The Brothers Chow

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Eight years after Elizabeth Richardson searched the Filey shore for her husband’s body, the family CHOW sought two of their own – brothers, Francis and James. Robert and Mary née PEARSON have ten children listed in Kath’s database, Filey Genealogy & Connections but only three had PIDs on FamilySearch until today.

FG & C has Robert drowning with his sons on 14 January 1808 but I have yet to find an official record to confirm this. This headstone offers circumstantial evidence that Robert lies beneath with  Francis and James, and that two months of searching separated discovery of the brothers’ bodies. The following verse is mostly hidden now but it was recorded by George Shaw in his book,  Rambles Round Filey, 1886 and is included in the East Yorkshire Family History Society transcription.

Most epitaphs are vainly wrote;

The dead to speak it can’t be thought;

Therefore, the friends of those here laid,

Desired that this might be said.

That rose two brothers, sad to tell,

That rose in health, ere night they fell –

Fell victims to the foaming main;

Wherefore awhile they hid remain.

Friends for them sought, and much lament,

At last the Lord to those them sent.

So child and widow may bemoan

O’er husband’s and o’er father’s tomb.

The EYFHS transcription adds the burial records for the brothers; James being interred on 24 January and Francis on March 25th, 1808.

The family unit isn’t complete on FST yet but here is the link to husband and father, Robert CHOW. By the time George, his youngest son, died in 1864 the family name was CHEW.

Hale Mary

Francis CHEW (or CHOW) was named after the father he never met. Francis Senior and his brother were drowned in January 1808.

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There is a verse inscribed on the stone that has long been covered by an accumulation of soil. When the Crimlisks did their survey of the monuments in 1978 they relied on George Shaw’s Rambles Round Filey, 1886, to quote it in full (and kindly gave him a credit).

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Sacred to the Memory of FRANCIS & JAMES CHOW who were drowned Jan·y 14th 1808, the former aged 30, the latter 24 years.

‘Most epitaphs are vainly wrote;

The dead to speak it can’t be thought;

Therefore, the friends of those here laid,

Desired that this might be said.

That rose two brothers, sad to tell,

That rose in health, ere night they fell –

Fell victims to the foaming main;

Wherefore awhile they hid remain.

Friends for them sought, and much lament,

At last the Lord to those them sent.

So child and widow they bemoan

O’er husband’s and o’er father’s tomb.’

Young Francis had an older brother but it would appear from the singular child of the verse that he had died before the father.

I made a start today on putting the CHEWs on FST and if you click the link you will notice the curious appearance of two women called Mary EDMOND who would become the grandmothers of John Francis CHEW.

The two Marys are not related by blood but one of them, the wife of John JENKINSON, was the niece of Ann EDMOND who featured in a post a few days ago.

Young Francis married Mary JENKINSON, the daughter of John and Mary Edmond II, on Christmas Eve 1832. Nine years on, to the day, this Francis was lost at sea. There are records of three children – Mary Ann who didn’t quite make it to her fortieth year, Elizabeth who died aged about three and John Francis who fell nine years short of his natural span.

Their mother, though, kept going through her long widowhood and saw in the 20th century.

She was only 26 when her husband died so it is perhaps surprising she didn’t marry again. In 1861 she was housekeeper to her father who was giving shelter to a couple of his grandchildren. John was still around in 1871, giving his age as 83, still cared for by daughter Mary. His granddaughter Elizabeth JENKINSON was with them, busy making dresses.

John died a year later and so did Mary’s daughter Mary Ann. At the 1881 Census, Mary was caring for her three HANSON grandchildren, aged 18, 15 and 12. Ten years later the King Street cottage was occupied by just Mary, now 76, and Frank Hanson, a 27-year-old Joiner who would marry Mary Jane COWLING that summer.

In 1881 Mary had kept a shop to support her young family and she possibly kept it going through her seventies. She was obviously made of stern stuff. Hail Mary!