Sir Thomas Cleeve
June 5, 1844|
Cleveland, Quebec, Canada
|Died||December 19, 1908
In 1860 Thomas Cleeve travelled to Ireland to stay with his mother's relatives who ran an agricultural machinery business in Limerick known as J.P. Evans & Company. Young Thomas decided to remain in Ireland and eventually assumed control of the business.
In 1883, Cleeve started a new enterprise, the Condensed Milk Company of Ireland, in conjunction with two local businessmen. The company manufactured dairy products, such as condensed milk, butter, cheese and confectionery. Its headquarters were located in Limerick city, on the northern bank of the River Shannon. The business expanded over the next 20 years to become the largest of its type in the United Kingdom.
In 1899, Cleeve was voted on to Limerick City Council. That same year, his fellow councillors elected him as High Sheriff of Limerick City, the Queen's representative in the city. He held the position again in 1900, 1901 and 1908.
In December 1908, Cleeve was taken ill at a public function. Despite undergoing surgery, he died of peritonitis a few days later at the age of 64. According to contemporary newspaper reports his funeral was one of the largest seen in Limerick city, with crowds lining the streets up to an hour before the cortège passed. His body is buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's Cathedral in the city.
- Burke, Sir Bernard, Burke's Irish family records, Burke's Peerage, 1976
- Lee, David and Jacobs, Debbie, Made in Limerick Vol.1, History of industries, trade and commerce, Limerick Civic Trust, 2003
- Irish Independent, December 21, 1908 (p.5)
- The Irish Times, "Serious illness of Sir Thomas Cleeve", December 19, 1908
Additional reading and sources
- Jim Bruce, Faithful Servant: A Memoir of Brian Cleeve (Lulu, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84753-064-6)