Matching family tree profiles for George Hyde Clarke
About George Hyde Clarke
Extensive information - Family
Lord Byron (a Clarke family connection) was famously "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," but the father of the builder of New York's Hyde Hall was considered just as despicable in many eyes. Even his nearest and dearest had little good to say about George Hyde Clarke (1742-1824).
One observer called him an "execrable villain" while another damned him as "my abandoned profligate nephew." So what did he do to blacken his reputation so greatly? For one Clarke ran up massive debts as a young man and fled to the Continent to avoid his creditors. For another in the 1770s he dumped Katherine Hussey Nesbit, his "dear, unhappy, and much injured" wife and mother of his two sons (George and Edward), and ran off to Jamaica with Sophia Astley, eldest daughter of the portrait painter John Astley, by whom he had two bastard sons (Hyde John and Robert). And by a later mistress he had a daughter — or at least his will points out he thought Elizabeth Lee Clarke was his child.
According to one of his descendants, when George Hyde Clarke tired of Sophia Astley in 1792 he paid a Frenchman named Louis Foncier 1,000 pounds to marry her. Clarke eventually died on 5 July 1824 at age 82 at his London townhouse in Grafton Street, Berkeley Square, and was interred at St. Lawrence's church in Denton, near Manchester, Lancashire, England, carried there by "a Hearse attended by six persons on horseback, and a mourning coach."
Among the friends of his youth was the future historian and M.P. Edward Gibbon, author of "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." They spent time together as young men in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the 1760s.
George Hyde Clarke's Timeline
October 31, 1777
Trelawny Parish, Jamaica
July 5, 1824