This post concerns Isabella Jones, née Pennefather, who was our maternal great-great grandmother. Following the premature death of her husband, Charles James Jones, in 1893, she took over the running of his painter/decorator business, and also branched out into property development.
Her daughter, Tennie, our great grandmother, was also widowed in 1905 when her husband, Joseph Edwards Dickson, died - Tennie moved into her mother’s home in Howth along with her young family, and mother and daughter lived together until Isabella Jones’ death on May 31st 1942.
Isabella was an incredibly talented business woman and may well have run her son-in-law’s coal importing business for a while following his death. It is said that she was a natural-born networker, and knew everybody worth knowing in the Dublin business world. This might explain why a member of the Stewart and Kincaid Land Agency - Joseph S. Kincaid, land agent, was staying at her house in Howth on the night of the 1911 Census. (See the update for this conundrum at the end of this post.)
|Back Row Left to Right: Tennie Dickson, Charlie Dunbar, Anna Marie Jones, Robert Oscar Jones, Aida Pelissier Jones.|
Front Row Left to Right: Percy Mottershed, Isabella/Mama Jones, Emma Aida Parcelis Jones + Celeste, Ada Dunbar.
The photograph above shows Isabella Jones, known to us as Mama, sitting in black at the front of the group. To her left is her daughter-in-law, Emma Aida Jones, née Parcelis, who had been born in Manhattan to New Jersey parents, and who married Mama’s eldest son, William Lysaght Jones, after he emigrated to the States as a young man. Sitting on her knee is her year old daughter, Celeste Aida Jones, known to everyone as ‘American Celeste’. She would go back and forth from Dublin to New Jersey in later life, and would stay with the family of her cousin, Percy Mottershed, who can be seen in the photo next to Mama, looking bored and fidgety, aged about seven.
Percy’s mother, Isabella Alexandrina Jones, had died in 1900, two years after his birth. He and his Liverpool-born father, Robert James Mottershed, an engineer with the railway (most likely the Kingstown Railway) moved in with Isabella Alexandrina’s sister and her husband; they can be seen on both the 1901 and 1911 Census - Isabella Alexandrina’s sister was Adelaide Victoria Dunbar, née Jones. She was married to Charles Robert Dunbar - both can be seen in the above photo. Charlie Dunbar is standing in the back wearing a hat; his wife, known as Aunt Ada, is sitting at the front holding baby Celeste’s hand. Charlie Dunbar worked in an insurance company in 1901, but by the time of the 1911 census he was living on ‘independent means’. He was known to be very, very RICH, lucky him. Robert James Mottershed, lived with the couple, died in 1929, and the childless Dunbars took his son, Percy, under their wing. Aunt Ada and Charlie Dunbar, in common with much of this family, engaged in property development. Apparently they would live in a house, do it up, then move quickly to the next one - this was at the prompting of the childless Aunt Ada who had clearly been badly bitten by the property bug. Charlie Dunbar was not so enthusiastic, and eventually in their later years, he could take the constant moving no longer, and the couple separated. (In 1901 they had all been living at 289.1 Gilford Road in Donnybrook; in 1911 they were at 10 Elton Park, Kingstown/DunLaoghaire.) Despite the separation, she organised an affectionate headstone for him in Mount Jerome:
'In loving memory of my dear husband, Charles Robert Dunbar, who departed this life 9th December 1938. I thank God upon every remembrance of you.'
Will of Charles Robert Dunbar: 'Charles Robert Dunbar of Menloe, Alma-road, Monkstown, county Dublin, died 9th December 1938. Administration London 20 January to Adelaide Victoria Dunbar. Effects £3305 in England.'
The Irish Times published an obituary for Charles Robert Dunbar on December 17th 1938:
'Mr Charles Robert Dunbar who died December 9th at his residence, Menlo, Alma Road, Monkstown, was a native of Galway who settled in Dublin over fifty years ago and held a position on the clerical staff of Messrs. Todd, Burns & Co. Afterwards he was connected with the insurance business for several years, holding important positions. He was also a member of the Masonic Order to the funds of which he contributed liberally. In later years Mr. Dunbar entered into the building trade, and became a large holder of business properties in Dublin City and of private house properties in the suburbs. While residing in the Pembroke district, he was a prominent member of the Pembroke Urban District Council.'
The man with the moustache at the back of the photo is another of Mama’s children, Robert Oscar Jones, and to his left is his wife, Adelina Maude Jones, née Pelissier. She was known as Aunt Aida and was more than likely the direct descendant of the Huguenot refugee, Abel Pelissier, whose family had fled to Ireland following the revocation in 1685.
In 1901, Robert Oscar and Aida Jones were living at 34 Howth Road. His widowed mother and her family were on the same street at No. 14. Robert Oscar was working in the family business and gave his profession as a Master Decorator, House Painter and Decorator. The couple had a 2-year-old daughter, Ruby. By 1911 they had moved to 7, St.Alban’s Terrace in Glasnevin and Robert Oscar had morphed into a builder and contractor, presumably in property development too.
Along with daughter, Ruby, there was Lilian Adelina, aged 9, Charles Oscar Jones aged 5 and Greta Isabell, aged 3.
Robert Oscar Jones would die on December 20th 1947. He appeared on the Dublin Electoral List for 1939/1940, working at 37a York Street, with a home address at Fortfield Lodge, Templeogue. A Charles A.Jones also appeared on the list, working nearby at 136 Stephen’s Green, and with a home address at Belgard, Balally Hill, Sandyford. Was this Robert Oscar’s son, Charles Oscar Jones, I wonder? The family business, known as ‘R.O.Jones & Sons Ltd.’ was known to be at 138 Stephens Green, but it might have moved two doors down by 1939. Although his mother’s family was Church of Ireland, Robert Oscar Jones was a member of the Plymouth Brethren baptists.
In the photograph, Robert Oscar Jones has his arm around his sister, Annie Marie Antoinette Jones - she’s wearing the white blouse with a black bow. In 1901 she was living at home with her widowed mother, Isabella Jones, at 14 Howth Road, but, in 1908, she married a man who had recently returned from working in Australia, Thomas Smith. By 1911, the young couple were living at 4 Drumcondra Park.
Thomas was working as a manager in the Jones family decorating business, and was also buying and renovating property. They had a 1-yr-old son, Percival William Webster Smith. Thomas Smith died in November 1920, leaving three young children - Percy William, aged 10, Celeste aged 6 and Cecil Herbert aged only 3. Following this tragic loss, Annie Marie went on to marry again - in 1929 she married the widower, William George Meaney, who already had three children of his own, ie., Elsie Meaney, born 1908, Frederick William Meaney born 1910, and Maureen Meaney born 1914. In 1939, they were living at 54 Morehampton Road.
Mount Jerome headstone: 'In loving memory of Marie, beloved wife of W.G. Meaney, died 6th January 1944. Also William George Meaney called home 20th May 1953, and his son Frederick William, beloved husband of Edith Meaney called home 26th June 1956 aged 46.'
Standing next to Charlie Dunbar and Anna Marie Jones is our great grandmother, Tennie Dickson. Her husband, Joseph Edwards Dickson, died following a fall at work in 1905; this photo was taken at about that time, so she may have just lost her husband, or may be just about to. Following his death, she spent the rest of her life living with her mother Isabella Jones. Her children - Cecil Dickson, Violet Dickson, Ebbie Dickson, Eda Dickson, and Vera, our maternal grandmother - lived with their mother and grandmother at a variety of houses in Howth. Their house overlooked Howth Harbour, and the children witnessed the Howth gunrunning of 1914 from their nursery window.
By 1917 the family had moved from Howth to a house named Carisbrooke House on Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge. On Wednesday 26th April 1916, a number of IRA volunteers had attempted, as part of the Easter Rising, to take over Carisbrooke House as a military outpost. There were three Volunteers, one armed with a revolver, two with rifles. Following a brief altercation with the advancing British Army, the three volunteers retreated up Morehampton Road to their next outpost of No. 25, before continuing on to Mount Street Bridge where the IRA scored their only military success of the Rising, killing 28 British soldiers and wounding 200.
In later life, Isabella Jones moved the family to a neighbouring Pembroke Road property, Granite House, now the site of the Israeli Embassy.
The following information was kindly passed onto me by Mama's great-grandson, Dr.Raymond Williams:
'Isabella Anna Jones, was known to her great-grandchildren as "Mama". In her final years, she lived with her daughter, Emily Dickson (Tennie), and granddaughter, Eveleen Dickson (Ebbie) in the large house, Granite House, on Merrion Road at Ballsbridge (now replaced by the new bank building) after they had moved from Carisbrooke House on the corner of Merrion Road with Lower Baggot Street, to where they had come from their former residence in Howth. However the children saw little of her, becuase in her 90's she was confined mostly to her bedroom and only ventured out on fine, sunny days to attend to her passion of gardening, which in the latter years consisted mostly in caring for the propagation of her geraniums and washing their pots; but she also had mushrooms growing in the cellars and, of course, the greenhouses were filled with tomatoes and grapes, while the cucumber frames produced the fillings for sandwiches and the vegetable garden provided peas, cabbage, rhubarb, gooseberries and currants; and the trees had the apples, eaters & cookers, and pears. Sunday was special when the children came to "Sunday dinner" and the whole family was seated around the dining table with Mama at the head and the Sunday roast with trimmings, followed by a pudding dessert, was enjoyed by all.'
From the Calendar of Wills: 'Jones, Isabella A. 28 October. Probate of the will of Isabella Anna Jones, late of Granite House, Pembroke Rd., Dublin, widow, who died 31st May 1942, granted at Dublin to Percival A. Jones, Company Director, and George M. Meares, Solicitor. Effects £19,175 3s. 6d.'
'I, Isabella A. Jones of 91, Pembroke Road in the City of Dublin do make this my last Will and testament hereby revoking all former or other Wills heretofore made by me. I leave the following legacies: Two hundred pounds to my son William Lysaght Jones One hundred pounds to his daughter Celeste Two hundred pounds to my daughter Anna Marie Meaney free from all duties All the rest residue and remainder of my property of every nature and description whatsoever I leave and devise to my daughter Emily E. Dickson for her life and on her death to her daughter Eveleen Emily absolutely dated this 6th. day of October one thousand nine hundred and thirty.'
Update 6/4/2012: I mentioned at the beginning of this post that a Joseph S. Kincaid, land agent, was staying at Isabella Jones' house in Howth on the night of the 1911 Census. He was actually named Joseph Westby Kincaid - his father was James Stewart Kincaid of the the land agency 'Stewart and Kincaid.' It seems that our great-great grandmother had, being head of the household, filled out the census return, but wrongly transcribed Joseph's middle name as 'Stewart' when it should have been 'Westby'. James Stewart Kincaid, Joseph's father, had married Mary Jones Westby on September 7th 1865. She was the daughter of Rev. Henry Humberston Jones Westby who was himself the son of Edward Westby who was the son of William Westby of High Park, Wicklow. William's sister was Jane Westby who married Robert Perceval of Knightsbrooke, Meath. Jane Westby and Robert Perceval were the grandparents of Elizabeth Perceval/Percival who was the second wife of our Isabella Jones' great-grandfather, Rev. John Pennefather - Isabella Jones descended from Rev. John Pennefather and his first unknown wife.
I wonder did she know that Joseph Westby Kincaid was a distant relative? (I need to thank Brendan Dixon for sending me the genealogical details for the Kincaid family.)