Thomas Dillon Pettit (1881–1916) the founding chairman of Carrick-on-Shannon Golf Club in 1910, was a descendant of the Dillons of Ballaghadereen through his maternal grandmother (hence the middle name). He came from a long line of successful Catholic merchants on both sides. On his paternal side, were the Pettits of Granard, Co. Longford who had been grocers there for generations. His maternal grandfather was Carrick merchant Patrick Barrett Esq. (1814–1878). It looks like a match was made on this basis.
The Pettits and the Barretts were both Old-English (Hiberno-Norman) families. In the12th century they were arch-enemies, fighting over territory in north-east Co. Mayo. The Barretts won, driving the Pettits eastwards.
When his mother died young, his father remarried, and Thomas Dillon was sent to live with his maternal aunts and uncles in Carrick. By this time, only of his mother's ten siblings were still living. As his mother was the only Barrett to have married, Thomas was being trained into the business as next in line to inherit the “P.Barrett & Co.” empire in Carrick.
In 1916, when a TB epidemic (Tuberculosis) caused the death of 10,000 people, his aunt and uncle succumbed and died within six months of each other. His only surviving aunt, Agnes Barrett, must have agreed that her nephew was trained and ready to take over the business:
Probate of the will of Matthew Joseph Barrett late of Carrick on Shannon Co Leitrim Merchant who died 21 Jun3 1904 at the Imperial Hotel Sackville Street, Dublin, granted at Dublin to Thomas Dillon Pettit Merchant Effects £25,034 8s. 6s.
Their 1901 Census returns reveal that "P. Barrett & Co." was substantial premises comprising 17 rooms, with 3 stables and a coach-house attached, a forge, dairy, piggery, workshop and 3 stores. In 1901, nine staff are also living above the shop. (1901: Luke, Thomas, Michael James and Mary Glancy, Patrick Collins, James Gaffney, Peter McGuire & Elizabeth Moran). By this time the Barretts held ten properties in Carrick on Shannon, including the store which now houses the Carrick on Shannon Tourist Office.
By 1911, T.D. Pettit is recorded as “head of family” and living with his aunt Agnes, brother Patrick Stanislaus Pettit, his sister Agnes M Pettit along with eleven employees. We have yet to determine how the Glancy family were related to the Barretts.
Thomas Dillon Petit, “a Philanthropist and Ardent sportsman” (Leitrim Observer) followed in his uncle’s footsteps and in addition became: Magistrate of Carrick Petty Sessions; Justice of the Peace (most merchants of the time were); Agent of Guinness’s, Ford Cars, Quadrant Motorcycles; Honorable Secretary Provincial Bank Carrick (1905); First President of Carrick-on-Shannon Golf Club (1910); Carrick-on-Shannon Rowing & Athletic Club; Carrick on Shannon Regatta Chairman (1906-16); Committee for building Hartley Bridge (1911); Temperance Club Committee 1913; Supporter of St Vincent de Paul Society.
The Rev Michael Gilligan, P.P., Carrick on Shannon (d. 15 Nov. 1915) included Thos D Pettit in his will but their relationship if any is unknown
By 1916 Thomas’ brother John A Pettit was practising as a solicitor in Carrick-on-Shannon from offices just a few doors up at #112 Bridge Street.
Despite Agnes Barrett’s best-laid plans for her nephew’s future, she could not have foreseen what fate had in store. On 3 May 1916, tragedy struck again. Thomas Dillon Pettit died at his residence in Carrick-on-Shannon following a long illness. He died a bachelor, age 37.
“Deceased was the owner of the biggest and most progressive business establishments in the West, and as an agent of Guinness,’ he did an enormous trade on their behalf. He was a man who possessed all the characteristics of an honourable, honest and upright man and in all movements, in which his services were needed, he proved his abilities to be of the highest standard.
Throughout his life, he was an ardent sportsman and in anything which tended the social advancement, prosperity and amusement of the people of the town and country he gave his financial and practical assistance ungrudgingly. He took a keen interest in providing comfort for those of our townspeople who are serving with the Colours since the outbreak of the War, and in the work of charity generally, his part may be truly ranked as that of philanthropist. Amongst all classes and creeds, his death is greatly regretted”. Leitrim Observer
His memorial, a Celtic Revival Cross, was erected by “his affectionate aunt Agnes Barrett of Carrick-on Shannon” in the Dillon-Barrett family plot (photo above). One can only imagine the devastating impact this had on Agnes who seen all 10 of her own siblings die young and now her beloved nephew, whom she had raised as her own. Thomas Dillon Pettit left his will & effects to her. Heartbroken, Agnes Barrett left Carrick for Dublin and the Barrett store was sold to the Campbell family (also related) who continued the trade for generations. It was only in this century that Campbell's "Londis" became the Bank of Ireland.
Carrick Reaching Out - are you related?
With all the wealth this family once had in Carrick on Shannon, there isn't a photo of them to be found anywhere. Our only hope that by reaching out on this site, the descendants of Thomas' brother, Patrick Stanislaus Pettit (1882–1957) who emigrated to Saskachewan, Canada, will find their way back and fill in the missing piece of the puzzle.
|Date of Birth||26th Jun 1881|
|Date of Death||3rd May 1916|
|Associated Building (s)||P. Barrett & Co. CARRICK ON SHANNON|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Anne Dillon Barrett (1857-1889) aka Nannie Barrett of Bridge Street, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim (daughter of "P. Barrett & Co." Merchant)|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||John Pettit (1857–1909) of Main St. Granard, Co. Longford (grocer)|
|Townland born||Bridge Street, Carrick on Shannon Co. Leitrim|
|Place & Date of Baptism|
|Names of Siblings||Patrick Stanislaus Pettit (1882–1957) of Saskachewan, CANADA | Agnes Mary Pettit aka Addie Pettit (1888–1960) of Dunloe Castle | John A. Pettit aka Jack Pettit (1884–1932) of Carrick|
|Occupation||Merchant and JP|
|Place of Death||Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim|