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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Richard Palmer Williams, son of Richard and Anne Williams

This post is for my sister, Gillian, who will understand Richard Palmer Williams perfectly.
Richard Palmer Williams was the third child of Richard Williams and the nephew of Charles Wye Williams. He worked alongside his father and older brother, Thomas, at their premises of 38 Dame Street, directly across the street from the Bank of Ireland headquarters.  He was born in 1813 and died a bachelor, aged 79, on the 12th of May, 1892. 
     'Williams, Richard Palmer of Glaslinn, Clontarf, County Dublin, esq., died 12th May 1892. Probate Dublin to Richard Williams Barrington esq., and Croker Barrington, solicitor. Sealed London 15th August. Effects £2206 in England.'

Although Richard Palmer Williams worked in finance all his life, his real passion was natural history.

Richard Palmer was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy on January 14th 1839;  earlier, in 1837, his brother, Thomas, had also been elected to the R.I.A. as had his sister's father-in-law, Matthew Barrington.  The archives of the Academy for 1847 - 1850 note both Richard Palmer and Thomas as living in Drumcondra Castle and gives their business address as 38 Dame Street.  Charles Wye Williams (their uncle) appears on the same list, and gives his address as Liverpool.

Throughout his life, Richard Palmer was also a committed member of the Dublin Natural History Society and his names appears constantly throughout their archives.  In 1855, for example, 'Mr. R.P.Williams requested permission to notice a fine specimen of the Iceland Gull....which had been presented to the society through Joseph Todhunter Esq., from Dr.Harvey of Cork.'
    Also:  'R.P.Williams read a letter about the occurence of two Hoopoes, shot in County Cork, and also wished to record the occurence of a turtle dove seen in a potato field between Howth and Baldoyle on 9th July 1854.'
    The same text records that R.P.Williams accompanied Mr. William Andrews to Carlow to study parr in the River Greece.  Williams had already collected and studied fish in the rivers of Cork and Wicklow,  in particular on the Bandon River.
In 1857,  the Joseph Todhunter, mentioned above, was on the Council of the Dublin University Zoological and Botanical Association;  Richard Palmer was the treasurer.  Joseph Todhunter was a close relation of Thomas Harvey Todhunter who had gone briefly into business with our great-great-grandfather, Richard Williams, in 1846 at 17 Eden Quay.
Dr. Harvey was Dr. Joshua Ruebens Harvey, a naturalist of Co. Cork.
Richard Palmer William's friend, William Andrews, 1802 - 1880, was an English naturalist who was the secretary and president of the Dublin Natural History Society. A variety of the Killarney fern - Andrewsii - is named after him.

Richard Palmer Williams made copious contributions to the Natural History Society in 1866 - he commented on the abundance of brimstone butterflies in Killarney. He was only aware of two specimens, one in his own collection, which had been sourced on his behalf by Mr. Heffield, and one or two in the collection of the late Mr. Tardy, now in Trinity.  He mentioned that both Mr. Hefflied and Mr. Tardy had been frequent campanions on his etymological expeditions.
At the same meeting, he contributed to a discussion on diseases of goldfish (his own),  and read a paper on the remarkable change of colour in a fowl of the Hamburgh Breed....'Gentlemen,  I beg leave to bring before your notice this night a remarkable change of plummage in a hen of the Hamburgh breed, which is painfully recorded in my mind, from the fact that, by whatever affected, whether fright or otherwise, I lost the chance of the silver cup in the crested class at the last Liverpool show in January last.' 

'The Journal of Horticulture and the Cottage Gardener' of 1868 records Richard Palmer Williams' true passion:
  'For Sale Rare Waterfowl - One pair of Ruddy Shelducks, tame bred, and properly pinioned, second prize at Wolverhampton, price £6 6s;  One Male Ruddy Shelduck, £3 3s;  One Female Bahama Duck £3 3s;  One Male Barnacle, tame bred, £1 10s;  On Receipt of a Post-Office Order on Dublin, Mr. Richard Palmer Williams of Glaslinn, Clontarf, Dublin, will forward the Birds.'
 'Richard Palmer Williams, Glaslinn, Clontarf, Dublin, on receipt of an order from Dublin, will supply eggs from poultry, winners last year at Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Dublin, Limerick and Cork at 13s per dozen.  Dorking (Silver and Dark Grey), Spanish, Gold and Silver Polands, Rouen Ducks, Aylesbury Ducks.  For Sale, Two Gold Poland Cockerels, sons of First Prize Cock at Birmingham, brothers to the Third Prize Bird, £2 2s each;  a pair of Ruddy Shelducks £5 5s;  one Ruddy Sheldrake £2 10s.  WANTED,  an Ashy-Headed Magellan Gander.'

Address 1880:  Glaslinn, Hollybrook Park, Raheny, Dublin.

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