The Digger on a man who gave his name to an Orange Lodge
The Life and Times of Dr.. Arthur Mussen Glenavy, County Antrim 1842-1931
ST. Valentine's day 1916 was celebrated by sweethearts in many different ways throughout the world. However, at 'The Cottage' Glenavy, the home of the Mussen family, Dr. Arthur Mussen was preparing to attend the funeral of his beloved wife Jeannie at the local parish church after 47 years of marriage. She had passed away three days earlier.
The Mussen surname was synonymous with the Lisburn district over many centuries. Variant spellings of the surname, 'Muson' and 'Musen' appear in the 17th century Hearth Money rolls for County Antrim. In the 19th century there were many businesses in Lisburn town associated with the surname including soap and candle manufacturers, spirit dealers, drapers and a pawn broker.
There are several Mussen headstones at Derriaghy parish church. Amongst these is a grave marker that reads "The Family Burying Ground of William Mussen, 1869." That family had connections to the Murdock/ Murdoch / Murdoach, and they can be traced back to the Hillhall and Lisnatrunk areas. On the 17th November 1842, Arthur Mussen was born to William and Margaret Mussen from the Hillhall area.
Arthur graduated in 1863 from Queen's College, Belfast (now Queen's University) with MD, obtaining a further qualification (MRCS) in England.
In 1865 he was appointed Medical Officer in Glenavy and he was also to act as Registrar for births and deaths in that area. In 1867 he joined the Orange Order and it was reported he was initiated into the Watson Loyal Orange Lodge LOL 356, Lisburn, having been sponsored by his brother-in-law Samuel Young, a well known and respected Orangeman.
After a settling in period in the village of Glenavy and his marriage to Jane Moffett, from the Newforge area in 1868, they sought more permanent accommodation. On the death of Mrs. Esther Wallace in 1871, they acquired her property which was believed locally to be a former cholera hospital.
Their first child, Arthur Augustus, was born on April 4th 1870. Some eight months after the birth of his daughter Amelia Marguerita on Jan 13th 1873 he was made Worshipful Master of LOL 471 at Glenavy.
The opening of the newly built Protestant Hall in Glenavy on 6th July 1872 provided a new meeting place for the lodge. Dr. Mussen also took over as the District Master of Glenavy. In 1887 the Lodge changed its number to LOL 227, having previously been the number of a Lodge in the Ballyvannon area. LOL 227 is still known today as the "Doctor's Lodge" after Dr. Mussen.
In about 1888 he was elected County Antrim Grand Secretary, a post that he was to hold for 30 years.
In 1880 he had been appointed Coroner for South Antrim and headed many inquests into tragic deaths in the district. In 1891 he was appointed JP and as a token of the community's respect "representatives of all classes and denomination" paid him an honour. He was presented with gifts to celebrate this occasion including a horse, harness and piano.
He regularly attended the local Petty Sessions in Crumlin. Throughout his life he was also an active member of the parish church and respected member of the select vestry.
He was personally involved, at a local level, in a series of major Irish historical events and developments including the Land Act, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, Home Rule League, the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, the First World War, and the partition of Ireland.
By the mid 1920's his absence from Orange Lodge meetings was an indication of his failing health, and on the 5th November 1930, there is a record of five shillings dues marked paid in the local records. This appears to be his last payment. He died at the Vicarage, Templepatrick, the home of his daughter, who married the Rev Charles Newell, in 1893.
After several years of research I was finally able to trace descendants of the Newell family and located them in California, USA. Amy Newell, the great-grand daughter of Dr. Mussen and her nephew, Freddie Newell. They kindly provided me with invaluable material which greatly enhanced the research into the life of Dr. Mussen.
Their assistance provided a valuable insight into information which contributed to a new publication entitled 'The Life and Times of Dr. Arthur Mussen MD, JP.Glenavy, County Antrim, 18421931' which I have compiled. For those interested in further research, not only does it contain an overview of Dr. Mussen's life, but also previously unseen material relating to LOL 227, allowing unique access to their historic Lodge records, including rollbooks from 1875 listing members of the Glenavy Conservative Brass Band. This publication will provide useful historical information for those families associated with the Orange Order in the Glenavy and Crumlin areas.
This Lodge once attracted members from the local business community, farmers, the owners of larger properties in the area and local Ministers whilst in residence in the village. Sadly, over time, the Lodge membership has dwindled. The proceeds from the sale of this 116 page publication, limited to 100 copies (Price £10), will be for the benefit of the 'Doctor's Lodge.
Thanks to the W.M. and members of L.O.L. 227, The staff at the House of Orange, Belfast and others too numerous to mention in relation to assistance given in the preparation of the Mussen publication.
Further information on obtaining copies of the publication can be made by contacting 'The Digger' at firstname.lastname@example.org