The Wise Family – Merchants of Cork

Wise Merchants of Cork

Family stories were handed down through the generations about our Wise family from Ireland. My father, Reginald George Robson thought that his grandfather George Edwin Wise was a native of Waterford and indeed several 1930 newspaper obituaries mention this fact. The newspapers however, were not correct, as George Edwin Wise was born in Cork, just a few months before his family migrated to Australia in 1851. George Edwin Wise, the son of William McOboy Wise and Ellen Frances Matilda Murray, is dealt with in another chapter, George Edwin Wise and the Western Stores. William McOboy Wise’s father was Henry George Wise, a fact I found on William’s Australian Death Record.

Dad told the story of the Bonaparte Wyse Family of Waterford about a member of the Wyse family who had married into the family of Napoleon Bonaparte. Mum even gave my dad the nickname “Bones”, and the family used to laugh hilariously when dad recounted his story. My later research found incredulously that this story was indeed true. Lucien Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. His daughter Princess Letitia of Austria, eloped with Sir Thomas Wyse, a handsome young Irish diplomat from Waterford, scandalising the Austrian court and later the social circles of Waterford, when she left Thomas Wyse with two young sons to pursue other relationships, resulting in her having several more children. Thomas issued an edict, disowning the further children of Princess Letitia Wyse, who ended her life in exile. Today, some of Princess Letitia’s jewels and object d’art are vested with the Waterford Museum. I have tried to resolve the Wyse/Wise connection, however at this stage it languishes as a wonderful and very believable family myth. I can say however, that there are familial naming patterns in both the Wise and Wyse families, in particular with the names Thomas, Francis and Walter.

Princess Letitia Wyse’s mourning pendant for her uncle Napoleon Bonaparte, and other treasures are found at the Waterford Museum, Ireland

Portrait of Sir Thomas Wyse of Manor St John, Waterford, lawyer and diplomat

In an attempt to reconcile the Wyse Family of Manor St John, Waterford, Ireland, with our own Wise family of Cork, I consulted Burke’s Irish Peerage and placed the Wyse family into a descendant chart to get an idea of the family generationally, when comparing the time frame of the Wises migration to Australia, and also with Henry George Wise of Cork, my great- great-great-grandfather, and his siblings. I was able to estimate Henry George Wise’s date of birth at around 1785, if you use the acceptable 25 years per generation. The change in the name Wyse to Wise was not a concern as this was a commonly accepted practise. Some suggestions regarding the Catholic Wyse and Protestant Wise is worth further investigation. Ireland was a country heavily burdened with religious bigotry and civil warring. This civil and religious unrest was coupled with a fervent hatred of their English landlords, their cruel laws and extortionate taxation system on rented land. Governance by an absent English crown and their narrow-minded Parliamentary system resulted in an Ireland overtaken by turmoil, poverty and crime. The disastrous potato famine of 1840-50 caused much of the population to nearly starve to death. Millions of Irish peoples died, and many millions migrated to America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, others were convicted and transported to Australia. It is an astonishing fact that Ireland’s population halved in the space of fifty years, when the 1901 census was taken, it was only then that the decimated population of Ireland was realised.

In a folder in my father’s filing cabinet I found an old photocopy of a few pages from Burke’s Landed Gentry. It was regarding “The Wises of Clayton Hall”, a family living quietly in Devon, near the Tamar River, before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Most notable mentions were from 1295 when Walter Wise was a Member of Parliament for Tavistock, Devon, and in 1442 John Wise of Sydenham was a Member of Parliament for Plympton, Devon. All reports I have found show that Andrew Wise, Knight, a younger son of the Wises of Greston, Cornwall, a family described as a junior branch of the Wises of Clayton Hall, ‘passed over’ to Ireland in 1171 accompanying Richard, Earl of Pembroke, who was commanded by his brother King Henry II, to be the first band of Norman warriors to seek settlement and possession of Ireland over the Celts. One of their first conquests was taking possession of County Waterford, where they had landed their ships. Wise was immediately rewarded with large titles of land near Dungarvan. Still today the area has the name Wise’s Point in recognition of this entitlement. The Burke document on Wise detailed the fact that somehow, they changed their name from Wise to Wyse and back again several times over the ensuing centuries. Inheritance of land was always difficult in these big families, the elder son, of course, inherited the title and lands, the second son was encouraged to enter the clergy, army or a profession such as law or medicine. Subsequent sons were encouraged into trades, where they became merchants. This is I feel where I can probably best explain how our ancestors became merchants of Cork, as they were indeed a junior or lesser branch of the Wise family. Our Wise ancestors suffered upheaval, poverty and civil unrest, resulting in their making the tremendous decision to migrate. We are so lucky that they chose Australia for their new home.

Other Wise family stories abound, my cousin Ann Loveridge explained that our Wises were also related to the Whiskey Wises of Cork. This did come as news to me and I will elaborate later regarding this interesting part of the family. Apparently one branch of this Wise merchant family, who traditionally had been butchers, tanners and farmers, had become whiskey distillers. At one stage, a distiller named Francis Wise was reputedly one of the richest men in Cork. This lead directly to a story told to me by another Wise researcher, John Lee, about the Church of St Finn Bars, Cork’s Protestant Cathedral needing two spires. Francis Wise donated a large sum of money with only one proviso, that his spire be built taller than the Catholic Church nearby. This was accomplished, and a visit to Cork will still find this impressive building dominating the Cork skyline. Anne Wise of Dubbo, New South Wales, expanded on this story, explaining that the vicar felt the church actually needed two spires to accommodate his fine church and during one of his Sunday services he spoke from the pulpit, thanking Francis Wise for his kind and generous donation, and asked, would there be an “other Wise”? The vicar was apparently looking directly at an equally wealthy brother, Thomas Wise, suggesting that he contribute to building the other spire. Anne explained that this is the way the word “otherwise” came into usage in our English language today.

The family view report for John Wyse of the Manor St John, Waterford, Ireland, is interesting for many reasons, the naming of one child as Walter is intriguing because William McOboy Wise’s brother George Henry Wise named one of his sons Walter Wise. The surname Blackney/Blakeney is also of interest as it shows up in Cork as a middle name in a branch of the Whiskey Wises. According to Bourke’s Irish Peerage, Mary Ann Blakeney’s father was Walter Blakeney. The family view report below shows John and Mary Ann Wyse’s family, their son Thomas Wyse b 1760 married Princess Letitia of Austria.!0/m6s6aicjogoampxnh1a9dzzq7k4g1nn$pqrmme282ldqo7r1csiw24nodg91zj3

Manor St John, Waterford, home of the Wyse family of Cork, illustrated in the Journal, Cork, Past and Present

Wyse’s Point is just south of Waterford at Dungarvan, and today it is part of the Gold Coast Golf Club. The only map I could find for Wyse’s Point came from this Navionics Nautical Map showing the depths in the bay and clearly Wyse’s Point is a marker buoy now in Dungarvan Harbour. A short walk across the golf course was part of my trip to Ireland in 2016, to take a photo of Wyse’s Point, remarkable as this area was possibly the site of the landing of the English Invasion of Ireland in 1171.

View from Wyses’s Point, at Ballynacourty, Waterford, Ireland September, 2016

Appendix report from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Vol II by Samuel Lewis, circa 1800, showing T. Wyse Esq. undertaking improvements in the upkeep the piers for the fisheries of Ireland for some 1180.00 Pounds.

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I leave the Waterford Wyse family for now to concentrate on my own Wise family from Cork. Perhaps in the future with DNA connections it may be possible to confirm a connection in the future.

I was gradually developing a family tree for my own Wise family from Cork, Ireland starting with a chart of my grandmother Mabel Jackson Wise’s entirely Irish family.

From this five generation chart of Mabel Jackson Wise it will be helpful if I expand on the Irish generations dealt with in this chapter. Other family charts will later expand on some other family branches in these family trees.

Armed with an Australian Death Record for my Great Great Grandfather William McOboy Wise listing his parents as Henry George Wise and Mary McOboy, information from Leask’s Genealogy of Early Australian Families and two Wise family Irish marriage records, I challenged myself to take our Wise family back to Cork, Ireland, and place them into their correct family. I was greatly assisted by Peter and Helen Borthwick, who kindly gave me a copy of the Wise Family Tree when they heard I was doing the family research. Peter’s grandmother The Hon. Irene Borthwick was the author, and she was a sister to my grandmother Mabel Robson, both were daughters of George Edwin Wise.

Aunt Irene lived in England after her marriage, and it is incredible that she found so much information, and kept in touch with contemporary family generations in Australia.


Pedigree Chart for William McOboy Wise

Australian Death Index 1787-1985:

Name: William Mcoboy Wise
Death Place: Victoria
Age: 58
Father’s Name: Henry George Wise
Mother’s name: Mary Mcoboy
Registration Year: 1873
Registration Place: Victoria
Registration Number: 5973
Estimated birth year: abt 1815

Irish Records Extraction Database:

Name: George Henry Wise
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1842
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Elizabeth Humphries
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.
Name: George James Wise
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1836
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Maria Wise
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.

It was exciting to find the two marriage records in Cork for William McOboy Wise’s siblings. George Henry Wise’s marriage to Elizabeth Humphries and Mary “Maria” Wise marriage to her first cousin George James Wise. This gave me hope when I first began my family research, that I would find William McOboy Wise’s marriage record to Ellen Francis Matilda Murray.

Thanks to Leask’s book on Early Australian Families, I had information about the extended Wise family from Ireland and I started searching for records in the Ireland database on I also placed as many of the Wise family from Leask’s information into my growing family tree. Later other sources would emerge, and in particular old Irish newspaper sources helped me to confirm some family relationships. The Leask extract on the Wise family is attached to the family chapter, The Wise Family of Avoca, Victoria.

William McOboy Wise was apparently destined for a profession in the law before his migration to Australia, according to the Wise Family Tree. This fact was also mentioned in William’s obituary from the Avoca Times – see The Wise Family of Avoca, Victoria. The McOboy family may have influenced him here, as some of the descendants were lawyers. However, other information gleaned from two sources below may explain William McOboy Wise’s early migration to Australia.

William, along with many others, lost money in a bad investment in the St George Steam Packet Company, when the company went into liquidation on 23 February 1842. This includes his uncle, William McOboy Esq. See the attached document at the end of this chapter, which I have produced in full, as it includes many other investors who were known in the Wise circles. Importantly it also gives the McOboy’s address as Midleton, and this was the same address I collected in a newspaper clipping listing the marriage of William’s parents Henry George Wise and Mary McOboy on 14 April 1809.

The next record for William McOboy Wise’s money troubles, was a newspaper clipping, courtesy of another Wise family researcher, Stephen D’Alton.

Irish Partnerships Dissolved:

William McO’Boy Wise, leather sellers, Cork, 18th Nov.—Debts Goold …” Saturday 03 December 1836, Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette, London, England.

William was probably lucky to escape gaol, as the penalty was severe for bankrupts, and it may have resulted in his having a troubled relationship with his father Henry George Wise, shortly before his father died. Presumably someone would have had to pay off his debts for him to avoid gaol time. The Wise Family Tree has a note explaining that William had a falling out with his parents, although it cited the problem as being due to his migration to Australia, against his father’s wishes. However, William’s mother and father had both died well before his migration. I had also wondered why William was listed in the Avoca and Districts Historical Society (ADHS) as coming from Tulla, County Clare, and feel that it was probably because of these financial problems, that he moved away from County Cork, and into property management in County Clare, near to County Limerick, where he met his wife Ellen Frances Matilda Murray. I actually wrote to the ADHS explaining that our family history showed that William was born in Cork and not Clare, and in this matter I have now accepted that William found work in Tulla, County Clare, although he was born in Cork. I have also had to deal with the ADHS Diggers Index listing William as marrying his first cousin, Ellen Frances Matilda Murray. Please see William and Ellen Wise’s marriage information in the chapter entitled, The Murrays of Limerick. I have sent ADHS a copy of this chapter together with The Wises of Avoca, for their family history section, in an effort to try and correct this mistake, which was mentioned incorrectly by Leask and accepted by ADHS. I will send the Wise Merchants of Cork in due course to ADHS.

In the early stages of my research into the Wises of Cork in 2011, I was pretty well on my own and my first area of endeavour was finding information about Henry George Wise. I consulted Irish merchant directories and came up with the following Wise listings, which gave addresses and occupations. The information listed here ties in with William McOboy Wise’s early occupation as a tanner, his occupation being listed in Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette, however information from Stephen D’Alton about William’s occupation and financial problems came well after I found this listing below. I found the first directory listing which I believe to be Henry George Wise, and his brother Francis George Wise, who were in a tanning partnership, nearby to the Cattle Market, which was adjacent to the River Lee in Cork. Francis G. Wise, I decided was listed as Frank, a brother to Henry George Wise in Leask. Thomas James Wise I later found out was a cousin to Henry and Frank Wise. Thomas’ father James Wise was a victualler in the Old Market Place in Blarney Street until his death in 1807. He ran a successful business which he in turn passed to his son Edward. In some records including his marriage record (which I deal with later), he is referred to as Thomas Jnr, as his grandfather was Thomas Wise Snr. Where possible I will always refer to middle names so as to not confuse matters, and I will try to refer to their fathers, as there are so many familial names repeated down the family generations. I would advise readers to refer to family charts to gain a better idea of relationships.

Pigot’s Directory of 1824:

Wise, Henry & Francis G., tanners & curriers, Cattle-market

Wise, Henry, Esq., Wellington-place

Wise, Thos. James, tanner & currier, Old Market Place

Wise, Wm. & Thos., distillers & rectifiers, North Mall

McOboy, Dav., cabinet maker & upholsterer, 99 Patrick St.

The economic prosperity of Cork in the eighteenth century was based mainly on the provisions trade. Salted beef, pork and butter were exported to the West Indies and were used to provision the British navy. The unrivalled ability of Cork Harbour to shelter the biggest fleets assembled during the American War of Independence and, later, during the Napoleonic Wars was a major factor in the expansion of the provisions trade in Cork. The Cork Butter Market, with its strict and rigorously enforced system of quality control, was world famous and became the largest butter market in the world for its time.

The textile industries also flourished in Cork during this period. The demand for linen for sailcloth helped the growth of the Douglas sailcloth factory which was the biggest such factory in Europe by 1726. The late 1700’s saw the tanning, brewing and distilling industries flourish. The Beamish and Crawford breweries established in 1792 became the biggest of its kind in Ireland and was a major employer in Cork until its closure in 2009.

The close links of Cork’s economic prosperity to the war economy and the export of salted goods were weaknesses that were exposed in the period of peace following the Napoleonic Wars and later by the development of refrigeration.

Economic development bought with it the expansion of the city, marshy areas down by the harbour were reclaimed and filled in, South Mall being one such area. Cattle were bought to market by boats down the river Lee to the harbour wharves, adjacent to the tanning operations. Slaughtering of the cattle for salting and for general sale to the butchers of Cork went on nearby to the Butter factories and the Tanning Yards. The problems with this expansion bought with it horrible congestion, inadequate sewerage and drainage, and the resultant squalor must have been terrible. Tanning yards were notoriously smelly and wet, as a large amount of water was boiled when the hides were washed. The water from these vats would then have been discarded into the harbour. The hides were later stretched and left to dry.

The late eighteenth century also saw the construction of bridges linking the center of the city to the suburbs. The first St. Patrick’s Bridge, Parliament Bridge and Clarke’s Bridge all date from this period. The North and South Gate Bridges had been rebuilt in the 1710-1715 period. The South Gate Bridge has one of the oldest surviving three-centered arches in Ireland.

Economic prosperity and the expansion of Cork was coupled with a fast-growing population. The ancient class system meant there was still a shocking contrast between the upper and lower classes. Poverty was widespread, living conditions were humble, and the other dread that was never far away were diseases, epidemics and influenzas, that spread quickly.

Cork was the biggest County of Ireland, and politically it was relatively stable during the 1700’s, however there were always rumblings of dissatisfaction and discontent due to the concentration of power in the hands of a minority upper class population, and their absent English landlords. The eruption of the underlying anger and disaffection in the 1798 Rebellion brought havoc and carnage to those parts of Ireland most affected by the outbreak. It was dangerous to be associated with the English, and our Wise’s religion was Church of England and Ireland (COI). They also used the Anglican form of Wise, and not the Catholic form being Wyse. I have some newspaper documents showing that there was a fair bit of resentment towards the Wises, and there were fire-bombing threats against their homes, which must have been horrifying to deal with.

The next few extracts I found online and refer to the previous story regarding Francis Wise, Whisky Distiller of Cork, and his donation of the spire of the Church of England and Ireland (COI) Cork Cathedral, St Fin Barr’s, Cork:

”The patron saint of Cork, St. Fin Barr, gives his name to this cathedral. According to tradition, he lived at an island hermitage at Gougane Barra at the source of the River Lee before founding the monastery in Cork. Regarded as the first Bishop of Cork, his name ‘Fionnbarr’ means ‘fair headed’. The new cathedral was consecrated in 1870, although work continued for many years. The enthusiastic Bishop John Gregg inspired hundreds of donations. Amongst the largest were those from William Crawford of Beamish and Crawford brewery and Francis Wise of the North Mall distillery. St. Fin Barr’s Cathedral is the ‘mother church’ of the church of Ireland United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross”. Wikipedia

“The principal church is the new Protestant cathedral, the foundation stone of which was laid, 12th January 1865. It succeeds a rather mean building, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1735 on the site of a very ancient cathedral which suffered during the siege of Cork in September 1689-90. This building is in the Early French style, and when completed will cost near £100,000. The tower and spires now being erected are the gift of two merchant princes of Cork—Mr William Crawford and Mr Francis Wise—and will cost £30,000. The entire cathedral is due to the indefatigable exertions and munificence of Dr John Gregg, bishop of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross”. Cork Past and Present Genealogy Website

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Map of Cork and surrounds, courtesy of Google Maps, note in particular Blarney and the area south east of Blarney towards Cork, chiefly this was the area where the Wises owned properties, which then supplied cattle to the tanneries and butchers of Cork. See also Midleton where the McOboys lived, and also Cobh, also known as Cove, where the Harmer Spratts had their home. It can be seen that Cork has a large protected harbour with many safe bays. This fact led to its prosperity as an important trading port of Ireland. More maps of Cork and its surrounds, including a map of Killeens House follow the bibliography and other documents at the end of this chapter.

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Map of Cork, showing the River Lee which runs through the city of Cork to the harbour and sea. Blarney Street can be seen at the top of the photo, and at the curve of the River the remains of the distillery and Francis Wise’s home is closest to the middle bridge on the north side, a lawn still exists in front of the house to the riverside.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\Publication Freemans Journal 25 APR 1823 State-of-the-Country.pngFreeman’s Journal 25 April 1823

The newspaper clipping shows the upheaval taking place in Ireland and refers to Mr. Wise of Old Market Place, and Killeens, Cork as well as Springfort, Cork, the home of the Footes, Martha Foote being Martha Spratt’s mother.

I came across this confusing information below whilst seaching for Wise family births, deaths and marriages:

“Historically, each parish in Ireland kept its own records. Because the Church of Ireland was the state or established church, these parish records were considered state records. In 1876 a law was passed requiring that Church of Ireland parish registers be sent to the Public Record Office (now the National Archives of Ireland) in Dublin for safekeeping. This law was amended in 1878 to allow parishes with good storage facilities to retain their records, so not all parish records were sent to Dublin. Further, some ministers made copies of their records before sending the originals to Dublin. Thus, many Church of Ireland records remain, even though the records sent to Dublin were destroyed in 1922 when the Public Record Office burned.” The Historical Records of the County of Cork, Ireland – Cork Records Online Database.

The blaze in Dublin was the result of a battle between Irish rebels, known later as the IRA, who were holed up in the Four Courts Building. The British forces thought that dynamite was being stored by the rebels deep inside the building, thus on 22 April 1922 a column of 200 Irish rebels unsuccessfully defended the Four Courts Building, when the British troops moved in to bomb the building and rout the rebels, destroying many of the most important historical records of Ireland.

The Four Courts Building in Dublin following the fire in April 1922.
This fire destroyed many old Cork records, including parish registers and wills

St Finn Barr’s Cathedral, Cork, Ireland, front entrance

William McOboy Wise (1815-1873) was the son of George Henry Wise (1785-1835) and Mary McOboy (1785-1824), he married Ellen Frances Matilda Murray on 2 March 1840 at Kilnasoolagh Church, Clare, Ireland and they had six children, Henry Wise (1841-1900), Michael Murray Wise (1843-1903), James Wise (1845-1894), Ellen Alice Wise (1847-1930), William Wise (1848-1924) and George Edwin Wise (1850-1933).

Marriage of William Mc’Oboy Wise and Ellen Frances Matilda Murray Clare Journal 4 March 1840

Henry George Wise (1785-1835) was the son of George Wise (-1823), he married Mary McOboy (1785-1824) on 14 April 1809 at Midleton Church, Midleton, Cork and they had seven children, Maria Wise (1810-1890), Anne Wise (1811-1812), George Henry Wise (1813-1875), William McOboy Wise (1815-1873), Henry Wise (1816-1820), Margaret Wise (1817-) and James Wise (1820-1839).

Marriage of Henry Wise Esq. and Miss Mary McOboy, Cork Mercantile Chronicle, 14 April 1809

Baptism of George Wise, son of Henry Wise and Mary McEvoy, 3 Feb 1814, St Mary’s Cathedral, Cork, witness Catherine Higgins

This baptism was as confusing as it was interesting, because it came from the Irish Catholic Parish Record Collection, 1655-1915. This was a rare remaining collection of various parish records that were original records, the transcriptions of which, were destroyed in the Dublin Record Office Four Courts fire of April 1922. I then had to pose the question, was Mary McOboy a Catholic? The only other baptism record I found for the same family was for Ann Wise, who it would seem from family information, she died the same year as her baptism.

Baptism of Anne Wise, daughter of Henry Wise and Mary Wise, 11 May 1812, witness Bridget Lynch

St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Cork City, Cork, Ireland

Death of Mary Wise, wife of Henry G. Wise Esq. The Constitution or Cork Morning Post 20 December 1824

I also found the Griffiths Valuation of 1848 – 64 naming some Wise properties, and apart from George Henry Wise who was William McOboy Wise’s brother, I could not confidently place many of these Wises in my early research:

Wise Edward, Burnt Lane Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Edward Nicholas, Well Lane Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Edward, Prospect Place Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Francis, North Mall Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Francis, Rockwell Lane Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Francis, Sunday’s Well Road Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Francis, Wise’s Quay Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise George, Old Market Place Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise George H. Killeens St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Thomas, Garranabraher St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Thomas, Knocknaheeny St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Thomas, North Mall Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Thomas, Rockwell Lane Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Thomas, Sunday’s Well Road Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

Wise Thomas, Wise’s Quay Cork St. Marys Shandon Cork

There are other mentions of Henry Wise of St Mary’s Shandon in a Tithe Applotment Book from 1833, which I accepted for Henry George Wise (1783-1835) because of the reference to Killeens:

Name: Henry Wise

County: Cork

Parish: St Mary’s Shandon

Townland: Killeens Year: 1833

It was exciting to collect this record, because engraved on Henry George Wise’s burial monument at Gore Hill Cemetery, North Sydney, is his origins as Killeens in Cork. Henry being the grandson of Henry George Wise of Killeens, Cork, and the son of George Henry Wise, the elder brother of William McOboy Wise. See the chapter on Wise Family of Avoca for the monument photograph. A Google search found this information below regarding St Mary’s Shandon, and it would seem that much of the information that I was collecting was starting to become relevant to my Wises of Cork.

This next record has a perplexing error, with the two names Henry George Wise and George H. Wise transposed. It is digitally transcribed. I believe this record is actually for George Henry Wise as his father died in 1835.

“A LIST of WASTE and Poor in the Parish of St. Mary Shandon, July 1837 Joseph Dunbar Collection NAMES Concerns STREET REMARKS Widow Crowley house Kyrl’s-quay poor Cornelius Ready house Kyrl’s-quay poor Michael Reardan house Kyrl’s-quay poor … Sullivan house Bachelor’s-quay poor Miss Allen house Sunday’s-well waste Doctor Wedden house Sunday’s-well waste John Walsh house Sunday’s-well waste Nicholas Kearns house Sunday’s-well poor Daniel Crone ½ house Shandon-street waste … Hennessy house Mallow-lane waste Nicholas Cooke house Mallow-lane waste Nicholas Cooke store Minchan’s-lane waste Patrick Riordan house Blarney-lane waste … O’Leary house Blarney-lane poor Widow Collins house Blarney-lane poor Widow Mullane house Blarney-lane poor Jonas Toole cooperage Blarney-lane waste … Brophy half a house Blarney-lane waste … White house Old Market-place poor … Murphy piggery Old Market-place waste … M’Auliffe coach-house Cattle-market waste … Casey house Royce’s-street wast Widow Sheehan slaughter-house Farrell’s-square waste … Fleming yard Cattle-market waste … White slaughter-house Thomastown waste … Keleher house Market-lane poo … Cronin house Church-street poor … Thompson yard Dominick-street waste B. Shea stable and yard Knapp’s-square waste … Keleher store Widerall-lane waste … Hennessy house Widerling’s-lane poor Henry Casey store and yard Widerling’s-lane waste … Wilson house Widerling’s-lane poor … Holland stable Widerling’s-lane waste … Prendergast garden Pope’s-quay waste … Cummins building-ground Pope’s-quay waste (p342) … Kearney house Knapp’s-square poor … Burke house Kyrl’s-quay waste Mrs. Beek house Sunday’s-well waste Dan. Sullivan stable Cleary’s-lane waste Robert Howard store and yard Dominick-street waste Mrs. Deeble house Dominick-street waste Miss Douthat stable Sunday’s-well waste Patrick Hagin chandlery Fair-lane waste Mrs. Alexander house Kyrl’s-quay poor Charles Bass house Back Abbey poor Widow Sugrue house Blarney-lane poor NOTED: I, Henry George Wise, one of the churchwardens of the parish of St. Mary Shandon, do solemnly declare that the foregoing return is fair and correct, to the best of my knowledge and belief. (signed) George H. Wise Declared before me this 22nd day of July 1837, James Lane, Treasurer. Fictitious Votes (Ireland), first report, minutes of evidence, appendix and indexes in 1836

I found a voting record for Henry George Wise, which was most interesting. I was intrigued by the Wise voting habits, as one thing that I do know about families, is that you inherit your name, your religion and your voting habits from your parents. I was therefore interested in those Wises who voted for Callaghan, as they may have been from the same family group. I could also see listed James Wise of Monard, this was probably Henry George’s brother.

CORK CITY ELECTION   1826 Introduction & Commentary by way of letters & notices from the ‘Cork Constitution’ of 1826. 

Voters and name of candidate:

Wise, E., Hutchinson

Wise, Francis, Hutchinson

Wise, H.B., Hutchinson

Wise, Henry Geo., Cork, Callaghan

Wise, James, Monard, Callaghan

Wise, James, Mount-desert, Callaghan

Wise, T. James, Callaghan

Wise, Thomas, Hutchinson

Wise, William, Hutchinson

There was no certainty as to any relationships from the above names that would connect these Wises to Henry George Wise, and yet I could see again with every generation that there were familial Christian names being used. It was at this point that I spoke with my sister Lavinia Chrystal about the confusing amount of Wise families in Cork, and the lack of records. I found corroborating confirmation that the Parish Records for St Mary’s Shandon were destroyed, as I was collecting and saving records where they mentioned the Wises in Cork. I must admit to feeling a terrible amount of dismay when reading the passage below, knowing that our family records were lost, and with it so much of our family history.

Public Records Office of Ireland: “Location of the Parish Registers for St Mary Shandon
8 volumes of parish registers for St Mary Shandon were destroyed in the fire in the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922.
This comprised Baptisms (1665 – 1880), Marriages (1669 – 1848) and Burials (1671 – 1872). Also destroyed in the 1922 fire were the Vestry Minutes (1681 – 1720.)There survives one book of transcriptions entitled ‘Annals of the Parish of St Mary Shandon, Cork” compiled by Richard Caulfield from the parish records (1672 – 1846.) This is presently held by the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin (Reference #702). 

The Vaults under the Church of St Mary Shandon, Cork. On Saturday September 13, 1879, Richard Caulfield, together with Will H. Hill, Architect and William Atkins examined and measured the vaults beneath St Mary Shandon, just prior to the final demolition of the church. They produced the following plan of the vaults, taken from the 1893 edition of “The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork” by Charles Smith 1750.

They identified the tombs of the following families in the vaults

The family vault of Willm. W. Deeble
The family vault of Edmond Knapp, Esq. Cork Hoare
The family vault of the Lawrence family.
“This is the burying place of Edward Creed of Blarney Lane Chandler and Family A.D. 1781”. Westropp and Dunscombe Pearse, Esq.The Rogers Family. As well as many unidentified coffins and remains”.

Wise Deaths recorded in Old Irish Newspapers:

WISE, Alice ( ); ; Cork City COR IRL; Cork Examiner; 1847-10-15; dja

WISE, Edward Jr; 47; Ryde IOW ENG>Melbourne AUS; Cork Examiner (COR IRL); 1865-12-22; dja

WISE, Ellen ( ); ; Cork City COR IRL; Cork Examiner; 1862-10-22; dja

WISE, Francis; ; Sunday’s Well Cork COR IRL; Cork Examiner; 1881-12-30; dja

WISE, Henry Blakeney; 75; Cork City COR IRL; Cork Examiner; 1855-4-4; dja

WISE, Penelope ( ); ; Woodlands COR IRL; Cork Examiner; 1862-1-24; dja

WISE, Thomas J; 86; Sunday’s Well Cork COR IRL; Cork Examiner; 1864-1-9;dja

Landed Estates of Ireland:

“At the time of Griffith’s Valuation abt. 1851, the Wyse minors, William and Charles, held an estate in the parishes of Bruree and Colmanswell, barony of Connello Upper, county Limerick. The Ordnance Survey Field Name Books refer to Mr William Wise of Cork. He held the land in the parish of Colmanswell with Colonel Longfield. In 1813 Anne only child of William Wise of Cork married Gerald De Courcy O’Grady, The O’Grady, of Kilballyowen. At the time of Griffith’s Valuation Thomas and Francis Wise of the North Mall Distillery, Cork, held land in the parish of Shandrum, barony of Orrery and Kilmore, county Cork. Thomas Wise also held land in the parishes of Knockainy, barony of Smallcounty and Ballingaddy, barony of Coshlea, county Limerick and in the county Cork parishes of Castlemagner and Kilbrin, barony of Duhallow, Garrycloyne, barony of Barretts, Ringrone, barony of East Carbery, Gortroe and Templeusque, barony of Barrymore, Rathcooney and St Annes Shandon, barony of Cork. Francis Wise was among the principal lessors in the parishes of Kilbrin, Cullen, barony of Duhallow, Grenagh, barony of Barretts, Carrigtohill and Kilquane, barony of Barrymore, Kilmacdonogh, barony of Imokilly, county Cork. At the same time the representatives of William Wise held lands in the parish of Templeomaley, barony of Ibane & Barryroe, county Cork. In the 1870s Francis Wise of Cork owned 9,912 acres in county Cork and 9,636 acres in county Kerry. Thomas Wise of Cork owned 1,558 acres in county Cork. Francis Wise left his fortune to his nephew, John Gubbins of Bruree, county Limerick. In the 1870s Francis E. Wise of Cork owned 1,666 acres in county Limerick. James L. Wise of Bray, county Wicklow, owned 629 acres in county Limerick and William Wise of Cork owned 1,471 acres in county Limerick and 393 acres in county Tipperary.”

See link: =lessors

I was clearly out of my depth with all this information, and I finally suggested to my sister, Lavinia Chrystal that we hire a Cork genealogist to help us out with our Wise family research. We accepted an offer of help from Paul MacCotter, who offered us a ten hour package, which included a trip to Dublin for him to access Ireland’s National Archives. His brief was to place Henry George Wise into the correct family in Cork. I sent him the following letter telling him everything that I knew, and he sent me cheerful emails updating me of his good progress and whereabouts, keeping me in suspense for his final report, which also contains a family tree.

Dear Sir,

I am happy to pay your initial research fee offer to find out if there is any chance you can find out who was the father of Henry George Wise of Co Cork? He was married to Mary McO’boy, and they had two sons and a daughter who all emigrated to Australia at different times bringing their families – namely, George Henry Wise, William McOboy Wise and Maria Wise. I think there were other children who remained in Ireland. Some family members believe a younger brother Harmer also emigrated but I can find no records relating to him in Australia.

My GG grandfather was William McO’boy Wise married to Ellen Frances Matilda Murray of Prospect Hall, Patrickswell, Limerick (I have her Baptism). Other Murray cousins lived at Balliston, Limerick. Her parents then must have moved to live in Co Clare. I have details of William McO’boy’s marriage to Ellen Murray at Ralahine in Co Clare. William was working as a manager on a property near Tulla, Co Clare.

Below is a marriage announcement from an old Irish newspaper that I found online recently:

Clare Journal March 5 1840


“At Kilnasoolagh Church, by the Rev. Thos. McCullagh, and afterwards at her father’s house, by the Right Rev. Dr. Kennedy, William M’O’Boy Wise, Esq. of Cork, to Ellen Frances Matilda, daughter of Michael Murray, Esq., of Ralahine, in this county”.

William was C of EI and Ellen was a Catholic. From this announcement, it looks like there may have been two different marriage blessings. It is written on the family tree that there was an ‘understanding’ that the children were to be bought up C of EI. It is also written that William’s father was disappointed in his son’s decision to leave Ireland, and William lost touch with his parents. It is mentioned on the family tree that Henry George Wise had wanted William to undertake a law degree.

I also have the two marriage certificates of George Henry Wise and Elizabeth Humphries, and James George Spratt Wise and Maria Wise from I have the Australian death certificate of William McOboy Wise, naming his parents as Henry George Wise and Mary McOboy. I believe Henry and Mary’s home may have been near St Mary’s, Shandon, Cork where Henry George was a parish member. I have a listing of his name connecting him here to as a warden, from “A LIST of WASTE and Poor in the Parish of St. Mary Shandon, July 1837”.  His son George Henry Wise’s home was called Killeens, Co Cork, as this is written on his grave monument in Australia.

An old family tree from the 1960’s, which appears to be a copy of an earlier version, records the Wise’s origins as Waterford, Co Cork. This tree records William’s father as Henry George Wise, born 15 Jul 1785 and that he married Mary McOboy* of Stumphill, Cork, “Inchinabacky”, in 1809. (*I have found various spellings of this surname in Australia.)

I am most desirous to find the father of Henry George Wise to correctly place our Wise family into the correct branch in Ireland. I believe they were related to the “Whisky” Wises, possibly through Francis? I have also heard them called the lesser Wises, possibly meaning younger untitled brothers? It is recorded in Leask’s Early Australian Genealogy, that there was a younger brother called Frank, christened Francis, and that his sister Maria Wise married her first cousin George James Spratt Wise of Pencil Hill, Co Cork. George’s father was James Wise, (a brother to Henry George Wise) and his mother was Martha Spratt. Whether there is any relation to the Thomas Wyse’s of the Manor St George in Waterford is at the moment only old family statements/gossip from my grandmother, her sisters and my father who claimed a cousin connection to the Princess Letitia Bonaparte married to Thomas Wyse. However, I would love to know if Henry George’s father was a younger brother to Thomas Wyse.

Christian and middle names that run repeatedly through the Wises here in Australia are Henry, George, William, James, Thomas, Walter, Harmer, Spratt and Frank. Some of these maybe surnames or Christian names.

I have no shipping records for William McOboy Wise and family but I believe they travelled in 1850 as unassisted migrants. His brother George Henry and family arrived on the Great Tasmanian in 1861. I am not sure when James and Maria Wise and their children arrived, but all the families settled in Avoca in Victoria, Australia.

In the 1970’s my father visited Waterford and Cork and tried to find graves at a cemetery called Ballybricken, with little success or real knowledge of what he was looking for.

Sorry to be so long winded but there is a lot I have discovered and I have tried for ages to find this answer myself, but I think from Australia it is very difficult.

I look forward to hearing from you and will pay by Paypal when I receive your quote.

Kind regards

Virginia Rundle 20 October 2012

The MacCotter Report was lengthy and informative and takes quite some time to absorb. One interesting fact is that the Wise family were placing family notices in the Kerry Evening Post, and I wondered if this was for the benefit of William McOboy Wise who was working at Tulla in County Kerry at the time. In those days, mail would have taken a good deal of time to arrive and these newspaper notices would have kept William informed, especially if he was estranged from his family. Two notices from the Kerry Evening Post can be found in the newspaper extracts below.

Below are some extracts from the MacCotter Report, the full report (PDF) can be forwarded upon request:

Baptism and burial notebook, St. Mary’s Shandon Church of England


A variety of ‘rough’ notebooks covering births and marriages in this

parish between 1802 to c.1860 are available on microfilm in NAI.

Baptisms start in 1816. These are not indexed and are often difficult to

read. I searched for baptisms in the period 1816 to 1820 inclusive, hoping

to find evidence of Henry George Wise and his wife Mary’s children.

None was found, but the following cousins were recorded. The main

body of parish records were destroyed by fire in 1921.

8/7/16: Henry Spratt, son of James and Martha Wise.

14/11/16: George, son of Francis and Ella Wise.

14/12/17: Francis to the same.

25/3/19: Thomas to the same.

Rosemary Folliot’s genealogical extracts from Cork newspapers

The Constitution, 4 July 1823. ‘On last Friday, George Wise Esquire’ [died]

Cork Mercantile Chronicle, 14 April 1809, ‘On Saturday last in Midleton

Church by Rev. Dr. Greene, Henry Wise Esquire of Cork to Miss Mary M’Oboy’.

New Cork Evening Post, 11 January 1798, ‘Last Saturday, Mr. Thomas

Wise Junior to Miss Jane Wise, daughter of the late Mr. Henry Wise’.

The Constitution, 20 December 1824, ‘On Saturday last after a painful

illness, Mary wife of Henry G. Wise Esquire’.

Marriage Licence Bonds, diocese of Cork

George Henry Wise to Elizabeth Humphries, 1842

George James Wise to Maria Wise, 1836

Same, diocese of Cloyne

George Francis Wise to Eliza Vincent, 1841

Henry Wise to Mary MacOBoy, 1809


Kerry Evening Post, 30 November, 1836, ‘George James Wise marries

Mary Wise, eldest daughter of Henry George Wise of Cork’.

Same, 16 January 1839, ‘the death occurred of James Wise, youngest son

of the late Henry George Wise’.

Index to wills, Cork and Ross diocese

William MacOboy, Cork, 1785

Francis George Wise, Cork, 1839

William MacOboy, Stumphill, 1798

Commercial Directories

Lucas’ Cork Directory of 1787:

Francis Wise, victualler, Old Market Place

James Wise, the same

New Cork Directory of 1795

Francis Wise, tanner, Blarney Lane

George Wise, the same

James Wise, the same

West’s Cork Directory of 1810

F. Wise, tanner, Old Market, Blarney Street

George Wise, the same

Connor’s Cork Directory of 1812

George Wise, tanner, Cattle Market

Francis Wise, merchant, Old Cattle Market

Connor’s of 1817

Francis Wise, victualler, Old Market Place

John Wise, tanner, Fair Lane

Henry Blakeney Wise, tanner, Fair Lane

George Wise, tanner, Cattle Market

Pigot’s Directory, 1820

George Wise, tanner, North Cattle Market

Henry Blakeney Wise, the same

Thomas Wise, the same

Pigot’s of 1824

Henry and Francis G. Wise, tanners, Cattle Market

Thos. James Wise, tanners, Old Cattle Market

Slater’s Directory, 1846

Thomas James Wise, tanner, store, 25 Meylor Street, yard, Cattle Market


Extracts from the Council Book of the Corporation of Cork

(This source ends in 1800)

George Wise occurs as yeoman to the sheriff between 1623 to 1633.

22 September 1716, Francis Wise, butcher, having served his time, is

admitted a freeman [of Cork City]

18 April 1743, Thomas Wise, butcher, eldest son of Francis Wise,

admitted free.

7 August 1766, Francis Wise, tanner, eldest son of Thomas Wise,

admitted free.

16 September 1780, Joshua Burchfield, butcher, having served his time

with Francis Wise, admitted free.

23 February 1790, Thomas Wise, tanner, having served with Thomas Wise

admitted free.

12 April 1791, James Wise, tanner, admitted free.

Summary from the MacCotter Report:

From the above it is certain that the attached pedigree is correct back to

George Wise who died in 1823. That he was in turn the son of James

Wise is also clear from the circumstantial material. Note the almost

universal habit of calling the first son after the grandfather, so George

calls his first son James. Again, note the directories showing that George

appears to succeed a James Wise in business. Incidentally, all the

references to Blarney Lane, Blarney Street, and the various refs to cattle

markets all refer to the same place, the modern Old Market Place off

Blarney Street. Going back further, note the prominence of the name

Francis among this Wise tanning and butchering family as far back as

1716, and the fact that this occurs in your family. In other words, while

the loss of parish registers means that we cannot go back directly beyond

James we can be certain that he descended from the earlier Wise tanners

and butchers who can be traced back to 1716. Business’ and trades

descended hereditarily at this time.

Over time we see your ancestors taking leases on farms and then

settling upon them as well, at Killeens, Monard, etc. These were working

farms rather than ‘country seats’ and it is clear that your ancestors raised

cattle on their own farms and then butchered them and tanned their hides.

(I went to primary school in Blarney Street during the 1960s. There was

still a tannery near Old Market Place then, and the flies and stink during

the summer was awful).

As to your tradition that your ancestors were connected to Wises

the distillers, I have come across several references to this line in my

research and the first names do not tally at all. I do not think that there is

a link.

As to the MacOboys, this is the modern surname McEvoy, and is

still found in Midleton, the town near Stumphill. It would appear that

Mary’s father was the William McOboy whose will was proved in 1798.

In Griffith’s of 1852 William McOboy held most of the townland of

Stumphill, about 300 acres, as a tenant of Henry Newenham, and the house

was valued at £25.

Paul MacCotter December 2012

In hindsight, it was remiss of me not to have listed all the Wise children listed by Leask in my letter to Paul MacCotter, to give him as much information as possible about the family.

Leask lists the Wise family in his book in this order below, without any birth dates:

“Henry George of Pencil Hill, whom we later treat.
Frank, of whom nothing is known.
Tom, of whom nothing is known.
James of Pencil Hill, married —- Spratt and left issue…”

In his report MacCotter did not pick up on the two other sons of George Wise, namely Tom or George Wise, who were siblings to Henry George, Frank and James. However, he did confirm my thoughts that Frank was Francis George Wise, who married Ella (Helen) Hornibrook. I had seen several online trees listing this Wise family of Cork and the connection to Henry George Wise and the tanning business in Blarney Lane. On a hunch that this was correct, I had earlier placed Francis George Wise of Kilbarry, Cork into my tree as a brother to Henry George Wise, my GGG Grandfather, just to see if I got any feedback from other ancestry members. It was so exciting when Paul MacCotter confirmed that our Wises were butchers and tanners, knowing that these trades run in families, sometimes for many generations.

MacCotter determined that the father of James George, Henry George and Francis George Wise was George Wise, due to the use of the middle name George for his three sons. However, I still worry that by leaving out Tom and George, it might have had a bearing on his assumption regarding his naming of George Wise’s father as James and his conclusion that James was the eldest Wise brother. Maybe in the future more information will come to light and assist placing more securely the Wises of Cork into their families. Accepting Irish naming traditions, I have used a bit of poetic licence to name Wise women of importance in our tree. It is generally agreed that the first daughter in the family will be given her maternal grandmother’s Christian name, and the second daughter will be given her paternal grandmother’s Christian name. In this endeavour I placed the Anne as the wife of George Wise, who named her eldest daughter Catherine, possibly after her mother and another daughter was called Georgia Anne, a nice combination of the two parents. Traditionally the first-born son is given his paternal grandfathers Christian name, the second born son will be given his maternal grandfather’s Christian name, and sometimes his surname as a middle name, which is common amongst our Wise family. For the maternal side, the first born daughter is named for the maternal grandmother and the second daughter either for the paternal grandmother or the mother. It is possible that James George Wise was named for his maternal grandfather or even a favourite uncle.

It was so exciting to have this newspaper clipping recording the marriage for Henry George Wise and Mary Mcoboy and for me this was a highlight of the MacCotter report. Later I was able to collect many newspaper cuttings from old Irish newspapers with confidence that they were my family of Wises.

Cork Mercantile Chronicle, 14 April 1809, “On Saturday last in Midleton Church by Rev. Dr. Greene, Henry Wise Esquire of Cork to Miss Mary M’Oboy”.

I also googled Midleton to try and find out what it would have been like in 1809 and found a reference in Slater’s 1846 Commercial Directory of Ireland: Slaters 1846 Commercial Directory of Ireland’s entry for Midleton noted that the “town itself consisted mainly of one long spacious street, intersected by a few smaller ones. The scenery in many parts is very beautiful, and the country around is in a high state of cultivation”.

In September 2016 Geoff and I decided to travel to Ireland, part holiday and part ancestry trail. We flew into Dublin and spent four days there, staying right on St Stephens Green, which is a most beautiful part of Dublin, before we commenced our driving tour of southern Ireland. Between us, Geoff and I have many Irish ancestors, so it was amazing to divided our time between each place we visited, traipsing around the places where our ancestors had once lived during our three-week tour.

During my time in Dublin I visited Dublin Library where they have an amazing collection of old Irish newspapers. My goal was to try and find some of Paul MacCotter’s newspaper listings and obtain original newspaper clippings. Over the years, I have found that transcriptions, while interesting, just aren’t good enough for my endeavours, when I can obtain original articles and records I will always try to obtain them. These newspaper notices are wonderfully exciting and make me long to return to Dublin.

Death notice of George Wise, The Constitution or Cork Morning Post, 4 July, 1823, Dublin Library

George Wise (-1823) tanner of Blarney Street, Cork and his wife Anne had seven children, Catherine Wise, James George Wise (1784-1833), Henry George Wise (1785-1835), Francis George Wise (1786-1839), Thomas Wise (1787-1870), George Wise (1788-) and Georgia Ann Wise (1805-1847).

Three spots to visit during my holiday to Ireland in September 2016 were foremost on my bucket-list; Cork City, Stumphill and Pencil Hill. The Wise Family of Cork, The McOboy Family of Stumphill and the Spratt Family of Pencil Hill. Throughout this chapter I have placed some photographs of my trip to update the family history.

View of Cork from the Regimental Military Barracks, September 2016

This was the view of Cork from our hotel room which was in fact the old Regimental Military Barracks which have been done up in a superb manner. I could imagine the regimental officers enjoying this view down to the old town, with distant views to Cobh and the harbour. Whilst it is quite a steep hill from the old city, it is also a direct walk across the hill to Blarney Lane and the nearby church of St Mary Shandon. We were lucky enough to be in Cork on a Sunday morning and hear the bells of the church as we approached the church. It was just a magical morning.

St Anne Shandon, Cork, September, 2016

This is the church where many of our Wise family worshipped, were baptised, married and buried. The bells of Shandon are famous around the world and we were lucky enough to be there on a Saturday morning when bell-ringers were practising. Just shortly after our visit, the heavens opened and we experience our only heavy rainstorm during our holiday – how lucky were we?

Tombstone of Francis Wise who died in 1843 and his brother Henry Blakeney Wise who died in 1855, St Anne Shandon, Cork, Ireland

I was looking around the grounds of St Anne Shandon when my husband Geoff found the Wise graves and called out to me to say he had found two Wise graves. At first I thought he was teasing me! I didn’t expect to see these graves, so prominent and close to the church, nor did I ever expect they had the name Wise on them. It was one of those moments in family research that leave you quite overwhelmed.

Tombstone for William Wise who died 1838 and his brother Thomas Wise who died in 1868, St Anne Shandon, Cork, Ireland

These two identical alter tombs right beside the church of St Anne’s Shandon are four Wise brothers, the sons of Francis Wise, tanner, who had been admitted in 7 August 1766 to the Council Book of Cork Corporation, listed as the elder son of Thomas Wise, butcher.

Hourglass Chart for William Wise (1768-1838) and Charlotte Perrier (-1839)

This chart is useful to show the descent lines for some of the Wise family who were involved in the whiskey distilling business of Cork.

The four brothers whose tombs may be found in the church yard at St Anne’s Shandon, Cork, are central to this chart, namely, William Wise (1768-1838), Francis Wise (1766-1842), Thomas Wise (1768-1852) and Henry Blakeney Wise (1780-1855).

Francis Wise (1798-1881), the millionaire whiskey distiller who died intestate and without marrying was the son of Thomas Wise (1768-1852); he is dealt with later in this chapter.

The two Wise plaques within the church are dedicated to two Wise women, Penelope Saunders Wise nee Smyth and Elizabeth Wise nee Austen.

Tombstone for Penelope Wise nee Saunders Smyth, wife of Charles William Wise, died 22 December 1862, aged 20 years, St Anne Shandon, Cork

Just to the right of the grave of William Wise and his brother Thomas Wise is the smaller and very lovely grave of Penelope Saunders Wise nee Smyth decorated with a floral emblem, symbolic of purity and youthfulness. Penelope was the wife of Charles William Wise, the son of William Wise who died 1838. This inscription is very difficult to read, but is a poignant reminder of this young woman who died on 22 January 1862, aged just 20 years, a few months after the birth and death of her infant son William Wise in October 1861. Inside the church is a lovely plaque and epitaph erected by Charles William Wise in honour of his beloved young wife.

Memorial Plaque to Penelope Wise, beloved wife of Charles William Wise Esq., St Anne Shandon, Cork, Ireland

Penelope’s magnificent plaque, like her gravestone, is symbolic of a young life cut off in full bloom, the flowers, possibly lilies are climbing upwards to the angels waiting for her in heaven, symbolic of her purity and youthfulness.

Marble monument of Elizabeth Wise, mother of Anne O’Grady, St Anne Shandon, Cork, Ireland

Old Font (taken during preservation work September 2016), St Anne Shandon, Cork, Ireland

Organ and gallery and aisle looking towards the rear of St Anne Shandon, Cork, Ireland

Alter, St Anne Shandon, Cork, Ireland

MacCotter found a newspaper clipping showing yet another marriage between Wise cousins; Thomas Wise Jnr to Jane Wise, daughter of the late Henry Wise in the Diocese of Cork and Ross. Thomas Wise Jnr. was a wealthy tanner in the Old Market Place in Cork and passed his successful business onto his son Edward Wise. It is thought that Thomas Wise Jnr. is a cousin to George Wise of Blarney Street, Cork. The Diocese of Cork and Ross is where George Henry Wise and his sister Maria Wise, children of Henry George Wise were both married. The Wise connection to this parish seems strong and Wise records from this parish may be our relations. There is little reference to the Wise women, which is a reflection of the hereditary domination of men in Irish society, so it is refreshing to find this record and a newspaper announcement. If there were children from this marriage, then in the future it may become a clue to another family connection. Very few references to women are available, and the most relevant source, should have come from the Clergy’s Baptism records, which was held by Dublin’s Birth, Death and Marriage Registry which went up in smoke in 1922.

Irish Records Extraction Database:

Name: Thomas Wise
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1798
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Jane Wise
Miscellaneous: Thomas Wise, Jr.
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.

I was also interested to see the sad newspaper clipping regarding Mary McOboy Wise dying from a painful illness in 1824, meaning that her son, William McOboy Wise, would only have been about nine years old at the time of his mother’s death.

I also found some online Marriage Licence Records from the Diocese of Cork and Ross, Cork, Ireland regarding the McOboys and Corbans. Listed was Mary Corban’s marriage licence in 1775 to William McOboy and I realised that I was looking at the marriage licence for Mary McOboy’s parents. The amazing records show many other marriages for both families, and I appreciate just how valuable these document are. How to place these people into our family tree, how to find out who they were and how they were related to Mary McOboy nee Corban? Below is a descendant chart for Lawrence Corban that shows how the Corbans and McOboys are related to the Wises.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Wise\Wise Merchants of Cork\Charts\Descendant Chart for Lawrence Corban.bmp I suspect that many are arranged marriages between first cousins, and intermarriages between families, whereby two brothers from one family marry two sisters from another related family, and family lands are secured by these marriages.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\index_to_marriage_license_bonds_of_cloyne-page-26.png

Marriage Licence Bonds for Corban, Cork and Ross Diocese

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\index_to_marriage_license_bonds_of_cloyne-page-64.png

Marriage Licence Bonds for McOboy, Cork and Ross Diocese

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\mlb_corkross_Cahilll-Cuttle_pp23.png

Marriage Licence Bonds for Canaan, Cork and Ross Diocese

William McOboy (1750-1798) was the son of David McOboy (1720-) and Winifred Griffin, he married Mary Corban in 1775 at Cloyne, Cork and they had eight children, David McOboy (1777-1846), Margaret McOboy (1780-), William McOboy (1780-1859), Mary McOboy (1785-1824), Winifred McOboy (1789-), Laurence Corban McOboy (1789-1861), Elizabeth McOboy (1797-1871) and Catherine McOboy (1799-1849).

Death notice of William McOboy of Stump-hill, New Cork Evening Post, 15 January 1798, Dublin Library

Death of Mary McOboy, Kerry Evening Post, 21 July 1838

Burial Register of Midleton Cemetery, Image courtesy of Jeff Burgher

Ordinance Survey Maps of Ireland 1824-1846, showing Stumphill, near Middleton Cork. Top original, Bottom detail.

Google maps overlay with Ordinance Map for Stumphill, near Midleton, Cork

Ireland Griffith’s Valuation 1847-1864, Stumphill, for William M’O’boy

Stumphill, Inchinabacky, near Midleton, Cork , circa 1750

Amazingly Stumphill still exists and is listed on its Historic Homes of Ireland website. It is particularly noted for its fine fan window above the front door.

“Detached U-plan five-bay three-storey house, built c. 1770, having two single-bay two-storey returns with hipped roofs to rear (north) elevation, joined by third floor extension. Hipped tiled roof to main block, hipped slate roof to east return, hipped artificial slate roof to west return. Rendered chimneystacks. Roughcast rendered walls, with smooth render plinth, slate-hung to west elevation. Square-headed window openings throughout, having timber sliding sash windows, nine-over-six pane to ground floor front (south) elevation, three-over-six pane to second floor front elevation, six-over-six pane to rear elevation, eight-over-four pane to east elevation, eight-over-four pane and fifteen-over-ten pane to rear elevation of east return, and bipartite fifteen-over-ten pane to ground floor rear elevation west return. UPVC windows to first floor front elevation and other openings to rear elevation. Elliptical-headed door opening with timber panelled door, spoked fanlight, and leaded sidelights, with limestone step. Multiple-bay two-storey outbuilding to yard to rear of house, having pitched slate roof, rendered walls, square-headed openings and elliptical-headed carriage arch with brick dressings. Three-bay single-storey outbuilding to yard to north-west of house, having pitched slate roof, half-hipped at south end and with corrugated-iron repairs, partly rendered rubble stone walls, square-headed window opening, and elliptical-arched carriage arches with dressed limestone voussoirs and wrought-iron gates. Two-bay single-storey outbuilding to east of north-west yard, with lean-to corrugated-iron roof, rubble stone walls and square-headed openings with timber fittings. Walled garden to north of yard, having single-bay single-storey outbuilding with pitched corrugated sheet roof, rendered rubble stone walls and square-headed openings. Low segmental arch set in west wall of walled garden to accommodate now dried and filled millstream. Wrought-iron pedestrian gates to north and south walls of walled garden. Three-bay single-storey gate lodge to site with recent full-width lean-to extension to rear (east) elevation. Pitched slate roof, rendered chimneystack, rendered walls and square-headed openings with timber battened door and replacement uPVC windows. Rendered entrance walls and square-profile piers with wrought-iron gate.” See link below:

Fan light window, Stumphill, Cork, Ireland

Front Hall, Stumphill, Cork, Ireland

Drawing Room, Stumphill, Cork, Ireland, top, Jerry and Julie Cronin and Geoff and Virginia Rundle, below

Stumphill, Cork, Ireland, September 2016

We made contact with the owners of Stumphill, Jerry and Julie Cronin, by telephone the previous day, and they kindly welcomed Geoff and me into their lovely home, and gave us a tour around the main rooms downstairs.

Everything was original, even the kitchen and hall ways. Jerry told us a wonderful story about Michael McOboy, my 3 x great grandfather, who, had a large family of daughters and only one son, not long after building the house, he apparently had to add a third story to accommodate his large family of daughters. I loved this story and it added so much interest to our visit. It was particularly wonderful to know that Jerry and Julie were so aware of the history of the house and about the McOboys. They gave us the address of other family cousins who visited there in 2005 who lived in Maine, USA. I hope to be able to contact this distant cousin in the near future.

Stumphill, Driveway and Main Gates

Extract from William West’s Cork Directory of 1809/10, a Post Office listing both William and David McOboy from Stumphill, near Midleton, Cork.

I found the birth date for Henry George Wise recorded on the Wise Family Tree as 15 July 1785, and his death date was 23 June 1835. Newspaper death notices, which are reproduced later in this chapter support the Wise Family tree death date. MacCotter wrote in his report that Henry George Wise died about 1836, well before William McOboy Wise’s marriage or migration. Henry George Wise was clearly near death just prior to his daughter Maria’s wedding.

MacCotter Report 2012:

1836/21/71: concerning the will of Henry George Wise,

Henry George Wise, tanner of City of Cork [deceased].

Under this two trustees are appointed, namely, George

Henry Wise and Harman Spratt Wise, to supervise the payment of a

dowry of £1,200 to Maria Wise, [daughter of Henry George] upon her

forthcoming marriage to George James Wise of Monard. [note: first

cousins marrying]. Dowry to be levied from the rents of the lands of

Monard, which had descended to George James Wise from George and

James of 1800 above, and the lands of Rahanisky and Rathpeacon.

[James of 1800 is therefore the eldest son of George above.]

November 28, 1836.

The passage above is helpful in placing members of the Wise family firmly into the tree, as the two appointed trustees are George Henry Wise, brother to the bride, Maria Wise, and Harmer Spratt Wise, a brother to George James Wise, the bridegroom. Information on Wise family addresses are also very valuable information for those of us who may travel to Cork on future holidays and visit these places. It is interesting that this marriage between cousins was important to Henry George Wise, apart from the dowry paid to Maria upon her forthcoming marriage, the marrying of two first cousins was also a way of keeping money and their lands in the Wise family. The most important part of this will is the fact that the lands of Monard had descended to George James Wise from George (his grandfather) to James (his father). MacCotter points out that James is the elder son of George. Irish naming traditions are strictly adhered to in the Wise family, whereby the elder son will always be named after his paternal grandfather, thus taking the family back one more generation, with this knowledge it is therefore a fact that George Wise is the son of James Wise. Following on, the second son is named in honour of his maternal grandfather, in this family that is Harmer Spratt Wise. After this choices are more flexible, so that another son is named after his father, great grandfather, favourite brother of his father or an uncle of his father. As mentioned before a first born daughter will be named after her maternal grandmother, and the second daughter after her paternal grandmother and so on. These Irish naming traditions therefore perpetuate similar names again and again within the Wise family.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Wises from Cork\Death of James Wise of Monard July 20 1833.jpg

Death of James Wise Esq. of Monard, Cork, 20 July 1833, Dublin Weekly, Find My Past

The transcription from the Dublin Weekly announcing the death of James Wise Esq. of Monard, Cork, I found on the Find My Past Website. James being the husband of Martha Spratt, elder son of George Wise. Known in the family as James George Wise, so he is not confused with his paternal grandfather.

Very few baptism records are available from Irish websites, Irish records are scant, and never methodically collected, and is therefore a valuable family record to find. Harmer Spratt is the father of Martha Spratt, who married James George Wise.

Ireland, Select Births and Baptisms 1620-1911:

Name: Harmer Spratt
Gender: Male
Baptism Date: 18 Jan 1749
Baptism Place: Castletownroche, Cork, Ireland
Father’s name: Harmer Spratt
Mother’s name: Cathrine
FHL Film Number: 597159

The Tithe Applotment Books are a vital source for genealogical research for the pre-Famine period, given the loss of the 1821-51 Census records. They were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to determine the amount which occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland (the main Protestant church and the church established by the State until its dis-establishment in 1871).
There is a manuscript book for almost every civil (Church of Ireland) parish in the country giving the names of occupiers of each townland, the amount of land held and the sums to be paid in tithes. Because the tithes were levied on agricultural land, urban areas are not included. Unfortunately, the books provide only the names of heads of family, not other family members.
The books have been digitally imaged, and a database giving surname, forename, county, parish and townland created. All of these fields can be searched, and there is also a browse facility, which allows users to survey entire parishes and townlands.
The population of Ireland was recorded in 1841 as 8.2 million. It would have been somewhat less than this during the 1820s and 1830s, when the Tithe Applotment Books were compiled.
The books for Northern Ireland are in the held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, but there are microfilm copies in the National Archives which can be consulted in our Reading Room.”
National Archives of Ireland

Millions of these records were transcribed by and placed on their website. Earlier I produced a record for Henry Wise for 1833. Below are two more relevant Wise records:

Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837

Name: Mr Jas Wise
County: Cork
Parish: Whitechurch
Townland: Monarde
Year: 1826
Name: G Js Wise
County: Cork
Parish: St Mary’sShandon
Townland: Commons
Year: 1833

James George Wise (1784-1833) was the son of George Wise (1755-1823), he married Martha Spratt (1785-1836) and they had five children, Martha Spratt Wise (1811-), George James Spratt Wise (1812-1865), James Harmer Spratt Wise (1815-1844), Henry Wise (1816-) and Matthew Wise (1820).

George James Spratt Wise (1812-1865) was the son of James George Wise (1784-1833) and Martha Spratt (1875-1836), he married his first cousin Maria Wise (1810-1890), the daughter of Henry George Wise (178501835) and Mary McOboy (1785-1824), on 30 November 1836 at St Mary Shandon Church, Cork, Ireland and they had five children, James George Wise (1836-1884), Henry George Wise (1840-1898), Mary McOboy Wise (1842-1931), Martha Spratt Wise (1846-1913) and Harmer Spratt Wise (1852-1936).

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\Death-of-Harmer-Spratt-Wise-0820312044.png \

Newspaper clipping from the Neaghn Guardian, Wednesday, September 4, 1844, page 3, recording the death of Harmer Spratt Wise, at Cove, on 28 Aug 1844. This notice also reveals that his father, James E (sic) Wise, of Monard has already passed away.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Wises from Cork\George James Wise voter 1836.jpg

Illustration of registered voters taken from an enquiry regarding Fictitious Votes in Ireland

The Spratt Family of Pencil Hill descend from a member of a Somerset family from England. The Reverend Devereux Spratt, acquired estates in the counties of Cork and Wexford, Ireland, in the mid-17th century. The Spratts intermarried with their neighbours the Foott family of Springfort Hall and Carrigacunna Castle on a number of occasions. It was through one of these marriages that the Spratts came to own Pencil Hill. The Spratts were located in the parish of Caherduggan, barony of Fermoy, while Messrs. Spratt, Nagle and others held land in the parish of Brigown, barony of Condons and Clangibbon. In the 1870’s members of the Spratt family of Pencil Hill, Mallow, owned over 850 acres in county Cork between them, while Spratt and Horace owned 860 acres. Harmer Spratt married Martha Foote and it was their grandson George James Spratt Wise who married Maria Wise. The Wises left Ireland in about the mid 1850’s and settled in Avoca, Victoria, Australia, where they continued to name their children, Martha, Harmer, Maria, Devereux and Spratt well into the 20th Century. They are listed in Leask’s book of Early Australian Families under the Wise surname.

Pencil Hill is located at Baltydaniel East, North of Mallow on the N20, turning off at Twopothouse Village

Pencil Hill was built in the 1780s by Harmer Spratt who had married a member of the Foott family. It was known as Monte Video in 1837. The Spratts continued to live in the house until the early 20th century when it was sold to the Perrott family. The Perrotts changed the name of the house to Beechfield and it was still the home of this family at the beginning of the 21st century. I hope it has been protected from demolition, as so many historic homes in Ireland have been razed to the ground, or are in ruins. It pains me to admit that in 1994 Geoff and I visited Ireland for a 10 day holiday, we drove from Shannon to Dublin taking in the glorious views of the Ring of Kerry, staying at Bantry Bay, Waterford, Cork, Wexford and Dublin. I knew I had family from Cork, but that was about it. We probably drove right past Kilnasoolagh Church, in County Clare, on the south bank of the Shannon River, where William McOboy Wise married Ellen Frances Matilda Murray. We did however play golf, and were blessed with magnificent weather, visited many castles, including Blarney Castle where I kissed the Blarney stone twice. Geoff’s camera didn’t work the first time, so I was unceremoniously lowered down over the castle walls a second time by my feet, for a second kiss of the Blarney stone – this might explain a lot! I can remember the views from the large fortified battlement, and incredibly the lands surrounding Blarney castle to the East were those of Rathpeacon, Monard, Kilbarry and Killeens, the very lands where the Wises had lived in around 1800.

“Ballyenahan, located at South Ballyenahan Co Cork, off the N73 between Mallow and Mitchelstown, take right hand turn off at Kildorrerey onto Fermoy Road, so named R512 driving south towards Rockmills.” Guide Book to Cork & Surrounds

A house on the Hyde estate was inhabited by the Welsh, Kearney, Spratt, Greene and Barry families in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Eliza Greene was the occupant at the time of Griffith’s Valuation in about 1851, when the buildings were valued at £18. The Barry Family owned this house until the late 20th century.

Springfort Hall, Mallow

Springfort Hall, Pencil Hill, Cork. Home of the Foote Family, today this magnificent house is a boutique hotel.

Springfort Hall, September 2017, Pencil Hill, Cork, Ireland

Once I discovered this lovely old home had been converted from a family home into a boutique hotel I was determined to visit and stay. Geoff and I were thrilled to not only be put into the master bedroom upstairs but thrilled later we were the only guests having dinner in the dining room that evening. When we first arrived, I was a bit confused about the layout of the house from the photo I had found from the Guide Book, however after walking around the grounds I was soon to discover that this house had two lovely facades and despite a remodeling of a previous doorway, the house was fairly well untouched by further development.

Springfort Hall, front driveway, Pencil Hill, Cork, Ireland, September 2016

Springfort Hall, Pencil Hill, Cork, Ireland, former home of the Spratt family

Dining Room, Springfort Hall, Pencil Hill, Cork, Ireland

Geoff and I were the only guests that September evening in 2016 and we were seated at the lovely window giving a view of the gardens and driveway. We had a most memorable dinner that evening.

Drawing Room, Springfort Hall, Pencil Hill, Cork, Ireland

Kerry Evening Post, 30 November 1836

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Wises from Cork\George James Wise aged 40 Debtors Prison 13 Oct 1857.jpg

Ireland, Prison Registers 1790-1924 Original image courtesy of Find My Past, transcription below:

Name: George James Wise
Role of Individual: Prisoner
Event Type: Prison
Event Date: 1852
Event Place: Cork County, Cork, Ireland
Age: 40
Birth Year (Estimated): 1812
Prison: Cork County
Offense: Debtor
Item Number: 4
Book Number: 1/8/5
County: Cork

GS Film number: 2356519 , Digital Folder Number: 004492626 , Image Number: 00873

Family Search Website

The record is quite distressing, as it is clearly a prison record for George James Wise. It shows for the first time what a shocking time the Wises must have had in Cork around the time of the potato famine. The crisis affected people across all walks of life. George and his family must have migrated to Australia and settled in Avoca shortly after his release. The Diggers Index for George James Spratt Wise in Avoca is brief, in complete contrast to his brother-in-law William McOboy Wise, whose profile is possibly the largest on the ADHS database. George died on 12 February 1865, after living a quiet existence in Avoca, and I worry that he was a broken man, having lost his inheritance in Ireland. It is such a sad event, and as such it does tie in with another story related to me by John Lee, a direct descendant of George Henry Wise, a brother-in-law to George. Passed down to John by his grandmother, was a story about the Three Wise Men from Cork who settled in Avoca, the men were described as “Poor man, rich man and farmer man”. Down the generations, it became unclear as to who was who. However, John Lee challenged himself to work it out, “Poor man” was George James Wise, “Rich man” was George Henry Wise, and “Farmer man” was William McOboy Wise. I too thought for a while that William may have been “Poor man”, but William was known as a farm manager in both Ireland and Australia.

With the information from the MacCotter Report, I decided to pay a visit to the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) in Kent Street, Sydney to search for more records. I had joined their society in 2011, and at the beginning of 2012 applied and was accepted into their two-year Certificate Course in Genealogy – maybe I was taking on too much at the time, however it was a helpful course in making sure I was on the right track with all my family research. The SAG Library has access to several UK online record sources, including Find My Past. In no time, I had keyed in Henry George Wise and his date of death, and came up with two interesting records confirming this 1836 date, which I previously knew from other sources.

As I opened this record on the SAG Library computer, another researcher commented that not everyone is entitled to Esq. after their name, and this relative of mine was an important man of Cork. He explained that only those from the upper classes were entitled to Esquire after their names. He was impressed with my connections, but I was just a bit disappointed there was no other information provided, such as a cemetery or home address. My parents visited Ireland in 1970 and my father, due to misinformation from his grandfather’s obituary, was searching Waterford Cemeteries. I can remember him mentioning how he and mum combed Ballybricken Cemetery and found lots of Wise graves. However, I don’t really think he knew exactly which Wises to look for!

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Henry George Wise of St Mary's Shandon, Cork\IRE_TCA_BOX_2_LC_1835_JUN-JUL_00000001_00000025.jpg

Death Notice for Henry G. Wise Esq. of Cork, Find My Past

The next document is a newspaper transcription from The Cork Constitution, and proved to be a little more informative. The date of death compares identically with the date of Henry George Wises death on the Wise family tree. The other piece of information about the Wises is that his address was given as Cork City, and for the first time I know that our more recent ancestors were definitely from Cork, and not from Waterford. Every other entry on the page had information for their family and my Wises provided so little, no written material to give me an image of their life.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Henry George Wise of St Mary's Shandon, Cork\IRE_TCA_BOX_8_CC_1835_JAN-AUG_00000001_00000026.jpg

Newspaper transcription from the Cork Constitution for Henry G Wise of Cork 1835, Find My Past

George Henry Wise (1813-1875) was the son of Henry George Wise (1785-1835) and Mary McOboy (1785-1824), he married Elizabeth Humphries (1823-1893) on 16 July 1842 at St Finn Barrs Church, Cork and they had twelve children, Henry George Wise (1843-1926), Catherine Wise (1845-1888), William Wise (1847-1876), James Wise (1848-1924), Thomas Walter Wise (1850-1922), Marie Wise (1852-1945), George Wise (1854-1922), John Wise (1856-1938), Walter Wise (1858-1896), Elizabeth Wise (1860-), Francis Laurence Wise (1863-1865) and Alfred Wise (1866-1868).

Irish Examiner, 20 July 1842

As I mentioned in my chapter, The Wise Family of Avoca, I collaborated with John Lee, whose ancestor is George Henry

Wise, William McOboy Wise’s elder brother, both sons of Henry George Wise. I had never heard of George Henry Wise until I started on As I collected and sorted the huge amount of Wise records, I placed George Henry Wise and his large family of descendants into my ancestry tree, knowing that good practice in genealogy is to record as many of the extended family as possible. It was shortly after I placed Henry George Wise into my tree that I was able to see John Lee’s tree on ancestry and could see that he was a Wise cousin. John told me about his interest in trying to find a link to the Whiskey Wises of Cork, and in that endeavour he and I worked away at our family trees, sharing our records and information. Stephen Dalton, who I mentioned earlier, also found John Lee’s Wise Family Tree on ancestry and messaged him. John then informed Stephen about me and he gave my email to Stephen, and from there we collaborated as a trio. I had remembered the name Stephen Dalton from an Ancestry notice board, where he named his topic North Mall Distillery, Cork, and I had found it most interesting. I had kept the link, copied the information to my Wise folder on my lap top, patiently waiting for the day that I would be able to connect more of the pieces in this complex Wise jig saw puzzle.

The email correspondence between the three of us happened at exactly the same time that Lavinia and I were awaiting the MacCotter Report, and when I received the report I then copied it to them both. I am sure it has been a most valuable document for their Irish research into the Wises. The greatest difficulty for all of us, including MacCotter, was that the Wises were a very large and intermarrying family, who had been living in Cork for many generations. The interwoven link between the Wise families was one where a wide network of first and second cousins were recognised, and their family relationships were linked inexorably by their trades and professions. From the help provided by the MacCotter Report, which was limited by the hours that I commissioned, he confirmed that the Wises were tanners going back to early 1700, and were most definitely ancestors of our direct family. Stephen Dalton, John Lee and I still felt that there had to be a family link to the North Mall Distillers, even if it was distant cousins which linked back a few generations to Francis Wise. MacCotter agreed that Francis was a strong familial name in our family. When you consider that the Christian names of the three main whisky distillers were Francis, Thomas and James, we had to differ with MacCotter’s conclusion that there was no family link, adopting the strong family belief that there was a relationship, though probably through second cousins.

Here is the link and extracts from the Dalton “chatter” on


Hi Everyone

I am trying to find out some information on the Wise family who ran the North Mall Distillery in Cork until about 1867. Francis Wise had a house in North Mall (number 8) next to the distillery. The hill that ran alongside the house is known as Wise’s Hill so the family must have been fairly well connected in the area.

I have reason to believe that my great-great-great grandmother Julia Wise was part of this family. She married Francis Adams and they had my great-great grandmother Ellen Wise Adams. When Ellen married it said that she was from North Mall and it looks as if she was living with an Adams relative Ann Adams, who lived three doors down from Francis Wise.

Any background that anyone can give me about the North Mall Distillery and any of the above mentioned people would be appreciated and greatly help my research.

Stephen D’Alton 26 October 2006

Hello Stephen,

I found information about Francis and Thomas Wise residing in the North Mall in an Irish property tax record known as Griffiths Valuation. Griffiths Valuation was enumerated in all 32 counties of Ireland between 1847 and 1864, with the valuation for County Cork taking place between 1851 and 1853.

Griffiths Valuation names the occupiers or heads of household and the people who owned or leased property to the occupiers. Family members of occupiers are not generally mentioned in Griffiths Valuation, except in agnomens, such as junior or senior for example, or unless more than one person is listed as the occupier of the property.

Griffiths Valuation actually lists Thomas Wise at number 8 North Mall, leasing a house, outbuildings, yard and small garden from the Earl of Cork and Orrery.

Thomas is also listed again, along with Francis at number 1 and number 2 North Mall. The location at number 1 North Mall shows that Thomas and Francis had leased stores and yards from the Earl of Cork and Orrery, while at the number 2 North Mall location, they had leased a house, outbuildings, and yard, also from the earl. It is possible that Thomas had lived at 8 North Mall and Francis at 2 North Mall, though that is not clear in the record.

Griffiths Valuation also shows that the distillery, strictly speaking, was on a different, but an adjoining street to North Mall, called

Wise’s Quay. This indicates the distillery was near a water source, such as the River Lee. The description of the leasehold at Wise’s Quay from Griffiths is “Distillery, malt mill, & yards.” This property too, was leased from the Earl of Cork and Orrery.

But, the Griffiths record for Wise’s Quay also shows that Thomas and Francis Wise had leased property to other individuals. These individuals include John Kelly and William Cooke, Richard O’Neill, and Daniel Clifford. All are shown to have leased a house, outbuildings, and yard from Thomas and Francis Wise. Though, it is possible that Thomas and Francis were acting as agents for the Earl in the leasehold transactions for these three properties.

If you would like, I can send you the Griffiths Valuation page for Thomas and Francis as an attachment, if you send your email address.

The section of Cork City where the North Mall and Wise’s Quay were located was the civil parish of St. Mary’s Shandon.

If your Wise ancestors had lived in the civil parish St. Mary’s Shandon, Cork, for any appreciable amount of time, there could be records of baptism, marriage, and death for them in the church parish registers of their religious denomination.

A book by Brian Mitchell called “A Guide To Irish Parish Registers” shows that the St. Mary’s Shandon Church of Ireland has registers that go back to 1671, while the Catholic Church, known as St. Peter’s & St. Paul’s, has registers which commence in the year 1766.

Please let me know which religious denomination the Wise family belonged to and I’ll send information about how you may be able to obtain parish register transcripts of baptism, marriage, and death for them for their religious affiliation.

Church registers may be able to tell you the names of the parents of Francis (I’m not sure if Thomas was his father, brother, or uncle), and may also list the names of any siblings Francis had. And because the Church of Ireland and Catholic parish registers go back to the 18th century, there may be a great deal of information about the Wise’s if they had lived in the St. Mary’s Shandon civil parish for several generations.

Concerning the distillery itself, have you written or sent an email to the Cork County Library to see if there is any information available that they can send to you? The website for the library can be found at:

Best Wishes
Dave Boylan, 29 Oct 2006

Hi Dave

Thank you ever so much for your interesting and very helpful posting. I would love to have the page on Francis and Thomas Wise from the Griffiths Valuation, and indeed anything else that you may think interesting.

I know that Thomas and Francis also had some connection to Sunday’s Well Road Cork where I believe they both died. I think that Thomas Wise was an uncle of Francis. The distillery was originally run by William and Thomas Wise (I think that William was Francis’ father).

I am particularly interested in the Wise family as my great-great grandmother was Ellen Wise Adams. Her mother was a Wise – (Ann?) Julia Wise and she was married to Francis Adams. Now I know that when my great-great grandmother Ellen married in 1865 it said that she was from North Mall. When her brother married in 1869 it also said that he was from North Mall. But the only Adams that I could find in North Mall during that time was Mrs Anne Adams who lived at no.11, while Francis Wise lived at no.8 (taken from Henry & Coughlan’s Cork Directory 1867). I think that Mrs Anne Adams may have been the Julia Wise who was married to Francis Adams as I believe that he died in 1847 (yet to prove this). I also think that she may have been the sister of Francis Wise. There is also an Ann Adams that appears in the Griffiths – I think – but perhaps you could check that for me. I’m not sure of their religion but I think that they may have been Church of Ireland.

Once again thanks for all the information. It has really proved helpful.

Regards Stephen 30 Oct 2006

Hi Stephen,

My Great Great Grandmother was Margaret Mary Frances Wise, born about 1864. Her family produced Wise’s Cork old pot still whisky. The story passed down through the generations is that she fell in love with the Groomsman, Michael Murphy and they ran away to England together. I have found their marriage certificate which shows they were married on 19th December 1882 at the register office in Bristol. Her father’s name is listed as Francis Wise but it is noted that he is deceased at the time of the marriage. Francis Wise’s profession is listed as a Land Proprietor.

Margaret and Michael had two children Mary and Francis. Francis being my Great Grandfather. He was born on 28th February 1888 in Islington. On Francis’ birth certificate it notes that Margaret has died by the time Francis’ birth is registered so she must have died between 28th Feb 1888 and 3rd April 1888, I am presuming she died during childbirth. I would be very interested if anyone has any further information regarding Margaret Many Frances Wise, especially as to where she fits in with the North Mall Wise’s family tree and of her parents and siblings etc.

Many Thanks Nicola 15 Nov 2006

Hi Nicola,
This is really interesting. I will digest it and get back to you with what I know about this family.
What I can tell you is that Francis Wise was indeed dead by the time Margaret married in 1882. In fact he died at his home Buxton House in Sunday’s Well, Cork on the 29th of December 1881. At the time of his death he was a very wealthy man and owned several properties in Cork and Kerry counties.
I’m not exactly sure how all the family are linked but it seems to me that the Wise family was a prominent business family in Cork for several years. You may have already seen a picture of the home that Francis Wise had in North Mall (number 8) and it….
I hope that you find this interesting and I will certainly let you know of anything else that I have.
Regards Stephen 16 Nov 2006

PS It is quite likely that this is where Margaret was born (as he was living here at least until 1867).

From this information provided by Stephen Dalton and others, I could see that they were researching similar relatives to ours. I had a strong suspicion that Francis George Wise was their ancestor, and had a pretty good hunch that he was a brother to Henry George Wise, and the very one that Leask had written about, stating, “Frank Wise, of whom nothing is known”, understandably so, because his descendants did not migrate to Australia. See Leask’s entry I chapter, The Wise Family of Avoca. As I mentioned earlier, I had placed some of the information from the roots web chat line into my Rundle Family Tree, taking the decision to include Stephen’s family as descendants of Francis George Wise, brother of Henry George Wise. I had earlier added George as their father to these five Wise brothers, taking a punt on his Christian name, and this way it allowed me to group the five sons together in a descendant chart on while awaiting the MacCotter Report. I also added the family of Nicola, who was descended from Mary Wise, the youngest daughter of Francis George Wise and his wife Helen “Ella” Hornibrook. I believe that John Lee must have copied some of this tree, as he knew my endeavours to take the Wise family and place them back in Cork. This must have been how Stephen Dalton found John Lee’s tree on, and as previously mentioned we started the family history collaboration. Stephen sent me his extended family tree, and a lot of other information that was corroborated by the MacCotter Report, and other material that I had already collected. Like me, he had also gone online and found an Irish website of Old Irish Newspapers, which was a wonderful source of other intriguing information about our Wises.

On one other point Stephen D’Alton disagreed with the MacCotter Report. He was convinced from the family tree that MacCotter had provided, that George Wise’s elder brother was James, and not as MacCotter had concluded, his father. Stephen and I both found a contested will written by James Wise, involving his two surviving sons, Thomas James Wise (AKA Thomas Wise JNR) and John Wise. I believe that the record MacCotter referred to earlier does belong to Thomas Wise Jnr who married Jane Wise, another instance of cousins marrying within the Wise family. Thomas James Wise who was sometimes referred to as Thomas Wise Jnr., was named after his grandfather, Thomas Wise. James Wise is listed in Lucas’ 1787 Cork Directory:

James Wise, Victualler, Old Market Place, as listed in Lucas’ Cork Directory of 1787

Due to the inability to be secure any birthdates in George Wise’s family, Stephen D’Alton put forward the theory that James Wise of Blarney Street was most probably a brother to George Wise, also of Blarney Street, accepting Stephen’s conclusion as generationally some of the dates were erroneous on MacCotter’s Wise Family Tree. I was coming to the conclusion that George Wise, James Wise and Thomas Wise may have been brothers, but this got me no closer to finding who was their father.

I was perplexed, and threw in the towel, and I took six months off my research for a much-needed break. Resuming after this break, I took out all other lines but our direct line, and I had to agree with MacCotter that George Wise’s brother must be Thomas Wise. It was possible that George Wise also had a brother named James Wise.

Thomas Wise’s eldest son was named Francis Wise, therefore Irish naming traditions meant his father or his grandfather may have been Francis Wise and in all probability he was the Francis Wise of 1716, named in the MacCotter Report. It was becoming clear that this line was important with regard to my Wise lineage, especially after I studied the Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork 1690-1800.

I searched the Cork online archives and found listed “The Council Book of Corporation of the City of Cork 1690-1800”. I was able to not only download the entire book but I was able to capture the pages where our Wise family were mentioned and to my great excitement I was able to find the listing for the first Wise mentioned in the book, Francis Wise, a butcher be admitted as a merchant 22 September 1716, which supported the findings of the MacCotter Report. The importance of this merchant book was that it stated a Wise line of four generations, a line of Wise sons who inherited by right as the eldest son, their inclusion into the Council Book of Corporation. A line passed from father to son from Francis Wise to Thomas Wise to Francis Wise to Thomas Wise, in turn his son Francis Wise was the millionaire Wise Whiskey distiller.


Chart for Francis Wise of North Mall, Cork, Ireland, Wise Whiskey Distiller

Stephen Dalton and I agreed that it was most probable that George Wise’s father was Thomas, son of Francis Wise, corroborating the listing of merchants over four generations.

Thomas Wise (-1766) the son of Francis Wise (1695-1760), married Ellinor (-1773) and they had nine children, Francis Wise (1745-1823), Thomas Wise (1746-), James Wise (1747-1807), Henry Wise (1748-1773), Mary Wise (1750-), Margaret Wise (1751-), Edward Wise (1752-), George Wise (1753-1823) and John Wise (1755-1796)

Ireland Indexes to Wills 1548-1800 for Thomas Wise 1766

The next few illustrations show the merchant admittance records which support these conclusions.

The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork, 1609-1800

Unfortunately records from 1743 to 1690 are missing and probably contained a large list of our Wise merchants.

The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork, 1609-1800

“That Francis Wise, butcher, having served Jas. Waugh, a freeman, be admitted free on his petition,” 22 September 1716

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\George Wise Tanner of Cork\Council Book of Corporation of the City of Cork Butchers Thomas and Francis Wise 18 Apr 1743.jpg

The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork, 1609-1800

“Thomas Wise, butcher, eldest son of Francis Wise dec.” 18 April 1743

This seemingly convoluted Wise family tree explanation I wrote about a few pages back, together with the record, “Thomas Wise, butcher, eldest son of Francis Wise” shows that Thomas’ eldest son Francis, was the father of the three founders of Wise’s Whiskey Distillery, namely William, Francis and Thomas Wise.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\George Wise Tanner of Cork\councilbookofcork Francis Wise be admitted free 30 Jul 1766.jpg

The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork, 1609-1800

Francis Wise, tanner, eldest son of Thomas Wise, butcher, dec., be admitted free,” 7 August, 1766

These pages from The Council Book of the Corporation of Cork, are, without the help of Baptism records, the best source I can find to secure our Wises into their correct place in the family tree.

George Wise named one of his younger sons Francis because George’s grandfather was Francis Wise. The connection is there, we just have to fix the puzzle pieces together. This information from the Council Book of Corporation was supported by MacCotter. “Going back further, note the prominence of the name Francis among this Wise tanning and butchering family as far back as 1716, and the fact that this occurs in your family”, MacCotter Report, 2012.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\George Wise Tanner of Cork\councilbookofcork Thomas Wise be admitted free 23 Feb 1790.jpg

The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork, 1609-1800

Thomas Wise, tanner, having served Francis Wise” 23 February 1790

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Tanners of Cork and Directories\Council Book of Corporation of City of Cork William Wise eldet son of Thomas Wise 23 April 1790.jpg

The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork, 1609-1800

William Wise, eldest son of Francis Wise, tanner” 23 April 1790

The difference between elder, as one of only two sons, to eldest, meaning more than two sons in a family. I have no birth records, and can only assume that William was named after his mother’s father, and as such is the elder surviving son, and a second son in this family. The eldest son, named Thomas, may have died young. Alternatively, William was named in honour of a close family member who had recently passed away, explaining a varying in Irish naming traditions, as per The MacCotter Report.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Tanners of Cork and Directories\James Wise tanner, 12 April 1791 be admitted free.jpg

The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork, 1609-1800

“James Wise, tanner, … freemen at large”, 12 April 1791

James Wise was a son of Francis Wise, but he could just as easily have been his grandson James, son of James, who was a tanner of Blarney Street and had an entry in the New Cork Directory of 1795, listed together with George and Francis Wise.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\MacCotter-doc-for--Rundle-Chrystal---Wise-Pedigree-needs-to-be-turned.png

MacCotter Report – Wise Family Tree

The overwhelming fact about the descendants of George Wise is that they are traditionally named Francis, James and Thomas. The conclusion that George and James Wise were brothers was incredible and supporting facts which helped me place our family into the tanning family business of Blarney Street, Cork and I was very happy to accept his advice and thankful for his careful, considered and conservative report.

Thomas James Wise of Mount Desert and his son James, both voted for Callaghan, a tanner listed in the Cork Corporation Book, in the voting records shown earlier, and as such I suspect this is another indicator that they are close family. Looking back at the vote now, the Whisky Wises, voted for Hutchinson. I believe that the Tanners of Cork would probably have shown allegiance by voting for one of their own merchants.

The next step our Wise family history has without doubt solved so many riddles and has firmly placed George Wise into his correct family. Catherine FitzMaurice, a Wise descendant of Francis Wise down through to Thomas Wise and the Gubbins family, very kindly contacted me after reading my Wise Merchants of Cork chapter on my website with the exciting news that she had found a Betham Extract of a will for Ellinor Wise listing eight of her surviving children.

Betham Extract from the will of Ellinor Wise of Cork, died 17 May 1773, image courtesy of Catherine FitzMaurice

The significance of this extract is the listing of Ellinor Wise’s children as Francis, Thomas, James, Mary, Margaret, Edward, George and John Wise. It was exciting to see George Wise in this list, however, it was the listing of daughter Mary Crofts the wife of Thomas Crofts that cemented this Betham extract to my George Wise family from Cork. This was the last piece of the puzzle that remained to complete my Wise family tree and to firmly place our family in Cork as one that related closely to the Whiskey Wise descendants.

Thomas Crofts inclusion in the Betham document linked directly to another Wise document that was lodged with the Dublin Registry of Deeds, regarding Henry Wise, a brother of George Wise, who had died on 15 January 1773, aged 27. It was in regard to Henry’s widow, Ann Wise nee Phipps and her remarriage to Joseph McClure.

“Died Yesterday in North Gate, Henry Wise, tallow chandler.” 16 Jan 1773 Hibernian Chronicle, transcribed by Rosemary Ffolliot

Irish Records Extraction Database, available from

Name: Henry Wise
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1767
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Ann Phipps
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.
Name: Joseph McClure
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1779
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Ann Wise
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.
Name: Thomas Crofts
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1769
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Mary Wise
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.

Memorial Deed of Registry of Ireland, No 219621 between Joseph McClure and Anne Wise, 26 April 1779

This is a marriage deed between Joseph McClure and Anne Wise, the widow of Henry Wise, dated 26 April 1799. I think it is probable that Henry Wise was a brother to my 4 x Great grandfather George Wise (1755-1823). Henry Wise died on 15 January 1773 and his widow Anne decided to remarry in April 1779. In support of this finding I have included the marriage records between Henry Wise and Ann (sic) Phipps of 1767, the marriage of Ann (sic) Wise and Joseph McClure 1779. I also found and included the marriage of Thomas Crofts and Mary Wise of 1769. The document also names George Phipps, who appears to support the marriage document and is presumably Ann’s father or brother.

There is just so much information in this document including several familial Wise names which helped to confirm that this Deed definitely concerns our ancestors. The inclusion of William McOboy (1750-1798) as one of the witnesses, together with Thomas Crofts is very substantial and heartening information. The mention of Francis Wise and James Wise, brothers to Henry, is most interesting and gives support to the will document of their mother Ellinor Wise.

After purchasing a copy of the original from the Dublin Registry, my sister Lavinia Chrystal and I transcribed this document in 2016 and I am including it here in this history as these Memorial Deeds are difficult to read.

Marriage Deed of Ann Wise and Joseph McClure 320-455-219621


A MEMORIAL of indented articles of agreement indented made and concluded upon the third day of April one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine, made Between Joseph McClure of the City of Corke, Merchant of the first part, Ann Wise widow and Administratrix of Henry Wise late of said City Chandler, of the second part Francis Wise of said city, Tanner and Roger Langby of the same city, Butter Merchant of the third part and Thomas Crofts and William McOboy of the said city, Chandlers of the fourth part. Reciting that a marriage was to be held and solomnised between the said Joseph McClure and Ann Wise by which said Article of Agreement it was covenanted and agreed upon that if the said intended marriage should take effect and if the said Ann Wise should happen to survive the said Joseph McClure her then intended husband in such case the said Francis Wise and Roger Langley and the survivor of them on the executors or administrators of such survivor should stand seized and possessed of the full and entire sum of twelve hundred pounds to be charged and chargeable upon all and singular the real or personal estate whereof the said Joseph McClure might or should dye seized or possessed of or in any manner entitled unto and which demand of twelve hundred pounds should be in preference and take place of all debts and encumbrances of the said Joseph McClure so far and upon the Several Interests Trusts and purposes in the said recited Articles of Agreement particularly mentioned and expressed and none other .: and it was covenanted conducted and agreed upon by and between the parties aforesaid. That in leave the said Joseph McClure should thereafter become bankrupt and that any commission of bankrupt should be awarded against him. That then and in such case the said Francis Wise and Roger Langby or the survivor of them or the Exc /trix xxxxx should stand seized and possessed of the sum of six hundred pounds AC to be charged and chargeable upon all such real and personal estate whereof the said Joseph McClure should be then possessed or entitled unto in preference and prior to any debt or encumbrance of the said Joseph McClure In trust for the sole and separate use of the said Ann Wise as a provision or maintenance and which said articles of agreement is witnessed by George Phipps of the City of Corke Esq. and James Wise of the same city, Tanner and this memorial is also witnessed by the said James Wise and Thomas Connor of the same city, writing clerk. Francis Wise (Signature) (and two other unclear signatures)

James Wise and Thos. Connor (Signatures) Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of Justices Jhn Travers and Wllm Butler (Signatures)

The above named James Wise came this day before me and made oath on the holy evangelists that he was present and saw the above named Joseph McClure Ann Wise Francis Wise Roger Langby Thomas Crofts and William McOboy duly sign seal and execute the articles of agreement of which the above writing and memorial and that he was present and saw the said Francis Wise duly sign and seal the above Memorial and that this deponent is a subscribing witness to said articles of agreement and to this Memorial Respectively.

James Wise (signature) sworn before me at the City of Corke this twenty sixth day of April 1779 by virtue of a commission forth of his Majesty’s Court of Exchequer in Ireland to me directed and I know the deponent. Bevy. Hayes (signature) Seal of GR – crown in center.

Pedigree Chart for Mary Crofts (1803-1846)

Mary Crofts married John Garde on 19 April 1834 at the Foundling Church in Cork and they had two children Capt. John Thomas C. Garde and Margaret Ellen Garde (1838-1918)

Marriage of John Garde of Midleton to Mary, daughter of the late Mr Thomas Crofts, 19 April 1834, Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier. Image courtesy of Jeff Burgher

In 2019, quite out of the blue I received an email from Jeff Burgher to say that he had a DNA Match cousin match with me through connecting our families through the McOboy family of Stumphill, Cork with his ancestor Margaret McOboy and my ancestor Mary McOboy, who were both the daughters of William McOboy and Mary Corban.

Of even greater interest was the fact that we had a double DNA cousin match due to the fact that Margaret McOboy married Thomas Crofts, who was the son of Thomas Crofts and Mary Wise. Mary Wise being the daughter of Thomas and Ellinor Wise, mentioned in not only the Betham will extract but also her husband Thomas Crofts was mentioned in the marriage Deed of Ann Wise and Joseph McClure. I have included the Pedigree Chart for Mary Crofts which shows this connection probably better than I can explain it.

Jeff Burgher and I collaborated on many of the connecting Wise and McOboy families, working out how they all fitted in to the Wise merchants of Cork. We also spent a good deal of time double checking our facts and details to make sure our trees reflected our new and exciting connections. I can remember the email trail with Jeff resulted in my explaining how to go behind the scenes of the Family Search website to uncover the Memorial Deeds of Ireland. It was wonderful to hear back, after Jeff found the Marriage Settlement Deed for Thomas Crofts and Margaret McOboy, which he has most kindly shared with me after he transcribed it from the original difficult to read old fashioned handwriting.

Marriage Settlement Deed for Thomas Crofts and Margaret McOboy 1800, courtesy of Jeff Burgher

Another man named in the deed Wise McClure document was William McOboy, confirming my relationship between the McOboy and Wise merchant families of Cork, well before my 3 x great grandparents, Henry George Wise (1785-1835) married Mary McOboy on 8 April 1809. Henry George Wise being the son of George Wise and Mary McOboy being the daughter of William McOboy. Other men mentioned in the deed are Roger Langley and Thomas Conner. Roger Langley was the father in law of Francis Wise, also mentioned in this document. Frances Wise married Mary Langley, who had previously been married to Robert Long.

A wonderful collaboration with Catherine FitzMaurice helped pieced together these Wise relationships as well as finding and sharing supporting documents, records and newspaper extracts. Catherine comes down from this line of Francis Wise and Mary Langley, with their two fathers mentioned in the Wise/McClure Register of Deeds Document. It was her helpful sharing of the Betham Extract and her determination to work out the relationship of these Wise men that led to establishing that we all came down a line from Ellinor Wise who was the wife of Thomas Wise, butcher and Merchant of Cork.

Freeman’s Journal, 12 June 1764

Irish Records Extraction Database:

Name: Francis Wise
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1764
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Mary Long
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.

Pedigree Chart for Maria Wise (1798-1841) married Joseph Gubbins (1791-1850) on 24 February in Cork City and they had twelve children, Anne Georgina Thomasina Gubbins (1819-1906), Alice Harriet Gubbins (1822-1896), Emily Gubbins (1826-1905), Joseph Gubbins (1829-1895), Thomas Wise Gubbins (1830-1904), Henrietta Gubbins (1832-1911), Stamer Gubbins (1833-1879), George Stamer Gubbins (1836-1921), John Russell Gubbins (1838-1906), Maria Victoria Josephine Gubbins (-1896) and Caroline Gubbins (-1842).

Southern Reporter, 25 Feb 1819, “This morning at St Peter’s Church, by the Rev. Archdeacon Thompson, Joseph Gubbins Esq. of Kilrush, Limerick to Maria eldest dau of Thomas Wise of this city” Rosemany Ffolliot newspaper extract.

Francis Wise (1797-1881), the famous Wise Whiskey Distiller, was a brother to Maria Gubbins nee Wise. Francis Wise was also the donor of one of the spires of St Finn Barre Cathedral in Cork, however, he died without marrying, thus his will listed three nephews as his beneficiaries, namely Francis Wise Low, as well as two of Joseph and Maria Gubbins’ children, Thomas Wise Gubbins and John Gubbins.

Maria Gubbins nee Wise’s father was Thomas Wise (1768-1852) who was one of the four sons of Francis Wise and Mary Langley and he was a co-founder of Wise’s North Mall Whiskey Distillery, together with his brothers Francis Wise (1766-1842) and William Wise (1768-1838).

Francis Wise (1766-1842) married Martha Smithwick. William Wise marrying Elizabeth Austen and secondly Charlotte Perrier. Another brother Henry Blakeney Wise (1780-1855) remained a tanner in Blarney Street, continuing the Wise interest in cattle breeding, and bringing the cattle to market at Blarney Lane, working with George Wise and his son Henry George Wise.

Thomas Wise is regarded as the senior founder of Wise’s Whiskey, his two brothers Francis and William are generally thought to have taken lesser roles in the development of the business. Francis Wise lived at Anngrove in Cork with his wife Martha, but it would appear they had no children and when Francis Wise died in 1842, he left his estate to his nephew and namesake Francis Wise (1797-1881), the son of Thomas and Ann Wise, including his house at Anngrove, where he is listed as a resident at the time of Griffith’s Valuation in 1850, at which time the house was valued at £30 and held from Sir William Clarke. The house was later inherited by the Gubbins family but sadly demolished after 1950.

Some researchers and genealogists incorrectly claim that Francis Wise (1797-1881), the famously wealthy Wise Whiskey Distiller, was the son of Thomas Wise and Alicia Cuthbert, however the date of their marriage excludes this, with the marriage of Thomas Wise and Ann Wise in 1797 making them the more acceptable parents for Francis Wise.

Below are listed Thomas Wise’s two marriages, firstly to his cousin Ann Wise and secondly to Alicia Cuthbert.

Irish Records Extraction Database:

Name: Thomas Wise
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1797
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Ann Wise
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.
Name: Thomas Wise
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1810
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Alicia Cuthbert
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971.

Francis Wise house

At the junction of North Mall and Wise’s Hill was the residence of the distiller Francis Wise (1797-1881), after whose family the hill is named. It is part of a collection of photographs from Cork, Past and Present.

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Geelong Advertiser, Victoria, Australia, 6 March 1882

It was amazing to find this record in Trove Digitised Newspapers (Australian National Library’s online newspaper website) reporting Irish news. Francis Wise, Distiller, was born in 1798 and died intestate, on 30 December 1881, aged 84 years, without marrying, beneficiaries were named as Francis Wise Low, Thomas Wise Gubbins and John Gubbins. Two sisters of Francis Wise pre-deceased him, namely Maria and Ann Wise. Maria Wise (1800-1880) married Joseph Gubbins and Ann Wise (1803-1870) married John Low. A little known fact was that there was another sister Alicia Curtis nee Wise who migrated to South Africa with her husband and family and whilst I do not know the outcome, solicitors on her behalf did investigate an inheritance for her.

Clipping from a South African Newspaper, courtesy of Stephen D’Alton

The passage below is most helpful. It is from Stephen D’Alton’s chapter on the Wise family entitled Tales of the Wise and the Unwise:

It was in the tanning and distilling trades, in particular, that the Wises really prospered. Tanners were prominent on the north side of the city where cattle processing was a major industry. Here they processed animal skin or hides, turning them into leather. William West’s 1810 Cork Directory lists Francis G., Ellen’s grandfather (I include the initial to avoid confusion with Francis Wise, the distiller) and George Wise trading in partnership as tanners in Blarney Lane in the Old Market area of Cork City, North West of the city centre and near to the North Mall, location of the North Mall distillery run at the time by William and Thomas Wise. At the beginning of the 1820’s there were several Wises (including Francis G.) running tanning operations in Cattle Market Street. By the middle of that decade Francis G. was partnering Henry Wise, probably a brother or close relative, at premises in Cattle Market Street not far from Blarney Lane. Thomas James Wise, tanner and businessman as well as a cousin, was trading at the Old Market Place. His operation had grown to two tan yards by 1845, one at 6 Maylor Street and the other at 17 Cattle Market Street. Tanning had made Thomas James Wise a very wealthy man and he was able to pass over a successful business to his son Edward in the years that followed. Henry Blakeney Wise, cousin of Thomas James Wise, and brother of William and Thomas Wise of the North Mall distillery, was another of the Wise’s who traded along Cattle Market Street possibly even in partnership with Francis G. Wise.”

Francis George Wise (1786-1839) was the son of George Wise (1755-1823), he married Helen Hornibrook (1790-1893) on 20 July 1812 in Cork, Ireland and they had six children, Catherine Wise (1810-1893), Anne Julia Wise (1813-), George Francis Wise (1816-1879), Francis Wise (1817), Thomas Francis Wise (1819-) and Mary Wise (1820-)

John Lee had previously written up his family tree called The Phoenix Rises concentrating on Avoca. He kindly posted me a copy of this history back in 2011, which I very nearly threw out, as he popped it in a stockbroker’s envelope that I mistook for junk mail! It was several months before I opened it, during one of my recycling purges.

He has since written up another chapter of his family history, linking the Wises back to Ireland, called Our Irish Heritage. John Lee has done great work on the geography of the Wises homes, and he clarifies that “Mount Desert House was situated at the top of what is now known as Wise’s Hill, about 2 miles from North Mall, this country house and the surrounding land was the home of Thomas James Wise, son of James Wise who died in 1807” and also that “Killeens House was situated near Blarney Castle and this was the home of George (Henry) Wise, and is now operated as a private hotel”. At the same time Stephen Dalton, a direct descendant of Francis George Wise, was also writing up his family history from Cork, Tales of the Wise and Unwise. I was determined to keep writing my own Wise family history, Wise Merchants of Cork, using my own research as a journey of discovery, with supporting family trees, letters and stories, newspaper clippings, directory entries, genealogy reports and websites, books and emails. It has been time consuming and to date the most challenging part of my family history.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Whiskey Wises of Cork\Frances Wise churchwarden of Killeens.png

Evidence above given by Francis George Wise to an Inquiry into inconsistencies in the Voting Records of Cork – Fictitious Votes (Ireland): first report, minutes of evidence, appendix, index in 1836

Freeman’s Journal 10 May 1838, newspaper clipping kindly supplied by Stephen D’Alton regarding the death of Francis George Wise Esq. of Kilbarry, county Cork

Freeman’s Journal 19 September 1831, newspaper clipping provided by Stephen Dalton

Cork Examiner, 27 April 1846

Newspaper clipping kindly supplied by Stephen D’Alton regarding the marriage of Mary daughter of the late Francis G Wise, Esq. of Kilbarry to Captain Wright of the Royal Marines.

Catherine Wise (1810-1893) was the daughter of Francis George Wise (1786-1839) and Helen Hornibrook (1790-1862), she married John O’Halloran Kelly (1800-1881) of Clare, Cork, in 1831 at Cork, Ireland and they had many children including, Margaret Mary Kelly (1834-1921), Mary Kelly (1837-), Francis Wise Kelly (1841-1908), Annie Frances Kelly (1844-1931), John Wise Kelly (1846-1898), Georgina Kelly (1848-1883), William Kelly (1849-), Jane Kelly (1851-1892) and Fanny Kelly (1855-).

Francis George Wise’s daughter Catherine “Cath” married John Kelly, and they had a large family who migrated aboard the Commodore Perry to Australia in 1860 and settled in White Hills, Victoria.

I have no knowledge as to whether there was any contact between the Wises of Avoca and the Kelly family regarding their migration, but now knowing the closeness of these cousins, I am confident they knew each other well. The Kelly name is linked to both the Wise tanners of Cork, and to the Whisky Wises. The following records are a confirmation regarding their marriage, migration and Cath Kelly’s death record listing her parents as Francis George Wise and Helen Hornibrook. John Kelly’s death record interestingly lists his mother as Margaret Wyse and lists John’s middle name as O’Halloran. More research needs to be done to find out who Margaret Wyse was.

Irish Records Extraction Database:

Name: John O’Halloran Kelly
Sex: Male
Marriage: 1831
Marriage Place: Diocese of Cork & Ross, County Cork, Ireland
Spouse: Catherine Wise
Source: Albert Eugene Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich.. Index of O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, Alabama: Knocknagree Historical Fund, 1952-1971. See

Victoria, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists 1839 – 1923:

Name: John Kelly
Estimated birth year: abt 1815
Age: 45
Arrival Date: 24 Aug 1860
Arrival Port: Melbourne, Australia
Departure Port: Liverpool
Ship: Commodore Perry
Nationality: Irish

Australian Death Index 1787-1985:

Name: Cath Kelly
Death Place: Prahran, Victoria
Age: 83
Father’s Name: Wise Francis Geo
Mother’s name: Helen Hornibrook
Registration Year: 1893
Registration Place: Victoria
Registration Number: 11693
Estimated birth year: abt 1810

Australian Death Index 1787-1985:

Name: Jno Ohalloran Kelly
Birth Year: abt 1800
Age: 81
Death Place: White Hills, Victoria
Father’s name: Wm
Mother’s name: Margt Wyse
Registration Year: 1881
Registration Place: Victoria
Registration Number: 9161

Death notice for John O’Hallaran Kelly, late of Ballymorto House, Clare, Argus, 10 September 1881

Death notice for Catherine Kelly nee Wise, Age, 18 September 1893

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\John O'Halloran Kelly and Kate Wise\32504_Cork_29-G02 John Kelly St Marys Shandon.jpg

Griffith Valuation for John Kelly at Wise’s Quay

John Kelly had leased land down at Wise’s Quay, from Thomas and Francis Wise, who were the founders of the Wise Whisky Distillery in Cork. I wondered if this name O’Halloran had anything to do with William McOboy’s employment in both County Clare and his employment in Avoca, where he is listed as working for John O’Halloran’s timber yard, noting that John Kelly is from County Clare, Ireland.

The Griffith Valuation, used for taxation purposes and collected between the years 1850-51, on both renters and landowners. See this link:

George Francis Wise (1816-1879) was the son of Francis George Wise (1786-1839) and Helen Hornibrook (1790-1862), he married Eliza Vincent (1820-1890) and they had five children, Francis George Wise (1842-1912), Nicholas Vincent Wise M.D. (1845-1914), George Edward Wise (1846-1909), Mary Vincent Wise (1847-1914) and Osborne Raymond Wise (1855-1930)

Marriage notice for George Francis Wise, married Eliza Vincent, Freeman’s Press 3 Sep 1841 at Cove Church, Cork

Irish Examiner, 18 June 1879


Georgia Anne Wise (1805-1847) was the daughter of George Wise (1755-1823), she married Samuel Hornibrook on 28 October 1830 at Christ Church, Kilbrogan, Cork, Ireland and they had two children Samuel Wise Hornibrook (1832-1891) and Annie Wise Hornibrook (1835-1901)

Kerry Evening Post, 3 November 1830


Cork Archives Institute. List of traders, public officials

and some prominent citizens from Aldwell’s General

Post Office Directory of Cork for the year 1845.

Wise Henry B. 27 Wellington Place

Wise Miss 2 St. Luke’s Place

Wise Miss 4 Richmond Terrace

Wise George Francis Cattle Dealer 14 Market Street

Wise Thomas Distiller North Mall

Wise Francis Distiller North Mall

Wise James & Co. (late More) Mineral Water Manufacturers 9 Lavitt’s Quay

Wise Thomas James Tanner 17 Cattle Market Street

Wise Thomas James Tanner 6 Maylor Street

Wise James & Co. Tanners 2 Bleazby Street

Wise Bridget Vintner 5 Drawbridge Street

List of “Wise” Freemen of Cork City 1710-1841 (Cork City and County Archives 2007)

Wise Francis Butcher 22/9/1716

Wise Francis Tanner 7/8/1766

Wise Francis Tanner

Wise Francis Esquire

Wise Francis Merchant

Wise Francis George

Wise George Francis

Wise George Henry Gentleman

Wise George James Gentleman

Wise Henry Tanner

Wise Henry Blakeney Gentleman

Wise Henry George

Wise James Tanner 12/4/1791

Wise James Junr. Tanner

Wise James Gentleman

Wise John Tanner

Wise John

Wise Thomas Butcher 18/4/1743

Wise Thomas Tanner 23/2/1790

Wise Thomas Junr.

Wise William Gentleman 23/4/1790

This list above is taken from the Council Book of Cork Archives below I have included the link I found to the actual pages, which were shown earlier in this chapter.

The following link and advertisement was placed in the 1790/91 Cork Directory, and as you can see it was signed by brothers Francis Wise, George Wise, and James Wise the sons of Francis and Ellinor Wise:

WHEREAS it was enacted last Session of Parliament, that no Tanner shall Manufacture any Cow, Ox, or Bull Hide, after the Twenty-ninth Day of September last, unless the Shanks shall be cut off a short space above the Dew-Claws, and to encourage a general compliance therewith, We, the undernamed are resolved not to buy any Cow, Ox, or Bull Hide, after the sixteenth inst that shall not have the Shanks cut off a short space above the Dew-Claws, in conformity with said Act”. Cork 8th of Oct., 1791

Abell, Richard Daly, Dennis Jameson, Edward Simcockes, J. H. Wise, James
Anderson, John Davis, John Kelly, James Steers, Thomas Wood, Michael
Callaghan, Henry Desmond, Ellen Kelly, Margaret Taylor, Hugh Wynne, Edward & Geo.
Cazalet, Charles Fitton, Russell Mansergh, John & Co. Walsh, Richard
Charters, William Forster, George & Son Mc. Clure, Robert Ward, Richard
Clarke, William & Son Goold, Patrick Meade, John Westray, James
Clifton, John Guynan, John Mee, Isaac White, Anne
Clugston, Thomas Harrington, William Merrick, Joseph Williams, William Jameson
Crofts, Thomas Hayes, John Moylan, John & Rd. Wise, Francis
Cusack, William Hoskins, Thomas Russell, John Wise, George

The Council Book of the Corporation of Cork was the Merchant Book that I showed excerpts from earlier. It was operated as a closed shop whereby only those recognised merchants of Cork could undertake business legally. It was a way of limiting an oversupply of qualified tradespeople and mostly access was through birthright, after an apprenticeship for several years with a merchant. The other way of entry was to marry into a trade, via your wife’s father’s merchant occupation. In this tradition Cork operated much the same as any large town in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The class system worked, as long as everyone knew their station in life, outsiders were excluded. It is from these extracts above and below that I have placed a simple chart regarding our Wises of Blarney Lane. Three generations have been found in various editions of the Cork Directory, and it is by no means limited to butchers and tanners. Some of the Wises became victuallers, glovers and distillers. I believe these Wise men, listed below in Lucas’ Directory of 1787 were also by 3 x Great Grandfather George Wise, Tanner of Blarney Lane, Cork.

WISE, EDWARD, Glover, South Main-st.

WISE, FRANCIS, Victualler, Old Market-place

WISE, JAMES, Victualler, Old Market-place

Wise’s Quay Bridge, River Lee, Cork, Ireland

Street sign which was attached to the side of the house, River Lee side. September 2016

Wise’s Quay showing Francis Wise’s House on Sunday Wells Road, Cork City near the River Lee

Francis Wise House, Wise Quay, Cork, Ireland

Ireland Ordnance Map of Mount Desert and Spud Hill near the River Lee

Google Map showing Spud Hill, Mount Desert Road and the River Lee

Spud Hill, Cork, Ireland, in retrospect I could certainly do without the garbage bin, and was very tempted to cut and paste it out of this photograph, however, the Irish Terrier at the gate was so adorable and such a very brave man protecting his home during his owner’s absence!

Google Map of the lands near Cork City showing Monard, Old Blarney Road and Blarney Castle

The lands around Monard was where Francis George Wise, a brother to Henry George Wise had his lands and home.

Killeens House, Old Blarney Road, Cork, Ireland, just north of Cork City and in the foothills of Blarney Castle

Killeens House, Old Blarney Road, Cork, Ireland

Gates of Killeens House, Cork, Ireland

Lush lands around Killeens House, Cork, Ireland, mostly we saw cows grazing in these fields

Label of Wise's Irish Whisky

The North Mall Distillery was established on Reilly’s Marsh around 1779, and by 1802 the Wise brothers were running the firm. Here are a few photos of the Whisky labels. The first one was kindly supplied to me by John Lee, the other I found in an online collection of old Whisky labels that were selling on eBay.

Wise Whiskey Cork Ireland

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Wises from Cork\FrancisWise 1851 Petty Sessions Complainant.jpg

This document is regarding a Petty Sessions action by Francis Wise in 1851.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Whiskey Wises of Cork\Dalton File\farmers.jpg

Cork Examiner, Monday Evening, January 25, 1847, courtesy of Stephen D’Alton

It was interesting to see this document included many Wise signatures, including George Henry Wise and George Frances Wise, a brother and a nephew to William McOboy Wise, and it is a significant document written at the time of the potato famine in Ireland. It is also a time of tremendous upheaval. It was shortly after this time that my great-great-grandfather, William McOboy Wise left Ireland with his family to start a new life in another country on the other side of the world. An amazing and brave decision, but one I am sure he did not take light heartedly.

It was particularly comforting to have both Stephen D’Alton and John Lee collaborating and agreeing on our Wise family history and family trees in Cork, Ireland. We know that in the future there will be more discoveries, more records will be released and more family researchers will come online, with other documents to add another dimension to this very large and complex Wise family living in Cork.

It has been the most interesting time for me to discovery my paternal grandmother, Mabel Wise’s family history, one I can see that she was proud of. Like so many genealogists, I regret not sitting down with Granny and asking her to tell me stories about the family when I was young. It was only in 2005 that I became interested in the Wise family. Geoff and I visited the Somme in France on a holiday to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and were taken on a tour of the war graves and battlefields by Colin Gillard. I told Colin that my great uncle Kelly Wise (Cyril Raymond Wise) joined the British Army serving in The King’s Regiment and had won a Military Cross during World War 1. The next day he took me to the very spot, at Beaumont Hamel, where Kelly had performed an act of great courage and helped find and return a group of soldiers who had become separated from their Regiment. It was then that I knew, I needed to know more about the Wises.

Virginia Rundle

Researched and Written 4 August 2014 -14 April 2015 and First Published 14 April 2015

(Updated December 2017, August 2019 and June 2020, after important new discoveries about the Wise family of Cork)


BIBLIOGRAPHY (documents can be forwarded upon request):

Leask’s Genealogy of Early Australian Families 1931, Wise Family excerpts

MacCotter Report 2012, commissioned by Lavinia Chrystal and Virginia Rundle

Tales of the Wise and Unwise, Stephen D’Alton

The Wises, Our Irish Heritage, John Lee

The Wise Family Tree, courtesy of Peter and Helen Borthwick, notes and tree authored by The Hon. Irene Borthwick

Australian Districts and Historical Society (ADHS) website subscription website, The Rundle Family Tree available (all living relatives private and protected), Includes Griffiths Valuations and Tithe Applotment Books.

Find My Past subscription website

Family Tree Maker

Cork Past and Present website including Marriage Licence Bonds of Cloyne, and of Cork and Ross

Old Irish Newspapers websites, including, previously free, is now a subscription website

Burke’s Irish Peerage and Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry chapter on the The Wises of Clayton Hall, Devon, England

Letters and papers from the Reginald George Robson Collection

Trove Digitised Newspapers, Australian National Library

Verbal family history, letters and photographs courtesy of John Lee, Geoff and Anne Wise and Ann Loveridge

Wikipedia, photos and information

Historical Records of the County of Cork, Ireland, ‘Church of England and Ireland COI’ online database

Cork Constitution of 1826

Public Records Office of Ireland

Landed Estates of Ireland online website

Fictitious Votes (Ireland), first report, minutes of evidence, appendix and indexes in 1836

Council Book of Corporation of the City of Cork

Aldwell’s General Post Office Directory of Cork for the year 1845

Cork Photograph Collection of Virginia Rundle, September 2016

List of Freemen of Cork City 1710-1841, Cork City and County Archives 2007; extract only.

Newspaper clippings from Dublin City Library

Newspaper clippings courtesy of Stephen D’Alton

Betham’s Extracts, Belfast Library, Northern Ireland, courtesy of Catherine FitzMaurice

Copy of Wise/McClure Memorial Deeds from the Register, Dublin

Transcripts of Memorial Deeds from

Newspaper clippings and Transcription of Memorial Deeds, Cork from Jeff Burgher

Wise and McClure Deed Transcription, Virginia Rundle and Lavinia Chrystal


Pigot & Co Cork Directory 1824

Slater’s Cork Directory 1846

Guys Cork Almanac for 1875

St George Steam Packet Company, List of Proprietors, 23 February 1842

Wise Vs Wise Case heard in Chancellery 26 May 1845, Will dispute from 1807

Geoffrey Rundle BL, LLB. Synopsis of Wise Vs Wise Case heard in Chancellery, 2013


I would like to acknowledging the very kind collaborations with John Lee, Stephen D’Alton, Jeff Burgher and Catherine FitzMaurice and for their finding and sharing important Wise and McOboy family documents, which helped place our ancestors into their correct families in Cork, Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries.

My sincere thanks to Chris Piggott, a fellow Irish researcher whose kindness in helping me navigate the most difficult area of the Family Search website to uncover the Memorial Deeds of Ireland. Chris Piggott is also researching our Phair/Corban/MacOboy families and our collaboration and the confirmation of these family connections during our research together has been wonderful.

Google Maps and IT assistance, including my website, with the kind help of my son Rowan Rundle

Family charting by my son Jeremy Rundle

Transcription help from my sister, Lavinia Chrystal

Legal help and manuscript analysis with the help of my husband Geoff Rundle

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Wises from Cork\Wises Henry Francis and Thomas James, Cattle Markets Pigot and Co Advert 1824.jpg

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Wises from Cork\Slaters Directory 1846.jpg

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\GuysAlmanac1875Pages69820to20703-Page-1-only-Wise-mentioned.png

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\St George Steampacket Company cork archeological soc 1917 p134.png

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\St George Steampacket Company cork archeological soc 1917 p135.png

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\St George Steampacket Company cork archeological soc 1917 p136.png

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Rowan to unbuckle PDF's\St George Steampacket Company cork archeological soc 1917 p137.png


Wise v Wise is an interesting case for the Wise family, with many mentions of our ancestors who I have endeavoured to place into our family tree. I asked my husband Geoff Rundle to take a look at the case and give his opinions about the outcomes and meanings of this piece of Irish law. Geoff’s summary follows this article. One other interesting name that appears is that of Belinda Hornibrooke. I have tried to find a connection between Belinda and Ellen Hornibrook, who married Francis George Wise, however at this stage, without the relevant records the connection remains of interest, and I would think it most probable that they are related. The fact that the spelling is different is quite common and acceptable for surnames of this period. The very last article I have in these footnotes is a partial index from the Corporation Book of Cork, excerpts from the book regarding Wise family merchants I illustrated earlier. The index of merchant’s names that are those related in business or who have a family connection. I have listed the Hornibrooks in this list, with the hope that one day we may find the link between Belinda and Ellen.




  1. James Wise owned the lease to certain lands. He had two sons Thomas James Wise and John Wise.
  2. James Wise died in March 1807. It would appear that James Wise made a will whereby he gave his eldest son Thomas James Wise his entire estate subject to a “rent charge” of 600l per annum payable to John Wise.
  3. It would appear that James Wise recognised that a third party may have a claim on the lands.
  4. After his death his will was read. The third party made a claim on the lands and whilst the claim was settled Thomas James Wise acknowledged that his right to the land arose from the will of his father and acknowledged the “rent charge”. The matter was resolved by the sons paying to the third party a sum of money, to which they contributed equally.
  5. John Wise by will dated 22 October, 1819 recited that he was entitled to the “rent charge” under the will of his father and he devised same to his son James Laurence Wise. On his death Thomas James Wise paid the sum on trust and when James Lawrence Wise turned 21 he received the sum until 1 November, 1842.
  6. Thomas James Wise on 21 June, 1841 made a settlement in favour of his second son Rev Henry Wise who was about to be married. As I understand the settlement the sum of 250l per annum was to be paid to James Wise and Thomas Gillman and their heirs and that the existing lease lands would be held on trust for Rev. Henry Wise for his life and the children of the contemplated marriage. In the event there was no issue, the land would be held on trust for Thomas James Wise and his heirs and assigns.
  7. It would appear that Thomas James Wise fell on hard times and a judgment creditor sought to recover her money some interest in the land on the basis that Thomas James Wise had an interest in the land.
  8. The Court held that despite the absence of the will it had been established the existence of such and that it had created the initial charge and as a result of the subsequent charges the creditors had no claim on the land.

11 Jan 2013 Geoffrey Rundle, Barrister at Law, Sydney, NSW.

Family letters

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\Wises of Gilgandra\Allan Wise Letter.jpg

Letter from the Reginald George Robson Collection

I am not sure if this letter was ever answered, as it was sent the year before my dad died. I know that another similar letter of request for information by my dad about the Wises was sent to his first cousin, Dick Hoskins, the son of Lily Wise, a sister to Mabel at about the same time. I think the two letters must be linked. However, I have included this letter as a postscript to show that other Wise family cousins were starting to research the Wise Family. Allan was the father of Geoff Wise, and he and his wife Ann have a marvellous collection of treasures that were William McOboy Wise’s from Avoca, and very possibly his pipe originated from his time in Ireland. These photos are part of The Wises of Avoca, an earlier chapter I wrote.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\HH Wise Letter about visit to Cork\HH Wise Letter img Gran065.jpg

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Wise Files\HH Wise Letter about visit to Cork\HH Wise Letter 2 img Gran066.jpg

This letter is written by Herbert Humphrey Wise, a son of Thomas Walter Wise. Thomas being born in Cork, the son of George Henry Wise. He arrived on the Great Tasmanian with the rest of his family on 16 October 1861. Herbert Wise, his wife Olive, and two sisters, Alice and Edith travelled to Cork in October 1950 and endeavoured to trace the family history. This letter was written to Reginald George Wise, the brother of Herbert Humphry Wise. I found it amongst the papers and photographs kindly loaned to me by my cousin Ann Loveridge. Once again a few simple words and some directions given by a local sixty five years ago, sent me on a hunt for Killeens House. Of all places a map became available from an Irish fishing website showing the location of Kileens House (sic), not far off Commons Road, obviously there was some serious trout fishing in the creek which runs into the River Bride which joins the River Lee at Cork City, probably in an underground canal.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Wise\Wise Merchants of Cork\Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 10.59.36 am.png

Kileens House (sic), Cork, Ireland

Directions: travel north out of Cork on Commons Road, the road forks to become New Mallow Road, take the left fork, and after a sharp right bend, take the next road left, this is Lower Killeens Road, after the housing estate on the right hand side ends, turn left at the next drive, a house on the corner is called Kenafort, this drive will lead you to Killeens House.,-8.5105058,303m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-US

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Wise\Wise Merchants of Cork\Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 11.02.56 am.png

Francis Wise’s house in Cork can be seen by the River Lee, Blarney Street is identified at the top of the picture, and below with more detail.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Pictures\Wise Photos\3304813396940.jpg

I found this item on an old EBAY AUCTION, which realised over $104.00 on 10 Oct 2010

Description taken from EBay below, is not necessary accurate information

Bottle Auction Description: Antique Wise’s Old Irish Whisky Whiskey Stoneware Jug

“Now here is a great old Irish Whiskey Jug.Excellent condition, from top to bottom. A rare stoneware jug with the original stone cork. Wise’s Old Whiskey was produced by Cork Distilleries Co., Ltd., North Mall Distillery, Cork. It was founded in 1779 by brothers Thomas and Francis Wise Distilling ceased 1920. This old jug is 8″ tall, with a small finger loop handle on the side. The handle is solid and secure. The stone jug is glazed, no crazing. I am not sure how much liquid it held, as I chose not to fill it”.

Freemen of Cork

Cork City and County Archives © Cork City and County Archives 2007 List of Freemen of Cork City 1710-1841

Page 1 of 187 Alphabetical List of Freemen of the City of Cork Transcribed from existing collection (Ref. U.11) ‘Index/Digest to Council Books of the Corporation of Cork With alphabetical list of Freemen’.

Original and typescript by John O’Shea. Date of freemen admission from the 31st October 1710, to the 25th October 1841, the last assembly of the old Corporation as constituted previous to the coming into operation of the Municipal Corporations (Ireland ) Act 1840, which introduced local democratic elections. The power of admitting Freemen only by birth or right also ceased in 1841.

Listing relevant surnames from The Wise Merchants of Cork:

Adams Captain His Majesty’s Ship “Resistance” now (July 1808) in Harbour

Adams Ephraim Merchant Adams Francis Wigmaker 3/12/1730

Adams Francis Jnr. Victualler 23/4/1790

Adams Francis Butcher 28/11/1775

Adams Jonathan Chandler 12/5/1748

Adams Michael Goold Esquire

Adams Richard Wallis Goold Esquire

Adams Roger Merchant 19/9/1777

Adams Roger Merchant Adams St. Leger Merchant 29/7/1788

Adams Wallis Esquire

Adams Wallis Gentleman

Adams Wallis Esquire

Adams William Robert Merchant 23/4/1790

Blakeny William Rt. Hon. Lord, “in a Gold Box for his Good and Faithful Services in defence of his King and Country, Commanding Inniskilling Foot.” (1756) 24/12/1756

Callaghan Cornelius Esquire 2/9/1756

Callaghan Daniel Merchant

Callaghan Daniel Junr. Merchant

Callaghan George Lieut. 15th Hussars. (1818)

Callaghan Gerard Merchant

Callaghan John Merchant

Callaghan John Esquire

Callaghan John

Callaghan Patrick William Distiller

Callaghan Richard Esquire

Coppinger John Rye Gentleman

Coppinger John Esquire. Barrister. (This is in error-it should be M.D.)

Coppinger Joseph Esquire

Coppinger Richard Esquire

Coppinger Thomas Henry Esquire 22/4/1784

Coppinger Thomas John Gentleman

Coppinger Thomas Captain. 97th Regt.

Coppinger William Esquire

Corban Laurence Paper Manufacturer

Crofts Thomas Clothier 11/5/1798

Crofts Thomas Merchant

Crofts Thomas Lucas Gentleman

Cuthbert John Merchant 16/11/1756

Cuthbert John Junr. Merchant 10/12/1795

Cuthbert John Esquire. Surveyor General. (1796) 16/7/1796

Cuthbert John Gentleman

Cuthbert John Esquire. Barrister now (1846) John

Cuthbert Kearney.

Cuthbert John

Cuthbert Richard Tonson Gentleman

Cuthbert Henry Merchant 30/10/1756

Cuthbert Henry Merchant 12/5/1786

Cuthbert William Merchant 13/8/1786

Cuthbert William Beamish Merchant

Foott Baldwin Esquire

Foott George Esquire. of Millfort, Co. Cork 11/8/1795

Foott George Esquire Foott George Gentleman

Foott George Gentleman

Foott James Esquire

Foott James Esquire

Foott James Attorney

Foott James Boyce Gentleman

Foott John Wine Merchant 5/9/1800

Foott Michael Gentleman 31/1/1783

Foott Michael Gentleman

Foott Richard Esquire 18/6/1779

Foott Richard Gentleman 11/5/1798

Foott Robert Gentleman R.N.

Foott Thomas Attorney

Foott Thomas Wade Gentleman

Foott Wade Esquire

Goold Daniel Merchant

Goold Francis Esquire 16/9/1794

Goold Francis Merchant

Goold Francis Richard Esquire

Goold Henry A. Gentleman 11/5/1798

Goold Michael Esquire 7/9/1768

Goold Patrick Merchant 31/8/1797

Goold Thomas Esquire. K.C. This Gentleman being Assessor at the Election (1820) between the Hon. C.H. Hutchinson, Sir N.C. Colthurst and Gerard Callaghan, Esquire, in which the two former were returned. A Note was passed at the close of the Election, recommending him to the Council for his Freedom, and the Council in granting the Freedom declared it to be “in estimation of his Merits and not influenced by the vote of the Sheriffs Court, which had no right to interfere in Corporate Matters.”

Goold Walter Gentleman 3/12/1730

Hornibrook John Tanner

Hornibrook John Esquire

Hornibrook Thomas Esquire

Hornibrook Thomas Esquire

Hutchinson Abraham Hely Hon. 4/11/1789

Hutchinson Christopher Hely Hon. 28/8/1792

Hutchinson Coate Hely Esquire

Hutchinson David (? Hutchins) 23/9/1731

Hutchinson Emanuel Lieut. 64th Regt. (1784) 23/9/1784

Hutchinson Francis Hely Esquire. (Father of present (1846) Earl of Donoughmore 31/1/1783 Hutchinson James Commander of H.M.S. “Salamander” (1732) S.B. 5/3/1732

Hutchinson John Hely Esquire. K.C. (“The Provost”) Grandfather of the present (1846) Earl of Donoughmore (admitted in 1759). 11/4/1759

Hutchinson John Hely Junr. Esquire. Afterwards general Lord Hutchinson, G.C.B. etc., so created for his services in Egypt as Second in Command in the Expedition under Sir Ralph Abercromby, and, on his death as Commander in Chief. Hutchinson John Carpet Manufacturer. “For his exertions in preserving the peace of this City at the time of the late riots”. See also Sir John Gilman, and Henry Hickman. 5/7/1793

Hutchinson John Hely Lieut. Late 105th Regt. (1809)

Hutchinson John Hely Esquire. Eldest Son of the Hon. Christopher Hutchinson, and successful Candidate at the Cork Election. (1826).

Hutchinson John Hely Esquire. M.P. County Tipperary, now (1846) Earl of Donoughmore.

Hutchinson John Massey Esquire

Hutchinson Jonathan 31/12/1739

Hutchinson Jonathan Merchant 15/3/1768

Hutchinson Lorenzo Hely Hon. 28/5/1790

Hutchinson Massy Esquire 16/12/1784

Hutchinson Richard Hely Esquire. Afterwards Earl of Donoughmore. Eldest Son of “The Provost”. Silver Box. 25/9/1774

Hutchinson Robert Merchant

Hutchinson William

Kelly Thomas Esquire. K.C. 16/8/1769

Kelly Rt. Hon. Thomas Common Pleas and Judge of Assize. (1793). S.B. 1/9/1793

Kelly Walter Gentleman 29/7/1757

Kelly William Gentleman 24/7/1734

Langley Robert Esquire

Langley Robert Gentleman

Langley Roger Merchant 18/2/1761

Long Robert 20/1/1736

McClure Joseph Merchant

McClure Robert Gentleman 30/7/1799

McOboy Laurence Corban Gentleman

McOboy Laurence Paper Manufacturer

McOboy Roger Apothecary 8/12/1775

McOboy William Paper Manufacturer

Nash Charles Lieut. 103rd Regt.

Nash Rev. Edward

Nash Edmond Shopkeeper

Nash John Michael Gentleman

Nash Henry Lieut. 9th Regt.

Nash Lewellin Esquire 13/12/1763

Nash Lewellin Esquire 5/11/1773

Nash Lewellin 18/6/1784

Nash Llewellyn Esquire. Barrister

Nash Robert Merchant 10/3/1762

Nash Rev. Robert Spread

Nash Rev. Robert D.

Nash Samuel Woolcomber 19/7/1782

Nash Samuel Gentleman

Nash Silvanus Cotton Manufacturer 12/4/1791

Nash Rev. Thomas Edmond

Nash Webb Lieut. City of Cork Militia

Nash William Gentleman 9/9/1796

Nash William Spread Gentleman

Nash William Junr. Esquire

Nash Rev. William 24/8/1765

Perrier Anthony Merchant 28/8/1792

Perrier Anthony Junr. Gentleman

Perrier David Merchant 11/5/1787

Perrier George Merchant 19/2/1790

Perrier Henry Gentleman

Perrier Thomas Esquire

Perrier William Lumley Gentleman

Phair Edward Paper Manufacturer 24/7/1797

Phair Francis Gentleman

Phair William Paper Manufacturer 17/8/1785

Phair William Paper Manufacturer

Phair William Pickering Paper Manufacturer

Phipps Benjamin Esquire

Phipps John Pedder Esquire

Phipps Michael Gentleman

Spratt Devereux Gentleman 20/1/1736

Spratt Devereux Harman

Spratt Harmer Merchant 19/9/1777

Spratt James Gentleman 24/9/1774

Spratt Thomas Edward Esquire

Wise Francis Butcher 22/9/1716

Wise Francis Tanner 7/8/1766

Wise Francis Tanner

Wise Francis Esquire

Wise Francis Merchant

Wise Francis George

Wise George Francis

Wise George Henry Gentleman

Wise George James Gentleman

Wise Henry Tanner

Wise Henry Blakeney Gentleman

Wise Henry George

Wise James Tanner 12/4/1791

Wise James Junr. Tanner

Wise James Gentleman Wise John Tanner

Wise John Wise Thomas Butcher 18/4/1743

Wise Thomas Tanner 23/2/1790

Wise Thomas Junr.

Wise William Gentleman 23/4/1790

9 comments On The Wise Family – Merchants of Cork

  • leila armstrong winssinger

    My Great-Grandfather was Laurence McOboy FitzGerald, and architect for Lismore castle in Lismore, Ireland. His father was a well -known ecclesiastical architect who discovered the Ardmore stone in Youghal., and his wife was Mary Garde of Midleton. I think her mother was a McOboy from Midlleton born around 1790?. My grandmother, Winifred FitzGerald married my American grandfather who was Deputy Consul in Cork and then Consul in other countries.
    McOboy is an unusual name and her family was well-to-do in MIdleton. I have a photo fo their estate. We would love to know more about the McOboy family.

  • My father Tom Colwell Wise has quite an extensive family tree too, going back to george wise (1755) and we have a picture of painting of the wise family in 1649.
    Tom focussed a lot on the family since arrive in Australia including the Ennis family line around Avoca and Amphitheatre Victoria. And there are a lot of gravestones at Elmhurst where the Wise’s has the general store and farmland during the great gold rush in the area.

    • Hi Roy. My name is Stephen D’Alton, also a descendant of George Wise (1755-1823). Over the years Virginia and I have colloborated on various parts of our family’s history. You mentioned having a painting of the Wises from 1649 which picqued my interest. Having a few years ago established that George’s son, my 4xgreat grandfather Francis George Wise, was for a time a partner in the distilling business I decided to write a book on Wise’s North Mall Distillery. I am co-authoring the book with retired master distiller Barry Crockett. We have made some good progress on it and I’m hoping to approach publishers in the coming months. However, it would be nice to include some photographic evidence of the very early Wise’s and with that in mind I was wondering whether you would be willing and able to take a photo of your Wise family painting and send it me? It doesn’t matter if the quality of the photo isn’t that great – best effort will be fine. Do let me know either way. Regards Stephen

  • Wow, quite a fund of research. Many thanks for your work. I do have a jug of Wise’s Old Irish Whiskey I was given some years back.


    Richard W. Wise

  • Wow. That’s pretty impressive research. I am rather ashamed to say that I am a Wise but know comparatively little about the family. Based on your records here, Geirge Henry Wise (1813-1875) was my great grandfather. I would really like to read your chapter on the Wises in Avoca. Can you tell me how I can access it? Thanks.

  • Paula Joy Wyse Kindred

    Very interesting. Great research. I know my family goes back to Cork and I remember hearing about a tie to Sir Thomas Wyse, but I have not found the geneology notes from my deceased parents. Whether we are related or not, this was quite an interesting read.

  • Hi Virginia,
    I was blown away by the amount of research on the Wise family.
    Margaret Wise from Cork, married Michael Clery, founder of Clery and Co, department store, Dublin, and , co-owner of Cannock & Co department store, Limerick. We were told that Margaret’s father and uncle were part of the the Wise family, and had a distillery in Cork. Margaret Clery was a second cousin of my grandfather, James Clery. A dowry of The Glebe residence in Athlacca was given by her father.

    Would you have any information on which one one the Wise’s was her father..We thought it might be Francis (born 1766). Margaret’s first child , Francis W. Clery, was born in 1861, so she may have been born around 1831, if she married at 30 yrs of age.
    kind regards
    James Clery


  • My father was Thomas John Wyse and I believe his family came from County Cork. He moved to Thame in Oxfordshire in the 1930s. My name is Thomas Anthony Wyse and I am the youngest son. I have not been able to trace any history of my fathers family apart from a letter which I have misplaced from my cousin Harry who lived in Cork, sadly he died soon after sending me the letter.
    I have often wondered about the use of Wyse and Wise names and I found it very interesting reading your article explaining how the difference may have come about. I will have to search again to see if I can find Harrys letter. I was elected to be Town Mayor of Thame in 2017, (not bad for a poor immigrants son!)

  • Hi! I’m your American cousin from New Jersey, where Thomas Jennings Wise settled in Red Bank some time before the Civil War.
    I’m a descendant of Francis Wise, of the Whiskey Distillery and I’m actually visiting Cork right now.
    What an astounding wealth of information and research you’ve done!
    There was a family rumor that there was a liquor business back in Ireland but up until about a month ago, I didn’t know how legitimate it was.

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