6c. John Freeman (1740-1803) Indigo Maker and Ironmonger from Northamptonshire

In which we look a little more closely at John Freeman (1740-1803), who married Ann Backler (1741-1820), speculating that the woad industry of Northamptonshire prompted his move to London to improve his fortunes in the related industry of indigo making. Also considering his links with the Ironmongers Company and his certain acquaintance (or more?) with the Pellatts, who played a prominent role therein and whose heritage we will examine in future posts.

The tree above will form the basis of this and the next post (or two). It shows two generations of descendants of Thomas FREEMAN (1684-1761) and his wife Dennis GARE (1710-1782). Of particular relevance to this post are John Freeman, who we know married Ann Backler in London, and John’s brother William Freeman (1745-1795), also to be found in London.

From his Will and other sources (see below) we know that John was an Indigo Maker. Without direct evidence, it is possible to speculate that this occupation was related to John’s and brother William’s migration from Northamptonshire to London from an area in Northamptonshire actively involved in the production of dye from woad, a crop widely grown in the area. A post on the Whilton history website describes this industry in some detail. (https://whiltonlhs.org/whilton-history/f/woad-in-whilton ). The post describes the itinerant nature of woad workers, the necessity for communities to separate themselves from the dreadful stink of woad processing (and from the workers who carried this stink with them), and the gains to be made by landowners in letting out fields for growing the biennial crop. Every four years or so, the workers moved on to other sites. One place of residence was in the now-defunct village of Glassthorpe, almost certainly the location cited in entries in the Flore Parish Register, which also indicate that family groups were involved in the woad industry:

. 1732 Apr 9. James son of William & Martha Phipps (Woading-Labourers at Clastrop) was baptized.

1732 July 14. William son of Edward & Mary Phipps (Woaders at Clastrop) was Buried. Affadavit Dated, July 20.

1740 June 22. Elizabeth daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Neal (Woad-Folks) was Baptized.

1740 July 12. James son of Peter & Elizabeth Neal (Woad-folks) was Baptized.

1740 July 20, James son of Peter & Elizabeth Neal was buried. Affid: Dated, July 25.

Woad was the native-grown plant which produced blue dye, but a richer, darker dye could be got from Indigo, which from the start of the 18th century was increasingly being imported from Asia and the Americas, produced largely through the work of slave or indentured labour. (See, for instance:Blue in Eighteenth Century England: Pigments and Usages. Zoriana Lotut. https://journals.openedition.org/1718/1214?lang=e )

From Northamptonshire to London: At some point, probably in the 1860s, William and John – together or separately? – went to London. The first record we find is that of John, being made free by redemption of the Ironmongers Company, on 24 July 1769. The transcribed record on findmypast shows him as a ‘Blue merchant’, son of Thomas Freeman, gentleman. Proposed by W. Price. In 1787, William Freeman (1745-1795), Indigo Maker, becomes free by redemption, proposed by J Freeman, his older brother (nepotism abounds in the City Livery Companies). Further family links appear in Ironmongers’ records over the next decade:

  • Thomas Freeman is apprenticed to John Freeman, 20 March 1779. This Thomas, said to be aged 15 years, is said in the record to be the son of Thomas Freeman (1738/9 – ), Cordwainer, of Bedford. As mentioned in John Freeman’s Will of 1803, the father is John’s older brother Thomas, baptised in Weedon Bec in 1738/9 and frustratingly elusive after that. Young Thomas, apprenticed first to his uncle John, was shortly after, on 17 June 1779, turned over to John Grant, Citizen and Glover, of the Glovers’ Company. No more is known about Thomas Snr or Jnr. Records from Bedfordshire are not very evident online.
  • Thomas Freeman, this time son of John Freeman (1740-1803), was apprenticed to his father, John Freeman, Indigo Maker of St Giles Cripplegate, on 30 April, 1793, for no consideration. This apprenticeship would see out its full time, with Thomas being made Free by service to his father John, on 30 April 1800. We will return to this Thomas (1779-1853) in a future post.
  • William Freeman (1779 – ), son of William Freeman (1745-1795), who we have seen above, became free of the Ironmongers by redemption, was on 29 August 1793 bound apprentice to his father William Freeman, Little Aldermanbury, Indigo Maker. However, William Snr’s dates as above show that he died in 1795, so on 25 November 1795, young William was ‘turned over’ to his uncle John Freeman, Citizen and Ironmonger, for the duration of his apprenticeship. I have not found a record of William being made free of the Ironmongers.
  • George Freeman (1780-1854) also son of William Snr, on 27 November 1794 was also bound apprentice to his father. After William Snr’s death in 1795, on 19 March 1796, George was turned over to George Tompson (see next bullet point), Citizen and Ironmonger, to serve out his apprenticeship. I have not found a further record of George’s apprenticeship, but we will return to him in future posts.
  • George T(h)ompson (as in the previous bullet point) was made Free by Redemption of the Ironmongers on 24 June 1788, son of George Thompson, Gent (of Northamptonshire). George Jnr was a tea dealer, and was the brother of Judith T(h)ompson ( – 1785), late wife of William Freeman Snr. George was proposed for his freedom by … John Freeman! (Are you keeping up? – nepotism, indeed.) We will return to this family in a later post.

The Aldermanbury Postern address, hard by the city walls in St Giles Cripplegate, was the site of the indigo makers variably named as Grace and Freeman (appearing in London directories between 1781 and 1794), later Freeman John & Son (by 1803), then Freeman and North (1817). William Freeman (died 1795) and Henry Grace (died 1798), and John Freeman, were in partnership, with John taking over for the brief period after their deaths until his own in 1803, the original partnership having been dissolved in 1795, just before William’s death, as recorded in the London Gazette as follows:

June 24, 1795. The partnership subsisting between Henry Grace, John Freeman and William Freeman, in the Business carried on under the firm of Grace and Freemans of Aldermanbury Postern, London, Indigo Blue Manufacturers, is this Day, by mutual Consent, dissolved, the Share of the said Henry Grace being made over to the remaining partners, the said John Freeman and William Freeman, who undertake to settle all Matters relating to the said Copartnership. Henry Grace. Wm. Freeman. John Freeman. The London Gazette Issue 13790. 23 June 1795. p. 663

I am not sure who took over after John Freeman died in 1803. Could the ‘and Son’ have been his son Thomas, who had served his apprenticeship under John and then been made free of the Ironmongers? Suffice to say that at his death in Brighton in 1853, as a ‘Merchant’ he was evidently a very wealthy man. The source of his fortune is unknown. We will meet this family again.

This post has aimed at locating John Freeman and his brother William in London from their Northamptonshire origins. A review of their families in future posts will very partially uncover the tangled roots of the Freeman and related families.

6b. Thomas Freeman and Dennis Gare

In which we briefly look at the maternal ancestors of John Freeman, who married Ann Backler. We try not to get carried away in looking at the complicated and fascinating histories of these Northamptonshire folk, who are not actually relations of any sort to me, but just the ancestors of some quite distant Backler cousins. We will leave detailed research to those cousins.

In my previous post (6a), I looked at John Freeman’s paternal ancestors. In this post I briefly sketch his maternal side, since I know precious little about them other than their names.

William GARE and Dennis MARRIOTT: There is an abundance of folk named ‘Gare’ in this area of Northamptonshire. I am not sure who were William Gare’s antecedents. John Freeman’s mother was the interestingly-named Dennis GARE (1710-1782), the second daughter of that name born to William GARE (died 1733) and his wife Dennis MARRIOTT (1660/1 – 1746). Dennis Gare was the second youngest of eight children. Second-born Edward (1701-1711) was short-lived, as were fourth-born Dennis (1704-1708) and last-born Edward (1718-1718).

Third-born William Gare Jnr (1703 – ) married first Mary Marks in Flore, Northants, in 1731. Mary died at or near to the childbirth and death of their daughter Anne in 1732. William then married Mary Cobley in the nearby parish of Weston Favell in 1736, three years after the death of his father, and in 1738/9 yet another William Gare was born to this couple.

Nothing is known to this author of Thomas Gare (1706 – ), but John Gare (1708, Flore – 1779, Blisworth) married Mary Rushworth in Easton Neston, Northants, in 1735, they producing at least four children: (another) Dennis Gare (1737-1804 , married William Peach in Blisworth in 1763); Thomas Gare (1738-1738); John Gare (1745-1745); and John Gare (1748 – ?), for whom a marriage and un-sourced children feature on an Ancestry tree, but whose fate, and that of any further children in this family, I will leave to others.

Abraham MARRIOTT and Amy BILLING/E: I don’t have enough information to trace the GARE line any further back. The Marriotts are more obliging. After diligent scrolling through the parish registers of Weedon Bec – rather sadly, a favourite occupation of mine! – I at last found an unindexed marriage confirming details which featured on several Ancestry websites: that of Abraham Marrett [sic] and Amy Billing on 6 June 1645. (The surname shows many variants in the Weedon Bec registers, including Marrett, Marit, Marriott, and Marriet, among others). Scrolling forward in the parish registers, we find at least ten children born up to 1663, but we have no death date for either Abraham or Amy. Some trees show a death date for Abraham…but it is the wrong person!

The difficult thing with both Gare and Marriott names is the abundance of people with the same names. There are cousins, aunts and uncles, all named |John, or Thomas, Samuel, Richard, Anne . etc etc. The Weedon Bec parish register is helpful in sorting some of them out, as in the case of burials it tends to give relationships – wife or husband of…or child of…This helped in the Marriott case to stay with the one family.

Going back in time, we know again from parish registers that Amie [sic, mis-transcribed as Annie] Billing was baptised 22 April 1627, the daughter of Samuel BILLING and Mary. Abraham Marret was baptised 15 December 1622, son of William MARRET and his wife Joane. Both baptisms in Weedon Bec.

I have found these intertwined families in and around Weedon Bec, Flore, Brockhall, Bugbrooke, Everdon and many more, ro be fascinating. BUT it is time I moved on to the families of more direct concern to our Backler story. To be continued in my next post!

6a. Ann Backler and John Freeman: exploring a newly-discovered (and extensive) Backler line

In which we unveil some details about Ann Backler (1741-1820) and her husband John Freeman, Indigo Maker (1740 – 1803), spurred on by contact to this blog by a very distant cousin descended from this partnership. In this and some subsequent posts we will briefly look at the Freeman family, and then (again, briefly) follow the many descendants, featuring some great wealth, and lots of clergy and military folk. We will move on from the report in Blogpost 6, ‘The Family of Sotherton Backler, Apothecary, and his wife Ann Ashley’ https://wordpress.com/post/backlers.com/50 which stated as follows:

Ann 1741 –       m. John Freeman 12 July 1770 at St Andrew by the Wardrobe/St Ann Blackfriars, witnessed by S Backler and Sarah Rowley. Nothing more is known about Ann and John. [But, now, read on…]

John Freeman, of the Parish of St Ann Blackfriars, Bachelor, and Ann Backler, of the Parish of St Dunstan in the West, Spinster, were married by Licence at St Andrew by the Wardrobe on 7 July 1770. Witnesses were S Backler [her brother Sotherton Backler (1746-1819)], Sarah Rowley [not sure who she is] and Elizabeth Backler [almost certainly Ann’s sister, born 1748/9, whose fate I have not managed to trace. The tree below shows the married couple and their six children (of whom more in succeeding blogposts). The baptism records of some of the children show that John was an Indigo Maker.

John FREEMAN (1740-1803) was born in Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, son of Thomas FREEMAN (1684-1761) and Dennis [sic] GARE (1710-1782). I spent many engaging hours in the summer of 2022 working with distant cousin Chris to disentangle the various lineages originating in Northamptonshire and linked in many different ways to Ann Backler and John Freeman. My challenge is to get them into some kind of order for the purposes of my Backler blog! The very many descendants of John Freeman and Ann Backler are cousins of one sort or another with me and the other Backler descendants chronicled on this site – all sharing in some degree as grandparents, Sotherton Backler (1704 – 1763) and Ann Ashley (c.1714-1768).

For some time I had linked the name of Ann Backler with that of John Freeman, but it wasn’t until his death date of 1803 was suggested to me that I identified the correct John Freeman, among many possibilities, and found his Will, clearly citing his brother-in-law Sotherton Backler as an executor. The Will was one of those very helpful ones, citing lots of clearly-labelled relations. It showed that John Freeman was resident in Newington Green, Middlesex, hard by Islington and Stoke Newington, the places of residence of many of our Backler and, later on, Boulding and Pellatt ancestors. However, John wished to be buried at St Ann Blackfriars, right by the Society of Apothecaries and the site of many Backler baptisms and burials.

By the time of drafting his Will, just one of John and Ann’s children had married, three having pre-deceased them. Mary, the youngest, had in 1802 married to soon-to-become very-wealthy Richard Pack, cited as an executor in John’s Will. (More about them anon.) Son Thomas would marry soon after his father’s death, and daughter Sarah would follow a couple of years later. She is left a handsome legacy, with provision after John’s wife Ann’s death for both daughters and their children. Also mentioned are John’s niece, Mary Gough (which, in sorting out various Freeman families in Northants helps to confirm John’s family), and John’s brother Thomas, of Bedford – a mysterious soul, indeed. The Will shows that John owned a house in Fore Street, Cripplegate, where the Sotherton Backlers also had lived – could this house have come to him on his marriage to Ann?

John Freeman was the great grandson of Richard FREEMAN [1] ( – 1694) and Mary GODFREY [sometimes GODFREE] of Brockhall (1622-1691). Brockhall was one centre of residence for the Freemans, Godfreys and others prominent in John Freeman’s family tree. Adjacent parishes include Dodford, Norton, Whilton and Flore, all places of births, marriages and burials of various kin.

Richard Freeman [1] was a Bonesetter, a largely un-formally-trained version of an osteopath, chiropractor and physiotherapist. Such was his fortune, however acquired, that in 1644 he purchased the Manor of Whilton. His and Mary’s son Richard FREEMAN [2] (1646-1684, note he died ten years before his father, so Richard [1’s] grandson inherited) married his cousin Elizabeth GODFREY. ‘Our’ John FREEMAN was the youngest son of Richard FREEMAN [2].

A number of features marked Whilton in this period. First, and perhaps relevant to the bonesetting, was the Civil War. Northamptonshire supported the Parliamentarians, but battles took place all around the area, including in Whilton and Flore, and notably at nearby Naseby.

Not having found any contextual information for that period, there is later evidence found by my Freeman-sleuthing partner: reference to Mr Freeman, Bonesetter in Memoires of the Verney Family, Vol IV, downloaded from https://archive.org/details/memoirsofverneyf04verniala/page/394/mode/2up

Young Edmund Verney, a student at Oxford from 1685-8, has had an accident, and damaged his elbow. On 6 April 1687, his father wrote to Dr Thomas Sykes: ‘ This day about noone yr Messenger Brought me the ill newse of my Sonnes unlucky accident last Munday. I am very sorry for it : But am extremely joyfull to under- stand by you that the worst is past with this and that He is in so fayre a way of amendment soe I Hope There is noe Danger in a dislocation of an Elbow, where such excellent Chirurgions and Bone setters are at Hand, and Physitians if occasion Be : I Guesse This was done at wrestling…’ However, the arm continued to prove troublesome, and by May young Edmund still did not have proper use of it. On 14 May 1687, his tutor wrote to the lad’s father, also Edmund: ‘His arme is free from paine, but he hath not yet the right use of it, And upon that Account as soon as I was fearfull that all was not right, I would have had him gone home to you in order to his consulting some very skilfull Chirurgion, and particularly advised him to one Mr. Freeman who lives near Daventry in Northamptonshire, and is every market Day Here at the Wheatsheaf. This man here is look’d upon by Physitians and others as the most skilfull Bone setter in all England, And therefore I had a desire that your Sonn should have his opinion ;‘ On 22 May 1687, young Edmund’s father wrote: ‘The famous Bone setter Mr. ffreeman Lookt upon the arm and ffelt it, and sayd it is right sett, and nothing out, but That the sinues are shrunk wch makes Him That Hee cannot Hold his Arme streight : But Mr. ffreeman sayes his Arme will Do well : and Be as streight as ever, if Hee Doth use it and exercise it with care : and ffollow his directions and prescriptions.

An entry in the Parish Register of Brockhall does record one impact of the Civil War: ‘May 4th 1653. Brockhall Parsonage was by Mr. James Cranford resigned to the Present Rector thereof Mr. William Borlee, who by Reason of the Warrs between the Royalist [sic] and Parliamentarians not being Constant Resident until February 2nd 1646 noe Just Account could be taken of the Severall Baptizeings Marriages and Burrials.

Whether the above hiatus also afftected a delay in baptising of Richard Freeman [2] from his birth in 1646 to his Baptism in 1650 is not known. What is known is that he and Elizabeth Godfrey had five children, of whom the oldest, Richard [3] (1677-1749) and the youngest, Thomas Freeman (1684, the year of his father’s death – 1761) are most relevant to our story.

First off, Richard [3] (1677-1749) had two wives, Mary CORPSON (1680-1707) – 6 children, most of whom were short-lived except for the Rev. John Freeman (1703-1786), educated at Pembroke College Oxford and then Rector of Louth in Lincolnshire. His half-siblings were the children of Richard FREEMAN [3] and his second wife, Elizabeth LANGTON (1688-1761), whose first son the Rev Langton Freeman (1710-1784) inherited Whilton Manor. Langton was the oldest of ten children, and an avowed eccentric. His and his siblings’ stories are interwoven throughout the vicinity, including Daventry, Northampton, and into Warwickshire. Much too numerous to delineate here, and anyway, they aren’t Backler descendants! His Will, however, made unusual provision for his interment:

first, his body to lie in the Bed in which he dies for four or five days until it becomes offensive; then to be moved in the Bed to the summerhouse in the garden, ‘and to be wrapped in a strong double winding sheet, and in all other respects to be interred as near as may be to the description we receive in Holy Scripture of Our Saviours Burial. The doors and windows to be locked up or bolted and to be kept as near and in the same manner and state as they shall be at the time of my Decease. And I desire that the Building or Summer House may be planted around with evergreen plants and fenced off with Iron or Oak pales and painted of a blue colour. For carrying this out, he gives Whilton to his nephew Thomas Freeman (1746-1801), son of Langton’s brother Thomas (1715-1777) and his second wife Anne Adams ( – 1781). Nephew Thomas died in 1802, and the estate passed to his daughter Marianne (1788-1866), who had married Dr Charles Rattray ( – 1836). The estate was then sold.

This takes us to the branch, founded by Richard FREEMAN [2] and Elizabeth GODFREY, and of direct interest to the Backler story: that of Thomas FREEMAN and his wife Dennis GARE. BUT, to develop this story in bitesized chunks, I will leave this family to the next post! Hopefully there won’t be too much of a gap before it appears.

46. The Rivers line

In which we move back in time again to take a very brief look at the Rivers line, parallelling our Newton line, and equally far back in the mists of time.

There are any number of potted histories of the Rivers family, of London and Kent. This post is lifted from an amalgam of them, including a google book entitled The Baronetage of England, Or the History of the English Baronets…Volume 1, by William Betham, in the chapter Rivers Gay of Chafford Kent, starting on p. 217.

The tree chart above begins at the top with Sir John Rivers, died 1584. All the sources say he was the son of Richard Rivers of Penshurst, steward of the lands of Penshurst Place, belonging to Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Sir John was of ‘Chafford’. an estate in Kent. The original house was replaced in the 19th century, no longer owned by any Rivers descendants. It offers posh weddings and accommodation, or camping or glamping in the grounds. Sir John Rivers was Lord Mayor of London during the 15th year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. He married Elizabeth Barne(s), daughter of another Lord Mayor, Sir George Barne(s), Knt, (died 1558) and his wife Alice Brooke.

We pause for a moment to look at the role of the Lord Mayor – a ceremonial position. The extract below is taken from the website of the London Metropolitan Archives. Remember that a ‘citizen’ is a member of one of the livery companies of London, as were several Backlers (apothecaries), and as we shall see, as will be many Pellatts. Of the folk mentioned in this post, we find grocers and haberdashers.

  • The first recorded Mayor of London was Henry Fitz-Ailwyn in 1189. Since then, some 700 men and one woman have over the centuries held the position of chief officer of the City of London. The most famous of them all is Dick Whittington, who held office three times, in 1397, 1406 and 1419. The Lord Mayor has throughout the centuries played a vital role in the life of the City of London and continues to do so today. In the City, the Lord Mayor ranks immediately after the sovereign and acts as the capital’s host in Guildhall and Mansion House, his official residence. On behalf of the City and the nation he carries out numerous engagements at home and abroad. The right of citizens to elect their own Mayor dates from the Charter granted by King John to the City in 1215. The election of Lord Mayor is held at the end of September each year in Guildhall. The assembly, known as Common Hall, consists of all liverymen of at least one year’s standing together with certain high officers of the City. All aldermen who have served the office of sheriff and who have not already been Lord Mayor are eligible.

Tumultuous times. Now let’s look at the career of Sir George Barne (sometimes referred to as Barnes). He was a Citizen and Haberdasher, which means in the City of London he was a member of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers. From the early 16th century, this Guild had two branches – those who traded in hats, and those who traded in small wares, such as ribbons, beads, hats, purses etc. First made Sherriff of London in 1545-46, the last full year of Henry VIII’s reign, Sir George Barne became Lord Mayor of London in the turbulent years of 1552-53. During this period, young Edward VI died and during several months of intrigue, ultimately treason, Barne oversaw the eventual accession of Queen Mary to the throne. This is all too much to narrate here, but a very full account of his life and times can be seen on Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Barne_(died_1558 ).

Another London Lord Mayor: Sir John Rivers, Lord Mayor of London, 1573/4 – I cannot do better than Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rivers

Sir John Rivers (died 27 February 1584) was a Tudor-era businessman who became Lord Mayor of London. He was born to Richard Rivers, steward of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham‘s lands. Alternate spelling includes John Ryvers. He was a grocer and member of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, Sheriff of London in 1566, and Lord Mayor of London in 1573. He was knighted in 1574 and served as President of St. Thomas’ Hospital between 1580 and 1584. He also served as an Alderman for the London wards of Farringdon between 1565 and 1568, Broad Street between 1568 and 1574, and Walbrook between 1574 and 1584. He married Elizabeth Barne, daughter of Sir George Barne (died 1558), and they had Sir George Rivers, who was a Member of Parliament. Rivers was lay rector at St. Mary’s ChurchHadlowKent.

Sir George Rivers (c1554- c1630) was another businessman, and a politician, being returned several times as Member of Parliament for East Grinstead and Lewes in Sussex, to which we will return when further exploring the Pellatt line. Sir George married Frances Bow(y)er (1579-1614), daughter of William Bow(y)er of Sussex. The History of Parliament website summarises Sir George’s career as follows (https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1558-1603/member/rivers-george-1553-1630 )

Rivers’s maternal grandfather and his father were lord mayors of London. Rivers himself, however (though he made an unsuccessful application to succeed William Lambarde at the alienations office in 1601) was a country gentleman and agricultural improver, with estates in Kent and Sussex. Chafford, near Penshurst, had been acquired by his family in Henry VIII’s reign, and Withyham was near an early seat of the Sackvilles. Rivers remained on close terms with this family, being an executor both of Robert, 2nd Earl of Dorset (his ‘faithful and dear friend’) and Richard the 3rd Earl. It was no doubt through the Sackvilles that Rivers came to be returned at East Grinstead to the last two Elizabethan Parliaments, and in 1606 he obtained for himself a share in the borough. Though both Parliaments are comparatively well documented, Rivers left no mark upon the records. He made his will by January 1630, ‘feeling age creeping on’ and died 20 Feb. that year.

Their son, Sir John Rivers (1579- c.1651), was made the first Baronet of Chafford in 1621.

Here it will be useful to pause and look at the two types of ‘Sir’ we find in the Rivers line. The first occurs when a person is knighted by the sovereign. Our previous ‘Sirs’ were all examples of this type, and their names may be suffixed with Knt or similar. The second type, as seen here with Sir John Rivers, Baronet (or Bart) is when a person is accorded a ‘hereditary dignity’, again by the sovereign, but which title can pass down through the (male) generations.. This new title, created by James I of England in May 1611, had an ulterior motive – raising funds for the sovereign! Initially candidates were required to pay a fee, and after acts of union with Scotland (1707) and Ireland (1801), all new baronetcies were just of the United Kingdom. The Rivers baronetcy became extinct on the death of the 11th baronet in 1870.

Sir John Rivers married Dorothy Potter (1570-1627), the daughter of Thomas Potter (died 1611), of Well-Street in Westerham, Kent, and his wife Mary Titchbourne. For copyright reasons I do not replicate it here, but a portrait said to be of Mary Tichborne (sic) features on the website of noted art historian Philip Mould, and can be seen at http://www.historicalportraits.com/Gallery.asp?Page=Item&ItemID=1912&Desc=Mary-Tichborne-%7C-Master-of-the-Countess-of-Warwick Meanwhile, a transcription of the memorial in Westerham Parish Church to Thomas Potter can be seen online as below at https://static.secure.website/wscfus/263661/uploads/Thomas_Potter_info.pdf

Astute readers will note that Thomas Potter’s second wife was Elizabeth [nee Barnes], widow of Sir John Rivers (died 1584), Mayor of London, as described above. This neatly illustrates what a small world it was at that time both socially and geographically, folk seeming to move with ease between Kent, Sussex and London. In addition, the period covered in this post includes the reign of Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries. This resulted in lands seized being distributed to loyal servants of the crown, such as many of our ancestors mentioned here. Not members of the aristocracy, they nevertheless were well-to-do property owners, also prosperous merchants and civic worthies – as, we shall soon see, were the Pellatts.

Newton-Rivers: And now at last we can link up the Rivers and Newton lines – The daughter of Sir John Rivers and Dorothy Potter, Dorothy Rivers (died 1642) married William Newton (1598-1658), their son being Apsley Newton. (See post 45) This now prepares us to venture forth to the Pellatt line.

45. Humphrey Newton 1495/6 – descendants to Apsley and Grace Newton: adding the Pellatt name

In which we hurry down the generations from Humphrey Newton the younger to join our Pellatt line (Grace Newton married William Pellatt, of whom more in a future post) , noting a few bits and pieces along the way, and ending up in the County of Sussex, in the South of England, where we leave our few northern ancestors behind. And bearing in mind that this line is not technically ‘Backlers’ – but is now tracing back through ‘Pellatt’, as Mary Pellatt (1789-1857) married Samuel Backler (1784-1870) – see, eg. posts 26-29, and 42.

Humphrey Newton the younger (1495/6 – ?) and his wife Ethelred Starkey start a line of three men named William Newton, who would take us down the generations to Apsley Newton and his daughter Grace. Ethelred Starkey was daughter and heiress of Lawrence Starkey, most probably Member of Parliament for Lancaster, and a local Lancaster worthy and property owner. See the discussion at: http://www.histparl.ac.uk/volume/1509-1558/member/starkey-lawrence-1474-1532 A fascinating account of Starkey and court cases related to his properties and other matters can be seen at Lancaster Jottings at: https://www.hslc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/73-10-Lancaster-jottings.pdf

Most of the following text of this blogpost, and the photograph, is a shameless replication of the Wikipedia entry about the Newton family of Southover Grange, in Sussex. I would like one day to venture there. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southover_Grange. Text below in italics is lifted directly from the Wikipedia entry. I have not included references cited there. Names highlighted by me in bold are my direct ancestors.

William Newton (1512–1590) built Southover Grange in 1572. He was born in 1512 in Cheshire and was the second son of Humphrey Newton of Fulshaw and grandson of the notable Humphrey Newton (1466–1536) of Pownall. His mother was Ethelred Starkey an heiress of her father Lawrence Starkey and brought into the family extensive properties in York, Lancashire, Chester and Stafford.

In 1544 William and his younger brother Lawrence moved to Lewes. He lived at Lewes Priory in Southover which he leased from the then owner Anne of Cleves. In about 1550 he married Jane Ernley who was the daughter and heiress of William Ernley, owner of the Manor of Eryles. The couple had one son Nicholas Newton who was born in about 1552…. Jane died in about 1560 and several years later William married Alice Pelham and they had one son, William, born in 1564 and two daughters.

In 1572 William [Sr} built Southover Grange with stones from Lewes Priory having obtained permission by the owner Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset, who employed him as his steward. William died in 1590 and his wife Alice died in 1600. He left Southover Grange to his second son William Newton (1564–1648).

William Newton (1564–1648) was a lawyer. He was married twice. His first wife was Jane Apsley daughter of John Apsley of Thakeham. As part of a marriage settlement he gained the manor of Storrington. They had six children, two sons and daughters. Jane died in 1627 and William married Jane, the widow of John Stansfield who was the grandfather of the famous diarist John Evelyn. The newly married Jane Newton was very fond of her grandson John Evelyn and offered to care for him so that he could go to the free-school at Southover. His father wanted him to go to Eton but John accepted his grandmother’s offer and spent most of his childhood at Southover Grange.

William Newton died in 1648 and his second wife Jane [Apsley] died in 1650. William’s son by his first wife William Newton (1598–1658) inherited the property. He was born in 1598 in Lewes and in 1637 he married Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Rivers 1st Baronet[See a forthcoming post.]

He died in 1658 and his second son Apsley Newton (1639–1718) became the owner of Southover Grange. It then passed to his grandson William Newton (1691–1775) because his son had predeceased him. When he died in 1775 Southover Grange was inherited by his great nephew Colonel William Newton.[8] 

And here, our Newton line moves to the female side, with the marriage of Apsley Newton’s daughter Grace Newton (1664-1710) to William Pellatt (1665-1725). This starts the ‘Pellatt’ line which extends into the middle of the 19th century, and which will begin in the next post. The name ‘Apsley’ also appears in a long line of ‘Apsley Pellatt’s – often mis-transcribed, but a helpful name when conducting online searches. And here I will leave this post. In the next one I will explore the Rivers line, taking us to London in the time of Henry VIII. Admittedly this is pretty far back as far as our share of DNA goes, but historically I find it fascinating! Hopefully there won’t be quite such a long gap in time before the next post appears.

44. Humphrey Newton (1466-1536): Lineage, Land and Marriage

In which we look briefly at some elements of Humphrey Newton’s heritage which reflected the values of his time in establishing position and status in late medieval society.  The genealogical elements of this post are based on text in Deborah Youngs’ book ‘Humphrey Newton (1466-1536), An Early Tudor Gentleman’. The post ends with reflections on how land acquisition, ownership of property and status as early as the 14th and 15th centuries have continued to influence the distribution of wealth and the shape of the land right through to the present time. 

As part of establishing his position in society, Humphrey Sr set out his family origins in his commonplace book (see post 43).  His findings saw marriages by male Newtons to women from landed families – Sybil Davenport, ‘of Davenport’, and Fenella Worth, ‘of Titherington’. Humphrey Sr’s great grandfather Richard (1336-1415) broadened family connections still further, divorcing his first wife and marrying Joan Barton, ‘of Irlam in Lancashire’.  Oliver Newton  was one son of this marriage, himself marrying well in 1428-9,to Alice Milton, who would be heiress to two landed estates.  Rather shockingly to modern mores, it appears that Alice and Oliver were married when she was just 13, the canonical age of marriage being 12.  According to Humphrey Newton, she brought with her links to the Earls of Chester, through an illegitimate line.  Apparently the illegitimacy was less important than the lineage.

 And so Humphrey Sr shows the acquisition of property and status in his distant ancestry.  With the death from plague of his grandfather Oliver Newton in London in 1452-3, his grandmother Alice de Milton remarried to Laurence Lowe, of Denby in Derbyshire.  He was a prominent lawyer, and the family connection continued through the marriage of Humphrey’s father Richard Newton to Jane Lowe.  Moving down the generations, we find that Humphrey Sr married on 17 April 1490 at Handley Church, Tattenhall,  to Ellen Fitton, ‘the elder daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Fitton of Pownall esquire (c.1441-1506)…It was a very good match for Humphrey because it allied the Newtons with a family of better lineage, greater landed wealth and wider social connections…Ellen’s great-grandfather was Sir Lawrence Fitton of Gawsworth (d. 1456-7), while her father took as his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Booth of Dunham Massey…’ (Youngs, pp 21-22).

Humphrey Sr and Ellen had 11 children including our direct ancestor, Humphrey Newton (1496 –  ), who as the second son received modest lands in Fulshaw, near Pownall.  He married Ethelred Starkey, and in my next post I will summarise their line down to the Newtons of Southover in Sussex.

In the meantime, I find myself reflecting on the legacy of folk like the Newtons to today’s English society.  The lands and estates found in the Newton heritage remain on the maps of today.  Some is now overseen by the National Trust, and is variably accessible to the general public.  Some is privately owned, but open to the general public, such as the part of the Bollin Way which winds from Newton’s lands along the River Bollin, past the location of Newton’s Mill, to the church at Wilmslow where he and his wife Ellen Fitton lie in effigy.   Yet more land mentioned in Humphrey Sr’s account  is fenced off, remaining in private ownership, excluding folk from ‘trespassing’.  The campaign Right to Roam (https://www.righttoroam.org.uk/) argues not against private ownership per se, but for the extension of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which gives a partial right to roam only to about 8 per cent of the English countryside.  The campaign argues for much wider access to moorland, green belt land, rivers and woodlands, subject also to much stronger promotion of the Countryside Code.  Although the Newtons of Cheshire and later of Sussex make up just a tiny fraction of my DNA, I feel uneasy learning more about this aspect of my heritage, which we will see in later posts is also part of the history of the Pellatts of Bignor in Sussex.  Food for thought.  


43. ‘Humphrey Newton (1466-1536) An Early Tudor Gentleman’

In which we introduce the volume with the above title, by Deborah Youngs (2008, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge), to learn more about the written legacy of Humphrey Newton, my 13x gt grandfather.  According to Youngs, he ‘belonged to a section of society conventionally labelled “the Gentry”: the lesser landowners located between the yeomanry and the peerage, and encompassing, by the late fifteenth century, the categories of knight, esquire and gentleman’.

How is it possible to discover a book’s worth of material on a man and his family, who, in their time, would have been well known locally, but hardly at all, further afield?  And how did my ancestry, inhabited by such folk as iron workers, artisans, apothecaries, carriage painters and ministers of various faiths, come to acquire someone from the propertied classes?  By the time my great grandmother, Humphrey Newton’s direct descendant, left these shores, she was a servant, grand-daughter of a failed apothecary who had faced bankruptcy and hardship in the early 19th century, and daughter of a ‘stationer’ father who, as far as we can ascertain, absconded to Australia, abandoning his wife and two very small children?

I had not before known of the terms cartulary and commonplace book.  Yet it is through these means, and other papers widely scattered through England’s various repositories and record offices, that we learn about Humphrey’s life and times.  Folk who owned land and other property would have generated records such as deeds, settlements, wills, court records and related matter.  Many of such documents can be found in record offices across the country.  Deborah Youngs suggests that these are ‘overwhelmingly formal and impersonal, and generated by their landed interests’. (p. 3)  Some of Humphrey’s records of these types were brought together and transcribed by Humphrey’s son William into a ‘cartulary’, ‘a collection of land deeds systematically arranged according to place/property [plus] … several genealogies, two rentals, and a poem’. (p. 4)

Further, though, and on a more personal note, we find that Humphrey also kept a ‘commonplace book’, a rather random collection of differently sized pages.  It is made up of 29 folios covering such things as ‘estate accounts, legal documents, land deeds, genealogies, prayers, chants, astrological charts, medical recipes, prophecies, literary extracts and love lyrics – a number of which are his personal compositions…it is very much a notebook, bitty, laconic, sometimes inscrutable…’. (pp 4-5)  These, and other records researched by Youngs, allow the creation of a 230-page biography which looks at Humphrey ‘in the context of his family, the law, landownership, religion and cultural interests’. (p. 5)

By all accounts, Humphrey was not a remarkable man of his times.  What was remarkable was the legacy he left – aided and abetted by various folk afterwards who compiled summaries and/or transcribed earlier versions – enabling an assiduous researcher to study his life and times in the round.

It will already be clear to readers of this post that I can do little more than offer a very brief and incomplete summary of Humphrey the man, as part of my exploration of this branch of my family tree.  In the next post I will take a look at Humphrey’s own ancestry, and later on I will review just a few of the highlights of his life.  I regret that the book I will use as source material appears to be available only through used book dealers, at some expense.  I feel myself lucky to have acquired a copy, and highly recommend it to any of the very very many people who descend from him.  It would be nice if it could be re-printed!

To recap, the book (from which page numbers cited above are taken) is: Humphrey Newton (1466-1536). A Early Tudor GentlemanDeborah Youngs. The Boydell Press.  Woodbridge, 2008.  A search on the title brings up a website on which a preview can be seen, well worth seeking out:


A review of the book by Kitrina Bevan can be can be found through the same search – when I tried to copy and paste the url, it brought up the full article, which may be against copyright laws, so I leave it to the reader to search for it!

42. Backlers Looking Back: the Pellatt/Newton line, leading to Humphrey Newton (1466-1536)

In which we begin a new approach to backlers.com by delving into the past through the line of Mary Pellatt (1789-1857), oldest child of Apsley Pellatt (1763-1826) and Mary Maberly (1768-1822).  Mary Pellatt married Samuel Backler (1784-1870)  in 1810.  It follows that in tracing Mary Pellatt’s diverse ancestral lines, the ‘Backler’ relevance will be only to her and Samuel’s descendants.  As far as is known, these are the descendants of Mary Backler (1813-1882) and her cousin/husband Henry Pellatt (1797-1860); Susannah Backler (1817-1883) and her husbands James Boulding (1823-1892) and Edwin John Cross (1834-1889); and Esther Maria Backler (1830-1918) and her husband Magnus Christian Abelin (1826 – 1890).  Posts 25 and most of those following trace these lines.

The first post in this new series of random ancestral trails stretches far into the past.  It arises from the entry in my precious Pedigree of Pellatt showing that William Pellatt (1665-1725), the son of Thomas Pellatt (1628-1680) and Hannah Alcock ( – 1693) was first married to:

Grace, only daughter of Apsley Newton [my emphasis], of Southover.  She ob. Jan 13, 1710. Aged 46. Bur. at All Saints Lewes, in same vault as Thomas Pellatt, her father-in-law.’

This line then descends through the first Apsley Pellatt (c.1699-1740) and his wife Mary Sheibell (or Scheibel), and their son Apsley Pellatt (1736-1798) and his wife Sarah Meriton ( – 1798) to the above-mentioned Mary Pellatt, the oldest of their 15 children.

The descent back through time from Mary to Grace can be seen in the above diagram from my Family Historian database.

We can then trace further back in the Newton line, to my 14x Gt. Grandfather, Humphrey Newton (1466-1536).  This diagram introduces us to the name of ‘Apsley’, first seen with Apsley Newton (1639-1718), and further back as the surname of Jane Apsley ( – 1627), who was married to William Newton (1563-1648), they being my 11x Gt. Grandparents. The name Apsley distinguishes successive generations of Apsley Pellatts.  (When this name is correctly transcribed, it makes searching this line relatively easy.)

The line of descent also introduces a new region of England – Cheshire and surrounding areas. My Backler blog to date has focussed on East Anglia and the London area, and migrations away from there.  Other of my ancestors originated in South Wales.  I had no idea that lurking in the distant past were ancestors whose lives and times took place just a few miles away from my current home in Manchester, England.  And, once I started searching for this line, I came across a BOOK all about my said ancestor Humphrey Newton.  (Humphrey Newton (1466-1536) An Early Tudor Gentleman by Deborah Young.  2008. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge)

In my next blog I will attempt to summarise some of the findings in this book, and then will start to trace the various lines of descent to Mary Pellatt.  This should help to while away the wintery Covid days and nights.

41. Susanna Mary Boulding and William Spence: New York City and Newport, RI

In which we follow the fortunes of Susanna [Boulding] and William Spence through nearly 40 years of marriage, five children, and their lives divided between metropolitan Manhattan and fashionable Newport RI.

In my last post, I described the marriage of Susannah Mary Boulding to William Spence, Coachman, in October 1870.  William appeared in the 1870 Census in Newport, Rhode Island (RI), in the Gibbs family home.  Susannah has not yet been found in this census.  And so, the first sighting we have of the family is in the 1880 US Federal Census, in a property on Manhattan’s West 18th Street, which has featured in a New York Times article about New York’s heritage sites, accessed in April 2019 by a search on ‘Streetscapes West 18th Street’.  This address was a stables, in a row of architecturally distinguished stables, where resided at number 130:

William Spence, 43, Coachman. Self and parents born Ireland [sic] [William’s death certificate states his father was born in Scotland]
Susanna M Spence, 34, Wife, Keeping house, self and parents born England.
Susanna M Spence, 8, daughter, at school.  Born New York.
Sarah C Spence, 6, daughter. Born New York.
Florence V Spence, 4, daughter. Born New York.
Elizabeth J Spence, 2, daughter.  Born New Jersey.
William F Spence, 11 months, son.  Born New York.
(The family would be completed by the birth of Arthur Boulding (‘Bussy’) Spence on 8 January 1882.)

The 1890 New York City Directory also lists William Spence as ‘Ostler’ at this address (the 1890 US Federal Census having been largely destroyed by fire).

20181128_113153.jpgNumber 130 W. 18th Street  is now a New York Landmark Site.  Pictured here in November 2018 by William and Susannah’s 2x great grandson, number 130 is behind scaffolding, but the fine architecture can be seen in the building to its left in the photo. Its accommodation housed carriages at the front of the ground floor, with the horses stabled at the rear. On the first floor front were living quarters for the family, with the hayloft behind.  It was one in a row of 13 stables individually designed and built in the mid 1860s for wealthy New Yorkers.

These stable rows reflect a period in the city’s developmental history when private carriage houses began to be erected some blocks away from their owners’ homes, on streets devoted almost exclusively to private stables and commercial liveries.  An early manifestation of this trend, which became common practice during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the West 18th Street row was one of the most extensive of the period and contained unusually large and handsomely decorated stables.[1]

William Spence, Coachman: William Spence was said to have worked from his arrival in the USA in approximately 1868 until his death in 1908, for Major Theodore K. Gibbs, owner of the stables at 130 and 132 W. 18th Street, and one of a wealthy family from Newport, RI.  One of his sons gave a few details about the family to his great nephew in the early 1960s:

‘The Major fought [in the Civil War] on the side of the North, and was injured in the head by a bullet, and never was in good health after that.  Father worked around the estate, he knew everything about farming and horses, as he was born in a section of Ireland (County Tyrone, North Ireland) where they did nothing else beside farming.  Father took the best of care of the Major because he was always in poor health due to the brain injury.  Father used to get long vacations during the winter because the Gibbses used to go to Pasadena, Cal., where the weather was warm, and the estate at Newport was closed down, and so we had long visits from Father in New York where the family lived.  Father was always with us for Christmas and Easter, under all circumstances.  His pay went on as usual during the vacation visits.’

William Spence was said to have been born in Stewartstown, Northern Ireland in 1832, and came to America in about 1868.   He had joined the huge migration of Irish people to the USA in the second half of the 19th century, following the 1846 famine. Around the time William is said to have arrived in the USA, one third of that country’s foreign-born population was Irish, and by the end of the 19th century, the population of Ireland was half that in 1851.[2]

Newport Society:  It seems the family lived a split existence, with William in service to the Gibbs family (variously in Newport RI and New York City), and Susannah based in New York City with their brood of six children.  The house ‘Bethshan’ in which T K Gibbs, his wife, and many servants (including William Spence) were recorded as living in the 1900 US Federal Census, was built in 1882, near to (but not one of) the great ‘cottages’ of fashionable Newport.  It was said to be a pleasant, but not overly grand, property. An extract from the New York Times dated 3 May 1899 is just one of many examples recording the comings and goings of the Gibbs family as part of Newport’s ‘season’: ‘The News of Newport.  May 2. A large number of horses, with baggage, carriages and servants for the cottagers, arrived today.  Major and Mrs Theodore K Gibbs will arrive tomorrow for the season.’  The New York Times reported in December 1895 that the ‘Theodore K Gibbs family’ would remain in Newport for the winter, despite other ‘cottagers’ having left for their New York homes with the approach of winter.[3]  This presumably meant that William Spence also remained with the Gibbs’ in Newport.

Worship:  During these formative years of the Spence family children in New York City, the family was said to have worshipped and all the children were christened at the nearby Church of the Holy Communion.  As with many other aspects of this story, this Church, located at 6th Avenue and W. 20th Street,  had wider significance than that my ancestors worshipped there – it is also of interest to the Landmark Preservation Trust. Designed in Gothic Revival style in 1846, it was commissioned by Mary Rogers, who intended that it should be an Episcopal church whose pews were free to all worshippers.  Its first Minister, Rev William Augustus Muhlenberg, was the founder of the New York Ecclesiological Society, which aimed to promote doctrinal aims through good church design. [4]

‘Although an urban church, this small Gothic Revival group of buildings has more nearly the feeling of a rural parish. The extreme simplicity of the architecture and the picturesque profile of roofs and towers give to the buildings an indescribable charm rarely to be found in the hard rectangularity of the City.  Its chief significance lies in the fact that this is a group of buildings executed in a uniform style of architecture and that, at a glance, it tells its own story. The church with tower, rose windows and gabled entrances built of uncoursed stonework proclaims itself at once for what it is, while the Sisters’ House is set ever so slightly apart and has its own smaller tower, gable and gabled entrance door.
Historically, it is significant as the first ‘free church’, that is, the first church in the City ~ which the pews were free to all comers, as today.
At this church they were not sold to pew-holders. It can also boast the introduction of the first “boy choir” in the City. The Sisters’ House is notable for having housed the first Anglican Sisterhood in this country. Another notable achievement associated with these buildings was the founding of St. Luke’s Hospital, under the Rectorship of the Rev. William Augustus Muhlenberg. It began in the Sisters’ House under the auspices of the “Sisters of Charity” and was later removed to the large building which once stood on Fifth Avenue at 54th Street. Today the Hospital is located at 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.’ (http://s-media.nyc.gov/agencies/lpc/lp/0216.pdf)

If the Spence family regularly worshipped here, they did so in the company of some of New York’s wealthiest citizens, including Roosevelts, Astors and Vanderbilts, and also Major T K Gibbs,  his New York residence shown in the 1880 US Federal Census as being nearby, at 62 W. 21st Street. In the first decade of the 20th century, New York Times articles show that Major T K Gibbs was a prominent member of the Episcopal Church in New York City.[5,6]

A constantly changing neighbourhood:  The area in which the Spences lived was one of great and continual change during the last two decades of the 19th century.  It is now in the Landmark Preservation Area called ‘The Ladies Mile’, referring to that stretch of Broadway which in the last part of the nineteenth century had been the centre of retailing of all types.  Throughout this period, new stores were built and expanded, which must have meant the area was undergoing constant change.  For instance, the Altman Brothers Department Store on Sixth Avenue (and also joining onto W. 18th Street) had several extensions, including the building of a 5-story stable building on West 18th Street, opposite where the Spence family lived.

The steam-operated Sixth Avenue El (elevated railway) had opened in 1878, with stops at 14th, 18th and 23rd Streets, allowing the development of a Fashion Row along Sixth Avenue, with department stores catering for all classes of customer.  The Broadway stores, however, were served during this period by clientele using private carriages or horse-drawn omnibuses.[7]

The Spence family thus lived in a very socially mixed area which varied in character street by street.  The 1880 Census showed that West 18th Street, for instance, housed many coachmen and others related to coaching (and many from Ireland) , while nearby streets, for instance 20th Street, where Theodore Roosevelt had been born, and 21st Street, where the Gibbs’ lived, housed the wealthy and prosperous merchant classes.  By 1900, however, the changing economy of the City meant that the big department stores were being rebuilt further uptown, and the Spences had moved fifteen blocks north.  Their move may have reflected the general northward migration as the population explosion of Jewish and Italian immigrants further south created pressures on housing.

1900:  New York City Directories of the 1880s, and of 1890, show William Spence as ‘Ostler’ at the 18th Street address.  However, in 1894, Wm Spence is shown at 333 W 32d St, the same address as that shown for Susan M Spence in 1896.  This address places them squarely in the middle of the site of Pennsylvania Railroad Station (‘Penn Station’, first opened in 1910.  Its construction probably caused subsequent moves for the family.

What is difficult to explain is that on the later date of 1896, and in the 1900 Census, there is no mention of William Spence and, indeed, the 1900 Census states that Susan Spence is a ‘Widow’, whereas William Spence appears in  the Census of that date as a married man in service to the Theodore K Gibbs family at Bethshan in Newport RI.   Susana [sic] heads the family at 921 33rd Street [it is not clear if this was ‘East’ or ‘West’], her occupation shown as ‘Boarding House’.  The children have, of course, grown up since the last record of them in 1880 – Susanna Mary is now 28; Sarah Charlotte 26, ‘review office’;  Elizabeth Jane, 24; William Frederick, 20, Clerk; and brother Arthur Boulding, 18, Bookkeeper.  Five Boarders and a maid complete this household.

Deaths of William and Susannah Spence: William Spence died of stomach cancer on 23 February 1908, at St Francis Hospital.  His address was given as 2394 Morris Avenue in the Bronx.   Susanna Mary Spence died two years later, on 5 June 1910.  Her address was given as 2384 Tiebout Ave, also in the Bronx, where she had been recorded in the 1910 Census just a few months earlier as ‘head’ of the household, a ‘widow’, residing with her unmarried children son Arthur and daughter Elizabeth, and married daughter Florence Victoria and her husband.  Both William and Susannah were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, in Lot A, Range 165, Grave 54.  I hope one day some descendant may venture there to visit this site.

I will leave the Spence family here.  Anyone wishing further information about the descendants of William and Susannah can contact me through a message on this website.  In my next post, I will return to the Pellatt/Meriton branch of the family.

[1] Landmarks Preservation Commission, December 11, 1990; Designation List 230 LP-1817: ‘130-132 West 18th Street Stables Building, 130-132 West 18th Street, Borough of Manhattan. Built 1864-65. Architect unknown. Downloaded 10 February 2009 from:  http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1990-130West18StreetStables.pdf
[2] Hey, David, Ed. The Oxford Companion to Family and Local History. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2nd ed. 2008, p. 448.
[3] ‘Newport Villas Closed. A sharp touch of winter drives many visitors to New-York’, New York Times, Dec 15, 1895. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=950DE2DC1E3DE433A25756C1A9649D94649ED7CF
[4] New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Ladies Mile Historic District Designation Report, Vol 1, 1989, page 355.
[5] See, for instance, New York Times April 14, 1896, ‘Funeral of Dr J W Roosevelt, Services in Holy Communion Church largely attended’
[6] See, for instance, a report of the Diocesan Convention of the New York Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church, New York Times, Sep 26 1902.
[7] New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Ladies Mile Historic District Designation Report, Vol 1, 1989.

40. Backler/Boulding: Susannah Mary Boulding and Apsley Samuel Boulding emigrate to America

In which we summarise what is known about the migration of my g.g. grandmother Susannah Mary Boulding and her younger brother Apsley Samuel Boulding to the United States.  This summary reveals a few questions. It also introduces the surnames of Spence and Hampson  to the list of Backler-descendants. 

As we have seen in the two previous posts, my g.g. grandmother Susannah (nee Backler) Boulding, then Cross, re-married after the disappearance of her first husband James Boulding, and was found in 1861 living with her second husband Edwin J Cross, and the unfortunate surviving offspring of this marriage, Edwin J F Cross.  But what of Susannah’s two surviving children of her first marriage?  Was it just part of normal circumstances of the day, or had these two been forced to flee the nest after the appearance of their new step-father and step-siblings?  Susannah’s mother Mary (nee Pellatt) Backler had died in 1857, the family having survived bankruptcy in the 1830s and, despite her wealthy Pellatt/Maberly origins, seeming to have fallen on rather straitened times.

1861 Census
And so, Susannah Mary Boulding, aged 16, was found in 1861 as a nurse to the large and growing family of wealthy surgeon Mitchell Henry, whose biography can be seen at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Henry . With the death of his father in Manchester in 1862, Mitchell Henry gave up his career as a surgeon and – presumably – his home in Wimpole Street, and removed to Manchester and the home of the family business.  He later became a politician, and built Kylemore Lodge, now a convent, in Connemara, Ireland.  Question:  did young Susannah stay in service with this family, or seek another post in London, or move back to be with her mother? 

Even younger, Apsley Samuel Boulding, unlike his many Pellatt and Backler ancestors, does not seem to have been apprenticed out, but was in 1861 a warehouse boy in Tooley Street, Southwark, just south of the river Thames.  Question: what happened to young Apsley after the great fire of 1861 almost certainly destroyed the warehouses where he worked?

Next sightings: USA: Susannah Boulding – marriage to William Spence in 1870
I am fairly certain that the Susan Boulding shown on the ship’s list for the Steamer Scotia, arriving in New York from Liverpool on 1 May 1866, is our g. grandmother.  She appears as a Servant, aged 23, listed

under the names of [difficult to read, but possibly] A W Crawford, a merchant said to be of Germany, and ‘Marie’, listed as a male but almost certainly his wife.  Above Susan’s name are two other servants, both of Great Britain:  Robt Taylor, 30; and Hy [?] Wickham, 27.  I have tried searching all these people in the 1870 US Census, without success.  I have not found Susannah in that census either, but what we do have is the record of her marriage to William Spence in October 1870.  They were married in St John’s Church, Staten Island, by the Rev John C Eccleston, Rector.  Witnesses were Thomas Solomon and Edith Eccleston.  Rev Eccleston was Rector off and on for about 50 years.  In the 1870 Census, Thomas Solomon was a 40 year old Sexton, born in Ireland.  Had he known William Spence prior to the marriage, or was he a witness of convenience?  The marriage took place a year before the consecration of the new church, which was heavily financed by Cornelius Vanderbilt.

How had William and Susannah met?  We do not know whom she was working for when she arrived in America.  However, we know that William was already working for the employer he would serve until his death – Theodore Kane Gibbs, or his family.  In the 1870 Census, William Spence was to be found at the Gibbs family home in fashionable Newport, Rhode Island, where the family spent their summers.  He was said to be aged 40, born in England [sic], and a domestic servant.  In all records after this, he is a Coachman, and in my next post I will give much more detail about him and the Gibbs family.

We have never found when William came to the USA, nor is his age accurately known.  In the 1870 Census he was said to be 40,  presumably a guess by whoever filled in the census return.  At his marriage, also in 1870, he gave his age as 34, giving a birth year of 1836.  Elsewhere, family lore says he was born in Stewartstown, Northern Ireland, in around 1832.  Suffice to say that we don’t actually know!   Helpfully, but so far bringing us no closer to information about William’s ancestry, are the names of his parents – William Spence and Mary Hutton – given on the marriage certificate. This is an ongoing search.

For the moment, we will leave Susannah and William, and summarise what we know of her brother, Apsley Samuel Boulding.

USA: Apsley Samuel Boulding and Francine Hampson
There are two records of immigration for Apsley Boulding.  The first is on 4 April 1870, aboard the Aleppo, into Boston.  Apsley Boulding is said to be a Farmer, aged 22.   In theory, Apsley should appear on the US Federal Census, taken on 1 June 1870, but I cannot find him (nor, as stated above, his sister).

But…there is a second possibility: In his US Naturalisation declaration in 1888, he states that he arrived in March 1873, which is corroborated – sort of – by a Canadian immigration record showing the arrival on 17 June 1873 of A S Boulding, aged 25, a Labourer destined for Montreal, on The Peruvian from Liverpool.  Was this Apsley?  There is no record of a border crossing into the USA.  As shown in our post about Apsley’s half brother, Edwin J F Cross, hospital records indicated that Edwin’s brother was in Canada.  Question: Did Apsley travel twice across the Atlantic, first to Boston, then presumably returning to England and subsequently voyaging to Canada, from which he went to New York City?

Whenever and wherever he arrived, we know the broad details of his life until his death in 1925.  He married Francine [aka Francena or Francenie] Hampson (c. 1861 – 1937) in 1880.  She was descended from hatmakers in Stockport, England.  In his 1888 naturalisation declaration, he was a ‘Waiter’, but by the 1900 Census they are found in Newark NJ, where he is a Superintendent – Club.  In 1910, Apsley is a Steward in a country club in Lancaster PA.  Living with them is her 14 year old niece, Ethel Telford.  By the 1925 New York Census, the couple are living on East 92nd Street in New York City, with no occupation.  This was just before Apsley’s death on 12 February 1926, followed by Francenie’s death ion January 1937.  There were no known children of this marriage.

In my next post, I will try to summarise what I know about the Newport and New York City lives of The Spence/Boulding marriage.  This will bring us into recent memory.  In future posts I may digress, to describe the Pellatt/Maberly/Meriton lines.