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The Littons of Manila

19 April 2012

No, the surname is NOT derived from some migrant Chinese ancestor named “Li Ton”.

The Manila Littons are of European descent. Burke’s “History of the Landed Gentry in Great Britain and Ireland” lists Litton’s as Huguenots. The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France who were had been driven from France during a series of religious persecutions in the late 17th century by the dominant Catholic Church. They migrated to a tranquil valley, now called Littondale in Yorkshire. A branch of the clan moved to Dublin, Ireland around 1660. One can still find traces of the Littons’ legacy in present-day Ireland. A small street off the river that cuts through Dublin’s East end into the Dublin Bay is called Litton Lane which is steeped in modern music history. What is now Litton Lane Hostel used to be the recording studios of such world-famous performers like U2 and Van Morrison.

Research conducted by Filipino genealogist Mona Magno-Veluz traces the movement of the Littons to Asia from Europe and their connection via maternal links to other prominent (some medieval) European clans. The person highlighted is the son of the next.


Litton Residence, 1945

A family tree in graphic form can be found here (click tree icons to expand).

GENERATION 1. George Litton Sr., the patriarch of the Manila Litton’s, moved to the Philippines from China, acquiring properties and establishing businesses — among them, the Litton Knitting Mills (founded in 1954). Their pre-war home in Manila along Isaac Peral (now U.N. Avenue) corner Florida (now M. Orosa) Streets, was “a beautiful three storey Moorish styled edifice with arches, balconies, and a roof garden” in the affluent neighborhood of the city, home to many a businessmen and expatriates of the day. He first married Rosa Tulod, with whom he had the following children. His second wife was Leonor Trinidad Sochayseng.

(1a) George T. Litton Jr. serves as the honorary consul of the Dominican Republic to Manila.
(1b) James T. Litton has worked tirelessly for the erection of monuments to the memory of the WWII heroes. He is a lawyer and a hardworking member of the “Battling Bastards of Bataan”.
(1c) Edward T. Litton
(1d) Emma Litton-Laperal
(1e) Gloria Litton-del Rio
(1f) Grace Litton-Gallego
(1f) Johnny T. Litton is a businessman, television personality and society columnist.

GENERATION 2George John L’Establere Litton was born around 1867 in Dublin, Ireland. He matriculated at Oxford University’s Oriel College on 14 December 1885 at age 18.  In 1891, he was appointed cadet at the Straits Settlements,  a group of British territories located in the Malayan Peninsula.  He moved to China where he began his career as a diplomat and occupied various government posts:  Student Interpreter (1895), acting Consul at Chungking (1898-1899) Assistant at the Burma-China Frontier Delimitation Commission (1899-1900), First Class Assistant (1900), Officer-in-charge at Teng-yueh (1901-1902) and at Yunnan-fu (1902-1903) and finally, Consul at Teng-yueh, Yunnan (1903-1906).  Unfortunately, he lived a short life — he died on 09 January 1906 at Kingai, China at 39 years old. His worldly possessions worth 21,134 pounds (about 2.4 million pounds today) was granted to George Barker and Ronald Peake by a probate judge in London on 05 May 1906. He married a local girl, So Hopi, whose Western name is Mary; and they were blessed with several children — among them:

(2a) George Litton Sr. (See Generation 1).
(2b) John Letablere Litton (1903-1941) married Enid Litton of Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. He was a gunner for Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps and died during the bitter fighting that took place in the crucial weeks before the fall of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941 to the Japanese attackers. He rests at the Stanley Military Cemetery in Hong Kong.

GENERATION 3. Edward Falconer Litton born in 1827 in Dublin, Ireland. He was educated in law at Trinity College Dublin, and kept a Dublin address at 67 Merrion Square. He was accepted into the Irish bar in 1849 and made a Queen’s Counsel in 1874. He wrote scholarly opinions — among them, “Life or Death: the Destiny of the Soul in the Future State” (1866). He served in Cork and Wicklow circuit. He served as a Liberal Member of Parliament of Tyrone in 1880 and a Judge of the Supreme Court in 1890. He served as the first a Judicial Land Commissioner in Ireland, under the Land Law Act of 1881. He died on 27 November 1890 in Dublin, Ireland. In his lifetime, he married three times:

(3a) In 1851, Bridget Elizabeth Tuthill. She was born in 19 February 1831 to Christopher Tuthill and Grace Reeves. She died on 27 December 1859 in Dublin, Ireland. Among their six children was George John Letablere Litton (See Generation 2).
(3b) In 1861, Elizabeth Clarke.  Their 6 children were:
… (3b-i) Edward Letablere Litton was born on 19 November 1864. He inherited the ancestral Ardavilling house from his uncle John Litton . He qualified as a Barrister and settled into his father’s practice. In 1894, he married Ida Gordon of Dublin and died on his 37th birthday from internal haemorrhage.
… (3b-ii) Marshal William Litton was as lawyer and was the first coffee planter in Mysore, India. He was badly wounded in the First World War; and in the Irish Troubles, he gave valuable assistance to the British Authorities.
… (3c-iii) Maria Charlotte Litton
… (3d-iv) Esther Maude Vareilles Litton
… (3d-v) Helen Vareilles
… (3d-vi) Charlott Litton
(3c) Mary Lee of London from whom he had 1 son.
(3d) Adelaide Trotter of Galway from whom he had 1 daughter.

GENERATION 4. Daniel Litton (died in 1875) was a wine merchant.  He married Jane Minchin (daughter of William Falkiner Minchin and Maria Gabbett) and had the following children:

(4a) Edward Falconer Litton (See Generation 3)
(4b) Helena Maria Litton was born on 16 April 1824 and died on 03 April 1865 in Dublin, Ireland. She married Charles Langley Tuthill on 28 January 1847 in Dublin, Ireland.
(4c) Charlotte Esther Litton
(4d) Jane Hannah Litton

GENERATION 5. Edward Litton was born in Dublin, Ireland on 05 February 1754. He became an officer of the 37th (North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot. He served in the American War, having been present at the battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. He died in July 1808. Edward married Esther Charlotte Letablere, who bore her the following children:

(5a) Thomas Litton married Anne Nickson. He died on December 1859.
(5b) Daniel Litton (see Generation 4)
(5c) Edward Litton attended Trinity College in Dublin in 1830. He served as an Member of Parliament for Coleraine from 1827 to 1842. He was a Master of the Court of Chancery in 1842. He married Sophia Stewart he died in 1869.
(5d) John Litton married Vescina Hamilton.
(5e) Mary Litton married Joseph Gabbett.

It was the grandfather of Edward Litton (see Generation 5), Thomas Litton, (1657-1741) who was among the first of the Litton Clan to move to Ireland. He married the daughter of a Dublin citizen of Dutch extraction. Before then, he lived in Littondale in Yorkshire.

Having hit a wall on the Litton branch, let us explore the maternal Letablere line. “Letablere” or “de L’Establere” is an ancient family in France, several members of which settled in England and Ireland. Typical of Western naming practices, “Letablere” appears as the second name of many descendants from this line.

GENERATION 6. Daniel Letablere married Madeleine Vareilles in 1749. Esther Charlotte Letablere (see Generation 5) is second of their three children.

GENERATION 7. Rene de la Douespe Letablere was the lord of the manor of Lestablere, which used to stand ” in the parishes of Saint-Germain and Mouchamps, near Fontenai, in Lower Poitou”. A Hugeunot (Calvinist Protestant), he fled France in 1685 as a 22 year-old, after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes which triggered wide-spread persecution by the dominantly Catholic population. He arrived in Holland from Caen in the same year and entered the military service of the Prince of Orange. He was an officer in Du Cambon’s Foot at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and later, in Liffor’s House.  He settled in Dublin and shortened his name to Letablere.  He had at least one son, Daniel Letablere (see Generation 6).


Research Notes
* “Blain Biographical Directory of Anglican clergy in the South Pacific, 2011 edition”. Date accessed: 20 April 2012.
* Burke, Bernard. “A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume 2“. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 1871. Date digitized: 18 Sep 2008. Date accessed: 18 April 2012.
* “Computing ‘Real Value’ Over Time With a Conversion Between U.K. Pounds and U.S. Dollars, 1830 to Present“. Measuring worth. Date accessed: 19 April 2012.
* “England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941“, Record for Daniel Litton. Date accessed: 17 April 2012.
* “England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941” Record for George John Letablere Litton. Date accessed: 16 April 2012.
* Foley, Annemarie. “Ardavilling gate cottage and house“. Housetorian. Date published: 07 March 2011. Date accessed: 16 April 2012.
* Hooper, Virginia S. “We travel with a multitude.” Santa Clara, California. 1970. Date accessed: 18 April 2012.
* Howard, Joseph Jackson and Crisp, Frederick Arthur. “Visitation of Ireland“. 1897, Genealogical Publishing Com. Date accessed: 17 April 2012.
* “Ireland, Births and Baptism, 1620-1911“, Record for Vescina Letablere Litton. Date accessed: 18 April 2012.
* “Irish Pedigrees Volume II“. Date accessed: 17 April 2012.
* “John Letablere Litton Hong Kong“. Genealogy Forum. Date posted: 09 January 2005. Date accessed: 20 April 2012.
* Kisbey, WH. “The Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881“. Ireleand: Hodges, Figgis and Co., 1881. Date accessed: 17 April 2012
* Litton, James. “The Battle of Manila“. Date accessed: 19 April 2012.
* “Mark Clarke’s family and the families of Going, Litton, Oliver and Dobbs“. Date accessed: 20 April 2012.
* Maunsell, Robert George. “History of Maunsell, or Mansel and of Crayford, Gabbett, Knoyle, Persse, Toler, Waller, Castletown : Waller, Prior Park : Warren, White, Winthrop, and Mansell of Guernsey“. Cork, Ireland: Guy and Co, 1903. Date accessed: 18 April 2012.
* “Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886“, Record for George John Letablere Litton. Date accessed: 16 April 2012.
* “Who’s who in the Far East, 1906-1907“. Hong Kong: China Mail, 1906. Date accessed: 20 April 2012.

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