The Irish Eustace Family
came from Normandy at the time of
the Conquest. Around 1100,
Eustace FitzJohn inherited the castles of Bamburgh and Knaresborough
from his uncle Serlo de Burgh to which Alnwick castle was added on his marriage to Beatrice de
Vesci. His second marriage, to Agnes of Halton, brought him the castle at Halton
and hereditary constableship of Chester.
He was among the most powerful men in the north. His sons of the first
marriage took their mother's family name
of de Vesci. The son of the second
marriage, Robert, married Aubrey de Lisours who
was a daughter of the de Lacy family and brought him lordship of Pontefract. Their eldest grandson took the name de Lacy
in order to inherit from his great-uncle. His brother,
went with Hugh de Lacy in Strongbow's expedition to Ireland
and founded the family in Dublin
Kildare around 1180.
The prefix Fitz'
was dropped about 1300.
The family fortunes in Ireland peaked in the 1400's
when Sir Edward FitzEustace was Lord Deputy of Ireland and his son,
Sir Roland, was Lord Treasurer and Lord Deputy being given the title Lord Portlester. Thirty years later, Sir Thomas, nephew of Sir Roland, was made
Lord Kilcullen by Henry VIII and then Viscount Baltinglass.His
grandson James Eustace, the 3rd viscount, was a devout Catholic and
joined the rebellion against Elizabeth
defeating the English army at
on the Kildare-Wicklow border, but later lost his lands and titles. James
Eustace's properties were forfeited but
his life was spared when he fled to safety in Rome.
Many Eustaces died in this tragic campaign but some survived.
Today, almost half of the Eustaces in the British Isles
are of Irish connection. In the 17th century,
Sir Maurice Eustace became
Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He
was promised the barony of Cry Eustace or Portlester by Charles II but died
before it could be bestowed. Eustace Street
in Dublin, is on the site of his town house. His cousin, Maurice
Eustace of Castlemartin, raised Eustace's
regiment for James II, but on the latter's
abdication, he was attainted and fled to France.
Subsequent generations have had distinguished careers in the armed
services, six generals and an admiral. Possibly the most outstanding record
is that more than twenty have been High Sheriffs of Kildare and Carlow.
That tradition has continued into current generations of the family with Donald
D. Eustice of Minnesota
having served as the sheriff of Waseca County
during the 1970's. Donald was elected
president of the Minnesota Sheriff Officer's
Association and served in this capacity until his death in the line of duty
in 1976. Donald was also president of the Sheriff's
Boys Ranch which today is known as the Minnesota Sheriff's
Youth Program. A gymnasium located in Austin,
Minnesota (USA) is named
in his honour.
Eustace/Eustice a native of Ballymahon, County Longford, Ireland
emigrated to America
with his son John and daughter Bridget in 1850. John married Annie Jewison
at Mapleton, Waukesha, County Wisconsin
in 1863 and moved first to Michigan
and to Minnesota in 1869.
They established a family of six sons and one daughter and farmed near Janesville in Waseca County.
This family has many descendants in
and elsewhere including
editor of the Eustace Families Post.
Eustace was born in County
in 1798, and came to the Georgia/Milton area of Vermont USA in about 1828.
He first married Catherine O'Neill in 1831
and after her death in 1832, married Sarah Birney.
Thomas Eustace died in Westford,
Vermont in 1886.