Researching my maternal family tree I came across a fascinating ancestor (1775-1848) – he is my 1st cousin 5x removed.
In the mid 1700’s Dawson Downing of Bellaghy, Co. Londonderry married Catherine Fullerton only child of Amy Frisby and George Fullerton – who was said to have gone to Virginia to fight and died there. George’s brother Alexander Fullerton of Ballintoy Castle, Ballintoy, Co. Antrim then looked after his sister-in-law and heiress niece Catherine.
Catherine and Dawson has two sons – the eldest George Alexander Fullerton Downing b.1774, and David Fullerton Downing. Their mother Catherine died when George was ten years old, his great-uncle Alexander Fullerton made him his heir.
In 1794 Alexander Fullerton died and under the terms of the settlement both young men assumed the name & Arms of Fullerton by Royal licence. This was announced in ‘The London Gazette’ Dec 6 1794.
They were now known as George Alexander Downing Fullerton & David Fullerton Fullerton, but only George inherited.
All the present day descendants of George are aware of the name change – but it is possible David’s present day descendants are not. George left for Oxford, England and never returned to live in Ireland. While it is felt that David may have stayed in Ireland as the present day descendants of his brother George were not aware of his existence. (Credit to Jill Thorn also a descendant of his who now lives in Florida, USA).
- ID: I09002
- Name: George Alexander DOWNING 1 2
- Sex: M
- Birth: 30 NOV 1775
- Death: 1847 in England
Father: Dawson DOWNING b: 1739 in of Bellaghy & Rowesgift, Co. Londonderry, Ireland
Mother: Catherine FULLERTON
Marriage 1Mary Anne PEACOCK
- Title: Genealogical and Heraldic History of Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland
Author: Sir Bernard Burke
Publication: Vol I. London 1875
Text: GEORGE ALEXANDER DOWNING, having inherited a considerable property from his great uncle, assumed by Royal Licence, 6 Dec. 1794, in compliance with that gentleman’s testamentary injunction, the surname and arms of FULLERTON, and became of Tockington Manor and Gallintoy. He was b. 30 Nov. 1775 and m. Mary Anne, dau. of James Peacock, and d. 1847, leaving three sons and five daus.
- Title: 2011 July 14 email from Jill Thorn
Text: George Alexander Downing b.1775 Ireland – d.1847 England. Aged 16 he was a Gentleman Commoner at Wadham College, Oxford 1791. B.A. 1795 – M.A. 1798 [Wadham College] Aged 19 he inherited from his great-uncle Alexander Fullerton of Castle Ballintoy, Co. Antrim great wealth, and a change of name by Royal Licence announced in ‘The London Gazette’ dated Dec. 6th 1794. [handwritten note copy of announcement ]. Married Mary Anne Peacock, only 2 of their children left Fullerton descendants –
Alexander George Fullerton b.1808 d.1907 and David Fullerton b.1820 d.1892.
Will of George Alexander Fullerton [late of Westwood in the county of Hants but lately residing at 37 Wimpole Street proved 13/09/1847.) He left £200,000 in personalty, including an annuity of £1200, over and above the annuity to which she was entitled in their marriage settlement, to his wife Mary Ann Fullerton.
In 1830 George Alexander Fullerton owned three sugar plantations in Jamaica (bequethed to him by his great-uncle Alexander Fullerton).
They were named Ballintoy, Hopewell and Penny’s. He owned 417 slaves who farmed these estates for him and was most likely an absentee landlord as he resided in England.
After the Act of Emancipation in 1833 he made claim for compensation to the British Government for roughly £20 per capita – a total of £9,324 (nearly £1 million in today’s terms).
Note by ED:
I am not proud of this ancestor of mine. The history of slavery worries me and I feel great sympathy for the people who were enslaved and suffered so much.
Recently I received an email from a descendent of Alexander Fullerton (of Jamaica) who claims he is a direct descendent and is a mulatto (his description not mine). How sad.