Genealogy of the Abbott Family (version January 9, 2021)
Please email corrections to Mike Clark
Thomas Abbott (d. 1652) was born sometime before 1600, probably somewhere in Northamptonshire, and married a woman named Katherine. He began in the early 1600s as a small farmer on the manor of Gretton in Northamptonshire, and over the years acquired several leases of land that he was able to sell at a profit. Because he often advised and represented others during land transfers, he is also described in some court documents of the time as an attorney. He is said to have been quite prosperous at the time of his death. He was buried on Aug. 21, 1652 in the cemetery of St. James Church in Gretton, Northamptonshire, and Katherine was buried there on April 1, 1655 in the same parish churchyard. There is also record of a Sarah Abbott who was buried on Jan. 11, 1667/78 in the churchyard, and some genealogies show her, not Katherine, to be the wife of Thomas. However, the parish register clearly identifies Katherine as the "relict of Tho", whereas the name of Sarah stands alone. Katherine and Thomas according to Melton (1986) had several children, including the two who follow.
Alice Abbott married a poor farmer named John Clayton. Their son Robert Clayton (1629-1707) apprenticed as a scrivener (scribe and moneylender) under his uncle Robert, and ultimately became his uncle's successor in the business. Robert Clayton was knighted in 1671 for his accomplishments, and is often referred to as the father of the British banking system. He also served from 1679-1707 as a Member of Parliament and in 1679-1680 as Lord Mayor of London. There is a Wikipedia article on Robert Clayton with a nice portrait of him, and an article on the History of Parliament website.
Robert Abbott (1610-1658), the second son of Thomas Abbott and Katherine, was born in 1610, probably in Gretton, Northamptonshire. He married Bethia Chapman (b. 1620) in 1637 in London, Bethia being the daughter of Jasper Chapman (c.1577-1653) of Rushbury, Shropshire and his wife Ann. Bethia was also the grandaughter of John Chapman, who had been buried on Feb. 21, 1598 in Rushbury. Bethia's father Jasper was a wealthy grocer, who in 1651 became a warden (guild officer) with the 'Worshipful Company of Grocers, and he is also said to have had ties to the East India Company.
Robert was apprenticed as a scrivener (scribe and money lender) in 1626 to Francis Webb, and admitted in 1635 to the 'Freedom of the Company of Scriveners', a trade guild. He opened a scriveners shop of his own in the parish of St. Michael's Cornhill. His shop was called the Flying Horse, and it survived several years after his death, until a fire in 1666 burned the Flying Horse to the ground. He is listed in 1651 as an Assistant in the Scriveners Company, and rose in 1658 to the office of Warden. He also served as an Attorney of the Court of Common Pleas, which indicates he may have had some legal training.
Robert was successful enough as a moneyer that, despite being a commoner and having suppported the losing royalist side in the English civil war, he was offically granted arms on Aug. 9, 1654 by Oliver Cromwell's herald (Garter King of Arms) Edward Bysshe. These arms, which are similar to those on the right, are described as an "ermin on a Pale Gules 3 Peares Or & for his Creast on a Helmett and Wreath . . a Unicorn". They resemble the arms (below left) of the Lord Mayor of London Sir Morris (Maurice) Abbot (1565-1642), which indicates there may be a connection between the two families. Robert's arms were later displayed by his great-grandson John Thomas Abbott, who registered a pedigree for 'Abbott of Constantinople from Abbott of London' on March 15, 1771 with the College of Heralds. John's nephew William Abbott, whom he raised as his own son, displayed these same arms as his bookplate.
Another connection with Sir Morris, who was also the brother of George Abbot (1562-1633) the Archbishop of Canterbury, is indicated by the fact that Robert's descendants were connected with the Levant Company, in which Sir Morris had extensive trading interests. The Levant Company was an association of British merchant traders to whom the crown granted a trading monoploy in the Levant, which refers the maritime provinces of Turkey, Syria and Palestine in the Middle East. In addition, Robert aquired in 1646, as payment for a debt, an interest in six ships, at least two of which - the Angell (200 tonnes) and the Edward Bonaventure (160 tonnes) - were employed in the Levantine trade.
One of Robert's apprentices was his nephew Robert Clayton (1629-1707), who is often referred to as the father of the British banking system. Clayton took over the Flying Horse when his uncle died, and he was knighted in 1671 after making a huge fortune. Although Robert Abbott specified in his will that his business be closed and his assets divided among his heirs, Robert Clayton nonetheless acquired the banking interests, which he and a partner used to form the Clayton and Morris Co. Bank. Clayton's uncle Robert died of "fever" on June 3, 1658 in the City of London, and was buried six days later in a vault at St. Michael's Church in the Cornhill Parish. His wife Bethia survived him and was buried Aug. 8, 1666 in the same vault.
The portrait of Robert Abbott, Sr. above left was painted around 1640-1650 and hung in Hambledon Manor when Robert's son Robert, Jr. owned the manor house. When the younger Robert died this painting passed to his cousin William Clayton, who was Sir Robert Clayton's nephew, and it stayed in the Clayton family until acquired in 1952 by Robert's descendant, Jasper Abbott the author of Abbott (1950, 1952 & 1956).
children - ABBOTT
Sarah Abbott married Nicholas Charleton on Dec. 17, 1654 at St. Michaels Church in the Cornhill Parish of the City of London.
Bethia (Sarah) Abbott, was born in London, and baptized Nov. 20, 1642 at St. Michaels Church in the Cornhill Parish of the City of London. She died as a child and was buried in 1648 at the same church as her baptism.
Rebecca Abbott was probably born sometime after 1642, died as an infant or a child, and was buried Dec. 9, 1645 at St. Michaels Church in the Cornhill Parish of the City of London.
Robert Abbott, was born in London, England, and baptized Oct. 29, 1646 at St. Michaels Church in the Cornhill Parish of the City of London. He married Susannah Morris, who was the niece of one of his fathers apprentices. He died April 6, 1684 at the age of 38 at Hambledon Manor, where he was lord, in Buckinghamshire. He is buried in the parish church there beneath a stone that displays the arms of his father, despite the fact that these arms, together with all arms issued by Oliver Cromwell's herald Edward Bysshe, were declared void by a Sept. 4, 1660 decree from King Charles II.
Catherine Abbott married William Lightfoote and died 1n 1677.
Elizabeth Abbott married John Normansel.
Eliab Abbott, was baptized on Aug. 4, 1652 at St. Michaels Church in the Cornhill Parish of the City of London, and buried there on Dec. 11, 1652.
Eliab Abbott, was born in London, and was baptized Sept. 13, 1653 at St. Michaels Church in the Cornhill Parish of the City of London. Nothing further is known of him.
Susanna Abbott, was born in London, England, and baptized Aug. 15, 1658 after the death of her father at St. Michaels Church in the Cornhill Parish of the City of London.
Jasper Abbott (1655-c.1700). The son of Robert Abbott and Bethia Chapman, was born Dec. 22, 1655 in London, and baptized 5 days later on Dec. 27 at St. Michael Church in the Cornhill Parish in the City of London. He first became a merchant of London, but soon relocated to Galata (Constantinople), Turkey, where his son Peter was born in 1696. It seems likely that he was associated in some way with the Levant Company, as they had a trade monopoly in Turkey and Syria. Also, his father had an interest in at least two ships that sailed for the Company, and most of Jasper's male descendants for the next hundred years were Levantine traders. Jasper died in Constantinople sometime after 1700. Clarke (1862) writes that, "the first Abbott [Jasper Abbott, son of Robert] . . . was a merchant in Smyrna for twenty years, from about 1660 to 1680, and was then a merchant in Constantinople for the other twenty years, there dying, and lies buried in the English cemetery at Feri-keui [in Constantinople] . . . where his tomb may still be seen in good order . . . his tomb emblazoned with a coat of arms and records his pedigree, in as much dignity as Latin can give."* This implies that Jasper was born several years prior to 1655, but Clarke may have been talking off the top of his head here, so we need to realize that the dates are rough approximations. We know nothing about Jasper Abbott's wife, except that he married her in Constantinople (Abbott, 1956, p. 38), which indicates she was probably Greek. He had at least one daughter we are told, in addition to the son listed below, but there may have been other children as well.
*Clarke's (1862) discussion of the final resting place of Jasper Abbott is of great interest, as Clarke apparently is speaking of the Latin Cemetery at Feriköy (Feri-keui), which did not begin accepting burials until 1858, over 150 years after the approximate death of Jasper Abbott. It seems much more likely that Jasper was originally buried in an English section of Istabuls's famous City of the Dead (Grand Champs des Morts), which no longer exists. However, many graves in the City of the Dead in the late 1850s and early 1860s were transfered with their monuments intact to the new cemetery at Feriköy, and Clarke's (1862) description of the location and nature of Jasper's tomb would seem to indicate that it might have been one of the ones moved. If such is the case, then Jasper Abbott's tomb might very well survive today in the English section of the Feriköy Cemetery.
Peter Abbott (1696-1768), the son of Jasper Abbott, was born in 1696 in Constantinople, Turkey (according to the diary of his grandson Henry Alexius Abbott), and served as treasurer for the Levant Company at Constantinople. He died in 1768, probably in Constantinople, but there are some sources list Ankara for both his birth and death. He is said to have married the daughter of a Greek lady, but her name is not known. Because there was a scarcity of british women in the Levant, and because of the stigma attached to marrying moslem women, most Levantine traders took greek wives.
children - ABBOTT
John Thomas Abbott (1733-1783) was born June 3, 1733 in Ankara, Turkey. He became a factor (merchant) for the Levant Company, and served from 1770-1783 as the British Consul in Aleppo. He married Marianna Goy (1750-1816) of Switzerland, and raised his nephew William Abbott (1766-1852), as well as four sons of his own - Robert, Peter, George and John. The elder John and his wife Marianna registered a pedigree titled 'Abbott of Constantinople descended from Abbott of London' on March 15, 1771 with the College of Heralds in London to document his right to bear the arms of his great-grandfather Robert Abbott. This pedigree is the primary source for the early lineage of the family. Interestingly though, the wax seal on the pedigree shows not the arms of Robert Abbott, but the arms of George Abbot (1562-1633), the Archbishop of Canterbury. When John, Sr. died in 1783, the Company decided that the small amount of business in Aleppo did not justify the appointment of another consul there, so John's nephew William sailed to England, bringing with him Marianna and John's sons, who were just 4 to 10 years old at the time.
Richard Robert Abbott (1772-1826) was born on Sept. 24, 1772 in Aleppo and privately baptized there on June 30, 1773, before being given a public baptism on Feb. 13, 1774 with his brother and three other children (Charlotte, Henry and Emelila Maseyk). Richard and Margaret Lee of London, the future in-laws of William Abbott, Sr (1766-1852), appear to have been Richard's godparents, as they were represented at the baptism ceremony by proxies. Richard moved in 1783 or 1784, following his father's death, with his family to London, but later joined his brothers in India, where he married Anne Maria Gascoigne on Feb. 21, 1802 in Calcutta. He returned to England where he died on May 1, 1826 and was buried on May 8, 1826 at St. John Hackney in London.
Peter Abbott (1774-1817) was born on Jan. 17, 1774 in Aleppo and baptized there on Feb. 13 of the same year with his older brother and three other children (Charlotte, Henry and Emelila Maseyk). Richard and Margaret Lee of London, the future in-laws of William Abbott, Sr (1766-1852), appear to have been Peter's godparents, as they were represented at the baptism ceremony by proxies. Peter became a sailor, and he is said to have been lost at sea about 1818 when he fell overboard (died H.E.I.C.S. = Honourable East India Company Ship). He may be the Peter Abbott for whom at the age of 44 a burial service was performed on Nov. 3, 1817 in Calcutta. He is often confused with his cousin, also named Peter, who lived a long life and served with the British Foreign Office.
George Edward Abbott (1775-1822) was born Jan. 15, 1775 at Aleppo and baptized there July 6 of the same year. He became the Head Assistant to the Postmaster General in Calcutta. He married Anna Maria Stacy in India and their son was Major General Herbert Edward Stacy Abbott (1814-1883). Their daughter Marianne Sarah Hadow (1808-1887) married Charles Scott Hadow (1801-1849), and their son was Major General Frederick Edward Haddow (1836-1915).
John Thomas Abbott (1776-1842?) was born on Dec. 17, 1776 in Aleppo, Syria. He traveled overland as an adult to India, and was living unmarried in 1804 in Calcutta, according to an entry in the diary of his cousin Henry Alexis Abbott. However, a handwritten document attributed to his son Edward states that he married Adela de Fleury (1776-1850) in 1800 at the Ile de Bourbon - an island in the Indian Ocean with the modern name of Réunion that is located east of Madagascar. He later became the head clerk of an agency in Calcutta. Giunti Matteo on his website shows 1810 as John's death date. However, this seems unlikely, as John had a daughter Adele who was born in 1813 in Calcutta. It is more likely that he is the John Abbott of Calcutta, Esq. who is reported in the Annual Asiatic Register (p. 315) as having died on the ship William Metcalf on May 31, 1842 while sailing enroute from Penang to Mauritius. John and Adela had at least the five children listed below, with many descendants living in Chile today.
Edward Benjamin Abbott (1805-c.1874) was born on on July 29, 1805 in Calcutta, India, and baptized there on Sept. 28 of the same year. He emigrated to South America, probably in the early 1830s, and died there about 1874 in Limache in the Valparaiso Province of Chile.
Frances Abbott (1807-1841) was born Dec, 6, 1807 in Calcutta, India and baptized there on Nov. 26, 1809 with her brother Peter. She married James Alexander (1806-1858) on Jan. 30, 1842 in Calcutta, and died in 1841 in Bangalore, Madras, India.
Peter Abbott (1809-1861) was born on Oct. 11, 1809 in Calcutta, India, and baptized there on Nov. 26, 1809 with his sister Frances. He became a colonel in the British Army in India and commanded the 72nd Bengal Regiment of Native Infantry. He died on Dec. 8, 1861 at Dehra, India, and was buried in the Dehra Dun Cemetery.
Henry Thomas Abbott (b. 1814) was born on June 11, 1811 in Calcutta India, and baptized there on June 10, 1814, oddly a year after the baptism of his younger sister Adela. What became of him is unknown.
Adele Abbott (1813-1864) was born on May 13, 1813 in Calcutta, India, and baptized there on June 10 of the following year. She married a British officer in the Bengal Army named Thomas Sewell (1798-1862) on Oct. 29, 1849 in Calcutta. She died on April 21, 1864 in Logie, Perthshire, Scotland, where she apparently retired following the death of her husband two years earlier. Thomas, who was promoted from a Colonel to an honorary Major General upon his 1861 retirement from the British army, is buried in London in the Kensal Green All Souls Cemetery. However, it does not appear that Adele is buried there with him.
Elizabeth Margaret Abbott (1780-1780) was born Jan. 18, 1780 in Aleppo, and baptized and died the next day on Jan. 19 in the same city.
George Abbott was born at Ankara and became a merchant in Constantinople, which was where he raised his nephew Peter when his brother Jasper died. George married a Venetian lady named Anna Marecellini in Constantinople and they had at least two children, John who died young and Mary Elizabeth. He died in 1798, and although his death place is not given, it was probably in Constantinople.
Robert Page Abbott of Aleppo raised his nephew Henry Alexius Abbott in Aleppo, and died there in 1799.
Bartholomew Edward Abbott (c.1739-1817) became a merchant trader in Salonica, Greece, and married Sarah Anatary, the widow of a French merchant in the Levant named Gabriel Chasseaud. He was admitted as a freeman in the Levant Company, forming business partnerships with his stepson Peter Chasseaud (c.1746-1843) and his son George Frederic Abbott (c.1776-1852). Bartholomew is referred to by one of his contemporaries as the "Father of the Levant Company in Salonica", even though the company since 1715 had been trading there. Bartholomew served at times as the company's interim consul, but despite his influence, timing and politics prevented him from becoming the official consul. He died on March 18, 1817, and his son George continued the family business interests. Two of George's sons, John and Robert Abbott, operated an export firm out of Salonica that was known as "Abbott Brothers", which was the main exporter to London in the 1850s and 1860s for a variety of products including Turkish tobacco and medical leeches.
Peter Chasseaud (c.1746-1843) was the stepson of Bartholomew Abbott and the natural son of Bartholomew's wife Sarah Anartary (d. 1818) by her first husband Gabriel Chasseaud. Peter married Bartholomew's niece Maria Abbott (1770-1844), the daughter of Bartholomew's brother Jasper. Peter was in business at first with his half-brother George Abbott, until legal disputes with George, and the deaths of Peter's stepfather and mother brought an end to the Abbott & Chasseaud partnership. Abbott (1952) shows 1843 as death date of Peter Chasseaud, but known of the details are known.
George Frederic Abbott (c.1776-1852), the son of Bartholomew Abbott and Sarah Anatary, was born about 1776 in Salonica. George and his much older half-brother Peter Chausseud (1746-1853) were partners at first in the family business interests, but the two had a falling out and ultimately went their separate ways. Although legal disputes began as early as 1811 between the two, they do not appear to have completely severed business ties until after the 1818 death of their mother. George, in time, was succeeded in the business by his sons, who operated the family trade monopolies in Salonica under the firm of Abbott Brothers, and who controlled through their firm British trade in much of Greece and Turkey. George had three wives, with several children from each marriage. For more information on the many wives and children of George Frederic Abbott, please see the page on The Abbott Brothers of Salonica.
Dorothy Clara Abbott married a Russian trader named Froding.
Maria Canda (Canela) married Aleksey (Aleksei) Mikhailovich Obreskov (17201787), the Russian ambassador in Istanbul (Constantinople), and had four sons and two daughters - Peter (1752-1814), Mikhail (1759-1842), Ivan, Nikolai, Ekaterina and Agrippina. An internet reference attached to a painting of the ambassador states, "Obreskov, Aleksey Mikhailovich (1720-1787), ambassador of Russia in Constantinople, married to Varbara Andreyevna (1744-1815)". Presumably Maria and Varbera are the same person, but this is an assumption. There is also a portrait of Aleksey Obreskov in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
There were other children, including two daughters who died young, and there may have also been two other sons in addition to those already listed.
Jasper (Joseph) Abbott (1731-1774), the son of Peter Abbott, was born in 1731 somewhere in Turkey. He was probably born in Constantinople, where his father was a merchant, but Ankara is also possible, and Ankara appears to be the birthplace of his two older brothers. He married, presumably in Constantinople, a Greek lady named Kyriaky, whose father the Rev. Athanasius had a Greek Church. Jasper moved about 1768 with his wife and three small sons to Ankara, where he started a merchantile business. It appears that the family generally resided at a place called Efset, which is said to have been located in the country a few miles from town. Jasper's son Henry Alexius in his journal describes his father as a religious man and a classical scholar, who died of dysentery in the summer of 1774 at their country home in Efset. Jasper was still in his early thirties when he passed away, and he left behind his wife and five small children. His sons were subsequently raised by his three older brothers, whereas his two daughters remained with their mother.
children - ABBOTT
Henry Alexius Abbott (1764-1819) was born in 1764 in Pera, one of the suburbs of Constantinople (Istanbul) Turkey, said to be that part of the city where all the Europeans lived. His father died when he was only ten-years old, and he was subsequently raised by his uncle Robert. He traveled widely in his lifetime, establishing business interests in Turkey and India, before retiring about 1803 to England. He died in 1819 in London, leaving behind a diary and pedigree chart, written in 1804, that is a source of much information on the family.
Henry was married in 1794 to Margaret Welch (1774-1853), with whom he had several sons and daughters. Four of their six sons - Augustus Abbott (1804-1867), Sir Frederick Abbott (1805-1892), Sir James Abbott (1807-1896), and Saunders Alexius Abbott (1811-1894) - were generals, three of them major-generals, and the fourth a lieutenant-general. Another son, Keith Edward Abbott (1814-1873), was Consul General of Tabriz, Persia, and later the Consul General in Odessa, Ukraine overseeing Russian ports on the Black Sea. The city of Abbottabad in Pakistan, where Osama Bin Laden was killed, is named for Henry's son Sir James Abbott.
Peter Abbott (1767-1834) was born Feb. 5, 1767 in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey, and raised by his uncle George. He was sent during the Napoleonic Wars by the Levant Company on a mission to the United States to convince the Secretary of State to develop trade in Turkey, but was captured at sea by the French. Many years later he was the British Consul in Beirut, Lebanon, serving first with the Company, until it was dissolved in 1825, then afterwards he served as the consul there for the British Foreign Office. He married Maria Assunta Davitti (1800-1873). Their daughter Julia Abbott (1827-1918) was married on Dec. 23, 1842 in Beirut, Syria (today Lenannon) to the Reverend Cornelius Van Alen Van Dyck, who was an American missionary known for translating the bible into Arabic.
Peter died on July 18, 1834 in Beirut, Lebanon, and he is buried there with his wife Maria in the Anglo-American Cemetery. Some genealogies identify him with a sailor who fell overboard and was lost at sea as a young man, but this is confusion with a different Peter, who is actually his cousin (the son of John Thomas Abbott).
John Abbott was born after the family had moved to Ankara, Turkey; and died there an infant.
Elizabeth Abbott was born in Ankara, Turkey, and remained with her mother after her father's death. She married a man named Gluebeck.
Maria (Mary) Abbott (1770-1844) was born in 1770 in Ankara, Turkey, and like her sister she remained with her mother in Turkey after her father died. She married her cousin Peter Chausseaud (1756-1844), and died in 1844. The Chausseaud branch of the family descends from her.
William Abbott (1766-1852), the son of Jasper Abbott and Kyriaky Athansius, was born April 14, 1766, in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey. Given that his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather probably all married Greek women, William's ancestry was 7/8 Greek and 1/8 British. When his father died, William was only 12-years old, and he was taken in by his uncle John Abbott, who was a factor (i.e., a merchant) for the British Levant Company, as well as the British Consul in Aleppo, Syria. Whereas William's brothers remained in the Levant, one in Aleppo and one in Constantinople, William was dispatched in 1774 or the following year on the ship Royal George and sent to study at an academy in England.
William is said in some articles to have been the consul for the Levant Company in Aleppo. However, it seems more likely that he returned to Aleppo from England at some point in the late 1770s or early 1780s to apprentice under his uncle, and that there were times when he served as acting consul in his uncle's absence. However, when Uncle John died in 1783, the Levant Company decided not to retain a consul in Aleppo, there not being enough trade there to justify the expense, so William brought John's widow Marianna and four young sons back to London. Though it is sometimes said that William returned to England with his mother, it was with his adpted mother Marianna.
Next we find William in Madras (modern Chennai), India, where one article describes him as a wheeler-dealer involved in many enterprises. Arriving sometime between 1783 and 1785, he was manager (agent) in 1785 for the Madras Courier (a newspaper), before becoming an agent in 1788 for Paul Benfield (c.1742-1810), a former engineer for the East India Company who had left the company to become a construction contractor. Benfield also made loans and had banking interests in India.
Through connections made under Benfield's employ, William became secretary (agent) in 1792 for Mohamed Ali Khan Wallaja, the Nawab of the Carnatic (Arcot), who was the Muslim ruler of most of the Tamil Nadu province. He also had dealings with Amir Singh, the Maharaja of Tanjore, who was the Hindu ruler of a rival principality within Tamil Nadu. To facilitate these business interests, William became a partner in 1792 in the firm of Roebuck & Abbott, then later he was with Parry, Abbott & Maitland, and he started up in 1799 the firm of Abbott & Maitland. His partners in these ventures were Benjamin Roebuck (1754-1809), Thomas Parry (1732-1816), and Richard Arthur Maitland (1764-1833), all of whom are subsequently named with William in British court documents. These four men became extremely wealthy making huge loans to the Nawab and Maharaja that were secured by mortgages on future tax revenues from their principalities. When the Nawab and Maharaja could not repay their debts, the East India Company, backed by Britain, settled the debts in return for concessions from the Indian rulers that strengthened England's hold on southern India and laid the foundations for the British Empire.
In addition to William's dealings with the Nawab and Maharaja, he also served as deputy master of the port of Madras in the 1790s, where he supplied water to incoming ships. Next he served as one of nine aldermen for the city from 1793-97, and finally he was Mayor of Madras from 1797-98. Interestingly, even though he was British by birth, he was appointed on Nov. 24, 1794 as the consular agent in Madras for Benjamin Joy, the American Consul to India, and continued in that function for a nearly a decade, long after Joy resigned and returned to the States. Although William's duty as consular agent was to promote U.S. trade in Madras, the majority of his time was spent furthering his own business interests.
William married Elizabeth Lee (c.1766-1837) on July 26, 1800 at St. Mary's Chapel in the British outpost of Fort St. George at Madras, India. William at the time ran the merchant firm of Abbott and Matiland. Elizabeth was the daughter of the late Richard Lee (c.1719-1799) of London, and his wife Margaret. Richard formerly resided in Smyrna, and he ran the merchant firm of Lee and Maltass. Furthermore, he was the father of the well-known John Lee (c.1769-1841) of Smyrna, and Peter Lee (1776-1824), the consul of Alexandria. William and Elizabeth had at least two sons, both born at Fort St. George, India, and for whom baptism records exist. The family remained in India until 1812, after which they permanently moved to England. Despite the fact that William's great-grandfather Jasper Abbott (b. 1655) originally left England close to 150 years earlier, William and his family were still British citizens.
It is interesting to note that when William's Uncle John Thomas Abbott (1733-1783) baptized his sons Richard Robert Abbott (1772-1826) and Peter Abbott (1774-1817) on Feb. 13, 1774 in Aleppo (which is in modern Syria), two British citizens stood in at the ceremony as proxies for Elizabeth Lee's parents Richard and Margaret Lee, who at the time resided in London. This indicates that Richard and Margaret Lee were probably the godparents for Richard and Peter. If so, when William Abbott married Elilzabeth Lee in Calcutta, a close association between their families already existed. It also seems likely that the marriage between William and Elizabeth was probably arranged, with the desire to strenghten ties between the Levantine merchant houses of Abbott and Lee.
William's bookplate on the right shows arms that were granted in 1656 to his ancestor Robert Abbott, and confirmed in 1771 for William's uncle John Thomas Abbott, with the submission by John of a pedigree of descent to the College of Heralds. Because arms in Britain are granted to individuals, and not to families, it is curious that William displayed these arms after the 1783 death of his uncle, instead of the arms being confirmed to one of John's own sons. However, William was at least 12 or 13 years older than John's first-born son, so he may have felt that he was John's legal heir.
William was a merchant in London, when starting in 1820, he was pulled into bankruptcy proceedings involving loans made by his firm of Abbott and Maitland, a decade earlier in Madras, to the Nawab of the Carnatic, and the Raja of Tanjore. Despite this setback William had the means to start, about 1822 or earlier, a firm on Bermondsey Street in the Southwark borough of London that he called William Abbott & Son. This new firm manufactured and sold felt fabric made from fur pelts (probably beaver) using a proprietary patented process that was held by his son William, Jr.
Strangely, there is also a record for a William Abbott, cordwainer and chapman, who made and sold on Bermondsey Street luxury leather shoes, but this second, and we believe unrelated, William went bankrupt in 1821 and spent time in 1828 in debtors prison. Most likely, William Abbott the cordwainer, and William Abbott the felt manufacturer are two different merchants who by coincidence both located their firms on the same street in London. And yet, William Abbott the felt manufacturer suffered hard times as well in 1849 when his firm of William Abbott & Son also went bankrupt. However, so far as we know, the second William never went to debtors prison as had his shoe-maker namesake. It is not known if William's felt-making venture failed of its own account, or if it was a late casualty of the earlier 1820 bankruptcy of Abbott & Maitland over loans made in India.
William's wife Elizabeth died in 1837, and she was buried on April 8, 1837 in the Kensal Green All Souls Cemetery in Kensington\Chelsea, London. The Bishop's transcript for her burial shows her address in St. Marylebone at 11 Wyndham Place (formerly 9 Wyndham Place), which confirms her identity. William and Elizabeth had lived at Wyndham Place since at least January of 1821, when they are listed there in Boyle's Directory. However, when William's felt-making firm went bankrupt in 1849, he lost this house, which was sold at auction on Dec. 6, 1849 to the apparent benefit of the Bank of England. William then moved to Bath St. James in Somerset, which is located on the coast about 50 miles west of London. William was living here with his son's family during the 1851 Census, in which he gives his occupation as annuitant (retired). He died at Bath on Feb. 5, 1852, and was buried next to Elizabeth on Feb. 10 in the Kensal Green All Souls Cemetery in Kensington/Chelsea, London.
children - ABBOTT
Richard Benjamin Abbott (1803-1858) was born on April 8, 1803, probably somewhere in Madras, India, and baptized there on July 8, 1803 at St. Mary's Chapel in Fort St. George. There has been some past controversy over Richard's ancestry. Giunti shows him as the grandson of John Thomas Abbott, who was one of the uncles of William Abbott, Sr., whereas Giraud shows him as the grandson of another uncle Bartholomew Edward Abbott. However, Stallard's Abbott Pedigree correctly shows him as the eldest son of William Abbott, Sr., which makes him the grandson of John's and Bartholomew's brother Jasper Abbott. There is a baptism record for Richard from St. Mary's Church at Fort St. George that proves this relationship. Furthermore, the death certificate of Richard's grandson Richard Georg Abbott (1881-1964) states that the younger Richard is the great grandson of William Abbott of London.
It is not known if Richard came in 1812 with his family to London, and he may have even gone to Turkey instead to apprentice with members of the family in the port of Smyrna. Richard's mother was related to members of the British merchant firm of Lee and Maltass, which traded in Smyrna, so it is certainly possible that Richard may have worked for them for a time. Irregardless, we find him in Smyrna as a young man, and when he married Helene Margaret von Maltass (1807-1890) there on Sept. 5, 1825, he is listed on the marriage record as a "bachelor of Smyrna". One of the witnesses at the wedding signed his name in the marriage register as "Jo Lee", which leads us to speculate that this witness is the well-known John Lee of Smyrna (1769-1841), who is a likely uncle of Richard's, and may have even been Richard's employer and mentor.
Helene's father John Maltass was one of the founding partners of Lee and Maltass, and when he died in 1842 he left her 300,000 Turkish piasters, which at 1850 exchange rates equates to £77,500 or $384,234. Although John's will was contested at first, Helene and Richard eventually received their inheritance, which was a huge amount of money for those days. Richard invested some of this in 1849 or 1850 when he acquired from the Greeks a mining concession located near the city of Aziziye (now Emirdağ) close to the Gemus Dagh (Silver Mountain) in the Emir (Emirdağ) Mountains of Turkey. These mines, which at one time numbered three, produced a variety of metals, with the main output being emery (corundum). Because there was great demand for emery at the time, and because the output from these mines was said to be very high quality, Helene and Richard became very wealthy. Richard died on Sept, 15, 1858 in Smyrna, and Helene died sometime later, but we do not know when. They had at least thirteen children, including the three listed below.
Eveline Eugenie Abbott (c.1828-1911) was born on July 6, 1828 in Smyrna, Turkey; and married Frederick James Calvert (1818-1876), the British consul in the Dardanelles of Turkey, on Feb. 19, 1846 at the British Consulate Chapel in Çanakkale, which is a seaport in the Dardanelles. Her husband was a rising star in the British Consular service until he and his wife's uncle William Abbott became embroiled in 1862 in an insurance scandal known as the Possidhon (Poseidon) Affair, which ruined his career. Eveline died in 1911 in Turkey, and she is buried with her husband at Çanakkale in the British Consular Cemetery. Eveline's children are listed elsewhere under the article on her husband Frederick James Calvert.
Lavinia Clementia Abbott (1834-1921) was born on April 2, 1834 in Smyrna, Turkey, and baptized there on May 8, 1834 at the British Consulate Chapel. She married her brother-in-law James Cambell Francis Calvert (1827-1896) on April 28, 1856 in a double wedding in Smyrna, where her sister Elfrida (1837-1860) at the same time married Capt. James Atkinson (1825-1865). Lavinia's husband James Calvert was the United States consular agent in the Dardanelles, serving from 1850 to 1874, when he resigned. He also stepped in at times for his bother Frederick as the acting British Consul. When James stepped down as the U.S. Consul, he and Lavinia permanently moved to Constantinople (Istanbul). Lavinina died in 1921 in Turkey, and although the details of her passing are not known, she and her husband are probably buried in one of the Anglican cemeteries in Constantinople.
Ernest Frederick Abbott (1843-1916) was born into a large family on Nov. 8, 1843 in Smyrna, Turkey. Even though he was the ninth of thirteen or more children, he ended up being the oldest surviving son. His father died when Ernest was only 15-years old, and as the eldest son he eventually took over operation of his father's mines. Ernest also had a parallel career as a lawyer. His legal training began on Nov 14, 1864 at the Temple, an area in the vicinity of Temple Church in central London where many barristers' chambers and solicitors' offices are located. He was called to the bar on June 11, 1867, and practised before the British Supreme Consular Court in Constantinople.
Although little is known about Ernest's early years running the family business, he did head a firm in the early 1900s known as the "Abbott Family Mines", which in 1911 merged with other mining interests to become part of "Abbott's Emery Mines, Ltd". Ernest died on Nov. 3, 1916, probably in Smyrna, and his son Richard G. Abbott (1881-1964) took over the business, running it until its demise. A history of the van der Zee family, some of whom worked for the Abbotts, states that when the lease on the mines expired, probably just after World War II, the Turkish authorities would not renew the lease and the mines were abandoned (van der Zee, 1965, p. 7-8). Although, "Abbott's Emery Mines, Ltd" was dissolved in 1948, examination of aerial photographs on Google Earth more than fifty years later reveal that someone is still working these same emery deposits today.
Ernest had two wives - Anna Nebel (1844-1914), whom he married on Aug. 12, 1869 in Heidelberg, Germany, and later divorced; and Sylvia Berti (1853-1922), whom he married on June 18, 1894 in Smyrna, Turkey. There were two children from his first marriage - Richard Georg Wrench Abbott (1881-1964), who took over operation of the family emery mines and died on Dec 17, 1964 in Smyrna as the last remaining member of the family living in Turkey; and Helene Abbott (c.1872-1924), who died on Feb 2, 1924 at the age of 52 in Heidelberg, Germany and was buried there on Feb. 5th in the same churchyard as her mother. Although there were no children from Ernest's second marriage, his second wife Sylvia Berti did have a son, Norbert Amdee Lochner (1878-1942) from a previous marriage with Ernst Franz Lochner (1844-1910) that ended in divorce.
Although it is not known who the Smyrna family is that is shown in the photo above and right (from Abbott, 2007), the Levantine Heritage website suggests that it might show the family of Richard Benjamin Abbott, with Richard on the right and his son Ernest on the left. However, we have some serious reservations about this interpretation. If we assume that Ernest is about 7-years old in the photo, then it would date to about 1850, and we would expect a photo for this time period to be a tin type or ambrotype imaged on glass, and not the cardboard-backed print shown here that indicates an 1870s date or later. Also, Richard Benjamin Abbott had at least thirteen children, yet only four are shown here.
Pictures of the Abbott Family in Smyrna. The first three pictures on the left are from Abbott (2007). The first picture (far left) is possibly Helen Maltass, the wife of Richard Benjamin Abbott and mother of the three people in the portraits to her right. The second picture (middle left) may be Helen's son Ernest Frederick Abbott, who ran the Abbott Family emery mines in Turkey; the third picture (middle right) resembles Helen's daughter Lavinia Abbott, who married James Calvert and who is also shown in the Family Portrait of the Calvert Family; and the fourth picture (from Hueck, 1999) is known to be Helen's daughter Eveline Abbott, who married Frederick Calvert.
William Abbott (1804-1866), the son of William Abbott and Elizabeth Lee, was born on Nov 21, 1804 in India and christened on May 13, 1805 at St. Mary's Chapel in Fort St. George, which is located within the city Madras (modern Chennai) in southern India. He came to England with his parents in 1813, while still a child, and married Louisa Sophia Brietzcke (1804-1891) on Aug. 28, 1832 at Christ Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster, London. Louisa Sophia was the daughter of George Purcas Brietzcke (1778-1817), who was a clerk in the office of the Secretary of States, and his wife Susannah Isham (1767-1849). Louisa Sophia was also the grandaughter of Sir Justinian Isham (1740-1818), the Baronet of Lamport, a niece of Richard Betenson Dean (1772-1850), the Chariman of the British Board of Customs, and the niece of John Edmund Dowdeswell, a former Member of Parliament.
William and Louisa took up residence with William's father in the affluent St. Marylebone district, just north of Bryanston Square and close to the northeast corner of Hyde Park. Their address was 9 Wyndham Place, which was later renumbered to 11 Wyndham Place. William about 1822 also became a partner with his father in the firm of William Abbott & Son, which made a very fine-textured felt fabric from beaver pelts that was probably used for top hats and fine clothes. The company was located on Bermondsey Street, which was on the other side of the Thames River and east of the family home. The firm in 1829 bought the rights to a patented process for making their fine-textured felt, and they then had to defend those patent rights in the mid-1830s in court. William, Jr. then either obtained in 1839 a new patent, or filed modifications to the old one. The firm continued until 1849, when it went bankrupt, afterwhich William and his father lost the Wyndham Place house and moved to Bath St. James in Somerset.
William is listed in the 1851 U.K. census that shows him and his family living with his father in Bath, but the family seems to vanish after that, and for the next few years we know nothing of their whereabouts. Although we have not found an 1861 Census return for them, we do know that they were living in London, as early as 1859, at 118 Cambridge Street in the Pimlico district, which is the same address that is given for the family of William and Louisa Sophia's daughter Maria Eliza and her husband Theophilus Wathen Thompson. However, there is some evidence that the house belonged not to them, but to one Frederick Calvert (1818-1876), who was the British Consul of the Dardanelles in Turkey, and evidently a close friend of the family. Calvert had several connections to the Abbott family - first, he was married to Eveline Abbott, the niece of our William; second, he worked closely in the Turkish consular office with William's son William George Abbott; and third, his brother James Calvert held a Dec. 21, 1859 patent with William Abbott of 118 Cambridge Street for "an improved method to make firewood inflammble." Also, Calvert apparently was a close friend with William's first cousin Ernest Frederick Abbott of Smryna. Allen (1999, p. 316, note 39) writes, "the two men were at least close friends, if not associates, and Calvert stayed with Abbott when he was in Contantinople."
William after the demise of his felt manufacturing company reinvented himself as a London timber merchant, and entered into partnership on Aug. 22, 1860 with William Bastable of a wood paving and firewood firm - William Bastable & Co. - located at the Belgrave Works on Ranelagh Road, which was at the south end of Cambridge Street where William lived. However, a few months later he was caught up with Frederick Calvert, whom we mentioned earlier, in an insurance scandal that came to be called the 'Possidhon (Poseidon) Affair'. This scandal began in January of 1861 and continued for 19 months, until reported in the British press. Although an exposé published on page 8 of the London Times on Aug. 30, 1862 is the best-known account, it was widely reported in most of the major British newspapers. William, who is identified in the Times exposé as an uncle of Calvert's wife, went into bankruptcy as a consequence of the scandal. Even though he was cleared in a court decision of July 18, 1863 of any wrong doing in the affair, he largely disappears from mention afterwards.
William Abbott died of a heart attack on May 22, 1866 at the Thames River dockyard in Deptford (Greenwich), London. His nephew Henry Brietzcke, a medical officer, was with him and reported on the death certificate that the end came within half an hour. William's residence at the time was some distance away at 68 Winchester Street in Pimlico. He was buried on May 29 at the Kensal Green All Souls Cemetery in Kensington/Chelsea, presumably near his parents. Interestingly, even though William prior to his death went through two bankruptcies, his widow listed her occupation in the 1871 U.K. Census as annuitant, which indicates that William apparently hid enough money from creditors to leave her with a comfortable retirement income after he was gone. She also came from a well-connected family, who probably would have helped out if she experienced any financial difficulties. Louisa Sophia lived for many more years and died on January 11, 1891 at the age of 85 at 50 Gloucester Street in London (St. George Hanover Square registration district), with her son Alfred Keith Abbott in attendance. She is buried with her husband at Kensal Green Cemetery.
Elizabeth Margaretta Abbott (1835-1914) was born Jan. 8, 1835 and baptized April 8, 1835 at St. Mary's Church in St. Marylebone, London. When Elizabeth died a spinster on Dec. 14, 1914 at a nursing home at St. Leonards-on-Sea in Hastings, Sussex, her bother Alfred handled the probate for her estate. An interesting coincidence is that her 2nd cousin and brother-in-law Sir Vere Isham (1862-1941), the Baronet of Lamport maintained a residence in St. Leonards at the time, which indicates that Sir Vere may have had some responsibility for her care. Although we do not know for sure, it is highly likely that Elizabeth is buried in St. Leonards Burial Ground, which is also the final resting place of John Vere Isham (1803-1883), who is the father of Elizabeth's cousin the baronet. (Both Elizabeth and Sir Vere are great grandchildren of Sir Justinian Isham IV (1740-1818), the 7th Baronet of Lamport.)
William George Abbott (1836-1917) was born Oct. 7, 1836 in London, England, and baptized June 3, 1837 at St. Mary's Church in St. Marylebone, London. He followed a career in the British Foreign Office, starting in the early 1850s in the consular office in the Dardanelles of Turkey, where he worked closely with British Consul Frederick Calvert (1818-1876). When Calvert was called back to London to answer charges of profiteering during the Crimean War, William George took his place from 1858-1860 as acting consul. Calvert was married to William George's cousin Eveline Abbott (1829-1911). However, when Calvert and William George's father William became caught up in the 1861 insurance scandal of the Possidhon (Poseidon) Affair, the newspapers generally referred to William George as Calvert's brother-in-law.
Encouraged by his cousin Keith Edmund Abbott, William George became acting consul in 1863 at Tabriz in Persia, before receiving an appointment in 1865 as the permanent consul at Rasht, Persia. Returning to London briefly, he married marry Fanny ( Frances) Sims (c.1847-1935) on Oct. 7, 1867 at St. Mary Abbott's in Kensington, before returning to his post at Rasht. He was then promoted in 1875 to Consul General at Tabriz, where he served for fifteen years. When his abilities in the foreign service were questioned, he was sent as Consul General to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to finish out his career. He eventually retired to England and died on June 12, 1917 at the age of eighty at Chepstow Place in Bayswater, London, having spent some 40 years in the foreign office. William and Fanny may not have had any children, as when Fanny died on May 29, 1935 in London, their estate went in probate to the Royal Bank of Scotland. Both Alfred and Fanny are buried in the Kensal Green All Souls Cemetery, the same resting place as William's parents and grandparents.
John Abbott (1838-1870?) was born Feb. 1, 1838 and baptized May 4, 1838 at St. Mary's Church in St. Marylebone, London. Although nothing more is known for certain about him, he might be the John Abbott who in 1870 died in London.
Alfred Keith Abbott (1841-1925) was born on Sept. 7, 1841 at Sydenham, Kent, and baptized on the same day at Saint Bartholmew's Church in Sydenham. He married Fanny Du Tertre (b. c.1856-1918), the half-sister of his cousin Sir Vere Isham (1862-1941), in 1896 at Turnbridge Wells, Kent. Fanny was an author under the pen name of Denzil Vane, and she wrote from 1883 to 1893 at least four novels. Although Alfred was 55 years old when he and Fanny married, they had a daughter named Marguerite Laura Abbott (1896-1974), who was born the following year. Apparently, Alfred was raising Marguerite alone during both the 1901 and 1911 U.K. Census, as Fanny is missing in both those returns. However, records indicate that prior to her marriage to Alfred, Fanny was in mental institutions at least twice, and the same is probably true in later years when she is missing from Alfred's household. In fact, Salisbury, Wiltshire was where Alfred and Marguerite resided during the 1911 census, and Salisbury was also where Fanny died on March 28, 1918 as an inmate of the Fisherton House (Old Manor Hospital) Asylum. Alfred died on April 28, 1925 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and his 2nd cousin and brother-in-law Sir Vere Isham, Baronet of Lamport is listed as the executor for Alfred's estate. (Both Alfred Keith Abbott and Sir Vere Isham are great-grandsons of Sir Justinian Isham IV (1740-1818), the 7th Baronet of Lamport.)
Marguerite Laura Keith Abbott (1896-1974) was born on Oct. 5, 1896 at St. George Hanover Square in London, and baptized on Dec. 20, 1896 at St. Barnabas Church in Pimlico, London. She married John Rippinghall Thorp (1894-1954) sometime between 1921 and 1925 at the British Consular Office in Part Said, Egypt, and died on March 20, 1974 in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. Either Marguerite and/or her husband were most likely employed at one time or another by the British Foreign Office, but we do not know any details. Marguerite at the very least would have had an inside track to a job with the foreign office as her uncle William George Abbott enjoyed a long career as a diplomat representing British interests overseas. Marguerite and John had one son John David Thorp (c.1923-2006) who was born in Egypt and died in Perth, Australia.
Maria Elizabeth Abbott (1833-1917), the daughter of William Abbott and Louisa Sophia Brietzcke, was born Oct. 23, 1833 in London, England, and baptized Nov. 13, 1833 at St. Mary's Church in the St. Marylebone district. She was called Mary Eliza by the family. She married a law clerk named Theophilus Wathen Thompson on Oct 21, 1857 at Bath, Somerset, which was her home at the time. Bath was also where Theophilus had gone to school as a boy, and it is likely that Bath was where they first met. Theophilus came from a well-to-do family, and eventually became a solicitor, which is a specialized type of lawyer in the British legal system. He was successful enough to retire when he was still in his forties, and they were very much part of the British upper class. Maria and Theophilus lived their married life in London, which was where Theophilus died in 1905. Maria Eliza outlived him by twelve more years and died on June 28, 1917 at 38 Hazlitt Road in South Hammersmith, London, with her daughter Ethel Thompson in attendance. Her attending physician when she died was her nephew Henry Edward Symes-Thompson (1873-1952). She is probably buried in the same grave as her husband at Hounslow Cemetery, but this still needs to be confirmed. Please see the Thompson Genealogy for the children of Maria and Theophilus.
Abbott, Jasper Andrew (1952), Abbott Family Pedigree. Including an addition to the chart from Abbott, Jasper, 1950, Notes and Queries, 29 April 1950, cxcv: p. 196. The original pedigree chart is said to be quite large, only a summary portion of which is shown here. Abbott probably knew and shared informaton with the Stallard brothers who are referenced below.
Abbott, Jasper Andrew (1956), Robert Abbott, City Money Srivener, and his Account Book 1646-1652: Guildhall Miscellany, v. 1, p. 30-39.
Abbott, John Thomas (1771), Abbott of Constantinople descended from Abbott of London. This document, dated March 15, 1771, is the source for Jasper Andrew's (1952) early lineage of the family, and it resides in the College of Heralds in London.
Allen, Susan Hueck (1999), Finding the Walls of Troy — Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik, University of California Press.
The documentation for many of the dates and places listed in this history are found in the Ancestry.com online databases (subscription required).
Clarke, Hyde (1862), History of the British Colony at Smyrna: Presented to the British Museum by the author, June 1862 - Originally published in the Levant Herald, a Smyrna English Language newspaper, but also available online on the Levantine Heritage website. Last accessed 5/12/13.
Giunti, Matteo, Abbott Family Genealogy on the Leghorn Merchant Networks Project website. This site used to have a nice pedigree on the family, but access is now restricted. Fortunately, virtually all of the data on the Abbott family is easily available elsewhere, in many cases from the original sources.
Grave and burial locations where known are listed with tombstone photos (when available) on
The Levantine Heritage website is dedicated to the history and genealogy of families from the Levant, which is a historic term referring to an area encompassed mostly by parts of modern Turkey and Syria. There is lots of useful information on this site, but it is not particularly well organized, and it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. We found the pages below to be particularly useful, and several of these pages contain links to databases and external sites with additional information.
Stallard, Stacy Frampton and Stallard, Hamilton George Frampton, undated, Abbott Pedigree, a large pedigree chart compiled by the Stallard brothers before their deaths in 1961 and 1952, respectively. They descend from John Thomas Abbott (1733-1783), through his great grandaughter Helen Rose Abbott (1847-1931). Although we do not know this for sure, it would seem likely that they collaborated with the Jasper Andrew Abbott who is referenced above. Stacy Frampton Stallard (1874-1961) was a brigidier general in the British Army.
UK Census Records, 1841-1901, Parish Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records, and Death and Marriage Records from various sources: online databases available on Ancestry.com, Familysearch.org, and Find My Past.
van der Zee, Héléna (1965), Tales of an old house and various family origins, 42 p. This family history has information on both the Abbott and van Lennep families, in addition to the van der Zee family, some of whom worked in the Abbott Family mines in Turkey.
Vlami, Despina (2009), Entrepreneurship and Relational Capital in a Levantine Context: The Abbotts of Salonica (18th-19th Century): Article #004 of Entrepreneurial Discussion Papers.
by Mike Clark & Family
This history is an evolving document.
Despite our best intentions it probably contains mistakes.
Please let us know if you spot any by sending an email to Mike Clark