Today (22nd March 2019) we had Nancy from Philadelphia pay a visit to Clifton House and Clifton Street Cemetery. Nancy has spent many years researching her ancestors, the Johnston family, who were tanners in the Mill Street/ Castle Street area of Belfast in the early-mid 19th century.
The Johnston’s were wealthy enough to purchase a Wall Plot, the most expensive plots in the cemetery. However, Elizabeth Johnston, aged just 30 passed away in 1859, leaving her husband William with a young family. William worked as a clerk in Herdman’s but was diagnosed with tuberculous. With the death of his wife, coupled with his failing health, William was forced to make what was probably one of the most difficult decisions of his life – that was to put his son Thomas Henry Johnston, aged just 10 years old, into the Poor House in 1865. Unfortaunely William passed away in 1866 and was buried in Clifton Street Cemetery, with his son still resident in the Poor House
Thomas Henry’s story does have a happy ending though, as he was later sent to England to live with his maternal grandmother. We cannot wait to read the full history of the family!