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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

James Gibbons, 38 Dame Street - who was he?

 Who was the James Gibbons who was in business with Richard Williams at 38 Dame Street in the early years of the nineteenth century as notaries to the Bank of Ireland?  I am in no way related to the Gibbons family, but have done much research into the Williams family, founders of the Dublin Steam Packet Company, and was curious about the origins of Gibbons family accordingly.

Gibbons and Williams were notaries to the Bank of Ireland, and appear in the Dublin street directories as such from 1800 (I believe this is the earliest entry, although James Gibbons was mentioned earlier in the 1780s as a notary to the Bank of Ireland when it first opened.)  The ‘Treble Almanack’ of 1832 names the notaries to the Bank of Ireland, and a variety of other Irish banks, as Messrs. Gibbons and Williams, although at some stage James Gibbons parted company with Richard Williams.

It seems that the Gibbons family actually lived at 38 Dame Street.  The Treble Almanack of 1815 notes the attorney E.H. Gibbons at this address.  The same year, Thomas Gibbons Junior was one of 21 managers elected to the board of the charitable Richmond National Institute of Great Britain St/Parnell St.    By 1824,  E.H. Gibbons, the attorney, had moved north of the Liffey to 27 Queen Street in Smithfield and was resident there with Edward Gibbons who was possibly his son.

The records of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, founded by Charles Wye Williams and his brother, Richard Williams, who worked with James Gibbons in 38 Dame Street, makes mention of Thomas Gibbons from 1823;  there is never any reference to James Gibbons who must have been elderly by that stage.
In 1823, Thomas Gibbons of Dame Street was an early proprietor of the shipping company, as was Hutchins Thomas Williams of Dame Street, both men holding stock to the value of £500.  The following year, both have moved - Thomas Gibbons was of Fitzwilliam Square while Hutchins Thomas Williams was at Belvidere Place.  By 1828, both men have increased their holding in the CDSPCo - Thomas Gibbons held £2,400 of shares while Hutchins held £4,400.    A law case of 1829 mentions a clerk, Thomas H. Gibbons, who worked at a dwelling-house in Dame Street along with Hutchins Thomas Williams - Hutchins' sister was resident in the same house and was ill at the time of the incident.
The records of the Keeper of the Public Records for Dublin gives three possible marriages for Thomas Gibbons, but no address for any of them - in 1810, Thomas Gibbons married Eliza Byrne;  in 1814, Thomas Gibbons married Catherine Chamney;  in 1824, Thomas Gibbons married Sarah Bradbury.
These records also record the death of a James Gibbons of Bolton Street, Dublin, in 1834.

By 1833, the firm of Gibbons and Williams comprised Richard Williams (of Drumcondra Castle) and his close relative Hutchins Thomas Williams;  these two dissolved their partnership in 1833 - Richard continued in business as Richard Williams & Son, while Hutchins continued  in business as Gibbons and Williams.
When Hutchins’ company went  bankrupt because of his embezzlement of clients’ funds in 1835, James Gibbons Junior of Ballynegall, Westmeath, quickly issued a statement that he was not involved in the firm of Gibbons and Williams.  Calling himself ‘James Gibbons Junior’ signifies that he was the son of an earlier James Gibbons - I suspect that the original notary to the Bank of Ireland who went into partnership with Richard Williams in about 1800 was James Gibbons Senior of Ballynegall.

The Belfast Telegraph of Jan.27th 1835, reported on the failure of the firm of Gibbons and Williams in Dublin.  The piece states that one of the firm had his estate in Westmeath, which seems to confirm my suspicion that both James Gibbons Senior  had been in business with the Williams family on Dame Street.
     'A complete panic pervaded the mercantile interests of this city on Thursday at the closing of this house, so long deemed of the highest character, credit and respectability....the paper of the bank is said to have obtained a large circulation in the county Westmeath,  where the estate of one of the firm is situate...'

'The Waterford Mail' of 21st January 1835 clarified things when the bank of Hutchins Thomas Williams collapsed: 'It's not the well known house of Gibbons and Williams that has failed, that one having been dissolved two years ago, and neither James Gibbons of Ballinagall, who retired, nor Mr. Richard Williams of Dame Street, now head of  Richard Williams and Son, were ever connected with the bank of Hutchins Williams who operated under the name of Gibbons and Williams....the young Mr. Gibbons who worked there was son of the late Thomas Gibbons and nephew of Mr. James Gibbons....'     The article went on to state that Hutchins and Richard Williams didn't see eye to eye, and that Hutchins Williams had used the name of Gibbons and Williams with the consent of James Williams.

'Pue's Occurrences' of 24th March 1757 noted the recent marriage of Thomas Gibbons, Notary Publick' to Miss Tate of Lisburn.  Given that a relation of James Gibbons of Ballinagall was named as Adam Tate Gibbons, I would presume that this early Thomas Gibbons was an early member of the Gibbons family, and very likely the father of James Gibbons Senior (1761 - 1835), Thomas Gibbons of Fitzwilliam Square and Adam Tate Gibbons.

James Gibbons (1761 - 1835) Senior of Ballynegall, Westmeath, died at Cheltenham on 15th March 1835.  James Gibbons -  Senior or Junior?  - built Ballynegall House in about 1808 for the enormous cost of £30,000. Although now in ruins, its portico was removed and currently forms part of Straffan House in Kildare.  In 1844, the Limerick Chronicle recorded the death in Ballynegall of Mary Amelia, aged 90, the widow of James Gibbons, Esq.  If she had been born in 1754, then presumably her husband had been born in roughly the same year.

The subscribers lists to the ‘Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland’ lists the Gibbons (unhelpfully)  as follows in their 1820 edition:
James Gibbons,Esq.,Junior, of Ballynagall. ( He was aged 28 in 1820.)
James Gibbons, Dame Street
Mrs. Gibbons, Ballynagall.

The Trinity College admission records seem to confirm that James of Ballinagall was the son of James of Dame Street since the date of birth is correct, although this may well be pure coincidence:  'Gibbons, James, S.C. (P.T.), October 5th 1806, aged 15, son of James, Notarius Publicus;  born Dublin;  B.A. Aest 1810, MA Vern 1820.'

In 1824 at Ballynagall, James Gibbons (Junior or Senior?) donated land and £1,892 towards the construction of the Protestant church there.  In the 1820s he was also involved with the establishment of the county jail and courthouse in Westmeath.

On 12th May 1823 in Drumcree, Co. Westmeath,  by the Rev. William de Courcy of Drumcree Church, James Gibbons, only son of James Gibbons of Ballynegall, married Alicia Frances, the daughter of William Smyth of Drumcree.   Rev. William de Courcy's children married into the family of Thomas Williams of Sackville Street who himself had links to the Dublin Steam Packet Company, and might have been a distant relation of the Williams who founded the business.  William de Courcy was married to a member of the Drumcree Smyth family.

James Gibbons Junior (1792 - 1846) of Ballinagall , who was JP, DL and High Sheriff for County Westmeath, died on 22nd February 1846, aged 54, whilst hunting; he died intestate, leaving no children. He died in Leamington at the house of Richard Coote, or at the house of the widow of William Bennitt of Drumlavery, Co. Cavan.  Ballynegall Manor passed to the nephew of his wife, James William Middleton Berry, who died in 1855, and then to his cousin Thomas James Smyth, who sold the house in 1863.   Thomas James Smyth was the son of Adam Tate Smyth (1772 - 1822), who was (I believe) brother of James Gibbons Senior ((1761 - 1835).

The young Thomas Gibbons (or Thomas H. Gibbons in some records) who was working alongside Hutchins Thomas Williams in the bank of Gibbons and Williams when it failed in 1835, was noted as the nephew of James Gibbons (Senior) of Ballynagall, who had been in business with Richard Williams.  He was possibly the son of Thomas Gibbons of Fitzwilliam Square.

In 1774, Thomas Gibbons was the secretary of the Incorporated Society for Promoting English Schools in Ireland. His office was at 6 Suffolk Street.

Thomas Gibbons, banker, of Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, was a proprietor of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company in 1824, which had been founded by Richard Williams’ brother, Charles Wye Williams.   

(On 14th July 1842 in Cobh, Co. Cork, the second daughter of a deceased John Gibbons, Jane Gibbons, married Quayle/Quaile Welsted Hawkes of Sirmount, Ovens, Co. Cork.  ('The Cork Examiner', 18th July 1842.) Online researchers have named Jane Gibbons as the daughter of Thomas Gibbons rather than John Gibbons.
In 1866 the Landed Estsates courts were selling off the estate of a James Symes in Portarlington and Eccles Street, Dublin.  The newspaper announcement for the sale of these properties also named Quaile Hawkes and his wife, Jane Hawkes otherwise Gibbons, along with spinster Mary Curtis and the minors John Gibbons Curtis, Catherine Curtis and Susan Curtis.  The name 'John Gibbons Curtis' would suggest that Jane Hawkes was indeed the daughter of the late John Gibbons rather than Thomas.)

In March 1830,  11 Fitzwilliam Square and its contents, was being auctioned off following the death of its owner, Thomas Gibbons.

On 27th September 1838, Mary, the eldest daughter of the late Thomas Gibbons of Fitzwilliam Square, married William Curtis, the youngest son of Thomas Curtis of Lehenagh, Cork. ('Dublin Evening Post', 2nd October 1838.)

On 15th June 1854, in Ovens, Co. Cork, Kate, the youngest daughter of the late Thomas Gibbons of Fitzwilliam Square, married John Dowman, Captain, Unattached. ('Dublin Evening Mail', 19th June 1854.)

Adam Tate Gibbons, the brother of James Gibbons Senior, was born circa 1772, and spent some time in the army. His military record appears in the book ‘A Record of the Services of the Fifty-first (Second West York)’ and shows that he was an ensign in the 71st Regiment in 1791, Lieutenant in 1792, Captain in 1798, joined the 10th Foot in 1801, then the 51st in 1804, before retiring in 1805. He became a merchant with the East India Company and died in Bengal on 10th November 1822. His widow, Anna Elizabeth, later married a Thomas Stanuell - they lived at Tickhill, York, UK, and named one of their children as Charles Gibbons Stanuell.    Charles Gibbons Stanuell or Stanwell married Margaret, the daughter of Captain Samuel Athill of the East India service Bombay engineers, in St. Pancras Church on 14th August 1851.  A solicitor, he settled in Dublin, living at a variety of addresses - Lower Mount Street, 23 Kildare Street and 6 Eccles Street.

Adam Tate Gibbons had an only son, Thomas James Gibbons, who graduated from Oxford in 1833, aged 18.   Thomas became the final owner of Ballynagall House, selling it in 1863.
Thomas James Gibbons, formerly of Madras, died, aged 48, at Greenwood Lodge, Wargrave, Oxfordshire, on 15th May 1864.

The daughter of Adam Tate Gibbons was Mary-Anne Gibbons who married in 1832,  Rev. Thomas Smyth of Drumcree, who was the son of Thomas Hutchinson Smyth of Drumcree and Abigail Hamilton of Belfast who had married in 1796.  Thomas Hutchinson Smyth of Drumcree was the son of Thomas Smyth of Drumcree and Martha Hutchinson of Lisburn.

James Gibbons Junior had married to Alicia Frances Smyth, who was the daughter of William Smyth of Drumcree, Westmeath.  Alicia’s sister was Letitia who married John Berry of Middleton (and it was their son who owned Ballynegall House following the death of James Gibbons Junior);  a third sister married Rev. Michael de Courcy, two of whose children married the son and daughter of Thomas Williams, linen-merchant of 50 Lower Sackville Street, who I suspect was a member of the Williams family of the Dublin Steam Packet Company.

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