John Dignan Williams 1789 - 1858:
This post is about John Dignan Williams, one of the early shareholders of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, who I have previously researched, hoping to find a link with the family of Charles Wye Williams, and now I’ve discovered new, improved information about the man.
Although named as John Dignan Williams in his father's will, he is sometimes named as John Dignam Williams - I'm presuming for the moment that there is only the one individual and not two separate men with a similar name.
John Dignan Williams was born in 1789 to John Jeffery Williams and Sarah Dignan and was baptised in St. Andrews Church in Holborn, London.
His siblings were Harriot Williams, born in 1796 and Sarah, born in 1794. A Pedigree Resource File contributed to the LDS site by J.W. Renaud provides other siblings - William Williams and Hutchins Thomas Williams.
The father of John Dignan Williams was John Jeffery Williams who married Sarah Dignan in Holborn in St.Leonards Church, Shoreditch on 19th October 1788.
John Jeffery Williams later married to a woman named Mary Oliver and they had three children together. In 1815, they had a son named Henry Jeffery Williams who was baptised in St.Andrews, Holborn, the same church which had been used by the parents of John Dignan Williams.
Earlier, this couple had a daughter, Mary Williams, who was baptised in the Old Church of St. Pancras in 1813.
And earlier still, in 1812, John Jeffery Williams and his wife Mary baptised their son, Richard Williams in St. Pancras on 3rd September. He had been born to the couple on 24th July 1812, and I wonder if John Jeffrey Williams had two wives as was so common in those days? I’ve already isolated the facts that our great-great grandfather, Richard of Eden Quay, had been born outside of Ireland in about 1810 and that he had some link to the family associated with the CDSPCo. Could this be the missing link, I wonder? He himself mentions on his 1847 marriage certificate that his father was John Williams, a gentleman, deceased. However, a genealogy on the family of John Jeffery Williams, which was commissioned in the 1880's, gives no information for either Henry or Richard Williams.
John Jeffery Williams was the son of Hutchins Williams who was the brother of Thomas Williams, first secretary of the Bank of Ireland. Both Hutchins and Thomas were the sons of Richard Williams and Mary Hutchins of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.
On 7th September 1805, John Dignan Williams was admitted to the Freedom of the City in London, when he was formally accepted as an apprentice to the Merchant Taylor of London, Francis Millard. Following his apprenticeship, he moved to Dublin
In 1814, John D.Williams, linen-factor, was working at 75 Upper Dorset Street; a separate Thomas Williams, linen draper, flannel and blanket merchant, was at 30 Lower Sackville Street.
The 1815 Treble Almanack listed John D. Williams as a woollen merchant and linen factor of 12 Merchants Quay.
In 1827 he was noted as holding £300 worth of stock in the CDSPCo.
In 1827 his address was 25 Eustace Street - he was earlier noted at 15 Eustace Street.
‘Memorial of Indenture, dated 15th December 1817, between Job Hall Culloden of Phibsborough, merchant of the first part; Henry Higginson of Eustace Street, Dublin, merchant of the second part; John Dignan Williams, Merchants Quay, merchant of the other part.
Reciting deed of lease made by David La Touche in 1784...it would appear that the premises at 15 Eustace Street came into Henry Higginson’s possession in 1808. The dwelling was free from incumberances and recites a memorial of indenture became vested in Henry Higginson. On 18th June 1816 the property in consideration of £700 the property became vested in Job Hall Culloden. A commission of bankruptcy was awarded under the Great Seal of Ireland against Henry Higginson on 22nd June 1816 and on that date he was declared a bankrupt and his estate assigned to Nicholas Mahon. In the High Court of Chancery, 13th July 1816, Mahon was assigned the major portion in Henry Higginson’s goods, estates and effects for the benefit of Higginson’s creditors and in the consideration of £113.15s John Hall Culloden released 15 Eustace Street to John Dignan Williams.’
(Henry Higginson of Eustace Street was a woollen merchant like John Dignan Williams; The Job Hall Culloden mentioned above also had land dealings with a William Williams of Caigronew, Merrionethshire, Wales - the land involved was Mill Street and land near Naas, Kildare. Job Hall Culloden had taken out a mortgage with this William Williams which was still outstanding when Culloden died.)
‘Memorial of Deed of Agreement, dated 22nd July 1817, between John Dignan Williams and Henry Higginson.
Reciting: That Henry Higginson undertakes and agrees to make out to the satisfaction of the said John Dignan Williams in three weeks from this date, a title to the house No. 15 Eustace Street…now occupied by Mr. Coyne and that Henry Higginson has agreed to release the house to Williams for the fine sum of 100 guineas and the yearly rent of £125 above taxes.’
(I filtched the above information off the internet - it had been researched by Valerie Garton.)
Deed 1836-18-180, dated 18th July 1836, details the transferral of land in Shantalla, Galway, to Eliza Burke. John Dignan Williams of Eustace Street and London was named as one of the assignees of the estate of John Burke of Galway town. (The 2nd assignee was a Henry Chapman of London.)
John Dignam (sic) Williams married Mary Roberts in 1818. Later, their son, Watkin Wynn Williams, would marry Amelia Louisa Roberts of Waterford, and I wonder were both women from the same family? John and his wife, Mary, owned property in New Ross, Wexford, along with Samuel Batt, Hannah Chandler and Anne Hours.
Mary Roberts seems to have been John's first wife - a family tree of the Williams family noted Mary Love as the wife of John Dignan Williams. Since one of their daughters, Bessie Law Williams, had been given the middle name 'Law', perhaps his second wife was actually Mary Law. Mary Law/Love had been born in Dublin in 1801.
Another possibility here is that Mary Roberts was actually called Mary Roberts Law - Robert Law of Brookville, Raheny, Dublin, was married to Sarah Roberts, and this Law family of Dublin was definitely acquainted with John Dignan Williams. The Law family were involved in banking in Dublin.
Deed 762-115-517250, dated 5th April 1821, named John D. Williams and George Frederick Carleton as the legal assignees of the estate of the effects of William Hartnett, bankrupt of Limerick. The Carleton family, one member of whom married a kinsman of John D. Williams, lived on Eustace Street as did John D.Williams.
In 1832 John D. Williams was noted as a director of The Royal Irish Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts.
John D. Williams of Eustace Street was also 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.
John Dignan Williams had been born in London, and died back where he started in St. Pancras Parish in central London on 13th July 1858.
He was living at the time of his death in Argyle St, Grays Inn Lane, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.
Earlier in 1841, he appeared with his family on the UK census at 34 Woburn Place in Bloomsbury. By 1851, the family address was Argyle St., Grays Inn Lane, although John himself was absent from the household on the night.
I had mentioned in an earlier post that a Watkin Wynn Williams, who had been born in Dublin and who was a shipbuilder, was most likely a relative of our Williams family and this too has proved to be the case.
Watkin Wynn Williams had been born in Dublin to John Dignan Williams in about 1828. He married Amelia Louisa Roberts on the 28th November 1858 in St. Pancras Church. His father, John Dignan Williams was dead by then. Amelia's father was a gentleman, Thomas Roberts, of Hillsborough, Waterford. The witnesses were what looks like Isabella Amelia Williams and somebody who signed their name with an incomprehensible squiggle.
I also came across a Marie Antoinette Williams who married Daniel Henry Rucker in Coolock, North Dublin, on 4th November 1847. Her father is named as John D. Williams; Daniel's is John Anthony Rucker, a textile merchant whose family had originated in Germany. The fact that both families were involved with the textile industry makes me suspect that Marie was the daughter of John Dignan Williams. Also, the couple later named one of their children as Wynn which was one of the Williams names.
Also, in the index of past Cambridge students, 'Alumni Cantabrigienses, Vol 6. Part 2', I found another son of John Dignan Williams:
'Williams, Robert, Adm.pens. at Trinity, February 2 1847; son of John Dignan, of 14, Endsleigh Street, Tavistock Square, London; Matric, Michs. 1847. Scholar 1850, B.A. (23rd Wrangler) 1851, M.A. 1854; Died October 16, 1894, at Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. (The Standard, Nov. 7, 1894).'
Robert Williams appeared on the 1851 UK Census as a student of Trinity College, Cambridge, and his entry confirms that he was born in Dublin in 1827.
(A bit of a mystery: The 'Dublin Weekly Register' of 17th April 1819 noted the birth at North Cumberland Street of a daughter to John D. Williams. John D. Williams appeared in an 1836 Street Directory at 14 North Cumberland Street, Dublin. The following year he reappears as John Dingan (sic) Williams, 14 North Cumberland Street. However, a John Williams also lived there - this other John appeared in the 1824 Pigot's Directory as John Williams, merchant, of 14 North Cumberland Street. He died five years before John Dignan Williams and was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery in 1853 - was John Williams the son of John Dignan Willams?
Update on the above mystery - I accessed an 1814 deed in the Registry of Deeds, ie: 687-484-472654) in which John Usher and William Wynne of Dublin conveyed 14 Cumberland Street to John Dignan Williams, to hold for 943 years at an annual rent of £90. The witnesses were Henry Richardson of Dublin and also William Williams, formerly of Dame Street but now of Cumberland Street. William Williams may have been John Dignan's brother, or another unknown member of this family.
More info here: