Monday, February 16, 2015

BOISSEVAIN | Charles and Emily Héloїse (MacDonnell)

John Tepper Marlin (L) and his Dutch host, Charles 
Boissevain, Feb. 15, 2015; we have two great-
grandparents in common. Photo by Ellen van 
Hall Wurpel.
I spent a useful, throught-provoking and enjoyable day in Amsterdam and region with Charles Boissevain, to whom I am very grateful.

We share two grandparents, Charles the editor of the Algemeen Handelsblad and his Irish wife Emily Héloїse MacDonnell 1844-1931.

Their eldest son was Charles E. H. Boissevain. His son Robert Lucas Boissevain - who has been awarded Righteous status by the Yad Vashem for his work in World War II - was Charles's father.

My grandmother was their fourth daughter, Olga Emily Boissevain van Stockum, mother of Hilda van Stockum 1908-2006.

Elsewhere I describe the busy day that Charles organized and I learned from in Amsterdam and region.

Emily Héloїse and Charles Boissevain. 
Charles is the same age as my sister Olga Emily Marlin. I am the same age (we were born less than a week apart) as the person who took the photo of Charles and me, Ellen van Hall Wurpel, who is Secretary of the van Hall Stichting (Foundation) and greeted us warmly during one stop on our whirlwind tour of important sites in the Amsterdam area.

In honor of our great-grandparents Charles and Emily, I am posting an outline of the lives of these two remarkable people and describe the families from which they came.

Emily Héloїse MacDonnell

Born in Dublin on June 1, 1844, Emily Héloїse MacDonnell grew up in Dublin and Sligo, daughter of Judge Hercules Graves MacDonnell and Emily Ann Moylan - a romantic couple who left Dublin for Liverpool and from there took the newly opened railway to Gretna Green in Scotland to be married, reportedly the first couple in England to elope by train.

Emily met Charles when he was a young journalist visiting Dublin to cover an international exposition. Charles was two years older than her, born in Amsterdam on October 28, 1842.  While in Dublin, he became ill. A sponsor of the exposition, Dublin attorney Hercules MacDonnell, invited Charles to recuperate in his home. His daughter Emily tended to Charles and they fell in love. Charles returned to Holland with his fiancée, and Emily married Charles Boissevain in Southampton (Woolston?) on June 27, 1867. My parents were married on the same day.

For the rest of her life, Emily lived in the Amsterdam area, speaking as little Dutch as she could get away with. Her main contact with Ireland seems to have been from visiting her Jameson and Crichton and Phibbs relatives at Sligo Bay in the northwest of Ireland. She died at Het Houten Huis near Drafna in Blaricum on January 26, 1931, surviving Charles by about four years and the British-born family governess/nurse Polly by about two years.

Emily and Her Five Sons. Three went to the USA.
Emily, Charles and Their Six Daughters. Only Olga went to
the USA.
Like Trojan Aeneas settling in the area that became Rome - inferretque deos Latio - Emily brought with her the household gods of Protestant Dublin. Emily was proud of her Irishness and spoke English to her 11 children during her long years as the wife of Dutch newspaper editor Charles Boissevain, although she learned enough to write a few letters in Dutch. After the death of Charles she lived alone with the family nurse-governess, Polly, meeting separately with visitors. Emily never traveled alone, and only visited where she had relatives.

Robert Boissevain [who left his wife and six children in Holland and emigrated to America to the voiced disapproval of virtually everyone in Holland except his mother] said to his sister Hilda: “ I never feared opening a letter from my mother. Never were there reproaches in it.”

Emily’s bons mots were frequently quoted. Here is a sample of two:
To Tom and Alfred de Booy, who had been stealing fruit: “Next time you want to eat the peaches in my orchard, ask me beforehand.” 
To Laurens Boissevain who ran from home to his Grannie: “ You ran away because you reasoned about your father and mother, now feel what your heart says.” (Laurens went back).
The MacDonnell Family - Emily's Father and Mother

Emily’s family or clan, the MacDonnells, can be traced back to Somerled, the first Lord of the Isles in the 12th century. My brother Randal Marlin researched it and my nephew Chris Oakley has posted much of it.

Emily's grandfather, Rev. Richard MacDonnell, was Provost of Trinity College, Dublin. The official history of Trinity College, Dublin describes his term of administration as uneventful.

Emily's parents were Judge Hercules Henry Graves MacDonnell and Emily Ann Moylan. We have at least one letter from Judge Hercules MacDonnell to his granddaughter Olga. Judge MacDonnell had an even better-known brother, Richard, who became in turn, Britain’s Governor-General in succession of Gambia, St. Vincent and Lucia, Nova Scotia, South Australia and Hong Kong. Following that he was knighted and retired to the south of France. His wife was called Blanche. Any map of South Australia will show the MacDonnell range of mountains at the northern extremity, named after Richard. Some ports and rivers are also named after him and his wife.

The MacDonnell family goes to Alastair Carrach, grandson of the 1st Lord of the Isles in Scotland, who founded the Keppoch branch of the great Clan Donald. In 1431, part of Keppoch lands were forfeited and given to the MacIntoshes, causing a feud between the MacIntoshes and the MacDonnells of Keppoch. The MacDonnells were warriors and the 9th chief of the clan, who was exiled for most of his life, served in the Swedish army. A warrior's life is risky. The 12th chief of the clan was murdered along with his brother in 1663.

Coll, the 15th chief of the clan, was noted for his fierceness and was called “Coll of the Cows”. He resisted by the power of the sword MacIntosh attempts to retake his lands. His son Alexander, the 16th chief, died fighting for the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden.

At some point - we think during the life of Marcus MacDonnell - the MacDonnells emigrated to Ireland where they became part of the Protestant (Presbyterian or Church of Ireland) ruling gentry.

The motto of the MacDonnell family was toujours prêt ("always ready"). In Dutch, a word pronounced like prat means “fun” and this meaning of the word is more descriptive of the flavor of the atmosphere in the home that Emily MacDonnell made with Charles Boissevain. “Fun” is a good description of the goal of Olga Boissevain, their third daughter, according to her daughter. Another MacDonnell family motto was per mare, per terra. This has less of an association with “fun” because it was adopted as the motto of the U.S. Marines.

Emily's mother - Emily Ann Moylan is presumed to be the daughter of someone named King who is descended from John of Gaunt, one of several illegitimate sons of Edward III. Chris Oakley, again, has researched this and after much research is convinced that the report is accurate.

Hercules MacDonnell was a lawyer (a barrister, arguing in court) when he married Emily Ann Moylan, who was referred to in the press at the time as "the niece of Lady Jodrell". Since his religious father did not approve of the marriage to Miss Moylan (either because she was too young or was not Church of Ireland; the stories do not say), the two eloped to London via Liverpool, whence they traveled via “horseless carriage” on the just-completed railway line connecting the two cities. They were therefore said to be the first couple in history ever to use the horseless carriage as a vehicle for elopement.

Coincidentally, Lady Jodrell’s daughter eloped at virtually the same time, because her parents considered her too young to marry, so that the Moylan-Jodrell cousins’ elopements were covered by the press at the same time. I have an originally clipping.

MacDonnell Genealogy

The following is based on a summary prepared by Randal Marlin from published sources on May 24, 2002. These are the ancestors of Emily Heloise MacDonnell.

Somerled (1125?-1164) Founder of the Kingdom of the Isles. Slain at Renfrew.
Reginald or Ronald or Randal MacSomerled (1158?-1207)
Donnell MacRonald (1190?-1249) Founder of the clan MacDonnell. Attacked Derry with 70 ships in 1211.
Angus Mor MacDonnell (1268?-1294)=Daughter of Colin Campbell. Died in Isla.
Angus Oge MacDonnell (1298?-1326)=Agnes O’Cathan a.k.a. Ronald, the subject of Sir Walter Scott’s poem “The Lord of the Isles”.  Fought at Bannockburn in 1314. Died in Isla, buried in Iona.
John or Eoin MacDonnell (1320?-1387)=Ami nin Ruarie of Ulster Was made prisoner at Poitiers in 1356
Marcus MacDonnell (1367?-1407?)= Migrated to Ireland from Scotland.
Turlough MacDonnell (1386?-1435) In 1431 lands of the MacDonnells of Keppoch were given to the MacIntoshes, starting a feud between the families.
Carragh MacDonnell (1416?-1466) Builder of Tynekill. Slain at Offaly in Ireland.
Turlough Oge MacDonnell (1480?-1540?) | Colla or Calva, also called MacTurlough MacDonnell (1510?-1570) Obtained grant of Tynekill estate from Queen Elizabeth, including a castle and 1,000 acres of land. In return had to pay the Queen a head rent and also maintain on her behalf heavily armed soldiers called gallowglasses.  Was slain at Shrule, Mayo, 1570. This is the key starting point for records. Corley Boy MacDonnell expressed a common attitude toward the Crown when he accepted a patent for the Glens of Antrim and then had a fire built and burned the patent from the end of his sword, saying “By this title I hold my lands.” 
Hugh Boy or MacColla MacDonnell (1540-1618) He was pardoned for his rebel activities in 1600.
Fergus MacDonnell (1575-1637)=?
James MacFergus MacDonnell (1617-1700?)=Margaret James. Served as Colonel of the Confederate Catholics. He got a re-grant of Tynekill in 1637, but forfeited Tynekill four years later, when at the age of only 24 he became a conspicuous rebel leader. A price of £400 was put on James’s head, plus a free pardon. James survived, but lost his property. However, Margaret was allowed by decree of 1664 to live there until she died.
Fergus Charles MacDonnell (1660?-1730?)=? Moved to Wicklow, raised all his children as Protestants despite (or because) his father lost Tynekill by being a rebel Catholic.
Charles (“Sorley”) MacDonnell (1691?-1767)=Mary Hall. Charles was a royalist, called his youngest son George after George II.
Richard MacDonnell (1729-1805)=Daughter of Captain Sandys Robert. Worked as a revenue officer in Cork through his friend Mr. Lowther, MP, “Father of the Irish House of Commons.”
Robert MacDonnell (1764-1821)=Susanna Nugent (1766-1822?). Robert was a wealthy man until the overthrow of Napoleon ruined him.
Rev. Richard MacDonnell (1787-1867) = Jane Graves (1791?-1882) Born in Douglas, near Cork. Married 1810. Provost of Trinity College, Dublin. Jane Graves was daughter of the Dean of Ardagh, one of whose descendants was the poet Robert Graves. They had 14 children.
Hercules H. Graves MacDonnell (1819-=Emily Ann Moylan (1822-1883) Third son of Richard and Jane MacDonnell (older brother Sir Richard Graves was Gov. of Gambia, South Australia, Nova Scotia and Hong Kong; mar. Blanche Anne Scurry). Was an attorney, Justice of the Peace for County Dublin, Secretary to the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland. Married Emily Ann Moylan in 1842; she was born in Paris and, as mentioned already, Chris Oakley has traced her ancestry back to Edward III. They had eight children.
Emily MacDonnell (1844-1931)=Charles Boissevain (1842-1927).

For the Boissevain Genealogy (First Six Generations), Go here.

The Descendants of Charles and Emily Boissevain Charles Boissevain was born on 28-10-1842 in Amsterdam, son of Gideon Jeremie Boissevain and Maria van Heukelom. Charles died on 05-05-1927 on Drafna (gem. Naarden), at the age of 84 years. Charles married, at the age of 24 years, on 27-06-1867 in Woolston (Hampshire) Emily Héloïse MacDonnell, aged 23 years. Emily was born on 01-06-1844 in Dublin, daughter of Hercules Henry Graves MacDonnell and Moylan Emily Ann. Emily died on 26-01-1931 on Blaricum, at the age of 86 years. 

Children of Charles and Emily :
1 Charles Ernest Henri Boissevain, born on 09-05-1868 in Amsterdam. 
2 Maria Boissevain, born on 27-10-1869 in Amsterdam  
3 Alfred Gideon Boissevain, born on 28-12-1870 in Amsterdam  
4 Robert Walrave Boissevain, born on 12-03-1872 in Amsterdam 
5 Hester Boissevain, born on 16-08-1873 in Driebergen.
6 Olga Emily Boissevain, born on 27-10-1875 in Amsterdam.
7 Hilda Gerarda Boissevain, born on 12-07-1877 in Amsterdam.
8 Eugen Jan Boissevain, born on 20-05-1880 in Amsterdam. 
9 Petronella Johanna Boissevain, born on 24-12-1881 in Amsterdam.
10 Jan Maurits Boissevain, born on 05-02-1883 in Amsterdam. 
11 Catharina Josephina Boissevain, born on 23-01-1885 in Amsterdam.

The above post was written as a draft chapter of a book I am writing: The Boissevain Family in the Dutch Resistance, 1940-45

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