Bird 121 · Skylark

Rocket Pole Field

Four posts about John MABBOTT of Sleaford.

A Sense of Belonging

Birds of a Feather

John Mabbott Revisited

John Mabbott’s First Marriage

Sarah, daughter of coal dealer Thomas HUNTER and Mary Ann PRIESTMAN is not yet married to Thomas JOHNSON [GM85-397] on the Shared Tree. When the knot has been tied I will put a photo of their headstone on FamilySearch.

Kath has a cryptic note on Filey Genealogy & Connections regarding William SILVERSIDES.

If he married Ann Ryder first, did he then marry Jane Backhouse and later Jane Colley

The only helpmeet William has at the moment on the Shared Tree is Jane COLLEY, identified with some confidence because she was born in Sherburn near Scarborough, married there and gave birth to William junior in the village the following year. William senior was 35 when he married this Jane – and just twenty when he pledged his troth to Ann RYDER in Stillingfleet on 23 October 1821 (FG&C).

Elsie married farmer Charles NEWHAM in 1916 and died at Carr Farm, Lebberston. They are together in St Oswald’s churchyard but the soil has built up against the granite kerb and grass hides most of the inscription. This is all I could see –

FG&C gives the couple two sons and there is another FamilySearch Genealogy that has some Newham ancestors that could help with creating a pedigree on the Shared Tree.

Lancelot married Mary MOSEY at Filey St Oswald’s in 1798 and FG&C shows them having seven daughters and one son. The Shared Tree has some catching up to do.

A Sense of Belonging

I wrote about John MABBOTT in July 2011. The Looking at Filey blog is still inaccessible at The British Library’s Web Archive so I offer it below, in full, with some comments inserted in square brackets.

The stone has begun a glacial topple from the vertical but its position by the path in the churchyard guarantees that most people passing by will notice John MABBOTT – and perhaps wonder about the “of Filey” beneath the name.

In 1881 the census enumerator caught John with his wife Ruth at 80 Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, his occupation Herbalist & Patent Medicine Dealer. He was 57 years old and Ruth 56. Any children they may have had would have flown the nest.

Ten years later John was in Filey with another wife, Mary Elizabeth, eight years his junior. Checking Free BMD I found that Ruth, born MASON, died about June 1882 in Chorlton Registration District, which includes Openshaw. It would appear that John had no family to keep him in Lancashire because about eighteen months later he married a former Governess, Mary Elizabeth BIRD, in Selby. In 1881 Mary Elizabeth had been staying in Filey with a much older cousin, Mary BIRD, at 14 Hope Street.

Mary BIRD described herself as a ‘proprietress of houses’ at the 1861census and in 1881 as a ‘retired milliner’. Her retirement came to an end a few weeks later and perhaps Mary Elizabeth was a beneficiary of the substantial estate.

In 1882 or ’83, then, there were two bereft and maybe lonely people whose paths unaccountably crossed. Whether it was for love or convenience John and Mary Elizabeth married in Selby and set themselves up in one of cousin Mary’s houses in Filey. They enjoyed almost ten years together. Can we be sure they were happy? I think the “of Filey” is a clue. John seems to have been a wanderer – the 1841 to 1871 censuses might confirm this – but maybe his last years in Filey were his happiest and he asked Mary Elizabeth to let everyone know this by implication on his headstone. It is one thing to feel comfortable in a community though and another to be accepted by it. One wonders if old Filey family tongues wagged disparagingly when they saw the inscription. 

According to the Census John was born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.  I haven’t found any other sort of record to confirm this but I did happen upon a PDF of burials in that town which prompted an intriguing thought or two. (Well done Sleaford Town Council for making this information freely available on the web.) [The URL for this PDF doesn’t work now.]

The first Mabbott on the list is Alma, aged 0 in 1859 when John was 37. Ruko Inkermann MABBOTT died the following year before reaching his (her?) first birthday. Other tiny Mabbott infants died in 1862, 1865 and 1867. And the father of at least some of these babies was almost certainly a John MABBOTT who married Mary POWDREL (or POWDIEL) on 18th October 1855 (Family Search England Marriages 1538 – 1973 Source Film 989862; Free BMD Dec Q Sleaford 7a 835).

It may not have been Filey’s John though. On the 30th May 1866 another John MABBOTT, born 1822, was buried in Sleaford and there had only been one of these Johns in the town at the1861 census.

Thirteen Mabbott burials are recorded in Sleaford in a hundred years. The modal age is 0, the median 3 and the average just 26 years so our John did very well to reach seventy, though I guess the herbal remedies and patent medicines helped.

After her husband’s death Mary Elizabeth moved back south, close to the places where she was born and married. She died in or near Selby on 22nd June 1915 and although she is remembered on the headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard it isn’t clear that she is actually buried there. [A record of her burial in St Oswald’s churchyard was found later.]

I have put John MABBOTT and his wives on the Filey Tree even though it is unlikely any other family groups will ever connect to them. I think it’s what he would have wanted. I have also opened a Wiki Page for him with blank tables for 1841 to 1871 census information that will help fill the gaps in his life journey.

[The “Filey Tree” was a database briefly hosted by FamilySearch but it disappeared in the major revamp of the Shared Tree some years ago. The “Wiki Page” is no longer easily accessible online. I offered some thoughts on the 1851 census last Friday ( John Mabbott’s First Marriage). In 1861, John “Mobbett” is visiting John BOWNS and family at Earls Terrace, Newton in Makerfield, given age 37, married, working as a Smith, birthplace “Sleaford, Lancashire” in transcription (RG09 2898 f99 p29). On census night ’61, Emma “Mabbott, widow”, age 39, “Cotton L Weaver”, birthplace Manchester, is a lodger at 55 Mulberry Street, Hulme, Chorlton (RG09 2898 f99 p29). In 1871, at West View, Openshaw, John heads a household containing second wife Ruth Mason nee GREEN and two of her three surviving children, Amos (16) and Martha (12). As the eldest, Mary at 19 was possibly in service somewhere in Manchester. (There is a Mary Mason of this age in a Manchester Prison but the receiving ledger gives her birthplace as York.)]

Path 133 · Martin’s Ravine

John Mabbott’s First Marriage

I had a closer look at the 1851 census record I described as “less than clear” on Wednesday. FamilySearch has the transcription from one of its “partner sites”, Findmypast.

I think this is John MABBOTT from Lincolnshire.

I’ll get to his Manchester birthplace and uncertain occupation later. The marriage of John and Emma TAYLOR had been registered in the July Quarter of the previous year and on this census night they had no more than three months to wait for the birth of their daughter, the short-lived Elizabeth.

The Mabbotts were lodging with Samuel MORRIS and his wife, Isabella.

The quality of the page image on Findmypast is poor. The transcriber sees things I can’t discern but Samuel’s family name is a lot clearer to me than “N?” (I confirmed his identity in the 1861 census.)

I see Isabella’s birthplace as “Lincolnshire”. The 1861 census offers “Ireland” rather than “Manchester”. She married Samuel in 1836 and I couldn’t find any birth registrations in their first ten years together. As for John’s occupation, “Wheelwright” seems clearer to me than “? Man” and this would make “Smith” in 1861 seem reasonable. The mystery of how and why he changed his career path from working in metal to dealing in pills and potions would remain, of course. (To be solved, perhaps, by his encounter with druggist Abraham MASON, whose widow he subsequently married.)

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon looking for information about the other Sleaford John Mabbotts born about the same time as our man. Not one seems to have left the county of their birth and most left their mark in court records for one misdemeanour or another – assaulting a wife, being served with a bastardy order, depositing manure in a town street, being drunk on the highway in charge of a team of horses.

I think there is a strong enough case to marry John Mabbott and Emma Taylor on FamilySearch and hope others will confirm the union and contribute some of their forebears.

Path 131 · Old Tip

Nature Reserve

Birds of a Feather

John BIRD, born in Hunmanby towards the end of the eighteenth century, waits for ancestors on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. He married Mary LOWSON in 1828 and they brought three children into the world. After the appearance of John junior in Hunmanby, the family moved to Gateforth near Selby where Mary Elizabeth and Richard William were born.

John married at the age of 24, Richard at 32 – and Mary when she was 52 years old. Her husband, John MABBOTT, was about eight years her senior and had been married twice before. He was described in censuses variously as a Herbalist, Patent Medicine Dealer, Seedsman and Druggist but seems to have started out as a Smith (1861 census). In 1891 they were living in Hope Street, Filey, most probably at No.14.

2 May 2021

Two years later, after not quite ten years of marriage, John died, leaving Mary to a widowhood that would last for 23 years.

The more odd one imagines a couple to have been, the more one wonders how their paths crossed.

John was born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, but a less than clear census record places him in Chorlton, Lancashire with an illegible occupation and a wife called Emma. Their ages are not given but a number of later sources indicate an unhappy marriage. They may have had just one child, a daughter Elizabeth who didn’t make it to a second birthday. On census night in 1861, John is a lone visitor, claiming to be married, at the home of a handloom weaver in Warrington. Some miles away, Emma Mabbott is a lodger in the Chorlton home of an elderly couple, John and Elizabeth BERRY. She tells the enumerator she is a widow. Whatever her true status, she died two years later, aged 37.

John gave up metal working and turned to selling drugs. There is no evidence that he did business with Openshaw druggist Abraham MASON but seven years after Abraham’s death in 1863, John married the widow Mason. Ruth (nee GREEN) had given birth to Abraham’s eleven children but John became stepfather to just three of them. Seven children had died in their first year of life and the eighth, Sarah, in her second. In 1881, eleven years into the marriage, John and Ruth, given ages 57 and 56, were enumerated at 80, Ashton Old Road, Openshaw.

Meanwhile, over the Pennines in Yorkshire…

In 1851, Mary Elizabeth worked as a Bonnet Maker from the home of her parents in Selby. Her father, schoolmaster John, died in 1855 and by 1861 Mary Elizabeth had become a teacher in the the “family school”. (Her mother was described as “School Mistress” at this census.)

Both of Mary Elizabeth’s brothers had forsaken Yorkshire for the red rose county and in 1871, aged 39 and described as a “Governess”, she was living in Manchester with younger brother Richard William, his wife Mary (nee WEBSTER) and their two infant daughters. John Mabbott was living with Ruth and her children Amos (16) and Martha (12) less than a mile away. Mary Elizabeth, “formerly Governess”, was back in Yorkshire in 1881, sharing 14 Hope Street with her cousin Mary Bird, a single woman aged 75 and the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Bird. Elizabeth was born in Hunmanby in 1783, making her a likely older sibling of schoolmaster John. Mary died shortly after the census was taken. One now has to suspect that Mary Elizabeth had met John Mabbott when she lived for a while in Openshaw, or perhaps he was a friend of her brother, Richard William. Whatever, eighteen months after the death of his second wife Ruth, John Mabbott married Mary Elizabeth in Selby Abbey and they settled into the little house on Hope Street. He was enumerated there in 1891 as a “Retired Druggist” and died two years later, in July 1893 aged 70.

Richard William returned to Yorkshire and in 1901 he was farming at Burn, near Selby – and widow Mabbott was visiting him on census night 1901. In 1911, aged 79, she was back in Hope Street, at No.6, with a servant, Frances WOODALL, born in Barlby, near Selby. Mary Elizabeth died in that village four years later and it seems likely that she was brought back to Filey to be buried with her husband.

I know it is a stretch to suggest that Mary Elizabeth sharing accommodation with a cousin and a probable aunt is akin to “flocking” but, in the absence of more reliable sources, the relationships noted in census returns seem to offer opportunities for “tree growth”. I’ll see what I can do over the next few days.

Bird 101 · Blackcap