More than one Mary Ann

Thomas Francis Brannigan in 1953 aged 76 yrs 11 months

MORE THAN ONE MARY ANN

 by Anne Williams,
g-g-granddaughter of Mary Ann Sheppard (1842-1901)

It has long been an ambition of mine to research my family history. My mother, whose maiden name was Jones, is still very much alive. So, I decided to start with her. Now the name Jones is a bit of a challenge for a novice genealogist, so I was much more optimistic about my maternal Grandmother who was born a Branigan. That will be easier, I thought. I had no idea how complicated it would become.

 

1881 census return for 136 Clifton Road, Aston

I first found my Great Grandfather, Thomas Francis Branigan on the 1881 census, living in Aston, Birmingham with his mother, Mary Ann (widowed), his brothers and a lodger. Aston was an extremely industrial part of Birmingham, the city of a thousand trades. Many of these trades were in Aston. An old map reveals brass foundries, gun makers, drysalters, sharing space with hundreds of houses. It must have been a noisy, polluted place. People were poor, housing overcrowded, sanitation appalling and children played barefoot on the streets.

Now Mary Ann Branigan seemed like an unusual name to me. I thought that I was well on my way. I also saw that Mary Ann was born in Tingewick, a village I didn’t know but one that was to become very important to me in my research.

Marriage of Mary Ann Sheppard and Robert Walter Branigan, 18 July 1862

 

My next find was Mary’s marriage in London to Robert Walter Branigan, an apothecary in London. She was 20. He was 38. How exciting was that – a 19th century apothecary. The marriage certificate gave me Mary’s father as John Sheppard. This is going to be easy, I decided. I was so excited about this woman from Tingewick who married in London and was living widowed in Birmingham. What had happened to her? Well, quite a lot really.

Now the rather great thing about Tingewick is that there is a fantastic website. It didn’t take me long to do a search. I wanted to know where it was and what it was like. I didn’t anticipate finding that somebody wonderful had researched families from the village. I was able to see that my great, great grandmother, Mary Ann Branigan, then Sheppard was baptised in Tingewick in 1842. Her mother Mary Ann(2) Sheppard (nee Everett) was born in 1820 and her mother Catherine Packer was daughter and granddaughter to the John Packers who were watch and clock makers. It was thrilling to be able to go right back to the middle of the 18th century with very little effort on my part. I noted that there was a facility to contact Su (su@tingewick.org.uk) which I did.

not-quite-marriage of Mary Ann Shepherd and Robert Brannigan, 16 July 1862

I had no idea where it would lead me. In fact, it took me right back to Mary Ann Branigan who was to prove a fascinating character. Su responded very quickly with a rather strange marriage certificate (above). The certificate is not signed and there is an objection on the bottom saying that Mary Ann is the daughter of the sister of Robert Walter Branigan’s late wife. But Robert then appears before the magistrate and declares that he has never been married. So, two days later on 18th July 1862, Mary Ann and Robert Walter (who now claims he is a bachelor and not a widower) are married.

There are at least three issues with all of this.

30 March 1851 census return for 10 Grove Terrace, Tower Hamlets

In 1851 my great, great grandmother, aged 8, is living with brother and their mother – also Mary Ann(2) Sheppard and apparently still married – in their grandparents’ house in Hackney.

17 April 1851 marriage of Marianne Sheppard (widow) to Robert Walter Brannigan

Less than three weeks later Mary Ann(2) married Robert Walter Branigan. Yes – the same man. Mary Ann(2) died in 1856. So, Robert Walter Branigan’s late wife was my great, great grandmother’s mother and not her aunt! There is definitely a marriage certificate so he was married. In addition, Mary Ann says that her father is John Sheppard which I, as a novice, had taken as gospel until Su put me straight. In fact, her father was Edward Sheppard. I have to assume that the couple lied in order to convince the authorities that Robert’s late wife was an aunt and not her mother.

Su, whose help and guidance have been invaluable in my research, has not yet been able to find a death record for Edward Sheppard so it is possible that Robert’s marriage to Mary Ann’s mother was bigamous, and hence invalid, so he might have been a bachelor but why all the initial lies?

14 Nov 1897 marriage of Thomas Francis Branigan and Eliza Cragg

Naïve as I am, I had assumed that Robert Walter was my great grandfather’s father but again Su helped me out. They did have children, Elizabeth, Richard and Robert but only Richard survived. In 1873, Robert Walter Branigan dies. Mary Ann is only 31. My great grandfather was born in 1876 and on his marriage certificate to my great grandmother, Eliza, he says that he was born in Southampton and that his father, also Thomas Francis, was a captain. Now, I have to admit that I thought this was a bit farfetched.

1871 census return for 46 Clifford Crescent, Southampton

I did find a Thomas Francis Branigan, a retired army officer, living in Southampton, on the 1871 census but, he was born in 1810 or 1814, depending on what you believe and he was already married to 62 year old Mary Ann(3) Branigan. Could he have been Robert Walter’s older brother? Having married her stepfather, had Mary Ann now had a child with her much older, step uncle?

Again, Su slotted another piece into the jigsaw puzzle. She found Thomas Francis’s (elder) earlier marriage. His father, like Robert Walter’s, who was born in Tipperary, Ireland, was a Richard Branigan. This suggests that they might indeed have been brothers and Mary Ann might have gone to seek help following the death of her husband. Even more fascinating, Thomas Francis’s (elder) first marriage to Mary Ann(3) Michell took place in Agra, Bengal, India where he was a soldier, initially for the East India Company. Mary Ann(3) died in December 1875 and, Su found that in March 1876 Thomas Francis (elder) Branigan married Mary Ann. Less than 6 months later, Thomas Francis Branigan, my great grandfather is born. I tend to feel that Thomas Francis (elder) is the biological father and that the marriage was rushed for obvious reasons.

In September 1877, less than one year later, Thomas Francis (elder) dies leaving effects under £300 to Mary Ann. This probably equates to somewhere between £16,000 and £24,000 today. Yet, four years later Mary Ann is in Birmingham with a lodger. She goes on to have at least two more sons. In 1891, she is working as a seamstress and has her four younger boys living with her.

1901 census return for Aston Union Workhouse

In 1901, Mary Ann is admitted to Aston Union Workhouse. She is 58. Two months later she is dead.

The girl from Tingewick lived a colourful life, one marked by death and loss. I have still so much to find out. Why did Mary Ann move to Birmingham? Why did she end up in the workhouse? What was life like for Thomas Francis in India? Can I find out anything about my Irish ancestors?

Genealogy is better that any whodunnit on television. These were real people whose genes I, my children and my grandchildren share. I am hooked and so grateful for the Tingewick connection.

 

My thanks to Su (su@tingewick.org.uk) without whose help I would not have got nearly as far and I might have gone down the wrong path altogether. I was so glad of her experience and the time she spent on my behalf.

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Linford-Holton family photo-sleuthing

elizabethholtonfamily

Angela Manders has sent me some photos of her Moss / Holton family, including this group.  She says lady in the centre is Elizabeth Linford née Holton, (1839-1917).  The youngest lady seated at the far left of the photo is her youngest daughter Elizabeth (1884-1964) whose husband William Ridgway is standing behind her.  Another daughter, Caroline (born in 1876), is seated at the far right of the photo.  She married Joseph Moss in 1901 in Peckham where they continued to live – again, he is standing behind his wife.

Angela wonders if anyone can help identify the other people in the photo and help her to date it. Elizabeth had given birth to ten children, of whom seven were lived to adulthood:

  • Joseph ?Inns (1857-58) – died age 1
  • William George (1862-79) – died age 17
  • Eliza Ann (1867-1871) – died age 4
  • Emily Maria (1870-1942) m. Alfred Jesse Bennett – age 39 in 1909, living with husband & 5 children in Buckingham
  • James Thomas (1872-1934) m. Ada Tasker  – age 37 in 1909, living in Rugby, Warwickshire with wife and children – the youngest of whom was only born in the first quarter of 1909, so perhaps unlikely to be in Tingewick in April 1909
  • Joseph (1874-1937) m. Minnie Lucy Collier Steeden (no children) – age 35 in 1909, perhaps living separately from wife who – by 1911 – was in Nottinghamshire
  • Daniel (1875-1918) m. Clara Ethel Smith – age 34 in 1909, living in Leicestershire with his wife and 3 children: the youngest was 1 year old in 1909
  • Caroline (1876-1960) m. Joseph Moss – age 32 in 1909,  living in London with her husband and 8-year-old son
  • Esther (1878-1956) m. James Linford – age 31 in 1909, living with her husband and three children in Maids Moreton [in spite of the same surname I’ve not found a family connection between them … yet!]
  • Elizabeth (1884-1964) m. William Ridgeway – age 25 when she married in April 1909, still living with her mother in Tingewick in 1911

We know that daughter Elizabeth jnr. (identified by Angela as sitting at the far left of the picture) married William Ridgway five days after Elizabeth snr’s birthday, on 19th April 1909, so – since William is standing behind Elizabeth in the same way that Caroline’s husband stands behind her – I think this photo is unlikely to have been taken more than a year or two before that.  Elizabeth jnr. would have been 25 in 1909: again, her appearance agrees more or less with that date.   I then wondered if it might be a gathering of the family to celebrate Elizabeth’s 70th birthday on 14th April 1909, with a second celebration (of Elizabeth jnr’s marriage) to come a few days later.

Three of Elizabeth’s surviving daughters still lived in the Buckingham area (Caroline – sitting at the right of the photo – was living in London).  The lady in the white blouse beside Caroline looks a bit older and might be Emily, aged 39: but where is Esther (aged 31)?  Perhaps she is the smiling lady behind the man (presumably her husband, James Linford) seated with the child.  The man in the centre, standing behind Elizabeth, could be Elizabeth’s middle son Joseph, aged 35, whose marriage to Minnie Steeden might already have failed – by 1911 she was living in Nottingham; later she worked in Canada and only returned to England a few weeks before she died at the end of 1934.

The couple at the far left of the photo might be youngest son Daniel (age 34) and his wife Clara who would have travelled here from Leicestershire.  It’s perhaps less likely that it would be Elizabeth’s oldest son James, since his wife – Ada née Tasker – had given birth in the first part of 1909 so they would probably have been unable to come all the way from Rugby.  But that leaves me unable to guess who the final lady at the far right of the picture might be.  Perhaps, then, James and his wife did make the journey and she, not surprisingly, has been given a chair with James standing beside her.  The last unidentified lady might then be Emily, unaccompanied by her husband

Does anyone have any photos of any of the people mentioned to help prove or disprove my theory?

Murder? or accidental death?

[The two reports below are from the same newspaper, printed two weeks apart, and presumably refer to two different inquests into the same mishap. The second report also refers to a report one week earlier, which has not (yet) been electronically archived]


OXFORD, Saturday, Nov. 30
Jackson’s Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, November 30, 1822; Issue 3631

Thursday last an inquest was held, at the pub-
lic house at Tingewick, Bucks, before Mr. Burn-
ham, Coroner for that county, on view of the
body of — Wells, keeper of the Old Angel public
house at Buckingham, who was found murdered
on the road, near the turnpike at Tingewick.
From the best information we can collect, we
learn that the deceased, with another man named
Brewerton, were returning, in a gig, from a
meeting held in Banbury for letting turnpike
tolls, on Monday last, and had quarrelled on
their road home; Brewerton had been heard to
say, “he would do for him.” When the de-
ceased was found, it was at first supposed his
death was occasioned by falling out of the gig;
but on a closer inspection of the wounds, there
was no doubt of his having been brutally mur-
dered. He had several severe blows about the
head and face, and one blow across his hand,
which it is probable was received when endea-
vouring to save them from his head. After a
very long investigation, the Jury returned a ver-
dict of Wilful Murder, against some person or
persons unknown.


INQUEST
Jackson’s Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, December 14, 1822; Issue 3633

INQUEST

Upon Mr. W. Wells, of Buckingham
Held on Wednesday, Nov. 27, before Mr Burnham,
one of the coroners for that county
[THE CIRCUMSTANCE WAS GIVEN LAST WEEK]
Charles Cross, of Tingewick, shoemaker, deposed,
that on his road home from Buckingham last Monday
evening, the 25th of November, in company with his
apprentice, John Durrant, he met a horse and gig,
about half-past nine o’clock, without any person in it.
— that on approaching nearer Tingewick, they found
the body of a man lying by the road side — it was
quite cold — and a quantity of blood was under the
head and near it. Deponent immediately went to the
toll-gate (about 200 yards further on) to get as-
sistance, and on enquiring there whether a horse and
gig had lately passed through, the collector, Thomas
Brewerton, replied there had about half an hour ago;
and that the person who was with it was Wm. Wells,
of Buckingham. Whilst deponent was in coversa-
tion with the collector, in consequence of the ap-
prentice having gone into the village and given the
alarm, Benjamin Brewerton ran past the collector
and the deponent, as if alarmed, and on being called
to by name by the housekeeper at the toll-gate (Su-
sannah Stokes) he did not answer, but continued
running. Deponent followed, and on arriving again
at the place where the body lay, saw Benjamin Brew-
erton, who had arrived there about half a minute
before deponent, examining the head of the deceased;
and he (Brewerton) said he thought it was broken,
and expressed much surprise at finding Wells dead,
he having been to Banbury with him that day. De-
ponent waited till other persons came up, and then
left the place.
John Durrant, apprentice to the last witness, cor-
roborated his master’s testimony as to seeing the
empty gig and the body. On his master’s stopping
at the toll-gate, the witness ran on to Tingewick and
gave the alarm of the deceased having been found.
Went to several houses for that purpose, and amongst
others to that of Benjamin Brewerton, who was sit-
ting with his wife by the fire side. Benjamin Brew-
erton immediately ran out of his house towards the
toll-gate.

The Rev. Mr. Risley, of Tingewick, deposed that
on Monday evening the 25th of November, on his
return home from Buckingham in his gig with his
servant Richard Steeden, he met a horse and gig,
having no person in it, going towards Buckingham;
this was between nine and ten o’clock. Deponent
called to a waggoner who was passing at the time,
and desired him to take charge of the empty gig and
bring it back towards Tingewick. On deponent’s
road home, when about 200 yards on the Buckingham
side of the Tingewick toll-gate, observed three or
four persons standing by the side of the road, and,
on enquiring of the cause, learnt that William Wells
had been found dead. Deponent to ascertain the truth
got out of his gig and put his hand to the face
of the deceased and found it cold, and that he was
quite dead. Benjamin Brewerton was one of the
persons standing near the body, who said to depo-
nent that he had been to Banbury with the deceased,
and that upon their return they had called at
the Red Lion, and had quarrelled there — that the de-
ceased had used him very ill; in some further con-
versation with Brewerton on their way home, Brew-
erton expressed himself as being an innocent and an
upright man, and that he knew nothing of how the
deceased came by his death. Brewerton further
added, that the deceased was not intoxicated at the
time he had parted company with him at the Red
Lion.

William Stowe, of Buckingham, surgeon, deposed
that he had been called on to go to Tingewick about half-
past ten on the night of Monday the 25th ult. to see
a person who had been found lying on the road within
200 yards of Tingewick turnpike. On reaching the
spot, he found the body of William Wells, who ap-
peared to have received several wounds about the
head, and was quite dead. After noticing the posi-
tion of the body and limbs, and making such other
examinations as might tend to elucidate the cause of
the death, he directed that the body should be taken
to the nearest public-house for the purpose of inquest.
On farther examination in the presence of the Jury
this day, both ears were found severely lacerated, a
wound about two inches long on the right cheek, a
smaller one on the chin, the upper lip swollen, and a
front tooth deficient, an extensive wound on the back
of the right hand, and fluid having a spirituous smell,
was trickling from the left ear. Under the direction
of the coroner, he opened the head and removed the
brain, when a fracture was discovered extending across
the basis of the skull from ear to ear, which might
have been occasioned by falling on the top of the
head, or by considerable force applied overy one ear
while the opposite ear was on the ground — the left
ear had gravel in it, as if the injury had been sus-
tained while the head was in that position. Depo-
nent, on his first seeing the deceased, searched his
pockets and took from them 3l. 1s. 9d which, his wife
on receiving said, was within a shilliing or two of
what he had with him when he left home in the morning.

Joseph Terry, of Tingewick, labourer, deposed
that soon after eight o’clock on Monday evening last,
he heard the voice of Benjamin, exclaiming “Damn
his eyes, he shall have it.” Deponent lives next door
but one to Brewerton, and he (deponent) saw him
from his window at the time. Brewerton was wran-
gling afterwards with his wife or some person in the
house, and pulled his door to on coming out of it;
he returned again immediately, and on opening it said
to the persons inside the house, “D–n you, follow
me if you dare.” Brewerton then went towards
Tingewick turnpike-gate, passing deponent’s house,
and muttering to himself a the time, “D–n his
eyes, he shall have it.” Deponent thought at the
time Brewerton had been quarrelling with Edmund
Side, who was in Brewerton’s house.

Edmund Side, of Tingewick, labourer, deposed
that he was at the house of Benjamin Brewerton from
six till about nine o’clock on Monday evening the
25th of November. That Brewerton was absent at
the time he first went, but came in a quarter before
eight. He (Brewerton) appeared rather fresh — did
not remain above five minutes. That he then went
down to the turnpike, and was gone a quarter of an
hour, having been fetched home by his wife. That
he then remained ten minutes, during which time he
said he had had a few words with Wells, and behaved
very abusively towards his wife, saying he would go
out again and desiring her not to follow him. That
no words whatever passed between deponent
and Brewerton, nor did they even speak to each other —
That upon the request of Benjamin Brewerton’s wife,
deponent went to call John Brewerton to fetch Benj.
who did so, and brought Benjamin home. That Ben-
jamin remained in the house till deponent and his
wife left it, which was about half-past nine. — This
witness, on his re-examination said, that Brewerton
had said he would “wallop” Wells. And the evi-
dence generally came from him very reluctantly.

Charlotte Side, wife to the last witness, deposed
as to Benjamin Brewerton coming to his house, she
being there with her husband; that they left it to-
gether about nine o’clock; that, soon after they got
home, her husband went to the door and said “here
is the gig and Wells in it; he seems very fuddled, for
he sways about.” That about ten minutes after-
wards deponent went to Benjamin Brewerton’s house to
ask his wife to have some camomile tea, and saw
Benjamin Brewerton, and John Brewerton, drinking
beer together.

Mary Mansfield, the wife of Daniel Mansfield,
of the parish of Tingewick, victualler, deposed that
between the hours of 6 and 7 in the evening of Mon-
day, November 25, W. Wells and Benj. Brewerton got
out of a gig at deponent’s door; that they went into
the tap room together, and drank two pints of ale
with two half-quarterns of gin in it; they appeared
friendly towards each other at first, but afterwards
words arose between them about some money, which
the deponent cannot exactly speak to. Brewerton
appeared violent; threatened to knock Well’s teeth
down his throat; but on deponent’s interfering they
appeared good friends again, and got into the gig and
went away together. A few minutes afterwards
they came back to the door again and into the house;
Wells said on entering, “I don’t know what to make
of this fellow; he wants to fall out with me on the
road,” alluding to Brewerton, who said, “it was
only my fun.” Wells soon afterwards went to the
door, and got into the gig and drove off by himself,
leaving Brewerton in the house, who followed on foot
almost immediately. — Mansfield keeps the Red Lion,
at Finmere, but the house is in Tingewick parish.

Jas. Holton, butcher, of Tingewick, deposed that on
Monday evening the 25th ult. about 8 o’clock, Wm.
Wells, of Buckingham, called at deponent’s house,
in Tingewick, and told him that he (Wells) had come
from Banbury with Benjamin Brewerton, that even-
ing; that they had had words on the road, and again at
the Red Lion, where Brewerton at last promised to
drop it and shake hands; that Brewerton, when in
the gig again, used abusive language, and threatened
to fight Wells, who thereupon turned about to go to
the Red Lion again, where they agreed to settle the
dispute; but that Wells ordered the horse to be
ready, that he might drive away alone, for that Brew-
erton had threatened to knock his (Wells’) teeth down
his throat. Wells left deponent’s house about
twenty minutes past eight, but called again in the
gig on his way home, a little before nine o’clock;
nothing particular was said then; Wells appeared
a little fresh, but talked with deponent rationally,
and appeared perfectly capable of going home alone.

Susannah Stokes, housekeeper to Thos. Brewerton,
keeper of the Tingewick toll gate, deposed that she
did not leave her master’s house at all on Monday
evening the 25th of Nov. That Benjamin Brewerton
came there about half past eight; that he appeared
fresh, and had a few words with his father, and men-
tioned having had some with Wells. That deponent
sent Sarah Bedford to fetch Benj. Brewerton’s wife,
which she did; that Benj. Brewerton left the house
with his wife, but returned soon afterwards alone;
that he remained there about ten minutes, and quar-
relled with deponent about family affairs; that Ben-
jamin afterwards left the house in company with his
brother John, and did not return that evening. That
a gig, in which was William Wells, went through the
gate soon after nine o’clock. Benjamin and John
Brewerton had left the house some time.

John Brewerton, of Tingewick, labourer, deposed,
that between 8 and 9 o’clock, last Monday evening,
Edmund Side came to his (deponent’s) house, to re-
quest him to fetch his brother Benjamin away from
his father’s at the turnpike gate, as he was making
a disturbance there. That deponent went for his
brother immediately, and took him from his father’s
to his (Benjamin’s) own house; that he remained with
him drinking beer till past ten o’clock, and
never left him from the time he first went to the toll
house to that hour.

The evidence closed with this witness, and the
Jury, after taking another view of the body, and of
the gig from which the deceased is supposed to have
fallen, returned the their verdict, under the
direction of the Coroner, of Accidental Death.

Jackson’s Oxford Journal November 1847

BUCKINGHAM, Nov. 4
Jackson’s Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, November 6, 1847; Issue 4932

BUCKINGHAM PETTY SESSIONS, October 30.
(Before Revds. A. Baynes and W.T. Eyre)

SELLING BEER WITHOUT A LICENCE. — James Moody, alias, James Townsend, alias Wiltshire Jemmy, late of Tingewick, was charged by Mr. Thomas Jones, Excise Officer, with having sold beer at Tingewick without a licence. The accused did not appear, and it was stated that he had absconded. The charge was that he had sold beer at a building by the side of the Buckinghamshire Railway works. Mr. A. Cornwall, Supervisor of Excise, appeared on the part of the Crown. It appeared that the summons had been left at Jemmy’s late habitation but nine clear days, whereas ten clear days were required by law. The Magistrates in consequence declined going on with the case. Mr. Cornwall forthwith applied for, and obtained, a fresh summons.

POOR RATES. — William Steeden, wheelwright, summoned by Mr. A. Durrant, one of the overseers of Tingewick, for arrears of poor’s rates, amounting to 7s. 10½. Thomas Hayward, working brewer, was also summoned for 5s. 3d. The parties pleaded inability, and stated their circumstances to the Magistrates, who said they had not the power of excusing them, and that as the rates were pressed they must order payment; but they considered that the parish ought not to enforce the rates, and they advised the defendants to apply at the next vestry to be excused from payment. — Mr. Thomas Painter said that the men were tenants of his; they had been picked out, while others living in better cottages, and who were more able to pay, were excused, and that persons who had 100l. in the bank were not made to pay. — Mr Durrant said the men were able to pay, and that Mr. Painter, the guardian of the parish, ought not to tell persons not to pay their rates. — The defendants were ordered to pay the rates, and 2s. each costs.

New-style Families Index

As some of you know, I’ve been unable to update the Index of Names since the end of 2007. The program I wrote to create the pages pre-dated Windows, and I now use an iMac. I struggled to find a genealogy program that suited me, and have finally settled on iFamily for Mac. It includes a good, adaptable page generator BUT will only produce them for one ‘family’. I eventually hit on the notion of creating a single super-ancestor (called, not surprisingly perhaps) Tingewick. I have finally finished connecting all 18,000 people in my database to this one imaginary person and have uploaded the results here. Of course, I am now finding a host of discrepancies which will take me another half-lifetime to fix: meanwhile I haven’t added the 1911 census returns … and so it goes on. Hopefully, though, the extra (and updated!) information on the new pages will make up for the rather clumsy index and linkage back to the main Tingewick site.
As always, if you see any errors/omissions, please do let me know so I can correct. Meanwhile – enjoy!

Corrections wanted!

It may sound odd to say I’m pleased when someone points out a mistake in the Tingewick database: but I am.  If nobody tells me, then I may never spot the error and – given the way of t’Internet – it may continue to burrow into other folk’s trees for ever.

I had two sent to me this week!

The first pointed out that Catherine Read bp 1838 did not die in 1865.  That burial was actually for Caroline Read née Holton, wife of Andrew, and had in fact also been attached to her record.  Catherine, too, was duplicated in the database – I had recorded her in 1881 in Skelton, Lancashire with with her husband Robert Withington and their children, but had failed to make the connection with her baptism and earlier census returns in Tingewick.

Thanks to Anna, I’ve now found the other intervening census returns, Catherine’s mother’s marriage to Anthony Druce, and tidied up an assortment of loose ends.

The second error arrived a day later, and also concerns the Holton family.  Was it possible, Jan asked, that the Thomas Holton b. 1812 who was recorded (with wife Ann) in Buckingham from 1851 through 1871 and was not to be found on the Tingewick database be the same Thomas Holton b 1807 who baptised a son (with wife Sarah) in 1827 and then vanishes apparently without trace?  This second Thomas is assumed to be the one baptised in August 1807, son of Thomas and Ann née Marriot

1851Holton,Thos.jpgThe error in this case was that the first Thomas did appear on the database … but his age in 1851 looked very much like 29 not 39 and so had been mis-transcribed on the Buckinghamshire Family History Society 1851 census returns database.  Later returns show quite clearly that this is wrong.

So – are the two actually the same person?  I’m undecided.  On the one hand, the ages don’t quite tally.  On the other, if they aren’t the same, then whose child is the first Thomas?

Does anyone else have an opinion?

W.C. Kingham, photographer

Does anyone have any photographs taken by William Charles Kingham of Tingewick? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

His father, Joseph Kingham was born around 1855 in North Marston, a dozen or so miles south-east of Tingewick in Buckinghamshire.  He married in 1877 and had three sons by 1884.  He was a coachman in Quainton and Maids Moreton; then, in 1898, he moved to Tingewick to take on the tenancy of the Royal Oak.

That same year, William Charles Kingham – his oldest son – married Tingewick girl Fanny Amelia Steeden.  He described himself as a ‘cycle agent’ in the marriage register, but at the census two and a half years later he is a ‘photographer and cycle dealer‘.

I have one of his photographs- of Frank Floyd, at Wood Farm, looking splendid in his Bucks Yeomanry uniform.  Then, a few weeks ago, I had an email from Vic in Hampshire, asking for help identifying the people in a family group.  The smart young man with the bicycle in front of the same cottage is his grandfather, Charles Smith (b. 1885).  Could the others be relatives?

His grandfather’s grandfather was Tingewick labourer Edward Smith (1818-1853) who died in his mid-thirties, leaving his widow with six children to raise.  Vic is descended from the youngest, George (b. 1848), who moved to London.  The older siblings dispersed to Oxfordshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, leaving just their oldest sister Ann (183-1911) 1in the village.  Her daughter Harriet (b. 1856 and Vic’s grandfather’s oldest cousin) married Richard James Coates (1858-1915) who plied a variety of trades in the village – painter and glazier, plumber, even grocer – before settling – by the turn of the century – as a ‘house decorator‘.   On the 1901 census, he and his six children are a near-perfect match for the group in the photograph above which probably dates from around the same time.

Meanwhile, Charles Kingham’s photography business seems to have been a sideline to his main bicycle sales and repairs – it doesn’t appear in the local Kelly’s Directories where he is listed as a cycle agent and cycle repairer.  At some point after 1907 he moved to Stantonbury, now part of Milton Keynes, with his wife and two children.  In 1911 he is recorded there as an electrician’s labourer in the railway carriage works.  A year later, Fanny died; he remarried in 1915; and he died in Northampton General Hospital in 1948 without – as far as I know – continuing his career as a photographer.  Or does anyone else know differently?

 

The funeral of Shugborough Newitt Steeden, 15th November 1918

[sent to me by June Underwood of the Buckinghamshire Remembers website.  Although Shugborough Newitt Steeden’s name appears on both the Tingewick parish war memorials, he is not recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site because he died of influenza, not of his wounds]

From the Buckingham Advertiser and North Bucks Free Press, Saturday November 30, 1918

The second part of the cutting reads:

“… – A particularly sad scene was wit-
nessed in the village on the 15th inst., in the
presence of the Washington car passing through
the Main Street carrying two coffins containing
the mortal remains of Shugborough Newitt
Steeden, aged 29, and Elsie Louisa, his wife, aged
30, both having passed away the same night,
leaving two little children – a girl, 6 years old,
and a boy, aged 4. Deceased was a grandson of
the late John Steeden, of Tingewick, and his
wife a daughter of Ebenezer Newman Pollard.
He joined Kitchener’s Army in the early days of
the war, was drafted into the Oxford and Bucks
L.I., and sent to France, where after a few
months he was severely wounded, his life being
despaired of for some time. Treated in Glasgow
Hospital with every care, after a year or so he
was discharged about 12 months since, the marks
most visible of his wounds being a stiff knee and
the loss of two fingers. He was a gardener in the
employ of Lady Lawrence at Chetwode Manor
previous to the war, and only a week before his
death he removed from Tingewick to The Gables,
near Winslow, to act in the same capacity with
Lady Addington, the floral wreath sent by the
latter being one of the many floral tributes to
the memory of two lives so swiftly removed from
us. Of a cheerful and obliging nature, deceased
had many friends. Symbolical of a union ex-
pressed in life, one grave contains both husband
and wife. The Rev. P.E. Rayner (Rector) offi-
ciated
—–*——

shugborough steeden

Isaac Coote: convicts in Van Diemen’s Land

Timeline

  • 1822 (Sep 8) – baptism of Eliza Cross in Tingewick, Buckinghamshire
  • 1832 (Mar 15) – Isaac Coote sentenced to death, commuted to transportation for life, at Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk
  • 1832 (Apr 6) – arrival in Tasmania of John and Frances Cross and ?five children aboard ‘Forth
  • 1832 (Dec 29) – arrival of Isaac Coote in Hobart aboard ‘York
  • 1838 (Feb 28) – Eliza Cross marries Isaac Coote
  • 1838 (Jun 17) – baptism of Matilda, dau of Isaac (‘tailor’) and Eliza Coote
  • 1840 (May 5?) – birth of Emily, dau of Isaac (‘taylor’) and Eliza **Coots**
  • 1841 – Isaac Coote granted Ticket of Leave
  • 1842 (Aug 16) – birth of Clara, dau of Isaac (‘tailor’) and Eliza Coote
  • 1845 (Dec 15) – Isaac Coote granted Conditional Pardon
  • 1847 (Aug 21) – birth of Alfred Richard, son of Isaac (‘tailor’) and Eliza Coote
  • 1848 – Isaac and Eliza Coote recorded on census with 2 daughters + son, with another unmarried freed convict
  • 1850 (Sep 29) – Isaac Coote becomes licensee of the Angel Inn, Charles Street, Launceston (until 1854)
  • 1851 (Nov 13) – birth of Adelaide Frances, dau of Isaac and Eliza Coote
  • 1854 (May 9) – Isaac Coote becomes licensee of the Jolly Farmer, Perth (Tasmania)
  • 1855 (Nov) – birth of Arthur Isaac, son of Isaac and **Sarah** Coote
  • 1862 (Jan) – Isaac Coote becomes licensee of the Hadspen Inn, Launceston (until 1865)
  • 1868 (Feb 26) – death of Eliza Coote – death notified by Isaac, widower
  • 1869 (Apr 14) – marriage of Isaac Coote and Adeline Laird
  • 1870 (Jun 30) – birth of Thomas James Coote, son of Isaac and Adeline Coote
  • 1873 (Dec 25) – death of Isaac Coote,  (‘tailor’) , of ‘dropsy’, aged 58

In 1832, John Cross – a mason from Tingewick – and his wife Frances née Terry arrived in Tasmania aboard the ship ‘Forth‘.  He seems to have led a most interesting life and I’m hoping one of his more knowledgeable descendants might write about him here in due course.

John and Frances’ second surviving daughter Eliza was barely fifteen and already pregnant when she married convict Isaac Coote, to whom she bore at least five children before dying of ‘paralysis’ in 1868, aged just 45.

Who, though, was Isaac Coote?  My search led me to discover the wealth of information available through the Tasmanian Archives Online website and its Tasmanian Names Index – a vast number of searchable scans, freely available.  A word of warning, though – the images are HUGE and very slow to load, so not something to attempt on a mobile phone signal!

Lent Assizes for Bury St Edmunds, 1832 (from Ancestry.com)

Lent Assizes for Bury St Edmunds, 1832 (from Ancestry.com)

Isaac was, it seems, convicted of housebreaking at Bury St. Edmonds Assizes on 15th March 1832, one of thirteen men sentenced to death for offences ranging from sheep-stealing to sacrilege.  As often happened at the time, none of the sentences were carried out: most were commuted to transportation – one for  7 years, the others (including Isaac) for ‘life’  but one man (a sheep-stealer) was merely imprisoned for 12 months!

Six months later, Isaac was one of 200 convicts aboard the ‘York‘ sailing from London and Plymouth, arriving in Hobart on 29th December 1832 after a three month voyage.

1832Coote,Isaac-description-CON18-1-21_00261_L_c

Description list from Linc Tasmania CON18/1/21

 

On arrival, his description was carefully noted: he was 5’5½”, aged 19, with fair complexion and a small head.  His hair was brown and he had ‘small’ brown whiskers.  His ‘visage’ was small and narrow, his forehead low and retreating.  His eyebrows were dark brown, his eyes dark grey, his nose small and his mouth ‘normal width’.  His chin – in proportion with the rest of his face – was ‘small’ and he had a blue mark on his left arm.

Once disembarked, he was assigned the number 1442 and assigned to work for a Mr Fletcher as a ‘house servant’.

Conduct record from Linc Tasmania CON31/1/7

 

According to his conduct record, he had a few brushes with authority – absconding, ‘neglect of work’, and helping himself to his master’s ‘porter’ and chickens.

Marriages at Launceston, 1838 from Linc Tasmania, http://stors.tas.gov.au/RGD35-1-42p34j2k

Marriages at Launceston, 1838 from Linc Tasmania, RGD36/1/3

However, in February 1838 he was granted permission to marry Eliza Cross; in June their daughter Matilda was born followed by Emily (1840), Clara (1842) and Alfred Richard (1847)  – Isaac’s occupation recorded as a ‘tailor’ on each of the birth / baptism records.

Approx. 1845, from ancestry.com HO 10/59 page 102

Approx. 1845, from ancestry.com HO 10/59 page 102

In 1841 he was given a Ticket of Leave and granted a Conditional Pardon in December 1845.  The governor’s recommendation states that his ‘conduct having been good for many years past and … having completed beyond the ordinary servitude with a Ticket of Leave

1848 census of Van Diemen’s Land from Linc Tasmania CEN1/1/98

The 1848 census return gives a full and interesting view of their household.  The house was brick-built, in parish ‘No 2’   There were three adults (aged 21-45) living there, presumably Isaac and Eliza and another unmarried male.  Both men seem to have been freed former convicts.

1848 census of Van Diemen's Land from Linc Tasmania CEN1/1/98

1848 census of Van Diemen’s Land from Linc Tasmania CEN1/1/98

 

 

 

 

 

Although Isaac and Eliza had four children by the last day of 1847, only three were recorded as living at home at the time of the census.  All are said to have married and had children: who and where was the missing child?  Matilda was by this time 10 years old, soon to be 11.  Was she, perhaps, already working in another house in the town?  No names are given in the census, so we may never know.

Rather surprisingly, both men and the baby are said to be Church of England, but Eliza and the two girls were Roman Catholics!  Isaac’s occupation falls under the heading of  ‘Mechanics and Artificers’: the other man was a ‘Domestic Servant‘.

Births at Launceston, 1851 from Linc Tasmania, RGD32/1/3  http://stors.tas.gov.au/RGD32-1-3-p673j2k

Births at Launceston, 1851 from Linc Tasmania, RGD32/1/3

The Launceston Examiner, Wed. 8 September 1852 (from trove.nla.gov.au)

The Launceston Examiner, Wed. 8 September 1852 (from trove.nla.gov.au)

 

 

In 1850, Isaac took up a new career – licensee of the Angel Inn in Charles Street Launceston – a licence he renewed three times, the third time in October 1853.  This new occupation is reflected in the baptism record of their daughter Adelaide Frances in 1851.

In May 1854, Isaac took on the licence of another hostelry – this time the Jolly Farmer in the township of Perth on the plains to the south of Launceston.

Births in Longford, from Linc, Tasmania, RGD33/1/33

Births in Longford, 1855, from Linc Tasmania, RGD33/1/33

18 months later, there is a rather odd birth recorded at Longford (close to Perth and around 7 km / 4.5 miles to the West): Arthur Isaac Coote, son of **Sarah** and Isaac Coote: father’s trade is given as “Licensed Publican” so it seems reasonable to assume this is ‘our’ Isaac.

It’s been suggested that Sarah might have been Sarah Cross – Eliza’s sister – but I’m unconvinced.  She was married to James Devall, had borne him a daughter in the previous year or so and would bear him another two years later.  My best guess is that the wife’s name has been mis-heard, mis-written – or even mis-remembered by the registrar.  The page does not seem well-maintained – several entries (including this one) are lacking the informant’s signature, and the mother’s maiden name is also omitted.

By 1862, they were back in Launceston, this time running the Hadspen Inn, renewing the licence each year until at least 1865.

1868 death record from Linc Tasmania

Deaths at Launceston, 1868 from Linc Tasmania RGD35/1/37

In 1868, Eliza Coote died of “paralysis”, aged 45, and two days before her 30th wedding anniversary.  Her occupation is given as “Publican’s wife” and Isaac registered the death.  Hardly the actions of an estranged husband who was living with another woman, since they had grown-up children who could have done what was necessary.

 

18690414-Coote,Isaac-marr-IMAGE_282_c

Marriages in Launceston, 1869, from Linc Tasmania RGD37/1/28

 

Fourteen months later, Isaac married again – this time to the 24 year old Adeline Laird.  The marriage took place in his house in Youngtown.

 

Launceston birth record from Linc Tasmania RGD33/1/48 no 59

Births at Launceston, 1870 from Linc Tasmania RGD33/1/48

Their son Thomas James was born the following year, 1870: Isaac was still recorded as a ‘Licensed Victualler’.

 

from Linc Tasmania RGD35/1/42 no 2239 Deaths at Launceston, 1873

Deaths at Launceston, 1873 from Linc Tasmania RGD35/1/42

Isaac died at Launceston on Christmas Day 1873 of ‘Dropsy’, aged 58 – having apparently reverted to his original occupation of ‘tailor’.


What, though, of Isaac’s origins?  My money is on Isaac Coot, born (according to Ancestry) 29th November 1814, at Sudbury in Suffolk, son of Isaac Coot and Matilda.  There are other births recorded for the couple: Robert (15 Oct 1812), Richard (8 Mar 1817) and Eliza (17 May 1819) but I’ve not found their marriage.


On 29 Jan 1761, at All Saints, Sudbury, an (earlier) Isaac Coot  married Sarah Pain.

On 10 Oct 1734, at All Saints, Sudbury, an (earlier) Isaac Coot  married Elizabeth Sneell.

The loss of the Northfleet, 1873

Fetch-2473I wrote most of this piece six months ago but got side-tracked (as usual!) before I’d finished tying up loose ends.  Then, quite by chance, two things happened within a week: I had an email from a descendant of Caroline Holton; and I came across a newspaper cutting (The Bucks Herald of 1st March 1873), reporting on the inquest into another of the people who drowned.

 

[The account of the wreck comes from the Maritime Moments website, to whom I am greatly indebted.]

Some years ago I contributed notes and annotations to a book entitled “From Tingewick to Tioga” – the last few copies still available by emailing author Jan Anderson on janeandrs ‘at’ gmail.com.  It was based on an account of the Holton family, written in 1917 by Joseph T. Holton whose father had emigrated from Tingewick to Pennsylvania in 1851.  One of his notes said:

“My aunt, Caroline Holton was born 1826 and she married John _________ and they had children born unto them and they was drownded in the North Sea in 1873 and one child was safe in a boat and was adopted by people near Dover, but they say it died.  But they say that they left two girls and they married two brothers named Day and that they went to London, but they have not heard.”

Caroline had, in fact, married John Taplin in October 1848 at Tingewick.  He was probably working on the railway line, which was built across the northern edge of the parish around 1847. They had six daughters in the next twelve years.  The second was baptised in Tingewick but died in infancy: the two youngest were twins, born in 1862.

The family was constantly on the move: Welling in Hertfordshire in 1849; Whatlington in Sussex in 1851; Dudley, Worcestershire in 1854; Tiveydale in Staffordshire in 1859; Bakewell in Derbyshire in 1861; Rosebury in Derbyshire in 1862; and  Finsbury in London in 1871.  By 1873, perhaps the boom in railway work in England had ended.  John signed up to work on the Tasmanian Railroad, and – with his wife and three youngest daughters – boarded the Northfleet in London.  On board were 379 people (including the crew and the pilot), 340 tons of iron rails, and 240 tons of other equipment, bound for Hobart in Tasmania.  At 11 am on January 13 1873, she slipped down the river from London.

The late January weather was stormy and more than a week later they had only reached Dungeness, where they spent the night of the 22nd at anchor, in company with perhaps 300 other boats waiting for the weather to lift.  Sometime after midnight, disaster struck – a steamer ran into them, striking them hard on the starboard side.  Without identifying herself, the steamer backed away and vanished into the night.

For whatever reason, only two of the seven lifeboats were launched.  Perhaps there wasn’t time (from the inquest I just found, ‘the lashings were too tight’) – within 30 minutes, the boat had sunk.  In spite of the captain’s best efforts (including, apparently, shooting a man in the knee who disobeyed his orders), only two women, one child and one baby were saved.  The rest of the 86 survivors were all men, including 11 of the crew.  So much for women and children first!  In all, 293 lives were lost: 41 were women; 43 were children; and 7 were babies under 1 year old.

The one child that was saved was Maria Taplin.  It seems they were soon picked up by a steam tug, the City of London, and taken to the Seaman’s Mission in Dover.  The captain’s wife – now widowed – offered to take Maria to London: the newspapers printed her story, and offers to adopt her poured in.  Some versions say she went to live with her older sisters, now married: but the death registered in Dover in the third quarter of 1879 of a 17-year old Maria Taplin is probably hers.