Millican, Milligan, Millikan, Milliken, Millikin, Mullican, Mulliken, Mullikin etc



Mullikin-Millikens of Dunmurry, Co. Antrim


(Currently under construction)


Roger Mullikin alias Mulligan of Dunmurry first appears on record in 1642, as a soldier in the company of foot under the command of Lieut. Col. Edmund Matthews in the regiment of Sir Arthur Chichester of Belfast. Matthews was also a captain of horse in Col. Arthur Hill’s troop of horse, when it was muster in Belfast on 26 April, 1642, but appears to have been appointed as Chichester’s lieutenant-colonel by September 1642. He also continued to hold his troop in Hill’s regiment. Interestingly, the company of foot were raised as a rear-guard defence.  Roger a brother of Robert Mullikin in Dromore and latterly, Belfast, who died in 1643. Roger was one of Robert’s beneficiaries and inherited amongst other things one cow and may also have been one of Robert’s named witnesses to his last will and testament.  


Roger’s name is also mentioned in the Exchequer Bill of Elizabeth Mulligan of Dunmurry, which was produced on 3 November 1683 long after his death1.  Part of the townland of Dunmurry was located in Falls area of the Belfast Liberties and parish of Shankill, and the other part in the parish of Drumbeg. It was one of the three townlands of the Dunmurry Liberties, namely, Ballyfinaghy, Old Forge and Dunmurry.  Roger is known to have married the sister of Gilbert Matthews of Dunmurry and according to the Exchequer Bill of Elizabeth Mulligan he acquired a farm hold of 36 acres in the townland of Ballyfinaghy, probably from Sir Edward Chichester of Belfast:


“That whereas on or about Aprill 1670 ye said Robert Mulligan and Thomas Mulligan of Dunmurry aforesaid in County Antrim farmer brother to ye said Robert being Interested in and possessed of a Lease of 36 acres of land patt of ye townland of Ballyfinaghy in ye manor of Belfast & County of Antrim for 99 years determinable on ye death of severall persons then in being which said Lease was long before that time granted by ye Right Hon. Arthur first Earl of Donegall or some of his ancestors to Roger Mulligan father to ye said Robert and Thomas Mulligan”


The first Earl of Donegal, the Right Hon. Arthur Chichester, succeeded his father Sir Edward Chichester of Belfast, created Viscount of Carrickfergus, following his death on 8 July 1648.  Sir Edward was the younger brother of Sir Arthur Chichester, created Lord Chichester of Belfast, and upon his death in 1624; Sir Edward inherited his brother’s vast estate in Ireland. Arthur first Earl of Donegal died at Belfast on 16 March 1675.  As inferred in the above passage, it is unlikely that Arthur granted the original lease, but rather his father.  The original lease was made out for 99 years, or three lives, that is, until the death of the longest living lifee named in the lease, suggesting it is possible it could have been granted in the lifetime of Arthur first Lord Chichester of Belfast. I think this unlikely, however, as Elizabeth goes on to say “that in May 1670 ye said Robert and  Thomas mindeing to take out new leases of ye said land”.  In other words, they had decided to take out an entirely new lease replacing their father’s original lease, which was still in full force. Consequently, in that same month, they obtained by a new grant from Arthur, Earl of Donegal. Roger Mulligan had evidently died sometime before 1670.


In the 1669 Hearth Rolls, there is mention of “Wid.  Millekin” and “Thomas Millekeyn” in the Falls area of Belfast, where both Robert and Thomas are styled of Dunmurry in 1670.  It would follow then, that the Wid. Millikin must have been Roger’s relict and that Robert and his young family probably lived with her until her death.  She must have died in 1670, which if the case would explain why her two sons subsequently proceeded to divide the entire farm between themselves, for had their mother still been living, she would have retained a legal right to one third of her husband’s heritable property.  Robert died in June 1678, leaving three young sons as heirs to inherit his half of the farm:


“Robert & Thomas Mulligan held their respective shares thus ‘for severall years without any Disturbances & ye said Robert being a frugall & Improveing person did improve & Erect on his own moyety houses & buildings to the value of sixty pounds stirling … that sometime since that is to say June in the yeare of our Lord 1678 ye said Robert dyeing Intestat & leaveing behind him you Oratrix Elizabeth his widow & Relict & three small young children vizt. John James & Roger Mulligan”


Following the death of Robert in 1678, his wife Elizabeth, obtained an administration bond at the Diocese Court of Conner in Lisburn.  However, it is evident from her plea in the Exchequer Bill, that things didn’t go well:


“Your Orators further shew that ye said Thomas Mulligan an Gilbert Mathews of Dunmurry aforesaid gent. uncle to ye said Thomas pretending great respect to ye memory of ye said Robert who had been very serviceable to each of them in ye time of his life and also pretending very great love to & care of ye said Robert’s children ‘by said Elizabeth’ did about August 1679 threaten to disturb your Oratrix Elizabeth in ye porcion of ye houses & lands aforesaid of which said Robert dyed peaceably possessed an ye possession”


The dispute was finally resolved and Articles of Agreement drawn up in August 1679, whereby Gilbert Matthews and Thomas Mullikin agreed that Elizabeth should have one third of the land and the children to have two-thirds of the land.  Furthermore, it was agreed that of the “other goods and chattels ye said children were to have fifteen pounds being much more than the two-third and further that Oratrix should enjoy ye said fifteen pounds and ye other to two-third of ye land & rents thereof towards maintainence of ye said children .. etc … that Oratrix was by said agreement to give bond for performance thereof to said Thomas Mulligan and Gilbert Mathews which she accordingly did and they accepted”.  By 1683, Elizabeth, who had married secondly, Thomas Parker of Dunmurry, found herself at odds again with Gilbert and Thomas, the later claiming that he had sole right to the whole farm and took steps to obtain a court judgement to that effect.  We are not told how this whole sorry affair ended as the Exchequer Bill only records Elizabeth's plea.


Thomas Mulligan of Dunmurry appears in two other documents and both are dated to the 1690s. In the first, he was one of several commissioners appointed to attend the General Synod of Ulster from Dunmurry Presbyterian Church in 16922. In the second, he appears as a witness in the will of Gilbert Matthews of Dunmurry, which was made probate at the Diocese Court of Conner in 16973.  In both these documents, his name is spelt as “Thomas Mulligan”, indicating that by then this branch of the family had adopted the variant form of Mulligan.  Thomas’s uncle, Gilbert Matthews, is also listed in the 1669 hearth money roll, having paid tax for one hearth in the parish of Drumbeg.  In the same parish, we also find the names of “Saunders Milliken” and Philip Moore, the latter who may be the same man, or perhaps his son, as Philip Moore one of the men mentioned in will of Robert Mullikin back in 1643.  The name Saunders is variant form of Alexander, and whether as Saunders or Alexander Millikin, his name is not listed in the 1666 hearth money roll, whereas Gilbert’s name is, suggesting Saunders may have acquired his dwelling house sometime between 1666 and 1669.  The immediate proximity of Saunders’ house to the Stewarts of Ballydrain brings us even closer to a possible Stewart-Millikin connection, though, as far as I can ascertain this is the only reference to Saunders’ name.


In 1708, almost all the estate records belonging to the Chichester family were destroyed in a fire that sweep through the old castle of Belfast.  Had they survived, they might have provided additional information on men like Saunders Milliken, Gilbert Milliken in Upper Malone (spelt Mulliken in the 1666 hearth money roll) and Patrick Millikin in Lower Malone (now part of the City of Belfast).  A family known to have commonly borne the Christian name of Patrick was still living the vicinity of Belfast at the end of 18th Century, when we find Patrick Milliken, a prisoner in Carrickfergus Goal being granted a royal pardon in 1792.  He is probably the same “Patrick Milliken in Charleston, South Carolina, America and late of Belfast”, whose death was announced in the Belfast News Letter in 1808.  The Mullikins of Dunmurry and Malone appear to have been members of the Dunmurry Presbyterian Church (later the Non-Subscribing Church), of which, the earliest records only date from about 1807.  By then, nearly all these families had disappeared from the area, leaving us to wonder what became of their descendants.  Some settle in Belfast itself, and others in mid and south Down; however, there can be little doubt that others simply emigrated.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Exchequer Bill, Parker Verse Mulligan, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), T. 732/5.

2. The Minutes of General Synod of Ulster, Vol. 1, p. 13; Index held at the PRONI, original books held at Queens University, Belfast.

3. PRONI, T. 681, p. 307.




Abstract of Exchequer Bill dated 3 November 1683


Thomas Parker farmer and Elizabeth his wife

Vs

Thomas Mulligan & Gilbert Mathews


“Humbly complaining showeth … Orator Thomas Parker of [illegible] in the parish of Dunmurry and County of Antrim farmer and Elizabeth his wife Robert Mulligan gent late deceased and admx of all … ye goods and chattles ye said Robert had att ye time of his death ye said Robert att ye time of his death being his Majesties debtor and farmer” …. “That whereas on or about Aprill 1670 ye said Robert Mulligan and Thomas Mulligan of Dunmurry aforesaid in County Antrim farmer brother to ye said Robert being Interested in and possessed of a Lease of 36 acres of land being patt of ye townland of Ballyfinaghy in ye manor of Belfast and County of Antrim for 99 years determinable on ye death of severall persons then in being which said Lease was long before that time granted by ye Right Hon Arthur first Earl of Donegal or some of his ancestors to Roger Mulligan father to ye said Robert and Thomas Mulligan that they being soe possessed did sometime before yeare if our Lord God one thousand six hundred and seaventy did devide ye said lands by meares and bounded and held each of them severally their several proportions or moyeties of ye land that in May 1670 ye said Robert and Thomas mindeing to take out new leases of ye said lands severally each for his own proportion the said Thomas then being low in ye worlde and not able to be att ye expense or Charge of takeing out of a distinct lease Importuned the said Robert and prevailed with him for a lease of ye said land and of about eleven acres more being in contiguity which should be taken out in ye name of ye said Robert and Thomas att which time and att severall times since It was declared that notwithstanding they both joined in ye said Lease there should be or acrew no benefit of survivorship that In May 1670 the said Robert being in Active and Ingenious man applied himself to the then Earle of Donegall and obtained ye said Earl’s grant for ye said thirty-six acres and eleven acres more … at ye yearly rent of £8.0.8 sterling with some Dutys that ye said Earl about that time did perfect a lease for yearers determinable upon lives yet in being of all ye said lands to said Robert and Thomas Mulligan … as by said Lease now in hands of said Thomas Mulligan would appeare had Orator same to produce … by virtue of which they continued their possession severally each in about 16 or 18 acres of land as formerly and also equally devided ye other eleven acres by distinct meares and bounds which was to go to their several heirs Executors and assigns pursuant to the demise … and according to ye Divident and voluntary partition made between said Robert and Mulligan …


Robert and Thomas Mulligan held their respective shares thus “for severall years without any Disturbance and ye said Robert being a frugall and Improveing person did improve and Erect on his own moiety houses and buildings to the value of sixty pounds sterling … that sometime since that is to say June in the yeare of our Lord 1678 ye said Robert dyeing Intestat and leaving behind him your Oratrix Elizabeth his widow and Relict and three small young children vizt John James and Roger Mulligan your Oratrix did endeavour to take out Administration to this goods and chattles in which she received much obstruction and was put to great expense by ye said Thomas Mulligan” … Afterwards Oratrix Elizabeth obtained Admon … Your Orators further shew that ye said Thomas Mulligan and Gilbert Mathews of Dunmurry aforesaid gent uncle to ye said Thomas pretending great respect to ye memory of ye said Robert who had been very serviceable to each of them in ye tiem of his life and also pretending very great love and care of ye said Robert’s children by said Elizabeth did about August 1679 threaten to disturb your Oratrix Elizabeth in ye procion of ye houses and land aforesaid of which said Robert dyed peaceably possessed and ye possession whereof your Oratrix had fore sometime continued peaceably after ye death of said Robert Mulligan to disquiet unless your Oratrix Elizabeth being then sole would lay out some way for ye maintainence of ye said children and also for securing them in some part of ye goods and chattles and of part of ye said land … Your Oratrix intending nothing but that which was fair and honest and for ye good of her deere children … was very glad to hear of any terms of peaceful agreement … that after severall meetings and many long discourses your Oratrix came to a perfect agreement and conclusion with said Thomas Mulligan and Gilbert Mathews on behalf of and for ye said children and on ye eight day of August 1679 ye said Agreement was Drawne up into certain articles in writeing under ye hands and seales of Thomas Mulligan and Gilbert Mathews … and said Elizabeth … by which Articles it was covenanted and agreed … by said Thomas Mulligan and Gilbert Mathews that Oratrix should have one third of ye land during the lease and ye said children ye two parts or two-thirds thereof and yt of the other goods and chattles ye said children were to have fifteen pounds being much more than the two-third and further that Oratrix should enjoy ye said fifteen pounds and ye other two-thirds of ye land and ye rents thereof towards maintainence of ye said children … while they continued with her or were maintained by her … that when your Orstrix should be fully and clearly discharged of ye said children or any of them she was to deliver up ye proporcion or share of such of them as she should be freed of and not before … yt Oratrix was by said agreement to give bond for performance thereof to said Thomas Mulligan and Gilbert Mathews which she accordingly did and they accepted” ….


“The said Thomas Mulligan did not soe much as pretend to any right to said lands but was very sensible ye same did belong to your Oratrix and her children and did therefore perfect said articles” … Orators further show “that by virtue of said Articles Oratrix Elizabeth in her viduity continued some time in peaceful possession of ye land … and maintained ye said children in a very descent honest manner … That your Orators enjoyed the lands for some time after their Intermarriage .. and have always hitherto maintained ye said children in a very good Condition and never hitherto been discharged nor freed of the expense which exceeds ye interest of ye said fifteen pounds and ye rents of ye two-thirds of ye land … Yett soe it is … ye said Thomas Mulligan and Gilbert Mathews of late Enveying ye happy condicion of your Orators … have of late united their endeavour to ruine and undoe  your Oratrix and they or one of them having ye originall lease from ye said Earl of Donegall in their hands and having by in Indirect means gott ye said Articles in writeing into their possession now give out that neither your Orators nor the children have any right to ye lands … “ but that ye said land is said Thomas his freehold” … “yt he hath the right by survivorship .. and said Thomas by ye assistance and direction and Advice of said Gilbert Mathews hath of late Mistrained two cowes of our Orators despasturing on a park of ye said land and which did belong to ye said Robert … and now try to obtaine judgement against Orators who hath Replevyed ye said cowes by virtue of a Repleveyn issued out fo y Manor Court of Belfast … and the better to Effectuate their designs they have tried to have the Admon granted to said Elizabeth ‘Reveyed’ … and have put Orators to great expence … That being disappointed for their expectation doe threaten to ruine Orators and forcibly turne them out and are att noe smaill expense to caryy ye said plainte or suit in ye Manor Court of Belfast” …..


Orators pray that Dfts may be forced to answer certain questions including the following:-

“yt ye said Gilbert Mathews may show whether he hath not incouraged assisted and abated ye said Thomas Mulligan and supplied him with money and whether he hath not often ‘outbraided’ your Orators and threatened to spend forty bullocks and as many pounds in money in sueing your Orators and whereforer hath he soe done … and yt Dfts may produce ye original Lease and lodge it in Court” … and also the Article of Agreement.


Orators pray for writs of Sub poena and Injunction directed to Dfts. 3 November 1683.