Wiles and Wailes

Researching family units occasionally throws up small surprises of particular types. Here are a couple from my recent efforts.

The married male head of a household in one census may have a wife with a different given name in the next. The ready assumption is that there has been a death in the family – and a second marriage.

In 1871, recently married Thomas WATKINSON is enumerated in Outhert’s Square, Filey, with wife Mary and first child Mary Jane. Ten years later this Watkinson family unit is living in Wenlock Place – Thomas, Mary and five children.

In 1891 Thomas and MARGARET are just around the corner from the previous address, with four of the five children, plus three more, and a lodger. But there hasn’t been a parent death or a second marriage.

In the record for Thomas in Filey Genealogy & Connections, Kath makes a note:

Haven’t yet worked out why his wife should be entered as Mary in familysearch.org when he married Margaret who lived until 1912.

MaryWATKINSON

This scrap of the page image is clear enough. And so is the marriage record.

Tom&Margaret_Mar

“Mary’s” age is given as 29 in 1881 and Margaret is 39 in 1891. A search for birth records yielded nothing convincing for a plain Mary, one for Margaret WILES and another for Margaret WYLES. The first Margaret’s birth was registered in Driffield and the second in Bridlington. The Margaret of the 1891 and 1911 censuses gives her birthplace as North Burton, so Bridlington it is:

WYLESmargt_Birth

Find Margaret on FamilySearch Treebut the parents are, as yet, childless. And the Mary Mystery has not been solved!

The second surprise type this week caused a gnashing of teeth. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Surgeon WHEELHOUSE and Agnes Caroline COWELL had four girls. One died in infancy and, I think, only first-born Caroline Agnes married. She had two sons with George Herbert ROWE. The younger, Claude Hamerton ROWE, was in his early twenties when his grandfather Claudius died but he married Marjorie Eteson WAILES two or three years after the Wheelhouse grandparents had departed for the better place.

Claude is also playing a waiting game on FamilySearch Tree. Marjorie’s grandfather, George, hasn’t brought her to the church yet, to give her away. Indeed, as I write this, she hasn’t been born to Frederic Hill WAILES and Annie Beatrice WAILES. I don’t know about you, but I always find it discombobulating when two people with the same family name marry. As happens in most such instances, this couple is not related by blood, but they make extending the pedigree back in time more awkward. I’m a dab hand at mixing up same name grandfathers.

Quite a few of the Wailes departed are resting in St Mary’s churchyardBirdforth. I’m envious. You can read about some of them here.

The Surgeon and the Poisoner

Claudius Galen WHEELHOUSE, towards the end of his eventful life, filled his “retirement” hours serving the people of Filey in a variety of ways – JP, magistrate, and chairman (I think) of the Lifeboat Committee. He was also a churchwarden at St Oswald’s, Filey (Today’s Image). His compassion for humankind, or “peoplekind” if you prefer, was probably instilled into him as a child, but an early, and very public, demonstration of it occurred in 1856. Aged thirty and building his career and reputation as a surgeon, he added his name to a petition, pleading that the life of “The Leeds Poisoner” should not be taken by the hangman.

Your petitioners…humbly pray that your most gracious Majesty will be pleased to spare the life of…William Dove.

Claudius and about twenty other citizens were of the opinion that:

…if persons of such unsound and defective intellect as…William Dove are to suffer the extreme penalty of the law, the effect upon the public mind will be most injurious, and will tend more than any other cause to bring capital punishment, under whatever circumstances imposed, into general odium and disrepute.

They seem to have believed that locking him up for the rest of his life would be “the most just and adequate punishment”.

The woman who sent her armies to slaughter people in the hundreds of thousands was unmoved, and a large crowd gathered in York on Saturday, 9th August, to watch “the drop”. A novice hangman added a certain amount of extra drama to the terrible occasion but William was eventually dispatched. He didn’t struggle much.

His family was, apparently, of “the Wesleyan persuasion” and he had been attended by several religious gentlemen in his last days. He had admitted his guilt but, from my reading of the case thus far, he didn’t seem to care for his wife much. I doubt they diagnosed “borderline personality disorders” 150 years ago but that section of the DSM-5 would be my first port of call in an attempt to understand the wretched fellow.

Poor Harriet JENKINS. She had met and married the handsome northern man of limited, but independent, means in Plymouth in the summer of 1852. She was from a good family. A  clergyman brother was also a professor of mathematics in Madras, and her mother and sister, traveling up from Devon to look after her, crossed the letter announcing Harriet’s death. A saving grace, perhaps – there were no children born to the unhappy couple.

You will find the Poisoner and his victim on FamilySearch Treeand there is a lengthy PDF of the inquest, trial and execution online that can be freely downloaded.

 

Young William Tout

On the 3rd April 1881, the census enumerator found William Robert Geatches TOUT boarding with about a dozen other 21-year-old students, at the Diocesan Training College, in York. Three months later he died at the Coastguard House, Cliff Top, Filey.

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Photographed this morning

A week or so before Christmas that year, William was remembered at the College’s Prize Giving Ceremony. The Principal, Rev. G. W. De Courcy BALDWIN, introducing the Very Rev. Dean of York, honoured guest and prize-giver, said that this yearly gathering was in many respects the most pleasing of their College meetings, but continued:

No retrospect, however, could be altogether pleasant in this world of change, and they had had their share of trials. A plain, simple white marble tablet had just been placed in their chapel to the memory of one of the most promising young men he had ever had under his care. William Tout, a senior student of that college, died at his parents’ home in Filey in July last. He was a young man of great intelligence and many virtues, among which moral and physical manliness, unswerving integrity, and, thank God, a deep sense of religion were conspicuous. The simple memorial to which the speaker alluded had been erected at the sole cost of William Tout’s fellow students, by whom he was loved as well as respected.

The College, in Lord Mayor’s Walk,  has been incorporated into York St John University but you can read about its Victorian existence here.

In the spring of 1891, the sadly reduced Tout family was living in Cliff Terrace, part of present-day Belle Vue Street, rather than Cliff Top. The Coastguard house was occupied by the retired surgeon and Justice of the Peace, Claudius Galen WHEELHOUSE. While looking in local newspapers for Tout information, I found an intriguing snippet.

In a report on Local Board business (Miscellaneous Items) –

Mr. Tout, coastguard officer, sent an application to the board for leave to erect a target near Mr. Wheelhouse’s property for the coastguard men to practice at. It was decided that the site be inspected before leave be given.

Scarborough Mercury, 9 February 1878

In 1881, at the age of 54, Claudius was still happily and successfully knifing people in Leeds, but had clearly settled on the place – and the house – in which he wished to end his days.