Matilda and Her Visitor

When Jane Maria CORTIS married  45 year-old John Would PARKER in 1876 she still had fifteen years or so in which she might have borne his children. There is a third reason why none appeared. If you look at the two photographs of John posted a couple of days ago he doesn’t appear to be full of the joys. He had cause.

Matilda was his little sister, appearing when he was three years old. They lived on the family farm together for 25 years before she married George ROSE, who also farmed in Ludborough. She gave birth to three children in three years, Matilda Alice (1859), George Byron (1860) and John William (about August 1861).

Shortly after John William’s birth, Matilda Alice caught an infection caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheriae and she died in the middle of November. Diphtheria is a respiratory illness transmitted by droplets. Neither of her brothers contracted the disease. Her father did, and he died a couple of weeks after his daughter.

George Byron died two months before his third birthday. It is not clear if widow Matilda took her surviving boy with her when she crossed the Humber to Hull. Her state of mind may have been such that her mother and older siblings considered her unfit to look after him. In September 1864 she married John Henry LEE , a timber merchant three years her junior. The marriage was ended within a year – by divine intervention.

Had she not been taken, Matilda would have had to nurse her husband through a lingering illness until his death in January 1867, aged 31.

So much misery. But, back in Ludborough, Sarah Parker née WOULD, her eldest daughter Sarah Elizabeth, and yet to be married John Would Parker, gave infant John William Rose a home. The boy was at Manor House Farm in 1871 but when John married and brought Jane Maria home, he moved with Sarah Elizabeth to another house in the village. Sarah, a 57 year-old spinster in 1881, would surely have received help from her mother and brother in guiding the the young man towards adulthood, and perhaps Jane was an influence on him too. Whoever was responsible for his upbringing, they did a good job. He was an undergraduate at Cambridge University in 1881 and later worked as a solicitor for a number of years in London and Brentford. It appears he wasn’t a great success in his chosen profession. The 1911 census finds him at 63 Windsor Road, Ealing, working as a Merchant’s Clerk (in Condensed Milk and Starch). With him are wife Caroline Matilda and their son Wilfrid. (A second child had died in infancy.)

I have made some connections on FamilySearch. You can find John William on the Shared Tree and make your way back to John Would and Jane Maria. I think, maybe, that Jane’s husband had been so traumatized by Matilda’s experiences that he chose to remain childless. (He was executor of brother in law George’s will.) We can only guess what Jane thought of all this but it is understandable that, as a widow getting on in years, she traveled to the other side of the world to be with what was left of her birth family.

When I did some work on the Cortis family a few years ago, I thought John Would had gone to Australia with Jane and suggested as much in a note on the Shared Tree. I should have paid closer attention to the newspaper notice of her death in a Sydney newspaper.

Found at Trove

PARKER, John Wold (sic), Age at Death (in years): 63. GRO Reference: 1893 D Quarter in LOUTH Volume 07A Page 429.GRO Index Deaths

Nature Morte 15 · Seal

Jane Maria

She was the first child of Dr William Smithson CORTIS and Mary Jane née GREEN, baptised on the 5th of January 1846 in St Oswald’s Church, Filey. Her mother died when she was twelve and the household at census in 1861 shows signs of an extended family pulling together. Jane’s aunt Isabella Maria BOWES (her mother’s sister) was in residence with her second son Richard Taylor Bowes. The old salt, Richard Cortis, hale and hearty at 74, was visiting from Hull. Jane’s younger sister Alice Weddell Cortis was away on census night but her brothers were home – William Richard, 14, who became an MP in the Australian Parliament and would be tried for murder, and Herbert Liddell, 4, whose destiny was to cycle twenty miles in an hour before anyone else did. Three servants, all Lincolnshire born, completed the household in John Street.

It was in Lincolnshire that Jane found a husband. John Would PARKER was a farmer of 600 acres, employing 18 labourers and 6 boys in 1871. He was fifteen years older than Jane, in his mid forties when they married in St Mary’s Church, Newington (London) in 1876. They settled on the farm in Ludborough but were not blessed with children. They had dogs instead.

courtesy H F Morrice Collection

This photograph isn’t dated but was taken at Ludborough, I guess around 1890.

The enumerator in 1891 found the couple at “Lindens, Turnpike” near Louth. John was still farming, but possibly not 600 acres. He died  towards the end of 1893, aged 63. John’s spinster sister, Sarah Elizabeth, had lived with the couple for many years but she died a few months later. With all her surviving birth family scattered to the ends of the earth, Jane set off for Australia. Her father died in Manly on 15 September 1906 and she breathed her last in that place, 19 May 1911.

courtesy H F Morrice Collection

It isn’t certain that this is Jane Maria but the photographer was Willey of Louth, a town only six or seven miles from Ludborough. The wee dog could be significant.

Photographer C J Tear, 12 Clapham Road, London, no date, courtesy H F Morrice Collection

This is Jane and she seems to have an engagement ring and wedding band, so maybe the photo was taken in 1876, after her marriage and before she returned to Lincolnshire with her husband.

Photographer Rogers of St Leonards-on-Sea, no date, courtesy H F Morrice Collection

Jane seems to have filled out somewhat but John still looks youthful, though his mutton chops are greying. The photograph may have been taken while on their honeymoon (and Jane’s extra pounds are merely a fashion accessory).

The uncertainty about the identity of Jane in the second photograph seems justified if close attention is paid to the eyes, ears and nose of the lady with a whip. The features are noticeably different, though the overall shape of the face is similar.

What does it matter? I just hope that John and Jane’s seventeen years of marriage brought them much happiness. She was a widow for a year longer than that, and most of that time was spent in a foreign land. I wonder what her life was like in Australia.

Water 31 · Paddling Pool

Bad Company

I can’t be sure that the William WILLIS who found himself before the bench in 1864 is the orphan that was part-raised by the pauper spinster Frances MORGAN. The newspaper reports I have seen are lacking helpful detail. The young miscreants involved are referred to as “youths” or “young scamps” but one is said to be 22 years old. The two “just Williams” of yesterday’s post would have been twenty-one.

The law was most concerned about a 66 year-old reprobate called Charles COYLE.

A more detailed account in The Bridlington Free Press (same date) was headlined Atrocious Cruelty to a Cat and introduced Coyle as “a dirty old son of Erin”. He was facing justice because two of the participants in the events of 19th February were sickened enough to bear witness.

Coyle…who, it appears has for a length of time been in the habit of keeping a room in which he encourages all kinds of cruelty, such as dog-fighting, cock-fighting, and the worrying of cats, for the purpose of affording sport to himself and several young scamps residing at Filey, who had on several occasions taken stolen cats there in bags. It appeared also that Coyle had kept not less than five dogs for the purpose of worrying cats, &c…. He had lived in a room in a filthy condition, and kept coals under the bed on which he slept, and it was not an uncommon thing for him to tie the cats to his bedpoles until a favourable opportunity arrived for torturing them to death, selling the skins, and giving the carcases to his dogs for food. Mr. Richardson, solicitor, Bridlington, appeared for the Humane Society, and in opening the case said that during the whole of his experience he had never met with such a bad and cruel case as the one in question, now brought before the bench. … Coyle had long been practising a series of cruelties, and his house or room where he lived was a well-known depot for the worrying of cats and dogs, and one where every description of vice and wickedness had been going on. The old man was not only old in years, but he was old in infamy, and he hoped the bench would inflict that punishment on him which his conduct deserved, and he thought the bench would, after hearing the statements of the two witnesses he should call, think he was fully justifiable in asking for such punishment.

WILLIAM WILLIS said that on Friday, the 19th ult. he met a man named Thomas Jenkinson with a cat in a bag, and he took it down to Coyle’s house. It went under the bed and laid amongst the coals. There were four dogs in the room at the time. He was at Coyle’s at six o’clock that night with twenty or thirty others when the cat was worried. It was customary for a number of people to go there for the sport of killing the cats. The cat he saw was brought forward to the centre of the room and held by a string. Coyle held one dog and Featherstone another. The cat was partly worried by Coyle’s dog, and finished by Featherstone’s. Before the cat was dead it got away, while it was in great agony, and was again brought forward and two dogs got hold of it and were each pulling in opposite directions. The cat screamed loudly, &c., and died, and was then thrown to one side. Shortly before this he saw some cats’ skins hung up on the wall to dry. Coyle sold these skins to Featherstone.

WM. WISEMAN, another youth who had been present at Coyle’s on the day in question corroborated the evidence of Willis.

William Wiseman had the middle name “Willis” and was a first cousin once removed to our William Willis – circumstantial evidence that we have the right man. Wiseman, a fisherman, was eighteen and would marry in February 1867. Johanna BULLIMORE bore his seven children, the last after he had drowned in October 1880.)

William Willis had just sixteen months to live and I am pleased he didn’t go to eternity with his reputation completely ruined by Coyle.

The CHAIRMAN [Rev. J. HORDERN] then ordered the two young men, who had come as witnesses to be placed before him, and he, in very kindly terms cautioned them relative to their future conduct, remarking that it was a disgraceful circumstance indeed for such youths to be connected with. He urgently advised them not to frequent such infamous places as the one kept by Coyle, as surely they might find some better means of employment or amusement than that of cruelly torturing poor dumb animals, and they might think themselves fortunate they were not placed in the same position as Coyle and Featherstone, though they perhaps might have been with equal right. He would advise them to take the present admonitory warning, and never again disgrace themselves by taking part in cruel and wicked pastimes, as the Society of which Mr. Heffer was an agent were constantly on the look-out, and such cases would always meet with careful attention and the perpetrators of such heinous crimes would likewise receive their just punishment.

Charles Coyle was not reformed by his three months hard labour in the Bridlington House of Correction. Less than a year later (February 1865) he was charged with leaving his donkey an unreasonable length of time in the public street at Filey, fined 2s. 6d, 11s. 6d. costs with 14 days imprisonment if he defaulted. In December 1867 he was fined 25 shillings for keeping two dogs but having a licence for only one. In September 1870 he was fined one shilling with 9 shillings costs for taking lodgers in his house when he was not licensed. And over several years he corrupted a young man from a respected local family. William SUGGITT “fell into intemperance” and stole goods which Coyle fenced. In 1875 Suggitt was apprehended for stealing a pair of scissors and a silver pencil case. Fearful of the shame a guilty verdict would bring upon his family, the young man pleaded for a non-custodial sentence but was sent to the House of Correction for six weeks of hard labour. For receiving stolen goods, Coyle was committed to trial at the next Beverley Sessions. Whatever happened to him there he lived a couple more years, dying at the age of eighty in 1878. Overnight, Filey became a better place.

I have not been able to find the cause of William Willis’s death. He was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard on 9 July 1865 in an unmarked grave.

Tree 45 · Glen Gardens

Frances and Francis

They were brother and sister, born at the end of the 18th century and baptized in Filey. Their mother, Frances, was unmarried and there are few sources that reference her. The “best fit” indicates that her mother was also Frances, married to John MORGAN.

For most of their adult lives, Frances and Francis went their separate ways. Francis, an agricultural labourer, is working for George GARDINER on a Muston farm in 1851. Ten years later he gives his birthplace as Muston and is living-in at Carr House Farm, a mile or so from the village. In 1871 he is with Frances in Filey. It is the only census (of four) that gives her an occupation.

The lodger that has their family name is George Francis WILLIS. In 1861 Frances tells the enumerator he is her nephew and offers his true name. (His given age, 5, is more accurate than “18” at the 1871 census.)

In 1851 Frances is described as a pauper and shares her small cottage in Church Street with another – and different – young lodger.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has two boys called William Willis born in 1843. One has a substantial pedigree. He marries Mary KNAGGS and they name one of their daughters Frances. The other William is without parents, or a future that takes him beyond the age of 22. Searching for a glimpse of the two Williams in newspapers, the one who married becomes a local hero when he rescues three children from drowning in Filey Bay. The year before the other William dies he falls into bad company and ends up in court. (More about this later.)

In 1841 Frances Morgan is living in King Street, Filey, in a household headed by Timothy HOPPER.

She is possibly the fisherman’s housekeeper. With them are Robert WILLIS (a sailor) and Rachel nee HOTHAM, and their children Sarah and William. The boy’s full name is William Hotham Willis and when he is seven years old his Aunt Nancy (Rachel’s sister) names her last born child William. It is this William who is living with Frances in 1851, a consequence perhaps of his mother’s death in July 1845 when he was two years old.

Clearly, Frances Morgan had a close connection to the Willises but I have yet to confirm a blood relationship with “the nephew” in 1871. Not knowing for certain who the mother of George Francis Willis is doesn’t help.

George is the father of one of the boys who died as a result of the Bridlington rocket explosion (last Thursday’s post). The birth registration suggests his father is not known.

WILLIS, George Francis, Mother’s Maiden Surname: -. GRO Reference: 1856 J Quarter in SCARBOROUGH Volume 09D Page 278.

On Filey Genealogy & Connections George has a wife, but no children or forebears. Mary Helen AINSWORTH is represented on the Shared Tree [MGHS-L96] with her parents, five siblings and her paternal grandmother.

I don’t yet have firm evidence that Sarah Willis was George’s mother. The Hotham sisters both named their firstborn Willis children “Sarah” in 1834. Nancy’s Sarah married John MOORE two years after George’s birth and had at least five children. I have not found Rachel’s Sarah after the 1841 census and think she is more likely to have given birth to George. Or maybe it was someone else altogether.

I have a bit more research to do regarding the bad company William Willis kept so will tell that story tomorrow.

Found Object 42 · A Framed Picture

Cliff path near Primrose Valley

Six Boys and a Rocket

On the night of Wednesday, 2 March 1892, the Coastguards at the Hilderthorpe Lifeboat Station called out the Volunteer Life Company and the lifeboat crew by firing two “rockets”. One of the gun-cotton detonators failed to explode and landed in the garden of William GRAY in West Street. If the new RNLI Station is on the site of the old one, the detonator didn’t fly far. You can see West Street at the top of the image above (though there seems to be little room for gardens nowadays). The Saturday Leeds Mercury reported that a boy called HUTCHINSON found the detonator on Thursday morning. He did a deal with another boy, receiving a knife in exchange. The new owner of the ordnance was one of five boys who conspired to take what was in effect a small bomb and “let it off” on Thursday evening. They placed it on a wall surrounding the Local Board’s tool-shed on Beck Hill (a short walk north of West Street) and one of the boys ignited it with a match. The explosion shook the neighbourhood and was heard all over the town. The first people who rushed to the scene found  four of the “poor little fellows” lying senseless and bleeding on the ground. The fifth, John WILLIS had been able to run to his home in nearby Boynton’s Yard. Harry LYON and Arthur ATKINSON were conveyed to their home in Grundell Terrace (Nelson Street); Fred EDMUND was taken to Dr GODFREY’s surgery, his wounds dressed and then sent home; and after his wounds had been attended to, Tom WILLIAMSON was taken to the Lloyd Cottage Hospital.

The boys injuries received further attention from two more doctors (WETWAN and THOMPSON). Arthur Atkinson, 10, and his stepbrother Harry Lyon, 8, were considered the most seriously injured – some of the charge had penetrated Arthur’s lungs. Tom Williamson’s face and jaw were “shattered” and his left hand partially destroyed. Fred Edmund, 10, received injuries to his left hand and left leg. John Willis had “received a slight fracture of the skull and injury to the left eye”.

An addendum to the newspaper report ran –

Death of One of the Sufferers

Arthur Atkinson succumbed to his injuries at five o’clock yesterday morning at the hospital. Harry Lyon and Tom Williamson are in a critical state. Willis and Edmund are progressing favourably.

One of the survivors died some weeks later.

I happened upon this sad story in pursuit of information about John Henry’s father. George Francis was the illegitimate child of one Sarah Willis – but there is a second Sarah Willis born in the same year and location, and they appear to be first cousins. I was looking for a source that would show which Sarah was George’s mother. I have a hunch, because one Sarah “disappears”. At one census George is with a woman who claims to be his aunt. At the next census he has been given her family name – MORGAN – but marries later as a Willis.

I will write more about the Morgan/Willis situation another day but will end with “the boy named Hutchinson” who, sensibly, got rid of the bomb. William Gray of West Street was a Coal Merchant and at the previous year’s census his roof was sheltering six sons and three daughters. You would think one of these children would have found the dangerous object first. But next door was Holdsworth Hutchinson, a cordwainer, wife Ann, four sons and a daughter. I suspect ten-year-old Alfred was the finder who chose not to be a keeper. (Eldest Frederick was seventeen and an Ironmonger’s Assistant and third son Harold only seven and surely too young to barter with older boys.)

I wonder how the deaths affected Alfred Holdsworth Hutchinson. In 1901 he is following his father’s trade and living with brother Frederick, who is now married to Mary and father of a four year-old son. In 1911 Alfred is living alone, still single at thirty. He marries before the end of the year though. His bride is Rose Ethel SEARBY, daughter of a Hull provision dealer and somewhat mysteriously, they tie the knot in Hartlepool. Alfred takes her to Bridlington and at the end of September 1939 the census-taker finds them here…

… in the street where Arthur Atkinson had lived for such a short time.

Path 108 · Cleveland Way

A Memorial to My Childhood

A question prompted by The Brothers Cortis (last month) sent me to Ashby Cum Fenby in Lincolnshire over the weekend, to see if I could find more information about the parents of Richard Cortis, the brothers’ father. At the moment “John & Elizth” are on the FamilySearch Shared Tree with Richard and eight other children, none of whom are yet connected to each other.

“Elizth” seems to be Elizabeth SMITH. A February 1765 marriage in Ashby is well-timed for the couple’s first child, Ann, christened in January 1766 and buried two months later. The Ashby Parish register can be found at Lincolshire Archives. The ink has faded but most of the Cortis events can be discerned. John first appears in Ashby in 1761 (as far as I can tell) and is intermittently the churchwarden over the next three decades. At most of his own events he is referred to as “John junr.” His father would, therefore, seem to be John senior whose origins are obscure to me but who dies at the end of the year in which John and Elizabeth marry.

Reading the register carefully, I found all the Cortis children on the Shared Tree and several more. I also noticed that there was a second John Cortis, referred to as “John of Laceby”. This is all well and good – until the entry in December 1791 for the burial of John Cortis, aged 0, son of John junr and Elizabeth of Laceby. A John Cortis married Elizabeth BASNIP of Laceby in February 1791 but without seeing the death of Elizabeth nee Smith recorded some doubt remains. (In 1799 there is a list in a newspaper of subscribers to the Caistor Association in which John and William Cortis of Laceby AND John Cortis of Ashby appear.)

Elizabeth Basnip has issues of her own and it was a relief to be distracted by intriguing entries in the register that cried out to be investigated.

1753 David Langley, a stranger killed by a Fall from a Sycamore Tree as he was taking Rook nests, May 7th buried.

1796 Aug 25th buried Edward Condock aged 14 years. The above Edward Condock received his death by an accidental shot from a Gun in Mr Scrivener’s House. [A Thomas Scrivener shared churchwarden duties with John Cortis.]

And the entry that took me back to my childhood?

The Number 30 bus in Hull used to go to and from Stoneferry along New Cleveland Street, and maybe still does. I was always particularly drawn to the mysterious (in name and nature) Marble and Stone Merchants, Anselm Odling and Sons. One had only the merest glimpse of what went on behind the tall fence but it was the name that fascinated me. And here, perhaps 150 years before the company set up a branch in Hull, I find the forebears (surely) in a small Lincolnshire village. Thanks to the Interweb, I now know it was a large company of diverse activities – and it is still trading on New Cleveland Street, but disappointingly just as “Odlings”.

Another name in the Ashby register that caught my attention – Hewson. The Hewsons may have been the preeminent family in the village and in Louth in 1862 John and Elizabeth’s grandson, William Smithson Cortis, widower, married Susanna of that ilk.

Flight of Fancy 26 · Emoji

Filey seawall

The Value of a Good Education

On Thursday 17th March 1881, Henry DARLEY, 42, attended his first Spelling Bee, acting as Chairman for the social evening, held in the Spa Saloon, Filey.

Juveniles under fourteen were tested first. All the local elementary schools were represented and Florence PICKERING took the first prize and Tom SCRIVENER the second. I have no record of Florence but Tom was twelve-years old, son of one of the town’s doctor. Both children attended Mrs Holmes’ school.

A Miss “BRAWSHAW” of Beach House was victorious in the adult competition, with Mr RICARDO second. Neither is to be found in Filey Genealogy & Connections. Thinking the lady may have been wrongly transcribed, I looked among the Brayshaws and Bradshaws without finding a likely candidate.

The chairman said that they had two  more prizes for anyone in the audience  to compete for, and he would very glad for them to go on to the platform while the band was playing. Twenty-one competitors stepped forward, but many of them were soon disposed of, six of them coming down with “Oolite”. After that good stand was made, but eventually all the gentlermen succumbed, and only five ladies were left, when some most excellent spelling was gone through, and then another breach in the  ranks was made, when the field was left to Miss MacCullen and Miss Latham.   Between them the contest was  most  severe. The  two  were spelling upwards of ten minutes, when Miss Latham gave way, and Miss MacCullen remained the victor.

“Miss MacCullen” was almost certainly one of the McCALLUM sisters. Lucy Eliza, 39, was headmistress of the school she ran at Clarence House, West Avenue, with younger sister Margaret. 34. Both ladies can be found on the FamilySearch Tree under the name McCULLUM. (In both the 1881 and 1891 censuses, Lucy’s middle name is Martha.)

A good bet for Miss LATHAM is Rose, 28, a Governess working for the NICHOLSON family where one of her charges was Maud. Aged eleven in 1881 this child would later marry the much older Arthur Nevile COOPER, vicar of Filey for fifty years.

During the evening several duets were sung by Miss MacCullen’s pupils, Dr. Haworth, and the Vicar [Rev. Cooper], accompanied on the pianoforte by Miss Latham.

The McCallum sisters put education before marriage but in her mid-thirties Rose married widower Thomas Newton HARRISON in her home village of Tattershall, Lincolnshire.

The Scarborough Mercury reporter ended his piece –

We understand that another spelling bee and  a geographical  bee will be  held in about a fortnight. We hope that all who possibly can will go, as we feel assured that a more enjoyable evening has not been spent at Filey than on the occasion of the spelling bee.

The Spa Saloon would subsequently become Ackworth House and it has retained the name following extensive renovation. This morning it was unblemished in the morning sunlight – all the builders’ stuff gone and with furniture on the balcony shared by owners of favoured sea-facing apartments.

Wave 39 · Filey Bay

Filey Promenade (near Ackworth House)

The Tide Has Turned

Alan Jones reports on the abuse of Zoe.

The Brothers Cortis

Six sons of Richard CORTIS and Jane SMITHSON reached adulthood. Five crossed the Atlantic and ended their days in the United States after experiencing mixed fortunes. From information received and uncovered thus far, it appears that the first young man to Go West was Richard John in 1856. He had married Jane Hannah MAPLES in Hull in 1850 and they sailed from Liverpool with two infant boys. When they were caught by the 1860 US census they had been joined by Harold Graeme (aged 6 months) – and RJ’s brother Samuel Smithson. I don’t know for sure if the other three brothers had made the crossing by this time but eight years ago I was offered a reason for them all leaving home.

Here is a post from Looking at Filey, 6 May 2012 – in full, errors included but footnoted. (The archived Looking at Filey has still not been made available again at The British Library. The web links should still “work”.)

Distant Relations

Photographer unknown, no date1, courtesy Elizabeth Kennard

Richard John2 CORTIS senior, born about 1788, was a master mariner and later a shipping agent. He also owned the Minerva public house hard by the River Humber. (Recent photos here, here, and here.) With Jane SMITHSON he had at least ten children. I had found eight of them on FamilySearch but Elizabeth supplied two more – Henrietta, who died in infancy, and Joseph who was killed in Tennessee during the American Civil War. Seven Hull born children made it to adulthood but none breathed their last by the Humber. Six3 died in the United States and one in Australia. Elizabeth asked me what happened in Hull around the 1850s that prompted a whole brood to fly a long way from the nest. Despite being a Hull lad, I didn’t have a clue and so asked a man I hoped would know. Peter Church explained that 1849 was a cholera epidemic year and some of the city’s water came from Spring Head in Anlaby along an open channel which passed Spring Bank cemetery where 700 cholera victims were buried. Minerva opened in 1851 and Richard John CORTIS senior was responsible for “masterminding the trans-migrants passing through Hull from mainland Europe to America”.  I reckon he was therefore in a good position to advise his children to seek a healthier life across the Atlantic and to facilitate their journeys.

The odd one out was William Smithson CORTIS who was enumerated in Queen Street Filey in 1851 with a wife, three children and three servants.  Ten years later he was a widower in a mixed  John Street household containing three of his children, a widowed sister in law and nephew (on his wife’s side), a pupil  in his medical practice, four servants – and his old dad, 74 year old “Richard,  formerly Master Mariner.”

The Cortis presence in Filey comes to an end at some time during the next ten years, before 1869 probably because the old master mariner dies in Hull that year, his age given as 83. Two of his Filey born grandsons made their way to Australia and William Smithson went out there too, dying in Manly in 1906.

I wonder if any letters passed between Filey and the United States. Was the man on the horse (above) aware of his older brother’s passing in Australia, four years before his own death?

Elizabeth has told me that Richard John Junior worked as a shipping agent for the White Star Line and did well enough for himself to have four servants and a coachman in the house. The photograph was taken in Brooklyn, New York City, which is not, as Elizabeth writes, “a noted pastoral green, horse riding area any longer”.  (William GEDNEY pictured Brooklyn as I imagine it.)

Notes:

  1. Date about 1895.
  2. I do not think Richard senior had a middle name.
  3. Five brothers and, perhaps, sister Jane.

Elizabeth’s photograph came with the following information attached.

Richard J Cortis 1823-1910, an Englishman who with his wife Jane (Maples) came to NY City permanently about the middle of the 1850s. He was the father of Jessie V. Cortis (1865-1937) who married Wm. Kennard in 1889. The maternal grandfather of Wm. Cortis Kennard (1893-1975) and the great grandfather of Richard Cortis Kennard (1920- 2001.

R J Cortis always kept a horse or two in Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY and this picture taken about 1895 shows him on his horse “Rex” at the Cortis home, 66 Lennox Road, Flatbush, which the Kennard family and R J Cortis left in 1908 for 1722 Albemarle Rd, a home built by Wm M Kennard.

Find Richard John on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Path 105 Long Lane

Boris & the Tent

The Missing Twins

I mentioned on Tuesday that Elizabeth CORTIS 2 [K2BK-F63] had a full complement of siblings on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. That ten children at least were born to master mariner and hotel keeper Richard and Jane nee SMITHSON is confirmed in a brief newspaper notice.

I had forgotten about the twins.

The youngest Cortis child on the Shared Tree as I write this post is Thomas Thackrah. He was about 18 months old when his mother died.

Jane would have given birth to the twins towards the end of April. A simple search for christenings brought nothing so I looked through the Holy Trinity register from late April to September. Still nothing. I found them in the Holy Trinity Burials registers at Find My Past.

I don’t know who entered the world first but Ann departed after nine weeks in the vale of tears. Harriet stayed for seven months.

(Harriet’s entry is at the bottom of the register page – I have added the header in Photoshop, so this is not a facsimile of the original document.)

Betsey still had a sister and seven brothers. Jane was the only one of Richard’s children enumerated with him at The Minerva Hotel in 1851. She was 25 years-old and single but married Philip HORSLEY, a Doncaster farmer, three weeks later. I couldn’t find records of children, their whereabouts at subsequent censuses or records of their deaths. It is an easy assumption to make that they emigrated – either blazing a trail to North America or following the Cortis brothers Richard John, Joseph, Samuel Smithson, John Charles and Thomas Thackrah to New York City and destinations beyond. Joseph gave his life for the Union but the others may all have married and made it to the Twentieth Century. Betsey’s eldest brother William Smithson, and those of his children who reached adulthood, “went the other way” to Australia. More about the adventurers another day.

Nature Morte 12 · Guillemot

Only Connect #1: Elizabeth Cortis

Elizabeth was the first child born to Richard CORTIS and Jane SMITHSON. As I write, she may be found in two corners of the FamilySearch Tree multiverse.

Seven sources are attached to her record and they all truly belong to her. Three are marriage sources and a FamilySearch transcription of one of them records her age in 1845 as 21, giving a calculated birth year of 1824. The Holy Trinity (Hull) marriage register doesn’t specify the age of the bride or groom.

This source is valuable in giving her residence and her father’s occupation. Richard by this time had given up seafring and was keeping The Minerva Hotel, a stone’s throw from the River Humber.The naming of three Cortis witnesses – Elizabeth’s parents and sister in law -is also helpful. (Mary Jane had married Elizabeth’s brother, Dr William Smithson Cortis the previous year.)

A Sculcoates Parish christening source indicates that Elizabeth was 27 years-old when she married.

A “possible duplicate” indication on Elizabeth 1’s page takes us here: –

Elizabeth does not have children yet – but has the correct birth year, her mother and a full complement of siblings.

Elizabeth 1 appears to have lived for 66 years, dying in Bramley. A few days ago I found a Billion Graves photograph of her headstone in Hull General Cemetery. I imagine it is not far from her father’s grave. It clearly indicates she died in 1857, aged 39.

So, who was the Elizabeth HUTCHINSON who died in 1890? Maybe the wife of gardener Thomas Hutchinson, born Elizabeth HALDENBY. In 1881 this couple and several children were enumerated in Hunslet, which is six or seven miles from Bramley.

After the early death of “our” Elizabeth, Charles Hutchinson re-married – but he waited thirteen years to do so. This is surprising, given that Frederick was twelve and Alice Maria just six when their mother died. Charles died in 1875, aged 58.

Frederick became a successful builder and was able to retire in his late thirties, but shortly after giving birth to their seventh child his wife Kate died aged 38. Frederick chose not to marry again but the 1901 and 1911 censuses show he had two umarried daughters  and three servants to run his household.

It seems that descendants of Elizabeth 1 may have contributed information about her to the Shared Tree, so I don’t want to make any major changes. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise for them to discover Elizabeth 2’s remarkable birth family. Or Betsey as she was known when she married.

Beach 113 ·Filey Sands