A Man of Osgodby

John Francis LEIGHTON may have been a little oversensitive about his age. Two years after marrying 20-year-old Ida SARONY, he told the census enumerator who called at Spring House that he was 38. His gravestone in St John the Baptist churchyard, Cayton, says he shaved off three years.


I think the stone is telling the truth – but it is economical with information. Had John’s marriage of six years broken down? His birth family left behind couldn’t bring themselves to tell of Ida’s existence or speak her name.

It is not unusual for farmers to marry late, or to take wives some years their junior. But not many solid Yorkshire chaps hitch themselves to a New Yorker, daughter of a flamboyant photographist of German origin. Ida’s father was Napoleon SARONY, brother of Oliver. I hope to visit the grave of niece and uncle tomorrow.

On FamilySearch Tree, Ida has the middle name, Leighton. This is probably a contributor’s choice – I haven’t yet seen a source that indicates she remembered her first husband in this way.

Ida survived John by just three years and the marriage to her second husband lasted eighteen months. She died giving birth to Ida Nellie DAWES. After a suitable period of mourning, Thomas Dawes married Oliver Sarony’s widow, Elizabeth.

More about this unusual family tomorrow.

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