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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Letters To / From USA

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Part 1

Pat Purcell Papers.

Letter, Genealogical enquiry, Dated, May, 1931.

From:  J. Hallam [ ? ],

Threadneedle Street, City of London, England.

[Note added by Michael Purcell, 2012 -I have posted some of the letters / enquiries, dating from 1920s to 1980s that were sent to Pat Purcell during his lifetime.

Among the 100s of letters in the PPP this letter of 52, double sided hand-written pages, is one of the most interesting.

Here are a few edited and abbreviated (by me) extracts.

Further information on the famous Fanny Kemble may be sourced via Google.]

Pat Purcell Papers.

Letter, Genealogical enquiry, Dated, May, 1931.

From:  J. Hallam [ ? ],

Threadneedle Street, City of London, England.

To:  Pat Purcell,

Town Hall, Carlow, Ireland.

Dear Mr Purcell,

I am looking for information on the present ownership and standing of Steuart's Lodge situated in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow.

Mr Duggan has suggested that I write you in connection with my search.

The enclosed chronicle was compiled by my Carlow born grandmother, the wife of Rev. William Hickey of County Cork, she commenced writing this on her 49th wedding anniversary in 1862, and in fact lived to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of her wedding day, they were married in 1813, her husband died in 1875, she died in 1877.

For My Children.

December 11th 1862.

Family motto;


Today is the anniversary of my marriage, 49 years ago!

How like a dream does that period seem to me now!

I can scarcely identify myself with the then blooming bride of twenty-one summers, and alas! what changes have passed upon those who witnessed my wedding; many of them have entered into eternity, and upon those that remain Time has laid a heavy blighting hand. But I must not sentimentalise.

I have been asked by my children to note down my personal recollections, and also the traditional accounts of my ancestors, and of those connected with me by ties of blood; in short to write a family chronicle, and I shall endeavour to do so, although the task will be a sad and difficult journey into the Golden days of past.

I was born on the 24th May 1792, at Steuarts Lodge, in the County of Carlow.

My father, John Steuart, was the proprietor of a small estate which had been in his family for only two generations.

His grandfather, the Honourable John Steuart, was a younger son of the third Earl of Galloway.

He left Scotland to serve as Colonel of a British Regiment, and was in 1707 Brigadier General at the Battle of Almanza in Spain during the War of succession.

He was left for dead on the battlefield of Almanza, but was rescued by the servants of a Spanish lady who resided near the field of battle, and who despatched her servants to help the wounded.

Upon his recovery he was received by Queen Anne, who, as a mark of her favour, bestowed upon him a magnificent diamond ring, and also it is said gave him the white satin quilt and pillow case all now in my possession.

He sold his Army commission and bought an estate and house in County Carlow.

He moved to Carlow and at the age of 60 married Bridget, sister to Admiral Pocklington.

They had two children, a daughter, Henrietta, who married Anthony Weldon, Esquire, of Kilmarony, and a son, William who married twice, first to  Anne Eliza Butler, daughter of Sir Richard Butler, of Ballintemple, Carlow and secondly Miss Swift.

My father's step-mother, Miss Swift was a woman of extravagant habits, is said to have indulged in a new pair of gloves every day, and a new pair of stays every week, and as her other tastes corresponded to these small items, she found it necessary to raise money in order to gratify them, therefore, following my grandfather's death, she sold the Diamond ring which had been presented to my ancestor, the Honourable John Steuart by Queen Anne.

She also sold a silver shield which had been an heirloom in the Steuart family of the ROYAL STUARTS of which the Galloway family were the elder Branch.

By his first marriage to Anne Butler, he had a son John (my father) and five daughters viz., Bridget, Henrietta, Anne, Mary and Hannah, by his second marriage to Miss Swift he had a son, William,  and three daughters, viz., Emily, Catherine, and Sophia.

[the letter then names in great length and detail who the children married.

Here are some of the marriages that may be of interest to our readers] Anne married Thomas Whelan, Esquire. [related to Pilsworth Whelan].

Mary married Edward Dillon, Esquire., and had a numerous family.
Hannah married Mr Ward, and had no family.
Of the children by the second marriage, William became Colonel of the 3rd Bombay Infantry.
Emily married Mr Medlycott.
Catherine married Mr Keegan.
Sophia married first, Mr Boyce and secondly, Mr Snow, an Englishman.
Henrietta married twice, first to Captain Obins, (her son Hamlet, Colonel Obins married Miss Keogh of Killbride, Carlow.)
Henrietta's second marriage to Rev. Joseph Miller, produced three daughters, Henrietta (Mrs Le Hunte of Artramont) Mary Ann (Mrs Jacob), Ellen, (Mrs Bayly).

I must now speak of my great grandmother Lady Butler.

I remember as a child sitting upon her great bed. I was about 4 years old when she died.

 She was formerly Miss Percy, of the Northumberland House.

Her husband was Sir Richard Butler, she was early left a widow when her husband, Sir Richard, died on a visit at Kilkenny Castle. to visit his cousin, Lord Ormonde, having been accidentally suffocated by the sulphur of Kilkenny coal in his bedroom.

Her eldest son was killed by a fall from his horse when out hunting;

Her second son, Pierce, emigrated to America, and served under General Washington in the American Army. (his grandson, Pierce Mease Butler married Miss Fanny Kemble in 1834, the noted British actress and writer.)

Her third son, William, married Harriet Nickson.

Her eldest daughter, Anne Eliza, married my grandfather William Steuart.

Her second daughter was Henrietta, Mrs Eustace, from whom is descended the present Countess of Howth.

Her third daughter, Jane, married the Hon. Mr French, brother to the Earl of Clancarty. (her son was Captain Nicolas French, Inspector of Constabulary.)

Her fourth daughter, Miss Butler, married Mr Gordon of Belmount.

Her fifth daughter, Fanny, died unmarried.

It is a rather singular circumstance that for several generations there have been three Ladies Butler living at the same time, owing to the premature death of their husbands.

As my grandfather's first wife died early in life, and my grandfather married again, Lady Butler took my father and his five sisters to live with her at Ballintemple.

Her daughter, Mrs Eustace also died young and my grandmother also took her children into her care at Ballintemple.

At one point thirty of her descendants resided at one time beneath her roof.

Her only income was 1,000 per annum, what would the present generation think of so many being supported by such a sum?

However, she had several acres of land in her own possession and tended a very productive garden that supplied all of the necessary dietary needs for her extensive extended family.

She attained a great age, and her death was a heavy loss to many of her descendants.

[note added 2012 by Michael Purcell -  to be continued, we are only on page 15 of 52 pages!]

Source: Michael Purcell c.2012

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