Ryves, Peter Thomas (c1772 CAN - c1833 FRA)


Ryves, Peter Thomas


Father: Thomas Ryves
Mother: Therese-Louise Benoist

Birth: c.1772, probably Montreal, Canada
Birth Source: See research notes below

Death: bet.1828 & 1833, Versailles, France
Birth Source: See research notes below

Spouse1: Elizabeth Peircey Davis
Spouse2: Matilda Elizabeth Pirner


Children of Peter Thomas Ryves & Elizabeth Peircey Davis:
  1. John Ryves, b.1798, Brighton, Sussex

Children of Peter Thomas Ryves & Matilda Elizabeth Pirner:
  1. Thomas James Ryves, b.‎17 Jul 1805
  2. Anne Arethusa Ryves, b. Jan 1808
  3. William Henry Ryves, b.9 Jan 1812
  4. Louisa Frances Ryves b.1814
  5. Matilda Waller Ryves b.1816

Peter Thomas Ryves was most likely born in America, his parents having married in Montreal, Canada.

He served in Militia and the Army from 1792-1825, initially as an Ensign in the Surrey Militia. In 1799, and now serving as a Lieutenant in the 8th (Kings Royal Irish) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (8th Hussars) in the Napoleonic Wars he was taken as a Prisoner of War. This was probably during the ill-fated Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. On release, he served as Assistant Quartermaster-General at Battle of Maida (4 July 1806). He progressed through the ranks as Captain and then Major (1810) and was subsequently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel on 16 June 1814. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General to the troops in the Ionian Islands under Major Drake in 1816.

On the 24th April 1817, Peter Thomas was subjected to a court martial for the falsification of a certificate (which caused His Majesty's Government a 'contingent temporary loss' of £16 8s 6d), the falsification of various vouchers and the unauthorised issue of certain rules for the conduct of the barrack department in contravention of the specific orders of the Commander of the Armed Forces. He admitted his guilt and would have been cashiered had it not been for the direct personal intervention of the Prince Regent and Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Maitland. As the result of this intervention, he was allowed to continue to serve in the capacity of Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel and Major, on half-pay; effectively a 'demotion'.

Research Notes

Peter Thomas's parents, Thomas Ryves and Therese-Louise Benoist married in Montreal in October 1771. A likely birth date of c. 1772 for Peter Thomas would fit with this as it would with the age at which he entered service with the army. This date is also consistent with the private pedigree prepared by William Theodore Ryves referred to below.

The date and place of his death lacks publicly available documentary evidence and is taken from a private database built by Stephen Sladen, a direct descendant of the Dorset Ryves and a pedigree produced by William Theodore Ryves in c.1905.

It would seem likely that Peter Thomas was the father of the 'eccentric' Jenett Maud Mary Ryves who established and ran an orphanage in Manchester. This lady had a reputation for child cruelty, was imprisoned for such and there was a highly suspicious death of a child in her care which was recorded at the inquest as suicide which, looking at the evidence, would seem unlikely. No birth records have been found for this woman, although her prison record give her place of birth as being Calcutta, India. British Army Service records, relating to her pension as a dependent, list her father as being a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel & Assistant Quarter Master General - Peter Thomas is the only identifiable 'Ryves' male of this period who fits that description. It is noted that in one of her many court appearances she shouted out that Sir Harry Smith was her uncle. If this were the case, it would have to be that one of the two youngest of Sir Harry Smith's sisters was her mother. Sir Harry Smith was also an Assistant Quarter Master General in the army, was involved in the Peninsular War at about the same time as Mary's father and in all likelihood knew him.


Register of Released or Exchanged French POWs 1800-1815.
The Royal Military Calendar, Or Army Service and Commission Book (1820).
A List of the Officers of the Army and of the Corps of Royal Marines (1821).
Edinburgh Gazette, 22 May 1810.
A collection of the charges, opinions, and sentences of general Courts Martial, as published by authority; from the year 1795 to the present time; intended to serve as an appendix to Tytler's treatise on military law, etc, Major Charles James, 1820.
British Army Officer Promotions 1800-1815.
Hampshire Telegraph - Monday 21 May 1810.