Richard Pike (1627 - 1668) Trooper
Joseph B Pike (1657 - 1729) Banker
Ebenezer Pike (1724 - 1785) Banker
Samuel Pike (1726 - 1796) Banker
Joseph Pike (1768 - 1826) Banker
Mary Pike (1776 - 1832) Abduction
Ebenezer Pike (1806 - 1883) Steamships
Joseph Pike (1851 - 1929) Railways
(Page 13) Perhaps the first Cork Quaker was Richard Pike, who, in 1648, had been in the Cromwellian army and was honest, sober and just, and well-respected by his fellows. He commanded a troop, and at the time, still believed in the lawfulness of war. When the war was over he received an allotment of land in Cork for the arrears of his pay. As a result of hearing Edward Burrough, he became a Quaker and realised that he could no longer use arms for the destruction of human life. Anyone who would like to believe that his choice was for material advantage has got it all wrong, for, although he had the care of Sarsfield Court near Cork, it was taken away from him because of his Quakerism.
After that, Richard Pike took a farm at Kilcreagh, seven miles west of Cork, but in 1664 he moved to the city with his family. There had been an increase in persecution since King Charles II had come to the throne, and as a consequence Richard Pike was imprisoned, in crowded and confined conditions, where he caught a violent cold. His condition worsened and he was permitted to go home, on condition that he returned to gaol when he improved. In 1668, he managed to attend a meeting for worship in the gaol, but it seems that this was his last farewell, for he subsequently died. Since he had still technically been a prisoner, his body was offered to the gaoler first before being carried to the graveyard at Summerhill South, where his was the first interment. His descendants were to be noteworthy, both in the life of the city and among the Quakers.
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(Page 20) In spite of persecution, the Cork Quaker community flourished and, in 1678, for the sum of £500, built their first meeting-house, in a secluded spot off North Main Street, at present-day Grattan Street, and near to the city walls. The lane leading to their place of worship was known, as might be expected, as Meeting-House Lane, and a little brass plaque in the pavement of the North Main Street still marks where it was. The meeting-house was in close proximity to the Episcopalian place of worship of 'Peter's Parish' and must have been like a breath of burning sulphur to the nostrils of its ministering clergyman.
The premises must have been a great advance in comfort and in 1678 Quakers were instrumental in promoting specific 'Women's Meetings', where the women could discuss their own administrative arrangements in parallel with those of the men. A marriage that took place in the meeting-house in 1682 was that of Joseph Pike, the son of Richard Pike. He was then aged twenty-five years and married Elizabeth Rogers, the eldest daughter of Francis Rogers. They were to remain married till parted by death and Joseph B Pike said he never repented his choice, the wife who had borne him fourteen children.
(Page 163) Typical of the first generation of Cork-born Qukers was Joseph B Pike, the son of Richard Pike. When only eighteen years old, he inherited a small amount of shop goods, which he sold off for £3 and invested the proceeds in a purchase of wool. As he describes it:
"The first bargain that I made was for a bag (about sixteen stone) of short fell wool, by selling which I made twenty shillings. I soon after bought two bags of the same sort by which I got fifty shillings and getting a fresh stock. I went over to Minehead, having been about a year in my little trade, where I continued about six months dealing in wool for my brother-in-law Henry Wheddon, which I did to his satisfaction: and then made it my business to get full insight into wool, for I delighted in the trade."
Further family based business alliances followed for Joseph Pike and for a while he was in partnership with another Quaker, William Alloway, dealing in wool and 'English goods', that is, mainly in cloth-related products. The principle he operated on was trust in Providence, so far as any question of succes might go - which in contemporary terms meant to trust not in chance but literally in what would be divinely provided:
"I do not remember that I ever broke my word or promise with anybody, neither did I venture more in one ship than I was able to bear if she was lost, for I did not then nor do I now look upon it as just to venture or hazard other men's substance, let the prospect of profit be ever so great."
Joseph B Pike was also in partnership with his brother Richard, and they opended the first linen draper's shop in Cork. Their partnership continued until 1682, when Joseph B Pike, then aged twenty-four, married Elizabeth Rogers, the daughter of Francis Rogers. His wife's marriage portion enabled him to expand his business and, on her father's death in 1688, they inherited yet more. Joseph B Pike was now also, with his brother-in-law Henry Wheddon, exporting serge cloth to Holland, Flanders and other places. His father-in-law also joined him in the export of serge, and one cargo involved a principal amount of £400. Cargo was spread over different bottoms to lessen the risk of loss. Another merchant, Francis Rogers, also had dealings in butter with Cadiz and Rotterdam and with Bilboa in hides; and other merchants would have had a similar variety of dealings.
Like other merchants of the day in Cork and elsewhere, Joseph B Pike concentrated on a central product but, in addition, bought and sold a wide range of other goods. They organised their affairs to be free to follow Divine leadings and regularly curtailed their business to leave themselves free of financial clutter. On one occasion Joseph B Pike saw an opportunity to corner the market in tobacco. With such a monopoly he would stand to make a huge profit, since the English parliament was expected to put high duties on that product. After discussion with his cousin and fellow Quaker Samuel Randall, they decided it would not be correct for them to become, or to be seen as, monopolisers greedy for profit at the expense of other people, so they declined the opportunity. They did not regret their decision, even when a competitor made several thousand pounds out of the transaction that they had rejected. Their motives were not always understood and their success in business sometimes aroused jealousy from those who tried too hard for wealth and ended up bankrupt.
(Page 22) Some Cork Quakers removed their families to England for the duration of the Williamite Wars (1688 - 1691), but those who remained in the city maintained friendly relations with both their Catholic and Protestant neighbours. In both Cork and Limerick, and other places where others feared to go out, Friends visited and assisted the needy with clothes and food. Cork Friends visited and helped the Scots imprisoned at Macroom. The English had been wholly disarmed, and one night the citizens were all greatly surprised to see soldiers armed with lighted torches lining the streets. A noted and intelligent Irishman came to the house of Joseph Pike and said he feared mischief, which caused considerable apprehension to Pike and his family.
Not so long after this, Joseph B Pike, son of Richard Pike, was walking with his cousin Samuel Randall on the Custom House Quay, now called Emmet Place, when he saw a great crowd gathered there. They decided to go further into town to see what was going on. Troopers were riding through the streets with drawn swords, the soldiers running to arms, the Irish in an uproar, crying out, 'The Bandon people are come, and killing thousands out of South Gate'. Others cried out, 'Kill them all!' Some looked threateningly at Samuel Randall and Joseph B Pike. However, this whole event was a deceitful ruse to disguise a robbery elsewhere in the city.
The sympathies of Friends were basically with the Williamites, but that did not prevent them supporting the rights of any of their neighbours who were unjustly treated and taking such questions up with whichever part happened to be in power at the time. Friends went to great lengths to attend meetings for worship and business, and Joseph B Pike describes how, early in 1690, he and his cousin Samuel Randall even travelled by sea to attend the Half-Yearly Meeting in Dublin. However, they were in Cork when the English besieged the city. In spite of receiving £500 in sterling from the city's merchants to persuade him not to burn the north or south suburbs, McGillicuddy, the Irish Governor of Cork, did just that before he capitulated. Joseph B Pike mistrusted him and had shrewdly removed his goods into the city, thus preserving them. The Quakers lost the use of their meeting-house for a while when it was commandeered to hold prisoners. The weather was wet and many of the English soldiers and the Irish prisoners grew sick and died.
(Page 24) In about 1692, and for some years before, internal reforms were advanced among Cork Friends to try to deal with the problems posed by wealth. Prominent in this movement of reform was Joseph B Pike. With Samuel Randall and Thomas Wight, he was appointed to meet with every family of Friends. In a reverent and worshipful manner, all were encouraged to consider in what ways their possessions were consistent, or otherwise, with Christian truth and plainess.
Before undertaking this work of family visitation, Joseph B Pike like his fellow appointees, had been careful to be a good example himself and cleared his house of anything he believed to conflict with the aims of simplicity and plainess. His account gives some idea of the style of living enjoyed by some Friends:
Most of our wives at that time wore silk clothing, though of a pretty plain colour and other costly apparel, and we had some pretty fine furniture and household stuff... fine veneered cases and drawers, tables, stands, cabinets, escritoires of walnut and olive wood varnished and nicely set forth. Some had carved chairs, large mouldings and cornices, some had hangings of diverse colours. Some very large looking glasses with toppings. Some pretty fine curtains with fringes.
(Page 28) In the wake of the war, Cork's civic finances were in a bad way, so that richer Quaker merchants loaned money to the Corporation for it to discharge its debts. In return, in 1705 the Corporation sold them cheap tracts of marshy and deserted land to the west and north of the city and nearby, which they undertook to redevelop and make profitable. Some of them were already leasing land from the Corporation. The names of some central players were the Pikes, who purchased Pike's Marsh, and John Hamman (or Hammond), a linen merchant, of Hammond's Marsh. The names of other Quaker families are perpetuated in Fenn's Marsh, Devonshire's Marsh ('The Green Marsh') and Sleigh's Marsh. These marshes were drained, houses were built there and structures of tenancy and sub-tenancy evolved. Other, smaller, Quaker tradesmen played a subsidary part in these developments and rented or purchased from their richer brethren. Some land outside the city also came to be owned by Quakers, usually as a result of mortgage arrangements. Many business and religious connections existed with North America, and some Friends owned extensive tracts in Pennsylvania. A grant by William Penn to Joseph B Pike in 1705 gave him over 10,000 acres there.
(Page 32) The printed word was to play a big part in perpetuating the values and belief systems embodied in the Quaker way of life. A concern of Joseph B Pike to explain Quaker views resulted in his writing a book on the docrine of Friends, called 'A Treatise concerning Baptism and the Supper'. Having received permission in 1710 to publish this, he also undertook to pay for it out of his own pocket. Also contributing to the strengthening of the life of the meeting were 'testimonies' issued by Monthly Meetings to the grace of God in the life of a respected deceased individual. These presented models of desirable behaviour and guides to spititual progress.
(Page 166) Many Quakers made their living by trades based on cloth and textile production. They showed great astuteness in adapting to changing political and commercial conditions. In 1698, the English parliament took away the profitable export of serges to the Continent. The destruction of that Irish industry encouraged Joseph B Pike and others to turn to the export of bay yarn to England, and this was to prove the central commercial factor in their financial success. Other Irish Quakers who did likewise came to be numbered among the chief employers and exporters in that trade.
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(Page 35) By the 1730's and 1740's, the status of Cork Quakers in their own city was secure. They were a financial and commercial power and, more importantly, had proved themselves as godly men and women. They are noted, along with other religious and social groups, in 'Remarks upon the Religion, Trade, Government, Police, Manners and Maladies of the City of Cork', written by Alexander the Coppersmith. The list for subscribers to the book included the Quakers Joseph Abell, Joseph Beale, William Morris Jr., Robert Morris, William Pike, John Pike and Benjamin Pike and William Sleigh and 'master' William Fenn Sleigh, besides a number of Limerick Quakers.
(Page 37) Time was sometimes taken up at the Men's Meetings with consideration of the transgressions of members. Besides disownments for 'marriage out', there could also be concerns for the obvious and more serious moral faults. On a minor scale, even a respected Friend, Benjamin Pike, the son of Joseph B Pike, might come up for some censure, as he did in 1731 when he was found to have joined the 'Water Club', a precursor of the Royal Yacht Club, membership of which would have exposed him to strong pressures to depart from the standards upheld by Friends. The Men's Meeting dealt with him and encouraged him to resign from the Water Club. He had also given them some cause for anxiety by wearing a fashionable wig, but he protested that this was because of a scalp problem, so it was agreed he should wear the wig, but cut shorter.
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(Page 56) The increasing number of Friends in Cork during the latter part of the eighteenth century also prompted the Cork Men's Meeting, one year later, in 1776, to consider the enlargement of the meeting-house premises, which were proving too small for the Province Meeting when it was hosted in Cork.
A specially appointed committee of six Friends was set up to look into the requirements for improving their meeting-house. First thoughts were merely of an enlargement, but, at the prompting of the banker Ebenezer Pike, and on the recommendation of the committee, it was agreed, on 3rd second-month 1777, that new premises should be erected. No difficuly was anticipated in raising the money, and the work was to be commenced as quickly as possible. Richard Allen was requested to ask Samuel Beale to vacate the premises preparatory to this and the Committe of the Poor was asked to find some temporary accommodation for those poorer Friends who 'inhabited the upper part of the house'. Because, as often happens in such cases, bigger sums were required than had been anticipated, a review of financial policy was expedited. The costings of the new meeting-house do not emerge from the existing monthly meeting minute books, but for the first time regular quarterly collections were instituted in place of the more haphazard ones.
(Page 67) The Cork Quakers were particularly interested in American affairs. Not alone had many members emigrated there, but they had close commercial and religious links with the colonies. On 30th third-month 1778, Cork Friends noted a letter received from James Gough, who had lived for a time in Cork. He was Clerk to the Dublin Men's Meeting, which had been delegated to set on foot a subscription for the relief of Friends and other victims of war in the American colonies. A letter had also been received from London Friends who had started a similar collection. With it was circulated a printed copy of a communication from Philadelphia Friends who sought such items as 1,000 barrels of best Irish beef, 400 barrels of best Irish pork, and 200 kegs of best Cork or other Irish butter. In response to these requests, on 12th fourth-month 1778, the Cork Friends set up a relief committee. There were ten members on this, including Samuel Neale (who had recently travelled in the ministry in America), Ebenezer Pike, George Randall, George Newsom and James Abell, all of whom, besides commercial experience, had dealings at one time or another with the Americas. The money raised was not all required in the end and, when the balance was eventually returned with interest in 1790, it was suggested that the money that was left be used towards the emancipation of slaves.
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(Page 167) In the 1760's widespread protest with a nationalist tinge emerged in both Cork and Dublin, and affected the textile trade. The import of English goods was seen as a threat to local manufacture and woollen goods, in particular, came under notice. During 1766 - 1767, a Blackpool mob attacked and destroyed a supply of woollen goods being delivered to Samuel Beale, effectively destroying his business. His relative, Joshua Beale of Myrtle Hill, noted in his diary 24th fifth-month 1767 that Ebenezer and Samuel Pike subscribed £80 to assist, and Caleb Beale and others added to the sum till it reached £210, 'To assist poor Sam to set up again. Walked home by Mardyke with Caleb, Sam and Ellis Chandlee. Very fierce cold north wind.'
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(Page 170) Pikes bank.
In 1769, Peter Cambridge became bankrupt. In such a close-knit society, the knock-on effects of bankruptcy would be rapidly felt. It was felt that the losses incurred by Peter Cambridge might seriously injure Joseph Pike, although, in the event, he withstood the shock. Peter Cambridge died soon after, perhaps because of the pressure he was under. His wife firstly sold all the property built on her husband's investment land, then sold much of the land itself to a coalition of the Pike's, who bailed her out. The Pikes had long experience of banking, and, in some form or another, their bank continued throughout the eighteenth and into the nineteenth centuries. It derived ultimately from an establishment set up in 1675 by the Hoare family. A temporary closure of Pike's Bank in 1770 may have had some connection with Peter Cambridge's bankruptcy.
(Page 182) The end of an era was marked in 1826 by the death of Joseph Pike, the banker. He had been supervising the ticking off of used bank notes in the parlour of his bank, with the help of Ebenezer Pike, his son, and Robert Robinson, a clerk, when he was suddenly seized with 'an apoplectic fit'. The Souther Reporter, giving an account of the event, emphasised that there was no need to panic, as the far-seeing proprietor had made proper arrangements for such an event as regards the safety of the customers' deposits. A messenger had already been dispatched to Dublin by Ebenezer Pike, who, having the same forthright character as his father, removed a large sum of specie from the bank to the the local branch of the Bank of Ireland. The Cork grain and provision markets soon recovered from the news and the populace awaited the arrival of the executors until the business of the bank should resume.
The Southern Reporter, on 4th March 1826, described Joseph Pike's funeral: 'The immense concourse of persons including every class, country gentleman, commercial men etc., that attended the funeral of Mr. Pike yesterday was an unequivocal proof of the estimation in which he was held.' The bank, having met all of its commitments, transferred its business to the Bank of Ireland. Many years after, perhaps in the 1850's, a story was told of three Cork citizens in reminiscent mood, as they stood on St. Patrick's Bridge gazing into the waters of the Lee. One said, 'I put my money in the Catholic bank and lost all.' The second said, 'Yes. And I put all my money in the Protestant bank and lost all.' The third said, with a greater pause, 'Indeed. And I put my money with Joe Pike, the Quaker, who had no religion, and I still have it.'
There are several stories about Joseph Pike and his bank which, even if not of intrinsic importance, are worth recording for what is sometimes called 'posterity', but for the sake of Cork anyway. When the clergyman Dr. Austen was in the bank on one occassion, Joe Pike was exchanging some of his own banknotes for smaller, very tattered and torn, national notes. The recipients were complaining and the Doctor pompously thought it is place to intervene, saying that the people were not being given proper value in the exchange. 'Do you think so, Friend?' said Joe Pike, probably thinking of his own losses to the tithe-monger, 'And what is it of value that you give them for your great takings from them?'
A more dramatic Pike story reflects a popular perception of there being some underlying hostility between Joe Pike and a member of the Haughton family. If it is to be believed, this surfaced in the fish market one day, when Joe Pike spotted a likely fat turbot and offered a price. While he turned to count out the pennies from his purse, Barcroft (spelt 'Bearcroft' in deference to Cork pronounciation) Haughton pounced with an offer the fish-seller could not refuse. Joe Pike's shock was manifest when he turned back again, and a tug of war for posession of the turbot ensued, with a variety of fisticuffs, as the fish-boys on each side cheered their favourites. But Joe Pike had a paunch, and was soon winded, and J. B. H. bore off his prize in triumph. One wonders what Joe Pike's worthy ancestor, 'the' Joseph Pike, would have thought of such a carry-on.
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(Page 60) 'Merrily Kiss the Quaker' - the abduction of Mary Pike
This is a grimly memorable event that has entered the folklore of Cork. The abduction of Mary Pike in 1797 is commemorated in the tune 'Merrily Kiss the Quaker', the title of which, including the abductor's name, should properly be noted as 'Sir Brown Hayes Kissed the Quaker', which was part of the accompanying ditty sung cheerfully in Cork streets. Mary Pike was the daughter of Samuel Pike, of Pike's bank, and his wife Catherine (nee Hutchinson). He had died in 1796 and his daughter stood to inherit £20,000. Sir Henry Brown Hayes was somewhat impoverished, and the assumtion is that he was more interested in Mary Pike's prospective fortune, and less enamoured of her looks. In 1797, Sir Brown Hayes arranged, as if by chance, to meet Mary's erstwhile Quaker uncle, Cooper Penrose, at Woodhill and was hospitably invited to stay for dinner with the family.
Note long after that unfortunate encounter, Mary Pike received a note, supposedly from Dr. Robert Gibbings, to say that her mother was very sick and that he was already there, as it was a dire emergency. Mary Pike, with her Penrose cousins, hurried in a coach to meet her on what was a dark wet night. The coach was waylaid by five armed men and she was taken to none other than Sir Brown Hayes. The message had been a false one and merely a ruse towards Mary Pike's dangerously foolish abduction. She was taken to Mount Vernon, where an attempt to coerce her into a form of marriage was made with a renegade priest in attendance. Sir Brown Hayes had not counted on Mary Pike's spirited resistance and she flung the ring away from her. There is an assumption that she was later raped and, after she managed to escape, she fled to Bristol and lived there for a while.
Her uncle Cooper Penrose offered a large reward for the capture of the abductor and his crimminal accomplices and Richard Pike Banker offered 500 guineas reward, which was advertised in the New Cork Evening Post on 27th July 1797. Sir Brown Hayes moved openly around Cork and was eventually brought to trial and sent to Botany Bay, Australia, where his life does not appear to have been particularly regretful considering all the pain he had caused. The trial, on 13th fourth-month 1801, was, for Mary Pike, however, a cause of great stress and distress. The subsequent trauma, apart from its effects on the unfortunate victim, impacted on her friends and relatives and eventually required a response from the Monthly Meeting, because she had taken a judicial oath when she made her deposition before a magistrate. She attempted to justify it to the three women Friends deputed to discuss it with her and this eventually led to her disunion from Quakers. She subsequently became mentally deranged and it became necessary for her to enter the Bloomfield Retreat in Dublin - a mental hospital run by Friends on principles of kindness and care. Strangely, she died on the same day as Brown Hayes, who, by then, had retired comfortable back in Ireland.
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(Page 188) The first ships of the St. George Steam Packet Company to go into action, in 1824, were the Lee and the Severn, serving Cork-Liverpool and Cork-Bristol respectively. This promotion was challenged in 1826 by a more localised Cork-based steamship company, the Superb Company. The promotion included a smaller group of Cork Quakers under the management of Ebenezer Pike, who must have been flexing his financial muscles after inheriting a fortune from his recently deceased banker father. It was the practice of the times to set up a separate company for each ship registration and such was the case with the Superb, and certainly with the earlier St. George Steam Packet Co ships. Other Quaker promoters of the Superb included Joseph Harris, Joshua & Thomas Carroll, and Harvey, Son & Deaves. The steam packet commanded by Lieutenant D. O. B. Casey, RN, included private state rooms and cabin accommodation. It was 440 tons and built in London, with 140 hp engines, by Maudsley, 'the government engineer'.
(Page 191) Ironically, when it is remembered that Ebebeezer Pike had once run in opposition to the St. George Steam Packet Co, it was his entrepreneurial qualities and capital that set up a new Cork-based steam packet company. The new company was part of a rescue package salvaged from the financial wreck of the St. George Steam Packet Co. There was much coming and going, and selling of ships and raising of mortgages. The new company was called the Cork Steamship Company, and in it Ebebeezer Pike had a predominant interest and shareholding of 150 £100 shares out of a total capital of £170,000. In its defence and advancement he was resolute, and he was able to bring on board a powerful injection of capital from the cotton-manufacturing firm of Malcomson's of Waterford - Quakers like himself.
(Page 118) Animated by 'a Measure of Love' - The Great Hunger (1845 - 1848) The summer of 1845 had produced a richly blooming potato crop. In the course of one night it became clear that it was totally rotten. A second failure followed in 1846 and showed that a severe period of famine was imminent. This was a clear call for Quakers to give some exceptional service and they were to be the fore in promoting a massive relief scheme. The administrative techniques of Friends in running their society, and the associated financial and co-operative structures implied in the network of families that constituted the Society in Ireland, provided a ready-made instrument for furthering relief in a concentrated and effective manner. Business and religious connections with American Quakers also were to be important factors. The Quaker scheme was not the only one, and as a contribution it still remained small in the context of so much suffering, sickness and hunger, but it was an encouragement to other people to do their best also, providing leadership by example. They regarded their efforts as 'utterly disproportionate' and claimed they could not have achieved even that much without a 'measure of the love of God'. A significant feature of their relief work was to disapprobate sectarianism and act pragmatically, on a strictly humanitarian basis. In typical fashion, the scheme was a simple attempt to meet a perceived need; to do at least something, even if the bigger problem seemed insoluble.
As the year 1846 drew to a close, the situation in Cork was rapidly becoming worse, but already, by a minute of 5th eleventh-month, a Cork Monthly Meeting relief committee had been set up. This, in turn, resulted from a decision of the Quarterly Meeting, affected by 'the privations which large numbers of the poor around us are now suffering'. The committee was made up of Joseph Harvey, Richard H. Baker, James Carroll, William Martin, Abraham Fisher, Barcroft Haughton, George Gibbs, William Wright, Samuel Newsom, John Fennell and Peter M. Fisher. At subsequent meetings, Abraham Fisher explained the principles of the soup kitchens set up at Youghal, and Ebenezer Pike provided premises for the committee and for a soup kitchen at Adelaide Street. He also undertook to provide an iron boiler, built at his ship-construction premises, and to supply an acre of turnips for the soup from time to time.
(Page 200) Ebenezer Pike also saw the need for ship-buiding facilities in Cork. They would save his company money and generate Cork jobs, which would be no mean feat in the shadow of the 'Great Hunger'. The firm eventually absorbed the Lecky concerns and its yard was situated at Hargreaves Quay and Water Street. On 4th July 1848, the Southern Reporter stated that, 'While others are talking on the subject of Irish manufacture and doing nothing, Mr. Pike, the enterprising builder... expends a very large sum in wages to the various workers employed.' Between 1848 and 1860 he employed no less than 370 men in his yards.
The Cork Steamship Company of Ebenezer Pike also built ships and the Cork Examiner, on 8th October 1852, noted of its yard:
In each department the machinery is in active and incessant motion, wheels are spinning and whirling round in every direction; planing machines and punching machines are doing their pondrous (sic) work with almost the cunning of the human hand; while the hammers of the smiths as they ring off the iron, and the clang of the boiler makers closing up the huge receptacles make the visitor forget for a moment that he is within sight of the Lee, and not on the banks of the Clyde.
In 1868, Ebenezer Pike's Cork Steamship Company yard was destroyed by fire, which effectively marked the end of that part of his business concerns.
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(Page 141) 'Innocent of Cheating' - Joseph Pike of Glanmire.
A story about the misdeeds of Joseph Pike of Dunsland, Glanmire, is perhaps not strictly relevant to the central theme of this account, since, like some of his siblings, he resigned from Cork Friends. A son of Ebenezer Pike, of shipbuilding fame, he was much respected in Cork and was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant of Cork and chairman of the Cork, Brandon & South Coast railway and of Cork Steamship Company, as well as being a promoter of the Bantry Extension Line. However, all this was in danger of being, like a house of cards, brought down, as he had an unfortunate weakness. He was a fanatical card player, which would have been shocking enough to a Quaker. His mother, Lydia Clibborn Pike, was herself orthodox in her Quakerism and, if she knew, would not have approved, having no patience with such idleness and its associated speculations. Joseph was also a follower of horse-racing, another activity disapproved by his mother, which, in reaction, could have been a factor in his pleasure.
When in Cork on business, Joseph Pike usually made room for a visit to the County Club to indulge in his favourite obsession. In 1893, he learned a new game - poker. On one occassion a visitor, Captain Cooper, observing the play of a game called 'Nap' or 'Napolean', believed he had seen Pike cheat. They had already, on another occassion, been very cool towards each other about a similar allegation. Captain Cooper, in company with Captain Burnett, a friend of his, claimed to have seen such cheating by Pike and felt duty-bound to make this exciting news known. However, rather than say it directly to Pike, he made the allegation in a roundabout way through Pike's closest friends. They, in turn, made a somewhat ambiguous suggestion that Pike might consider giving up cards for a while.
This unwelcome suggestion did not deter Pike, and all might yet have been well, until Captain Burnett let the cat out of the bag and made an indiscreet accusation which brought into the picture an official of the County Club, Richard Piggott Beamish, of the firm Beamish & Crawford. Beamish, on account of this and of other insinuations of his own, now became the object of an attack by Pike. Pike was given the ultimate advice. He must inform his mother and contact a solicitor - in that order. Lydia Clibborn Pike, armed with a bag of sovereigns, drove immediately into Cork and crossed the Mall to her solicitors, Thomas Exham & Sons. Her instructions were clear: she wanted her son's name cleared. The ensuing trial was very much a 'society' affair and many of Cork's citizens were favourable towards Pike. The legal arguments were, to a large degree, rhetorical, with helpful comments and questions interposed by the judge. After a ten-day trial, the verdict was that Pike was 'innocent of cheating' and that Beamish was 'innocent of malice', clearly a Cork solution to a Cork problem.
Although the Pikes knew it not, the Pike name was on the way out. Several scions of the clan had resigned from the Friends to join Episcopalian Church. Ebenezer Pike Jr of Kilcrenagh, Carrigrohane, was one, and although he may have been proud of his own achievements, he was just as likely to have been remembered because of his powerful namesake, his father. However, he was a Justice of the Peace for the city and county of Cork. Some of the positions he occupied were in effect hereditary. Besides being a commissioner of the Cork Harbour Board, he was Chairman of the City of Cork Steam Packet Company, of the Cork Steamship Company, of the Great Western Railway and of the Muskerry Light Railway Company.
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