The Missing Parson

The Scarborough Mercury on Friday, 8th December 1882 reported as follows:-

Filey: Strange Occurrence

This retired watering-place was thrown into a state of great excitement the other day, in consequence of the sudden loss of one of the Primitive Ministers. This rev. gentleman is in the habit of walking to Filey Brig and then returning to tea, but he happened to deviate from his ordinary custom, and the result was that a very painful scene occurred. His wife became excited, hearing nothing of her husband. for several hours. The aid of fishermen was summoned and the Brig searched, but no parson [was] to be found; after which, ropes, &c., were procured to drag the sea-pools about the Brig. The townspeople spreading the news, crowds of fishermen began to move towards the cliff top ; during this excitement a well-known ironmonger and a parson stepped among the crowd to enquire what was up, when the parson to his astonishment was told they were going to search for his body on the Brig, having heard he had been drowned. Naturally enough he bolted home to his distressed wife. I can’t describe the meeting, to explain that he had stayed tea with the ironmonger and had forgot to send a message home where he was. The fishermen were recalled from the Brig and the little town soon settled down to its normal quietness. This should warn husbands and wives to be sure and “come home to tea.”

The ironmonger was almost certainly John ROSS senior, a native of Castleton (near Danby) and active in the overlapping circles of Filey Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists. He probably had parson friends of both persuasions and after his death, in January 1885, the Rev. G. OYSTON opened a meeting of the Port of Hull Society Sailors’ Orphan Home with an “appropriate allusion” to John’s passing.  Reading the 19th-century newspapers one gets the impression that this watering place rarely had fewer than a dozen parsons going about their singular master’s business, so which one got his wife excited is anyone’s guess.

Amongst a supporting cast of lay preachers and circuit trustees were William STORY senior, who featured in yesterday’s post, and Harrison PHILLISKIRK. William indicated the depth of their friendship by giving a daughter, Ann, and a son, George, the middle name “Philliskirk”. George would take the name with pride across the Atlantic. He worked himself into an early grave as a teacher and Methodist clergyman in Newfoundland.

George married Elizabeth STEER in St John’s in 1880 and one of their descendants died in January last year – a William Story who had brought the honoured middle names, Philliskirk and Steer, into the 21st century.

Great Grandmother Ross

Five years ago I wrote a brief post about a John RICHARDSON, charged with being drunk while in charge of a horse. I mentioned that there were three men with this name of similar age in the 1881 Filey Census but that “Furious John” was easily identified by occupation. The others were a fisherman and a “seaman”.

Seaman John, born 1831, doesn’t have a record in Filey Genealogy & Connections. In 1881 he was enumerated aboard the George Peabody in Great Grimsby, his four crewmates also  Filey men. They should really have been described as fishermen.

Rather surprisingly, the other two Johns do not have children noted in their FG&C records so I thought I’d take a closer look.

G69_HESSELWOOD_20170501_fstThe imbiber’s pedigree took me back to a name found on a stone slab in Filey churchyard that  triggers thoughts of my own family – HESSELWOOD. (I have a cousin who spent some of his childhood in Hesslewood Orphanage). The inscription is difficult to read (impossible in the photograph) but eight people are remembered, including “two daughters of John and Mary RICHARDSON”. This Mary, nee ROSS, is our John’s Grandmother (1754-1822) who had at least ten children, one of them John’s father, William (1787-1868).

I’m not sure why this straightforward bit of genealogy should arouse curiosity but I cast my net wider to haul in four more John RICHARDSONs in FG&C born between 1809 and 1827 and checked their relationship to Mary HESSELWOOD, mother of Mary ROSS. Only one, born 1815 and the son of Richard and Dinah nee CAMMISH, was not related to her by blood. The other five were her great grandsons. One was a younger brother of the carriage driver who died aged about three but given that Mary had only one child and died aged 27 this bunch of relationships is quite astonishing to me.

Mary’s father was  a Customs Officer, William HASLEWOOD, “who died November the 21st 1778 aged 81 years” (Entry 137, Filey, St Oswald’s Monumental Inscriptions Part One, G69 in Crimlisk/Siddle). Father and daughter are on FamilySearch Tree as HASELWOOD, IDs  MGCT-5WP  and MGCT-54V.

MaryHASELWOOD

Here is my RootsMagic update of the FG&C pedigree of George Lightfoot RICHARDSON.

RichardsonPedigree2

If you read the old LaF post you should discount Ann PROCTOR as being Jehu John’s wife. It appears that Betsy Ann, the little girl he accepted as his own daughter (and who took his name), was the illegitimate child of Ann NICHOLSON born 1850. The following year mother and child were enumerated in Rillington about 16 miles away from the mother’s home parish of Muston; Ann’s status “unmarried”, Betsey Ann’s birthplace given as Rillington (PRO ref HO107 2369 f73 p18). Ann and John married in the June Quarter of 1853 and in 1855 there is a GRO Birth record for a George Lightfoot Richardson, mother’s maiden name Nicholson. This is the only record I have found to indicate that John had children of his own. Sadly, the boy survived no more than six months.  After Ann died aged 59 in 1886 John married again the following year. Mary BARKER was eighteen years his junior and brought a 17 year old illegitimate son to the marriage. Aged 20 in 1891 Richard BARKER was working as a Carriage Driver for his Carriage Proprietor step-father (PRO Ref RG12 3962 f22 p37). The two Johns born a year apart (1826/27) died in 1903 and 1907. I can’t be certain but I think the Jehu was second to depart, aged 81. Mary died in 1828.

Tags: family history Hesselwood, Haslewood, Richardson, Nicholson, Baker, Ross, John Richardson, Jehu.

20160706MallardDuckling3_2mTwenty-four hours before Today’s Image was taken Mother Mallard was keeping an eye on her brood. I don’t know what killed the ducklings but the surface of the Glen Gardens boating lake was liberally sprinkled with specks of plastic or polystyrene (the measure of man). A breeding pair of Mallard brought five or six ducklings into the world at the same location this year. I saw the little ’uns one day and they had totally disappeared the next. A council gardener said that gulls had taken them. The bereft adults flew away a couple of days later.