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Friendships~Partnerships~Family Ties
Unravelling the Connections - Part II

Co-founder of Charles McEnearney & Co. Ltd.

The Ford Dealership, Trinidad


Robert de Sousa, better known as Bobby, was a most interesting man.  Born on July 4 1880 in Trinidad, he was educated at Boys’ Model School (later Tranquility School).  In 1904 when he was 24 years old, he married Alice Ferreira, daughter of Moses Ferreira and Isabella de Freitas.  Moses owned and ran the Vista Bella Coal Mine in San Fernando.  At that young age, Bobby was already the Branch Manager in south Trinidad of a business owned by Albert Mendes. (Incidentally, Albert's wife Mary Periera was my great-grandmother Christina Pereira's sister.)

 

Alice and Bobby had six children They were Leslie, Grace, Kathleen, Richard (Neville), Lena (Joyce) and Stanley.  Two of his children, Leslie and Joyce, married two Sheppard siblings, my aunt Ida and uncle Bertie. The de Sousa family lived in a beautiful home situated near the Savannah in Port of Spain.  Robert was a Freemason, having joined the Prince of Wales Lodge in Alexandra Street, Port of Spain in 1918. 

Robert (Bobby) de Sousa was the co-founder of the Ford dealership in Trinidad, Charles McEnearney & Co. Ltd., and became the sole owner of the firm  when Charles McEnearney left Trinidad and returned to the USA.   When Bobby decided to move to Grenada, he sold the company to brothers George and Melville de Nobriga who, like himself, were Trinidadians of Portuguese parentage.

 

After selling his interest in McEnearneys to the de Nobrigas, he joined Geo. F. Huggins & Co. Ltd., becoming one of the Directors of that company.  In Grenada, he became Managing Director of George F. Huggins & Co. Ltd., the largest trade and commercial concern in Grenada at the time.  Bobby de Sousa purchased and managed a large group of estates in Grenada and is said to have owned a small island in the Grenadines.  He had a keen interest in horseracing and owned many famous racehorses.  He also  became one of the founders and directors of the cinema business in Grenada. 

The family relates that his wife Alice did not want to uproot her family to move to Grenada, so she continued to live in their family home in Port of Spain so that the children could continue their schooling there.  The couple never divorced and Robert enjoyed the rest of his life in Grenada.  Robert's daughter Joyce and her husband  Bertie Sheppard also moved from Trinidad to Grenada.  Following in his father-in-law's footsteps, Bertie became the Managing Director of Huggins & Co. Ltd. there.

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Robert (Bobby) de Sousa

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Painting of "Bagshot" - the de Sousa Family home where Alice de Sousa lived with the children in Trinidad

(Courtesy Joan (de Sousa) Bodu)

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l/r:  Bertie Sheppard, Kathleen de Sousa and her father Robert de Sousa, in his garden over looking the harbour, Grenada

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Robert de Sousa and his son Stanley, Grenada

Robert de Sousa died in Grenada on 21 July 1966 when he was 86 years old and was laid to rest there.  Alice predeceased him in 1962  and her gravesite is in Mucurapo Cemetery in Trinidad.  Their descendants are now spread far and wide - from the Caribbean to as far as Peru, England, Canada and America.  

CHARLES McENEARNEY & CO. LTD, TRINIDAD 

The McEnearney - de Nobriga - Gibson Connection

Melville de Nobriga married Amy Gibson, whose brothers Ralph and Robert "Bunny" Gibson also joined the firm of Charles McEnearney & Co. Ltd.  In 1925 Robert was transferred to San Fernando where he ran the branch there, while his younger brother Ralph worked his way up from the bottom at the Richmond Street headquarters in Port of Spain, having started working the petrol pumps as a schoolboy during vacation time.   Ralph's brother "Bunny" Gibson died in a tragic accident in 1961, and  in that same year within a short space of time,  his brother-in-law Melville de Nobriga also passed away.   In 1962, following those unfortunate deaths,  Ralph became McEnearney's Chairman and Managing Director.   Ralph held those positions until his retirement in 1982.  Here again we see family ties, as Ralph Gibson  married Charles McEnearney's daughter.

I find it interesting to note that Ralph Gibson's grandfather had come to Trinidad from England and worked with the prison service attached to the St. James Barracks where my English great-grandfather Alfred Sheppard also served, first with his Regiment and later with the Trinidad Police Force. Charles McEnearney himself was an Irish-born immigrant. The de Nobriga brothers and Robert de Sousa were of Portuguese ancestry.  In Barbados, Charles McEnearney's business partner Charles MacKenzie was of Scottish ancestry, all of his children bearing the family middle name Straghan.

The Caribbean is truly a melting pot of intertwined families and people from different nations.
 

The Synchronicity of Life . . . I find that tracing the intertwining of families and events is fascinating.

 

This story was first compiled by me on 17 October, 2021. 

On 4 November, following the death of my former husband David MacKenzie on 17 September 2023,  I added the chapter about him.  All of the newspaper articles are from my own collection. 

With thanks to:-

  • Ryan de Sousa and family for providing family photos

  • My cousins Joan (de Sousa) Bodu, Kathleen (Sheppard) Henry, and Bernie Henry for sharing oral family history

  • J. David S. MacKenzie who gave me the book "The History of the ANSA McAL Group of Companies – 125 Years of Business" published in 2006.  (David was a contributor of information and photos for the publication.)

  • Douglas S. MacKenzie for providing information

  • Genealogy sites on the internet for research

  • My father Andrew Sheppard for his handwritten memoirs about the Portuguese in Trinidad.

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