A Surprising Wife and Mother

I put the CLAY headstone on FamilySearch today and set about adding sources for the three children of Arthur and Edith who are not remembered on it.

Firstborn Hugh Travis arrived about a year after his parents married. He took his place in the family business and in 1911, 37 years-old and single, he was living at Waxholme in Filey, described as “Managing Director “ of the Worsted Manufacturing Company that his father had run successfully for so many years. Hugh’s stepmother was away on this census night  but his father was at home, as were unmarried siblings Marjorie Beaumont, 31, and Wilfred Travis, 28.

Hugh married Mabel Priscilla Penery FRENCH in 1923 when he was 47 years old. Mabel was about the same age. The couple went to live on Jersey, where Mabel died in January 1955. Hugh died in Grouville on 24 September 1957.

Unexpectedly, I found a Death Notice for Hugh in the Zimbabwe Death Registers. He died childless and was survived by one sibling, sister Marjorie. I can’t explain why his mother is named as Rachel Mary.

His effects at probate  would have been valued at around £415,000 in 2017. Some houses on the Les Ruisseaux Estate (his last address) are currently on the market at over £4 million.

Tree 68 · Martin’s Ravine

A Far Horizon

Joseph BATES, a wool finisher and exporter in Yorkshire, sent two of his teenage sons to the East Indies to further his business interests. Both young men married daughters of a career soldier, Cornelius Umfreville SMITH, in the Fort William Old Church, Calcutta. Edward and his bride Charlotte Elizabeth were under age in July 1836. Edward’s brother Benjamin Hopkinson, and Charlotte’s sister Susannah Mary, were witnesses at the ceremony. Their wedding took place in the same church two years later.

The Smith sisters were children of the Raj but they both sailed 15,000 miles to the “home country” with their husbands. There, they experienced the deaths of infants before dying themselves. The brothers married again. Edward prospered as a merchant and ship owner, served in Parliament, and was raised to the peerage. Benjamin died a bankrupt.

Edward married his second wife, Ellen THOMPSON, in Holy Trinity Church, Hull. It appears to have been celebrated by a large number of people.

I am a little puzzled by “overland mail” but you can assess their successful partnership on Wikipedia and the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Sky 28 · Filey Bay


Yellow River

Annie Elizabeth TURNBULL (Some Clay Figures, 20 September) was “Nina” when she first married.

John Grant BIRCH was born in Antigua and a brief note in my RootsMagic database indicated his death by drowning – in China. I looked today for details.

We much regret to learn this morning of the death of Mr. JOHN GRANT BIRCH, of the firm of Messrs. John Birch & Co., London, at the age of fifty-three. In this gentleman China has claimed another victim, and Britain has lost a loyal and most patriotic son. Mr. Birch was the eldest son of Colonel J. F. Birch, late 3rd West Indian Regiment. The Times says:- He made the acquaintance of our correspondent, Dr. Morrison, during his frequent journeyings in China in late years, and in our columns have appeared on several occasions letters showing his intimate knowledge of Chinese politics and foreshadowing later untoward events. In his last journey, on or about June 24, he lost his life by drowning through the wrecking of the raft in which he was travelling on the Yellow River, on his way from Lanchow [Lanzhou] to Peking [Beijing], where he had intended making strong representations with a view to the opening of the Yangtsze Valley by railways – a subject on which he was fully informed, and which he advocated in the interests of his country. A further tribute is due to Mr. Birch’s memory in connection with the Soudan expedition, which was rendered possible only by the dessert (sic) railway from Wadi-Halfa to Abu Hamed. Almost the whole scheme of this railway followed a plan drawn up in great detail by Mr. Birch, and submitted by him to Lord Cromer several months before the first advance on Dongola.

London and China Express, 27 July 1900

(Find Wadi-Halfa Railway Station on Google Maps and John on the Shared Tree.)

Measure of Man 63 · Flyers

Muston Sands

Girl Hawk

Work on the Clays of Rastrick has been set back a little by the acquisition of RootsMagic 8. The program is a major upgade on 7 and is taking some getting used to. But today a search for more Clay information turned up a totally unexpected and curious connection between a female Belgian cyclist and Filey’s own “wheel world” champion.

The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer of 29 September 1910 carried a report on flights made at Burton Aerodrome. Present in the crowd were Mr A J CLAY, managing director of Bass & Company (the Brewers), and Wilfred and Arthur Clay. The Rastrick and Filey Clays were in a quite different line of business and I don’t think the two families are connected. (Rastrick is over ninety miles north of Burton upon Trent.)

It was not until twenty minutes past three that Mdlle. Dutrieu’s Farman biplane was wheeled out of the hangars, and shortly afterwards M. de Lesseps entered the arena with his beautiful Bleriot racer, his appearance being signalled by a cheer.

Miss Dutrieu had a long life filled with adventure, excitement and achievement – but this is minimally represented on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. You will learn more about her at the Smithsonian, and more still here.

In 1895, Helene “gained the women’s world record for distance cycled in one hour”, thirteen years after Filey-born Herbert Liddell CORTIS was the first man to cycle over twenty miles in sixty minutes.

A couple of months before the Girl Hawk soared over Burton, Robert BLACKBURN opened his Flying School at Filey. I wonder if she visited the town.

Metal 18 · Arndale Piles

Yacht Club

First Wives Matter

Rebecca Jane BATES, an aunt to Edith Beaumont (recent posts), married James COATES in 1849. He was about sixteen years her senior so I was rather suspicious of the apparent first child Sarah on the FamilySearch Shared Tree, born four years before the nuptials.

After finding a first wife for James and collecting the birth registrations of their five children, I went back to the Shared Tree to see if they all had representation there. Young Sarah has a duplicate ID.

The two families of solicitor James Coates need to be checked and brought together. They are an intersting bunch. John C. HOPKINSON, husband of Sarah junior, has no sources attached to his record but appears to be John Clifford, born in 1842 to another aunt of Edith’s – Elizabeth. Given a Wetherby birthplace here, he should really be placed with the Ambleside folk.

James junior, a solicitor like his father, died aged thirty following a long illness, consumption perhaps. A local newspaper carried a moving obituary. I will share it in a few days when these houses have been put in better order.

Measure of Man 62 · Rig

North Sea