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Snapshot of a West Cork family, 1881 letter from James Skuce to his Nephew in Canada from Canadian Archives, from Derrrynafulla, Glengariff, Clashadoo Durrus to teaching, Businessman, Shipowner, Owner of Blackrock Castle Cork, family Emigration, RIC.

One of the Skuce ancestors hailed from Derrynafulla, near Glengariff and was probably born in India perhaps his father was serving with the East India Company. The family had a history of law enforcement as bailiffs, RIC men.

He may have worked for the Chief Executive equivalent of R and H Hall Grain Merchants still in existence as part of a wider company.  He is likely to have placed his nephews as managers in that company.  His son a bank manager died in Dundalk in the mid 1940s his second name was Evanson pointing to a tantalising link between the Skuse and Evanson families in the early 19th century in Durrus.

Halls Magistrates:

Edwin Hall, D.L. Cork City, 1885, listed 1913.

Colonel Frederick Hall, 1892, late Connaught Rangers, listed 1900

Robert Hall (1811-1892), 1875, Lisnalea (formerly Prospect), Blackrock, Cork, Resident, £70.   Son of Frederick (1778-1856) and Maria (1790-1870) they ran business Morrison’s Island.  Started as sugar merchants.  Corn milling at Crosses Green.  Later founded R&H Hall  Liberty House, 78 South Mall.  Trustee Savings Bank.  m Mary d Robert Constable of Clonmel.  She d 1896 leaving £6,164.  Chairman Harbour Commissioners.  1870, listed 455 acres.  James Skuse, formerly Clashadoo, Durrus was probably a senior manager with hism and possibly a partner in shipping, mentioned in the 1883 Lloyds’ Register of Shipping – the ‘Glenavon’ of Cork (owner R.C. Hall) and the ‘Assyrian’ of Cork (owners R.C. Hall and A. Herbert). No mention of Skuce’s ownership (maybe he only had a fractional share and might not then be listed) but it does seem to link him to the grain business of R&H Hall. One of the Halls occupied Blackrock Castle in the late 19C – so perhaps that is how Skuce came to be associated with the castle.   R&H Hall is now Ireland’s largest grain merchants.

Robert Hall (1866-, 1897, Glenmervyn, Glanmire, , son of Robert Constable, Rockcliffe, Blackrock, and Geraldine d Sir Arthur Percy Aylmer (1801-1885), RM, and Donlea Co. Kildare.  Grain Merchant, Member Harbour Commissioners, President Church of ireland Young Men’s Association 1910, m 1888, Isabel d Rev. Dr. Forrest Worcester (may be from Cork),  4 children, Police Court, Cork, 1857, listed 1913.

James Skuce married in 1853 in Rathelaren  (Church of Ireland) parish church,  his profession  was  School Master, resident in  Ballycotton, Co. Cork, he married Miss Catherine Harris who was a School Mistress, also resident in Ballycotton.  I found the birth record and baptism of their eldest son in 1856 in Drimoleague and James was described as a school master then . At the time of his wife Catherine’s  death in 1868  James’s  occupation was given as Clerk.  James later remarried, this marriage was to Miss Rebecca Sophia Lester, a spinster resident in Kinsale, the marriage was in St Stephen’s Church in Dublin.

In 1875 when James and Catherine’s eldest daughter married, James ‘s profession is then given as Merchant.

The letter 1881 letter written by James to his brother, James  states about his work pursuits, and mentions about  one of the ships that he part owned.  I have this weekend found a Irish newspaper item mentioning another ship which he owned and this was in a collision with another vessel.

Irish Examiner May 5th 1876 page 3

James is mentioned in the English newspaper in Buckinghamshire and in the Commercial Gazette London in connection with The London and County Banking Company.

Bucks Herald
Saturday, February 22, 1879

The London and County Banking Company
Persons of whom the Company or Partnership consists.
Name. Residence. Occupation.
Skuce, James, Arbutus-place, Blackrock-road, Cork, Esq.

He also had shares in the T. Lyons and Co. Ltd, so could this have been the corn store he had been a Manager of prior to his retirement ?

The Irish Times
Friday, March 1, 1912
Page 11

  1. Lyons and Co. LTD – Annual Meeting … held yesterday at the warehouse, South Main street, Cork. …

Shareholders present: – … J. Skuce ..

The 1901 Census gives that James Skuce was aged 70, and was a  retired Manager of a Corn Store. James died in 1913, he had been a very successful business man as he  left a small fortune, which was left  I believe to his young widow and his unmarried daughters.

We always thought James had a connection to what is now  Blackrock Castle, but I have not found out if this can be confirmed.  Could he have had  a work base there for instance?

This is from a deposit in the Canadian Archives MG G319.

Scan 1355

Scan 1354