Waddell Cunningham Douglas

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Waddell Cunningham Douglas was born on 6 October 1809 in County Down, Ireland. He married Lydia Louisa Turner, daughter of Maj.-Gen. Charles Turner and Harriett Ann Stevenson, on 13 December 1842 at Greeting, Suffolk, England. He lived at Bellevue, Killowen, County Down, Ireland.

He served as a Captain in the  17th Lancers.

He died on 2 October 1896 at age 86 at Newton Breda, Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland.

Children of Waddell Cunningham Douglas and Lydia Louisa Turner

• James Cunningham Douglas b. c 1844, d. 20 Nov 1891
• Charles Douglas b. 1846, d. 11 Jun 1898
• Louisa Douglas b. 1852
• Elizabeth Douglas b. 1860, d. 19 Aug 1947  married Major Arthur Nugent, son of Maj.-Gen. Charles Lavallin Nugent and Charlotte Marcia Dean-Pitt, on 4 April 1893.

The will of James Cunningham Douglas, late of Bellevue, Killyleagh, county Down, later a Captain 4th Dragoon Guards, who died 20th November 1891 at same place, was proved at Belfast 13 January 1892 by Charles Douglas of Lisnegead, Scarva, said county, esquire, the sole executor Effects £5,893 3s 8d, Probate of the will of Waddell Cunningham Douglas, late of Bellevue,Killowen, Newry, county Down, esquire, who died 2nd October 1896 granted at Belfast 22 December 1896 to Charles Douglas of Lisnegead, Scarva, said county, esquire Effects £15,764 2s ld, Probate of the will of Charles Douglas,late of Lisnegead, Scarva, county Down, esquire, died 11th June 1898 granted at Belfast 8 August 1898 to Arthur Nugent of Hounslow, county Middle-sex, Major R F and Reverend William C Baker of Rostrevor, county Down, clerk Effects £41,553 13s 8d Re-sworn £40,024 9s 2d,

Waddell Cunningham was certainly a prosperous merchant but uncomplimentary stories about him and his business practices abound. He was born in 1729 and made his fortune largely by trading with America However he also had interests in a vitriol works, malting and brewery, his stores being with his house and garden in Hercules Lane, approximately where the Provincial Bank and St Mary's Hall now stand He was a member of the Second Presbyterian Congregation in Rosemary Street.

He was a magistrate and in 1770 during the Hearts of Steel land agitation was responsible for the arrest of David Douglas from the Templepatrick area Douglas was lodged in the town barracks and on Sunday 23 December angry farmers marched in from Templepatrick Meeting House to organise a rescue bid They looted and burned Waddell Cunningham's house and only ceased when 5 of their number had been shot and the prisoners given up by the soldiers.

One cause of the violence was the fact that Waddell Cunningham with others was involved in buying up large areas of land Altogether he acquired 150 acres in Ballynagarry [Belfast] and 370 in Ballypalliday [Templepatrick], though it seems that this was not snatched from tenant farmers but had already been in the possession of other middlemen.

Although the amount of the fines for new leases and the rises in rents has been greatly exagerated, the transfers of leases were to raise money for the fifth Earl of Donegal] and Cunningham incurred much of the wrath of the farmers Waddell Cunningham was made a Freeman of Belfast on 21 September 1773.

The next phase in Waddell Cunningham's life which is reported is the statement by R M Young that At the time of the American Revolution, he [Cunningham], sent out numerous well found vessels consigned to the British; but invariably they were captured afterwards that he had insured them well, and by a business like arrangement got not only the insurance, but the price of the hulls and cargo from the Americans, who captured them as prearranged The most celebrated reference to him is in connection with his trying to raise funds for a slave trading venture c 1786 However any documentation on it dates from a reference of 1806 to an alleged letter from Thomas McCabe to Dr William Drennan.

The only other fact we have of Waddell Cunningham's life is that his will was proved in the Prerogative Court, Dublin in 1798 See Young: The Town Book of Belfast [1892] p 299; Young: Historical Notices of Old Belfast [1896] pp 170-1, 269; Vicars: Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland [1897] , Strain: Belfast and its Charitable Society [1961] P 100 Maguire: Absentees, architects and agitators, Proc B N H P S [1983] pp 4-21.

•  A Capt. William Cunningham Douglas of Bellevie , Rostrevor is recorded in Kilbroney in 1846.  Connection unknown.

See also:
 •  Cunningham Mausoleum

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