James Perry of Perrymount
(Abt 1670 to abt 1756)
There isn't very much information on James Perry due to many of the Irish records being lost to fire. James was a Protestant Christian. His family may have come from County Tyrone, where other Protestant Perry families lived. It is not known when James was born, but it seems that he was born between 1660 and 1675, probably in County Down, Tyrone, or Antrim, Ireland. He may also have been born in England or Wales. Many researchers list his birth as 16691. He may have been born March 6, 1669 in Wales. If true, then his parents were James and Jane (This information comes from a birth registry in Wales).
James was practicing as an attorney in Lisburn, Antrim, Ireland in 1698. Lisburn was about six miles from Belfast on the border of Counties Down and Antrim. No Perry families were in County Down until around 1663 when a James Peery was there in Ballee Parish2. It is unknown if Peery was connected to James’ family. Perry’s in other parts of Ulster were living in Counties Tyrone & Antrim according to the Hearth Money Rolls of 1663. Sometime after the devastating fire of 1707 in Lisburn, James and family moved to Belfast, Antrim, Ireland where James continued his law practice3. By this time, James had married Anne Swift and had several children. Six are known and at least one was born in Belfast (the older ones were born in Lisburn). James and Anne may have had other children, but nothing has been found.
By 1719, James and family had moved to the countryside in Donaghcloney Parish near Waringtown close to Gortmoria in County Down, Ireland and named their homestead Perrymount. James is listed in a “Lease and Release” Deed in 1719/204. He is listed in a will in 17225 and as a churchwarden in 1728 and still as such in 17316. James was selling (Lease & Release) a leasehold farm with 100 acres of land in Annaghclare, County Armagh, just to the west of County Down, to his son Swift Perry in 1750. After two wills, James is then listed in the Dublin Registry of Deeds on November 20, 17517. According to the deed, Perrymount was to go to James Arnold and his new wife Elinor along with most of the goods and chattels. James Arnold was the son of Martha, daughter of James and Anne Perry. James' third and final will was dated March 24, 1753 and was proved 21 May 17568. Martha Perry Arnold probably died before this will was written, as she was not mentioned. Another possibility is that she was not included due to her son had been given so much already. Anne Swift Perry was also not mentioned and is presumed deceased at the time.
(1670/75 to bef 1753)
The Swift family has a long a somewhat famous history. Anne was a first cousin of the writer, Jonathan Swift9. Her grandfather, Thomas Swift, was a famous and controversial clergyman in England who supported Charles the Second during the time of Oliver Cromwell. Ann's father Adam Swift along with two brothers, all attorneys, left England during Cromwell's reign. They went to Ireland where they practiced law and were connected to the upper political class.
Anne has been reported as born abt 166110, but this would have made her almost 50 when her son John was born and thus unlikely. Her parents were married in 1668 and Anne was probably born between 1669 and 1675. It is not known when James and Anne were married, but it was probably around 1693/98 and certainly before 1700 as they had two sons born at that time. One source states that Jonathan Swift listed "Nan" as single in the mid 1690's, but I have not confirmed that statement. There is a tradition that the marriage between James Perry and Anne Swift angered Adam Swift enough that he threatened to disown Anne. Apparently, he later reconsidered and gave her a dowry in his will11. Jonathan Swift also was not too happy about his cousin Anne marrying James Perry. Some evidence about the Perry family points to them being possible supporters of Oliver Cromwell and that may have been Adam's problem with James Perry. Whatever the problem was, James and Anne seemed to have reconciled it with Adam when they named a son after him who was listed in his Will in 1704.
The following is from letter #23 CHELSEA, May 12, 1711; written by Jonathan Swift in "Journal to Stella"12, which mentions James Perry and Anne Swift, published 1784 (Thanks is to be given to Project Gutenberg for the online printing of Swift's works):
"Going to town this morning, I met in the Pall Mall a clergyman of Ireland, whom I love very well and was glad to see, and with him a little jackanapes, of Ireland too, who married Nanny Swift, Uncle Adam's daughter, one Perry; perhaps you may have heard of him. His wife has sent him here, to get a place from Lowndes; because my uncle and Lowndes married two sisters, and Lowndes is a great man here in the Treasury; but by good luck I have no acquaintance with him: however, he expected I should be his friend to Lowndes, and one word of mine, etc., the old cant. But I will not go two yards to help him."
& Pedigree Chart
James Perry Books
For further information on James and Anne, please purchase “The Usher Sisters of Early Augusta County, Virginia” published by Debrett Ancestry Research Ltd c2005. You can purchase it from their website listed on the links page of this website or email G. L. Richardson. You can also send any questions to my email at Usher Sisters.
1Online Gedcomm files.
2The Usher Sisters of Early Augusta County, Virginia (Debrett Ancestry Research Ltd, c2005) p.4.
3Id. at 7.
4Registry of Deeds #43 383 38650.
5Registry of Deeds #43 384 28651.
6E D Atkinson, History of Donaghcloney (1898) p.74-5.
7Registry of Deeds #150 331 102026.
8Betham's Abstracts, Will of James Perry of Perrymount, Co. Down.
9Swift's Journal to Stella; mentions cousin “Nan” Perry.
10Online Gedcomm files.
12Jonathan Swift's Journal to Stella, c1784.