Ancestral Trials

The Misses Mary TOALSTER on FamilySearch (IDs GZMR-29J & 9QVZ-N86) could not, of course, be merged, being different individuals. I had two choices. Declare them “not a match” and then change the name of “Mary E.” to create the person Mary Elizabeth HUNT. Or I could make this change first, thereby removing the “potential duplicate”. I thought it better not to break the chain of data custody and go the “not a match” route. I started the clock to see how long this would take me. After four hours yesterday I had most of the information I held on the two Marys uploaded to the Shared Tree but hit some obstacles along the way and didn’t get as far as connecting Mary Elizabeth to her forebears. The most interesting puzzle involved Sarah ODLING, a grandmother of Mary Elizabeth Hunt. She has this toe-hold on the Shared Tree.

And here she is, usurped –

Sarah UNDERWOOD/HUNT has six sources attached to her record. Two census returns, three baptism records for daughter Sarah Ann and one reference to the baptism of Mary Jane the Elder. None of these sources identify mother Sarah as a born Underwood.

It seems unlikely that there were two Mary Jane’s living together as sisters. I have not found a record of the younger Mary. Here are the birth registrations of four children –

(Roger, Mary Elizabeth’s father-to-be, is usually “Rodger” in subsequent records.)

It appears we should accept Sarah ODLING as the wife of James Crowther Hunt. Here is the parish marriage register record –

Grimsby is in Caistor Registration District and the family crossed the River Humber after Mary Jane was born to settle in Hull. I found it interesting that Sarah could write and her husband couldn’t. Sarah’s childhood had not been easy. In 1851, given age 9, she was descibed as a pauper inmate of Boston Workhouse, with her mother Ann, (married, 48), brother Benjamin (15) and younger sisters Elizabeth (6) and Mary Ann (3).

It gets worse. On the Underwood screenshot above the “real” Mary Jane Hunt marries William AARON and if you look on the Shared Tree they have (perhaps) seven children. The youngest, Doris, has an attached record showing her baptism in 1895 in Goole, which is about thirty miles from Hull. By some genealogical legerdemain, she transforms into Doris Lynette, born in Athens, Georgia in 1918. It should not come as a surprise that Mrs Mary Jane Aaron, aged fifty when Doris Lynette was born, was not in real life the daughter of James Crowther Hunt.

I’m not sure I want to bite the bullet. It feels as if I’ve been put through a cement mixer.

Found Object 51 · Primrose Valley

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 Bright Boy

Farmer  John Would PARKER looks a rather gloomy character in the photographs I posted of him just over a week ago. He possibly made a habit of hiding his light under a bushel.

courtesy The Morrice Collection

This is the “envelope” containing a letter John wrote  to his mother, on or about his fifteenth birthday.

Here are a few lines of its contents –

The cost of a postage stamp for your thoughts Mrs Parker, regarding your son’s penmanship. The execution is not perfect – there are three blemishes at least – but I would be surprised if any teen today could match the elegance of this hand, even if they had a mind to try.

Here is a full transcription of the letter, with the above passage highlighted.

Louth, May 6th 1845

Dear Mother,

Although this is the third letter that I have written to you, I think I have not told you how I am going on with my studies. I have got as far as Decimals in accounts, and in a very few days we shall commence Mensuration. I am learning poetry for practice in parsing and English Grammar. In Geography, I have learnt England and Wales; and I am now learning Scotland. In dictation exercises, I am writing a course of lessons on Natural Science, and I find them very interesting and full of useful information. We have begun surveying, and we are now taking a survey in Stewton Parish, and a very pretty plan it will be, when it is finished.

What a miserable Fair day it was! We had a half holiday and I went to my sister’s to dine, where I enjoyed myself very much.

About the time of the Fair, we went one evening to see an exhibition of Mechanical views, with which we were much entertained, especially with the last, which was the representation of a storm at sea. Shortly afterwards, we had another treat in an exhibition at the Mansion-house, consisting partly of beautiful dissolving views, of cities, ruins, remarkable buildings, etc. and partly of objects, wonderfully magnified by a powerful microscope with an oxy-hydrogen light. By this means we saw the animalculæ in the water, and insects of the size of a flea magnified to the size of a sheep.

P.S. Mr & Mrs Rogers desire their kind regards to you all.

The sister he mentions was probably Sarah Elizabeth, aged 22 in 1845.

With the letter, Peter sent a photograph of John’s widow, Jane Maria née CORTIS, in the sunlit garden of her home in Manly, New South Wales. She was sixty-five years old when she died in 1911 and may not have been long for this earth when the picture was taken.

Found Object 44 · Beach Leaf

wind-blown and sandblasted

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

Another Tale of Two Sisters

Catherine and Selina TOCK were born to George and Ann née PARISH  in Burringham, Lincolnshire.

By the age of 25, Catherine, now “Kate”, had moved just five miles from her birthplace to work as a housekeeper to William CAMPBELL at Ashby Grange. The farm’s 250 acres would later be swallowed up by industrial Scunthorpe. It took employer and employee four years or so to decide that they should marry. Two more years passed and Kate had to to say a final farewell. William is remembered in Filey churchyard, on a stone that is very slowly falling backwards.


In loving memory of CATHERINE, widow of WILLIAM CAMPBELL, late of Ashby Grange, Lincolnshire, who died April 21st 1894 aged 59 years.

Kate took on the running of the farm and although she didn’t have a child of her own, the house rang with a little girl’s voice in 1871. Her niece, Kate Edith HOCKNELL, 4, was there on census night, having crossed the Humber from her home in Hull. (Both were recorded as “Catherine” by the enumerator.)

Little Kate was the daughter of a third Tock sister, Jane (sometimes Alice Jane), who may have been responsible for encouraging the other two to move to Yorkshire. She married John HOCKNELL in Hull in 1864.

Selina crossed over the river soon afterwards, marrying Robert Lamplough BROWN in Bridlington in 1866. Family history repeated itself. She buried him two years later.

As she grew older Kate seems to have gone back to being Catherine. She continued to farm at Ashby Grange but in 1881 held only 142 acres, the address now “South Grange”. Ten years later, and a widow still, she was living in Melville Terrace, Filey, with Selina. The youngest of the Tock sisters was a widow for the second time. About ten years after her first husband died she had married William HALL. In 1881 he farmed 262 acres near Hunmanby and the household included his son with Selina, John Hall (1), and “son in law”, George Hudson Brown, (14).

William died in North Burton in 1890 and a year later Selina had moved to Filey. I don’t know for sure if the two sisters lived together for the four years remaining to Catherine but at some point, Selina left Filey. I haven’t discovered her whereabouts in 1901 but in 1911 she was with a son, Thomas, in  Southport, Lancashire. (After John’s arrival in 1880 Selina had given birth to three more sons as regularly as tockwork, each June Quarter until 1884.) Thomas, 29, worked as a Grocer’s Assistant. I can only find one death registration that fits Selina – in 1921 in Ormskirk Registration District, which includes Southport within its boundaries,. She was 79 years old.

Melville Terrace this afternoon

A Grocer and His Servant

Alfred Burley TOWSE was born on 12 September 1866. I planned to mark his 152nd birthday last Wednesday with a short post but his family proved to be rather demanding. I have done a few hours work on them each day and have a way to go before I have his birth family all present and correct on FamilySearch Tree.

Alfred didn’t cause any problems, for me at least. He married Annie Maud JENNINGS in Grimsby when he was 25 but their three children were born in Filey. He described himself at the 1891 census as a Grocer’s Assistant, presumably working for his father. Samuel Towse was a Grocer and Sub Post Master in Filey.

In 1893 he got on the wrong side of Constable HARRISON.


In today’s money, 21 shillings is about £95.

Eight years later he was a Grocer’s Manager living at 11 Union Street. Samuel was clearly still “the boss”, and would remain so until shortly before his death in 1916.

Before the next census, Alfred had moved south, crossed the River Humber and changed trades. In Scunthorpe in 1911, he is described as a Tobacconist Manager.  With him at 74 High Street were Annie Maud and two of their children, Eric Alfred (17) and Ethel Mary (16). Annie Maud was a Lincolnshire lass and that may be the only reason for the family’s move.

During the next 28 years, Alfred changed his occupation again. In the 1939 Register, at 63 East Street, Grimsby, he is listed as a retired House Agent.

Alfred and Annie made what seems to be a sensible decision, forsaking the fishing port for  Louth, some miles inland. Alfred died there at the beginning of 1954 aged 87 and Annie followed him into the good night a year later.

You can find them on FamilySearch Tree.

Turning the clock back to 1901 finds the couple in their mid-thirties and their children aged 6, 7, and 8. They have a live-in servant, a young widow, Mary Jane HANSON, 32.

I expected to find that Mary Jane’s husband had been a fisherman, but no, he worked as a joiner, not a particularly dangerous trade.

There are only twenty Hansons in Filey Genealogy & Connections and of those, I only had death information for eleven of them. Two boys and a girl didn’t reach their first birthday and only one of each sex passed three score and ten. It is a small sample so nothing can really be read into the average lifespan of those born a Hanson: men 35 years and women 34. I recalled adult, gossipy conversations throughout my childhood during which my mother would say, “Oh, they’re not long-livers.”

Widow Hanson didn’t marry again and died aged 81 in January 1950. There are a lot of Filey Cowlings and calculating their average span will have to wait.


In loving memory of FRANCIS E. HANSON, the beloved husband of MARY JANE HANSON (of Filey), who died July 29th 1894, aged 31 years.

‘His end was peace’

Also of the above MARY JANE HANSON, who died Jan 31st 1950, aged 81 years.


Find Mary Jane on FamilySearch Tree. Her pedigree is more extensive on Filey Genealogy & Connections.

Leader of the Band


John OAKDEN joined the British Army in 1826 at the age of 19, according to his service records. An infant bearing his name, born to Anthony and Ann, was baptized in Alsop en le Dale in 1805. The village is near enough to Ashbourne as to make little difference. If the parents waited for a twelvemonth before baptism, the date fits the inscription on his headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

In affectionate remembrance of JOHN OAKDEN, who departed this life Sept. 14th 1857, aged 53 years.

‘Be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not,

The Son of Man cometh.’

Matt XXIV v44.


John drew his pension for five years. I don’t know how much of this time was spent in Filey and diligent searching online didn’t turn up a faithful companion with whom he shared his days by the sea. The gravestone only records a great-niece who died a few months after he did.

Also of MARY ALICE, daughter of THOMAS and DINAH SWIFT of Prescot and great-niece of the above, who died at Filey, June 20th, 1858, aged 1 year and 3 months.

Dinah was born SAMPSON in Lincolnshire in 1832 and her mother, also Dinah, birthplace not yet known, was a BROOKS. Young Dinah died in Prescot while giving birth to her seventh child, or shortly afterward. The new life and the old were registered in the same quarter year. Thomas married again and, with Emily Mary DAFT, produced another seven children. He was successful enough as a barrister to employ three servants at the family home in Linnet Lane, Toxteth Park in 1891.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA clue to where bandsman Oakden may have lived in Filey is found in the 1861 census returns. Widow Mary Oakden, 52, was recorded at 1, The Crescent, living on her own means and sharing the substantial property (inset) with her niece, Emma SAMPSON, 24. As Emma was a younger sister of Dinah, mother of the infant Mary Alice SWIFT,  it is possible that widow Mary was John Oakden’s wife, but I have been unable to find a  record of the marriage. Both of these women leave the Crescent, and Filey, during the next ten years and I don’t know what became of them.

Little Mary Alice Swift wasn’t on the FamilySearch Tree, but most of her siblings were, though their mother was given as Emily Mary DAFT. I tried to make things right this afternoon and hope I’ve succeeded.

My first search on FST failed to find a likely John Oakden. Then I happened upon Anthony and Ann with four children, including ‘Ashbourne John’. The parents have several duplicate IDs and I haven’t had time to deal with those today. Find John here; three siblings are Ann, Frances, and Georgiana but there may be more.

Men of War?

Thomas and Dinah’s second child was born a few months after Mary Alice died and they named him John Oakden Swift. It would seem that there had been a strong bond between the two families, three if you include the Sampsons. While researching I happened upon a number of Thomas Swifts who were in the British Army. At first glance, I couldn’t find the regimental connection, and a young solicitor taking the Queen’s shilling seems unlikely, but I nonetheless like to think of Thomas and John being brothers in arms. (One of the Thomases was awarded an Indian Mutiny medal in 1857 and this may explain why Mary Alice was living with her great-uncle in Filey at that time.)

Talking of War

As I was writing this post, I received a notification that the US had just attacked a Syrian town, dropping white phosphorous bombs. These weapons are banned under the Geneva Convention for use against civilians or enemy combatants in areas with a large civilian population.  No word on casualties yet, but truth has been “walking wounded” in Syria for years now. Choose your purveyors of news wisely in the coming days and weeks.

A Prattle of Parrotts

The first JENKINSON inscription in the Crimlisk and East Yorkshire Family History Society lists is A29 · 24.


The two ladies must have been the best of friends.

MARY ELIZABETH JENKINSON, died Jan 6th 1958, aged 91 years.

At Rest

EMILY ETTA PARROTT, died April 21st 1959, aged 86 years.


In 1901 they were both lodging-house keepers in Rutland Street. It seems that at the time of their deaths they were living together at 2a West Road, Filey.


This is the corner of West Road (left) and Scarborough Road this afternoon. West Lodge, the red painted property next to the “corner shop” is No. 2A.

Mary was the daughter of Thomas JENKINSON (1835-1895) and Rachel FELL (1835-1899). Thomas is a grandson of Robert and Margaret née TRUCKLES (yesterday’s post) and is on FamilySearch Tree but without a wife or children.

Emily Etta (Etty in some sources) was born in Lincolnshire to George and Elizabeth née VICKERS. George was an agricultural labourer and the first three of his seven children with Elizabeth arrived in Hemswell and the last three in Upton. The middle child, George William, died before his first birthday, both registrations in Gainsborough, a district that includes both Hemswell and Upton. (If you look for the Parrotts in Filey Genealogy & Connections you will find Emily’s mother is given as Elizabeth ROWE, a second wife to George. An Elizabeth Parrott did die in the year attributed on FG&C but I discovered that she was 68 years old. All seven births registered in the GRO give Vickers as the Mother’s Maiden Surname. It is, nonetheless, worth looking at Kath’s database because she gives some information about the three Parrott children who married. FamilySearch Tree is almost completely silent. I have only had time for a quick search and have only found George, Elizabeth, and one child, George Woodward Parrott, born about October 1869 in Upton.)

I feel an affinity with Emily because my north Lincolnshire forebears crossed the Humber to settle in the East Riding. I wonder what forces pushed or pulled Emily over the water.


Radio Five Breakfast News this morning told us of Home Secretary Javid’s horror at discovering the extent of attempts to exploit young children sexually online. He is going to make it his business to do something about the scandalous situation. He is being somewhat disingenuous. Many people have voiced their concerns about this issue and have been rewarded with prison sentences. It is the saddest sign of the times in this benighted nation – if, as a child, you have been raped by a politician (Melanie Shaw), a Muslim of Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Somali origin (thousands of young English girls), a priest from any religious order (thousands of boys as well as girls), or a BBC celebrity (hundreds of children and some deceased adults), the government seems reluctant to pursue the criminals.

Coincidentally, today should have seen the beginning of Tommy Robinson’s retrial (for contempt of court). The date was pushed back to the end of this month. The Crown Prosecution Service needed more time to prepare their case. Odd, that they initially had no difficulty bouncing Tommy from a Leeds pavement to Hull Prison in just five hours.

Over the pond, Trump is warning President al-Assad against attacking proxy forces in Idlib province.


He has clearly forgotten about Raqqa but he should know that the Syrian/Russian manual for dealing with terrorists has a section on civilians and humanitarian corridors.

Geoffrey, Lost at Sea


BradleyG2There are 13 people born BRADLEY in Filey Genealogy & Connections but none are Samuel, Jack or Geoffrey. The family remembered in Filey churchyard is not yet represented on the FamilySearch Tree. Geoffrey’s name does, however, appear on the War Memorial in Murray Street – and on the Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill in London.

The official record and the family headstone say he died on the 11th July but he lived for about two hours of the twelfth day. Two torpedoes from U-582 struck the SS Port Hunter at 01.47 hours, west-southwest of Madeira. Explosions ripped the vessel apart and she sank in a couple of minutes. Three men who were sleeping on deck were blown into the sea and rescued a few hours later. Sixty-eight crew members, 14 gunners and five passengers were lost “presumed drowned”. (Some would have been killed in the explosions.)

Geoffrey was an apprentice in the Merchant Navy, 17 years old. The master of Port Hunter was John Bentham BRADLEY. I have spent some time gathering Geoffrey’s forebears but, so far, haven’t discovered that they are related.

Geoffrey’s birth was registered in Scarborough but his father was a Lincolnshire lad. His mother, Hannah, was a SMITH and has so far evaded capture. She was Samuel’s second wife. He first married Lusianna ROBINSON in Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1888. I found eight children in Boston born to a Bradley/Robinson couple in the GRO Online Index but the 1911 transcription on Find My Past states they had 7 children in 23 years of marriage, one of whom had died.

Lusianna (various spellings) died in late 1917, aged 50. Samuel married Hannah Elizabeth SMITH in the summer of 1919, in Boston. Jack was born two years later and Geoffrey in the last quarter of 1925.

I have some information for about thirty of Geoffrey’s ancestors. FamilySearch has records for most of them but I have found just three on the World Tree thus far. It’s a start.

Webb Log

Thomas WEBB was born in 1838, in Sutton St James, Lincolnshire, about 15 miles from the nearest port, King’s Lynn. In his early 60s, he appeared in a Scarborough Newspaper advertisement as an “old mariner” extolling the virtues of Bile Beans. “Indigestion, Sleeplessness and Influenza After Effects Cured.” For most of his working life, the various censuses attest, he was a labourer, brazier, or tinner.

In 1871, during a labouring phase, he was lodging with Robert SAYERS, a sailor, in Queen Street. Perhaps that’s where he got the idea from, though I think he may have tried line fishing for a while and not taken to it.

Thomas married Amanda LANE when he was 20. She bore him two children, then died at 19 a month or so before her infant son Thomas.

One wonders if grief pushed Thomas away from Sutton St James, but why move to Filey? There is a tantalising possibility that he was looked after kindly as a child by a young servant called Mary STORK, at a nearby farm. The 1841 census only tells us she was not a native of Lincolnshire but there is the remotest of chances that she was from the Yorkshire coast. Whatever, on 4 November 1866 Thomas married Mary Ann STORK, ten years his junior, at St Oswald’s in Filey. They would have seven children, but only one reached adulthood.

Thomas made several appearances in the local newspapers. In May 1887:-

At the Bridlington police court on Saturday, Thomas Webb, tinner, Filey, was charged with being found in possession of game unlawfully obtained on the 29th ultimo. Sergeant Nicholson said that whilst on duty near Primrose Valley, at 5 am, he heard two shots and shortly after saw defendant with a gun and something bulky in his pockets. Witness searched him and found two rabbits in his possession. He was fined £1 and 11s. costs.

Six years earlier, when he was 43 years old:-

At the Bridlington police-court on Saturday, Thomas Webb, a bill poster, of Filey, was charged with being drunk on licensed premises at Filey, on the 28th ult. [May]. Sergeant Cooper stated that at 10-45 p.m. on the day in question he was passing the Grapes Inn, and hearing shouting in the house he entered, and found defendant standing in the doorway of one of the side rooms, shouting to some men who were in the room. Witness had seen him before he went into the house, and he was then very drunk.—Defendant was fined 10s., including costs.


On a more positive note, following his brief local notoriety as an ancient mariner cured of biliousness, the Local Board Clerk, Mr W. B. GOFTON, told a meeting that –

only one application had been received for the position of Town Crier, that being Mr Thomas Webb, who offered the sum of £1 7s 6d (£111 at 2009 values), which was a similar amount paid by the previous holder of the position.

The offer was accepted and Mr Webb appointed, thus following in the footsteps of his former father in law, Robert STORK.


This undated newspaper image of Lifeboat Day, courtesy of Martin Douglas, shows the Bellman on the left. The fashions worn by girls and ladies suggest it may be Thomas. (I can’t identify the lifeboat. One of the Hollons, I guess.)

For several years Thomas gave work to the young John RAWSON before the lad went to work for Councillor GIBSON, presumably because he was “family”.  Thomas’ second wife, Mary Ann STORK, had died in 1890 and two years later he married Mary Prue née MAULSON, the older sister of poor John’s mother, Elizabeth Ann (pictured, last Friday’s post).  And Thomas’ only surviving child, Tom, married Elizabeth Ann’s daughter, Rose Annie. It was to her house that the unconscious John was taken on that awful day.

Somehow, Thomas senior navigated his way through countless reefs and shoals and died aged 76 in November 1914. This morning he had a foothold on FamilySearch Tree. I have given him a couple of wives and some children and hope to complete his families over the next few days.

There is one further curious element to establish. Our fake old salt seems to have had only one sibling, a brother called John or John Parker. He also appears to have crossed the Humber and settled in East Yorkshire, his death being registered in Driffield in 1905. When he was 51 he married Mary Ann Kirby, 56, in Langtoft but I don’t know yet if this was the first matrimonial adventure for either or both of them.

Thomas the Bellman on FST. (My thanks to Marilyn Briggs for information about Thomas’ first marriage.)