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The handwritten version of these recollections are housed in the Archival collection of the HSBC in London. I am grateful for the ongoing support of the archives staff - particularly Tina Staples - and grateful for the permission to share these recollections with a wider audience. The footnotes are mine. Suggestions to fix any errors are always gratefully received.
Sharon Oddie Brown, February 1, 2006

RECOLLECTIONS OF SIR THOMAS JACKSON
by one of his nieces - Mrs. Kathleen Major [1] )

My Uncle [2] , I feel, inherited a good many of his qualities from his mother [3] & I should like to give some small description of her. She was a very clever woman; born in an age which gave little scope for her talents. She was an avid reader & specially interested in history and politics, which made her sometimes neglectful of her housewifely duties, which at that time was expected to be the main preoccupation of women, so that, I am told, my grandfather said “I sometimes wish you had never been taught to read”. She remarked, “Well, if I brought the Sallow Skin into the family, I brought the brains with it, which was certainly true. She had a dominant character, her will was law, & when grown up her children deferred to her. They were brought up in a religious atmosphere. Both reading & morning prayers & Sunday, a day when any light literature was forbidden.

 

My father [4] & my uncle attended a little county school – there was just a year in age between them [5] - they were very attached to each other. The schoolmaster was a very strict disciplinarian – the two boys hated him, and on the way home from school, they used to plan how, when they were big enough and strong enough, they would kill him. T.J. (as we used to call him) said, “When we did reach years of discretion we wondered he hadn’t killed us”.  He came to dislike organized religion, but still kept his belief in “the divinity that shapes our ends”. I remember him saying to me “When I have to make an important decision, I always pray for guidance.”

 

He loved Ireland. “Ireland” he said “is a land of small houses and big hearts”

 

I spent a weekend at his home in Stansted & said to him “What a lovely place this is!” He said, “I’d rather have Urker” “Really, Uncle,” I said, “how could you compare the two? Urker is a small house with many inconveniences” He said, “Its not the size that matters, its where one’s roots are.”

 

Once on a visit to Belfast he took me to see an old home of his. I met a middle-aged woman, not particularly good looking. Upon leaving he said, “Well, what did you think of her?” I said I liked her very much but I can’t imagine she was ever a beauty. “Oh,” he said, “you should have seen her when she was eighteen. Your father and I were both crazy about her.”

 

He was amused when having a chat with one of the farm workers, who had been employed at Urker for many years. “Well Sir,” the man said to him “You must be about my age, but you don’t look it, but then you haven’t had so much on your mind as I’ve had.”.

 

My mother told me an amusing story. She was paying a visit to Urker. T.J., another uncle & Aunt were there. In the country people went to bed early & rose early. Granny considered ten o’clock bed-time. T.J. and the others planned to go upstairs, & then when they thought it was settled down, to return and have a chat round the fire. They were comfortably settled when down came G. in her dressing gown. “I had an idea,” she said, “you were up to something. You have plenty of time to talk to each other in the daytime. Now, if you please, you will go to bed.” & to bed the four (who, at this time had children of their own) went.

 

I would like to have included the Porter-Hatton [6] story as it shows TJs dislike of pretentiousness & snobbery, but as you know, Aunt Louise was Jim Wright’s [7] sister & it might give offence to his son Mickey [8] and his wife [9] who are living in Ireland.

Perhaps you may be able to use bits of this screed. It’s the best I can do.

Kathleen.

 

ADDENDUM:

Her sister, my aunt Mary [10] told me this story. T.J. when on a visit to Ireland was naturally concerned to make the most of his holiday, seeing people, going places, inviting people to see him. G[randmother]. thought [?] to him, was getting old & I think found him rather exhausting. She was very deaf and sometimes said aloud what she was thinking. She walked to the gates to see him off, & coming back when Mary heard her say, “God bless you, you are a dear son, but thank goodness, I don’t have to live in the house with you.



[1] Kathleen Maria JACKSON was born at Brackagh Townland, near Springfield, County Fermanagh, Ireland on October 21, 1879, the daughter of John JACKSON (1839-1886. He was a brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON) and Kate Maria Jane WHITING.(1854- )

[2] Thomas JACKSON (1841-1915)

[3] Elizabeth OLIVER (1815-1903)

[4] John JACKSON (1839-1886)

[5] A year and a half between them – to be accurate.

[6] John Hatton Porter-Hatton of Prospect, Wexford was the second husband of Margaret Louise WRIGHT. He assumed the additional surname and arms of Hatton by Royal Licence 5 October 1908 [Irish Genealogy Office, MS 111, pp.231-32]. He married in 1905 Margaret Louisa, who was widow of David JACKSON (d.1903) Manager of the HSBC branch at Yokohama, Companion of the Imperial Order of the Rising Sun and brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON She was the daughter of Robert T. Wright. formerly of Ballinode, Monaghan County [Burke’s Peerage]. He was the Manager of the Provincial Bank of Ireland, Newry, Co.Down, N. Ireland, and lived on Hill Street. He was member of the United Counties Club, Newry [see Burke’s for Coat of Arms]. Apparently, “Louisa” quickly went through her ₤30,000 left after David JACKSON’s death entertaining all in grand style with her second husband. Her brother, James Francis WRIGHT of Gilford Castle, had to bail her out after she ran through all her money and she died at Freeduff, just down the road from Urker.

[7] James Francis WRIGHT (1874-1954) married Sir Thomas’ niece, Mary MENARY, daughter of Sir Thomas’ sister, Mary JACKSON. He made his fortune in the Far East retired to Ireland and bought Gilford Castle.

[8] James Francis WRIGHT (1902-1979) also known as “Mickey”

[9] Doris Mary Marguerite BRANDT (1904-1982)

[10] Mary JACKSON, sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON, who married firstly MENARY and then GRIFFIN. She lived most of her life until her death at Urker.

 

 

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