What Happened to Peter?

Elizabeth MURPHY was sixteen years old, single, and a yarn winder in 1861 (Sunday’s post). Ten years later she was mother to four children and working as a “baller in a flax mill”. The birth of the first child, Mary, was registered in Malton in the same quarter as her marriage to John NASH.

For a few shocked moments, I contemplated a Free BMD record being wrong.

Bramham is just a mile from Elizabeth’s home in 1861. On census night that year, Peter was about fourteen miles away, an apprentice “living in” with Spurriergate butcher John JUDSON. John’s eldest daughter, Ann Elizabeth, was a year older than Peter but fate (or passion) connected him to Elizabeth Murphy.

McClear is an Irish family name and McLEAR Scottish. Representatives of each clan seem to be few and far between in England but there is this birth registration fifty miles away from Bramham in the quarter following Peter and Elizabeth’s marriage.

Nine years later, Elizabeth and John Nash named their sixth child James. James McClear/McLear was not with them in 1871 but I haven’t found a record of his death.

I have been unable to find a source for Peter’s death. The 1861 census gives his birthplace as Liverpool. A Peter McLEARY was born in 1843 (mother McCONNEL) and a Peter McCLARY the following year (mother McDERMOTT) but I could find neither boy in the 1851 census in Lancashire or Yorkshire. (I tried “fuzzy searches” and all the variant spellings I could think of.)

Another Peter McClear did, however, appear. Born in Ireland in 1802, he was enumerated in York in 1851, living less than a mile from Spurriergate, and for a moment I wondered if he was the father of “our Peter”. But he is listed as an unmarried Master Mariner. That he is the uncle of the Head of the household, one Thomas HUSBAND – a flax dresser! – could help further investigation but all I have so far is that he was still a boarder in St Clement’s Place twenty years later, aged 69, and single. (Peter McCLERE, Retired Mariner). He died in York aged 76 in 1879.

I searched newspapers for all the people mentioned in this post and only found this possible reference to Peter the Elder.

Another snippet gives Malabar’s weight as 1,372 tons. William Clark may have painted her.

With so few of the McClear clan crossing the Irish Sea to seek their fortunes in Victorian Britain, it seems unlikely that I’ll hear any more of young Peter – but I would like to know what happened to him. He seems real enough to be given a place on the Shared Tree. (Two Blue Hints appearing on his record suggest “the system” concurs.)

Water 42· Martin’s Ravine

Cascade

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