The immediate antecedents of the three Herdman brothers had owned Millfield Tannery, Belfast, which the eldest brother, James, inherited from his father. His brother John went into partnership with the Mulhollands in 1833, after turning round their business into profit in the Winetavern Street Flax-spinning mill in Belfast.
The Herdman brothers (James, John and George), in partnership with Andrew and Sinclair Mulholland and Robert Lyons, decided to purchase an unfinished flax-spinning mill in County Tyrone, from the 2nd Marquess of Abercorn. However, they couldn’t get the land they needed on a long enough lease. Their choice fell on Sion (or Seein, meaning a Fairy Mound), near Strabane, adjacent to the River Mourne.JAMES HERDMAN (1809-1901), of Bath, Somerset, and of Strabane, County Tyrone, a grand-nephew of Sir James Emerson-Tennent Bt, married, in 1840, Elizabeth, daughter of William Suffern, of Belfast, and left issue,
EMERSON TENNENT HERDMAN JP DL (1842-1918), of Sion House, High Sheriff, 1890, who married, in 1864, Frances Alice, daughter of Dr Francis John West, of Omagh, and had issue,
JOHN CLAUDIUS, of whom we treat;Sir Emerson Herdman was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Donegal, from 1920 until 1922.
Adelia Maud; Elizabeth Alice; Frances Evelyn;
Olive Mary, of the Red House, Strabane; m her 1st cousin, Sir Emerson Herdman KBE.
Mr Emerson Tennent Herdman's eldest son,
CAPTAIN JOHN CLAUDIUS HERDMAN OBE DL (1876-1964), of Sion House, High Sheriff, 1912, 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, wedded, in 1901, Maud Harriet, MBE, JP, daughter of Major-General Alexander Clark-Kennedy, of Camus, Strabane, and had issue,
EMERSON TENNENT REX, OBE, High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1943; Director, Herdman's Ltd;Captain Herdman's second son,
CLAUDIUS ALEXANDER, Commander RN;
COMMANDER CLAUDIUS ALEXANDER HERDMAN DL RN, of Sion Mills, wedded Maud Harriet, daughter of Major-General Alexander Clark-Kennedy, and had issue,
CELIA MARY HERDMAN, born in 1943, who married Brigadier John Gordon Goddard de Poulton Ferguson, in 1968, and had issue,
CLARE JOANNA DE POULTON FERGUSON, born in 1968.
SION HOUSE, Sion Mills, County Tyrone, is an Elizabethan-Revival mansion built in 1840, rebuilt in 1883 in half-timbered style, by Emerson T Herdman.
His brother-in-law, William Unsworth, of Petersfield, Hampshire, was the architect.
Sion House was sold in 1966.
The gate-house, also Elizabethan-Revival in character, is virtually a replica of Stokesay Castle's gate-house in Shropshire.
First published in April, 2014.