The Humphrey Davy Link

Genealogists always like it when a historical figure appears on their tree and the Milletts are no exception. Leonard Millett’s son by his second marriage, to Grace Millett, was Humphrey Millett.

Humphrey married Elizabeth Adams on 20th February 1746 and had five children – Jane, Humphry, Grace, Leonard and Elizabeth. Our interest here is with Grace who married Robert son of Edmund Davy on 16th September 1776 at Madron. Their eldest son was to become the famed chemist Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829).

Sir Humphrey Davy

Sir Humphrey Davy, 1st Baronet, FRS, MRIA, FGS was a British chemist and inventor who invented the Davy Lamp, a safety light for miners, and a very early form of arc lamp. He is also remembered for isolating, by using electricity, several elements for the first time: potassium and sodium in 1807 and calcium, strontium, barium, magnesium and boron the following year, as well as for discovering the elemental nature of chlorine and iodine. Davy also studied the forces involved in these separations, inventing the new field of electrochemistry.

In 1799 he experimented with nitrous oxide and was astonished at how it made him laugh, so he nicknamed it “laughing gas” and wrote about its potential anaesthetic properties in relieving pain during surgery. (See Cartoon Header)

Davy was a baronet, President of the Royal Society (PRS), Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), Fellow of the Geological Society (FGS), and a member of the American Philosophical Society (elected 1810).