A Worthy Man

Six days ago I took four children from their wrongful parents. Yesterday, I set about uniting them with the people who gave them life.

WELBURN_wm1692_FSTscreenfocusThe tick and crosses have to be re-evaluated. The children’s father was a William WELBURN born about 1841 but he didn’t marry a woman 27 years his senior. A record of marriage to the mother of his children eludes me but her maiden surname was quickly found in the GRO Births Index. MUSK. In the censuses, she was just Ann or Annie but registered as Ann Elizabeth by her parents, Robert and Mary Ann née HARDY. Robert was a mariner and he went where the wind blew whenever the census enumerator called, saying he was born in Beccles (Suffolk), Barnby (Norfolk) or Norwich. All three places are within a few miles of each other so he didn’t drift too far from a true course. Ann was the first of their thirteen children to be born.

The green tick indicated that a different, older William Welburn, William of the Four Wives, had married Ann Thickett on the date indicated. The FamilySearch Tree gave his mother as Jane ARTLEY, born 1817, and it wasn’t a great surprise that she is also considered to be the children’s grandmother. But she has competition.

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All but Jane Artley have been generated by “the system” from christening sources and can be discarded because I found Jane LAYCOCK properly represented elsewhere on the Shared Tree. I have been unable to connect Jane Artley to either the Welburns or the Musks. She was the right age to marry John TEMPLE in Scarborough in 1850.

In addition to the four children given to the wrong William and Ann, the rightful parents had two more boys. Ernest, the youngest child, was about 21 months old when William went out fishing in Bridlington Bay and didn’t return home. A squall sprang up and upset the coble Straggler. Two others in the boat managed to grab hold of a short mast and an oar and made it to shore. William is reported to have said to Richard PURVIS, “I am done for” as the waves closed over him. The Driffield Times omits this poignant detail.

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The widow isn’t named in the newspaper reports I have seen. The week after her loss, the takings from a concert in the Victoria Rooms were handed to Purvis and Wilson. Annie didn’t marry again and seems to have worked as a charwoman into her old age. On census night 1901, aged 59, she was sheltering six of her GILMOUR grandchildren. She died on 3 June 1907 and left her effects to William and Ernest. I can’t explain how a char amasses about £50,000 in today’s money.

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Beach 106 · Speeton Sands

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Strangeways

If Mr Swain, my teacher in the top class at Stoneferry J & I, had asked me what the name “Strangeways” conjured up I would have shuddered and mumbled, “the jail, sir”. The lock-up’s reputation was contagious enough to infect little children. (Google it.)

Now, in my dotage, I find I have Strangeways (or variants thereof) in my family tree – and genealogical criminal acts have been perpetrated upon some of them. That’s perhaps a bit strong. I’ll reduce the charge to “microaggressions”.

I have no interest in sending anyone down for the offences. Some mistakes are easily made on the FamilySearch Tree. I expect to be found guilty any day now.

I call William STRANGEWAY.

His birth was registered in the December Quarter of 1842 in York, the son of James, a brickmaker, and Sarah née MATTHEWS. He didn’t stay long enough to celebrate his first birthday but here he is on the Shared Tree.

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William is without sources here but checking the GRO for his asserted death in Leeds in 1894 gives this –

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A calculated arrival three years out of whack rings a warning bell.

Let’s first look for a York birth registration in 1842.

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Year and mother fit the Shared Tree screenshot.

There is nothing for us in York three years later but in the first quarter of 1846 –

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In 1851 the census puts William the Younger with parents Robert, a brick and tile maker, and Frances née GIBSON at 5 Aldwark, which is a ten-minute walk from James and Sarah’s home in Redeness Street. William the Elder is beyond the ken of the enumerator of course but his two sisters, Elizabeth and Ann, are recorded with brother Thomas and grandmother Ann née MEPHAM.

The Aldwark house also shelters an Elizabeth. If the births of the two girls were registered on time, less than six months separate their appearance on the planet. There’s a greater chance of some latter-day family historian mixing these two up!

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Robert Strangways died aged 44 in 1853. In 1861, William is 15, working as a cloth dresser and living with his mother in Ratcliffe Yard, Leeds. He marries Ellen ARCHER in that city about eight years later.

Sarah Strangway, six years a widow, marries George GREEN in York in late 1862. Her second marriage does not last. In 1871, a widow again, she is living in Marygate with offspring Charlotte and James Strangway. James chooses not to marry and is with his mother in 1891, working as a labourer. Sarah, 73, is a nurse. Ten years later she is in the York workhouse. James is still alive, whereabouts unknown to me in 1901. His mother dies aged 85 in 1903 and James follows her into eternity less than a year later, aged 50.

I wonder if James’ sister Elizabeth attended either of the funerals. She died in Hull in 1911 after burying four of the nine children she had with Alfred WELBURN, one of them being “my Strangway”, first wife of William Henry Phillip SMAWFIELD who then married my grandaunt Elizabeth Ann LOCKETT.

This is a confusing number of Elizabeths to deal with and I am in some doubt now. Have I chosen the right Elizabeth from the two girls born in York in the early 1840s? Although confident I have sorted out the Williams, I don’t have cast iron sources for their sisters. A church marriage source naming a father would give me comfort but I haven’t found one yet. I’ll go over my evidence and report another day.

Mark of Man 45 · Bell Buoy

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This gives a better sense of the size of Bell Buoy than Thursday’s sunrise photo.

Foraging Unmasked

I did my weekly shop at the supermarket this morning. I wore nitrile gloves and a scarf in case I needed to protect people from my droplets. I saw only one other person wearing a scarf. So far, in the town, I have seen just one person in a mask.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is mandatory to wear a mask out of doors. The governments didn’t supply masks so nationwide cottage industries sprang up to meet demand. Chris Martenson put this onscreen in his post yesterday.

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This afternoon I heard a UK doctor on national radio explain how ineffective masks are in protecting against catching Covid-19 disease. He was particularly scathing about homemade masks. He concluded by appealing to the great unwashed not to wear masks at all. “Leave them for our health workers on the frontline.” But…but… I thought you said…

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Go figure.

A Sherwood Forester

Henry PERRYMAN was born in Filey in 1883 to William John, of Irish and Alice GIBSON, a Folkton girl. The couple brought 19 other children into the world but when William John filled out the 1911 Census form, as a 65-year-old widower, he indicated that only eight were still living. Four years later there would be seven..

At age 17 Henry was working as a house painter for his father but in 1911, still single, he was a “Police Fireman”, boarding at 1 Guild Hall Cottages in the city of Nottingham. A few days after the Census he married Mary Ellen PATTISON, 25, whose roots were in Swaledale, North Yorkshire. The couple had two children before the Great War started, Sydney in 1912 and Barbara the following year.

Henry had enlisted with the Territorials in Filey in 1908 so it is not surprising that he volunteered for the army within a month of the war beginning. He joined the 7th Sherwood Foresters and in February 1915 landed with his battalion in France. The following month an article in The Nottingham Evening Post, with the title Robin Hoods Under Fire – Will Make a Name for Themselves, prompted him to write a letter to the Editor.

Just a few lines to let the Nottingham people know how the Robin Hoods fared in their first experience of being in the trenches under fire. We left Bocking, Essex, on February 25th, and arrived France on the 28th. At some places we were only 80 yards from the German lines. It was quite exciting, the English, French, and German guns going all day and night long. It reminds one of a fireworks display, especially when the rockets go up every now and then to find out the different positions at night time; only you have to be very careful. I have heard it said the Germans can’t shoot, but you must not expose yourself in the daytime. We only lost one poor fellow by accident and two wounded by the enemy so didn’t do amiss. We are enjoying ourselves as well as we can, and our officers do everything in their power to make us as comfortable as possible. We don’t stay long in one place, always on I the move, not much time for letter writing. You can take it from a good source that the Robin Hoods will make a name for themselves before they come back to England.”

Source: http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/rollofhonour/People/Details/21806

In early October 1915, Henry and his fellow Robin Hoods were part of the 18th Brigade in the trenches at Potijze, near Ieper.

The battalion advance post known as Oder Houses was rushed by the enemy about 6.30 in the morning’ (on 5 October). The Germans at first opened a heavy artillery and trench motor fire on Oder Houses, and on the main fire-trenches occupied by ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies in rear of the post. The front trench and two cottages in the rear were flattened out by the enemy’s artillery, and what remained of the garrison withdrew down the communication trenches towards the main line. Captain Robert, commanding ‘B’ Company, from which the garrison of the post was drawn, arranged for a counter-attack up the two communication trenches leading to the post, while the so-called ‘Toby’ Motors were laid on the front of the post. A patrol was first sent forward to ascertain the exact position of the enemy, but these, on seeing the advance of the patrol, at once retreated and the post was reoccupied. The casualties were rather severe, ‘B’ Company having 11 killed, 19 wounded -mostly by shell fire- 1 man missing, believed killed, and 1 wounded and missing, believed captured.

Source: The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War compiled by Colonel. H. C. Wylly, C.B. pages 114 & 115. Gale & Polden Aldershot 1924, extract found here.

This source shows that Henry was one of eighteen Foresters who died of their wounds on this day. He is buried at Vermelles British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.

If you followed the link to Henry’s letter you will have seen that he is remembered on the Nottingham Holy Trinity Church and Police Force War Memorials as well as on the CWGC website. In Filey, his name is on the Murray Street Memorial and in St Oswald’s Church (where he has been given a promotion to Corporal).

As I write this, he is not on FamilySearch Tree and his pedigree on Filey Genealogy and Connections appears limited at first glance. His older sister Carrie’s marriage connects him to the wider “Filey family”. I hope to link him on FST to those forebears already there (scattered) and perhaps add some more,  found while researching this post. I have created a LaF Wiki page for him.

His grandparents, Henry GIBSON and Alice née BAKER, though “incomers”, are buried in St Oswald’s churchyard. I photographed their headstone this morning – and William John’s former lodging house on The Crescent.

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