Lancelot Smith’s children were the first of our family to be born in Ireland. They grew up at Corballis and this photograph taken in 1889 or 1890 is important because it shows all of them together.
- Back Row: Lancelot, Sally, John, Lancelot (father), William
- Middle Row: Tom, Eliza (mother), Agnes, Lizzie Bouskill, housekeeper?
- Seated at front: Joe, Betty
The eldest son, named Lancelot Smith – as was his father and grandfather – was born in April 1863 in the Cashel area of Tipperary. (Unfortunately, I don’t have an individual photograph of him.)
Lancelot would have been about 8 years old when his father moved the family from the farm at Rathcoun, Cashel, to the farm at Corballis, Donabate. I assume he grew up with the expectation, as the eldest son, that he would be a farmer when he was an adult. Even though his father rented the farm at Corballis for a number of years, Lancelot did not take over that farm as might be expected for the eldest son. Instead, his father gave him the responsibility of managing the second rented farm at Beaverstown, also in Donabate. Lancelot was living at the Beaverstown farm by 1893, possibly earlier.
Lancelot married Eleanor (Nell) Mounsey on 6 June 1894 in Ballymackey Anglican Church, near Nenagh, County Tipperary. Clearly, there remained strong social links between the Mounseys of Tipperary and the Smiths even after the Smiths had moved to Dublin. The Mounseys lived in Clashnevin in North Tipperary and Nell’s father John Mounsey seems to have been a prosperous farmer in the area. Nell was the fourth daughter in the family.
Lancelot and Nell had five children:
- Elizabeth Smith, known as Elsie, was born around 1895 and later married Brigadier Herbert (Bertie) Bell; they had two children. Brigadier Bell served in the British Army during the First World War; part of his army service was in China.
- Lancelot Westgarth Smith, born around 1896, married Edith Ellen Barron Dawson in 1942 in Bulawayo (then in Rhodesia). They had five children. Lancelot Westgarth was known as Garth. He was a dispatch rider in the First World War. After the war, he lived in Trinidad for a time and then went to Rhodesia.
- Eleanor Upton Smith – known as Norah – born around 1899, married Henry J. Simpson, a businessman in Dublin. They had two children.
- Mary Kemp Smith, born around 1903, married Kenneth W.V. Highton and went to live in Trinidad. They had two children.
- William Smith, born in 1907, was married and went to live in Los Angeles, California.
Lancelot was actively involved in the Church of Ireland parish church in Donabate during the 1920s and early 1930s. In the late 1920s or early 1930s, Lancelot acquired a second farm (Patterdale) in Campile, County Wexford. He was living there when he died in Dublin in December 1934. His widow Nell lived on until 1941. Both of them are buried at the Anglican parish church in Donabate.
Elizabeth Smith, known as Betty, was born in October 1864. She did not marry and kept herself busy being housekeeper and caregiver to various people. Apparently she was idealistic and interested in many things. She was also fond of gardening.
During her childhood, she went to school in Gamblesby so there was ongoing contact between the Smiths in Ireland and those in Cumberland. As an adult, she lived with her younger brother John and his wife at Corballis for a time. In 1911 she was visiting her aunt Sarah Cowen in Gamblesby on the day of the Census. Later, she lived in Birmingham, helping to bring up the two Nicholson daughters (her nieces), after her sister died in 1917.
She was the author of the narrative I have ben using to provide background about the Smiths and their origins in Cumberland. From her narrative it is apparent that she visited her aunt Sarah Cowen in Gamblesby and knew some of the people living there quite well. She too went to school in Gamblesby for a time, probably staying with her aunt Sarah.
Agnes married Alexander (Alex) Nicholson in 1891, probably in Donabate. Alex was born near Cashel, Tipperary; he was employed as an engineering draughtsman by BSA in Birmingham. Agnes and Alex had four children: Ernest, Alexander John (known as Jack), Sheila and Agnes Hannah (known as Nan). Ernest was an engineer and died in 1921. He had been in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force during World War I. Jack was actually born in Blackhall while his father was in Australia selling farm machinery. As a boy, Jack was fascinated by insects and he eventually became a professor of entomology at Sydney University in Australia. Jack and his Australian wife Phyllis had two sons. Agnes died in 1917 in Aston, Warwickshire, which is near Birmingham. Her younger daughter Nan would only have been about 12 years old at the time.
William Smith, born in September 1867, was the fourth child. His story has its own page on this blog.
John Smith followed on quickly behind William. He was born in December 1868. He would have been about two years of age when his family moved to Donabate. John continued living at Corballis after his father died in 1899 and took over the property, with his brother William, after his mother Eliza died in 1904.
In 1909, John married Helen Stewart Brown from Dungannon; they were married in Belfast. John and Helen had three children: Lancelot Henry, Priscilla Helen and Stewart.
Like his older brother Lancelot, John was a church warden in the Donabate church in the 1920s and early 1930s. John died on 10 September 1937 and was buried at the Anglican parish church in Donabate. His widow Helen lived until 1961. She also was buried at Donabate.
The Corballis farm continues to be in the hands of this branch of the Smiths.
Thomas Smith, known as Tom, was the fourth son and sixth child of the family. Born in August 1870, he was an infant when the move was made to Donabate. Being the fourth son in the family, he probably grew up with the understanding that he would have to make his own way in the world. He chose to become an engineer and was a student at Trinity College, Dublin. In later years he worked on designing and building railway lines in various parts of Ireland. For many years he lived in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. In August 1900 in Dublin, Tom married Elizabeth (known as Lulie) Hodgins, who was from Nenagh, County Tipperary. Lulie’s mother was Mary Mounsey, the eldest sister of Nell Mounsey. Tom and Lulie had no children. Tom died in Enniskillen in 1962 at the age of 91.
Sarah Anne Smith, known as Sally, was the second youngest in the family and was born in Donabate in July 1872. For a time before her marriage, Sally kept house for her brother William at Blackhall. In September 1904, Sally married Frederick Malcolm Prockter in Ballymaglassan Parish Church. Malcolm was a mechanical engineer from Manchester who seems to have been working in Ireland for several years because he is listed in the 1901 Irish census as a visitor staying with the Smiths at Beaverstown. They may have moved to England soon after their marriage. Sally and Malcolm had no children. Sally died in Chelmsford, Essex in 1940; Malcolm died in Fulham, Middlesex in 1953.
Joseph Randal Smith, known as Joe, was the youngest child. He was born in August 1875 and was trained as a mechanical engineer although it is not clear what kind of training he received. Joe married Isabella (Belle) Mounsey, the youngest sister of Nell Mounsey. They were married in 1905, probably at the Anglican church in Ballymackey near Nenagh. They had no children. Apparently Joe was not very adept at earning a living and his wife had to operate a boarding house to make ends meet. They also rented out part of their house in Malahide to a small Presbyterian congregation as a place of worship. Joe died in November 1939 in Campile, County Wexford, and was buried in the churchyard of the Ballymackey church. His wife Belle lived until the age of 95; she died in January 1970 and was also buried at Ballymackey.