Chasing the Ghost of HS Wilkinson in Northern Ireland

At the end of 2013, I was in Belfast doing final research for the book. Chief Justice Hiram Shaw Wilkinson's papers had been left with the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. I had finished drafting Gunboat Justice, but I felt that I needed something more to tie the story together. The Wilkinson Papers gave me what I needed. I was able to find little details about his life in Japan and China and his personal views and thoughts that helped create a narrative that I could carry through the book both for HS Wilkinson and his son, Harrie. One of the most exciting finds was to find the original letter written by barrister Duncan McNeill apologising to Wilkinson for accusing him of an injustice.

After two days in PRONI, I went with my wife to Tobermore in search of Wilkinson's house and grave. We could not find the house, but the Wilkinson family grave was in the Anglican churchyard in Tobermore on top of a small hill overlooking a beautiful green valley. Wilkinson's son Thomas and some other family members are buried in the plot.  

I was very happy to have found the last resting place of someone who featured so much in the book. I regret very much that his son's grave did not survive in Shanghai.