Doubting Thomas

In Dodgy Deals a few days ago I said that Thomas WILSON, son of farmer Joseph, had been elected to the Filey Local Board in the 1880s. Moving on to a different Wilson branch I happened upon another Thomas of that ilk, born 12 years earlier and also enumerated in Filey in 1881. He was living with wife Annie, two daughters and a son – in Reynolds street. Presumably, he would have taken an interest in the contentious footpath.

Might he have been the Thomas Wilson elected to the Local Board? While gathering information on his life, I found this in a local newspaper:-

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There isn’t another R. DOBSON in town that is a better fit for this association than the one who went public with his criticisms of farmer Joseph. The thought flickered that Joseph’s son Thomas might have formed a business relationship with “the enemy”, but he was a farmer too, not a saddler. A small doubt dismissed.

There is a stone in the churchyard remembering saddler Thomas, his wife and mother. Next to it, a large stone that his firstborn daughter, Eliza Annie, has to herself.

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Thomas on FST.

I made only a token effort to take this Wilson family further back in time – because they were incomers to the town from over the moors. Towards the end of the 18th century, the Hawnby baptism records proved to be the most detailed I have ever found, giving the grandparents’ names too and, in some cases their parents also. The unexpected gift of two generations of SUNLEYs isn’t apparent on FST  yet, mainly because I need to determine who is confused – me or a Find My Past transcriber.

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Shaken Bridge in the 21st century.

(There is a small, neat stone in the churchyard remembering Ann SUNLEY of Lebberstone – ‘In life respected, in death lamented’. I haven’t been able to find her family yet but maybe this baptism entry will lead me to her. She isn’t recorded in Filey Genealogy & Connections.)

St Kitts and “Crusoe”

On this day in 1828, almost four months after she had attended her parents’ wedding (incognito), Mary Elizabeth SKERRY returned to the church of St Mary the Virgin in Whitby to be baptized. Mary would be followed by two brothers who have had brief mentions previously in LaFredux – Thomas who was lost from the SS Mexican and Robert who married Naomi STOCKDALE.

In 1858 Mary married  Robert DOBSON who had a couple of grocer’s shops in Filey. He also sold Wines and Spirits and towards the end of his working life running a lodging house, St Kitts on the Foreshore Road. The cream brick property is Holiday Apartments now – I photographed it this afternoon. (The traffic cones are there because the road is still closed at Crescent Hill, where the new granite (?) setts are being slowly laid.)

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The Dobsons were still there in 1901, though perhaps no longer taking guests; Robert is described as a Retired Grocer. Ten years on their road has been renamed The Beach (its current name) and they have almost certainly downsized to a house they chose to call Crusoe.

In 1911 Robert gives his age as 76 and Mary, 83. Sometime in the next couple of years, they crossed the Pennines to end their days with their surviving son, Robert Edwin, and his wife, Edith Florence née RUSHTON. The younger Dobsons were childless and their address in 1911 was 42, Vaughan Road, Liscard in the Birkenhead District where Mary’s death was registered in 1914. Robert senior appears to have lived on for a further nine years, his death registered in Liverpool in the summer of 1923, aged 87.

In one of those odd coincidences, the elder Robert Dobson created something of a stir in Filey by publicly criticizing the way the Local Board “did business” – four years before ‘Hoodwink’ wrote his critical letter to The Scarborough Mercury, (Friday’s post). Within a year or two Robert was elected to the Board and clearly made an attempt to improve matters – obviously without much success.  He does, however, come across in newspaper reports as a man of principle who spoke the truth and expected others to do the same. He was, in other words, not really cut out to be a politician.

SKERRYs are sketchy on Filey Genealogy & Connections; a bit more fleshed out on FamilySearch Tree.

Coastguard

John STOCKDALE was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard this day 1849. His headstone tells us he was  “Late Chief Boatman of the Coastguard Service”.  Born around 1776 he would have been in his mid-forties when the Service was formed, an amalgamation of the Revenue Cruisers, Riding Officers and Preventative Officers. He probably had a varied career, therefore – and must have had a very thick skin. Who loves a Revenue Man?

Well, Susanna GENERY did and they had at least four children. The first two were born in Harwich, Essex. Elizabeth seems to have come next but I can’t find a record of her birth. One source says she entered the world in Filey but her younger brother Joseph was born in New Romney, Kent. It seems unlikely that father John would have returned to Filey after a first stint here. There is a gap of at least six years between the third and fourth children too, so there are probably more to be found.

All four for whom I have some records married. The two boys settled in Filey; John junior had nine children with Mary WHITTLES(?) and Joseph at least three with Susannah WILLIS. Naomi, daughter of John and Mary married Robert SKERRY, brother of Thomas who was lost from SS Mexico. (It’s a small world.)

It is proving rather difficult tracing the journeys of those STOCKDALES who either married away or chose to venture overseas. At least two fetched up in South Africa and probably have adventures to relate.

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Sacred to the memory of JOHN STOCKDALE ((late chief boatman of the coast guard service) who departed this life September 1st, 1849 aged 73 years. Also SUSAN, wife of the above who died February 27th, 1851 aged 72 years.

The couple’s representation on FST is minimal at the moment. FG& C  gives a better idea of John the Boatman and Susan(na)’s impact on the town.