NOTES on “Tanty” Andrew Hugh Gilmore JACKSON

from correspondence relating to his death.


Thanks to Thomas JACKSON of Bangor, Co. Down, I have had access to more than two dozen letters of condolence that arrived after the death of his uncle, Tanty, as well as a similar number of legal documents. (see list of hyperlinks to these letters beneath). No doubt, there were many more such letters (there are some notable omissions), but since these are the only ones that have survived in this collection, they are what we have. Taken together, they once again show the deep interconnections of the various extended family members, all of whom seemed to be staying in either Liscalgot or Urker on a fairly regular basis.


Tanty died in Hong Kong of typhoid on January 31, 1918 and in these letters he is revealed as a hugely popular young man both within the social circles in Hong Kong as well as in the family circles back in Ireland. Although he was 37 years old when he died, he had not married. This may have had to do either with inclination or opportunity (many businesses in the Far East had contractual agreements deferring marriage for their employees until they had served for at least ten years). Since he had seemed to be recovering from the typhoid, his death was totally unanticipated, although doctors said that relapses were common and when they happened were often fatal. We feel the grief of his father in an undated draft of a letter when he says, “Only for this awful war he would have come home for a while.”


Going from family lore, I had initially reported that Tanty worked at HSBC, but that may not be true. I can find no record of his employment with that bank. This is a telling detail since his cousins Samuel GILMORE and Acheson George Henry GILMORE – both of whom died in Hong Kong as well – had HSBC careers that were well documented in the Bank records. So far, I still do not know when Tanty left for the Far East nor what he first did when he got there. The first mention that I have of him is in a letter from his uncle Sir Thomas JACKSON in 1915 who says, “I join you in regretting Tandy’s giving up the Law”. That career change may have been a cause for regret, but if Tanty’s bank balance at the time of his death is any indication, he was doing well in his chosen trade as a stock broker, and it seems he enjoyed working with his very close friend, P. TESTER.


In the more than a dozen records relating to Tanty’s financial affairs after his death, I learned that Tanty and P. TESTER had taken over the Hong Kong brokerage which had been owned by T.W. HORNBY and James Francis WRIGHT, the husband of one of Tanty’s cousins. The 1917 yearend balance sheet of Messrs. Wright & Hornby shows Tanty with $23,747.95; Tester with $52,424.29, while the original principles, James Francis WRIGHT & T.W. HORNBY had amounts of $12.77 and $77.76 respectively – clearly the original partners had essential cashed out, although T.W. HORNBY still was active in the region. (In June 1924 HORNBY was the key mover in the establishment of a third stock exchange: “The Share and Real Estate Brokers Society” (previously, he held a chair with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as did WRIGHT, JACKSON and TESTER).)


It appears that TESTER & JACKSON took over from WRIGHT & HORNBY in April, 1916 and that Tandy’s first contribution of working capital to the firm “was a credit balance transferred from the old firm to the new one”. This makes me suspect that someone in the family helped to facilitate this – particularly since the handover of the business was shortly after Tandy had decided not to pursue Law. At the time, WRIGHT gave the young men good advice, “When you [presumably HORNBY] handed over the business to Tandy and myself and took nothing in respect of “goodwill”.  We adopted the name under which you had traded, which was doubtless useful to us; but as Jim[James Francis WRIGHT] was careful to point out to me, taking the name was one thing and  keeping the business another, and he warned me that we could not expect to do the same as the old Firm as personality counted for something, and also we were both new to the job, and would have to rely on our own efforts to a large extent.  Possibly you anticipated that the personality of the founders being withdrawn deprived the Firm of your our[sic] goodwill, and acted accordingly.”


Archie H. CREW, a solicitor and close friend of Tanty’s, advised that the family settle with TESTER for no less than ₤500 for “goodwill” (August 9th, 1918), but TESTER counter-offered ₤200.00. Within a few weeks, TESTER had agreed to the ₤500 (August 23, 1918) CREW also mentioned that “Tanty was also the owner of a seat on the Hong Kong Stock exchange.  These seats are limited in number and are sold under the rules of the exchange of the minimum price I believe of $3000.  The seats are put up for sale in rotation as vacancies occur, and I’m advised by the Secretary of the Exchange that three seats will have be sold before Tandy’s can be disposed of. … I am leaving for India to join up on the 21st of this month but hope before that that everything will be settled the out of the question of goodwill which is a matter brother for your decision than mine.  I’m leaving the power of attorney with Mr. Edgar DAVIDSON, my brother-in-law, who is a partner in my firm, which will enable him to deal with any matters which may arise in my absence in connection with Tanty’s estate.” 


CREW, who had been most attentive to Tanty during his illness, also arranged for the tombstone, its inscription and for Tanty’s jewellery to be sent to Tanty’s brother, David JACKSON in Kobe. It appears that Tanty was likely interred in the same cemetery as his cousin Acheson George Henry GILMORE – another HSBC employee who had died in 1907,  also in Hong Kong. Even though Tanty may not have worked for HSBC, he seemed to be under its care. Ethel Mary STABB, the wife of the Chief Manager of HSBC helped to sort through Tanty’s clothes, make a list of them and then seek the wishes of his parents as to their disposal. She seems to have been a remarkable great-hearted woman and also possibly related through the TOWNSEND line (her father).