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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Letters To / From USA

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Pat Purcell Papers.

Part 4-

Not We From Kings But Kings From Us.

The tenth Nickson sister, Frances, was engaged to be married, but her betrothed died, and she did not long survive him.

My grandmother Whelan also had three brothers, viz, Lorenzo, Benjamin and Abraham Augustus.

Lorenzo married Miss Izod, of Chapelizod, and his son took the name of Izod for his mother’s property. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, died a spinster.

The second daughter, Lucia, married Mr. Travers, of the County Cork.

The third daughter, Mary, married Mr. Weld.

The fourth daughter, Christian, married Mr. Alexander, of Milford.

The fifth, Anne, married Mr. Thomas Litton. The sixth, Frances, married Mr. George O’Connor, of Hybla, County Dublin.

The circumstances attending the marriage of one of these Miss Nicksons ~ Christian, being curious ~ I shall relate them here.

Mr. Alexander, of Milford, was a near neighbour of ours. He came one day to my mother, and told her that he had in a dream seen her cousin, Christian Nickson, and felt a conviction that she was to be his wife; but, as he was a perfect stranger to her, he made an earnest request to my mother that she would introduce him at Chapelizod.

My mother asked her uncle’s permission to do so, which was granted. She and my father therefore, in company with Mr. Alexander, started for Mr. Nickson’s residence at Chapelizod. When they came in sight of the house they perceived five girls standing on the steps at the entrance door.

Mr. Alexander turned to my mother and exclaimed ‘The girl in yellow is the one I saw in my dream she must be Christian.’

And so it proved to be, although he had positively never seen her before.

After due courtship he proposed and was accepted.

The third, Abraham Augustus, was a colonel in the British Army, and served under General Wolfe in the American War. He returned to Ireland, married and settled at Money, in the County of Wicklow.

He had three sons, Abraham, Lorenzo and Michael.Abraham married Miss Dundas, the other two died unmarried.

The daughters of Colonel Nickson were, Jane (Mrs. Gillespie) and Mary (Mrs Haynes).

Upon the breaking out of the Irish Rebellion in 1798 Col Nickson raised a corps of Yeomanry, and was very active in opposing the rebels but falling into an ambuscade, he was killed.

The mother of this numerous family of Nickson was a Miss Hudson, daughter of old Squire Hudson, of whom I have heard it related that in his youth he apparently died, but his mother would not allow of his being interred for three weeks, at the end of which time he recovered from his trance.

His mother, Elizabeth Culme, was granddaughter to Sir Faithful Fortescue.

I must now say a few words again of my grandmother Whelan. As she was next in age to her sister, Lady Donoughmore, and her favourite sister, she lived generally in her youth at Knocklofty with the Hutchinsons. She did not marry till rather late in life, and my mother was her only child, and after her marriage, my grandmother, as I said before, lived at Steuart’s Lodge.

I remember her as a very pretty old lady, small and slight, with powdered hair, and always well dressed in grey silk, made in the fashion of olden days, a mode which she never altered.

As dispensaries were not established in her days, she was a regular physician to the poor, and they had great faith in her prescriptions, of which the following anecdote will give an instance.

When I was a little child, I was commissioned one day by a poor man to convey a message to my grandmother, stating that he had a pain in his stomach, and would be glad of some medicine. I pretended to go to her and returned with the information that he was to get some grass and pound it, drink the juice, and then lie on his face for two or three hours.

The man came again in a few days to say that the remedy had had the desired effect, and to express his acknowledgements to Madam Whelan.

I was not fortunate enough to see him this second occasion, and my success in doctoring was not repeated, as my grandmother inflicted bodily chastisement upon me for this my first attempt. In common with most of her sisters, my grandmother enjoyed great longevity, five of them having passed the age of 80, and one having attained her ninety-first year.

Having now finished the task of genealogist which my daughters imposed upon me, I shall proceed to another subject which they have asked me to touch upon, viz, some personal recollections of my childhood and of the stormy period of the Irish Rebellion.

[to be continued].

 Source: Michael Purcell c.2012


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