A Request…

…for a headstone photograph arrived from Find a Grave a few days ago that I was able to  claim. God’s Acre in Hunmanby is close to a bus route and I made the short journey yesterday. As I searched for the target, I took the opportunity to photograph the war graves and a few memorials bearing familiar family names. I was pleased to find the Five Angels.

Having fulfilled the FaG order, I have just added the CAMPBELL family stone as a memory on FamilySearch. The three remembered were adrift on the Shared Tree but Agnes Octavia had a duplicate ID that facilitated connection to a well-populated pedigree that will take you back to the 15th century.

Bird 96 · Chaffinch♀

Brotherly Love

In 1839, Joseph PHILO and Jane WEBB married in St Mary le Strand Church, London, and then created eleven children. Perhaps not surprisingly, Joseph and Jane were favoured names given to the six boys and five girls. We have, in order of arrival, Frederick Joseph, Frances Jane, Joseph Frank, Phillipa Jane, Jane, and Joseph Francis. The fourth boy, Philip, died before his first birthday in 1855. They called their next child Philip. Though it was not unusual for Victorian parents to confer the same treasured name on two or three children, death had to take a child before the name was given again. In this Philo family, however, Joseph Frank and Joseph Francis lived together for a number of years. Any likelihood of confusion, in the home or neighbourhood, seems to have been averted by calling the elder boy ‘Frank’ and the younger ‘Joe’.

This has, however, caused some trouble on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

This “Joseph Francis Philo” has 11 sources attached to his record and all name him as “Joseph Frank”.

Plain Joseph has just three census sources and in 1891 he has the bonus of a middle name initial “T”. This is a mistranscribed “F” for Francis. Birth, marriage, death, 1911 census and the 1939 Register all give his full name as Joseph Francis Philo.

On 23 March 1873, Frank married Anna Maria GOLDSMITH in Foulden, near Norwich. Their first child, Louis Frank, was born in the March quarter of 1874 and Archie Thomas arrived five years later. Frank died early in 1880. When the census enumerator called in 1881 he unacountably described the two boys as Anna’s grandsons. Also with her on census night were brother in law ‘Joseph’, and a sixteen year-old servant, Sarah HENRY. Six months passed and the boys acquired a stepfather – Robert James PHILO, eighteen months younger than his brother Frank and about twelve years older than Joseph Francis. Robert and Annie had a daughter in 1886 and two years later the family crossed the Atlantic and settled in Ohio.

An accident in childhood blighted the life of Philip the Second. His injuries were not serious enough to prevent him earning a living but he would often complain of faintness, sickness and general debility. He was medically attended for many years by Dr WILLIAMS and was able to successfully run his own portmanteau-making business. When the good doctor died, Philip didn’t seek another, thinking nobody else would be able to understand the fragility of his constitution. Early in 1909 three family members died and he sank into a depression. (Two of the deceased may have been John Oakden SWIFT and his wife Ruth Cecilia nee SIMPSON.)

Philip ended his life on 17 June by swallowing poison he had persuaded a chemist to give him to put down a sick cat. He left a note for his younger brother:-

My dear Joe – May I ask you to do me a favour and be so good to see I am not buried alive, and to be as kind and considerate as you can. Yours lovingly, Philip.

The coroner’s jury returned a verdict of “suicide while temporarily insane”.

One of the floral tributes at Philip’s funeral had a message from the orphaned Oakden children – To dear Uncle, from Violet, Freddy, Dolly and Ruth.

The mourners were led by the woman Philip had married, late in his life – Fanny Wace FARNFIELD. I am having difficulty tracing her forebears but WACE is a family name that crops up a hundred years or more earlier in the Philo pedigree.  The Shared Tree provides many descendants of Francis Philo and Rose JARY but for more detail and easy access to page images of sources visit the Philo Phamily.

One other odd coincidence – Philip’s suicide note was handed to Joseph Francis by Detective-sergeant GOLDSMITH, who also found the empty bottle of prussic acid. I wonder if he was related to Anna Maria.

Landscape 137 · Bay Thicket

A small hollow by the path from the beach to The Bay Holiday Village

Life’s Challenges

John Oakden SWIFT was the second child born to Thomas Swift and Dinah SAMPSON, about a year after his sister Mary Alice died in Filey in June 1858.

He followed his father into the legal profession and for a while was a successful solicitor in St Helens, as his father had been before him. He did not, however, reach the heights of his half-brother, Sir Rigby Philip Watson Swift.

In early January 1885, John married Mary Adelaide OLDROYD in Dewsbury and Hilda Mary was born towards the end of the year in Prescot, Lancashire. The birth of an unnamed male child was registered in 1888 and Mary Adelaide died aged 28 two years later.

I have been unable to find what became of the motherless children but their father married again in the spring of 1897. The bride, Ruth Cecilia SIMPSON, was about ten years younger than John, born in Norwich, where her father was the City Treasurer. In the next six years they brought four children into the world, their births recorded in four different districts – Mutford, Wirral, Kingston on Thames (sic) and Wandsworth. Clearly, the family was unsettled.

As the twentieth century got under way the London Gazette carried notifications of the dissolution of two business partnerships. John first parted company with Edwin Pierce and, a year later, with his full brother, Ernest William (the fellow who consulted Louis Pasteur about a dog bite). And shortly afterwards –

John and Ruth’s marriage survived these setbacks, but not for long. On 21 April 1909 John died in Telford Avenue, Streatham Hill, London. Ruth Cecilia followed him to the grave a week later.

Two years later, three orphaned Swift girls are with their Uncle Joseph Francis PHILO, Aunt Julia and maternal grandmother Louisa Watling SIMPSON at 11 Tombland, Norwich. I don’t know where their brother Thomas Frederick was on census night 1911 but he died in that city in 1976, aged 77.

Find John Oakden Swift on the Shared Tree.

Sand 37 · Message

Muston Sands (maybe)

A Bigger Challenge

Set by the World Freedom Alliance (at Seemorerocks).

Not a Single Man

I wrote about John OAKDEN over two years ago (Leader of the Band) and remarked that my “diligent searching” had failed to come up with a helpmeet in his short Filey retirement. I thought that the Mary Oakden residing on The Crescent may have been his wife – and a couple of days ago discovered that she was, and not his first.

I had taken another look at John because of his connection to Thomas SWIFT, the lawman on the side of injustice in the Maybrick Case. I had long wondered what circumstances turned a bachelor (on the face of it) into the great uncle of little Mary Alice Swift? Of course, I suspected Mary’s niece Emma SAMPSON held the key but without the elusive marriage source…

Marriages Dec 1853  

OAKDEN John & SAMPSON Mary, Manchester 8d 398.    

Free BMD

How had I missed this?

Mary was 45 years-old and single when she married but may have known John for many years if, as seems likely, he had been a “brother in arms” to Thomas Swift. Mary was an aunt of Dinah Swift nee Sampson, and great aunt to Mary Alice.

I then found another report of John’s retirement from the 1st Royal Dragoons that contained information cut from the Staffordshire Advertiser’s account shown in my earlier post.

John Oakden and Hannah TRAVIS were minors when they married. John’s guardian, Robert Wagstaff, and Hannah’s father, Samuel, gave their permissions and William was born the following year (1825), when Hannah was just nineteen. If they had more children I have yet to find them, though it appears Hannah may not have died until 1851. If that had been the case she would surely have attended William’s wedding in 1848 and perhaps her daughter in law Emma’s funeral in the spring of ’51.

William’s second wife, Anna WAGSTAFF, hailed from Derbyshire and his father’s guardian had farmed at Snelston in that county until his death in February 1851 at the age of 81. Robert’s relationship to Anna has yet to be determined. William prevailed upon Anna to give two of their children, John and Louisa, the middle name ‘Travis’ and they christened their fourth child William Robert. John Oakden may have dandled three of his grandchildren upon his knee.

William buried his firstborn child, Elizabeth Gray, in the summer of 1875 and Anna buried him at the end of the following year.

Anna carried on William’s “music dealer” business for a while, assisted by daughter Louisa Travis, and then sailed to the other side of the world with two of her sons. Anna died in Auckland in 1917, Frank in Dunedin (1931), and Harry Percy in the Waikato (1941).  Harry married into the VALPY family in New Zealand, bringing distinction to the Oakden/Wagstaff pedigree. I wonder if there are any among them who had a hand in condemning an innocent woman to death.

Bird 95 · Tufted Duck♀

Glen Gardens Boating Lake

A Woman Scorned

I gave my undernourished Churchyard Index some attention yesterday and, while looking for information about the death of Thomas SWIFT, happened upon a murder mystery.

Thomas is curiously connected to Filey. His first wife, Dinah SAMPSON, was born in Lincolnshire but the family later crossed the river and her mother is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard. Mary Alice, the Swift’s firstborn  opened her eyes in Prescot, Lancashire, and closed them forever 15 months later in Filey. She is remembered on the headstone of her great uncle, John OAKDEN, who had died the previous year. The birth of her brother, John Oakden Swift, was registered in Prescot the following year.

Findmypast offered three hints for Thomas Swift’s death in Lancashire and rather than guess, I turned to newspapers. Several reports of his sudden death in Liverpool in 1899, at the age of 66, agreed that he was a man of exceptional ability, well-known in Liverpool and St Helens and held in the highest esteem. As a solicitor he was particularly expert in licensing law but after being called to the bar in 1882 he acted as counsel in some high profile cases. In 1889 he was involved in the prosecution of Florence Elizabeth MAYBRICK for the murder of her husband, James.

The case against Florence was weak but the judge successfully persuaded the jury to find her guilty. She became the first American citizen to be sentenced in Britain to hang. A public that gleefully trashed her character at the beginning of the trial, had doubts about the fairness of the verdict at the end. Following an appeal, Queen Victoria reluctantly commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.

In 1891 Florence was in Knaphill, Woking, the first purpose-built female convict prison. When it closed in 1895, the inmates were transferred to the new female prison in Aylesbury. Florence was enumerated there in 1901, given age 37.

She served fifteen years for a crime for which she hadn’t been tried. At some time between 1889 and 1904 she had been cleared of murder but not re-tried on a lesser charge.

On release from prison she made plans to return to the United States. Her son James was then 22 years-old but had changed his surname to FULLER. He would die in Canada seven years later after drinking cyanide, thinking it was water. Daughter Gladys Evelyn would marry Frederick CORBYN in 1912 and die, childless it seems, in Haverfordwest in 1971. One source says that Florence “never saw her children again” after the trial.

You can see Florence’s application for a United States passport here. She did, as promised, undertake literary work. You can download her Memoir – My Fifteen Wasted Years ­from the Gutenburg Project at no charge. How she came to find work on Henrietta Banwell’s chicken farm in Gaylordsville, Connecticut remains a mystery. But she lived in poverty there in a small bungalow – described by some as “a shack” – with a lot of cats. Reverting to her maiden name, it seems that nobody in South Kent knew of her notoriety until after her death from acute myocarditis on 23 October 1941, aged 79 years, one month and 22 days, according to her death certificate.

There is a lot of information online about Florence. If you are curious…

There is a photograph of her grave and a short biography here. On the FamilySearch Shared Tree she awaits the sad gift of her children. Her husband’s five children by just one of his mistresses are also not yet recorded.

Tree 59 · Country Park

Fishing for Thomas Mackrill

I have cast my net into the sea of sources in the hope of catching Thomas, husband of Margaret, the second daughter of Barnet MURPHY and Susanna nee CHAMBERS (see A Childhood Memory).

The marriage of Thomas MACKRALL (sic) and Margaret was registered in Tadcaster in 1857. The 1861 Census places them at the same address as Margaret’s widowed mother but separates the two households. Thomas is 32 years-old, working as a flax dresser and his birthplace is given as “Holden” in the Findmypast transcription. In the page image it looks like “Hebden” to me – a small settlement near Pateley Bridge. Margaret is nine years younger than her husband and a winder in the flax mill. The couple have two children already, Mary Ellen and Francesca.

By 1871 they have moved to Selby. Margaret has enough work at home with six children aged between one and thirteen. Thomas is still a flax dresser. The transcription does not give birthplaces but the page image clearly shows Thomas entering the world in “Beverly”. In 1881 this becomes “Bewerley”, half a mile south of Pateley Bridge. The family has returned to Clifford, just outside Tadcaster, and four children have been added to the roster.

Something happens in the 1880s. It isn’t possible to determine how long Thomas lives apart from Margaret but on census night 1891 he is in Clifford with two of his youngest children and with Margaret’s elder sister Ann, 56 years old, a seamstress and unmarried. Thirty miles to the west, at Northowram near Halifax, Margaret, 53, shares  her home with four of the older children.

Thomas dies before the next census. His young sons move to Halifax to live with their mother. Ann lives alone in Clifford and her death is registered soon after the census, in the June Quarter of 1901.

I had yet to find a record of the birth or death of Thomas. Then, this christening in Pateley Bridge appeared.

Thomas MACKRILL: son of James of Wath in the Parish of Kirby Malzard (sic), Miner, & wife Elizabeth, daughter of Humphrey & Hannah HANNAM. Born 21 December 1830; baptized 7 April 1831.

A shock awaited me on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

I didn’t doubt for a moment that this fragment of pedigree was correct. Two children with middle names honouring maternal grandparents were clinchers. I had come within a whisker of making the kind of mistake on FamilySearch that I have previously spent hours correcting.

Somewhat ironically, I then found the death registration of “not my Thomas”, in Halifax in 1887, aged 56.

I have lost hope of catching Margaret’s husband but will add his children to the Shared Tree when I find the time.

Found Object 50 · Memory Stone

Royal Parade

What Happened to Peter?

Elizabeth MURPHY was sixteen years old, single, and a yarn winder in 1861 (Sunday’s post). Ten years later she was mother to four children and working as a “baller in a flax mill”. The birth of the first child, Mary, was registered in Malton in the same quarter as her marriage to John NASH.

For a few shocked moments, I contemplated a Free BMD record being wrong.

Bramham is just a mile from Elizabeth’s home in 1861. On census night that year, Peter was about fourteen miles away, an apprentice “living in” with Spurriergate butcher John JUDSON. John’s eldest daughter, Ann Elizabeth, was a year older than Peter but fate (or passion) connected him to Elizabeth Murphy.

McClear is an Irish family name and McLEAR Scottish. Representatives of each clan seem to be few and far between in England but there is this birth registration fifty miles away from Bramham in the quarter following Peter and Elizabeth’s marriage.

Nine years later, Elizabeth and John Nash named their sixth child James. James McClear/McLear was not with them in 1871 but I haven’t found a record of his death.

I have been unable to find a source for Peter’s death. The 1861 census gives his birthplace as Liverpool. A Peter McLEARY was born in 1843 (mother McCONNEL) and a Peter McCLARY the following year (mother McDERMOTT) but I could find neither boy in the 1851 census in Lancashire or Yorkshire. (I tried “fuzzy searches” and all the variant spellings I could think of.)

Another Peter McClear did, however, appear. Born in Ireland in 1802, he was enumerated in York in 1851, living less than a mile from Spurriergate, and for a moment I wondered if he was the father of “our Peter”. But he is listed as an unmarried Master Mariner. That he is the uncle of the Head of the household, one Thomas HUSBAND – a flax dresser! – could help further investigation but all I have so far is that he was still a boarder in St Clement’s Place twenty years later, aged 69, and single. (Peter McCLERE, Retired Mariner). He died in York aged 76 in 1879.

I searched newspapers for all the people mentioned in this post and only found this possible reference to Peter the Elder.

Another snippet gives Malabar’s weight as 1,372 tons. William Clark may have painted her.

With so few of the McClear clan crossing the Irish Sea to seek their fortunes in Victorian Britain, it seems unlikely that I’ll hear any more of young Peter – but I would like to know what happened to him. He seems real enough to be given a place on the Shared Tree. (Two Blue Hints appearing on his record suggest “the system” concurs.)

Water 42· Martin’s Ravine

Cascade

A Childhood Memory

The Number 30 bus to town would drive slowly down a long, straight street of small shops with its pavements thronged with people not socially distancing. I looked forward to the turn at the end for the glimpse it gave of a church that seemed out of place. It was not drab. There was just time to take in its pastel colours, the stone figures in their niches and, on the pediment two curious words in gold, DOMVS DEI.

The seven or eight year-old me probably asked my mother what “domvers” meant. She may have told me, but puzzled fascination persisted until I started doing Latin at secondary school.

Google Street View

I set out yesterday on the trail of a front line worker’s forebears, this being more of an appreciation than clapping on my doorstep. “A” is not a doctor, nurse or care worker but someone putting themselves in a place of danger most days to preserve something of the “old normal”. Where would we be without cheerful checkout ladies at the supermarket?

On 28 April 1811 Susanna CHAMBERS was baptized in the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Jarrett Street, Hull.

Fifty years later she was a widow, living in Tadcaster with two unmarried daughters and mother Ann, who is described as an agricultural labourer (aged 81). Susanna’s husband, variously Barnet, Bernard, Bryon or Bryan MURPHY, had been an overlooker in several Yorkshire Flax Mills until his death in 1858, aged 52. His younger daughter, Elizabeth, was sixteen in 1861 and a yarn winder in a Tadcaster mill. I have yet to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she is A’s great grandmother. Elizabeth has, so far, made the slightest of impressions on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Returning to the House of God. The front page of the Register in which Susanna’s baptismal record appears indicates that the “Chapel” of Saint Charles Borromeo was founded by the “Reverend Peter Francis FOUCHER” in 1798. About twenty years later he returned to France, his homeland. There are two men of the right vintage on the Shared Tree that share his name. One is the father of Adèle, wife of Victor HUGO, but he was getting married in Paris when his near-namesake was overseeing the building of a church in Hull.

Measure of Man 50 · Coble Landing

The Brothers Dennis?

Robert DENNIS married Sarah Jane HARDWICK, the younger sister of the little girl assaulted on 5 December 1860 in Nether Silton. Robert was 12 years old at that time, living two miles away at Mill Hill, Kepwick. His wife-to-be was just two.

Robert was baptized in Over Silton Church on 1 October 1848 by John OXLEE, the incumbent. He was the sixth child of Thomas, a carpenter. and Jane nee HARKER. They appear to have had four children after Robert, but perhaps there were only three.

I could not find a birth registration for Robert and so guessed he had been born the previous month, September 1848. There is, however, a birth registration for Thomas Dennis in the December quarter of 1848. The notion that the boys were twins was fleeting. The births of both would surely have been registered and/or they would have been baptized together. I could not find a death registration for Thomas – or his enumeration in the 1851 census. It is Robert, aged two, at the Cooling House, Kepwick, with his parents and five siblings that year. Two of these were sisters called Mary Jane (6) and Mary (about six months old). The elder had been registered as “Margaret Jane”. This discrepancy made me think the parents were somewhat forgetful – so young Thomas and Robert were probably one and the same person.

I was surprised to discover that Robert married Sarah Jane in Bradford, when censuses indicated that neither family had moved far during their lifetimes. I had to look hard to find Robert’s whereabouts in 1871 but eventually –

So we can make that nine children born to Thomas senior and Jane. Both parents have seven or eight FamilySearch IDs, generated mostly by baptism records I’m guessing, though I have yet to tackle all of the merges. The Dennis family is “all over the place” on the Shared Tree. One of Robert’s IDs currently has him married to Sarah Jane but they are awaiting the arrival of the first of at least six children (and he only has one sibling, brother Henry). I hope to make some deliveries tomorrow.

Beach 125 · Butcher Haven

Hunmanby Sands

Another Impostor

Yesterday morning I returned Laura to her true family on the FamilySearch Shared Tree, with the intention of then marrying the younger Elizabeth HARDWICK to William GRAINGER. I didn’t find him with an existing ID in Sources and when I entered his name on Elizabeth’s details page I was told he didn’t exist and could therefore create him. I didn’t hit the button. I have failed to find people with IDs in sources before, only for them to appear on the Tree.  Rather than possibly create a duplicate, I looked for William on the Tree – and found him married to Elizabeth LOFTHOUSE.

The Grainger Pedigree is extensive with some of William’s forebears being well-sourced and illustrated, making my comment on Thursday that there was little apparent interest  in the Hardwick family seem foolish.

I draw your attention to Elizabeth Lofthouse’s fifth child. Yep, she gave birth to all of Elizabeth Hardwick’s children.

I already had the birth registrations for the six children, all bearing Hardwick as the Mother’s Maiden Surname but, out of curiosity I looked for Lofthouse representation in Over and Nether Silton – and came up empty.

My next step was to message a recent contributor to this corner of the Shared Tree. Ireceived a same-day response with an assurance that things had been put right. Miss Lofthouse remains a woman of mystery but she has gone from the Shared Tree now and can be forgotten.

I have added a few sources today and will give Elizabeth Hardwick and William Grainger some grandchildren soon – though maybe other contributors will beat me to it. The changes Rosemary and I have made will be seen by at least five interested people.

The Grainger ancestors will take you back to 16th century England and forward to a wonderfully illustrated colonisation of the United States.

The Hardwicks have not been as thoroughly researched but I was pleased to find several family headstones on Find A Grave. Elizabeth’s younger sister, Sarah Jane, has yet to be married on FamilySearch but, after spending some years in Middlesbrough, she returned home. Her husband, joiner and wheelwright Robert DENNIS, became landlord of the Gold Cup Inn. Fifty years after Elizabeth was enticed from the Inn by John HOGGART, Robert and Sarah Jane are enumerated there in 1911 and remembered in All Saints churchyard, Nether Silton.

Dog 30 · Beagle

Keeping Filey Smiley