Cousin Thomas and Comrade Tom

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou may have noticed another CHAPMAN on the Gristhorpe War Memorial (Thursday’s post). Thomas William is a first cousin to Robert, and you can find him on the Shared Tree.

Serving in different regiments, it is unlikely that they ever fought side by side, but it seems that both the 12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and the 6th Scottish Borderers were at Delville Wood in July 1916. Allied forces were tasked with taking the wood “at all costs” and from the 15th July into August the fighting was brutal, a satanic mix of close combat exchanges and intense artillery barrages. If the bodies of the fallen were found, many could not be identified. Thomas was killed on 23 July and, as one of the “missing”, is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

A comrade of Thomas in the 12th Battalion was Tom CHAPMAN, son of John William and Eliza née CAMMISH. He was not related by blood to Thomas William and Robert. Tom may well have been struck down on the same day as Thomas. He died on 27 July from wounds received during the battle for “Devil’s Wood”. He is buried at La Neuville British Cemetery at Corbie and is remembered at a family grave in St Oswald’s churchyard. Find him on the Shared Tree.

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A Troubled Family

What was Hannah HOOD thinking when she persuaded her husband to share a bedroom with her 80-year-old father?

The remains of Mr. Frank Chapman, aged 80, who met his death at Reighton, by falling from a window, was interred on Tuesday. Deceased was formerly a farmer at Gristhorpe.

Scarborough Mercury 18 December 1903

 

Hannah was about six months old and her brother George three when they were christened at the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Filey on 16 November 1865.

Twenty-three years later, George married Maria GLENTON. In 1901 they are in Gristhorpe with their three children, Charlotte Ann, 11, Robert, 8, and Eliza Jane, 2. George was sound of body, working as an agricultural labourer, and would see his father buried two years later. If he attended the funeral, he may have considered St Oswald’s churchyard a pleasant spot to rest eternally. If that was his wish, it came true a decade later.

I have not discovered the whereabouts of George or Maria in 1911, Their children were scattered. The youngest, Eliza Jane, is boarding with widow WELLBURN in Gristhorpe. Charlotte Ann is a general servant to farmer Thomas JACKSON at Osgodby, near Cayton. Robert is a “beastman” to another farmer, Charles Collins SKELTON, near Hunmanby, unaware that he will soon be asked to forfeit his life. A life remembered on the headstone of his parents, a few metres from the grave of Frank and Ann.

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In loving memory of GEORGE CHAPMAN of Gristhorpe, who departed this life April 9th 1913, aged 50 years.

‘Not gone from memory nor from love

But to the eternal Home above’

Also of MARIA, wife of the above, died Nov 11 1926, aged 67 years.

‘At rest’

Also, Pt. ROBERT CHAPMAN, son of the above, who was killed in France after four years active service, Nov 1st 1918, aged 26 years.

‘In the midst of life, we are in death

Forever with the Lord’

The life expectancy of a soldier on the Western Front was short, and for Robert to have come through three or more years of carnage to die within days of “victory” is poignant. I couldn’t find him on the CWGC database, the nearest sacrifice to November the first being an infantryman with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. Robert isn’t to be found on the Filey War Memorial – no surprise as he was a Gristhorpe man. I looked for a photo I took of the Gristhorpe Memorial in March.

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There he is, at the bottom of the list – “K. O. Scottish Bords”. If he served with the 6th Battalion throughout the war he may have fought in a dozen battles, including the Somme, Passchendaele, Delville Wood, Zonnebeke Redoubt, Cambrai. Robert was killed during the Final Offensive in 1918. His body was identified by his cap badge, general service uniform and boots and placed in a temporary grave. With a thousand or more other comrades he was taken to the New British Cemetery at Harlebeke, near Ieper, in 1924 or 1925.

George had died in the North Riding Asylum in York, aged 50, unaware of the trials his son would soon endure. How much did Maria know of her son’s fate? Robert’s service record online is bereft of kin. She died on Armistice Day 1925 (not 1926) in the same mental hospital as her husband. What must those twelve years of widowhood have been like for her?

In 1924, Eliza Jane signed the register at the marriage of her sister to Charles Henry JACKSON, (perhaps a relative of the people Charlotte had skivvied for at Osgodby). Thirty-four years old when she married, Charlotte died childless (I think) in Scarborough, in 1949, aged 60. I don’t know what became of Eliza Jane.

A Dying Fall

Francis CHAPMAN married Ann SAWDEN in 1848, in Burton Fleming. Seven children were born to them between 1852 and 1865. For much of that time, Francis worked as a labourer on farms around Gristhorpe, in Filey parish. Ann died in 1879 when her youngest daughter, Hannah, was fourteen years old. Two years later, Francis was enumerated in Gristhorpe, sharing a house with another agricultural labourer, Francis FORDON, a man half his age who hailed from Ann’s village, Wold Newton.

The fortunes of Francis seem to have picked up thereafter and in 1891 he tells the census enumerator that he is a farmer. He shares a bigger house in Gristhorpe with daughter Hannah, now married to William HOOD, and three grandsons, the youngest called Francis Chapman Hood.

In 1901 Francis, given age 76, heads a household on Reighton Moor. He is nominally a farmer still, but the Hood family is with him and son in law William, 36, is the “farm manager”. Grandsons William and Francis, 17 and 13, are horse keepers on the farm.

At the beginning of December 1903, there is a curious accident.

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Francis had lingered for nine days after the fall. His body was taken to Filey to be buried with Ann. Over a century of weather has had little effect on their stone but it has had to suffer the indignity of a more recent memorial being set up against it.

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Francis, Ann and their children are on the Shared Tree. I have put the stone on their page as a memory. You may read their memorial verses in the description.

What Killed the Sellers Boys?

Life has always been a lottery. That isn’t going to change but the odds of surviving to a good age have improved somewhat since unwise apes began to shuffle around on two feet.

At the beginning of the 19th century in Britain, one child in three died before their fifth birthday. It took around 70 years for this figure to improve to one in four, and, about another 80 years before 19 out of 20 children could party, aged five.

The mortality story is well-told online, offering tables and graphs that can be downloaded.

One of the Office of National Statistics interactive graphs shows the “survivability” of individuals at all ages from 0 to 110, from 1850 to 2010. This enables the deaths of the Sellers Boys to be put into a context of sorts.

Robert SELLERS and Sarah WILSON had eight children between 1851 and 1870, five girls and three boys. I haven’t yet discovered when Robert, the youngest boy, died. A headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard remembers the other two brothers.

George, 15, and William, 17, both died in 1872, fifteen days apart. When the census was taken the previous year, William was at home with the family, working as a Shop Boy. George was “living-in” not far away in Scarborough Road, a servant to farmer John RICHARDSON.

The survivability graph mentioned above has precise figures at 25-year intervals but, roughly, William and George had 67 chances in a hundred of reaching their next birthday in 1873. Reasonable odds, but they were two of the 33 in a hundred who didn’t make it.

If we had the certificates, we would know what the attending Filey doctor thought was the death of them. (Charles Waters SCRIVENER was the town’s medical officer, but two other doctors were resident in Filey in 1871, and presumably in practice – Brooke CROMPTON and Richard ALDERSON.) Without the certificates, we can only surmise.

That the boys died within a couple of weeks of each other suggests an infectious disease could be the culprit, most likely consumption, aka tuberculosis or TB. This bacterial infection was so common it would not have raised the eyebrows of a newspaper editor. An outbreak of cholera, typhus, scarlet fever or smallpox in the town would surely have been reported.

It is possible, of course, that the timing of the brother’s deaths was coincidental, and each was taken by a different cause. A wonderful online resource gives the causes of death of most people buried in Leeds General Cemetery. I browsed the first couple of hundred records, noting the causes of death of males aged 15 to 17. (I didn’t note the calendar years in which the deaths occurred.)

The modal cause of death was, not surprisingly, consumption with 14 instances. Bronchitis was a distant second with four; accident and fever with 3. (Had the Sellers boys died on the same day I would immediately have thought “accident” – drowning whilst fishing – if I hadn’t already known their occupations.)

There were two instances each of these causes – typhus, general decline, abscess, and inflammation of lungs.

Single instances – asthma, inflammation, temporary insanity, affection of brain, erysipelas, pleurisy, congestion of lungs, congestion of brain, scarlet fever, hernia, hip disease, inflammation of bladder, liver complaint, heart disease, general debility, tumour, diarrhoea and rupture of blood vessel.

It is interesting to note that heart disease is now the leading cause of death for English males; dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for females. These causes swap to take second place for each sex. (Figures don’t seem to be available for the myriad other sexes of choice available now.)

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In loving memory of SARAH, the beloved wife of ROBERT SELLERS, who died July 23rd, 1908, aged 84 years.

Thy will be done

Also, the above ROBERT SELLERS, who died Jan 3rd, 1909, aged 83 years.

Peace perfect peace

Also, two sons of the above; GEORGE who died June 6th, 1872, aged 15 years, and WILLIAM who died June 21st, 1872, aged 17 years.

Gone but not forgotten

This is currently a two-generation family on FamilySearch and extending it seems to be a daunting task

A Family Resemblance?

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Even though their placement is out of step with St Oswald’s east windows, I have always liked these stones. Fondness at first sight.

Foster, Harland and Spink don’t shout “kinship” but surely all those who lie beneath are related somehow. Three people are named on each stone and they are not all connected yet on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. I’ll attempt to link them up tomorrow. (If you are British, or more particularly Northern Irish, you may immediately associate Harland with Wolff. Start here…)

Newbiggin

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This telephoto view down the slope of Madge Hill takes in most of the hamlet of Newbiggin.

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Ordnance Survey, 1929. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.

Glaves Foster was caught here by the census enumerator in 1851 and 1871, probably occupying the house with two whitewashed gables and four chimneys. In 1861 he was at the Little Britain farm on census night but perhaps not resident there. In 1881, Newbiggin was being run by Glaves’ widow, Mary, assisted by two of her “middle” sons, Thomas Francis and Charles. Both men married in 1886, two years before their mother’s death and it would appear that Newbiggin was bequeathed to Henry, the youngest son. In 1891 Thomas was farming at Sewerby and Charles at Harton, near York.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Henry was living at 1, The Crescent in Filey in 1901 and 1911. Perhaps the farmhouse at Newbiggin was occupied by a hind. Though giving his occupation as “farmer” at these censuses, Henry was playing a significant part in public life. This morning I went to St Oswald’s to photograph his memorial tablet in the church. It took some finding, being hidden by a banner indicating the south transept is a place for quiet prayer.

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The eldest of the FOSTER brothers, William Stilborn, was 20 years old in 1871 and with his parents (and brothers) at Newbiggin. He married Mary Ann RALEY in 1875 and in 1881 he was farming Muston Grange. He died a few months before his mother in 1888, so the question of his inheriting Newbiggin didn’t arise. He has an impressive stone in St Oswald’s churchyard but it is currently on its back. The inscription on the polished red granite is difficult to decipher in the best of lights.

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In loving memory of WILLIAM S. FOSTER of Muston Grange, who died June 27 1888, aged 37years.

‘Not my will but Thine be done’

Also ANNIE, the beloved daughter of the above, who died at Beacon House, Flamboro’, August 8th 1904, aged 26 years.

‘Peace perfect peace’

Also of MARY ANN, widow of the above, who died Sept 14th 1930, aged 81 years.

‘The Lord is my shepherd’

I will add to William’s details on the FamilySearch Tree over the next few days.

Little Britain

Last Wednesday I wrote about Glaves FOSTER and mentioned he was farming 225 acres at Little Britain, Gristhorpe, in 1861. His father, aged 79, was enumerated at the same address that year, managing 95 acres with the help of his wife Ellis, youngest son Francis Robert, a male farm servant, a dairymaid and an errand boy.

In 1929 a farm at Little Britain could be found on the Ordnance Survey 6 inch map.

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Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.

A large chunk of the farm was taken after this date and the unlovely Dale Electric factory built upon it. The factory closed a few years ago and has now been demolished. The Google Earth satellite view shows some buildings still standing. A more recent pass by a Bing satellite shows the scar of the cleared site, now awaiting the building of about forty houses.

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Francis and Ellis are buried at St Oswald’s. Their headstone has been moved from the gravesite to the north wall of the churchyard.

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Filey Genealogy & Connections reveals that four of their five children married and lists 18 grandchildren. Most of this information has yet to find its way onto the FamilySearch Shared Tree.