Joseph PHELPS 1744 - 1800
Eldest son, second child of Joseph PHELPS 1718 – 1786 and Anna PULLEN 1705–1776
Born 30th April 1744, Dursley Gloucestershire.
Died October 1800, London. Buried in Dursley
Original founder of the Madeira wine trade
Joseph and his younger brother William grew up in Dursley, the only sons of a maltster.
Around 1770 the two brothers set off for London and formed a partnership to import Madeira wine. By 1776 we see Joseph in London, writing to William in Madeira. The firm prospered and soon acquired premises in London as well as building Carmo House in Funchal which would house the family as well as the firm's "counting house".
Joseph does not appear to have visited Madeira himself but his Will describes him as "Madeira Merchant". In January 1790 he entered into a partnership with his brother William and James Morrisey, the latter two being described as 'merchants of the Island of Madeira'. After Morrisey's death, Robert PAGE joined the partnership in 1798.
As the elder son, Joseph had inherited his father's estate, all of which he in turn bequeathed to his brother William. This included a house and land at Norwood, as well as an estate at Dursley.
He also created a mysterious Trust of two hundred and fifty pounds, "to be paid and applied by his executor to such persons and in such proportions as expressed in a paper signed by him and me, but which paper is not to be proved as part of or along with my Will or Codicil."
Another unusual clause of his Will bequeathed "suitable Mourning at the Discretion of my Executors, to my Servants."
At his death Joseph was described as "late of Garden Court in the Temple in the City of London." Page, who was on a visit to England, swore to the validity of Joseph's handwriting and signature before his Will could be proved.
Letter from Joseph to his brother William