Messrs. Samuel Davis & Sons, Enniscorthy - Wexford Guide and Directory, 1885

About “Wexford County Guide and Directory,” 1885

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version of Bassett’s Wexford County Guide and Directory is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

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IN 1835 there was begun in Enniscorthy a grocery business which has grown to such proportions as to include in its field of operations the capital cities of England and Ireland. The founder was Mr. Francis Davis, and the house occupied was in Castle Street. At first attention was divided between the wholesale and retail branches. Mr. Samuel Davis, son of the founder, succeeded in 1857. In 1860 he removed to capacious stores on Mill Park Road. A provision department was added in 1873. A change of style, from Samuel Davis to Samuel Davis & Sons, was made in 1878, and at the same time the retail trade was given up. A new store was built at the opposite side of the way, also in 1878. It is 60 by 25 feet, four stories high, and has an ample cellar, which is used for bacon and sugar.

For the convenience of a wholesale tea trade, extending all over Ireland, it was found necessary to have a more central point of distribution. Accordingly, in 1882, premises were taken in High Street, Dublin, which have since been used as headquarters for the tea trade, Enniscorthy continuing to be headquarters for the wholesale grocery and provision trade. Two years before the Dublin house was opened, an office had been secured in Rood Lane, London. This important step had to be taken in order to enable the firm to buy its tea in the open market, and thus avoid dealers’, or, as they are called in Ireland, merchants’ profits. The firm thus placed itself on equal terms with the great London tea merchants.

Mr. Samuel Davis died in 1884. The firm is at present composed of the sons, Mr. Albert S. Davis and Mr. Francis H. Davis. The former resides in Enniscorthy, and personally conducts the business there. The latter resides in Dublin, where, with the active assistance of a skilful managing clerk, Mr. Edmund Burke, he conducts the business. The London department is managed directly from the Dublin house. The firm imports, direct from America, green bacon of the quality best adapted to the Irish market. It is dried and smoked at Enniscorthy, to suit the popular taste, and has a recognized position in the trade throughout the south-eastern counties. Wexford County takes a large portion of the provisions prepared in this manner. A provision circular is issued weekly from Enniscorthy, and an occasional tea circular from Dublin. During the last ten years the business of Messrs. Samuel Davis & Sons has increased tenfold, and the possibilities for further development are far from being exhausted.

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