Known facts about our maternal ancestor Richard Williams of 17 Eden Quay and Dundrum:
His father was John Williams, a gentleman, who died before Richard’s second marriage to Geraldine O’Moore Creighton in 1846. Richard’s social circle seemed to revolve around his wife’s family, rather than his own. Family word of mouth suggests that his family originated in Wales. I’ve had no luck discovering any of Richard’s close family relations - unless he is, as I suspect, related to the family which descends directly from Thomas Williams of the Bank of Ireland. The lack of immediate family seems to suggest that Richard Williams was born outside of Ireland.
In early adult life, two of Richard’s sons, David Creighton Williams and Willis Creighton Williams (our maternal great-grandfather) spent time in Bangor, North Wales and in Liverpool, both areas with strong associations to the family of Thomas Williams and his son Charles Wye Williams, the founder of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. Our great-great grandfather, Richard Williams, spent his early adult life living at the Eden Quay headquarters of the CDSPCo before heading south to the suburbs of Dublin with his young family. The family of Thomas Williams and Charles Wye Williams was associated with the profession of finance as was the family of our Richard Williams. Richard himself was the bookkeeper for the CDSPCo. His son, Willis Creighton Williams was also a book keeper while four of Willis’ sons worked in the bank, one of these four being our grandfather Richard Williams.
This post is an investigation into other Williams families of Dublin, in the hope that I’ll eventually stumble across some meaningful information about our brick wall ancestor, John Williams. I’ll add to it as I discover more information.
The 1815 Treble Almanack:
J.D. Williams & Co, Wh.Woollen-drapers, 12 Merchants Quay.
J.D.Williams, Linen-Factor and Linen Merchant, 12 Merchants Quay. This was John Dignam Williams, who was an early shareholder in the CDSPCo - in 1827 he held £300 of stock in the company; by 1827 his address was 25 Eustace Street behind Dame Street. In 1832 he was noted as a director of The Royal Irish Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts; John D. Williams of Eustace Street was one of the Protestants of Dublin who signed the petition of 1829, published in ‘Historical Sketch of the late Catholic Association of Ireland’ which called upon the British Government to bring about the immediate emancipation of the Catholic population.
I’ve had no luck yet discovering previous family for John D. Williams so am unsure whether we’re related to him or not. He may be related to John Williams of 14 Cumberland Street.
1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Merchants’:
William T. Linen-Draper, Flannel & Blanket-merchant, 30 Lower Sackville Street. This was Thomas Williams, who later lived at 50 Lower Sackville Street. He, too, held shares - £200 - in the CDSPCo in 1827. It seems that Thomas Williams originated in Killucan, Co. Westmeath - two of his children married into the De Courcy family of Westmeath. On Griffiths Valuation of 1854, there is a Dr. John Williams leasing a house and land in Killucan; the Medical Bibliography of 1877 also shows up another doctor of this family, Dr.Thomas J. De Courcy Williams of Killucan. Thomas Williams, 50 Lower Sackville Street, wrote a letter of complaint to the House of Commons in 1823 to highlight the unfair taxation of certain foreign goods imported from Great Britain into Ireland. (House of Commons Papers, Vol.18) By 1850, Thomas Williams was still working at 50 Lower Sackville Street but was living in the southern suburbs at 3 Belvidere Terrace, Sandymount Strand.
1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Gentry’:
Edward Williams, Drumcondra
George Williams, 47 Baggot Street
John Williams, 14 Cumberland Street. This John Williams died in 1853, aged 60 years. His death was registered by a James F.Williams. In 1835, a John D. Williams of 14 Cumberland Street was noted as a member of The British Association for the Advancement of Science which had a branch in Dublin. This was the first time the letter ‘D’ is mentioned in the name ‘John Williams’ and I wonder was this John Dignam Williams and was he the son of John Williams of Cumberland Street?
Thomas Williams, 2 Belvedere Place (This was Thomas Williams of the Bank of Ireland.)
T. Williams, 3 Fitzwilliam Square West.
1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Attornies’:
E. 1778 Williams (C.S.) KCT, 65 Stephens Street (This is Christopher Stone Williams, son of Henry Williams.)
T. 1812 Williams (C.W.), 2 Belvedere Place (This is Charles Wye Williams of CDSPCo)
1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Dublin Society’ ie: the RDS:
Williams, C.S esq (Christopher Stone Williams.)
Williams James esq. (Of Kilmacud and 4 Lower Bridge Street; joined RDS in 1801.)
Williams, C. Wye esq. (Charles Wye Williams.)
1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Attornies, Advocates and Proctors’:
Williams (Bart), 17 Mary Street.
Williams (J.), 8 Chancery Lane
Williams (John), 90 Bride Street
Williams (M), Buckingham Street
Williams R. 2 Summerhill. (This may be Richard Williams, brother of Charles Wye Williams.)
The two John Williams in the above list, one of Bride Street and the other of Chancery Lane, were of interest to me, (the father of Richard Williams of 17 Eden Quay being John Williams) so needed to be investigated.
Chancery Lane and Bride Street are behind Dame Street, in the area adjacent to Dublin Castle. A William Williams of Chancery Lane was admitted to the Freemen of Dublin in March 1847; he was the son of another Freeman, Griffiths Williams, who had been admitted in 1804. Griffith Williams was a woollen merchant who operated at 2 Darby Square in the same Chancery Lane area; in 1815 he was working with a nephew at 9 Crampton Court; by 1832 he was ‘Griffith Williams (& Sons), woollen-merchant & Manchester warehouse. Crampton Court.’ (Treble Almanack, 1832.)
The family of the Dublin goldsmith, Richard Williams, is associated with Castle Street at the top end of Dame Street and with the parish of St. Werburghs Church. Richard Williams was apprenticed to John Wilme of the same parish in 1743. He operated at 6 Castle Street from 1764 to 1788, before moving to 17 Grafton Street where he did business from 1788 till 1795. He was succeeded at the same address by his goldsmith son, Robert Williams, who can be traced through the street directories from 1799 till 1833. Interestingly, it is recorded that the English poet, Shelley, lived at 17 Grafton Street in 1812, during his brief sojourn in Dublin.
Other Williams of late 18th century Castle Street include William Williams, a public notary and brother of Richard Williams, Adam Williams, Charles Williams, an apothecary (who later operated at Charlemont St) and James Williams, a bookseller.
From ‘The Land Index, Vol. 90’ as transcribed by Jane Williams in 1983 in The King’s Inns:
‘5.1.1785: Richard Williams of the City of Dublin, Goldsmith
John Williams of sd.City, Notary Public
Deborah Williams of sd. City, Widow
Executors of the last will of William Williams of the sd. City of Dublin, Notary Public, Deceas’d of the one part & wide street Commissioners of the second part.
Jury awarded £981-17-10 to Richard, John & Deborah Williams for 3 several houses & premises which the Commissioners took.
Humphrey Adams - witness.’
‘19.12.1783, registered 22.12.1783:
A memorial of that part of an indented deed bearing date 19.12.1783 which relates to part of the lands of Newtown (ie Coolock), hereinafter particularly made between Richard Williams goldsmith, Deborah Williams, widow of William Williams, late of the city of Dublin, Public Notary, Dec’d, John Williams, Public Notary & eldest son of the said William Williams, all of the City of Dublin, Executors of the last will and Testam.t of the said William Williams, & which said John Williams is also Heir at Law of the said William Williams.’
This family of Castle Street was well-recorded in the registers of St. Werburghs. On April 16th 1754 Richard Williams married Mary Wilme; his brother, William, married Deborah Wilme on May 25th 1758.
The historical painter, Solomon Williams, was born to Richard and Mary in 1758 - in one text he was described as a Welsh painter; later he lived at Molesworth Street and was associated with the Feinaglian Institute, an early 19th century school with which the family of Thomas Williams of the Bank of Ireland was involved. Solomon Williams died in Molesworth Street in 1824 - his children were Richard, Mary, Deborah, Ellen and Charlotte and Emily. (And the names Charlotte and Emily mirror the names of the daughters of our Richard Williams of 17 Eden Quay.)
From 'Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers':
'Williams, Solomon, an Irish portrait painter, born in Dublin about the middle of the 18th century. He was a pupil of the Dublin Academy but spent several years in Italy. While there, he made many good copies of Titian's pictures, and was elected a member of the Bologna Academy. On his return he practised in Dublin, with the exception of a few years in London, where his works occasionally appeared at the Royal Academy and the British Institution. On the establishment of the Royal Hibernian Academy, he was elected one of the original members. He died August 2nd 1824. There are by him:
Dublin: Royal Dublin Society - Portrait of General Vallancey
Royal Dublin Society - Portrait of Mr. Pleasant.'
1769 saw the birth in Castle Street of Solomon’s cousin, a second Solomon Williams, born to William and Deborah Williams. This individual was a lawyer who was called to the English bar in 1793. He was associated with the city of Chester which sits on the border of North Wales and England, close to Liverpool. He had an older brother, John Williams, who had been born to William and Deborah in Castle Street in 1761 - this John Williams lived later at Palace Street off Dame Street and operated as a notary:
'McKane & wife to Williams 1789. McKane & wife demise & set to John Williams of the said city publick notary all that dwelling house No 2 situate in Palace Street otherwise called Castle Lane in the City of Dublin formerly in the possession of Mr. John Nott deceased together with the yard and back house behind the same...Yearly rent of £80 and a peppercorn....Witnesses: Solomon Williams, Brother of said John Williams, & Richard Morgan, Clerk to said John Williams.'
In 1793, The Anthologia Hibernica recorded the marriage of Major Charles Martin of Chester Castle to Miss Williams of Palace Street. (Yet another association with Chester.) Miss Williams was actually Elizabeth Williams, the daughter of Solomon Williams, which suggests that both Solomon and John lived together in the same premises. Charles Martin was the son of Joseph Martin, esq., banker of Lombard Street, London, and MP for Tewkesbury.
|No. 2, Palace Street|
‘Deed dated 6.8.1812: Soloman Williams of the City of Chester, only Brother, Heir at law of John Williams late of Palace Street in the City of Dublin Publick Notary Dec’d….£2140 - 11 -10½ realised by sale. Several other premises had been sold by Solomon since the death of John Williams for payment of debts of John Williams.’
On 10th January 1802, 70 year old child Mrs. Williams of Palace Street was buried at St. Werburghs.
A William Williams of Castle Street was buried in St. Werbergh's on 8th September 1783.
Although, following his death, John's brother, Solomon, sold the house in Palace Street to pay off John's debts, a 6-month-old infant named Edward Williams of Palace Street was buried in 1828 in the church of St. Nicholas Without - I wonder did Solomon sell the property on to another member of the Williams family, or even buy it himself? I can find no evidence to support the fact that John Williams of Palace Streethad ever married, which seems to rule him out as our great-great-great grandfather.
In the 1850s, 2 Palace Street was purchased by the charity, The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers' Society.
Other children of Williams and Deborah Williams were James, Deborah, Elizabeth, although James must have died young - in John William's will it is mentioned that Solomon was his only brother.
Re: The Dublin/Chester connection. There had been strong trade links between the two cities from the 11th century onwards. Charles I ordered that ships should voyage weekly between both Chester and Dublin, and between Milford Haven and Waterford, to ensure the quick transmission of news between the English government and Dublin Castle, the seat of British administration in Ireland. The parish church of St. Werburghs, next to Dublin Castle, is named after the patron saint of Chester. Jonathon Swift, the Dean of St. Patrick's who had been baptised in the church of St. Werburghs in 1667, commented on the profusion in Dublin of beggars from Chester city:
'It seems the justices of the peace, and parish-officers in the western coasts of England, have a good while followed the trade of exporting hither their supernumerary beggars, in order (sic) advance the English protestant interest among us; and these they are so kind to send over gratis, and duty-free. I have had the honour, more than once, to attend large cargos of them from Chester to Dublin: and I was then so ignorant as to give my opinion, that our city should receive them into Bridewell; and, after a month's residence, having been well-whipp'd twice a-day, fed with bran and water, and put to hard labour, they should be returned honestly back, with thanks, as cheap as they came: or, if that were not approved of, I proposed, that, whereas one Englishman is allowed to be of equal intrinsic value with twelve born in Ireland, we should, in justice, return them a dozen for one, to dispose of as they pleased.'
Another notable Williams family of Dublin is the family of glassmakers, William, Thomas and Isaac Williams, who came to Ireland from Chepstow, England. They operated from the 1770s to the 1820s at Marlborough Street and Potters Alley. Later names associated with this family were Richard and James Williams. They had businesses at the North Lotts (the area around Connolly Station) and at Richmond in Coolock. They can be seen in Wilson’s Dublin Directory of 1801:
‘Williams, Richard, son & Co., Glass Manufacturer, Potter’s Alley.
Williams, Richard, jun., Glass Manufacturer, 35 Ormond Quay.
Williams, William, Glass maker, Richmond.’
I stumbled across the 1783 will of a John Wilton of Westmeath and Dublin who seems to have been in partnership with the above glassmakers. John Wilton, late of Westmeath but now of Potters Alley, Dublin, named as his trustees, John Williams and his father William Williams of the Strand, Dublin. John Wilton states that he had entered into a copartnership with William Williams in 1776 to manufacture flint and green glass, and that he was entitled to five twelfths of the profits accordingly. He was named in the documents, however, as John Preston rather than John Wilton, but the will makes no explanation for why this would be so. A William Cooper was also involved. John Wilton had six children by a Bridget Neary who he had lived with for 30 years, namely Thomas, John, George, Elizabeth, Rose and Mary. He also had an elderly unmarried brother, Henry Wilton, and an elderly unmarried sister named Rose Wilton. His properties in Westmeath were named as Clonmoyle (currently tenanted by a John Jones), Gortunloe, Stonestown and Edmondstown or Redmondstown; he also owned a property, White Cliff, in Hull, Yorkshire. Rev. William Clarke of Baldonnel was to take responsibility of the rearing and educating of his children.