Blogovus: Genealogy of an Extended Family: The Second Thomas Girvan (1838-1887)


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Family Crest from South Ayrshire, Scotland

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Thomas Girvan

1838-1886

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From the Research of John Thom McKinley Girvan (1920-?)

And Gloria Girvan Akin (1922-2003)

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The Second Thomas Girvan was the only son of  the First William Girvan (the youngest of the three brothers who emigrated to Jamaica in 1825) and Margaret Parker. Thomas was obviously named after his uncle, the First Thomas, who was then living in the Parish of St. Ann, Jamaica.

Thomas had three sisters, Margaret, (1830-1916) Jeanie (1834-1897) and Mary (1836-?) When his father died in 1853, he was only 15 years old. His uncle, Thomas had also passed away when he was only three years old, leaving his uncle John as the only brother left of the three who came to Jamaica in 1825.

Margaret, Thomas Henderson and William Girvan, Children of Thomas #2  1838-1886 and Mary Ann Girvan

Margaret, Thomas Henderson and William Girvan, Children of Thomas #2 1838-1886 and Mary Ann Girvan

It has been said that after his schooling in Scotland, he returned to Jamaica to his uncle John who encouraged work on the Tanarchy property. He then decided to return to Scotland to further his education, finally graduating as an engineer and an attorney. He then returned to Jamaica to manage his properties in the parish of St. Thomas, Oxford (Pen) and Ireland. He was undeniably held in high esteem by his uncle John, but the relationship ran more deeply than that. His father William and his uncle John were very close and it is only natural that John would have taken a great interest in his nephew, the young Thomas, only 15 years of age at the time at his father’s death. John always maintained a close relationship with his family in Scotland and that included Thomas and his sisters.

John must have been pleased when Thomas decided to return to Jamaica. He certainly desired a marriage union between Thomas, his nephew and his daughter Mary Ann. How delighted he must have been when that actually happened.

Mary Ann Girvan,  Daughter of John #1 Girvan, (1841-1882)

Click on photo to magnify

Mary Ann was three years younger than Thomas and although we do not have the exact date of their marriage, it seems that they were both in their early thirties when they were married. She was 31 years old and he 34 when their first child, the Second William was born. Three years later their daughter Margaret was born. The next year another son, Thomas Henderson was born. Unfortunately they had only 4 years together as a family before Mary Ann succumbed to cancer at 39 years of age.

It was to Margaret McMurtrie, his sister living in Scotland that Thomas turned when Mary Ann passed away. The three children were sent to her for her care, love and supervision. She certainly seemed to have merited his faith and trust. In making his will, Thomas named her as one of his executors. She was also a beneficiary.

Thomas also made sure that all 3 children were well looked after financially. He died 6 years after Mary Ann at age 48. The children were just 14, 11 and 10. His father William, like Thomas died at 48 years of age, similarly leaving a young family. It must have been particularly heartbreaking for him when he was stricken with malaria and with typhus, knowing only too well that his children would be orphans.

He died February 6, 1886 and was buried beside his wife, Mary Ann at the Oxford Pen property in the Parish of St. Thomas, Jamaica.

By Gloria Girvan Akin

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Family Crest from South Ayrshire, Scotland

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