Famous Namesakes

This page is a bit like my post “houses my family doesn’t own anymore” – this is “famous people that could be my ancestors but aren’t”.  It could also be subtitled “What you can find in ten minutes on Google.”  Or “the people that always turn up first on Google when you’re searching for your family”.  More will follow later.

Frederick Hewitt

My ggg-grandfather’s namesake, Frederick William Hewitt (1857-1916) was an anesthesiologist who looked after the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, helping remove his appendics in 1902.  He got a knighthood for his troubles and a ward is named after him at St George’s Hospital (now in Tooting, London).  According to an article on the Life & Health Library, he “later designed the first oral airways, probably as a result of taking care of the king, an overweight, bearded man”.  Whatever that means.  He also “designed an early anesthesia machine to administer variable portions of nitrous oxide and oxygen, a combination used widely for dental procedures and short surgeries from the late nineteenth century until today” (Modern Anesthesia Is Developed).

The Royal College of Surgeons also have an annual Frederick Hewitt Lecture.

His family came from Badbury in Wiltshire so is, so far, not related.

Jasper Pyne

My gg-grandfather was Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan, named for his uncle Jasper Richard Masters Pyne (1797-1860) (along with 4 other O’Callaghan’s).  Uncle Jasper also inspired another sibling to name a son after him – Jasper Douglas Masters Pyne (1848-1888).

JDMP (for short) sounds like a very entertaining personality.  He was also an MP who (like other family MP’s) got into a bit of trouble and when a warrent was issued for his arrest went into hiding.  From the Old Waterford Society newsletter Spring 1990:

A furious District Inspector Wynne of Cappoquin denied that there was a single word of truth in the Freeman’s account. ‘Mr. Pyne has not returned to Lisfinny Castle‘, he explained, ‘ for the simple reason that he has never left it. He merely pretended to do so. He had hidden himself in his room, but had been overheard talking and joking by the night patrols. Pyne’s accent and laugh were such, Wynne assured his superiors, that they could not possibly be mistaken.

On 2 January 1888 District Inspector Bourchier of the Special Branch confirmed that Pyne was safely within the castle and a police patrol properly posted without.  There was no possibility of escape, except by means of an underground passage, but, he added hastily, none such existed.  District Inspector Barry corroborated his colleague’s report that Pyne was hemned in on every side and that all avenues of escape were sealed off.

The police, however, had underestimated Irish nationalist ingenuity. On the evening of Friday, 13 January, some 200 cattle were stampeded in the vicinity of the castle. While the 20 constables on duty contended with this bovine diversion Pyne scampered down the exterior wall and made his way to a waiting car that set off immediately for Cork.   The telegraph wires at Tallow had been cut and when the police eventually realised that they had been duped they were unable to raise the alarm.  The fugitive boarded a cargo ship bound for Plymouth whence he proceeded to London on the afternoon on 16 January.

The Star newspaper of Canterbury, New Zealand (perhaps knowing of all of his cousins here in NZ?) reports as follows on 18 January 1888 (page 4):

The Escape of Mr Jasper Pyne.

LONDON, Jan. 17. It has transpired that Mr Jasper Pyne has effected his escape to England. Mr Pyne, who is the member for West Waterford, was charged with inciting resistance to the Sheriff, and in order to prevent his being arrested he fortified his residence, Lisfarny Castle, and after holding out for  some time succeeded in escaping.

You could just imagine the scene in a movie!

JDMP was arrested entering the House of Commons and served six weeks in prison.  He later was declared dead after disappearing off the Holyhead to Dublin ferry in mysterious circumstances.

And nowdays there’s even a racing horse named called Jasper Pyne.


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