. Francis and Charlotte’s children were :
- William John Alexander, born on 2nd November 1875 at Brecknogh,
and baptised at the Mourne Presbyterian Church, Kilkeel, on 3rd
- John, born on 2nd November 1876 (? twin to William), who joined
the Navy (official number 280956), and later emigrated to Canada.
He married late in
life, to a woman who already had two sons. He died in Canada,
road accident in which a bus reversed over him,
- Agnes, born on 28th November 1876 at Brecknogh, and baptised at
Kilkeel on 4th March 1877. Her mother’s name was given as
Charlotte Annett Shiels. Agnes lived in Kilkeel, and never
- James, born on 28th January 1878 at Brecknogh and christened at
Kilkeel on 7th April. His mother’s name was given as Charlotte
Annett Sheilds. He died about 1954. He married Nellie (?)
McKinley, and they had one child, who died,
- Hugh, born on 7th March 1882. He died in January 1973, a week after his son Robert married,
- Susan, born about 1886, who married William Newell. They
lived in Newry, and their children were George (Geordy), Ida, Freda,
Nora, Bella, and possibly others,
- Robert, born about 1887, who lived in Kilkeel, and never married,
- Charles, born about 1885, who lost a leg in the First World War,
and had a wooden one. He married Minnie Graham, and died about
- Minnie, who lived at Glenloughan with her mother, and never married.
In the 1901 Census Charlotte Annett and four of her
younger children were living next to the Ballymageough National School
in the Aughrim Townland :
Charlotte is not listed as a widow, so Francis
Annett must have been elsewhere on the night of the Census. The
five Annetts were all Presbyterian. A James Annett, aged 24, was
a farm servant working for James Wilson.
Charlotte’s age (63) in the 1901 Census is
confusing, because in the 1911 Census she was 61. In 1911 she
lived in the fourth house surveyed in the Townland of Glenloughan, in
the Electoral Division of Greencastle.
Hugh Annett married Margaret Newell. Margaret
Newell was born on 3rd June 1890, and her mother was another Margaret
Newell. She had two brothers, William, who married Susan Annett,
Hugh’s sister, and James. She had diabetes, and died in 1949 of a
William John Newell married Susan Annett on 8th
January 1909 at the Rostrevor Presbyterian Church, and Hugh Annett
married Maggie Newell on 26th September 1910 at the same church.
Hugh and Margaret’s children were :
- Jane, born on 23rd December 1909,
- Margaret, born on 24th June 1911, died 22nd January 1972,
suddenly at Mourne Hospital, having retired only about six months
- Charlotte, born on 28th October 1912 (20th November?), died in 1959, on a very stormy night,
- Susan, born on 30th March 1915, baptised on 23rd July 1915. She died at Kilkeel on 30th October 1999.
- Hugh Francis Charles, born on 13th March 1918, christened on 23rd May 1918, and died in 1946,
- Robert James, born on 8th September 1921, who died at Kilkeel on 14th November 2002.
- John, born on 8th May 1924, christened on 26th July 1924, and died 26th December 1992,
Jane and Margaret were both christened at the Mourne
Presbyterian Church, Kilkeel, on 28th January 1912, a considerable time
after their birth. Several of the other children also had to wait
some time to be christened. Charlotte waited 11 months to be
christened on 14th September 1913, and Robert was christened at five
months, on 26th February 1922.
Hugh senior was an agricultural labourer, and
sometimes hired himself out at the hiring fairs, while his wife looked
after the house. He later worked for the Mourne County Council
between 1924 and his retirement in 1947. He was a strict man, but
his wife Margaret was remembered as a kind person.
The old farmhouse at Ballymaderfy had a great big
fireplace which you could stand up in and look up the chimney.
All the family lived there, and grandmother Newell as well. The
farm was owned and worked by James Newell, Margaret Annett’s (Newell)
brother, who also lived there. Margaret Annett had another
brother, William, who married Susan Annett, Hugh’s sister. Hugh
worked as a road sweeper and stonecutter. John also worked on
farms for a while before becoming a road worker, keeping the roads
swept clear, trimming hedges, clearing drains, and ensuring that the
harbour light was lit. When James Newell died he left the farm to
The family moved to Maghery in 1934, to a larger
house. Margaret and Charlotte went to Bangor to work, and helped
their parents buy a house in Mill Road in 1949. John lived there
also, but he and his father had a “falling-out”, and John moved back to
the farm at Ballymaderfy, where he stayed until he died. He would
not have electricity connected to the house, and he used the street
lamp outside the house to read by. He was very frugal, and would
not buy coal. There was no running water connected to the farm,
and he got water by the bucket from the creek.
Hugh junior was a good-looking man, very tall.
He died very young, aged 26, after a tug-of-war at a young farmers’
rally. He was the anchor man, tied at the end of the rope, and it
was thought that the rope had punctured his lung, and he took an awful
beating and died in the hospital.
Early in life Jane Annett decided that she did not
like her baptismal name, and requested that she be known henceforth as
Jean, Margaret and Robert all attended the Public
Elementary School at Glenloughan (on the Newry Road, near
Ballymaderphy) until they were 14. The school consisted of two
rooms, one for the lower classes, and the other for the more
advanced. The senior teacher was a Thomas Taylor, who was a very
strict disciplinarian, but a good teacher, according to Robert.
Children in the lower class were always apprehensive about being
promoted to his class. Margaret was very good at drawing, but
Jean was not as talented, and one day Taylor showed Jean some of her
sister’s work, and hit her across the face with it, knocking out two of
her front teeth.
When Jean was still attending school, she would go
to a Colonel Warren’s house at Lisnacree after school, and help prepare
the evening meal, and wash dishes afterwards. After leaving
school she worked as a housemaid in Belfast for a family named
Gage. When she was about 24 a friend of hers interested her in
nursing, and she went away to be trained, and later specialised in
mental nursing. Much of her training was done in St Alban’s,
Hertfordshire, (St Albyn’s near London ?), specialising in nursing
mental patients. During the war she was in hospitals in London,
and later in Glasgow. During the bombing of London she once spent
three weeks on continuous duty, not even having time to change her
clothes. On the lighter side, she once attended a dance with
another nurse, and stayed too late to catch the normal train home, so
they hitched a ride in the cab of a passing locomotive, and emerged
like two niggers.
After the war she worked in a private nursing home
in Devon, run by a Lady Lewis, with whom she got on well.
Following the stress of her war work, Jean suffered a collapsed lung,
and Lady Lewis paid all her medical expenses for the necessary
operation (removal of the lung). The doctor who performed the
surgery later operated on King George. Lady Lewis supposedly
offered Jean £1000 not to go to Australia to get married.
When young, Jean had lovely long hair, tied in
plaits, but someone told her father that she had had them cut
off. He did not believe them, because she had kept them, and
always clipped them back on before coming home. When he
investigated the next day, the plaits came away in his hand. He
was very strict, and never let her go out to dances alone - he even
went and brought her home from dances. She was the best dancer in
the district, and enjoyed walting, the foxtrot and the Lancers.
She had a determined streak, and often defied her father, and
eventually went away to Antrim, and then to England, where he couldn’t
keep his eye on her. She was very ill before leaving for
Australia, because she had worked herself into the ground during the
war, and had a collapsed lung. Before leaving England she had
consulted doctors to ask whether it was advisable for her to have a
family, and they had said yes. After her death, Richard wrote
back to Margaret that he would never forgive them for telling her
that. She liked Australia and the people.
Jean met Richard Stephens in 1941 in a hospital near
Glasgow. Richard, an Australian Army private, had just landed
from the ship which had carried him from Australia, and went, without
permission, to the hospital to visit a mate who had contracted
measles. Richard caought the disease, and ended up in hospital as
well, where he met Jean. They were immediately attracted to each
other, and corresponded throughout the war, although they were not able
to meet again. After the war, Richard asked Jean to
emigrate to Australia and marry him, which she did.
Susan Annett married William Collom and their children were :
- William, and
- Susan Angela, who had spina bifida, and died about one year old.