Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Samuel Jackson - Gleanings of a Life


Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Eventually. Even if it takes a decade. The original parchment will of Samuel Jackson (1641-1706) was lost in the 1922 fire in Dublin that destroyed much of the Public Records of Ireland. All I knew of it was based on two sets of abstracts recorded before then. That limitation was part of why it took me a decade before I could decode its clues.

In fact, I would never even have known about this will had Sean Bardon, curator of the Armagh County Museum, not showed me Groves notebooks. A year later, he also introduced me to T.G.F. Paterson’s notebooks. Both men had left different notes on this will. At the time, I was seeking any and all Jacksons who might be related to the townland of Urker aka Urcher in Co. Armagh. As it turned out, Urker wasn't even mentioned. The other townland names  meant nothing to me.

Notes by Tenison Arthur Groves (abt 1864-1938).
For my transcription see 1705 Will of Samuel JACKSON
Later, I noticed that repeated clusters of these leases had been held by relations of Samuel Jackson over subsequent decades. As I connected the dots, it felt like watching a game of pinball. Time and again, because Samuel Jackson had no known or surviving children, his bequests ricocheted a few generations down one line until that line ended up sans issue, as they say. Then the game went back a generation or two earlier and ricocheted down again. Many of these original leases finally ended up with the North family of Jackson Hall in Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland. It happened this way because Samuel’s sister Jennet Jackson (abt 1650-abt1690) had married Oliver North (d.1723), which was also why the North family ended up owning the ancestral home of Samuel’s parents, Rev. Richard Jackson (1602-1681) & Dorothy Otway (abt 1605-abt 1645). Generations later, the Norths also lived there.

SAMUEL JACKSON (1641-1706) – WHAT WE KNOW FROM SMALL GLIMPSES

Samuel was the twelfth child of Rev. Richard and Dorothy Jackson (née Otway). After his birth, his mother had three more children before dying, likely from the aftermath of childbirth. His father sired another eight children with his second wife, Jane Carter (abt 1618-1695). Dorothy’s first-born, William Jackson (1628-1688) was thirteen years older than Samuel and although it is most likely that the Jacksons had held leases in Ireland long before the mid-1600s, William was the first of this generation of his family to settle there. It would not be long before others followed.

In 1656, when Samuel was 15 years old, he began an eight-year Draper’s Guild apprenticeship with Robert Bellew, an upholsterer of Holburn. The arrangement for Samuel’s apprenticeship involved the usual payment of a £100 bond. Since a close family member would have bankrolled Samuel, it is likely that he would have completed his apprenticeship rather than forfeit the money. At the end of the apprenticeship, in 1664, he would have been twenty-three years old.

The Drapers Guild, like all the City of London guilds, regulated aspects of trade including wages, labour conditions and industry standards. In these ways, they were not unlike trade unions, but at the same time they were also profitable similar to the way that corporate monopolies are. In 1610, James I, King of England, signed articles with the various guilds of the City of London to transfer land in the region now known as Co. Derry, in order to settle a mix of Scottish and English families there. SEE: Bill McAfee: The Plantation of Ulster and the Creation of  the County of Londonderry. As a result, the Jacksons of Kirkby Lonsdale were “planted” in Londonderry by at least the mid-1600s. Here are a few relevant facts about the family's guild and land connections:
  • William Jackson (1575-1626), Samuel’s grandfather had been a mercer in Kirkby Lonsdale and his son Francis Jackson (b abt 1607) had apprenticed in the Drapers’ Guild under William Gore in 1627. Since William was already deceased, Francis’ £300 bond had been paid by his brother (Rev.) Richard & his mother Mary Slater. 
    • NOTE: Members of the Drapers Guild held land in the Barony of Loughinsholin. Several Jacksons who are likely related to the Kirkby Lonsdale Jacksons held leases in several parishes there, notably at Ballynascreen, and Kilcronaghan. SEE: Jacksons of Tobermore. Several branches of the Gore family, some of whom intermarried with Jacksons, branched out to other Counties.
  • William Jackson (1628-1688), Samuel’s oldest brother, apprenticed with the Clothworkers and held leases in and around Coleraine. See: Timeline of Jacksons of Coleraine.
  • John Jackson (1630-abt 1690), another one of Samuel’s older brothers, apprenticed with the Goldsmith’s Guild. The Goldsmiths held land in the west of Co. Londonderry, just south of the City. He was “of Bellaghy”, a townland in the Parish of Ballyscullion, Barony Loughinsholin. 
In 1670, when Samuel was 29 years old, he was probably at the Mansion House aka Jackson Hall in Coleraine when he witnessed the agreement whereby his brother William signed over one acre of land for a church at Ardacleve aka Articlave Lower Parish of Dunboe, Barony of Coleraine[1]. This became the site of the future church of St. Pauls.

St Paul’s Church was built to replace the ruin at Downhill. It is generally believed that Articlave village was the first settlement on the Clothworker Company Estate in 1611 and that the site was in all probability selected on account of the nearby river. When the ecclesiastical authorities had to consider the necessity of providing a new church for the parish it was natural that they should select the most advantageous position. A certain Captain Jackson gave a grant of one acre of land, and on this land the church was built. Bishop Hopkins gave the consent for the building of this church and Bishop King consecrated it on June 2nd, 1691. SOURCE: John Campbell on Flickr.

Source: www.townlands.ie - Articlave Lower
The rest of the archival records for Samuel Jackson continue to be slim pickings, but jumping forward eighteen years we at least get a snapshot into some of his thoughts and business dealings when he wrote[2] to Sir Albert Conyngham, Mount Charles House, Strabane [in Co. Donegal]. Part of his letter concerned business dealings with a Capt. Hamilton[3]. My suspicion is that this relates to Samuel’s holdings in Co. Meath originally bought from Sir Robert Hamilton.

I am with yrs of ye 3d instant Mr Tho [Knox?] did send me a bill for 2l [£2] Interest of [holding?] expense due to Capt [Fred?] Hamilton due 2l [£2] 14 9Br [September] [last?]  We have been in great consternation here about a letter which I presume you must have heard of, wherein it was said that on the 7th instant the Protestants was [sic] to be cut off; which alarm hath caused I believe 2000 [+?] people to go for England. But, God be thanked, now people begin to come into their right witts again. For my part, I never believed anything of that report, and I do not doubt but in a little time all things in England will come to a good accommodation [I?] [have?] [note?]
Your most humble [?]
Samuel Jackson

The casual conversational style is worth noting because Conyngham was an influential man. He oversaw the Board of Ordnance, which meant that he supplied arms and munitions to the military. He also oversaw the Royal Irish Artillery as well as the Irish Engineers and maintained the fortifications in Ireland. Two years after this letter, he fought in and lived through the Battle of the Boyne on the side of William III. He would have been an old man by the time that he died after serving in the Battle of Limerick. He was killed on September 5th, 1691 by a Roman Catholic soldier, while being held as a prisoner of war near Colooney, Co. Sligo.

In his letter, Samuel refers to “a letter which I presume you must have heard of, wherein it was said that on the 7th instant the Protestants was [sic] to be cut off”. This refers to December 7, 1688, the day that the gates were closed at Derry. Derry was the last fortified City in Ireland being defended by Protestants, and it was after this date that the Siege of Derry began. Given the significance of this, Samuel Jackson is amazingly sanguine: “But, God be thanked, now people begin to come into their right wits again. For my part, I never believed anything of that report, and I do not doubt but in a little time all things in England will come to a good accommodation.” If Samuel believed what he said, and he wasn’t putting it this way for some tactical purpose, he was also flat wrong. England did not easily come to a good accommodation.

A decade later, a story told by Peter Drake[4], in his 1755 The Memoirs of Capt Peter Drake, sheds even more light on the character of Samuel Jackson. In the War of 1641, Samuel Jackson’s family went back in forth in their loyalties between the Crown and the Cromwellians, but in the end, they sided with Cromwell and won land as a result. Peter Drake’s family, part of the Catholic nobility, had supported the Royalist side, and hence they lost their land. This is an important context for understanding subsequent relations between the Jacksons and the Drakes.

William Drake of Drakerath[5] Co. Meath, the grandfather of Peter Drake (1671-1753), descended from an old Anglo-Norman family which traced its ancestry back to the days of Strongbow in the 1100s. They were also related to the Ashe family[6] of Devonshire, part of the same extended family who intermarried with the Jacksons of Tobermore. Peter Drake records aspects of his family connection to the townland of Drakrath:
… his Mansion-house was called from his own Name, Drake-Rath[7], in the Barony of Kells, where the Ruins are yet to be seen. … The Family remained in peaceable Possession of this Estate from their first Arrival, until the War of 1641, when, with many more, they forfeited, and were driven to shift for themselves. 
Townlands owned by Samuel JACKSON are circled - including Drakerath

After years of adventures and misadventures in France, Peter visited Drogbeda in 1700, where I had many Relations on my Mother's side [NOTE: Based on circumstantial evidence, the Jacksons of Drogheda are also likely related to Samuel Jackson]. After this:
I went to Drakerath, the ancient Mansion-house of our Family, and which my Father got Possession of in King James's Time. This House and Demesne were held in Lease by Mr. Patrick Drake, a Relation, from Samuel Jackson, Esquire, of whom I shall have occasion to say something presently. Mr. Drake received me kindly; I staid some Time at his House, during which I visited some Friends in that Part of the Country. In about three Weeks after I came there, Mr. Drake told me that he had a Letter from Mr. Jackson, acquainting him that he would be down with him in a few Days, telling me, though Mr. Jackson was a very worthy Gentleman, he did not know how he might relish my being there, and desired me to go and spend a few Days at Sir John Flemming's during his Stay; that he would take an Opportunity to speak to him about me before he went away; and that as soon as he was gone, he would fend for me, the two Houses being but half a Mile distant. Mr. Jackson came and staid a few Days, during which I was at Sir John's: As soon as he was gone, Mr. Drake sent for me, who, as soon as I came, told me he had spoke to Mr. Jackson about me, and that he seemed very desirous to see me, assuring him he would do something for me if I would come to him in Dublin, leaving a Direction where I might see him; and Mr. Drake pressed me very hard, seeing me unwilling to go. At last I was prevailed on, and, he not knowing my Story I resolved on it; and in two or three Days took my Leave of Mr. Drake, and went to Dublin.
My Direction was to the two Black Posts in Fishamble-street[8]. I went the next Morning by ten o'Clock, and Mr. Jackson received me very kindly, He asked me what I had a mind to apply myself to, that he would put me to any Business I liked; I thanked him; he proposed several, but could hit on none, my head being turned another Way. He proposed putting me to a Merchant to go to the West Indies, alledging, that by behaving myself prudently, I might one Day make a Fortune, as several others had done, assuring me at the same time, that he had no other View in what he proposed than that of serving me; and as he was possest of an Estate, which he was informed had belonged to my Fore-fathers, and being unprovided for, he made me these Offers, and was sorry they did not answer his Intention : I thanked him very kindly, telling him my Inclination ran more on a military Life than Business; that we seemed to be just at the Eve of a War, and that I was resolved, with the Blessing of God, to try my Fortune that Way. He told me, that in his Opinion it was the worst Choice I could make; and putting a green Purse with twenty Guineas into my Hand, wished me Success in my Undertaking, and desired me to accept that Trifle as a Token of his good Wishes. I made a very low Bow, and thanked him, and so we parted. I went away without a particular Knowledge of the Contents of the Purse; and repaired to a Public-house in order to an Examination. I no sooner entered the Room, but I opened it, and was amazed to see myself Master of so much Gold, and vainly thought the Fund inexaustible: But, alas! how much I was mistaken shall be shewn in a short Time. I went in a few Days to Draktrath, to thank Mr. Drake, and tell him of my good Success. He spoke much in Mr. Jackson's Praise, not more indeed then he deserved. I was now too rich to lead a solitary Country Life, so I hastened to Dublin.

There are several take-aways here.
  • Although Samuel Jackson held leases in Co. Meath and lived in Dublin, he was not a typical absentee landlord. He not only leased Drakerath back to the Drakes, but was welcome to stay there as their guest.
  • He exhibits concern for making some level of reparations to the Drake family because his fortune was in part gained from the seizure of the Drake family lands.
  • He deliberately reached out to Peter Drake, who aged twenty-nine had so far not acted in ways – even according to his own account - to inspire much confidence. Given how quickly Peter spent the £20 in the purse, not much had changed.
  • Samuel’s business connections included a Merchant with the East India Company.
  • His recommendation to Peter to choose a business career over a military one may have been seasoned by Samuel’s experiences of the costs of recent wars in Ireland. Many family members had fought in various Irish wars, and some had died.
Part of Samuel’s business success was enhanced by his and his family’s political clout. From 1695-1699, he represented Coleraine in the Irish House of Commons. His tenure overlapped that of his nephew Capt. William Jackson (d. 1728) of Jackson Hall, who represented Londonderry 1697-1699 and was the oldest son of Samuel’s brother William Jackson (1628-1688) with his wife Susan Beresford. Susan moved in with Samuel sometime after 1690 and the collapse of her 2nd marriage to Col. John Mitchelburn. She died on the same day as Samuel Jackson at Samuel’s residence on Mary’s Lane in the City of Dublin. Her father, Sir Tristram Beresford (1669-1701), had been the representative for Londonderry with his term of office overlapping Samuel’s. These two families represented a number of counties in the Irish Parliament over the next century which goes a long way to explaining the inter-generational successes of their extended families.

As for Samuel, he died at in 1706 at Mary’s Lane, at one of his recently built houses in the suburbs of Dublin (Oxmantown):
This morning Sam Jackson Esq. died, 'tis said he was worth £30,000 which he left to his two nephews. About half an hour after, Madam Mitchelburn, sister to the said Jackson, died in the same house.
The Madam Mitchelburn referred to was Samuel’s sister-in-law Susan Mitchelburn aka Jackson née Beresford. Her son, Richard Jackson also lived with them. He had served as the second member of Parliament representing Coleraine in the Irish House of Commons from 1695-1703. 

At the time of his death, Samuel’s known assets included property in Co. Dublin, Co. Meath, Co. Monaghan and Co. Cavan as well as at land at Clifford in Yorkshire. His properties in Dublin included houses at Young St., Castle St., Fishamble St. and King St. (near St. Stephens Green). Although he had had a leg-up thanks to inheritances (more research is needed here), it is also clear that he had successfully navigated the opportunity niches of his day and avoided the pitfalls, both as a merchant and as a property developer. As a result of his success, several generations of nieces and nephews rode on his coat-tails in the years to come.

In my next piece, I will continue the pinball game, and follow some of the land holdings of Samuel Jackson and how they lead us to the story of the scandalous second marriage of Abigail Jackson, Samuel’s niece. Stay tuned.


NOTE: If any of my facts or interpretations are amiss, I welcome correction.


[1] In April 2018, I found a typescript of this agreement at the Representative Church Body (Church of Ireland) Library in Dublin.
[2] PRONI T2825/C/47/2 December 11, 1688.
[3] There is likely some connection here – still to be determined – to the Hamiltons of Mount Hamilton, Co. Armagh.
This family descends from an ancient Irish branch of this family represented by a person known as Drake of Drakerath, a prominent person in that kingdom under the Plantagenets, Tudors, and Stuarts. The mansion of Drakerath was located in the Barony if Kells in Meath, Ireland, where it remained for hundreds of years. It was built by a member of the Drake of Ashe family (discussed in above sections) of Devon who acquired sizeable lands in Ireland and settled there. The estates remained in the possession of his descendants until the rebellion of 1641, whereupon they were forfeited. However, a small piece was restored by the Court of Claims during the early part of the reign of King Charles II. A cadet of this family, Captain Peter Drake, was a hired soldier, who followed the wars through Europe. Several generations later came one Patrick Drake, son of Columbus Drake, was an Esquire of Drakenrath, who was born in 1712. In 1747, he married Frances, daughter of James O’Reilly of Roriston, Meath, Ireland, and had five children with her as follows: Columbus, George (married Emily O’Reilly, had issue), Catherine (married George Dowdall), Elizabeth (married Nicholas Browne), and Anne. He died and was succeeded by his son Columbus Drake, Esquire of Roriston, who was born in 1750. In 1777, he married Anne, daughter of Christopher Barnewall, Esquire of Fyanstown Castle, county Meath, and had the following issue with her: Patrick, Christopher, Cecilia (married James Archibald O’Reilly of Rahattan in Wicklow, Ireland), Frances, and Anne. He died and was succeeded by his son Christopher. Christopher was born in 1790 and he married Mary Anne, daughter of Nicholas Gannon, and had two issue with her: Columbus Patrick (see below) and Anne Maria. He secondly married Mary, daughter of Alexander Somers, and was the father of five children with her: Christopher Somers, Alexander of Joseph (of Rathbale near Athboy), Charles William, Catherine Cecilia, and Mary Elizabeth. He died in 1854 and was succeeded by his son. This son, Columbus Patrick Drake was an Esquire of Roiston, county Meath, Ireland, as well as a Justice of the Peace. In February 1858, he married Marcella Mary, daughter of Andrew Christopher Palles and Elizabeth O’Ferrall.  The Drake Coat of Arms of this Irish line are blazoned in the medieval and Middle Age art of heraldry as follows: Argent, a wyvern, wings displayed and tail nowed gules. Crest: A wyvern, as in the arms. They were seated on Roriston, near Trim.
SEE ALSO: McLysaght in his Irish Families tells us that the Ashes were domiciled in Kildare and Meath since the fourteenth century and are recorded in the sixteenth century as among the leading gentry there. Branches dispersed to various parts of Ireland and are found in Limerick, Cavan, Louth, Derry and Antrim. It is not improbable that the Captain Thomas Ash who defended Derry for King William in 1689 came from the same roots as Commandant Thomas Ashe, who occupied North County Dublin at Easter 1916 for the Irish Republic. SOURCE: Ash Family of Kinard, Co. Kerry. NOTE: Sarah ASHE (b 1698), daughter of Lieut. Col. Thomas ASHE (1660-1737), married John JACKSON son of William JACKSON of Tobermore in Derry.
[7] Drakerath Staholmog Civil Parish, Barony of Lower Kells, Co. Meath
[8] Various Deeds:
·       ROD: 10-72-3089. 1713 Jul 2. Image 309 BTW Charles AUGHMUTY of City of Dublin Finger weaver and Robert LEVESLY of City of Dublin Weaver Proctors of Parish Church of St. John Evangelist Dublin of 1 pt & Simon ANYON of City of Dublin Gent of other pt.  … in consid of deed 25 Mar 1692 made by Henry SMITH and William MIDDLEBROOK then Proctors … with consent of John BULL of Dublin shoemaker deceased for 81 years … on east side of Fishamble St Dublin held by Simon ANYON containing in front from North to South 25’ ½ and from East to West adjoining Mr. PEPPARDs House from the Kings Pavement 45’ to the East adjoining Mr. JACKSONs holding formerly Mr. SMITH’s holding backwards 18’ from East to West joining to Mr. JACKSONs formerly Mr. SMITHs holding called the Marble Post 38 feet … witness: Mark DESMYNEECE, George LEECE and James SOMERVELL [aka SOMMERVILLE] of City of Dublin Gent. NOTE: Since Jackson died at his house on Mary Street in 1706, but was living at Fishamble in 1700, he must have moved some time in the intervening years. It is possible that the Two Black Posts were the same place referred to in a deed as the Marble Post.
·       See 1705 Will. [Christ Church Deeds] 1948. Wm Bishop of Kildare, dean, and the Chapter of Holy Trinity with consent of the Prebendary of St. John’s Dublin, in consideration of the surrender of Preb. St. John’s (  ) conveyed by John ALEXANDER to Henry SMITH and of £150 to be expended on the premises by the present lessee, lease to Samuel JACKSON, of Dublin, esquire, assignee of Henry SMITH, the said premises now described as inhabited by Samuel ANDREWS and situate between Fishamble Street on the west, the butcher’s market formerly the Kill Garden on the east, the prebendary’s tenement in the possession of Widow BOYSE on the south, and that of Widow WILLIAMSON on the north; term, rent and covenants for forfeit and voiding as in said lease and lessee further covenants to expend £150 on the premises within 21 years and keep them in repair (map annexed). Signed by lessee in presence of Tho Harrison, Ben BOYCE and Cha BALDWIN Dated 17 Apr., 1699, and 11 Wm. III See: JACKSONs of Coleraine.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating read. Especially as a close Y dna match with my husbands McQuillens has Jacksons in his tree from Armagh and connections to many of the places you mention including Dunboe. And my husands earliest ancestor came from Dublin (born 1765) and apprenticed in Holborn in 1780. Dot McQuillen

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