Sam Gillmor Haughton (1889-1959) came from the village of Cullybackey, near Ballymena in County Antrim, where Matilda Knowles was born. No doubt Sam and Dora were introduced in 1917 at Matilda’s home in Dublin. He married Dorothy Lyall Wilson in Belfast in 1912 and they had a son, Tommy (1922-1953, named after his uncle and grandfather), who was killed in an aircrash. Sam’s parents were born in the USA and his father co-founded the linen firm Frazer & Haughton in 1882. His older brother, Tommy, was killed at the Somme in July 1916. Sam was an Orangeman and consequently had excellent contacts with the Northern Irish elite. The Orange Order is a protestant unionist brotherhood that was formed in the 1690s, along the lines of the freemasons, with lodges and its own rituals. In the 1920s it enjoyed a resurgence, with the creation of Northern Ireland, and almost all MPs, Senators and Cabinet Ministers were Orangemen.
Sam was a prominent figure in the linen industry, founding the Linen Industry Research Association. He was president of the Advertising Club of Ulster in the 1920s and was a director of London advertising agency WS Crawford. A lifelong partnership with Dora began in 1924 when he became a partner in Calculating & Statistical Services, with Sam’s letters to Dora indicating that they shared a deep friendship as well as a powerful business relationship. He served in the Royal Artillery in the Middle East in the Second World War, until he was invalided out in 1944. He was elected Ulster Unionist MP for County Antrim in 1945. Post-war he devoted himself to various political and civic roles in Northern Ireland, including being a trustee of the Ulster Unionist Party.
Sam’s letters to Dora have been returned to his grandson for the Haughton family archive.