Hugh Bellis Williamson1848

Hugh Bellis Williamson 1848

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The entry in the Williamson Family Bible reads 'Hugh Bellis Williamson was born in Portrush on 27th August 1848, at 1 o'clock on the Sabbath morning', he was the first child of Hugh Williamson and Sarah Jane Caskey, and my great grandfather. His next three siblings were born in Portrush, the remaining four at Claggan Cottage in Aghadowney. When Hugh married Jessie Marguerite McAllan in St Michan's church in Dublin on 11th Dec 1875, his occupation was listed as mercantile clerk, but he must have been working there as a pharmacist as this was his occupation for the rest of his working life. After the marriage entry in the Bible, there is a note that the couple emigrated to New Zealand in January 1876, following his younger brother Joseph Bellis Williamson who had emigrated 2 years earlier. Hugh worked as a 'chemist and druggist' in New Plymouth NZ from 1876 to 1881 when he was registered as qualified, as was his brother Joseph.

Over the next 10 years, Hugh and Jessie had four daughters and moved to Wanganui, and as the girls grew up Jessie became very involved in the suffragette movement. In 1893 when her youngest child was six, New Zealand women won the right to vote, and Jessie moved on to other political involvements.

In 1904, Hugh returned to Ireland for an extended visit perhaps of several months, during which he presented a Shield to Standtown Chess Club in Belfast, to be used in connection with a Championship tournament. Contemporary newspaper reports only refer to Williamson being a member of Strandtown Chess Club while on an extended trip to his native land, but perhaps it was his old club when he lived in Belfast. Some photographs have been handed down in his brother George's family in the US, of Hugh with his brother James and sister Jane and their families which must date from this visit in 1904.

Hugh and Jessie moved from Wanganui to Auckland on his retirement, and he was a founder member there of the Auckland Chess club where he was the secretary for many years, and vice president by 1926. It was in 1926 that he had a stroke while playing there, which was the cause of his death on 23rd March, aged 77years.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 2nd Aug 1848
Date of Death 1st Mar 1926
Associated Building (s) Claggan Cottage  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Hugh Williamson
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Sarah Jane Caskey, only daughter of Samuel Caskey, baker of Church St, Coleraine
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Jessie Marguerite McAllan, married 11 Dec 1875 at St Michans Church, Dublin, Ireland
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