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Brownlees of County Antrim

From Michael Brownlee of Alexandria, Virginia

My Brownlee’s ancestral home was near Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. My Great Grandfather hailed from Drummock, which is near Broughshane, although the family home was Kilnocopagh, about 3 miles east of Drummock and about 8 miles east of Ballymena. His name was Robert Brownlee, born in 1847. He married Jennie Graham in 1867 at the Presbyterian Church in Buckna, County Antrim. He immigrated to America in 1869 through Ellis Island, with his wife, baby and Jennie's sister. A brother James also immigrated later.

They ultimately settled in northwestern Iowa, near Cushing. No surprise there. The country around Cushing, Iowa is very much like the Valley of the Baird in County Antrim. Rob Brownlee died in 1912, a reasonably wealthy man. Jennie died in 1920.

I have visited the farm in Drummock twice, the last time with my father and sisters in 1995. The farm had been in Brownlee hands for about 250 years and was finally sold to a neighbor in about 1985.

I picked up a book in Broughshane written by the Buckna pastor, who presided for about 40 years during the middle of the 19th century. It is an excellent source of information about my ancestors. My father, Ted Brownlee, who lives in Lewistown, Montana (tbrownle@midrivers.com), has put it all together in a lineage outline. Both he and I would love to hear from any Brownlee descendents from County Antrim. We already know a number of them.

Rob Brownlee left Ireland under less than ideal circumstances and rarely talked about the old country. Locating Drummock and researching our ancestors has thus been a major project. My father has done most the work over the past several years.