The Elusive Fireman

Brothers Henry and Warcup CROSHER/CROSIER both called their second–born children Mary Maria. While Warcup settled in Filey, Thomas moved to Kilham, near Driffield, where he married Bessy ASHBY and brought three children into the world. Around 1870 the family journeyed on to Hull, where it almost tripled in size.

Early in 1890, Mary Maria “CROSHAW” married Paul Alexis HERONNEAU and their first child Louis Paul arrived a year later.  Mother and child are living at census time with widow Bessy and four of Mary Maria’s siblings. The enumerator wrongly identified three of these as “Herroneau”, making five in the household bearing that name. Absent, though, is Paul Alexis, and I failed to find him anywhere else in the city, or beyond.

It isn’t strange to find people in a large British port with somewhat exotic family names but I was surprised to find that PAUL HERONNEAU was genealogical kin to a Googlewhack.

In 1901, Mary heads a household in Merrick Street, Hull, comprising just her married self and four sons. At the baptism of the eldest boy, Thomas Alexis, his father was described as a Fireman. Whether he lit fires and kept them burning or attempted to put them out wasn’t specified.

All attempts to find Paul have failed to uncover vital details about him, but someone showed up later that year to provide the genetic material to make Ida and, in 1904, Leonard.

If the Heronneau family had not lived in the city of my birth I may not have pursued them any further but I was attracted by the name, and the cropping up in sources of places familiar to me.

Thomas Alexis and George Henry Heronneau served in the First World War. Both came home, though Thomas was wounded in 1915.

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I didn’t Find Thomas in the 1939 Register but George Henry was a Packer in the Flour Mills, almost certainly one of the factories I passed several times a week as a child. George Henry’s son, also George, went to the same grammar school as I did – Malet Lambert – winning a Third Form prize in 1939. Young George’s first cousin Roy, son of Alfred Heronneau and Ruth Agnes née GUTHERLESS, won a Special Place at Riley High in 1944.

There were surprisingly few manglings of “Heronneau” in the sources so the family readily presented a coherent pedigree, with all of them descended from the mysterious Fireman. Find Paul Alexis. Someone out there must know where he came from.

St Kitts and “Crusoe”

On this day in 1828, almost four months after she had attended her parents’ wedding (incognito), Mary Elizabeth SKERRY returned to the church of St Mary the Virgin in Whitby to be baptized. Mary would be followed by two brothers who have had brief mentions previously in LaFredux – Thomas who was lost from the SS Mexican and Robert who married Naomi STOCKDALE.

In 1858 Mary married  Robert DOBSON who had a couple of grocer’s shops in Filey. He also sold Wines and Spirits and towards the end of his working life running a lodging house, St Kitts on the Foreshore Road. The cream brick property is Holiday Apartments now – I photographed it this afternoon. (The traffic cones are there because the road is still closed at Crescent Hill, where the new granite (?) setts are being slowly laid.)

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The Dobsons were still there in 1901, though perhaps no longer taking guests; Robert is described as a Retired Grocer. Ten years on their road has been renamed The Beach (its current name) and they have almost certainly downsized to a house they chose to call Crusoe.

In 1911 Robert gives his age as 76 and Mary, 83. Sometime in the next couple of years, they crossed the Pennines to end their days with their surviving son, Robert Edwin, and his wife, Edith Florence née RUSHTON. The younger Dobsons were childless and their address in 1911 was 42, Vaughan Road, Liscard in the Birkenhead District where Mary’s death was registered in 1914. Robert senior appears to have lived on for a further nine years, his death registered in Liverpool in the summer of 1923, aged 87.

In one of those odd coincidences, the elder Robert Dobson created something of a stir in Filey by publicly criticizing the way the Local Board “did business” – four years before ‘Hoodwink’ wrote his critical letter to The Scarborough Mercury, (Friday’s post). Within a year or two Robert was elected to the Board and clearly made an attempt to improve matters – obviously without much success.  He does, however, come across in newspaper reports as a man of principle who spoke the truth and expected others to do the same. He was, in other words, not really cut out to be a politician.

SKERRYs are sketchy on Filey Genealogy & Connections; a bit more fleshed out on FamilySearch Tree.