Perry of London: A Family and a Firm on the Seaborne Frontier, 1615-1753

By Jacob M. Price | Go to book overview

7 / The Family after the Fall

The Perry brothers started out rich enough to bear losses on shipping and uncollectable debts for many years. Since their sister Elizabeth was reported to have brought a fortune of £10,000 on her marriage to Salusbury Cade, 1 the brothers Micajah III and Phillip probably inherited something in the vicinity of 60,000-100,000 from their father, grandfather, Thomas Lane and Mary Lane. At the end, Micajah III did not even leave a will.

But it was not a case of "shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations." The legal incompetence and relative poverty of Micajah Perry III at the time of his death did not mean that the entire family was destitute. He was outlived by his mother, Sarah Richards, whose marriage settlement had left her with considerable property after the death of her husband, Richard Perry IV. On her death in 1756, mother Sarah left her daughter Sarah Heysham all her plate, linen, furniture and household goods plus her "coach and chariot." The possession of two horse-drawn carriages suggests a significant degree of comfort. To her son Phillip she left all her government annuity stock, money, bonds and bills plus "my estate or mortgage I have on Little Stanbridge in Essex together with the Mannor and quitrents thereunto belonging." 2 When "Phillip Perry of Greenwich, Kent, Esq." died in 1762, he left everything to his sister, the widow Sarah Heysham. 3 When Sarah died the next year, she left £3000 to her niece Sarah Cade and the residue of her estate, real and personal, to her nephew, Philip Cade. 4

Since no children were born to Alderman Micajah Perry, nor to his brother Phillip, nor to their sister Sarah Heysham, the only known line of descent from Micaiah Perry I and his son Richard was that through Richard's youngest daughter Elizabeth, the sister of

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