The Brothers Cortis

Six sons of Richard CORTIS and Jane SMITHSON reached adulthood. Five crossed the Atlantic and ended their days in the United States after experiencing mixed fortunes. From information received and uncovered thus far, it appears that the first young man to Go West was Richard John in 1856. He had married Jane Hannah MAPLES in Hull in 1850 and they sailed from Liverpool with two infant boys. When they were caught by the 1860 US census they had been joined by Harold Graeme (aged 6 months) – and RJ’s brother Samuel Smithson. I don’t know for sure if the other three brothers had made the crossing by this time but eight years ago I was offered a reason for them all leaving home.

Here is a post from Looking at Filey, 6 May 2012 – in full, errors included but footnoted. (The archived Looking at Filey has still not been made available again at The British Library. The web links should still “work”.)

Distant Relations

Photographer unknown, no date1, courtesy Elizabeth Kennard

Richard John2 CORTIS senior, born about 1788, was a master mariner and later a shipping agent. He also owned the Minerva public house hard by the River Humber. (Recent photos here, here, and here.) With Jane SMITHSON he had at least ten children. I had found eight of them on FamilySearch but Elizabeth supplied two more – Henrietta, who died in infancy, and Joseph who was killed in Tennessee during the American Civil War. Seven Hull born children made it to adulthood but none breathed their last by the Humber. Six3 died in the United States and one in Australia. Elizabeth asked me what happened in Hull around the 1850s that prompted a whole brood to fly a long way from the nest. Despite being a Hull lad, I didn’t have a clue and so asked a man I hoped would know. Peter Church explained that 1849 was a cholera epidemic year and some of the city’s water came from Spring Head in Anlaby along an open channel which passed Spring Bank cemetery where 700 cholera victims were buried. Minerva opened in 1851 and Richard John CORTIS senior was responsible for “masterminding the trans-migrants passing through Hull from mainland Europe to America”.  I reckon he was therefore in a good position to advise his children to seek a healthier life across the Atlantic and to facilitate their journeys.

The odd one out was William Smithson CORTIS who was enumerated in Queen Street Filey in 1851 with a wife, three children and three servants.  Ten years later he was a widower in a mixed  John Street household containing three of his children, a widowed sister in law and nephew (on his wife’s side), a pupil  in his medical practice, four servants – and his old dad, 74 year old “Richard,  formerly Master Mariner.”

The Cortis presence in Filey comes to an end at some time during the next ten years, before 1869 probably because the old master mariner dies in Hull that year, his age given as 83. Two of his Filey born grandsons made their way to Australia and William Smithson went out there too, dying in Manly in 1906.

I wonder if any letters passed between Filey and the United States. Was the man on the horse (above) aware of his older brother’s passing in Australia, four years before his own death?

Elizabeth has told me that Richard John Junior worked as a shipping agent for the White Star Line and did well enough for himself to have four servants and a coachman in the house. The photograph was taken in Brooklyn, New York City, which is not, as Elizabeth writes, “a noted pastoral green, horse riding area any longer”.  (William GEDNEY pictured Brooklyn as I imagine it.)

Notes:

  1. Date about 1895.
  2. I do not think Richard senior had a middle name.
  3. Five brothers and, perhaps, sister Jane.

Elizabeth’s photograph came with the following information attached.

Richard J Cortis 1823-1910, an Englishman who with his wife Jane (Maples) came to NY City permanently about the middle of the 1850s. He was the father of Jessie V. Cortis (1865-1937) who married Wm. Kennard in 1889. The maternal grandfather of Wm. Cortis Kennard (1893-1975) and the great grandfather of Richard Cortis Kennard (1920- 2001.

R J Cortis always kept a horse or two in Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY and this picture taken about 1895 shows him on his horse “Rex” at the Cortis home, 66 Lennox Road, Flatbush, which the Kennard family and R J Cortis left in 1908 for 1722 Albemarle Rd, a home built by Wm M Kennard.

Find Richard John on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Path 105 Long Lane

Boris & the Tent

The Missing Twins

I mentioned on Tuesday that Elizabeth CORTIS 2 [K2BK-F63] had a full complement of siblings on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. That ten children at least were born to master mariner and hotel keeper Richard and Jane nee SMITHSON is confirmed in a brief newspaper notice.

I had forgotten about the twins.

The youngest Cortis child on the Shared Tree as I write this post is Thomas Thackrah. He was about 18 months old when his mother died.

Jane would have given birth to the twins towards the end of April. A simple search for christenings brought nothing so I looked through the Holy Trinity register from late April to September. Still nothing. I found them in the Holy Trinity Burials registers at Find My Past.

I don’t know who entered the world first but Ann departed after nine weeks in the vale of tears. Harriet stayed for seven months.

(Harriet’s entry is at the bottom of the register page – I have added the header in Photoshop, so this is not a facsimile of the original document.)

Betsey still had a sister and seven brothers. Jane was the only one of Richard’s children enumerated with him at The Minerva Hotel in 1851. She was 25 years-old and single but married Philip HORSLEY, a Doncaster farmer, three weeks later. I couldn’t find records of children, their whereabouts at subsequent censuses or records of their deaths. It is an easy assumption to make that they emigrated – either blazing a trail to North America or following the Cortis brothers Richard John, Joseph, Samuel Smithson, John Charles and Thomas Thackrah to New York City and destinations beyond. Joseph gave his life for the Union but the others may all have married and made it to the Twentieth Century. Betsey’s eldest brother William Smithson, and those of his children who reached adulthood, “went the other way” to Australia. More about the adventurers another day.

Nature Morte 12 · Guillemot

Grim

30200304GrimReaper1_6mI photographed him before catching the Scarborough bus this morning. He shows people arriving at Filey Surgery which way the wind is blowing.

Back at the ranch a couple of hours later, I learned that 35 more UK citizens had tested positive for Covid-19. My country had been “in the pink” until today. It seems likely that the Fifth Week (since Patient Zero showed up) will see exponential growth of infections become too obvious to ignore. Though people will still go to football and rugby stadia this weekend in their hundreds of thousands.

I should explain “in the pink”. I have chosen to follow the fortunes of 20 countries and one Plague Ship. One of my countries, Syria, has yet to report a confirmed infection. Argentina, Ireland, Nigeria and New Zealand have only recently become officially infected.

I have created spreadsheets using Andy’s Prediction Tool, giving every country and Diamond Princess the same parameters. The infection rate (R0) is currently estimated to be between 4 and 7. I am applying an “R nought” of 2.5 to all countries. The mortality rate claimed by countries is sometimes as low as 1%, (ten times greater than seasonal ‘flu) but I think South Korea has just stated its current rate is over 3%. (South Korea is the exemplar in the way it is dealing with the virus.) I have chosen to go with a 2% mortality rate. And a doubling time of 7 days. Some countries are seeing their numbers of confirmed cases and deaths doubling every three or four days. Today the UK’s reported infections rose over 50% in 24 hours.

Given my modest assumptions, it is disheartening that only eight countries are “in the pink”, with reported infections being fewer than predicted. The United States is one of these seemingly blessed countries – but its “government” has tested very few people for the disease so far, guaranteeing low returns. South Korea’s heavy testing gives totals that are more believable but puts the country deep “in the black”.

I’m still working on presentation but this will illustrate my terms.

20200304_SthKorUSAcovinf

In this same week, South Korea had 8 more “black deaths” than predicted and the USA 5 fewer.

It will be interesting to see how these two compare a month from now. I expect Mr Reaper to be far busier in North America, whether the US reports the death toll accurately or not.

Update (about 20 minutes later)

Dr John on today’s figures.

Lunatics at Large

On the 7th August 1880, the unfortunate George MARTIN appeared before the Bridlington Petty Sessions. This insignificant event passed me by on Tuesday so I made a note to update the story next year. This morning the Radio Five Live breakfast news informed me that “America” was intending to impose more sanctions on Russia for poisoning the Skripals. And yesterday several social media companies in the vicinity of San Francisco wiped Alex Jones’ Info Wars from their platforms. News of other hideous events appeared during the day. They all seemed to be connected.

I wrote a brief post about poor George in Looking at Filey a few years ago. Here is the syndicated news report that also appeared in The Scarborough Mercury.

1880_MARTINgeorge1_NEWS

I added the following comment:-

The only likely young George MARTIN I could find was George J., aged 20 in 1881, a jet worker living with his widowed aunt at Pier, Whitby (RG114834 f95). I hope this was the wanderer because the record suggests he had three things going for him – a roof over his head, a wage coming in and family to care for him – enough to keep the demons at bay, perhaps. I wonder what became of him.

With access to more sources, I looked again and found evidence to support my hunch. Two months earlier a Whitby jet worker of the same name had appeared before a Scarborough court.

1880_MARTINgeorge2_NEWS

I think there is just enough here to proceed on the assumption that these disturbed Georges are one and the same – and that he was with his Aunt in Whitby when the census enumerator came to call the following year.

I did some more detective work but failed to discover what became of George. I found out, though, that tragedy attended his birth. He was just a few days old, at most a month or so, when a terrific storm hit the northeast coast of England. Many vessels were driven on shore and wrecked. A lot of sailors lost their lives. The Whitby lifeboat went out at least five times and rescued a number of men before a particularly nasty combination of waves, rebounding from the stricken vessel Merchant of Maldon, turned the lifeboat over. Only one of the crew survived. Of the twelve that drowned…

Six of the bodies, viz., Isaac Dobson, Matthew Laidley, Wm. Walker, Wm, Storr, Wm. Tyneman, and George Martin, were recovered on the same day. The majority of these twelve men had saved the crews of five vessels that day; and these brave fellows, especially the Storrs and the Laidleys, had on many occasions within the last twenty years heroically and devotedly risked their lives for the preservation of others; and it mattered not how tempestuous the storm, or how heavy the sea, if they saw their fellow creatures in imminent danger, they would make intrepid and strenuous exertions to save them.

This Yorkshire Gazette account of 16 February notes those left behind included “Geo. Martin, aged 25, wife and infant”, and says, “It may also be remarked that George Martin’s brother and Christopher Collins’s brother were drowned by the upsetting of a coble on February 4th, 1842.”

When the 1861 Census was taken a few weeks later, on the 7th of April, infant George James was with his mother Jane at the home in Cragg, Whitby, of her older sister Ann, and husband Mark WINN. Ten years later Jane and George were enumerated at Pier, Whitby. And, as noted earlier, in 1881 widow Ann Winn, aged 60, is recorded at Pier with George James and niece Ellen NORTON, aged 12. Sources indicate that Jane had remarried and was living nearby, at Cragg, with husband William LEWIS and 24-year-old stepson, Henry – a police constable! (You couldn’t make it up.)

The WILTON girls, Ann and Jane, can be found on FamilySearch Tree, and Mark WINN too, but they are as yet “unconnected”. I couldn’t find the Georges Martin but they may be on the World Tree somewhere.

The bravery of those Whitby fishermen and sailors, who risked their lives to save others, is in marked contrast to the behavior of “men” nowadays. A couple of news reports today say a Saudi led airstrike on Yemen has killed fifty people, most of them children in a school bus, and a report just released tells us that monks and teachers at Ampleforth and Downside schools have been sexually abusing children for over 40 years.

It seems unlikely that America will impose sanctions on the Saudis for slaughtering innocents. Perhaps it will be argued that International Law hasn’t been broken.

Unless I have missed something, there has been no evidence presented yet to prove that Russia tried to kill the Skripals with Novichok. The regimes in the United States, UK, some EU countries, Arab States, Israel – lunatics all and, terrifyingly, at large. (Many of their misdeeds are, of course, not reported at all.)

Vladimir’s Big Day

I watched the inauguration of President Putin yesterday morning, “live” on RT. Fascinating. I was particularly engaged by the soldiers’ uniforms and the choreographed movements of the ceremonial – and the stunning Kremlin interiors.

In my early teens, in the early 60s, I watched Ballad of a Soldier (dir. Grigori Chukhrai) on our small screen black and white TV. I was very impressionable. Heroism, romance, tragedy, loss – and the wonderful strangeness of the Russian tongue. I wasn’t at all surprised to be moved by the singing of the National Anthem yesterday.

As I write this, the news is breaking that the Israeli military has ordered the unlocking of bomb shelters in the area of the Golan Heights, having detected “irregular activity” of Iranian forces in Syria. POTUS has just announced American withdrawal from the “Iran Deal”.

Israel appears to want America to fight its battle with Iran, hoping to benefit territorially when the conflict ends. I expect Netanyahu will be surprised if, fingers crossed, President Trump doesn’t oblige.

There are no certainties these days, other than those old standbys, death and taxes. Although his seemingly erratic behavior may suggest otherwise, I don’t think President Trump wants a war with Iran, Russia and, perhaps China. President Putin, laughably labeled an aggressor for the past several years, has been calling for dialogue and cooperation with “the West” – and turning the other cheek to each rejection, libel, and slander.

On my daily walks, I have met several “ordinary people” in Filey who reckon the two Presidents may have a pleasant surprise in store for us. We can but hope. A future determined by globalists is a bleak one. A New Silk Road Alliance led by a swamp-drained America, India, Russian Federation and China seems more hopeful. Something worth fighting for?