2013-07-28 22:16:57 UTC
The story of how I discovered the pedigree of Capt. John Ireland is a lengthy one. I will try to make it as succinct as possible.
It suffices to say that it took many years a good bit of luck and some help from some wonderful people. My first clue to Capt. Ireland's background was a memoir written by my grandfather's 1st cousin, Thomas Ridgely Dorsey, in 1886. Cousin Thomas was a long time news editor for the Baltimore American and later the Baltimore Sun. My grandfather was a news reporter for the Sun and undoubtedly worked directly with cousin Thomas who had no children, nieces or nephews. I believe this is most likely how my grandfather came to inherit the memoir among other papers from that side of the family. The opening paragraph reads as follows:
“As far back as I can trace my lineage on my father’s side is Vachel Dorsey who is my father’s grandfather. He married miss Ireland daughter of an Englishman of high degree. During a public parade in England a Colonel under whom marched young Ireland insulted him. In those old times an insult meant instant apology or death. Young Ireland sent a challenge to the Colonel which the latter of course accepted as honor, which was then alone respected, bade him. Knowing that his challenge had been accepted young Ireland chartered a vessel on which he deposited men whom he could trust. At the appointed time the Colonel and young Ireland met in a room with their seconds. The doors were locked and the time was night. Awhile they practiced pass and ward till Ireland knew he held the Colonel at his mercy and the former said: 'Colonel we had better cease this strife, for it rests with me to give you life or death.' 'Kill and be damned!' was the Colonel’s reply and the noble Ireland said: ‘Between the third and fourth vest button you get it’ and the next instant the sword of Ireland pierced the Colonel’s heart. The latter fell dead into the arms of his seconds while the former departed on his vessel and sailed for America. He put up at the Carroll Manor in Howard County, Maryland. It was his daughter that married Vachel Dorsey…I will here say that my lineage can be traced back to the throne of England. But as yet I cannot get on the track that leads to the throne.”
Fortunately, Maryland marriage records give us a name for "miss Ireland" as we find that in 1786 Vachel Dorsey and Clementina Ireland were married by Rev. Charles Sewall, S.J. in Baltimore County. Though our family Bible does not record the death of Clementina Ireland Dorsey it does record the death of her elder sister, Elizabeth Ireland stating that she was “the daughter of John and Sarah Ireland" which provided me with the Christian name of "young Ireland" from my cousins memoir.
Armed with the notation in the family Bible as well as my knowledge of the fact that "the Carroll Manor" was another name for Doughoregan Manor the home of Charles Carroll of Annapolis and later his son, Charles Carroll the Signer I Googled "John Ireland" + "Charles Carroll" and at the top of the search results was a reference to "Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland" searching within the book I found what I was looking for in the second paragraph of page 239:
"In addition to the overseers, a number of other white employees lived at Doohoragen. Rigg’s predecessor, Captain John Ireland, for whom the Carrolls had genuine affection, had by 1773 retired to Doohoragen’s smallest quarter, with only eight slaves. Born to a well-bred Yorkshire family whose estate had afforded him four to five hundred pounds a year, Ireland had misspent his youth. Marrying before his eighteenth year, he ran through his money; although some of his titled English relatives occasionally made minimal provision for him, he was reduced to soldiering for his livelihood in the French and Austrian armies. Ireland wound up in Maryland and went to work at Doohoragen, where his tireless labors won Papa’s (Charles Carroll of Annapolis) approbation. In the early 1770s, when Ireland’s health rendered him no longer equal to the job, Papa rewarded his loyal service by allowing him to continue living on the small quarter, taking care to relieve him of his responsibilities in a way that did not offend the old man: ‘ I had a good opportunity,’ he told Charley (Charles of Carrollton), ‘& I embraced it to Propose to Mr Ireland to move to His owne Plantation, I did it in such a manner that He was Pleased with it, I intend to ad to His House there a Snug & Warme roome for Him.’"
After reading this paragraph I began to give my cousins memoir a bit more attention as at least some of what he had written seemed to have credence. The footnote in "Planters" to the above paragraph led me to the Maryland Historical Society and eventually Dr. Mary Jeske the editor of the Carroll Papers who directed me to the three volume work "Dear Papa, Dear Charley" which is a superbly edited and compiled work that chronicles roughly thirty years of letters written back and forth from Charles Carroll of Annapolis (Papa) to his son, Charles Carroll of Carrollton (Charley).
There are innumerable references to Capt. John Ireland in the three volume work and from reading all of them it is abundantly clear that both "Papa" and "Charley" were deeply devoted to Captain Ireland. However, it was one particular letter written from father to son in 1761 when "Charley" was attending St. Omer's that opened the proverbial can of worms:
"17 September, 1761
I leave the inclosed to Sr Thos: Webb Open for yr Perusall, Having done that, you will seal & Deliver it, as I presume you are acquainted with him, If you are not acquainted with: him get Mr. Perkins to Deliver it. I shall send a Duplicate & triplicate of this to you, If one be delivered it will be Sufficient: keep the others by you. By my letter to Sr Thos: you will see that I have formerly Solicited him in favour of Mr. Ireland; I Proposed he should Advance 4 or 500 (pounds) To Purchase him a Seat of Land some slaves & to Enable him to Build & improve the Land. You must know that Mr. Ireland is Related to Sr Thos who was his Guardian, that he had an Estate in Yorkshire of 4 or 500 (pounds) a year which he indiscreetly Run thro having Maryed Before he was 18 Year old, & having been Severall years in the French and austrian Service, the latter he Quitted in 1745 for a Particular Reason: He is Polite well bred & very Agreable Gentleman, & altho his former Conduct may have Given Sr Thomas reason to be Displeased with him, His present wants & fruitless industry deserves his compassion - I have also formerly sollicited Lord Montague in favour of Mr Ireland, His Lordship was So Polite & Condescending as to answer My letters & to express a desier to Serve Mr Ireland, But his Ability not being Equall to his Inclination He gave me Hopes he would use his Interst with Sr Thos in Mr Irelands favour. If you have the Honr to be acquinted with his Lordship Pray put him in Mind of this - I also sollicited Mr Molineux Sr Thomas's Chaplain, He is an old Acquaintance of myne & promised to use what Interest he had to Serve Mr Ireland Pray put him in Mind of this Presenting my Respeccts to him, & let me know what steps he Took in Complyance with his Promise...
In the fore part of this letter you see what I wish to be done for Mr Ireland, you are Acquainted with Sr Thomas's Sons they were yr Fellow Collegians You may Perchance influence them to incline their Father to Assist him, neither they or their Father will Miss 4 or 500 Pounds, that Sum would make Ireland Happy & Independant it is shocking to see a Gentn: Reduced to Hard Labour Especially when he is a Man of Great Merit - I have Advanced a Great Deal of Money to Purchase a Pretty seat of Land for Mr Ireland within two Miles of my House at Elk Ridge."
Having a contemporary of Capt. Ireland speak of him and his background in this way was what truly peaked my interest. I now had names of his relatives in Yorkshire to go work with. A very quick internet search brought me to Stirnet where I found that Sir Thomas Webb was the son of Sir John Webb 3rd Baronet. On the same page I discovered that Sir Thomas had a younger sister, Barbara who married Anthony Browne, 6th Viscount Montague. I also discovered that several generations earlier Marina Webb, daughter of the 1st Baronet had married a William Ireland of Crofton.
This was back in 2008. I tried to go further on my own and couldn't with the resources I had at the time. Though I knew Capt. Ireland was related to these noble Yorkshire families I couldn't properly tie him in and what confused me further was that calculating the probable relationship between Capt. Ireland, Webb and Montague would have made Ireland a 2nd cousin which to me seemed far too distant a relationship for a monetary request. I tried hiring a few folks overseas who were very pricey and eventually my mind drifted to other projects occasionally Googling to see if anything new had been posted that might shed some light on the mystery. By and large, for about five years I found nothing. That was until March of this year I tried my hand at it again and through another Google search and found myself here: http://wwtn.history.qmul.ac.uk/ftrees/Webbe.pdf
Once there I discovered for the first time that William Ireland of Crofton and Mariana/Marina Webb(e) had left issue a daughter, Winifred and a son, Charles. Discovering further that Charles Ireland had been mentioned in the will of his cousin, Lady Mary Gerard made me curious if perhaps she mentioned more of William and Mariana's children in her will. That led me to the National Archives website where I was able to download a variety of other Webb(e)/Ireland wills that painted a very clear picture of the relationship between the Ireland and Webbe families.
The National Archives website also provides an index to a variety of chancery records. I ordered a number of those that seemed to involve the very Webb(e)/Ireland families that I was dealing with. I received them and was overwhelmed by both the handwriting and diction and eventually was blessed to find Susan Moore of Susan Moore Research http://www.susanmooreresearch.co.uk who is an expert in British Chancery records.
Through one particular chancery record (C 11/1389/28) Susan helped me to determine that William Ireland of Crofton and Mariana/Marina Webb(e) were the parents of Ralph, John, Charles, Winifred and Mary. Through a variety of Ireland/Webbe wills I also discovered that William and Mariana were the parents of another son, Francis who had died in 1705. The rest of the puzzle would be solved by probate records.
1. Francis Ireland's will, probated in 1705 and available on the National Archives website, left everything that Francis had received from "Sir John Webb my late uncle" to his "dear brother Charles Ireland." He also named his first cousin, Sir John Webb 2nd Baronet as his chief and sole executor.
Through the origins.net national wills index we also found the following:
2. Mary Ireland of the City of York, Spinster had her will probated in 1712 in which she mentioned her brothers, Charles and Ralph and named her brother John Ireland as her executor. She also mentioned her brother-in-law Anthony Champion. She then leaves legacy “To Isabell Jessop my servant £5 and such of my wearing apparel as I have mentioned to my brother John Ireland, in case the said Isabell do continue with me as my servant until my death.”
3. Ralph Ireland of the City of York, but late of Crofton co York, gent, had his will probated in 1724 it was short but informative:
Whereas upon settling and conveying my several manor lands tenements and hereditaments to trustees for payment of my debts and other encumbrances upon such settlement agreed upon to be paid and discharged thereout, it is hereby limited directed and appointed that the sum of £1,500 shall be raised and paid to me out of my several manors lands tenements and hereditaments at Crofton Birchwood Saintinley and Winterset in the said county of York and which as yet being unpaid and discharged I give and devise the said £1,500 as also all my personal estate whatsoever to my brother Mr John Ireland he paying thereout to his son John and to his daughters Mary, Elizabeth, Marina and Winifred 20s apiece to buy of them a ring and also £5 to my brother Charles Ireland for mourning
I do nominate and appoint my said brother John Ireland sole executor
Signed Ralph Ireland
4. The will of John Ireland of Crofton county York Esquire had his will probated in 1736. In it he leaves legacy to:
1. Daughter Mary Ireland
2. Daughter Elizabeth Ireland
3. Daughter Mariana Ireland
4. Son James Ireland
He mentions his “estate in lands tenements and herditaments” which he “received by the last will and testament of (his) late brother Ralph Ireland Esq deceased” which “will descend and comme at (his) decease to (his) eldest son John Ireland and his heirs.” He names the trustees of his estate as his “much respected friends Thomas Earl of Westmoreland, Sir John Webb Baronet, Ralph Brandling Esq and Isabella my wife…” He appointed John Ireland his “eldest son sole executor.”
The will was proved in February 1736 naming “Morgan Lowry of Leeds co York clockmaker, and Sir James Burdett of the city of York Baronet” as the sureties.
5. We found a curation bond for John Ireland a minor naming his mother, Isabella of Crofton and Thomas Shann of Wakefield as the sureties. The bond stated that young Ireland was a minor but over the age of 14. It was further stated that young Ireland was entitled to an estate of £300 per year on rent due the real estate of Crofton and that he would be entitled to this at the age of 21 or upon his marriage
6. Finally, on the origins site we found the marriage record of John Ireland to Isabel Jessop in 1712. As it turned out, John Ireland had married his sister’s servant!
The facts laid out in the above mentioned documents so closely mirrored the commentary of Charles Carroll of Annapolis that connecting Capt. John Ireland of Anne Arundel Co., to John Ireland son of John Ireland of Crofton Esq., was academic at this point.
I owe a tremendous amount of thanks to Dr. Mary Jeske and to the fantastic efforts of Susan Moore who helped me digest the chancery records and sift through the voluminous probate records. Without them I never would have been able to come to the conclusion that I have made. I am in the process of writing a much more scholastic version of this narrative but for now I wanted to share the story with the group.