The Four Wives of James Knaggs

At the end of March 1851, James was at the Pigeon Pie Inn, Sherburn, with older sister Jane and her husband, William SAWDEN. He was 25-years-old, working as a joiner and single. It would be three years before he found a wife. For reasons unknown, he crossed the Humber to Lincolnshire, wooed Sophia MARSHALL and married her in Winteringham on 15 August 1854. In early summer the following year she gave birth to William, their only child, in Filey. When the boy was five months old she died. The family is minimally represented on the FamilySearch Tree.

Sophia’s headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard has fine letter forms that have withstood 164 years of weather quite well.

A year later, James married Ann REYNOLDS in North Frodingham. There is a Scarborough birth registration in the September Quarter of 1859 that could mark the entry of daughter Anne into the world but the child then disappears from view. Mother Ann vanishes too. I cannot find a record of her death but on census night 1861 James is with his third wife, Isabella née BROWN, at 10 Pembroke Cottages, Islington.

James has given up his trade and become a Lay Missionary. His firstborn, William, is living in Winteringham with grandfather William Marshall and “step grandmother” Catherine. (Sophia’s father has married for the third time.)

In 1871 James is the Minister at Stratford Congregational Church and a widower, but young William, 15, is with him and the three children born to Isabella. Ten years later James is a widower still and now an “Independent Minister”. William is working as a grocer’s clerk and the other boy, Cornelius, has a similar position in a chemist’s shop. James’ daughter Isabella Margaret, 18, is listed as “housekeeper” and there are two other servants. Fourth child, Caroline Mary, now 14, is a boarder at Milton Mount College, Gravesend.

By 1891, James is back with the Congregationalists – and has found a fourth wife, Eliza, fourteen years his junior. If this is Eliza Mary WOOLFE, they are in the eighth year of their marriage. Margaret seems to have dropped both her first name (Isabella) and skivvying for her father. At 28 years of age she is now a “Professor of Music”.

In 1901 James is 75 and retired but his house in Hampstead rings with the voices of two native South Africans – Marjorie Knaggs, 9, and her sister Isabel, 7. I must seek out their parents.

James Knaggs is the first fellow I have happened upon who married four times. I haven’t found appropriate statistics for Victorian Britain but in 21st century America 3% of men and women have married three or more times.

I will flesh out James and Sophia’s thin pedigree on the Shared Tree when I can. Quite a few of the people mentioned above have IDs already but they are scattered all over the place. Dots to be connected – and a lot of merges to be done.

Found Object 46 · Filey Sands

A Warm Year in the North East

With just a week of Meteorological Year 2020 to go, the Mean Weekly Temperature recorded at Durham Tees Airport is running 1.07°C higher than last year.

At Week 51 in 2019 this part of England was showing a “negative warming rate” of -16 IPCC units when compared to the Paris Accord global projection of 1.04°C above Pre-Industrial at year end (rising to 1.5°C in 2040). This meteorological year, Durham Tees has warmed 31 times faster than the IPCC projection.

2020 on the Yorkshire coast has seemed unremarkable weather-wise, but 58% of Durham Tees days have been warmer than last year.

Influenza is real, and so is climate change, but only tyrants are using both as sticks with which to beat us. Submit or resist. There doesn’t seem to be a middle way.

Sunrise 47 · Filey Beacon

The Flu Has Flown

A couple of days ago the Surgery phoned to invite me in for a flu jab. I passed. Today I learned that the injection is being offered for free to the over fifties this winter. I wonder why. There doesn’t seem to be much of the old normal flu about these days.

I may be misreading this graph but it appears that the three flu types that usually afflict the UK all but disappeared in Week 17 of 2020. Nothing discernible in Week 46 – but in Week 47 last year there were a thousand specimens (whatever this means).

But hey, for those who have survived half a century – it’s free, so why not get a jab for nothing?

I received a letter today from the sadly diminished National Health Service, urging me to get the flu jab because I was “vulnerable”. I was also asked to save the NHS money by scanning the letter’s QR code on my mobile so that they could contact me digitally in future. I don’t have a mobile phone so I wonder how many “Play Big Pharma Roulette” letters the postman will bring. Whenever…

Bird 90 · Robin

Martin’s Ravine

Waves of Covid

There is a lot going on in the world that we should be frightened about but the mysterious flu called Covid-19 is not one of them. Julia Hartley-Brewer and Professor Anthony Brookes chatted about it today on talkRADIO (11 minutes).

Here are a couple of graphs  based on Covid death totals available on Worldometer. Waves start when deaths attributed to Covid-19 reach 2% of expected daily deaths from all causes. The UK’s First Wave lasted 118 days  and Sweden took about 40 days longer to fall back below 2%.

The Second Wave in the UK has a way to go before it is worse than the First. (The ongoing rise has the look and feel of old normal seasonality about it.) The value of common sense and not locking a country down is illustrated by the Swedish experience.

Sunrise 45 · Filey Beacon