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The Martin Family of Dublin & Virginia


In 1735, 30-year-old Thomas Bunbury, High Sheriff of Carlow, married Catherine Campbell, third daughter of Colonel Josias Campbell and his wife Lettice.

Lettice Campbell (1682-1757) was the youngest daughter of Samuel Martin, a merchant from Dublin and a parishioner of St Michan’s Church. His great-grandfather, Josiah Martin, came from Scotland to Ireland with Sir Arthur Chichester, later Lord Deputy of Ireland, in 1599. Samuel’s grandfather, also Josiah Martin, was a Freeman of Belfast in the reign of James I. On 30 Sep 1645, Samuel’s father, George Martin of Whitehouse, near Belfast, was elected a Burgess of Belfast. In June 1647, he was appointed Sovereign of Belfast (the term then applied to Mayor) but, when he refused to billet Ireton’s soldiers in 1649, he was evicted from his house with his wife, seven sons and one daughter. [i] Samuel, the youngest of the seven sons, was married on 14 July 1679 to Mary, a daughter of Sir Richard Carney, Ulster King of Arms, by his marriage to Lettice Tallis, a daughter of Thomas Tallis, Muster-Master General of Ireland].[ii] Samuel was buried in St Michan’s on 14 June 1720.[iii]

Samuel Martin had four sons, the third being Colonel John Martin, about whom more below. Samuel’s eldest son George Martin, MD, lived at Milltown, Co. Meath, and died unmarried in January 1755.[iv]

Samuels’s second son James was described as a ‘gentleman’ and lived in Dublin where he married Agnes, daughter of William Peters of Petersville, Moynalty, Co. Meath, and was buried at St. Michan’s, Dublin on 21 Dec 1717.[v] James and Agnes’s son John Martin became Burgess for King William County, Virginia (1752-56) and qualified as an attorney on 10 Nov 1756 in Virginia.[vi] (His son William Martin was noted for supplying the Revolutionary Forces in 1776.[vii]) William and Agnes’s eldest daughter Agnes was married in 1733 to Francis Cunningham, a merchant from Rayhor, Co Donegal. The Cunningham’s eldest daughter Ann was married in October 1762 to her cousin Lewis Burwell Martin and, with her sister Letitia Laird, fetched up with a handsome fortune as they were the co-heiresses of their uncle James Cunningham of Jamaica.[viii] William and Agnes’s younger daughter Letitia married John Thomas of Waterford and died in 1808.

Samuel’s fourth son and namesake, Samuel Martin, was killed in Spain but nothing further is known.

[With thanks to Fred Prisley, 7th great grandson of John Martin (d. 1760)]

But for the purposes of this history, we are most interested in Samuel’s third son, and Catherine Bunbury’s uncle, namely Colonel John Martin, JP, Burgess for Caroline County, Virginia, from 1730-34 and again from 1738-40. He owned an estate of 2,700 acres in Virginia which was, one presumes, a tobacco farm. Although there are numerous books and journal articles written about various aspects of tobacco, including trade with Great Britain, Frances S. Pollard, Director of Library Services at Virginia Historical Society warned me that there were very few references to Ireland. ‘Tobacco from Virginia and the rest of the “Tobacco Coast” was sometimes shipped to Ireland’, explained Mr Pollard, ‘since the route was shorter, and then transported to London. The Scottish firms, primarily in Edinburgh and Glasgow, did trade actively with the colonies. These English and Scottish ties are reflected in our manuscript collections, and the only tie to Ireland that I could identify is in the Abram Bell & Co. papers. The item is a letter written in 1836 by David Dunlop, a tobacco merchant in Petersburg, concerning a shipment of tobacco to Belfast, Ireland.’ Mr Pollard suggested that one source on immigration to the colonies is Allan Kulikoff’s From British Peasants to Colonial American Farmers (University of North Carolina, 2000), which provides an overview of Irish immigration to Virginia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Colonel Martin’s wife Martha was the youngest daughter of Colonel Lewis Burwell, member of the Council, of Fairfield, Gloucester County, Virginia.[ix] Martha died on 27 May 1738, aged 35, and was buried at Clifton, Caroline County. The Colonel later lived in Bristol and Dublin and died on 26 Jun 1760.[x] The Colonel and Martha Martin were the parents of George, Samuel, Lewis Burwell and four daughters.

The Colonel’s eldest son George Martin was born on 3 September 1722 (and baptised in Abingdon on 2 Oct 1722). Like his father he became a merchant, operating out of both Bristol and Dublin. In 1747 he married his first cousin, Alice, youngest daughter of Colonel Josias Campbell of Dublin. He was living in 1784 and may have died in 1811 in Dublin. He had issue a son John, who died in 1755, and a daughter, Jane.

The Colonel’s second son Samuel Martin was born circa 1729, the year Swift published his Modest Proposal. He too was a merchant, based between Drumcondra in Co. Dublin, Lowther Street in Whitehaven and the tobacco plantations of Virginia. He shipped his tobacco directly from Virginia to Whitehaven, Cumberland. He was married firstly on 29 Aug 1754 at St. James’s, Whitehaven, to Bridget, dau of Peter Gale of Whitehaven.

Samuel and Bridget Martin had two sons, George and Peter, and a daughter Bridget.[xi] George was born in December 1756, admitted to Lincoln’s Inn on 23 Apr 1776 and practiced as a barrister-at-law in both London and Dublin. He spent a great deal of time administering the Virginia estates. On 26 May 1787, he was married at Marylebone Parish Church, to his first cousin, Mary, only daugter of Michael Harvey Breton of Norton Hall, Northampton, by his wife Agnes, third daughter of Colonel John Martin, J.P.. George died without children in Dublin in 1818.

George’s younger brother Peter Martin was born in January 1759 and married a woman from Tortola, British Virgin Islands. He may have gone to the Cape and was living without issue in 1799.

George and Peter’s older sister Bridget Martin was born in May 1755 and married a Liverpudlian barrister and customs collector John Colquitt, for whom Liverpool’s Colquitt Street is named. Their eldest son Lt Col John Scrope Colquitt (1775-1812) served with great enthusiasm with the Grenadier Guards at Baross and the capture of the bridge at Triana during the battle for Seville but caught fever soon after the latter engagement and died. His twin brother, Rear Admiral Samuel Martin Colquitt (1775-1847) was Captain of HMS Arethusa at the capture of the Spanish frigate La Pomone off Havana Harbour, Cuba, in 1806. Their daughter Bridget Colquitt married Thomas John Parke, a Liverpool merchant and nephew of James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale.

After Bridget’s death, Samuel Martin was married secondly on 12 Dec 1791 at St. James’s, Whitehaven, to Frances Spedding, the 43-year-old daughter of the Rector of St James’s, Whitehaven. They enjoyed nine years together before Samuel passed away on 3 March 1800 aged 71. Frances survived him until August 1803.[xii]

The Colonel’s third son, Lewis Burwell Martin, was born circa 1736 and may have been educated at Glasgow University. In 1762, he married his first cousin once removed, Ann, daughter of Francis Cunningham, merchant, of Raynor, Co Donegal, by his wife Agnes daughter of James Martin of Dublin. He rose to become Assistant Judge of the Jamaica Supreme Court, but was dismissed by Governor Sir John Dalling. On 18 June 1781, he was reinstated by a Privy Council order and became a Member of the Assembly for the parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. He died on 20 Sept 1782, aged 46, and was buried at Flower Hill in the parish of St. Elizabeth two days later. Lewis and Ann Martin had a son John, and two daughters. Their son, John Ponsonby Martin was a Captain of the Loyal Cheshire Fencibles and a Member of the Cheshire Hunt. He died unmarried in 1835.[xiii] Captain Martin’s sister Letitia Martin (1768-1797) was married in 1785 to James Gale Senior and bore him four children. However, calamity befell the Senior family when James died aged 38 on 3 Feb 1797 and Leitia died nine months later aged 29. They are both buried at St Paul’s in Bristol. Their children were subsequently raised by their great-aunt, Letitia Laird.[xiv]

The Colonel’s eldest daughter Elizabeth was born on 16 July 1721 and baptised at Abingdon a week later. On 12 August 1742, she married Patrick Barclay, merchant, of Louisa County, Virginia and Glasgow, Scotland. He died in 1749 having had issue a son, George, who was married on 7 Aug 1766 in Goochland County, Virginia, to Mary, eldest dau of Captain James Cole and his wife Mary (née Willis) and had issue: 1 son and 2 daus.

The Colonel’s second daughter Lucy was born circa 1732 and married twice. Her first husband was the Hon. Henry Boyle Walsingham, second son of Henry, 1st Earl of Shannon and his wife Harriet, youngest dau of Charles, 3rd Earl of Cork. This would presumably mean the Martin family and by extension the Campbells and Bunburys had some form of allegiance to the powerful Shannon political dynasty. Walsingham died in Bath on 27 Mar 1756 (having had issue one son, see EARL of SHANNON – Burke’s Peerage) and Lucy was married secondly on 20 Mar 1760 to James Agar of Gowran Castle, Co. Kilkenny, later Viscount Clifden, with whom she had a further three sons and a daughter.[xv]

The Colonel’s third daughter Agnes Martin was born circa 1734 and married in 1769 to Michael Harvey Breton of Norton Hall, Northampton. He was the eldest son of Eliab Breton of Forty Hall, Enfield, Middlesex and his wife Elizabeth, dau of Sir William Wolstenholme, Bt. Michael died on 18 Jun 1798, aged 55, at Epping Green, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Agnes died on 25 Aug 1802, aged 68, at the house of her son-in-law, George Martin, the barrister, in Bryanston Street, Portman Square, London. They had a son and a daughter Mary (who married George Martin on 26 May 1787).

The Colonel’s fourth and youngest daughter Martha was married on 13 Jun 1756 at St. Michan, Dublin, to Edmond Sexten Pery, Speaker of the House of Commons of Ireland from 1771 to 1785. He was created Viscount Pery on 30 Dec 1785. Edmond was the eldest son of Rev Stackpole Pery, M.A., of Stackpole Court, Co. Clare. Edmond’s mother Jane was a daughter of Ven William Twigge, M.A., Archdeacon of Limerick. Martha died without issue in London in 1757.[xvi]

Samuel’s eldest daughter Eliza (ie: Catherine Bunbury’s aunt) was married circa 1685 to the Londonderry merchant John Galt, son of John Galt, Mayor of Coleraine, by his wife Mary (née Hazlett). Eliza died on 13 Oct 1696 and John Galt followed in 1733.[xvii] They left one son.

Samuel Martin’s youngest daughter Lettice was baptised at St Michan’s on 29 September 1682. She was 18 when she walked up the aisle of the same church on 4 March 1700/01 and married Colonel Josias Campbell. The Colonel died in 1722 and Lettice in 1757.[xviii] It was their daughter Catherine who married Thomas Bunbury of Kill.


[i] There was a lengthy correspondence lasting from 1762 to 1800 in the Martin Papers between Samuel Martin of Whitehaven (see below) and his cousins Sir Henry Martin, Bt and Samuel Martin, Junior, of Greencastle, Antigua. See MARTIN of LOCKYNGE, Baronet – Burke’s Peerage. It appears that the Baronet’s family descended from the eldest son of George Martin of Whitehouse.

[ii] Marriage licence dated 14 Jul 1679.

[iii] Prerogative Court of Ireland will dated 2 Feb 1718/19 and proved 24 Jun 1721. In his will he names his brothers Robert, James, merchant, of Dublin, who d.s.p. (Prerogative Court of Ireland will dated 4 Apr 1726 and proved 9 May 1727) and William.

[iv] Prerogative Court of Ireland will dated 29 Jul 1746 and proved 3 Feb 1755.

[v] Marriage licence dated 29 Oct 1709; Prerogative Court of Ireland will proved 20 Feb 1717/18.

[vi] Marriage licence dated 29 Oct 1709; Prerogative Court of Ireland will proved 20 Feb 1717/18.

[vii] John, Martin, Burgess for King William County, Virginia 1752-56, qualified as an attorney on 10 Nov 1738, d. 1756 in Virginia having had issue:, three sons and a daughter. His second son William Peters, was Clerk of the Committee, Pittsylvania County, Virginia from 26 Jan 1775, officer of the Pittsylvania County Militia from 27 Sep 1775, supplied arms to the Revolutionary Forces in 1776.

[viii] Anne’s sister Letitia Cunningha, b. circa 1738, m. James Laird of Chesterfield in the parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, d. 7 Nov 1824, aged 85, at Walton-on-Thames, Surrey and was buried at St. Paul’s, Bristol having had issue two sons, James (b. 1763) and Hugh Martin (b. 1764), and a daughter, Letitia (who m. John Thomas of Waterford and d. 1808).

[ix] Martha Martin’s mother was Colonel Burwell’s second wife Martha, daughter of Colonel John Lear, member of the Council, of Nansemond County, Virginia. See Burwell Family History

[x] Prerogative Court of Ireland will dated 30 Apr 1760 and proved 6 Jul 1761.

[xi] Bridget Martin, of Liverpool, b. May 1755, m. 10 Apr 1774 at St. James’s, Whitehaven, John Colquitt, attorney-at-law, of Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, eldest son of Scrope Colquitt, Common Councillor and Bailiff of Liverpool in 1753, and his wife Elizabeth, dau of John Goodwin of Biddulph, Staffordshire. See COLQUITT-CRAVEN formerly of BROCKHAMPTON PARK – Burke’s Landed Gentry 1972 Edition. John Colquitt was bapt 21 Sep 1746 at St. George’s, Castle Street, Liverpool, was Common Councillor and Bailiff of Liverpool in 1774 and Town Clerk in 1781 and d. in Liverpool on 27 Apr 1807. John and Bridget had issue:

1. John Scrope, Lieutenant Colonel, Grenadier Guards, b. 1775, educ Macclesfield, Rugby, m. Jane Ann, eldest dau of Thomas Lewin of Cloghans, High Sheriff of Co. Mayo, and his wife Elizabeth, dau of Harrison Ross-Lewin. See LEWIN formerly of CLOGHANS – Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland 1958 Edition and the monumental inscription in the British Embassy Chapel, Madrid (until its destruction on 18 Jun 1944, there was also a memorial in the Guards’ Chapel in London). He was badly wounded at Barossa on 5 Mar 1811 and d. 5 Sep 1812 in Seville of fever after ‘great exertions and gallantry’ on 27 Aug 1812 at the capture of the bridge at Triana during the battle for Seville and she d. 22 Jul 1848 having had issue:

a. Ernest Augustus, of Irvine Street, Liverpool, bapt 20 Jul 1810 at St. Mary, Marylebone, d. 16 Oct 1881.

a. Georgina Mary, of 4 Lansdowne Terrace and later of 3 Suffolk Place, Cheltenham, b. in Derby, bapt 26 Sep 1800 at St. George’s, Castle Street, Liverpool, d. unmarried 31 Aug 1879 at 3 Suffolk Place.

2. Samuel Martin, Rear Admiral, R.N., b. 31 Mar 1775, bapt 30 Apr 1775 at St. George’s, Castle Street, Liverpool, educ Macclesfield, Rugby, appointed Lieutenant on 15 Feb 1796, Commander from 29 Apr 1802, Captain from 21 Oct 1810, served in H.M.S. Arethusa at the capture of the Spanish frigate La Pomone off Havana Harbour, Cuba on 23 Aug 1806. His first wife d. 3 Nov 1823 and he m. 2ndly 27 Dec 1843 at Cheltenham, Frances Rachael, dau of Rev James Wiggett, Vicar of Crudwell, Wiltshire and his wife Frances (née Mackerell). See CHUTE, Baronet of THE VYNE – Burke’s Peerage 1956 Edition. He d. 10 Jul 1847 at Bishopstoke, Hampshire.

1. Bridget, bapt 1779 at St. George’s, Castle Street, Liverpool, m. 22 Oct 1804 in Liverpool, Thomas John Parke, bapt 29 Dec 1767 at St. Nicholas, Liverpool, eldest son of Thomas Parke, merchant, of Highfield House, Lancashire and his wife Anne, dau of William Preston and brother of James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale, and d.s.p. 23 Oct 1860 at 4 Lansdowne Terrace, Cheltenham.

[xii] Frances was bapt at Holy Trinity, Whitehaven on 21 Oct 1748. She was the dau of Rev Thomas Spedding, M.A., Rector of St. James’s, Whitehaven 1753-83, and his wife Isabella, dau of Isaac Langton of Cockermouth. See SPEDDING of WINDEBROWE and MIREHOUSE – Burke’s Landed Gentry 1969 Edition. Samuel Martin d. 3 Mar 1800 (Lancashire will dated 17 Nov 1799 and proved 8 Apr 1800), aged 71, and was buried at St. James’s, Whitehaven on 7 Mar 1800 and she d.s.p. Aug 1803.
[xiii] John Ponsonby Martin witnessed the marriage of his nephew Lewis Goodin Senior on 9 Jan 1809.

[xiv] LETITIA MARTIN, b. circa 1768, m. 12 Sep 1785 at St. Elizabeth, JAMES GALE SENIOR of Prospect Hill in the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica, elder son of BERNARD SENIOR of the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica and his wife ELIZABETH, dau of JAMES GALE of the parish of Westmoreland. See Senior Family History. He d. 3 Feb 1797, aged 38, at the Hot Wells, Bristol (P.C.C. will dated 26 Sep 1796 and proved 4 Apr 1797) and she d. 4 Dec 1797, aged 29, at Clifton (P.C.C. will dated 13 Oct 1797 and proved 11 Jul 1798) and they were both buried at St. Paul’s, Bristol (see monumental inscriptions) having had issue. After the early death of their parents, the four children were brought up by their great-aunt, Mrs Letitia Laird (see above).

[xv] James Agar was a son of Henry Agar, M.P., by his wife Anne, only dau of Rt Rev Welbore Ellis, Bishop of Meath. On 27 July 1776, James Agar was created Baron Clifden. On 9 Oct 1781, he was further elevated as Viscount Clifden. He died on 1 January 1789. His wife, Lucy, died aged 70 at Lady Mendip’s house, Twickenham. Lucy and James Agar had three sons and a daughter.

[xvi] See EARL of LIMERICK – Burke’s Peerage.

[xvii] See GALT of BALLYSALLY – Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland 1912 Edition. See Prerogative Court of Ireland will dated 17 Jun 1715 and proved 31 Dec 1733 respectively.

[xviii] See: Prerogative Court of Ireland will dated 17 Mar 1720/21 and proved 2 Nov 1722. Prerogative Court of Ireland will dated 24 Feb 1744/45 and proved 27 Jul 1757