Sweet Baby Rounds Cape Horn

On 17 November 1867, ship’s surgeon Andrew ALEXANDER assisted in the birth of Maud Marian Grey, daughter of William Hales SWEET and Elizabeth née EVANS. All sources I have seen agree that Maud was born on Brunel’s “ship that changed the world”, SS Great Britain. Some say, though, that the vessel was passing the Cape of Good Hope at the time. One census enumerator writes “Good Hope” in his book but this is rubbed out and “Horn” substituted. Transcribers give Maud’s birthplace variously as Chile or South Africa.

SS Great Britain was on its 29th Voyage and after leaving Melbourne, where Maud was most likely conceived, the captain set an eastbound course.

Maud’s father was the son of John Hales SWEET and Mary Ann GOFF. After much searching over the last couple of days, I am still unable to explain John Hales’ second family. There seems to be little doubt that there was only one John Hales and two “wives” called Mary Ann but I have been unable to find a marriage record for his union with Mary Ann PULLAN, nor birth registrations for thei seven children. It is as if he had something to hide. Perhaps if he had been other than a man of the cloth…

Marriage in March 1840 to Miss Goff is clear enough and there are registrations or family notices in newspapers for their four children. The last of these, Charles Henry, was born in Hunslet, Leeds, on 3 September 1845. Mary Ann Pullan’s first child with John, Amy Adela Selina, was born later that year, on 7 December. Miss Pullan was a Leeds girl, about eight years younger than Mary Ann the First.

The former Miss GOFF didn’t die until 1882. If John didn’t divorce her, might the Church have “turned a blind eye” to his second family? The first Mary Ann considered herself still married to John. In 1871 she was living with William, Elizabeth and grandchildren “Cape Horn” Maud and Charles Iberson. She told the enumerator she was married and living on “income derived from funds”. Ten years later she declared sherself a “clergyman’s widow”. There is a sad reference to Maud’s father on this census page – William Hales SWEET “rambles very much at times”. He would die in a lunatic asylum in 1883. His mother had breathed her last the year before in a different asylum.

Our sea-born child married in 1890 and had several children with Frederick William CRISP. She died in 1945 in Hastings, aged 78. Find her on the FamilySearch Tree, born in the wrong part of the world, still single and with a dubious bunch of great aunts and great uncles.

Found Object 37 · Princess

On the bench that encircles Charles Laughton’s sycamore.

Wombats to the Rescue

The estimated death toll for all animals in the Australian bushfires has doubled in just a few days to over a billion. I was a sucker for the story of wombats encouraging other species of critter into their safe, deep burrows. Proof, if any was needed, that dumb animals are superior to wise apes (aka clever morons). Learning just now that the yarn is not true doesn’t change my opinion one whit.

The argument over how much human activity has contributed to global warming may never end. There seems little doubt that human agency is responsible for much of the destruction caused by bushfires in Australia. Arson and inadequate clearance of combustible materials in vulnerable areas of a drought-stricken country come readily to mind. The rapidity of the burning, the apocalyptic fierceness of the flames (with random explosions), and the melting of vehicles while tree branches above remain unburned – all open up the possibility that psychopaths are involved, with their direct energy weapons, and accelerants dropped by planes engaged in weather modification. A tin foil hat is not required to at least look into such possibilities yourself.

Sydney Airport is one of my monitored weather stations. For my sins, I listen to BBC News and have been brainwashed into thinking that the bushfires are worse in Australia this year because it is hotter. Well, it isn’t hotter in Sydney. It is true that there has been a drop in temperature in the last week, and if this is a nationwide thing it may give the firefighters some respite.

Summer in Sydney, so far, looks a bit like this.

6_Sydney_TabovePI

The week to week rise and fall this year is crazily like that of 2018/19 (2019 for simplicity). It is, however, half a degree centigrade cooler at the end of Week 6 this year. It isn’t just heatwaves fueling the fires then.

Here is another perspective.

6_Sydney_MeanWkTemp

2012 was the coolest summer of the Ten Years from 2009 to 2018, and 2017 the warmest. At Week 6, Sydney is 0.31°C above the 10 Year Average. It follows that it was 0.81 degrees warmer than average last year.

So, Sydney is currently 1.31°C above Pre-Industrial whilst Durham Tees in Northern England is 2.56 degrees above P-I and 0.91°C warmer than at the same time last year.

6_DurhamTees_TabovePI

Two Weeks…

…into the current Meteorological Year, how much is the temperature rising at the Ten Stations?

The Northern Hemisphere has experienced warming that the IPCC isn’t expecting until 2095 – at 2.96°C above Pre-Industrial. Fortunately, the South is bang on the 1.06 degrees the IPCC projected at the end of the year. So in two weeks, the mini Globe has only warmed 38 times as quickly as the IPCC imagined.

The main driver of warmth in The Ten is Koltsovo. In Week 2 it was 4.51°C warmer than at the same time last year, 6.23 degrees above P-I and with a Warming Rate of x238. Eighteen hundred kilometres to the west, Moscow is having a similar experience.

Obviously, all the stations will have weeks of relatively low temperatures in the coming months (north and south) and who knows, by the end of the Met Year they will as a group be close to the IPCC Projection. They may even go below the projected 1.06 degrees. In some graphs I have seen online, the Grand Solar Minimum, the Maunder feel-alike, is expected to take up residence in 2020.

The mythical Sam Carana, at Arctic News, is nonetheless doubling down on his gloomy prognostications of human extinction by 2026. He makes a case for us all departing this life in the coming calendar year.

Extinction and “Global Warming is a hoax” are clearly poles apart. Speaking of which, the GFS 10 Day forecast on Climate Reanalyzer has the Arctic at 2.3°C warmer than expected today but falling to -0.6 a week from now. The Antarctic hovers around 1.6 to 2.0 degrees warmer for the coming 10 days and the World stays mostly within a range of +0.3 to +0.6 (14 to 28 times warmer than the IPCC bargains for.

Here are Week Two graphics for the Ten Stations in Two Hemispheres, plus Durham Tees.

Week2_NorthPlus

Week2_SouthPlus.jpg

Gathering the data and constructing the graphs takes me away from the main task of putting headstone photos on the FamilySearch Shared Tree, so I won’t be doing weather posts every week. I’ll perhaps do an update after each completed month, with an occasional Week Graph if it illustrates something extreme or unexpected. In the media in Week 2 much was made of the heatwave expected in New South Wales that would intensify the bushfires. Notice above that Sydney is roughly in the middle of the green Goldilocks zone. The daily high peaked at 108°F yesterday but fell to 79 degrees (26.11°C) today. Records in Oz may be broken again as summer progresses. Across the Tasman, Wellington was the only one of the southern five in the red. The New Zealand capital may not cool down any time soon.

Koltsovo Station

I wrote yesterday that this was the warmest of my ten stations. It was actually the coldest – but I had its temperature anomaly in mind. On six days last month, the average temperature was over 10°C above the Pre-Industrial baseline. It is also the station with the greatest fluctuations of temperature from one day to the next.

KoltsovoJAN2019

Here’s a graph of Sydney data (Kingsford Smith station) for comparison.

SydneyJAN2019

Last month was Australia’s hottest January for over a hundred years, “and there is no relief in sight for the months ahead”.

Champion

CORTISherbertliddell_def

Herbert Liddell CORTIS was baptized in St Oswald’s Church, Filey, this day 1857. He would grow up to be admired and loved in the countries of his birth and death.

The image above is from a cigarette card that came to me a few months ago from the Veteran Cycle Club via Balham. It was a great thrill to see what my Filey Hero looked like! The card celebrated one of Herbert’s athletic feats: –

H.L. Cortis, Wanderers B.C. The first cyclist to ride 20 miles in an hour. (Crystal Palace Track, 27th July, 1882, 20 miles 300 yards.)

A week later Herbert married Mary Elizabeth Ann BRUCE. Readers of the Cape Times would not learn of this happy event until the 4th September.

MARRIAGE

CORTIS Herbert Liddell (son of DR. CORTIS) to BRUCE Mary (daughter of James BRUCE) on 3rd August 1882 at Kennington, London, England

Mary had been born in the Cape and if the news piqued the curiosity of people there who knew the Bruce family they may have been surprised to learn later that the couple had sailed to a new life in Australia.

Herbert has a LaF Wiki page, where you will find links to his pedigree on the FamilySearch Tree, and to three posts on the Looking at Filey blog.

His early death saddened the cycling fraternity in England and Australia and two subscription projects led to memorials honouring his name.

The area of Surrey around Ripley was a particular focus of cycling activity for about thirty years in the late 19th century. The Anchor Inn was the destination of choice, as much for the attentions of the Dibble sisters as the liquid refreshment. Across the road, the Parish Church was a natural home for Herbert’s memorial plaque.

CORTIShl_RipleyChurch
Photograph © Ripley Parish Church, courtesy Reverend Chris Elson

The “Mecca of all good cyclists”: Ripley Road is a rich and detailed account of a corner of the cycling world that had taken a son of Filey to their hearts.

Twelve thousand miles away the cyclists of New South Wales contributed to the cost of a red granite monument at his grave in Bathurst Cemetery.

lc_HerbertCortisMon
Photographer: Lindsay Clarke, January 2012

In memory of the English bicyclist, Herbert Liddell Cortis, died at Carcoar, N.S.W., December 28, 1885, aged 28. Primus Inter Pares, and amateur champion of the world. This stone is erected by the cyclists of New South Wales.

In a speech given at the monument’s unveiling, Mr. Arthur Fry said that they were gathered “to pay tribute to the cyclist who in his day was the finest rider the world had known”.

This sentiment was echoed in an article printed in The Hull Daily Mail in 1931.Under the title Sport I Have Seen in 50 Years, Sir Max Pemberton wrote: –

Herbert Cortis, a young doctor, was the hero of those days and, in my view, indisputably the greatest bicyclist that ever lived. I have often seen him at Stamford Bridge mow down a whole field in the straight after being a hundred yards behind at the beginning of the last lap. His sporting powers were terrific, and nobody of his day could live against them. He was the first bicyclist to ride twenty miles within the hour. Once, at a county meeting, an old friend of mine, George Jeffery, afterwards an international Rugby footballer, nearly beat Cortis by an unexpected rush in the straight, and the doctor’s surprise was amusing to see. “Who the devil are you?” he asked cheerfully when the race was over.

Herbert and his challengers rode high wheelers. These formidable machines haven’t disappeared entirely. The YouTube video embedded in this Guardian article makes it easier to imagine the races of 135 years ago.

In the place he was born, Herbert is largely forgotten or unknown. The only public remembrance of him is the inscription on the headstone placed on his mother’s grave sometime after his father’s death in New South Wales in 1906.

CORTIShl_inscriptionStOs

A Marriage Made in Cyberspace

William Smithson CORTIS practiced medicine in Filey for over ten years. In that time his wife, Mary Jane née GREEN, gave birth to five children.  Two of three sons survived into adulthood and both qualified as doctors. The elder, William Richard,  blazed an adventurous trail to Australia and father, stepmother, brother, and two sisters duly followed him there. You may find a fourth son recorded in a British Census but “Albert” is a mistranscription of Herbert who, when not treating people for ailments, was thrilling those who turned up at cycle racing tracks in the early 1880s. Herbert Liddell CORTIS became widely recognized as the greatest cyclist of his generation and was still being remembered as such forty years after his death.

William Richard had a longer life, dying at 61 in Perth, Western Australia, at the beginning of 1909. He packed a great deal into his span – a shipwreck, fighting in a war, owning racehorses, becoming an MP, giving evidence in murder trials and being charged with an unlawful killing himself. He married three times and none of his brides were Anne Barnby HILL.

CORTIS_WmRichd_Screenshot

Link to pedigree

Blame “the system”!   Humans make mistakes like this too, of course. When I happened upon this marriage a couple of days ago I was quite prepared to accept it. The Australia connection fooled me initially but I went back to old notes and recently donated information and began to find more credible pieces of the Cortis Family jigsaw.

Titanic was not the first White Star Line vessel to hit an iceberg. In 1864 one of the company’s first steam-powered sailing ships, Royal Standard, got into a scrape in the South Atlantic. The people onboard lived to tell the tale, the ship making her way to Rio de Janeiro for repairs and then returning to Liverpool, her home port. The ship’s luck ran out in October 1869 when she was wrecked on the coast of Brazil. William Richard Cortis, on his way to Australia, was among the survivors.

William returned home rather than continue his journey to the antipodes and within a year had married Mary Julia MOORE in Camberwell. The newlyweds almost immediately sailed for the Australian Colonies but Mary Julia soon died in Tambaroora of tuberculosis, aged 23.

On 15th January 1873, William married Florence FYANS, daughter of the late Captain FYANS (4th King’s Own Regiment and formerly Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Western District, Victoria), at Christ Church, St Kilda, Melbourne. By the time William is reckoned to have married Anne Barnby Hill, Florence had borne one son and was pregnant with another. They would go on to have nine children together – and then divorce about 1905.

I haven’t found any evidence that William took up with a younger woman while still married to Florence but, as he approached sixty, Edith (family name not yet found) became the doctor’s third wife. On the 5th October 1908, The West Australian was reporting her funeral “in the Anglican portion of the Karrakatta Cemetery”. The screen image of the death notice is too heavily printed to be sure but, aged 23 or 28, Edith died well before her time.

1908_CORTISedith_DEATH

(Family Notice via Trove.)

Within three months, William Richard Cortis was also dead. On the 6th January 1909, The Geraldton Express reflected on “A Varied Career”.

Dr. William Richard Cortis died suddenly yesterday at the W. A. Club. He was over 60 years of age, and during his career had been a prominent surgeon, legislator, soldier, and magistrate. During the past six or eight months he acted as Resident Medical Officer at Kookynie. He came to the city about a month ago, having obtained leave. For two or three years he held the position of Resident Magistrate and Medical Officer at Derby. The post-mortem examination revealed the fact that the cause of death was angina pecoris (sic), and although the deceased had taken a quantity of morphia to alleviate the pain, this had nothing whatever to do with his end. Deceased was a man of fine physique, but during the last year he was overtaken by a trouble which no doubt undermined his health, and this was accelerated by the recent death of his wife, which preyed on his mind. Last year, while Resident Magistrate and Medical Officer at Derby, he was called upon to stand his trial on three separate occasions for the alleged unlawful killing of a man named Gerald Ascione.

William Richard’s short-term in Government is officially recognized here.

My thanks to Elizabeth Kennard (USA) and Peter Donkin (Australia) for kindly offering information on the Cortis Family that might otherwise have remained hidden from me. I have several more leads to follow and hope soon to make the necessary corrections to the pedigree on FamilySearch. I won’t be at all surprised to discover that the William who married Anne Barnby HILL and William Richard are cousins with a recent common ancestor just three generations back in north Lincolnshire. CORTIS isn’t a common name.