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Family Memoir (Thomson, Bristow, Laird, Smith etc.)
by E.B.L.
(Ellen Bristow Laird)

1805 - 1806 - 1807 - 1808 - 1819 - 1843 - 1852 - 1861 - 1868 - 1877 - 1880 - 1890
1901 - 1907 - 1908 - 1910 - 1912 - 1918 - 1924 - 1932 - 1939 - 1943 - 1951 - 1960
1913 Tel. directory    1824 Pigots (Belfast)  &  (Bangor)   1894 Waterford Directory
1898 Newry Directory      Bangor Spectator Directory 1970

July 11th, 1906 - All I know of my Mother's Forebears  E.B.L. (Ellen Bristow Laird)

               The farthest back of my mother's forebears of whom I know anything definite is:- James Thomson; born January 27th, 1731; died in 1809.  His father was the Revd. Samuel Thomson, Presbyterian minister of Ballywillan, near Coleraine.  Either he or his father before him had come from Scotland in the time of the Covenanting troubles, in order to worship God as seemed best to them.  Judging from the dates, I should think it was probably James Thomson's grandfather who came from Scotland, but at any rate his father had a great reputation for holiness, and it was popularly believed that he had been specially tempted by the Devil in the form of a strange man who was seen to accost him in a field, but being unable to lead the minister astray, the evil one departed, and was seen no more in that shape in the neighbourhood.  The minister, when questioned as to this experience, declined to give any information, and some people believed that the suspicious one had really been an emissary of the Old Pretender's. who had wished to enlist the influence of Mr. Thomson in the interest of the Stuarts; and I understood that the time of the appearance of the stange (strange) figure was supposed to be shortly before the Scottish rising of 1715.  This worthy minister, whose Christian name I don't know, though I believe it was probably James, died while his son was still an infant.
          When the minister died, he left three daughters besides the infant son.  These were Mary, Matty and Ellen.  Mary, the eldest, was only thirteen at the time of her father's death, but she must have had extraordinary force of character, for she set herself at one to be father and mother both to the younger children.  All they had to live on was a small farm, and this wonderful girl worked it herself, and with such success, that she not only maintained her family, but educated her brother and sent him to Edinburgh University to learn to be a doctor.  She is said to have frequently worked in the fields herself.
          Of her sisters: Ellen married a Presbyterian minister, Dr. Murray of Cookstown.  Both Dr. Murray and his wife died young, leaving an only daughter.  Her uncle, Dr. James Thomson, at once took her into his own family, where she remained till her marriage to Mr. Kyle, a gentleman who lived near Coleraine.
          Matty (whose name I suppose must have been Martha) never married.  She lived to be ninety-six.  Her last years were spent with her niece, Mrs. Kyle.  My mother, her great grand niece, remembered seeing her; she was then doting, but was always glad to see her young visitors; she used to "sit quietly repeating half the Bible by heart"; she always took her niece, Mary Thomson, for a good young clergyman!
          The wonderful elder sister married a Mr. Gaston, and had a large family; but my mother was not sure how  many.  She knew of a daughter who became Mrs. Nelson; another who was a Mrs. Rogan; and another who was a Mrs. Ross; also one who did not marry - was known as Aunt Mary Gaston; also of a son, who married and had two daughters, Susan and Alicia.  Mrs. Gaston herself lived to be ninety-nine; she kept all her faculties till the last. (1)
          My mother, then a small child, saw her a few days before her death.  She had been taken to visit her by some of her own aunts and the old lady's nieces.  She was then living with her unmarried daughter at Magherabure; she generally sat spinning at an ebony wheel; and she walked with a stick.  When her visitors were leaving, she got up and walked to the window to see them get on the Car, and stood smiling and waving a farewell.  She died a few days afterwards; I don't know the date of her death, but as my mother went to Ireland when she was only four years old and that was in 1816, Mrs. Gaston must have died before 1820, I think my mother said.  She told me the ages as she had always heard them, but of course could not be absolutely certain about them.
          Dr. James Thomson (2) married Eleanor Smith, on February 26th, 1761, when he was thirty years of age, and by that time established as a general practitioner in Coleraine and the neighbourhood.  They had a large family:-

Anne  --  born 15-12-1761   died 18-8-1849                                       
Alicia  --  born 26-8-1763   married in 1790 or 1791   died 11-1821
Sarah  --  born 18-4-1765   died 9-2-1834 aged 69 years                   
James  --  born 9-10-1767   died 12-10-1767                                     
Jane  --  born 30-1-1768   died 29-3-1837                                          
Lydia  --  born 10-9-1769   died 18-12-1769                                      
Mary  --  born 10-7-1771   died 26-11-1846                                      
Eleanor  --  born 11-10-1773                                                              
James  --  born 9-4-1775   died date uncertain, lost at sea                  
Samuel Smith  --  born 17-5-1778   died 30-4-1849                           

          The only one of these seven daughters who married was Alicia, the second of the family.  They all seem to have been able and good women, but Alicia had a specially poetic nature, and at the age of thirteen she wrote some verses descriptive of the family fireside, which give one a pleasant picture of a united and happy family.

Whilst winter reigns, and all around, Is one continual waste of snow,
Here social pleasures still abound, We value not the winds that blow.
Come stir the fire, its cheerful blaze, Shall show each face adorned with smiles,
Whilst many a jest, from hearts at ease, And many a song, the time beguiles.
What though we boast no store of wealth, No titles, or no high degree,
Our blessings are content and health, Good humour, peace and harmony.
Then welcome winter's friendly gloom, To us new joys it always brings,
Blest in our peaceful, happy home, From Innocence our pleasure springs. (3)

          It was much the habit of Dr. Thomson when at home of an evening to read aloud, and one who remembered these readings told me that all Sir Walter Scott's novels were obtained as they came out, and read aloud in the family circle.  The practice, however, cannot have been a very regular one, as Dr. Thomson had a large practice, and was well known and much respected over a wide district in the north of Ireland, and was a visitor in all the big houses.
          Amongst his friends was the Revd. Skeffington Bristow, (b) Prebendary of Rasharkin, and his family.  But it was during occasional visits to Belfast that Alicia Thomson learnt to know Lieutenant Skeffington Bristow, (c) of the 46th Regiment, a son of the Rector's.  This acquaintance led to their marriage in, I think, 1791.  On his marriage Mr. Bristow sold out, and took a small farm about twenty miles from Coleraine, called Dessertderran, where Mrs. Bristow often had visits from her sisters.  Her married life was not a long one, only lasting for about seven years, when her husband died, in February, 1798, leaving her with a family of five children; as follows,

Eleanora  --  born 1792   married Captain Edward Nicolls, R.M. 1808   died November 1880
Skeffington  --  born 1793   died 1826                                                                                         
Elizabeth  --  born 1794   died 1826                                                                                           
(4) James and Joseph (twin sons)  --  born 1795                                                                         

          The children were, therefore, six, five, four, and three years old when their father died.  James, one of the twins, said that all he could remember of Dessertderran was sitting under the dining table and pulling at the cloth as if he was milking a cow, till he pulled down a heavy glass salt cellar and cut his head!
          Mrs. Bristow had had her eldest sister, Anne Thomson, staying with her at the time of the birth of the twins, but when she had been five or six weeks away from home, her father got impatient for her return, and Mary Thomson was sent to take her place.  A few weeks after she came to Dessertderran, and during her absense (absence) from home, her mother, Mrs. Thomson, died.
          Mrs. Bristow did not long remain at Dessertderran.  Soon after her husband's death, she moved into Coleraine to be near her own family, and was settled into a house just opposite her father's and under his care and protection.  She had for a short time a small shop, but I think it did not answer and was soon given up.  I think from all I ever heard of her that Mrs. Bristow must have been a woman of great charm and considerable talent, but probably of less force of character and practical sense than some of her sisters were endowed with.  She had very narrow means, and her husband's family, though much better off then the Thomsons, never seem to have done anything to help her.
          Her father-in-law, the Rector of Rasharkin, had died the year before she lost her husband, and his brother William, the Rector of Belfast, who was several times what was then called Sovereign of Belfast and would now be called Mayor and Sir James Bristow, K.G., seem to have left it entirely to the Thomsons to help their brother's orphans.  The education of Mrs. Bristow's two little girls, Eleanora and Elizabeth, was undertaken by her sisters, the Miss Thomsons.  This being known, the sisters were soon asked to add two other girls to their class.  These were Sally Smith and Susanne Gaston; the latter was a granddaughter of Mrs. Gaston's, therefore a second cousin of the two Bristow girls; and I think Sally Smith was also a relation, though I don't know exactly how, but think she must have been a niece or grandniece of Mrs. Thomson's.  She was a much spoilt child, and her parents finding it almost impossible to give her any steady education at home, where the house was always full of company, asked the Miss Thomsons to let her share in their neices' (nieces') lessons.  The idea was thus suggested to them of the famous school which they started after their father's death.
          There were three sons in Dr. Thomson's family.  The first, James, died when only two months old; a second, to whom the same name of James was given, grew up and became a naval surgeon; but the ship in which he was serving disappeared, and her fate was never known. (d)
          Samuel Smith Thomson, the third son and youngest child, followed his father's profession, obtained his medical training in Edinburgh, and there he took his degree of M.D. in the year 1800.  "Shortly after this he came to Belfast to settle as a private practitioner there.  After remaining for a few years, he went to Magherafelt, in County Derry; but soon leaving it, he returned to Belfast in 1805, which he never afterwards left; thus being nearly half a century as a practising physician amongst its inhabitants." (e)
          It was intended by his guardians that James Bristow should follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and uncle, and become a doctor; but he had no inclination that way.  In after years he told his daughters that in 1803 when he was eight years old, he was sent to Mr. Greer's school at Rasharkin, - where by his own account he did not learn much.
          (Mr. Greer was a son of the Tithe Proctor at Rasharkin.  The old Rector, seeing I suppose that the lad was clever, had taken him into the Rectory and had him taught along with his own sons, by their tutor.  He afterwards sent him to college, where he greatly distinguished himself.  Afterwards coming home he set up a school, which in time became a large one.  But though a first rate classical scholar himself, he had not one qualification for imparting his knowledge to others.  Any error in Prosody disgusted him, as if it had been a crime, and he expected his pupils to set it right by intuition.  He employed a "Hedge" school master to teach writing and arithmetic; all other instruction he gave himself.)
          James Bristow left this unsatisfactory establishment at Christmas 1806, when he was eleven years old, and by his own account knew very little even for a boy of his age, could not write a legible hand, knew nothing of arithmetic and very little of Latin and Greek.  His daughter, however, thought he must have known more Latin than he gave himself credit for, as he often used Latin quotations, and could always tell her the meaning of any Latin phrase.
          After leaving school, James was apprenticed to his grandfather, as his uncle had been before him.  There was also another apprentice in the doctor's shop; Frank Rogan, a second cousin of James Bristow's.  He was the elder by several years, and the authority he consequently assumed was very odious to his junior, and probably helped to give him a distaste for the medical profession.
          I don't know how long this apprenticeship continued, but while he was still very young, his uncle, Dr. S. S. Thomson, adopted his twin nephews, and both James and Joseph Bristow from that time lived in Belfast and in their uncle's house.  Both boys entered Banks, but Joseph, who was always delicate and morbid never became more than a clerk; while James became one of the founders of the Northern Bank, and a great authority on all Banking business, and was various times called to give evidence upon it before Parliamentary Committees.
          Mrs. Bristow's eldest son, Skeffington, had suffered from epileptic fits from infancy, and in consequence was not quite right in the head, though he was not exactly idiotic, and could it seemed understand and appropriate the teaching he got on religious matters, though on no others.  He was said to have been more like a very affectionate little child than the man he became.  When he was sixteen years of age, it was thought desirable that he should no longer live with the rest of the family, and he was placed on a farm under the care of Miss de Ros; and there he remained till his death in 1826.  He was visited and much beloved, and used to write childish round-hand letters to his brothers and sisters.
          A year before this occurred, his eldest sister, Eleanora, had got married at the age of sixteen: and here I must introduce another name into my chronicle.
          Amongst the Coleraine neighbours of the Thomsons and Bristows was a Mr. Nicolls, who had married a Miss Anna Cuppage, whose grandfather had been a Rector of Coleraine, and whose father was also a Rector, though I don't know the name of his parish.  I have heard that it was given to him by Admiral Lord Vernon whose Chaplain he had been at sea.
          This family originally spelt their name Cuppaidge, and one branch of it continues to do so, but most spelt it Cuppage, came to Ireland in the reign of Queen Elizabeth with Sir Arthur Chichester, and on the settlement of Ulster an estate was given to them near Coleraine.  This probably remained in the family till the Revd. George Cuppaidge, Rector of Coleraine and grandfather of Mrs. Nicolls, sold it.  A Stephen Cuppaidge was M.P. for Coleraine in 1861.
          A conclude from the fact that Anna Cuppage was allowed to marry Mr. Nicolls that he was a gentleman, but I know nothing at all about his family; and he himself held a not very important position, being somehow or other in the employ of the Customs.
          Mr. and Mrs. Nicolls had six sons, of whom Edward, afterwards Sir E. Nicolls, K.C.B., was the eldest.  I can find out very little about them, but I believe they were all in the Army or Navy, and were a very good-looking set of men.  One of them was said to be the handsomest man in the Army!
          Edward was born in 1779, and when yet a small child, began his career as a midshipman.  Fortunately for him his uncle, General William Cuppage, seeing the child and thinking that at eleven years old he would be the better for a little schooling, took him out of the Navy and sent him to school at Greenwich.  When he had been at school for at least two years, he got him a Commission in the Royal Marines.  In the record of his military services drawn up by Captain Shanks, R.M.L.I., it is stated that the date of his Commission as Second Lieutenant was March 24th, 1795, when he must have been in his sixteenth year, though not far on in it: this makes me think that perhaps he was eleven when he entered the Navy.
          From the moment he got his Commission, he put his whole soul into his profession, and soon covered himself with glory and became known by the nickname of "Fighting Nicolls".  He came home on leave as Captain Nicolls in 1808.  And here I insert Captain Shank's list of how he had distinguished himself before that date.
          "He was constantly employed in boat and battery actions and in most desperate cutting-out expeditions.  In 1803, in a small boat with one gun and 12 men, he beat off a French brig of 18 guns and 120 men in sight of Havre de Grace, and carried off two vessels which were under her convoy.  On the 5th November, 1803, with a boat's crew of 12 men, he cut out the French cutter Albion, of 6 guns and 43 men, from under the guns of Monte Christo, San Domingo; in this service he killed the French captain in single combat, but was very severely wounded in the struggle, - the ball from the Frenchman's pistol striking him in the stomach passed round his body, and lodged in his right arm.  For this dashing exploit he was presented with a sword of honour, value 30.  He commanded the Royal Marines at the siege of Curacoa, in February, 1804, where he stormed and took Fort Piscadero of 10 guns, and drove the French troops from the heights,  He served also in the trenches, and for 28 consecutive days had to repel three or four attacks of the enemy daily.  He also defeated an allied force of 500 men, and destroyed Fort Piscadero.  He served at the forcing of the Dardanelles in 1807, when he captured the Turkish Commodore's flag, and assisted in the destruction of his ship.  He also captured and destroyed the redoubt on Point Pesquies and spiked the guns therein.  He was present at the blockade of Corfu in 1807, and with the expedition to Egypt in the same year, when he rendered very important services in charge of a station in the desert, and was taken prisoner.  On the 26th June, 1808, with a boat's crew only, he boarded and captured the Italian gunboat Volpe, near Corfu, after a chase of two hours.
          He must in 1808 have been a very handsome young man, and when he was about twenty-nine or thirty.  He was of middle height, light and active in his figure; he had very good features, handsome eyes of a very vivid sky-blue, an aquiline nose, a good mouth, and particularly well-shaped feet; his hands were not so good.  I think he must have been a very interesting figure to all the girls in Coleraine.
          Just at this time Mrs. Bristow had been invited to visit her brother-in-law at his house at Holywood, near Belfast, and to take her eldest daughter with her.  At that date when such a journey was undertaken it was usual to fire a Post-chaise, and if possible to share the expense with a friend.  Captain Nicolls was going to Belfast, and was perfectly ready to share a Post-chaise with Mrs. Bristow and her pretty young daughter.  He was always a man of much decision of character, and before they reached Belfast he had made up his mind that he wanted to marry the young girl, who had only just put away her last doll.  Being as straightforward as decided, he at once spoke to Sir James Bristow, who was delighted at the prospect of getting one of his penniless nieces provided for.  When the matter was referred to the young lady, she assented, but on one condition, a condition that I think ought to have made her mother and uncle hesitate to sanction the match; she said she was quite willing to marry Captain Nicolls, if he would promise to leave her at home as long as her grandfather lived!  Captain Nicolls agreed to her condition, and they were married in Sir James Bristow's drawing room.
          Soon after which Captain Nicolls returned to his duty and Mrs. Bristow and the Bride went home to Coleraine. That Bride when an old woman told me that her grandfather's only comment on her marriage had been, "Ah, Nell, Nell!  A silly business!  A silly business!"  From the way she told it, I felt as if the whole affair had been so quickly arranged and so entirely under Bristow influences, that probably Dr. Thomson had heard nothing of the marriage till it was an accomplished fact, and I am quite sure that if his granddaughter had thought he would consider her marriage "a silly business," it would never have taken place; for she adored him, he was the first and most powerful of all her Popes, and she could have said "No", which word I imagine was a very difficult one to her mother,
          Only a year passed after the marriage before Dr. Thomson's death, which took place on August 26th, 1809.  In the meantime Captain Nicolls had been gaining fresh laurels.  I again quote Captain Shank's paper;
          "On the 18th May, 1809, he landed, with two Lieutenants and 120 Royal Marines, on the Island of Anholt, defeated with the bayonet a force of 200 Danish troops, captures the island, and took upwards of 500 prisoners; for this service he received a letter of thanks, and was appointed Governor of the Island."
          As soon as Captain Nicolls heard of Dr. Thomson's death, he wrote directing his wife to join him at Anholt. A passage was procured for her and a woman servant in a Troop ship.  It must have been a great undertaking for the girl of seventeen to start on such a voyage; but one difficulty she had not to face, she proved a remarkably good sailor; and in due time they reached the tiny Island where her husband was Governor.
          In after years her grandchildren delighted to hear the story of the pet mouse which used to come out from behind the fireplace and nestle in the fur trimming of her shoe when she was sitting alone in her room, the solitary lady in the Island.  Anholt was indeed little more than a rock in the midst of the stormy Baltic Seas, but it had springs of fresh water and was an important possession when His Majesty's ships had no means of distilling fresh water from sea water as they do now-a-days.  The small garrison was extremely quarrelsome; when not fighting the King's battles, they were apt to be fighting their own; duels were frequent and hard drinking common; happily their Governor was always a perfectly temperate man.  But the place was a dreary one for the young wife, and was make more so by the fact that the woman servant she had taken out with her turned out badly, and was of neither use or comfort to her mistress.  The change from a very sheltered life in the midst of an unusually cultivated family to the society of men only, and many of them of a very rough and uncultivated type, would have been very trying to any woman, and to an impulsive young girl, who was always confident that her own people and their ways were best, even the whole-hearted devotion of her husband who all his life long regarded her as the best and wisest of women, and gave her his unlimited confidence, was not a sufficient compensation!
          Sent to sea as a child and having spent his life since he got his Commission on very active service, Captain Nicolls united to a great respect for women in general considerable ignorance of their wants and ways; but when Admiral Lord de Saumarez visited Anholt and beheld with amazement the girlish wife of a Governor, he was far from resenting the suggestion that it would be better and safer for everybody that she were sent home to her mother, and that Lord de Saumarez would be pleased to give her a passage in his Flag Ship.  As for the wife, no words can express her joy; to the last day of her long life she was always ready to express her love and gratitude to her deliverer, and anyone who bore the name of de Saumarez held a sure passport to her good-will and good offices.  Apparently the Admiral was a very kind fatherly man, probably he had daughters of his own, and under his wing she returned to England, and in due course reached Coleraine.
          There all was much changed.  her cousin, Dr. Rogan, was in her grandfather's place; her four aunts had begun the school that afterwards became so well known; her sister Elizabeth had been sent to a good finishing school in Dublin, there to learn as much as she could of school life that she might return and help her aunts; her twin brothers, James and Joe, had been adopted by their kind and generous uncle, Dr. S. S. Thomson of Belfast.  Where her mother was I don't exactly know, but believe she must have been with her sisters, anyway it was to her mother-in-law's abode that young Mrs. Nicolls had to come; and there she spent a time of great unhappiness, though I think it must have been but a short time.
          The elder Mrs. Nicolls had left the Church of her father's and joined the Methodists.  Her house was the resort of many local preachers, who were one and all abhorrent to her daughter-in-law.  Many things that in the more liberal Thomson atmosphere had been considered innocent or indifferent, were condemned by Mrs. Nicolls as sins.  Her husband seems to have been a good deal of a cipher in his own house; a kindly man, but his wife's first subject, and not at all disposed to join forces with that rebel, his daughter-in-law!
          By her own account, I think she must have been a troublesome inmate!  She was about to become a mother, and being strong and well would not take the care of herself the older woman thought necessary; and as a sign I suppose of independence, a very short time before the birth of her child chose to take exercise by skipping, and kept the rope going for some extraordinary number of turns!  I always thought that story showed that the old woman had had something to put up with as well as the young one!
          However, physically the skipping had no bad effect, and in 1810 her eldest child Alicia (called after her own mother) was born.  Fortunately for the child, Dr. Thomson had always approved of mothers' suckling their own children, and every word of her grandfather's was a law to young Mrs. Nicolls, so there was no idea of putting the child out to nurse, and she grew strong and healthy, and a great darling with her grandmother Bristow.
          I don't know at what date Captain Nicolls returned home, but I think it must have been in this year.  When he came, he speedily carried off his wife and child and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Bristow, to England: and from that time till her death, she lived with her daughter.  She was warmly attached to her good and generous son-in-law, and her daughter was devoted to her; so that I think we may conclude that it was a happy little family at Woolwich into which a second daughter, Eleanor Hester, was born, on September 12th, 1811.
          While this child was still an infant, she had a very bad illness; its nature I don't exactly know, but after much suffering and severe dosing from an Army doctor, the child seemed to die.  Her mother was carried fainting from the room, and the nurse proceeded to lay the little body out on a sofa which was in the room.  Her father returning home went straight to the sick room, and was met by the news of the child's death.  Now Edward Nicolls was a very hopeful man, also he had a great faculty for disbelieving anything he had not like; he loved his little daughter, and he would not believe she was dead.  A decanter of sherry stood on a table near; he instantly began to try and get some drops down the baby's throat; the wine ran out of her mouth.  The nurse protested, "O Sir, don't disturb the little dear!"  With some very short uncomplimentary words he told the woman he would do what he pleased with his own child.  She persisted in interfering, so he took her by the shoulders and put her out of the room, and locked the door.  Then he rubbed the little one's feet and hands and stomach with the wine, and tried again to make it swallow: and at last his patience was rewarded and a few drops were swallowed!  Then, not daring to move the child, he went for his wife; and I have heard her say that the first thing she really knew after thinking the child was dead, was finding herself kneeling by the sofa leaning over the baby, who was sucking her breast!
          The child who thus owed her life twice over to her father, was the one of all his family who most resembled him, both in features and character.  She had the same vivid blue eyes, acquiline nose and good mouth, the same straightforward single-minded character, strong family feelings and a sweet temper, the same forgetfulness of injuries and the same inability to understand people who were morbid and self-conscious.
          I don't know the exact date at which Edward Nicolls home sojourn came to an end, but he had gone to America and had been reported dead of wounds before his third daughter, Anna Edwina was born, in 1814, for I have heard that the child's second name was given her in memory of her father and her first was after his mother, which looks as if a common trouble had softened Eleanor's feelings towards her mother-in-law!
          What Edward Nicolls was doing in the meantime, Captain Shanks shall tell us.  "He served in North America during the war in that country, and raised and commanded a large force of Indians, rendering incalculable service to the British arms by continually harassing the United States Army.  He co-operated in the siege of Fort Bowyer in 1814, in command of a regiment of Creek Indians, and was three times wounded during the bombardment, he having insisted on being carried to the post of honour, although unable to sickness to walk.  He was the senior Major of all the force before New Orleans in 1815, and as such, urged his right to lead the battalion of Royal Marines in the assault; this honour was refused him on the ground that if he fell, there would be no officer to command his army of Indians.  He also performed other very important services during the war, and was specially mentioned in the Gazette in 1807, 1808, and 1809.  During the above brilliant career he had his left leg broken, his right leg severely wounded, was shot through the body and right arm, received a terrible sabre cut on the head, was bayoneted in the chest, and lost the sight of an eye in his last, or 107th action.  In December 1815, he was awarded a pension of 250 a year for these words, and received a second sword of honour."
          When he returned to England in 1815, Major Nicolls was unusually well off.  Besides his good service pension, he had received a considerable amount of prize money.  Unluckily he was seized with the erroneous conviction that it was possible to be a farmer without being trained to the work; he took one of the Moat Houses at Elthan, with land attached, had King John's Banqueting Hall for a Barn, got a pony for his little daughters, now six and four years old, and proceeded to teach them to ride, in which by all accounts he was more successful than in farming; for it was said the children were fearless and enjoyed their lessons.
          Here his eldest son, Edward, was born in 1816; and here, when the child was only six weeks old, there was a great thunderstorm; the house was struck by lightning and set on fire, and the poor young mother (still only twenty-four years old), and her three little girls and precious boy baby, had to fly from the house, and take refuge with a neighbour!
          I don't know how long it took for Edward Nicolls to lose all his prize money, but his wife spoke as if the fire had been a king of climax, and certainly before little Ellen was five years old; therefore, before September 1816.  It was thought wise for her mother to take her two elder girls to Ireland and to place them at school with their aunts, the four Miss Thomsons and Miss Bristow.  There they remained till the youngest of them was eighteen.  And in all that time their mother was only able to visit them once, - when she brought their younger sister, Anna, to join them.
          But Eleanor at any rate was all her life unspeakably thankful for the training her aunts gave her.  Whatever they taught they taught thoroughly, and the example of their upright strenuous lives was always an incentive to everything that was good and pure and unselfish.  There, too, she made some life-long friends amongst her school-fellows.  An elder girl, Eliza McCracken, called Mammy McCracken because she cared for the little ones, was the chief of these; she was afterwards Mrs. R. J. Tennant. Emily Kyle, afterwards Mrs. Little, was another.
          Soon after the children came to Coleraine, they were invited to their grandmother Nicolls', and there the younger and more nervous child was so dreadfully frightened by the black looks and the groanings of one of Mrs. Nicolls' pet preachers, that the aunts appealed to the distant father, and he issued orders that his little girls were not to visit his mother when the preachers were about.  For the rest he wished his children to learn their catechism, as became little members of the established Church.  And indeed the Rector took care that the members of his flock who were under the charge of the Presbyterian Miss Thomsons, should be well looked after and attend the Sunday catechising in the Parish Church; - which their aunts were quite willing they should do.
          It was a time of much controversy in the Presbyterian Church of Ireland.  Various congregations had as it were slipped into Unitarianism.  The Thomson sister were strictly orthodox; their brother Dr. S. S. Thomson of Belfast was a Unitarian; and under his influence his nephews were of the same persuasion; and they were not at all sure about the orthodoxy of their niece Mrs. Nicolls,  But differences of opinion with these good women never interfered with Christian love and patience; they were broad-minded women, and in many ways in advance of their age.
          There were no schools for poor people's children in those days, but a friend and distant cousin of theirs, Miss Mary Rippingham, settled herself in a cottage near them, and opened a school to teach the 3 Rs, the Scriptures, and plain needlework to little girls.  It was a coveted privilege and honour to belong to this school; the Miss Thomsons helped it on, their girls visited it, and some of its scholars in time became servants in the ladies' school.  Amongst these was Jane Lyons, of whom I will have more to say later.
          The Thomson sisters do not seem to have been very like each other.  The eldest, Anne, was the head of the house, the wise woman of business; in the eyes of her nephew James Bristow, a model of good clear judgment and high principal.
          Sarah was from the first I think less strong than her sister in mind and body, a faithful lieutenant in the school.  Jane was distinguished by a certain quickness of temper and impatience, that was sometimes a joy to her grandmother Ellen Nicolls.
          Mary was always noted for a special pureness and spirituality of character.  Girls might be rude or disobedient to the other ladies, it was generally felt to be a profanation to offend Miss Mary!  But there was one girl who did not feel this, and on one occasion when Miss Mary was hearing her repeat a lesson, she was fairly insolent in her manner, counting on her teacher's long-suffering patience, but she counted without Miss Jane, who had come into the room and overheard what was going on.  Without saying a word, she came up behind the contumacious pupil, and a ringing clout on the side of her face was the first intimation of what Miss Jane thought of her proceedings!  The whole school-room echoed with the joyful acclamations of the other girls, who highly approved of this swift punishment.
          Their own aunt, Elizabeth Bristow, had naturally the chief charge of the Nicolls children, and her niece Ellen loved her dearly.  Neither aunt or niece were very strong, I have heard that Elizabeth Bristow had something wrong with her spine, and Ellen though a healthy child was a nervous exciteable (excitable) one and often ailing.  In after years sae was of opinion that the fearful dosing received in infantine days had caused a chronic weakness in the coats of her stomach.  But however great ? may have been she was a great contrast to her sister Alicia, who at school see seems to have been a more general favourite than Ellen.
          Ellen was very shy and never wished to show off.  Alicia loved to be noticed, and would do anything to secure admiration.  She had an excellent memory, and she would get up for a time at some strangely early hour to study some out of the way subject, - once it was Greek!  Then she would go in for being very lazy.  She was always in extremes, and told her sister it was no credit to be always fairly neat and to do your lessons pretty well.  A spell of idleness followed by extra hard work made people notice and talk about you!
          In advance of their times as it many ways the Miss Thomsons seem to have been, they had no modern ideas about health and sanitation.  Sally and Jane suffered terribly from what we should now call neuralgia, and their habits of life were well calculated to give it.  They never went out of the house without reason, or to Meeting on Sunday; they habitually drank a great deal of vinegar and ate very little.  There was a good playground for the pupils, but naturally the teachers did not benefit by that.
          During their summer holidays they sometimes went with their nieces to Port Rush; when Alicia sought distinction by bravely crossing the swinging bridge at Carrick-a-Rede and the top of the connecting wall at Glenluce Dunluce.  Shorter holidays seem to have chiefly been spent by the young sister at Balnamore, the hospitable abode of Mr. Sam Smith.  He was a nephew of old Mrs. Thomson, therefore a first cousin of the Miss Thomsons and Mrs. Bristow, and his numerous family were second cousins of Eleanor Nicolls and her brothers.
          Mr. Smith was a very kindly jovial sort of man, I should say rather vulgar, fond of making jokes about sweethearts in a practice much resented by the girlish pride and shyness of Ellen Nicolls; but he was extremely hospitable, and all the young people were friends.  Mrs. Smith was very unlike her husband; a handsome, dignified and reserved woman.  It was very difficult for her young guests to believe that her marriage had begun in an elopement!  One of the daughters of Balnamore, a handsome brunette by name Jane, afterwards married her second cousin James Bristow; and from that marriage are descended all the present race of Bristows of Belfast.
          While time was passing so peacefully and monotonously with her daughters, Mrs. Nicolls' family was increasing.  Another daughter, Jane Mary, was born in February, 1819;  Elizabeth followed in February, 1821; and a second son, Richard Orpen Townsend, in 1823 or 1824, I am not sure which.
          It had been his mother's intention if her child was a boy to call him James, after her grandfather and brother; but shortly before his birth, a wealthy Irishman came to Woolwich and received a good deal of hospitality from Major Nicolls.  He was an old bachelor, and before he went away requested his host to call the expected infant, of a boy, after him, and intimated that it would be the better for the child if this were done.  So, much to his mother's rage and disgust, her second son got a name unused by any of his forebears.  The voluntary godfather who was duly informed of the child's birth sent a congratulatory letter and a handsome Christening robe, - and was never heard of again!
          The long war having come to an end, Major Nicolls' services were somewhere about this time lent to the Foreign or Colonial Office by the Admiralty, and he was sent to the Island of Ascension as Commandant and Governor.  I don't know how long he was there, but during his absence, in November, 1826, his mother-in-law died at Greenwich, where at that time her daughter was living.  Just about the same date, Elizabeth Bristow, never a strong woman, died of inflammation of the lungs at Coleraine; and her brother Skeffington's short and suffering life also came to an end.  They did not all die the same day, but all three deaths were so near each other in time, that neither mother of children ever knew of the others having gone before.
          The loss of her mother was a fearful blow to young Mrs. Nicolls (she was still not much past thirty); she never for many years afterwards mentioned her name.  Her mother's companionship had been the greatest of comforts to her, and she was now very lonely and desolate.  Her husband wished her to join him at Ascension, bringing her youngest boy with her.  I think it must have been at this date that she took her two youngest daughters to Coleraine, and left them with their aunts.
          Then her passage was taken in a transport, and she and the little boy and a woman servant set sail for Ascension.  On the way a most exciting incident occurred.  The two women were sitting working in the cabin; there was a calm; when an order came down that they were not to show themselves on deck. No reason was given for the order, but to Mrs. Nicolls' great surprise she saw one of the officers go into his cabin opposite her own, and then slip his money and his watch into his boots!  Then she heard a boat come alongside and men come on board.  After a time they went away again; - and then she was told they had been boarded by pirates!  The pirate vessel had signalled the transport to lie to, she could not get away in the calm, so every one of the few Marines on board was put into his uniform and brought on deck, which it was hoped would give the impression that there were more below.  As the first officer of the pirate stepped on deck, the second officer of the transport gave him the Freemason's grip, which fortunately he returned.  He then said that all he wanted was medical and surgical necessaries for wounded men; and these being supplied, he returned to his ship.
          Next day the transport reached Ascension, and there heard the terrible story of an unfortunate ship which had been taken by the pirate, after a hard fight, in which many of the pirates were killed and wounded; but they had won the fight and forced the survivors of the conquered ship to walk the plank.
          How long Mrs. Nicolls remained in Ascension I don't know, but she was settled again in Woolwich in 1829, for in that year her daughter Ellen (two xx's mark this spot) left school and came home for good; she came in a sailing ship from Belfast to London.  It had been intended that Alicia should remain in Coleraine and become a teacher in her aunts' school, for which profession she was supposed to have some talent; but she had a still more pronounced talent for flirtation, and this was less desirable in a school-mistress:- so that on the whole Miss Thomsons thought she had better go home.
          After Colonel Nicolls' return from Ascension, he was lent to the Foreign Office, and sent to the West Coast of Africa as Governor of the Island of Fernando Po.  His family in the meantime continues to live very quietly and economically at Woolwich.
          At Fernando Po the climate was very bad.  The mortality amongst the small English garrison was very great.  Colonel Nicolls believed that much of the mortality was due to intemperance;  the men had little to do, were dull and depressed; they had few vegetables to eat.  He did his best to encourage them to start gardens and grow fruit and vegetables; also he made a round up the mountain to a height above fever level.  But these efforts for the good of his men were much grumbled at; they all entailed hard work, and hard work in that climate is abhorrent to all but men of faith.  It is easier to curse the climate and forget your sorrows in drink!
          Colonel Nicolls also devoted himself to the suppression of the slave-trade, and made many enemies amongst the traders by his zeal for righteousness.  It must have been a great pleasure to him when he welcomed Macgregor Laird and the few survivors of the Niger Expedition, in 1833.
          At that date he was well in health; his strong constitution and keen interest in his work, and his temperate habits, had so far enabled him to resist the poisonous climate.  But soon afterwards even his strength broke down, and he lay prostrate with fever and apparently dying.  A mail was about to leave for England; the orderly looked into the room for final orders, and seeing the condition of the Governor, said to whoever it was from the outgoing ship that accompanied him, "You may report the Governor as dead; he'll be gone before you are over the Bar".
          Colonel Nicolls was speechless, but he heard and understood, and still had strength to shake his fist at the man.  However, he was again reported dead.  But he did not die.  He struggled through, and survived the orderly, who died a few days after he had sent home the false news by over thirty years.
          His return to England was, however, inevitable, and in 1835 he retired from the service on full pay.

               From this date I cease my separate story of my mother's ancestors, and just add some family bits.


                                              Extract from Mary Bristow's fragmentary manuscript; 1857:-
          "My father remembered her (Mrs. Gaston) a very old woman living with her daughter, Mrs. Nelson, at Magherabure, a farm near Dessertderran.  Mr. Nelson was one of a class half-gentleman, half-farmer, which was common in country places in those days, but has since almost passed away.  He was in comfortable circumstances and was a peculiarly king, amiable, and pleasing man, a favourite with all the country round.  After his father-in-law's death, he made his house a home for his wife's mother and unmarried sister, Mary Gaston, of whom my father often speaks with the greatest reverence.  She was a woman of uncommon powers of mind and sound judgment, and though of course of but little cultivation (as education was not to be had in those days, especially by women of her rank), still she was the adviser and counsellor of all the country side.  A great sufferer from asthma, and often confined to bed for long periods, in which she could not even lie down, my father well recollects the visitors coming from miles round to tell their troubles to Aunt Mary Gaston, as he was taught to call her, though she was really his mother's first cousin.
          Mrs. Nelson was very unlike her sister.  She was a person of ordinary capacity, and had her time fully occupied with her household and farm.  In those days the farm servants formed part of the household and were fed in it; and what with her dairy, cows, poultry, and family, Mrs. Nelson's time was not unemployed."

               Mrs. James Thomson, born Smith, died March 29th, 1795, aged sixty years, and is buried at Coleraine with her husband, James Thomson, who died August 26th, 1809, ages seventy-eight years.  She was the daughter of Samuel Smith, Esq., Merchant, of Belfast.
          A nephew of hers was Mr. Smith of Balnamore, whose daughter Jane married her cousin, James Bristow.
          Dr. James Thomson took his sister, Matty, to live with him.  I fancy when Mr. Gaston died, his widow and daughter went to the Nelsons.  It must have been after Dr. James Thomson's death that she lived with her niece, Mrs. Kyle.

          Third extract from Mary Bristow's manuscript; 1857:- (Description of Magerabure, Mr. Nelson's farm)

          "My father's frequent visits to this delightful house were always in company with Aunty Matty.  On such occasions they were sometimes accompanied by the Miss Thomsons, who, like everyone else, delighted in a visit to Magherabure, and especially to Miss Gaston, who was Aunt Mary's model of a woman, and who I believe she afterwards became very like.  On such occasions the best parlour was brought into use.
          A long low cottage, with the hall door in the middle, which opened into a small flagged hall with three doors.  The opposite hall door led into the kitchen, which had a clay floor of not very good quality.  On the right was Mr. and Mrs. Nelson's bed-room, which was also the ordinary sittong-room (sitting) of the family.  Within it was a smaller room occupied by Mrs. Gaston and her daughter Mary, fitted up with two beds.  The bed in the outer room was a Press, which could close up in the daytime.  On the left was the best parlour, with a carpet (unwonted luxury!), and chairs and sofa of horsehair, a cup-board in the corner with glass doors displayed the best china and glass; amongst which a large punch-bowl figured conspicuous, and a punch-ladle with a guinea in the bottom.  Within this room was also a small bed-room sacred to some honoured guest.  At the back of the kitchen rose the stair which led to a sort of loft, where the servants slept, and within a small room always inhabited by Aunt Matty and my father on their visits to Magherabure.

               Lines written by a gentleman on reading the above:-

Blest fireside, where innocence, In many a shape appears,
And all the various forms it takes, It but the more endears!
There placid Anna site and thinks, Milder than Luna's ray,
And there Alicia sweetly talks, With fancy ever gay.
There too sweet-tempered Sally smiles, With unaffected mirth,
And Jenny's virtuous blushes help, To beautify the scene.
Thus, different though these sisters be, In this they all unite,
To reason, fashion's ri?es (rites?) they bring, They are prudent and polite!

          I have no clue as to the author of this.  The two copies were put up together by Alicia Bristow, and endorsed, "My great-grandfather's household".
          The first set of verses were also in the little book of Mrs. Bristow's verses, which I copied out at Blackheath from her original MS., in 1880. (Manuscript)

               It was the custom of the day for the gentry of the North of Ireland to put their children out to nurse with cottagers, and Mrs. Bristow followed the habits of her husband's family, though I do not think her father can have approved of the plan.  It was a very disastrous one; for one of her two sons, James, was given to a woman who did her duty to him, and the child flourished exceedingly; but Joseph was starved.  On a visit to the child, his mother detected the state of the case, and at once removed the child, giving him to another foster-mother.  But this worthy woman, filled with pity for the poor little master, overfed him to such a degree that he nearly died.  And it was always asserted by his sister, who told me the story, that between them these two women were the causes of poor Joseph's small stature and delicate health.  He was certainly a great contrast to his brother, who became a tall fine-looking man, and was prosperous in all he undertook.
          The reverse was the case with Joseph.  As a boy he and his brother were playing with bows and arrows, and Joseph through an accident with them lost the sight of one eye.  This misfortune added to their natural affection for each other, made James quite devoted to his brother; his patience and long-suffering with an odd-tempered man, which was what Joseph became, were endless; though I fancy Mrs. James often found him trying.

               In the same year that Mrs. Bristow lost her husband, Ireland was in a very disturbed condition, and many houses were entered by rebels in search or arms.  Dr. Thomson was a magistrate, and had the right, of which no doubt he availed himself, to keep arms in his house.
          One night in 1798, his sister Matty was up the latest of the household.  As she was going upstairs to bed, she held up her candle to see the time, and saw more than she bargained for!  A man was darned in between the side of the tall clock and the wall!  He saw that she saw him, and instantly threatened her with a pistol, if she gave an alarm he would fire and kill her!  "Well," she said, "and if you do, I am an old woman and you'll so me no real harm, but you'll alarm the house, and then it is you that will suffer.  Now just come out of that, and shew me how you got into the house, and go out of it again, and then I'll say nothing about the matter till the morning."  Cowed by the old woman's coolness and courage (she must have been at least sixty-eight), the man did as she bid him; came out of his hiding-place, walked downstairs before her, showed her the window which he had got in, and went out of it again.  Matty closed and fastened it, and then went to bed, and said nothing about her adventure till the morning!
          She lived for many years after this, dying at the age of ninety-six.




          The Memorial of Major-General Edward Nicolls, from the Royal Marines, late Commandant and Superintendent of the Islands of Ascension and Fernando, Po,
               Humbly sheweth,
                    That Memorialist has served your Majesty and your royal predecessors since October, 1793; first as a volunteer in the Royal Navy, and afterwards as an officer of Marines, and that in the course of his services, which have been chiefly abroad in every country in the world, he has fought the enemies of Great Britain in one hundred and seven battles and skirmishes by sea and land, and has received twenty-four wounds, several of which were severe and dangerous, from the effects of which he still suffers (see Certificates from Nos. 1 to 6).
          That after having served abroad during the whole period of the last war, from 1793 to 1815, Memorialist was, in 1823, appointed by the Admiralty to command on the Island of Ascension.
          That when he went to the Island it was an uncultivated desert, with a scanty supply of water, without live stock or vegetables, without roads, and having no habitation fit for man; and that shortly before his arrival two-thirds of the garrison had died of fever.
          That your Memorialist remained in command at Ascension for five years, and when, in consequence of his promotion to a corps majority, he was recalled, he left the island well supplied with water, live stock, and vegetables, also with roads and houses of a useful description.
          That in the letter of recall sent to your Memorialist he received the warm approbation of his late Majesty William the Fourth, then Lord High Admiral of England, as will be seen by the enclosed extract of a letter from Sir John Barrow, Secretary of the Admiralty (No. 7).
          That in April, 1829, three months after Memorialist's return from Ascension, he was sent for to the Admiralty, and asked by Sir George Cockburn, then a Lord of the Admiralty, if he would undertake the command on the Island of Fernando Po.
          That Memorialist instantly accepted that command; but, on being told by Sir George Cockburn that he must be placed on the half-pay list before his services could be transferred to the Colonial Office, Memorialist objected to that condition if it were to involve the loss of his corps rank and emoluments, as those must ultimately be the reward of his long and hard services if he remained doing duty at home, without risking his life or health in a dangerous climate.
          That Sir George Cockburn assured Memorialist he should be placed on the reserved half-pay list, and restored to his rank in the Marine Corps when the Colonial Office no longer required his services, a precedent for which existed in the cases of Major-General George Lewis, R.M.
          That, on the faith of this promise from a Lord of the Admiralty, Memorialist once more proceeded immediately to Africa and assumed the command on the Island of Fernando Po, which command he retained until 1834.  That whilst Memorialist remained on that island he endured incredible sufferings both of mind and body, having lost by death and sickness all his brother officers ad most of the non-commissioned officers and privates of the Royal Marines who had gone out with him, also most of the Europeans civilians; and, whilst suffering under thirteen attacks of fever and ague himself, he had no assistance in carrying on the duty except from natives, and a few civilians, who were likewise suffering from disease.
          That on Memorialist's return to England his health gave way under the hardships he had suffered, added to which he had been obliged to make his homeward passage in a heavily-laden, short-handed merchant ship, that had met with severe north-easterly gale in the Chops of the Channel.. That this ship having been thrown on her beam ends Memorialist had been forced to stand on deck for upwards of an hour without clothes, under heavy rain, hail and wind, to assist in getting the ship righted.
          That immediately on Memorialist's arrival at Woolwich, four days after the gale, he was seized with severe illness, which all the medical men about him expected would terminate fatally, as can be proved by Sir William Burnet, Physician to your Majesty's Fleet, and Doctor Parkin of the Royal Infirmary at Woolwich; and that, even on a partial recovery he was reduced to such a state of bodily and mental weakness that no expectation was entertained that he could survive.
          That under these circumstances, Memorialist was advised by his friends to apply to the Admiralty of 1835 to be placed on the retired list, as a first step to getting leave to sell his commission for the benefit of his family, consisting of a wife and seven young children, who, in the event of his death, would have been left entirely destitute.  That this favour, which had been accorded to so many old officers of the corps, and which Memorialist thought his services and peculiar situation entitled him to, was refused to him; and thus his having acceded to His Majesty's Government in under-taking a most dangerous service, was likely to deprive his family of their only means of subsistence, from his premature death caused by the hardships he had undergone.
          That after three years' suffering, the health of Memorialist was completely restored, contrary to all expectation of the medical men who attended him, and, feeling himself quite equal to any duty he might be called to, he appealed to Sir George Cockburn, claiming the promise made to him of being brought back to his place in his corps (see Letter No. 8), the fulfilment of which promise Memorialist believed to have been prevented only by his unfortunate illness, not conceiving it possible that the result of such exertions and sufferings as his had been could be his being placed in a worse position than he would have occupied had he declined undergoing them.  Memorialist therefore requested to be removed from the retired list, as the object had not been granted him for which alone he had asked to be placed there; namely, the sale of his commission.  That Sir George Cockburn most kindly wrote to the Board of Admiralty presided over by the Earl of Minto, claiming justice for Memorialist, as can be seen by the accompanying copy of Sir George's Letter (No. 9)
          That this accplication? also met with a refusal, accompanied by a kind expression of regret that their Lordships could not comply with the request (see Letter No 10).
          That Memorialist again applied to the Board of Admiralty presided over by the Earl of Haddington begging that his case might be reconsidered, and that in answer he received a letter from their Secretary, of which the enclosed (No. 11) is a copy, likewise containing a refusal, but regretting their inability to comply with his request.
          That in October 1841, Memorialist received a letter from the Secretary of the Admiralty, Sir John Barrow, freely acknowledging his merit and good services, and stating that their Lordships would recommend him to your Majesty for a Companionship of the Bath (see Letter No. 12), but that the alternative of receiving a good service pension of 150 a year being afterwards offered him, which pension he understood to be for life, Memorialist's necessities compelled him to receive the pecuniary reward instead of the decoration (see Nos. 14 and 15).
          That your Memorialist did so, reserving to himself the right to shew that both rewards were due to him, as in the year 1815 he had been warmly recommended by his late Commander-in-Chief, Sir Alexander Cochran, for the Companionship of the Bath, and for brevet promotion for services performed in the Floridas during the last American war, when, as field officer commanding 3,000 men, Memorialist received several severe and dangerous wounds, one of which deprived him of the sight of his right eye, for which he received the usual pension.
          The correspondence on this subject will be seen by the enclosed copies of letters (No. 13), and also by a memorial and certificates in the Archives of the Admiralty.
          That, notwithstanding these circumstances, Memorialist had the mortification of seeing himself passed over, when several of his brother officers were made Companions of the Bath, who had not served in battle as Field Officers but had been doing the duty of Pay Captains at home, whilst Memorialist was serving abroad as Filed Officer amidst wounds and hardships in the worst climates in the world.
          That Memorialist begs to call your Majesty's attention to the fact, that, had he declined taking the command of the Island of Fernando Po, he would for many years past have been receiving 700 per annum as Colonel Commandant of a Marine Division, six officers of that corps junior to him being now in the receipt of that income, whilst your Memorialist received 400, the half-pay of a Major-General.
          That Memorialist feels peculiarly the hardship of this position, because in no other single instance has an officer in any other branch of your Majesty's service ever lost corps rank and pay by serving under the Colonial office as Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Superintendent; this is proved by the cases of Colonel Sir Francis Cockburn, Sir George Arthur, Colonel Codd of the Line, Colonel MacDonnel of the Royal Artillery, and many others who have held the superintendence of Honduras, an old established colony.
          That Memorialist submits that his task was a much more difficult one than that of any of these gallant and respected officers, as he had to begin a new colony in a wilderness, with small means, and in a climate terrible and fatal to most Europeans.
          That Memorialist begs also to state to your Majesty, that, in consequence of his promotion to the rank of Major-General, he had been deprived of the good service pensions of 150 a year, which when he chose it instead of the Companionship of the Bath, he confidently believed was conferred on him for life, as some recompense, however inadequate, for all he had lost and suffered from his zeal for your Majesty's service; and that from this deprivation his case is more hard than before.
          That Memorialist having been informed by Colonel Owen, the Deputy Adjutant General of the Royal Marines Corps, that there is no precedent in that corps for promoting an officer to corps rank who is on the retired list, Memorialist concludes that it is beyond the power of their Lordships to grant his request, and that this is the true cause, that, whilst they have expressed their sense of his deserts (see No. 12), and bestowed on him a temporary pension for "Good and Meritorious Services" (see heading of the Pension Papers), they have refused him justice in the matter of restoring him, according to promise, to his place in the Royal Marine Corps, which he left in compliance with the wishes of his Majesty's Government.
          Your Memorialist, therefore, earnestly and humbly appeals to your Majesty, in whom the power resides to make his case a president, securely trusting that your Majesty will not permit him to suffer because of his zeal in your Majesty's service induced him to undertake a service of danger and difficulty out of the line of more easy corps duties, the result of which has hitherto been to him only loss and suffering.
          Your Memorialist humbly trusts that fifty-five years of faithful and useful service to three of your Majesty's Royal Predecessors and to your Majesty, will induce your Majesty to take his peculiarly hard case into your most generous consideration, and that your Majesty will be pleased to order that Memorialist shall be removed from the half-pay list of Major-General and be placed on full pay of Colonel Commandant of the Royal marines, and also be honoured by receiving the Order of the Bath.  And your Majesty's Memorialist, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

                                                                                                         EDWARD NICOLLS
                                                                                             Major-General from the Royal Marines.

          Avranches, Normandy, France,
               29th June, 1848.

January 3rd, 1876.

-  -  -  -  -

          The handsome mess-room of the Royal Marine Barracks, Stonehouse, is shortly to be adorned by a fine portrait of General Sir Edward Nicolls, R.M., who is a corps proverbial for the gallantry and devotion of its officers, richly earned the sobriquet of "Fighting Nicolls"  The portrait is the gift of Captain Shanks, who found in Mr. F. Lane, the artist, one who was able, with, imperfect aids, to produce a likeness which is pronounced to be admirable by those who knew the hero and patriot.  The artist seems to have been moved not a little by the same enthusiastic veneration for the gallant officer which prompted Captain Shanks to perpetuate the memory of so bright an ornament of the British Army; for he has produced the portrait of a man whose determination decision and unquestioning perseverance is as forcibly written in his lineaments as in the page of history.  Mr. Lane presents the General in full dress, and wearing the cross and badge of a K.C.B.; and looking on the portrait it is easy to believe it an admirable counterfeit presentment of a man, who in 1805, in a French fishing boat, with one gun and 12 men, beat off a French brig of 18 guns and 120 men in sight of Havre, and carried off two vessels under her convoy; who, the same year, volunteered with a boat's crew of 12 men to cut out the French cutter, Albion, of six guns, four swivels, and 43 men from under the guns of Monte Christo, St. Domingo, and gallantly performed the service, and killing the French captain in single combat; who, during his services, had his left leg broken and right leg severely wounded, was shot through the body and right arm, received a sabre cut on the head, was bayoneted in the chest, and lost the sight of an eye in his one hundred and seventh action with the enemies of his country.  The giver, the recipients, and the artist, are equally to be congratulated.  This is the third portrait Mr. Lane has at the Barracks; The public in all probability will have an opportunity of seeing it in Mr. Randle's window, Union Street.

Born in 1779.  Died 5th February, 1865
-  -  -  -  -  -

          Sir Edward Nicolls was in action with the enemies of his country 107 times, and it is not too much to say of him "a more distinguished soldier never lived", for certainly no man ever saw more service than he did, and he has left behind him a name and a fame unequalled on the page of history.  He was a man whom no dangers could appal, and for whom difficulties existed only to be triumphantly surmounted.  It may truly be said of him, in the language of one of our poets:-

Nicolls, "where'er he fought,
Put so much of his heart into the act,
That his example had a magnet's force,
And all were swift to follow whom all loved".

          He was so constantly under fire, and showed such conspicuous bravery upon all occasions, that, even in a Corps proverbial for the gallantry and devotion of its officers and men, he earned the sobriquet of "Fighting Nicolls".
          He was constantly employed in boat and battery actions, and in most desperate cutting-out expeditions.  In 1803, in a small boat with one gun and 12 men, he beat off a French brig of 18 guns and 120 men in sight of Havre de Grace, and carried off two vessels which were under her convoy.  On the 5th November, 1803, with a boat's crew of 12 men, he cut out the French cutter Albion, of 6 guns and 43 men, from under the guns of Monte Christo, San Domingo; in this service he killed the French captain in single combat, but was very severely wounded in the struggle; the ball from the Frenchman's pistol striking him in the stomach, passed round his body, and lodged in his right arm.  For this dashing exploit he was presented with a sword of honour, value 30.  He commanded the Royal Marines at the siege of Curacoa, in February, 1804, where he stormed and took Fort Piscadero of 10 guns, and also drove the Dutch troops from the heights.
          He served also in the trenches, and for 28 consecutive days had to repel three or four attacks of the enemy daily.  He also defeated an allied force of 500 men, and destroyed Fort Piscardero.  He served at the forcing of the Dardanelles in 1807, when he captured the Turkish Commodore's flag, and assisted in the destruction of his ship.  He also captured and destroyed the redoubt on Point Pesquies and spiked the guns therein.
          He was present at the blockade of Corfu in 1807, and with the expedition to Egypt in the same year, when he rendered very important services in charge of a station in the desert, and was taken prisoner.  On the 26th June, 1808, with a boat's crew only, he boarded and captured the Italian gunboat Volpe, neat Corfu, after a chase of two hours,  On the 18th May, 1809, he landed, with two Lieutenants and 120 Royal Marines, on the Island of Anholt, defeated with the bayonet a force of 200 Danish troops, captured the island, and took upwards of 500 prisoners;  for this service he received a letter of thanks and appointed Governor of the Island.
          He served in North America during the war in that country, and raised and commanded a large force of Indians, rendering incalculable service to the British arms by continually harassing the United States Army.  He co-operated in the siege of Fort Bowyer in 1814, in command of a regiment of Creek Indians, and was three times wounded during the bombardment, he having insisted on being carried to the bombardment, he having insisted on being carried to the post of honour, although unable from sickness to walk.
          He was the senior Major of all the force before New Orleans in 1815, and as such, urged his right to lead the battalion of Royal Marines in the assault; this honour was refused him on the ground if he fell, there would be no officer competent to command his army of Indians.  He also performed other very important services during the war, and was specially mentioned in the Gazette in 1807, 1808, and 1809.  During the above brilliant career he had his left leg broken, his right leg severely wounded, was shot through the body and right arm, received a terrible sabre out on the head, was bayoneted in the chest, and lost the sight of an eye in his last, or 107th action.  In December, 1815, he was awarded a pension of 250 a year for these wounds, and received a second sword of honour.
          He retired on full pay, 15th May, 1835, was awarded a good service pension of 150 a year on 30th June, 1842, and was made a Knight Commander of the Bath on the 5th July, 1855.  The heart of every member of the Corps may well glow with pride when he claims SIR EDWARD NICOLLS as a brother-in-arms, for had the Royal Marines no other hero to boast of, his career alone might well suffice to entitle them to a world-wide reputation for gallantry.  No better history of the Corps (during the half century of his service) can be found than the glorious record of his brilliant exploits, and in the long catalogue of its achievements it is impossible to read a nobler page.
          The memory of Sir Edward Nicolls will ever be cherished and regarded with pride by the officers and men of the Corps in which he so nobly served.  They will remember too that though "Fighting Nicolls" was ever in the front in all his splendid actions, he was backed up by the strong arms and the dauntless hearts of his soldiers, and the Royal Marines can never forget that the laurels now encircling their badge (the first in the service) owed their growth to the torrents of blood shed by those brave men.

_  _  _  _  _  _  _

Dates of Sir E. Nicolls' Commissions

2nd Lieutenant, 24th March, 1795;  1st Lieutenant, 27th January, 1796;  Captain, 25th July, 1805;
Major, 8th August, 1810;  Lieutenant-Colonel, 12th August, 1819;  Colonel, 10th January, 1837;
Major-General, 9th November, 1846;  Lieutenant-General, 20th June, 1854;
General, 28th November, 1854

                                                                                              J. G. Shanks, Captain.
                                                                                            Royal Marines, Light Infantry

          January, 1876



     (a) (return)
               We are indebted for this memoir to Dr. R. Stewart, resident physician of the Belfast District Lunatic Asylum, to which the late Dr. Thomson was for so many years visiting physician.

     (b) (return)
               Died, 5th April, 1845, - aged 82

     (c) (return)
               Died, 26th July, 1846, - aged 32

     (d) (return)
               Died, 12th June, 1849, - aged 93

     (e) (return)
               The following is a copy of the inscription on the monumental tablet erected to his memory:-

James Maxwell Sanders, M.D.
Born, 24th April, 1814
Died, 26th July, 1846
Erected by a number of his friends, many of them his professional brethren, to whom he was greatly endeared by the amiability and benevolence of his disposition, the integrity and purity of his life, the advantage of a liberal education, and the highest professional attainments.
"The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance."

     (f) (return)
               We cannot avoid adding our testimony to the general loss which the early death of Dr. Sanders was to the profession.  His friend and fellow-student, we enjoyed an intimate acquaintance with his for some years, and we can truly say that he was equally endeared to those who then knew him by his gentleness and kindness of disposition, as he was admired for his talents.

     (g) (return)
               At the first meeting of the committee of the hospital after his death, the following resolution was passed:-

"That this Committee have heard with the deepest regret the melancholy intelligence of the death of Dr. S. S. Thomson, consulting physician to the Hospital, one of the earliest and most efficient promoters of this charity, to whose interests he so long and so ably devoted the best years of his professional life.  As a light but sincere tribute of respect for his memory, this Committee beg to express, in the most especial manner, their unfeigned sorrow at his sudden removal, and tender their cordial sympathy and condolence to his sorrowing relatives.
(Signed) ANDREW MULHOLLAND Chairman."

     (h) (return)
             The Belfast Branch of the Medical Benevolent Fund Society of Ireland, at a quarterly meeting held in the Library Room of the Medical Society, on Monday, May 7th, 1849, Robert Stephenson, Esq., M.D., in the chair, - resolved unanimously, that it is with feelings of the most unfeigned regret we have heard of the death of our late highly-esteemed and respected president, Dr. S. S. Thomson, whose unceasing and disinterested attention to the welfare of the Society, since its foundation in 1843, added so justly to the lustre of his character for benevolence, and true sympathy for the wants of others, and now demands from us the expression of our greatest sorrow and concern for the heavy loss which we have sustained by his sudden removal.

     (i) (return)
          We may here mention that this Society has received a valuable addition to their library through the liberality of Dr. Thomson's executors, as the following letter will show:-

                                                                                              Belfast, 15th September, 1849
       Dear Sir, - At the late monthly meeting of the Belfast Medical Society, I was directed to acknowledge the receipt of your most liberal and valuable present of books (above 800 volumes), being the medical portion of the late Dr. Thomson's library, and to thank you, most sincerely for the kind consideration and generous feeling which prompted you to put in possession of the Society so valuable and appropriate a memorial of one whom every member of it revered as a parent and valued as a friend.
Accept, therefore, dear Sir, the thanks of the Society cordially and gratefully tendered, and believe me,
Yours most faithfully, AE. LAMONT, F.R.C.S.I., Secretary.  To James Bristow, Esq., Belfast



of Belfast  (a) ar

          The death of Dr. Thomson makes the fourth which has taken place among the physicians of Belfast within the last five years, the social rank and distinguished professional attainments of each of whom greatly adorned and added to the fame and celebrity of the metropolis of Ulster.  This list of departed professional excellence, in addition to the subject of this memoir, embraces the names of Dr. MacDonnel, (b) br Dr. Sanders, (c) cr and Dr. Forsythe, (d) dr all of whom, with the exception of Dr. Sanders, had exceeded man's usually limited pilgrimage here below, of "threescore years and ten".  But he was cut down in the very flower of his days, and just as he was making the most rapid strides to professional eminence, having already achieved an almost enviable fame in the sight of his brethren and fellow-citizens; this was well exemplified by the monument (e) er erected to his memory by his medical brethren and public friends in the new burying-ground in Belfast. (f) fr
          Samuel Smith Thomson, whose name is so interwoven with all that is "true and honest and just and lovely and of good report", that it will not easily be forgotten in the town and neighbourhood of his adoption, was born in Coleraine in May, 1778, and died on the 30th April, 1849!  The immediate cause of his death was bronchitis, to attacks of which he had been very subject for a number of years, but which were always easily removed, until the last, which, notwithstanding the most prompt and energetic treatment, could not be controlled, congestion of the lungs supervening, and a fatal issue being the result, on the fifth day from the period of the attack; immediately before which the deceased had been in the full enjoyment of his usual excellent health and spirits.
          Dr. Thomson was of the middle stature, and of a full habit of body, but remarkably active in all his movements.  He had a more than ordinarily well-developed cerebral organization, a quick, penetrating, intelligent eye, florid complexion, and a remarkably kind and benevolent expression of countenance; of great affability and suavity of manner; in truth the finished and polished gentleman, incapable of giving offence, and if offended most readily and easily appeased.
     His conversational powers were at once varied and of the highest and most agreeable order; his tastes pure and refined; a great, indeed it might be said an enthusiastic lover of music, vocal and instrumental.  He was an excellent performer on the violin, having an admirable ear, and regularly enacted his part at the concerts of the Belfast Anacreontic Society, of which he was the founder and president.  The Music Hall of Belfast, a very conspicuous and Ornamental building in one of the leading private streets of the town, was erected chiefly through his great and influential exertions.
          His father was James Thomson, a highly respectable surgeon and eminent practitioner in Coleraine, County Derry, a man who was naturally gifted with a mind of great power, which was both well cultivated and well balanced.  He had ten children, two sons and eight daughters, Samuel Smith being the youngest of the whole family.
          The eldest child, an unmarried daughter, lived to the advanced age of eighty-eight years, having died about six months since, in Belfast, retaining all her faculties perfect to the last.  The early education of Dr. Thomson was conducted by his father, and finished under the roof of a Presbyterian minister with whom he resided as a member of the family.  His medical studies commenced by his being bound apprentice to his father.  In due course he went to Edinburgh, attending regularly at that celebrated university until he had completed his curriculum, when he immediately went in for his examination, obtaining his degree of M.D. in 1800.  Shortly after this he came to Belfast to settle as a private practitioner, where, after remaining for a few years, he went to Magherafelt, in the County of Derry; but soon leaving it, he returned to Belfast in 1805, which he never afterwards left, thus being nearly half a century actively engaged as a practising physician amongst its inhabitants.
          He was greatly interested in the establishment of the Belfast Fever Hospital, now entitled the General Hospital.  In 1817, when typhus fever broke out so malignantly and spread so fearfully and fatally, he was night and day in attendance on the suffering poor, not thinking at all of self or personal risks, but heroically combating with the dire pestilence which was decimating the land; and this so successfully, with such unremitting, such superhuman efforts in fact, that, when the epidemic had ceased, his fellow-citizens presented him with a most complimentary address, accompanied by a splendid service of plate.
          During a period of five-and-twenty years, Dr. Thomson continued one of the attending physicians of the above hospital, when, owing to his extensive private engagements arising from a rapidly increasing practice, he retired with honours not less numerous than deserved.  He still, however, remained in official connexion with it as one of its consulting physicians, the duties of which he performed until his death, always taking a warm and lively interest in everything that concerned its welfare and good working, and of which the most ample proof was given by his leaving it a legacy of 100, and this too not more than a couple of hours preceding his dissolution, thus showing how vividly its prosperity was on his mind, and how clear, collected, and benevolent, the intellect of this highly-gifted and distinguished man was to the very last moment of his honourable and exemplary existence. (g) gr
          The only other public medical institution with which Dr. Thomson was professionally connected was the Belfast District Lunatic Asylum, to which he was appointed the visiting physician in 1837, in succession to the late Dr. James MacDonnel, who retired from this office owing to the infirmities attendant upon his then very advanced age.  This appointment he held until his death, and in what manner, the annexed official document, as published in the local newspapers, will show sufficiently.

"At a meeting of the Governors of the Belfast District Lunatic Asylum, held on Monday, the 7th of May, 1849, the Right Rev. Bishop Denvir in the chair, it was unanimously resolved, - 'That this Board, deeply lamenting the sudden removal of their late visiting physician, Dr. Samuel Smith Thomson, deem it their duty to record their cordial esteem for his most estimable character as a man, their due appreciation of his distinguished attainments as a medical practitioner, and, above all, their grateful remembrance of his eminently judicious, humane, faithful, and efficient services during the last twelve years as the visiting medical officer of this asylum.!"

          Before proceeding further with this brief memoir of Dr. Thomson, the relation in which he stood and the conduct he invariably pursued towards his professional brethren must be alluded to.  And here it may be truly stated that we come to one of the brightest and purest gems in his character, for if ever there was an upright man, acting with the fullest integrity and singleness of heart and purpose, and uninfluenced by the mean and petty jealousies which unhappily are so rife amongst professional men, that man was Dr. Thomson.  His family motto, significantly enough was "Honesty is the best policy", a motto which he handed down to his relations not merely unsullied but rendered all the purer, and made to shine forth in still more refulgent colours by his noble manner of life, which was pre-eminently that of the "noblest work of God" - an honest man.
          From a very early period in his professional life, he stood forth the resolute, vigorous, and uncompromising champion of the rights and privileges, the honour and station, of his brethren.  He invariable espoused the cause of the Juniors in particular, having never ceased to preach that the medical labour was worthy of his hire; and he ultimately succeeded after many years of local battling and no small animosity and factious opposition, in having the principle carried, that the medical attendants of the General Dispensary in Belfast should be paid regular and fixed salaries. This principle is now fully recognised in Belfast, thanks to Dr. Thomson's exertions for its accomplishment.  For his able and distinguished advocacy of his brethren at all times, and his exalted professional conduct generally towards them, he was presented in 1834 with a massive and splendid gold snuff-box, on which were engraved the names of the donors, thirty-sex in number, of all branches of the profession; a gift which the lamented deceased prized, as it may be supposed, in no small degree.  Having lately been referring to Dr. Cheyne's very interesting "Autobiographical Sketch", we were forcibly struck with the following extract, as very applicable in many respects to Dr. Thomson:-

"I endeavoured to become acquainted with the characters of those who moved in the highest ranks in the profession, and to discover th3e causes of their success; and I ascertained that although a man might acquire popularity by various means, he could not reckon upon preserving public favour unless he possessed the respect of his own profession; that if he would effectually guard his own interests, he must in the first place attend to the interests of others; hence I was led carefully to study and liberally to construe that part of medical ethics which regulates the conduct of physicians towards each other." - Essays by John Cheyne, M.D.  Page 8.

          The high opinion held of the late Dr. Cheyne by every branch of the medical profession in Dublin, is perfectly within our own recollection and observation; one and all of them, junior as well as senior, respected, nay loved him, knowing that he was a man in whom the most implicit confidence could be placed at all times and under all circumstances.  Such a man, also, was the late Dr. Thomson; - the members of his profession, from the oldest to the youngest, almost venerating him for his exalted virtues and strict integrity, as shown in all his intercourse with them, to say nothing of the high estimation in which they held his professional talents and other varied and ennobling acquirements.  This confidence in and opinion of Dr. Thomson was never lost sight of by his brethren, - sons, rather, we should say, for he had been for years past, with one consent, the father of the profession in Belfast, and as such his death was felt by the whole profession, who, without an exception, attended his unprecedently crowded funeral, walking in the procession as mourners.  And in order further to prove their great love and esteem for him, and as only a fitting mark of respect for his memory and desire to perpetuate it, they, in their capacity as the Medical Society, have resolved that a marble bust of their "beloved and esteemed" chief shall be placed in their library, or in the hall of the General Hospital.  And further, have placed on record, their deep regret for his removal from amongst them by passing the following resolution at their meeting on the 7th May, 1849:-

"That this Society begs to record its deep sorrow in the lamented decease of Dr. Samuel Smith Thomson, one of its oldest members, - a gentleman at the time of his death holding the distinguished position of head of the medical body here, a place to which he was most justly entitled, not only from his sincerity, but also from his skill, worth and integrity, and kindness and urbanity to his juniors; and especially from his untiring zeal for, and the unswerving firmness with which he ever upheld the honour and interests of the profession; and that a letter signed by the Chairman and Secretary, be written to his relations, expressive of these sentiments, and respectfully offering the condolence and sympathy of this society on their melancholy bereavement."

          The deceased was very liberal in his charities; his purse-strings were never closed against want or distress in any form, but freely opened to afford relief.  The branch of the Medical Benevolent Fund Society established in Belfast in 1843, he supported from the first, and was unanimously elected its perpetual president. (h) hr
          No practitioner could have been more liberal in giving the benefit of his professional services gratuitously to those whose circumstances were limited; perhaps, indeed, he went to the extreme of liberality in this respect, his benevolence this being unbounded, and meted out, too, in such a manner as to do away with all embarrassment on the part of the recipients thereof.  All praise was due for this, and he received his reward by enjoying a highly lucrative practice for a number of years; in fact, latterly he was compelled to limit considerably his professional engagements, so extensive had they become, and only to attend in consolation, except in the case of patients with whom he had been since the days of their youth connected, not merely as medical adviser, but as a counsellor and friend.
          Dr. Thomson never published any contributions to medical literature that we are aware of; not but that he had both material and ability to do so in the best and most attractive garb if he had pleased, for not only professionally was Dr. Thomson thoroughly educated and experienced, but he was also an accomplished scholar, with a mind well stored with classical and general knowledge; he, however, had not the inclination, or rather his modesty prevented him, having not alone an utter aversion to appear in print but to write anything more in ordinary than he could well avoid.
          In politics Dr. Thomson was a Whig, but never appeared in public as a politician; thus evidencing that plain, common-sense wisdom with which he was so largely gifted.  Having now touched, however imperfectly, on some of the chief phases in the remarkably even tenor of a lengthened existence such as Dr. Thomson's, it only remains to observe that it was in the family circle, amongst his own immediate relations and intimate friends, that he especially appeared in his true character of kindness and beneficence.
          Though Dr. Thomson never married, yet from a very early period he took upon himself all the responsibilities and engagements of a parent, by adopting two nephews, the sons of a deceased sister, both of whom (one being married and having a large family) continued to reside with him till death separated a tie which was made all the more precious and dear from its long and unbroken continuance of unmixed happiness.
          The deceased was a truly religious man, a diligent and earnest student of his Bible, and most exemplary as a regular attendant on all the ordinances of public worship.  He ever abhorred whatever tended in the most remote degree to put a slight on things sacred, and not less so did he detest hypocrisy in any shape.  Living the life he did, he met death with the utmost resignation and composure.  Its certain approach he plainly foresaw, having it fully impressed on his mind that he could not recover, owing to the severity of the attack which, in the Providence of God, he had been so suddenly and fatally seized.  Speaking on the subject to a dear friend two days before he died, he observed, "I have been long prepared for this, and my trust is entirely on the merits of my Redeemer".
          To the last moment he continued perfectly conscious and collected, and within a few hours of his dissolution he, whilst his medical friends were visiting him, recounted over the whole treatment which had been pursued, observing at the same time that but for the distress which he suffered in speaking, he felt as fully competent then as at any period of his life to discuss any professional question.

But we must draw this memoir to a close, and in doing so we cannot conclude it better than by quoting the following extract from the feeling letter of the chairman (S. Brown, Esq., R.N.) and the Secretary (AE. Lamont, Esq., F.R.C.S.I.) of the Belfast Medical Society (i) ir in officially communicating with the family of the deceased the resolution of that body, on the occasion of the death of their honoured and much deplored relative:-

"In conveying to you the resolution, we feel that we but feebly express the united sentiments of the medical body here, when we say that in the demise of Dr. Thomson not only has the profession sustained an irreparable loss, but the entire community have reason to deplore the removal of one who was an ornament to society, kind, gentle and unassuming, charitable from innate feelings of benevolence, and generous without ostentation.  Long shall the many families of which he was the respected friend and trusted counsellor, - long shall the various public bodies with which he was connected, and in which he was so highly esteemed, remember Dr. Thomson."



Programme of Pipe Music by The Pipers of 1st. Batt. Scots Guards
the following is from written notes that were tucked inside the above memoir

Laird John of Greenock m. Janet Galbraith b. 1745 had 13 children the eldest
Alexander m. Catherine Macauley & had two children
Alexander & Robina - Alexander was the founder of 'Laird Line' Steamers of Glasgow; he married but had no family
William 4th son of John Laird b. 1780 m. 1804 Agnes MacGregor - they had many children, those who grew up were
   John b. 1805  d. 1874  m. Elizabeth Harry or Hurry b. 1806
   Mary b. 1807  d. 1873
   Marcgregor b. 1809  d. 1861  m. Eleanora Nicolls
   William b. 1817  married & had a family
   Henry b. 1820  d. in early manhood
   Hamilton b. 1823  d.  in early manhood
John Laird & Elizabeth Hurry had a large family
William m. Ann Jane Ritchard had 8 children
Macgregor d. unmarried
Elizabeth (Bessie) m. James Thomson Bristow 4 children
John m. Josephine Gordon had six children
Harriett m. Samuel Smith Bristow no family
Henry m. Jessie Carmichael had five children
Agnes Macgregor d. unmarried
Mary m. Joseph R. Rusk or B. Busk? had four children
Ellen Faucett d. unmarried
Alice Maud d. unmarried
Egerton Knox d. unmarried
Jane Magregor m. John T.? Goldne? no family
William David & Ann Jane Pritchard 8 children
John William Pritchard m. Marianne Brownell 7 children
Elizabeth (Elsie) m. her cousin Hugh Carmichael Laird had no family both died about 1918
Hamilton m. Mabel Taylor no family
Ronald m. Nora Walker five children
Kenneth m. Ethel one child Deirdre
Mary m. her cousin Roy Macgregor Laird six children
Alexander d. in early manhood
Winifrede m. Arthur Jaeger? no family
Ronald Laird & Norah Walker had five children
   Jean & Kenneth (twins)
John William Pritchard Laird & Marianne Brown 7 children
   Robert (Bobs) d. at school
John Laird & Josephine Gordon 6 children
   Annie Amelia unmarried
   John Macgregor m. Lammie? Barker 4 children
   Charles .. Florence no family
   Gordon killed in Boer War
   Elizabeth (Bessie) m. Henry Morland 2 sons
   Marie Louise m. Charles Kinloch no family
Henry Laird & Jessie Carmichael five children
   John Knox m. Margie Gardner 4 children
   Henry d. in early manhood married but no family
   Jessie Cooper Coles (Dowie) m. Geoffry Jackson 6 children
   Hugh m. his cousin Elsie Laird
   Roy Macgregor m. his cousin Marg. Laird 6 children
John Magregor Laird & Tammie or Lammie Barker 4 children
   Mary (Mollie) m. Robin McClintock 2 children
   Duncan m. (wounded in Great War)
   Helen (Curls)
Smith, Samuel m. Alicia Bradish had a large family
   Jane m. James Bristow 1823 had a large family
   Letitia m. James Stevenson had a large family
  * Samuel m. Alicia Bradish had 4 children
  * Samuel m. Julia Bradish no family
  * Edward m. Lily Winter no family
  * Annie m. John Harvey had six children
  * Lilly d. unmarried
 * Lived in Liverpool

Stevenson James m. Letitia Smith had a large family
   James m. & went to Australia
   Jones m. & went to New Zealand
   John m. & had several children, lived in Liverpool
   William m. Alice Creery had a large family
   Bessie m. W. B. Martin had 2 children
   Letitia m. Dr. Cummins (of Cork) had 2 children
   Margaret m. Rev. George Smith had a large family
William m. Alice Creery m. 2nd Annie Tate
   James m. Kathleen Young 3 children
   Leslie m. his cousin Letitia Smyth one son Patric
   William d.
   Andrew m.
   John m. one son
   Alethea m. Sidney Torwood or Forwood no family
   Alice m. John Tate one son
   Bristow d. in Great War
2nd family
   Margery m.
   Alexander d. in infancy
   Barbara Bruce (Bee Bee)

James Bristow married Jane Smith 1823 had nine children
   Letitia b. July 1824 d. 1852
   Alicia b. July 1825 d. 1904
1/ James Thomson b. 1827 d. 1877 m. Elizabeth Laird
   Marg or Mary Rippingham b. 1830 d. 1858
   Samuel Smith b. 1831 d. 1906 m. Harriet Laird no family
   Joseph b. 1832 d. 1844
2/ John b. 1833 d. 1909 m. Dorinda Jones
   Edward Jones Agnew b. 1834 d. 1902
   Ann Thomson b. 1835 d. 1897
1/ James Thomson m. Elizabeth Laird 1856 & had 4 children
   James Rippingham b. 1858 d. 1925
   Elizabeth Laird b. 1860 d. 1882
1/1 John Laird b. 1863 d. 1890 m. Julia Swain 1889
   Marg Letitia b. 1865 d. 1948 m. J. S. F. McCance 1890

2/ John m. Dorinda Jones had six children
James Berkely b. 1864 twice married no family d.
1/2 John b. 1866 m. Isabel White had four children
   Harry Jones m. Maude (Dot) Knox no family
   Mary or Marg Dorinda b. 1869
   Samuel Follet m. Maud McLeod 3 children
   Alice Lucy 1873
1/1 John Laird m. Julia Swain 1889 1 son
   Laird Charles b. 1890 m. Gertrude Pauline Call????_) d. 1924 had five daughters

   Mary? m. 2 sons 1 daughter

Macgregor Laird & Eleanora Nicolls had 8 children
   Macgregor Hamilton d. as a boy
   Ellen Bristow d. unmarried (E.B.L.)
   Mary d. unmarried
   Edward m. Ellen Rose in New Zealand had 11 children
   Elizabeth d. unmarried
   Ann Thomson (Nannie) unmarried
   Jane Magregor m. Henry Cox had 3 daughters
   Margaret Louisa (Daisy) m. William M. Corrie 1 daughter
Edward Laird & Ellen Rose eleven children
   Emily twice married, one daughter
   Reginald m.
   Rose m. Will Thompson has children
   Arthur m.
   Roy m.
   Harry d. from effects of the War
   Edward (Chum? m.
   Bessie m. Gerald Sherwood? has one son

Macgregor Patrick of Ardchoile? m. 9th daughter of Robert Campbell of Glenorchy 2 sons
   Donald of Glengoyle? m. one daughter
   Robert (Rob Roy) m. Mary Campbell of Glenfallon their son Ronald m. his cousin daughter of Donald
This Ronald was Jackman of the Kirktoon? of Balquidder & his son Gregor was a sea captain known as Graham, as the name of MacGregor was still proscribed?
Gregor m. Mary Hamilton daughter of Baillie John Hamilton, a leading man in Greenock they had two children Gregor & Agnes b. 1780 m. William Laird & had a large family

Hurry? Nicholas m. Maria Curry several children
   Elizabeth b. 1806 m. John Laird
   John m. in S. Africa
   Nicholas m. & had 4 children
   Harriet d. unmarried
   Sarah d. unmarried
Nicholas Hurry & his wife had 4 children
   Jameson m. & had a family
   May unmarried
   Arnold m. had a family
   Annie m. Wallis