Things pick up a bit when we get to my great-grandmother, Elizabeth McDowell, better known as “Ebby” Below with her husband, George Holmes Phillips
Elizabeth and George Phillips c.1885
We know that the only son in the family had died in 1863. He was just two years older than Elizabeth. She would have attended school at the Presbyterian Manse with the other children and lived that busy life with the rest of the girls in the family. On September 12, 1883, she married George Holmes Phillips with the good Reverend Holmes abiding.
As closely as I can tell, George came from a family in Oakhampton, Newport, Tipperary who were land agents for Lord Bloomfield. There are no birth records for his date of birth, c.1858 but I have found his name and his sons names in this family, that is , Evan, George, Richard and Harry. My great uncle George was registered at Kings Hospital School in Dublin with his father’s occupation as “clerk in a land agents office”. Close enough for the time being. George’s occupation kept him and Elizabeth on the move up along the road to Dublin to Parsonstown, Kings County, now Birr, Offaly.
So, lets us talk about the life of a land agent. From Wikipedia: ” Traditionally, a land agent was a managerial employee who conducted the business affairs of a large landed estate for a member of the landed gentry in the United Kingdom, supervising the farming of the property by farm labourers and/or tenants and collecting rents or other payments. In this context a land agent was a relatively privileged position and was a senior member of the estate’s staff. The older term, which continued to be used on some estates, was steward, and in Scotland a land agent was usually referred to as a factor. Today the term estate manager or similar is more common.”That is fine and well but being a land agent in Tipperary would be just a little different than in England. You would have been “standing in ” for the hated “landlord” who often was absentee, would have been the one responsible for overseeing the horrible evictions that took place all over Ireland. Most of all, you would have been tough. A lot of this would have passed by the time of George and Elizabeth’s marriage but the memories would have still been there. I have an example of that in this article that was sent to me by Mary Guinon-Darmody of the Thurles Library in Tipperary .
“In 1922, Oakhampton House was broken into by thugs, claiming to be from the I.R.A. They demanded the key to the drawer where the money was kept. Evan Phillips refused to hand it over so they fired a shot over his head. The bullet lodged in the wall of the drawing room and they left without anything. Evan complained about this to the local I.R.A. leader, Paddy Ryan Lackan, who was a most upright man. He was furious about this as it wasn’t an authorized action and he was very keen on discipline. He brought a gun to Evan and instructed the family on how to use if they were ever molested again. They weren’t.”
This article mentions the family names as well as the Kingscote name which was the married name of Harriett Bloomfield who came into the estate when her brother died childless. How George fit into this scheme of things is hard to tell. He remained a clerk all of his short life, (he died at 43) but if they were moving frequently he may have been handling the accounts for these estates.
You can find Oakhampton House on the Landed Estates of Ireland database.