‘He Opened Africa’s Skyways’

This is the inscription on the headstone of John WILLIAMSON in Cape Town’s Maitland Cemetery. Born Filey in 1895 he must have spent quite a few years in South Africa. Skyways can’t be opened in a hurry, surely.

John was one of the unlucky generation, called upon to fight for the elites in the worst of wars. I haven’t been able to confirm it yet, but I think he served as a motor mechanic in the infant Royal Air Force between 1915 and 1918. There is circumstantial evidence that he migrated to South Africa shortly after the end of the First World War and was serving in the South Africa Air Force when the Second began. His brief service details on the CWGC website reveal that he was known as “John Billie”. Plain “John” when his birth was registered, his father was a John William, a more likely reason for the diminutive, perhaps, than the surname.

I haven’t found a marriage for John in the UK but an online search found a possible daughter in law in the Capetown suburb where he lived with his wife ‘C. M.’ Cato ‘Dinky’ Williamson née LADAN, was the sister of sculptor Eduard Louis LADAN (1918? – 1992). She was one of South Africa’s first female pilots. Eduard served in the SAAF in the Second World War and was rewarded for distinguished services in the King’s Birthday Honours in 1943.

John is remembered on the Filey War Memorial in Murray Street and on a family headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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And their dear son, Lt. JOHN WILLIAMSON S.A.A.F., died July 22nd 1942 aged 46, buried at Capetown, S.A.

‘Loved, honoured and remembered.’

The family is represented on the FamilySearch Tree but the pedigree is limited to just five generations of his direct male line.

Today’s Image

The mysterious algal bloom is back on the boating lake. Last evening it covered about three-quarters of the lake surface, a mosaic of slimy green ‘floes’. The wind overnight had pushed these to the eastern end, up against the retaining wall.

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When I photographed today’s star duckling I didn’t notice the lump on its back. I guess compromised nature will have to take its course.

The Storm and Jacky Windy

The gales of 6th and 7th March 1883 caused the deaths of at least seven Filey fishermen. Five drowned from the yawl Integrity, off Spurn Head near the mouth of the Humber.

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Joseph WINSHIP was skipper of the vessel and his only child, John Williamson, was approaching his 13th birthday when his father was lost. John would take up the hard and uncertain life of a fisherman – and the curious byname ‘Jacky Windy’.

John married Mary Elizabeth POOL in 1889 and at the next three censuses the household in Chapel Street, and later West Parade, had room for widow Ellis Ann as well as the couple’s six children.

Two of the children had died as infants before 1911 but the boys born first and last made it to their eighties, as did their parents.

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Returning to the fatal storm – you can read an account of it on the archived Looking at Filey. The families of most of the drowned fishermen have some representation on FST but there wasn’t enough time in the day to fill gaps and make sound connections for this post. Find Joseph James WINSHIP here.

The Baltic Connection

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This is one of my favourite stones, with its dove flying from clouds on rays of light. And yet… It tells just a little of the sad story of this WILLIAMSON family. The inscription notes the father’s death in 1810 at 57, a reasonable “innings” in those days. But his youngest son died at 12 and the third of four children, John, drowned in the Baltic Sea, aged 19, in 1808.  Firstborn William drowned 10 years later, closer to home in South Bay, Scarborough. One of his sons would drown in Filey Bay in 1858, aged 50.

The only daughter of Francis and Ann CAMMISH, married “awd Marky” BAXTER and they brought six children into the world. She died aged 49 and Mark lived on for thirty more years.

But back to John. Filey Genealogy & Connections says he was a fisherman but the Baltic, as far as I’m aware, is beyond the normal range for a yawl, let alone a Filey coble. The war with France had a way to go and I’m wondering if John was pressed into the Royal Navy.

Last month I wrote about the Battle of Flamborough Head, which ended with Captain Pearson surrendering ignominiously to John Paul Jones,  but successfully ensuring the safety of the Baltic convoy under his protection. Roll on twenty years and the Royal Navy is in the Baltic Sea safeguarding its trade routes, thwarting Napoleon’s efforts to cut Britain off from the continent.

If you are not convinced by this scenario, I offer you another Filey fisherman, George Whiteley BOYNTON, who was given the byname “Baltic”. As a teenager, he sailed that sea when it was a theatre of the Crimean War.

I haven’t found “Baltic” on FamilySearch Tree but his parents are there, and his wife, Ann SAYERS.

This WILLIAMSON male line on Filey Genealogy & Connections ends with a grandfather going back in time but brother William leads the way to the mid-twentieth century. (William was baptized in 1779, four days before the Baltic fleet dodged Bonhomme Richard’s cannonballs.) The pedigree is not yet as extensive on FamilySearch Tree.

Chance Connections

Tuesday’s post was triggered by the marriage of William Henry CASS and Ruth Charlotte PRUDAMES in 1892 and I mentioned that Ruth’s great grandfather William Williamson had drowned off Scarborough in 1818. Yesterday was the anniversary of William’s marriage to Ann EDMOND in 1801.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has Ann born in Bempton in 1765. FamilySearch Tree disagrees. There, William marries Ann RAYMER born in 1780.

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The screenshot shows Ruth’s connection to great grandfather William, passing through Samuel PRUDAMES whose headstone I photographed on Tuesday. It also clearly shows a smattering of data problems, most of which are easy to fix. But how do you solve a problem like Ann RAYMER?

I’ll start at the very beginning, with Ann EDMOND. You’ll note I have given her birth year as 1766 rather than 1765. On FG&C Kath had Ann’s baptism date as 7 June 1765. FST’s  record of the christening has 7 June 1766. We are, I think, beholden to ensure that changes we might make on the World Tree reflect the facts held in the Wiki database. Ann could, of course, have been over a year old when she was baptized so my change may prove to be incorrect. I have no stats to prove it but I think the majority of newborns in this part of the world were baptized in the first few months of life.

I have also changed Ann’s birthplace on FG &C (my RootsMagic version). The screenshot below indicates why I’ve done this.

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Bempton isn’t far away but I think it unlikely Rachel would have bothered to make the journey, especially when one considers that there was another Ann EDMOND baptized in Bempton in February 1767. The Ann above was baptized 6 months earlier in Filey. (The data problems in the above screenshot have been triggered by Rachel’s birth in the year 173 AD.)

So, who is Ann RAYMER?  Well, it is our Ann after her first marriage to Richard REAMER on the 22nd November 1795. The poor chap died about the age of thirty, enabling Ann to marry William WILLIAMSON in August 1801. This sort of error creeps in easily if a marriage record doesn’t tell us the bride was a widow. Oh, and Richard has a younger sister called Ann born in 1778 and, understandably, a distraction.

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Richard and his twin Mary were born to Henry REAMER about 1770 and baptized in Filey on November 16th that year. For now, I will go with this spelling of the name. (Another alternative is REYMER.)

I must say I’m not looking forward to updating the World Tree with what seem to me to be these true facts – the EDMONDS are particularly tricky to follow (with their variant EDMUND surname and penchant for naming their children Ann, Mary, and John). I’ll let you know how I get on.

 

A Musical Interlude

I feel uneasy sometimes about recording so much death and disaster so it was pleasing to see today’s list offer the wedding of two musicians – William Henry CASS and Ruth Charlotte PRUDAMES, at St Oswald’s, Filey in 1892. William was 24 years old and Ruth thirty – and they had a long and, it seems, happy life together. They had one child, Gordon William George CASS, who opened a private school in Harrogate and put his parents on the payroll. From reminiscences on the Norwood website, it is clear that all three were admired and respected by the pupils.

D28_PRUDAMESmaryann_20170822_fstI wrote a couple of posts on Looking at Filey in 2011 Prudames and More About the Prudames ­– and can’t add much more today. I went to the churchyard this afternoon to photograph the headstone of Ruth’s grandparents, Samuel PRUDAMES and Mary Ann WILLIAMSON, and tried to establish Ruth Charlotte’s relationship to the “servant at Rosedale”. I think Ruth THACKRAY (sic), 64 years old in 1881 and unmarried, was probably young Ruth’s great aunt. In looking over the pedigree on Filey Genealogy & Connections I noticed that one can’t avoid the harshness of life in Victorian Britain. One of the Williamsons that provided Ruth Charlotte’s father with his middle name, her great grandfather William born 1779, was drowned in one of Scarborough’s Bays when he was 39 years old. Her Granduncle John WILLIAMSON had drowned off Reighton three years before she was born.

I put the PRUDAMES on the ill-fated Filey Community Tree six years and gave Ruth Charlotte’s father a companion Wiki page. I tidied it up this afternoon.  Some of the CASS, PRUDAMES and WILLIAMSON families associated with Filey are on FamilySearch Tree but as dots that need to be connected. Here is one of them –

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Reighton to Filey

Ann HAMCOAT was baptised this day 1741 at St Oswald’s, Filey. She was the fifth known child of Lewis HAMCOAT and Jane ARTLEY who had married nine years earlier at Reighton.

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I visited St Peter’s Church for the first time about three weeks ago and enjoyed a mooch around the graves. From Filey the eye is drawn to the caravan dandruff on the distant cliff top that is Reighton Sands Holiday Park. Reighton Village  away to the right seems to be hidden in trees. I was surprised, then, by the view from the north wall of the churchyard.

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The stretch of Filey Sands  by the Promenade features in Today’s Image.

There isn’t a great deal to be discovered about the HAMCOATs in the Filey Genealogy & Connections database. There is even less in FamilySearch Tree. I have neither a marriage nor a death date for Ann. Her older brother William married Margaret STAFFORD at St Oswald’s in November 1757 and they named their second daughter Ann (MJDT-2QF). She married John TINDAL (sometimes TINDALL/TINDALE) in the same church 33 years later and they christened their firstborn Ann there the following year.

C29_HAMCOATwm_20170518_fstAs is natural, deaths followed. Ann TINDAL senior in December 1815 age 55, her father William the year after age 83, her mother Margaret the year after that age 77. The old couple sleep under another of the very few flat stones in St Oswald’s churchyard. Their granddaughter Margaret HUNTLEY nee Williamson may not be with them but she is remembered (MGC1-WZ2 on FST). Her husband, Robert, was a “Captain” and I would guess a Master Mariner. One can imagine him having conversations  with  the above John, one of the ship building TINDALLs of Scarborough. (I wrote briefly about that family in Ship Owners’ Wives, 16 May 2011.)

Here is the HAMCOAT MI:- C29 in the Crimlisk/Siddle transcription, (976 page 5 in the East Yorkshire Family History version, No. 289 in their MI Transcription Series).

Sacred to the Memory of WILLIAM HAMCOAT of Filey who died Nov 30th 1816 aged 83

Also to MARGARET HAMCOAT wife of the above who died May 19 1817 aged 77

Also of Margaret HUNTLEY widow of Capt. ROBERT HUNTLEY of Scarboro’ the granddaughter of the above who died  Mar 16th 1885 aged 88

The HAMCOATs (sometimes HAMCOURT) and the families into which they married seem to be broken up on FST so, once again, anyone interested in them should turn to Filey Genealogy & Connections first, perhaps starting with Lewis.