SOME FAMILIES OF AGHADOWEY PARISH Co. Londonderry, Ireland excerpts from the book Aghadowey by Rev. Thomas H. Mullin, Belfast: Century Services, 1972. Used by permission of the author
Barr. This family of famous ploughmen comes from the Curragh and has achieved great distinction in international matches.
Foster. The ancestors of Stephen Foster, the famous composer of popular songs, and of his brother, the Hon, Morrison Foster of Pittsburgh, came from Caheney.
Getty. J. Paul Getty, the famous oil millionaire, traces his family origins to Gettystown, not far from the Aghadowey district.
Harriman . Miss Sarah Jane Hunter, daughter of Mr. James Hunter of New York and formerly of Caheney, Aghadowey, married in 1921 Mr. H. M. Harriman, a member of one of New York's richest families. She was his nurse during an illness. (Derry and Antrim Year Book, 1922).
McKay. The Rev. William McKay of Moneydig married in 1864 Mary McCaughey, sister of Sir Samuel McCaughey of Australia.
McSparran. Found in Lissaghmore as early as 172S. Wm. McSparran of Flanders near Dungiven married Jean, daughter of Hugh McSparran., farmer of Agivey in 1852 in Aghadowey Presbyterian Church.
Moon . A very old name locally. The Wrays of Donegal quotes from the Summonister Roll of 1617 that Henry Moone of Aghadowey was fined f5 for cervisian lupulat an the rate of fourpence per quarter. An Archibald Moon son of David Moon of Aghadowey was at Belfast Inst. in 1828.
Peden , of Mayogill. Meohill called a hamlet, as is Caheney, in the Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland. Pedens also appear in the 1821 Census as above. Rev. Jonathan Simpson's mother was Martha Peden from here. H. G. McGrattan of the Coleraine Chronicle is descended from the Pedens.
Tannahill . An old family found west of the Bann as far back as 1641, and -in Killaig prior to 1765. Alexander Tannihill of Killeague died in 1796, aged 72, and is buried in Agivey.
Thomas . James Thomas was in the linen business at Ballydevitt, and afterwards owned corn and flax mills. His daughter Mary married Archibald Moon, son d Daniel Moon of Lisnamuck and had a son James Thomas Moon who purchased and rebuilt his grandfather's residence. Another daughter of James Thomas, Jane married first McIntyre, and then in 1861 in Aghadowey, the Rev. David Simpson from Scotland. The only Thomas boy who grew up, William John, died in 1858, aged 20, in Beechworth, Australia. according to the Thomas tombstone in Aghadowey.
Torrens of Coolnaman were thickly settled in this area, and apparently were very clannish. A James Kennedy was said to have been attacked by them in 1810. (D.664/0/5. P.R.O.N.I.). Much information about local Torrens families is contained in extracts from the 1821 Census in T283B (P.R.O.N.I.).