Billy-boy and the Billiard Marker

In early April 1871, Thomas Sowersby GELL was enumerated at the George Inn in the small village of Hollym. Aged 22 and single, he worked as a Billiard Marker, probably in nearby Withernsea. (His father headed the household but was described as an agricultural labourer/shepherd, not an innkeeper.) Thomas was a local hero. Less than two months before the census he had saved a man from drowning.

Thomas married a Filey girl, Augusta Emma HULLOCK, in November the following year. They had three sons. They gave the middle boy the name of a more famous sea captain than George PEARSON but, sadly, Arthur Horatio died before his first birthday. Curiously, the other boys were both called William – and both were living with their maternal grandmother in Scarborough in 1881.

They were fatherless. I haven’t been able to establish when Thomas died. Two online trees can’t agree (1875 or 1879) and a believable death registration source hasn’t surfaced yet. Augusta remarried in 1883 but I don’t know what happened to her.

The Hullock and Gell families have representation on the FamilySearch Shared Tree but some duplicate IDs need to be addressed. Find Thomas here.

Water 49 · Martin’s Ravine

Google Alt Text: a close-up of an eye

Any advance on ten eyes (five faces in the water)?

She Married a Waterman…

…and a Whitesmith, and a Railway Wagon Wright. Ann Eliza COOPER, daughter of a Cottingham shoemaker, was sixty years-old when her third husband, George WINTERBURN, was killed.

Six years earlier, George was working in his former trade as a ship carpenter and living in Ebor Street, York. Sharing the small terrace house were grand-daughter “Julian” GREEN (7) and sister in law “Julian G” COOPER (80). It is amusing that the unusual spelling  “Juliann” caused census enumerators and other minor bureaucrats a lot of trouble. Family relationships are also somewhat mangled where Annie Eliza’s various families are concerned. Her first husband was William GREEN but I don’t think this young girl, “Julian”, is a close relation of hers. “Julian G”, however, is Annie Eliza’s mother, Juliann née OGLESBY.

During the next six years George found work with the Railway Company, Juliann the Elder died (1885) and the household moved to Cambridge Street. The house has been demolished but the street itself remains and its proximity to George’s source of income and the scene of his death are indicated in this Google Street View screen grab.

It seems as though the Railway Company found work for third-time unlucky widow Ann Eliza. The 1891 census finds her sixty miles to the east, living in the “Porters House” by the Station where she is a Waiting Room Attendant. Juliann the Younger (18) is with her, insisting she is Ann Eliza’s granddaughter, and also a boarder, William WINSHIP (21), working as a railway porter. He is Filey-born and marries Juliann two years later.

Twenty years pass. At the 1911 census, William Winship is now a railway signalman at South Milford near Pontefract, living in the nearby village of Hillam with Juliann and three sons. Annie Eliza, 83, is with them and described as “grandmother to wife”. Also present on census night – but probably in permanent residence, is “great aunt to wife” Mary Jane COOPER (85). This is actually Ann Eliza’s elder sister, the first-born child of the Cottingham shoemaker. She would live for five years after the death of Ann Eliza in the spring of 1914.

Ann Eliza’s last spell as a widow had lasted 27 years. I haven’t found death records for William Green or her second husband Richard GEOGHEGAN,  so cannot say what her married life to widowhood ratio is. I’m puzzled too about how many children she had. William Winship writes on the 1911 census form that she had five children and three were still living. I have only found three birth registrations and one of those children died at about six months. Perhaps firstborn Thomas or another boy who lived was the father of Juliann the Younger. (The reason for my aforementioned uncertainty regarding Ann Eliza’s “granddaughter” is that George Winterburn, given age 15, is living in Langthorpe with Robert and Maria GREEN, their four sons and three daughters in 1841.)

When Ann Eliza married William Green in 1847, the church register gave his address as “on the river”. The births of their first three children were registered in York but secondborn Ernest’s birthplace is given as Grimsby in the 1851 census. It seems likely that Ann Eliza voyaged up and down the Humber and Ouse for the first few years of married life. Father William cannot be found for certain in 1851, and in 1861 Ann Eliza is in Scarborough with Richard the Whitesmith, her son Thomas Green, her widowed mother Juliann – and a three year-old “niece”, Ann Eliza COOPER. The birth registration indicates the child is illegitimate and was possibly named after her mother.

I couldn’t find Ann Eliza Cooper the Elder on the FamilySearch Shared Tree and so gave her an ID [G71F-8HC]. She is still single as I write this, but as soon as I can I will marry her three times and give her all the children I find. She has a stronger connection to Filey than William Winship gives her. I had a long chat with a second great grandson of hers on the Coble Landing yesterday.

Beach 109 · Filey Sands

The Other Elizabeth Whiting

In amongst the misinformation about her, the death of Elizabeth’s father in the year of her birth was correct. She didn’t get to see him. He didn’t get to hold her.


Her future didn’t take long to establish. Three candidates showed up in the search for a husband but only one was made of the right stuff. David SMITH, somewhat ironically, followed the same trade as the Tailor of Scawton, (one of the troublesome William Colleys betrothed in error to Skipsea Elizabeth). Aged 58, he is with Elizabeth in Withernsea and her birthplace is given as Owthorne. In 1841 they had a thirteen-year-old daughter with them. Susannah may have been an only child.  The small family is on the Shared Tree. I have attempted to clear away all the dead source-wood. My thanks go to another contributor, Rosemary, who is assisting with the tidy-up.

Humans 18, Homes 1,400, Animals 480 Million

Australian bushfire casualties (counted or estimated) as of first thing this morning. The functionally extinct koala seems to have lost about 80 per cent of its population. I can’t remember where I read it, or how long ago, but I recall someone opining that Australia would become the first place on earth to become uninhabitable. The Lucky Country, eh?

Elsewhere, humans continue killing humans. Our Lovely Planet.


At Hull Police Court in December 1854 Jarvis DUNDERDALE stood before the Magistrate, Mr TRAVIS. Described in a newspaper report as a “respectable-looking middle-aged person”, Jarvis he was charged with stealing a silver fork, the property of Ann VARLEY, proprietress of the Cross Keys Hotel in Market Place, Hull.

One of the waiters at the Hotel, Edward WINTRINGHAM, had observed “the prisoner” taking the fork from the silver drawer, Edward followed Jarvis out to the yard, challenged him with the theft and had the police called. PC WOOD (65) arrived and took the thief into custody.

In court, Jarvis said nothing when charged and was committed for trial. Justice must have been swiftly done because the following brief report appeared in the same issue of the newspaper that provided the details above.


At the 1841 Census Jarvis Dunderdale, given age 30, was living in Myton Gate, a short Walk from the Cross Keys, working as a Waiter. A Sheffield man, he had married Elizabeth WAKEFIELD nine years earlier at Rotherham Minster (as Gervis or Gervase). The couple had two children, Jarvis Jnr (7) and Hannah (4). The birth of another daughter, Catherine, in 1842 gives the family a second representation on FamilySearch Tree.

I spent a little time trying to discover what became of this poor family, without success.

However, I found more information about Ann Varley, born ATKINSON. In the Patrington marriage register in 1839, her father James is described as a Victualer, the same occupation as her husband and father in law. Two years later, James Atkinson is in the census as an Innkeeper, in High Street, Patrington.

When her silver fork was stolen, Ann had been a widow for a year. (Her father had died in the summer of 1851.) William Varley Jnr was 49 years old when he died and his ownership of the Cross Keys Hotel was legally transferred to Ann the following year. At the 1871 Census, Ann was running the Hotel with the help of son James and daughters Sarah and Ada, though the enumerator didn’t give the young Varleys an occupation. Ten years earlier, though, Ann, James and daughter Eliza were keeping the Queens Hotel in Withernsea.  My first thought was that the Varleys had downsized and later returned to the big city and the bigger Hotel. It seems more likely that Ann had added the Queens to her portfolio.

You will find photographs of the Withernsea hotel online but it is Queens Hotel II, built at the beginning of the 20th century and now a care home for the elderly. The Varley property, at the rear of the Railway Station, was demolished long ago and its “footprint” now accommodates the car park of Withernsea Community Hospital.


If you have clicked the earlier link to the Cross Keys Hotel you will have noticed its proximity to the statue of King Billy. The hotel was demolished in the 1970s and King Billy figured in my childhood. Try as I may, though, I can’t now picture the buildings around the golden horse and rider. (You won’t hear any living Hullensian talk about a statue of William of Orange. Ask for King Billy.)

Ann Atkinson was clearly a remarkable woman. I wonder how well she knew the other resourceful Hull hotelier who has appeared in LaFRedux ­– Richard CORTIS. He was thirty years her senior but outlived her husband by almost 20 years.

Find Ann on FST.

The Varley broken column in St Oswald’s churchyard, this morning