Saturday, December 10, 2011

Goldsmiths, Jacksons, London, Ireland & some ongoing mysteries

I wasn’t going to write about Alexander Jackson, at least not for a while - mostly because I don’t really know enough about him – but he got under my skin. He was a goldsmith based in London who invested money in Cromwell’s campaign in Ireland and was rewarded when Cromwell won. This means that there are records of him as one of the Irish Adventurers. I kept wondering if he might be connected to the long line of Jacksons who were living in Co. Meath by the early-1700s, moved to Monaghan in the mid 1700s and lived in Ballybay. Many of them were prominent actors in the United Irishmen.

This particular Alexander Jackson had advanced money to finance Cromwell’s war, and was allocated property in the South-East corner of the Barony of Navan, Co. Meath. He was also granted land in the Barony of Morgallion. The townland of Lisnaboe – where the Jacksons of Monaghan and United Irishmen fame came from - is in the Barony of Kells, County Meath. These three baronies adjoin each other.

On  April 4th, 1670 a letter from the King to the Chief Governor of Ireland mentioned that a Mr. Palmer had purchased the land allotments of various Adventurers situated in the Baronies of Navan and Maghergallen (Morgallion), County Meath. It was a lot of land – 1,800 acres, Plantation Measure. The acreage was subsequently reduced to 1,004 acres because some of the lands were restored to innocents, papists and others. The names of the Adventurers recorded in this letter include the name of Alexander Jackson. This makes it unlikely that his descendants settled on this land immediately. It is probably significant that this letter was dated the same year that Alexander died.

What else do we know about him? The entry in The Rulers of London 1660-1689 contains the following:

Co Co Aldersgate Within, 1652, 1660 St John Zachary, 1624-64, ChW, 1637, St Andrew Holborn, 1667 (1) GOLD, appr, 1605, to John West, fr, 1615 (2) d 1670, bur ? St John Zachary (3) Will PCC 177 Penn, 19 Dec 1670 f Robert Jackson of Stone, Staff (4) Goldsmith, 1643, Assay Master of the Mint, 1624, Deputy Assayer of GOLD, 1626 (5) City property (£100 p a) (3) Presbyterian Elder of 5th Classis* of London Province (6) Da Sarah mar Lawrence DYER (7)
(1) McMurray, pp 422a, 438b, will (2) Will, GOLD, Appr Reg, I, f 165, Index of Appr (3) Will (4) GOLD, Appr Reg, I, f 165 (5) Heal, London Goldsmiths, p 181, McMurray, p 456, GOLD, Index of Appr (6) Sion College, MS Acc L40 2/E17 (7) Will, Boyd 25284
NOTE: Classis was the name for the organization of pastors and elders that governed a group of Presbyterian churches.

His will was proved 15 December 1670, and in it we learn that his daughter Sarah married a Lawrence Dakins Dyer, a pewterer of St. Lawrence, Jewry, London. This connection between pewtering and goldsmithing may provide other leads. After all, there was a Thomas Jackson,pewterer of London, who was granted land in the same baronies of Co. Meath. 

Alexander Jackson was supposedly buried at St. John Zachary and his will was probated December 19, 1670. There was an Alexander Jackson who was sworn Assay-Master at Goldsmith’s Hall in 1667 which may have been him, but if so, it would have been at a time when he already felt himself to be weak and infirm in body but of perfect mind and memory praise the Almighty God

As a result of a court case, we also know that this Alexander Jackson was a brother-in-law of the London merchant, William Drax. The Drax conection is intriguing because the name Drax is sometimes rendered as Drakes, and there is such a family with pre-Cromwellian roots in Co. Meath. This may be simply a coincidence and nothing more.

In 1663 there was a claim that two of Alexander’s servants, who by then had been an assayer for 34 years, had committed a fraud. They had illegally taken the official date letter and lion passant punches and then marked items belonging to friends, including Joseph Fabian. Their purpose was to make substandard plate pass as certified gold - 22 carat, I believe. Poor old Alexander may have traded in gold, but as a result of this, his reputation was as tarnished as silver.

He was ordered to dismiss his servants who were involved in the fraud, but he only dismissed one of them. Eight months after the first offence, there was a repeat of it. This resulted in the immediate dismissal of Alexander and his sons as assay masters. One of these sons, Abraham, was probably in cahoots with the servants and Joseph Fabian. Abraham had worked for his father in the Assay Office since 1645, and had, due to his father’s advancing years, been assuming on a major part of the duties. One of the servants involved in the fraud, Daniel Joslin, was still Alexander’s servant when Alexander’s will was witnessed in 1667.

Alexander was not the first Jackson to practice as a goldsmith in London. On October 31st, 1574 a Francis Jackson, known as Citizen and goldsmith of London wrote a will that was probated a couple of months later on December 7, 1574. From this will, it is clear that his wife, Anne, was still alive, as were two of his brothers – Richard and John – as well as his sister Elizabeth who had married someone with the last name of LEEKE. There are no slam dunks here, but it’s a place to start when trying to determine whether these various goldsmiths might be related.

There was also a goldsmith named Christopher Jackson (1668-1730), of the Duddington,Northamptonshire line of Jacksons whose brother Francis Jackson (1670-abt 1740) settled at Fanningstown, Co. Limerick. It is curious that there are so many convergences of names and profession happening here. It is hard to believe that it is nothing more than coincidence. 

There is something like a thirty year gap between the death of Alexander Jackson and the first sightings of Jacksons at Lisnaboe, and as they say in the London Underground – mind the gap. There is however one little bit that has hooked my curiosity as a possible lead.

 In St. Mary’s Church, Crumlin, in Dublin there is a gravestone inscription referring to a goldsmithing family who were in Dublin a generation after Alexander’s goldsmithing son, Abraham, had died in London. Abraham had no surviving children, but his brother Isaac Jackson did.

JACKSON: This stone belongs to | Joseph Jackson of the City of Dublin | Gold Smith | Here lieth the body of his father Henry Jackson who departed this life April ye 11th| 1782 aged 64 years also the body of Ann Jackson wife of  said Joseph Jackson who departed this | life April y 25th  1782 aged 28 years | [245] Vol V Memorials of the Dead p.360

It is intriguing that the Henry Jackson mentioned in the inscription above died in 1782 while the Henry Jackson of Lisbanoe supposedly died sometime 1778-1796. The text can be a little confusing, but Henry JACKSON (1718-1782) was the father of Joseph Jackson who was the husband of Anne JACKSON (1754-1782).

In 1761, Joseph was serving his apprenticeship in goldsmithing in Dublin. By 1780, he employed several goldsmith apprentices in Dublin, presumably having inherited the business from his father. He worked at Hoey’s Court in Dublin, and was recorded as a freeman from 1775-1807. He also served as a warden of the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin from 1791-1793.  

His work in silver was of the highest quality. It is collectable today. SEE:  Weldons.

One generation before Henry JACKSON in Dublin, there was also a Christopher JACKSON who was practicing as a goldsmith in 1718 in Dublin.  The questions that all this raises for me are:

  • Was the Christopher JACKSON who was a goldsmith in Dublin in 1718 related to Henry Jackson (1718-1782)?
  • Was this Christopher Jackson the same person as the Christopher Jackson  (1668-1730), goldsmith of the Duddington, Northamptonshire line of Jacksons whose brother Francis Jackson (1670-abt 1740)settled at Fanningstown, Co. Limerick
  • Did Alexander Jackson goldsmith who invested and received land in Co. Meath have descendants who settled in Ireland? His son Abraham had no children who survived him, but his brother Isaac Jackson had a son named Abraham. This younger Abraham may have lived to adulthood, inherited the goldsmithing trade and also may have descendant..
  • Since the names Alexander, Joseph, Thomas and Henry are first names that are frequently used in naming sons of the Jacksons of Lisnaboe Co. Meath and Ballybay, Co. Monaghan were they related to any of the goldsmithing Jacksons?
  • UPDATE December 30, 2012: Thanks to Jan Waugh, I can now add that in 1577-78 there was also a William JACKSON goldsmith in the Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin who was admitted for a fine of 40 shillings to be paid in work. These goldsmiths also issued coinage.

I have much more to learn, and will post more information and supporting documentation as I learn more.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Henry Jackson of Dublin - a 1690 will

Occasionally, I order a will with the highest of hopes, and then when it arrives, I start thinking of the childhood ditty:

Here I sit broken hearted
Paid my dime and only farted.

I recently ordered a will transcript for a Henry Jackson of St. Peters Parish Dublin. It wasn't my most thrilling find since it turned out to be only one paragraph long, and didn’t even name a single relation. After I declaimed the aforementioned ditty, I did however realize that it wasn’t entirely useless.In fact, it may be that someone else will find it quite useful.

It would seem that poor Henry had to make his will quite quickly, as he was preparing to go to war in the service of King William to fight in the upcoming battles. He bequeathed everything to a friend, whose name I can’t quite decipher but which may be John Horst of Kinsale, Co. Cork. Sometime in the next seven months, knowing the frailty of all mankind and being shortly by God’s grace to enter into a battle in the service of their Majesties of Great Britain against our ffrench Enemies, he died. So, I guess I forgive him for not taking the time to name his mother and father, and any siblings, nephews and cousins and such.

The rest of the digging is now up to us. There are a number of Jacksons in Co. Cork in the 1600s which will be worth tracking in relation to him. One of them is a Lodowicke Jackson, a grandson of the Rev. Thomas Jackson who was the prebendary of Canterbury. I will do a post on him and his family in the next few weeks after I do more digging.

In the meantime, some of the Jacksons of interest are mentioned in passing in the footnotes that I have appended to the will. Over and above that, there are a number of Henry Jacksons in other counties in Ireland in this time frame. Given that families used first names as frequently as birds are usually recycled in heraldic arms, it makes sense to give these other Henry Jacksons a good solid sideways glance.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thomas and Samuel Jackson -Pewterers of London

I started pursuing these particular Jacksons pretty much by accident. I had long been curious about the pewterer Thomas Jackson (1600-1680) who had received lands in Ireland as part of the major land grants that followed in the wake of Cromwell’s conquest. This Thomas had fronted some money for the war, which was how war was financed back then. He was rewarded with the grant of lands in Co. Meath. These lands, of course, came from those on the losing side.

Some of the questions that I had about this particular Thomas Jackson were:

  • Did he settle in Ireland?
  • Was he related to the Jacksons of Lisbanoe, Co. Meath? They were there as early as 1712. A generation later, many of them moved to Ballybay, Co. Monaghan. Some of these men and their families then moved to America after being convicted of insurrection in the 1798 uprising. They were supposedly descended from a 1649 officer, who was granted land at Lisnabo in Co.Meath, near Kingscourt.
  • Was he related to Alexander Jackson, a goldsmith in London? NOTE: This latter question, I will address in a piece that will follow this one. For now, let’s say: Maybe.

A William and Mary pewter Charger made by John Jackson circa 1700 and sold at Christies in 2009.

Once I dug into some of the available on-line records, I found much more than I expected. There is likely a good deal more. Bear in mind that I conduct all my research from the vantage point of my home in Roberts Creek BC, in Canada - either in my pyjamas at the start of the day, or accompanied with a glass of wine in the evening. It is hardly what would count for full blown scholarship, although maybe those who have that skill set can take what I have learned so far and run with it.

As for: Did he settle in Ireland – apparently not. One reference says that he served in Colonel Fairfax’s Regiment, in the Parliamentary Army. Later, he was referred to as a Colonel himself. This is intriguing since a Col. Thomas Jackson is often mentioned in connection to lands granted in Co. Kildare. How many Colonel Thomas Jacksons could there be? Since this Thomas served under a Colonel and then was known as a Colonel himself, it would seem to indicate that he was promoted up through the ranks at some point in the conflict. Either that, or there are two different Thomas Jacksons who have been conflated by the Historical Gazetteer of London before the Great Fire.

After the war was over, our pewterer Thomas seems to have retired from the military since he returned to his old trade in London. Going by what he owned at the end of his life, he was definitely a successful businessman. He was also lucky enough to live to the ripe old age of eighty, and to have his wife only predecease him by a month. As far as his professional life went, he was made a Warden of the Pewterers Guild in 1647, and a Master in 1660.

Members of various Jackson families had a significant, long-term, inter-generational presence in pewtering in London at this time. There are close to a couple of dozen of them who were either Masters or Wardens mentioned from the mid-1400s to the early 1800s in the History of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers of the City of London. They thrived in the heyday of pewter – when the yeoman and gentry class moved from using treen – wooden tableware - to using pewter for their usual table settings. Later pewterers did not fare so well. Innovations in ceramic and glass cut deeply into their customer base. Still, the Pewterer’s Hall gives some idea of the wealth that the trade generated in the 1600s, as do the bequests in several wills left by pewterers of the day. 

Thankfully, both Thomas and his son Samuel left wills, transcripts of which have survived. I have typed, annotated and posted both of them, and links will be at the end of this piece, along with links to other source material.

At present, I can’t prove that this Thomas was related to the Jacksons of Lisbanoe, but he did have other relations who definitely settled in Ireland in the mid to late 1600s. These wills did solve a few other mysteries for me. For example, I had always wondered what might have lead the young Daniel Jackson, who later became the Rev Daniel Jackson of Santry, Dublin, born in Staffordshire, to study at Trinity, Dublin. Now we know that there was an earlier foothold in Ireland thanks to his uncle Thomas the pewterer. Daniel’s father, Rev. John Jackson (1604-1691) was a younger brother of this Thomas. This goes with my birds of a feather approach to research. If you see one bird of a particular sort, look for others.

One other connection that would be of interest to those descended from Jacksons in America is the Samuel Jackson (1702-1760) who was a first cousin of Thomas the pewterer. He was a successful merchant in Philadelphia. Since pewter was one of the goods that this Jackson family traded internationally, it makes sense that for them to have family members placed wherever it served the advancement of their trade.

I suspect that further investigation will reveal other sightings of members of this family in both Ireland and America. Back to the birds of a feather notion. There is much more on this American line of Jacksons, but I did not follow it too far along since my main interest lies in Ireland.

I should mention that I could never have even begun to put this together were it not for my undisciplined method of thrashing about in the digital bushes with no plan in mind. I Google-stumbled on a site that was new to me: Clan Jackson . Like many such sites, mine included – I hasten to add - some of the information is solidly referenced, and authenticated, while other bits are not as reliable. In this instance, it seemed to me that the Rev. Daniel Jackson material was a little off with respect to some of its dates, so I went with my own data for that part. Still, there were lots of other missing pieces that were new to me, and that looked good enough to trust. With them, I was able to assemble a line of Jacksons that was totally new to me, but which also absorbed stubs of trees that I had assembled before. The link to the tree is below.

The recently added facts include amongst other things the name of Thomas’s only known surviving son, Samuel (1634-1716) who had a son, also named Samuel who followed his father into the trade. Unfortunately, Samuel jr. predeceased his father leaving no issue. Since Samuel sr.’s other two children died in infancy that was the end of the pewtering line in this particular branch of the Jackson family. I am not sure what happened next. A Robert Jackson and a John Jackson carried on the pewtering trade in the 1700s and into the 1800s, and were likely related to Thomas and Samuel. It is likely that the end of this line did not mean the end of Jacksons in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland who had other family ties to these pewterers. This is still to be explored.

Thankfully, Samuel senior’s will included the mentions of more than a hundred other family members – including the names of dozens of women whose names are often like the bits left on the cutting room floor when movies are made. For these surviving bits in this particular will, I am particularly grateful and delighted to share.