Thomas Given Life

As a fledgling family historian I found the advice to “kill off your ancestors” somewhat disconcerting. It has to be done, of course, but with caution. Thomas, the first child of Francis TAYLOR and Mary BRAITHWAITE (Friday’s post) was dispatched without good reason.

On the Shared Tree this death registration has been taken from FamilySearch Sources and attached to Thomas, who was christened in October 1829.

The GRO Index shows that this poor child would not celebrate a single birthday.

As it happens, “our” Thomas is found by the 1841 census enumerator with his parents, three brothers and sister Ann in Bridlington. (Ann’s fate was to be married off to the wrong chap on the Shared Tree.)

When the next enumerator called on this Taylor family there are four children at home. Thomas and George have flown the nest; their places taken by Edmund and a second James, born 1842 and 1848. Francis II has died, aged two.

Thomas left home to learn a trade. On census night 1851 he is in Scarborough working as a joiner. A disparate household is headed by William COLLINSON, also a joiner but only 30 years old and so unlikely to have been Thomas’ master. But there is a third joiner in the household, Jonah WARD, 24, plus a visiting tailor from Nafferton and two young girls, Rachel and Ann MARSHEL from Flixton, also visitors.

Thomas was difficult to find in 1861, for several reasons. A Find My Past transcriber has him as “James”, aged 61 and born in “Rudgwick”. And he has crossed the Pennines, married Barbara PARKER in Manchester (1854) and fathered three daughters.

Barbara, a Scot from Kirkcowan, “Wigtownshire”, gives birth to three more daughters and one son, Francis. At each of the four censuses from 1861 to 1891 the family has a different address in Chorlton but are clearly settled and close-knit. In 1891, three unmarried children are with their parents in Boston Street, Hulme (Chorlton Registration District). Mary Jane, 34, is a dressmaker, Agnes, 23, a milliner, and Francis, 25, an agent (unspecified).

Thomas died on 15 June 1896 and Barbara on 19 December the following year, both aged 66. Thomas’ last address is given as Salisbury Road, Urmston and Barbara’s 31 Victoria Road, Heaton Chapel, but they are together in Ardwick Cemetery, Grave Number 3547A.

Better than being bumped off as a kid, eh Thomas?

Path 100 · Above Mile Haven

Near Primrose Valley

Family Misfortunes

Something pushed William HUNT from his birthplace in deepest Lincolnshire and across the Humber; and then perhaps he was pulled a little further north to Scarborough. He married Jane Elizabeth ROBINSON there in 1869. She had also moved north from her birthplace in Hull, but only about forty miles, a third of the distance William had travelled from Wainfleet.

The census enumerator in 1871 found them in Hoxton Road, a narrow street of terraced houses not far from Scarborough Prison and the Workhouse. William, 23, was working as a plumber and glazier; Jane Elizabeth, 28, had William Henry, approaching his first birthday, to care for.

A second boy, Charles, was born in Scarborough shortly after the census but the family then moved a few miles south to Filey, where first daughter Martha Ann arrived on 24 August 1872. She was followed by brothers John Robinson and Alfred late in 1873 and 1874.

When the census was taken in 1881, the Hunt household contained five children, but John Robinson and Alfred’s places had been taken by Jane Davison and John Alfred Harold. The missing boys had died within days of each other in January 1875. I couldn’t find a cause but suspect one caught a childhood disease, perhaps scarlet fever, and gave it to the other. The worried parents baptized Alfred at the Ebenezer Chapel on the thirteenth. John Robinson died a day or two later and was buried on the sixteenth. Alfred followed him to the grave on the twentieth, after just 9 weeks of life.

A year after the 1881 census a third Hunt child was taken in the most distressing of circumstances. Newspapers couldn’t agree on where the coroner’s inquest was held but were otherwise on the same page.

On the same day, the Scarborough Mercury, offered this:-

DEATH FROM AN OVERDOSE OF SWEET NITRE

On Saturday last an inquest was held at the Crown Hotel, Filey, before Mr. J. M. Jennings, on the body of Martha Ann Hunt, aged nine years, who died very suddenly on Friday. The mother said that she only gave her daughter two small spoonfuls of sweet nitre. She had purchased one ounce and the remainder was in the bottle. The medical officer said that there was about six drachms left and that two drachms had been given to the child. The jury returned a verdict that deceased “Died from an overdose of sweet nitre incautiously administered by its mother.”

The verdict must have put a terrible burden of guilt upon Jane Elizabeth. New England Popular Medicine (1848), accessible on Google Books, says: –

…The dose is from one to two drachms. A tea-spoonful may be given, every two hours, in a severe fever, in water or in any other simple liquid. The sweet nitre relieves spasms and nervous strangury.

The book also states: –

There is hardly a medicine in more common use than the sweet spirit or spirits of nitre, nor one which is more deservedly popular.

A hundred years or so after Martha Ann’s death, the American FDA banned the over-the-counter sale of sweet spirit because its use had become associated with fatal methemoglobinemia.

The loss of three children was more than enough to persuade the parents to move away from Filey. FamilySearch offers evidence that the Hunt family crossed the Atlantic aboard the City of Chester in 1888. Two of the children married in the United States and the Shared Tree shows that William and Jane Elizabeth had at least five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Sadly, they endured another loss in America. Firstborn William Henry died in New York at the age of twenty-one. The span of the parents’ lives – and details of their forebears – have yet to be determined.

Mark of Man 50 · Crab Pot

Filey Brigg

Mary Names Her Father

Mary KITCHING was born out of wedlock.

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This is the only source I have found that names her mother as Charlotte. She usually goes by Esther.

In 1841, mother and child are together in the household of Esther’s parents, John and Martha née HINDSON. The first Victorian census was cavalier with ages and didn’t give relationships or birthplaces. Jumping to conclusions is unwise. Mary is at the bottom of the household list with her “twin brother” Samuel.

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Samuel’s birth was registered in the third quarter of the year.

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The FamilySearch Tree represents the household thus:-

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In Martha’s past, there are six other children. At her death on 18 February 1857, aged 59, the Malton Messenger said –

She was followed to the grave by 12 of her own children (9 sons and 3 daughters) 9 of whom were married, besides a large number of friends by whom she was much respected.

In “fourth daughter” Mary’s future, two husbands and the births of twelve children await.

She married Joseph SNOWDEN in 1857, three months after Martha’s death, and named her father in the marriage register.

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“Blackburn” is a strange occupation. You are right if you guess it to be a clerical error for “blacksmith”.

When registering the births of her first six children, Mary gave her maiden surname as Kitching. For the seventh –

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And for her second child with Christopher POSTILL –

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Mary was 65-years-old when Christopher junior died at twenty-one. He left a son, another Christopher, who was caught in the 1939 Register’s net, thirty-five, unmarried and living in Scarborough with his Aunt Marion, her husband William DEVONSHIRE and their son Leslie. Christopher’s occupation is given as “Café & Speed Boat Proprietor”. That sounds rather racy – something to do with his genetic inheritance, perhaps.

But no, Francis GREENLEY made an honest woman of Esther a couple of years after Mary’s birth. Their first child stayed with the grandparents – and the couple went on to provide Mary with nine full brothers and sisters. Find them on the Shared Tree.

Landscape 118 · Church Ravine

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Lady Cooper’s Letter

Sir Edward Ernest COOPER, Baronet, left all his estate (apart from some modest personal bequests) to his wife, Charlotte Leonora. They didn’t have children, so the baronetcy became extinct, but that didn’t preclude Charlotte from living out her days as a Lady. A very rich one.

In April 1925, three years after her husband’s death, Lady Cooper made a gift of £500 to her nephew, Oswald Cooper, the Walking Parson’s second son. The money was to help him to pay the expenses of an illness. You may remember he had been seriously wounded while serving in the Dardanelles during the Great War. This illness may have been a long-term consequence of that trauma. Oswald phoned to thank her and she said that he should let her know if he needed any more money.

The following August Mr. Cooper wrote that he would be grateful if she would let him have £500, as his expenses had been very heavy. Lady Cooper replied on the following day: “Your letter saying that you are restored to health is indeed good news. I can let you have the £500 with pleasure, but suppose you repay this sum after my death to my niece, Betty Crampton. The former £500, of course, look upon as a gift. Just give me your word, and this is enough.

Mr Cooper replied, thanking her for the money…and adding, “Of course I will repay it to Betty Crampton.”

Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, 20 October 1932

It seems that Oswald was in no hurry to keep his word and about six months after Lady Cooper’s death her executor and residuary legatee, Oliver Walter WRIGHT, attempted to reclaim the £500 through the courts. His action failed.

Mr Justice Swift said that as the action was not begun within six years of the loan being made, the claim was statute-barred, and there would be judgment for the defendant, with costs.

Leeds Mercury 20 October 1932

I wonder if Betty received the £500 eventually. (Think £33,000 in today’s money.)

The Reverend Canon Arthur Nevile Cooper died in 1943 and left £31,118 duty paid (over £1.4 million at today’s value). His wife Maude was the sole beneficiary. I guess the children had to wait. That Oswald ended up in the rather spacious Willersley House suggests he didn’t do too badly in his declining years.

I went looking for Betty, without success. I found two possible candidates but neither rang truly enough to offer here. Charlotte Leonora had eleven siblings. Her parents were accomplished. At the 1861 census, her father Thomas James Crampton described himself as a Schoolmaster, Professor of Music and Writer in General Literature. His second wife, Sarah Elizabeth née PIGGOTT, was listed as Principal of a Ladies School and Organist. For all that, I had to create IDs for most of the families.  (Charlotte had three half-siblings.) Find them on the Shared Tree.

I haven’t been able to discover a photograph of Lady Cooper but there are two pictures of her home, Berrydown Court, here. You will find several more of the Lutyens designed house if you search!

Willersley House

I had to go into Scarborough this morning, so took the opportunity to look for Willersley House, the last residence of Oswald COOPER and his wife Beatrice. I got off the bus at Wheatcroft and walked down Filey Road towards town.

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The house was built in the 1880s and Beatrice died in 1975. It is now home to 22 girls boarding at Scarborough Sixth Form College.

Both of the Rev Canon Cooper’s sons served in the Great War, Walter in the Royal Artillery and Oswald in the Lancashire Fusiliers. Both attained the rank of Captain but early in the war…

Lieutenant Oswald Cooper, youngest son of the Rev. Canon and Mrs Cooper has been invalided home after being wounded [at Gallipoli], and having had an attack of enteric fever. We hope his native air, a good rest, and good nursing, especially as his eldest sister, Miss Mary Cooper, is one of the nurses at our Filey Red Cross Hospital, will bear good fruit, and that he will soon gain his health and strength to once again serve his King and Country.

Driffield Times, 6 November 1915.

Oswald married Beatrice, the only daughter of Henry KING, about three weeks before the war ended. Born in Knaresborough, she spent most of her childhood in Malton. In 1911 the family lived at the Red Lodge in Filey (right in the photo below, taken yesterday afternoon).

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Oswald was a schoolteacher in Scarborough but I haven’t found any news items relating to his career. I’m sure he would approve of the use to which his home is being put.

Remembering Forgetful Emily

20191022EmilyBPunknownWhen Emily’s husband of 21 years filled out the 1911 census form, he owned up to not knowing where she had been born. John CAPPLEMAN, 50, had been a fish hawker for much of his working life. Emily was running a newsagent business from their home at 55 Queen Street.

Ten years earlier the enumerator had written “don’t know” in the space for Emily’s birthplace, and didn’t give her an occupation.

In 1891 they had been married for about eighteen months and were living in Cambridge Yard, West Street. John was working as both a fisherman and a hawker of the creatures he caught. In the enumerator’s book, “Newcastle on Tyne” is given as Emily’s birthplace.

In 1881, Emily was with her older brother John, visiting a married sister in Kent. Jane Ann’s husband, Alexander FAIRBROTHER, was a farmer with radical inclinations. He gave two of his sons the middle names Cobden and Bright. The birthplace of the three Dawson siblings was given as “Shields, Northumberland”.

In 1871, at home with their parents in Dockwray Square, Tynemouth, all six Dawsons in residence offered North Shields as their birthplace, even though mother Jane (formerly BIRBECK) had been born in York.

In 1861, Errington “DAUSON” and Jane were enumerated at 13, Dockwray Square, with six children born in North Shields (and their mother in her rightful birthplace).

Errington Dawson was a butcher and his son John became a shipowner. The family was clearly settled in North Shields and although several of Emily’s siblings died in infancy there is no obvious reason why she would choose to forget her roots in later years.

Why did she move to Scarborough during the 1880s? In 1888 a list of bankrupts was published in the local paper and there was an Emily Dawson among them. If this was “our Emily” she had failed to make a go of keeping a lodging-house. The following year she married John Cappleman. They were together for thirty years but didn’t have any children.

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I had to create an ID for Emily. Her parents already had representation on the Shared Tree but were waiting for me to play matchmaker. There are other nuptials to be noted and quite a few missing children created. The gathering of these has been made easier by a contributor to the new Find My Past system of sharing trees. For now, though, Emily doesn’t have much of a family on FamilySearch.