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39. Backler/Boulding/Cross: the sad fate of ‘Uncle Fred’, Edwin John Frederick Cross (1856-1916)

In which we follow the sad story of Edwin John Frederick Cross, the half-brother of my great grandmother, Susannah Mary [nee Boulding] Spence. With repeated admissions to different ‘lunatic’ asylums around London, it seems that our ‘Uncle Fred’ was, in effect, disowned by his father after his mother died. The photo (and its reverse) is, I believe, Uncle Fred.  I am not responsible for the touched-up eyes!

In my previous post (38), I followed the fortunes of my g. g. grandmother Susannah [nee Backler] Boulding Cross, the birth and death of two children, and the birth and survival of her son with her second husband, Edwin John Cross.  The three of them were last found together in the 1871 England Census at 130 High Street, Camden Town:    Edwin J Cross (Head, Mar, 37, China Manufacturer, born Middlesex), Susanna (Wife, 53, born Marylebone) and Edwin J F (Unmar, son, 15, born Marylebone).  A few years after this date, young Edwin’s life began what seems to have been a downward spiral.

18 years old – first hospitalisation: For many years, I could not find records for Edwin J F Cross, other than his presence as shown below in the 1891 Census.  As new records come on line, new discoveries are possible, and Edwin’s fate was soon mapped out after the discovery of a record for him on findmypast at the Bethlem Hospital, dated 1874.  The full story and transcript of this record is below, but for the sake of clarity, this section of this post will chronicle what can be found of his stays in various institutions for most of the rest of his life.

The Bethlem Hospital: 9 January 1874 – 11 January 1875.  Discharged ‘uncured’.  A ‘Private’ patient: The Bethlem Hospital was the original ‘Bedlam’, its origins lying in the first hospital dedicated to caring for people with mental illnesses.  In fact the ‘care’ could be cruel, and covered conditions ranging from learning disabilities to dementia and much besides.  In Victorian times people whose behaviour marked them out in some way as ‘inconvenient’, could be admitted on the signature of a medic. When ‘Uncle Fred’ attended in 1874 for a year, the hospital was located south of the river Thames, on what is now the site of the Imperial War Museum.  EJFC was presumably discharged home to 156 Camden High Street, but his period outside institutions was not to last long.

Banstead: Cross Edwd [sic], J F. Pauper Male. 31 July 1877 – 4 January 1878:  Banstead was the third Middlesex Asylum, opened in 1877, for ‘chronically insane pauper lunatics’ (http://studymore.org.uk/4_13_ta.htm#Banstead) It was later transferred to London County Council.  In 1986 it was closed, and two prisons are now in new premises on the grounds. I lived for many years only a couple of miles away.  This period of discharge was to last only a few weeks:

Middlesex County Asylum – Colney Hatch, later Friern Hospital:  Edwin J F Cross. Male Pauper.  8 February 1878 – 24 May 1878.  Discharged Reld. [this means ‘relieved’] (record on Ancestry UK, Lunacy Patients’ Admissions Registers)  Situated in North London, Colney was the second Middlesex Lunatic Asylum, founded in 1851.  It has now been converted into luxury flats, like so many of the Victorian asylums. Edwin was discharged direct back to:

Banstead:  24 May 1878, Edwin J F Cross. Male Pauper.  Discharged 17 June 1881, recovered. (record on Ancestry UK, Lunacy Patients’ Admissions Registers)

1881 Census [April]: Edwin J F Cross is to be found as “E J F C” at The Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum, Banstead, a 24 year old Shorthand Writer. Meanwhile, his parents were at:

1881 Census: Edwin J Cross (Head, 47, China Dealer, born Middx Marylebone) and Susannah (Wife, 63, born Middx Marylebone), at 58a Chalk Farm Road just north of Camden Town.

A period of respite but great change – the early 1880s:  As shown above, Edwin was discharged from Banstead on 17 June, 1881, ‘recovered’.  During the 1880s a number of life-changing events perhaps tipped him over the edge into longterm illness.  The family retains a long and rambling letter to his niece Susanna Spence in New York City in 1882. It was written from the Chalk Farm Road address in which his mother and father were living in the 1881 Census, above. It is dated 7 April 1882.  Extracts and an image are below. In a postscript he wrote to ‘Susie’ that his mother had been taken ill:

P.S.  Since writing the above I am sorry to say dear Mother has been taken very ill with a slight attack of rheumatic fever.  She of course keeps her bed & therefore I feel quite unfit to write to your dear Mama & your Uncle Apsley, but will do so as soon as I can…

Less than a year later, on 9 February 1883, Susannah Cross [nee Backler, formerly Boulding] died age 66 years, at 156 High Street, Camden Town.  The cause was congestion of the lungs 7 days – presumably pneumonia.  As seen in my previous post, Edwin’s father was not long to remain a widower.  In the June quarter of 1884, he married widow and mother-of-two Frances Ann (nee Lusty) Hilliard.  Not unnaturally, Edwin Sr made a new Will, dated 26 November 1884.  However, somewhat surprisingly, this Will makes no mention at all of his son Edwin J F Cross, leaving everything to his wife and executor, Frances Ann Cross.  Edwin Sr died on 28 October 1889, at 38 Spencer Square, Ramsgate, Kent, ‘formerly’ of 156 High Street Camden Town, Gentleman.  His estate’s gross value was £143 – 14 – 6.

Very shortly after this event, sometime in 1890, his widow Frances Ann Cross, emigrated to the USA with her two sons, a daughter in law and 2 grandchildren.  She appeared with them in Boston in the 1900 US Census, and died there in 1902.

More institutions:  Could it have been his father’s move to Kent which precipitated the placing of Edwin J F Cross back in institutions?Peckham House Asylum: Edwin J Cross, Pauper Male, admitted 12 March 1887 – 23 March 1888 ‘Reld’.  According to the ‘Lost Hospitals of London’ website, this was a small, privately-run establishment, which by the 1880s was one of a handful of such places, catering for both pauper and private patients.  In 1882 there were some 380 patients, making it vastly different from the very large local authority asylums.

1891 Census: Edwin J Cross, a Boarder, 35, single, at 22 Henslowe Road, East Dulwich, a Lawyer’s Clerk.  By this date, Edwin had virtually no living relatives – at least close ones.  His mother and father had died; his half siblings were in America, as was his step-mother.  His mother’s sister, Esther Maria (nee Backler) Abelin was living with her son Algernon Abelin just a few blocks away at 39 Choumert Square, Peckham.  Surely they were in touch with each other?

What resources did E J F Cross have, having received nothing from his father’s will?  Was he in touch with more distant but wealthy Backler relatives – the wife and daughter of Henry McLauchlan Backler – who lived in Camberwell in the Parish of St Giles? 

Workhouse – Parish of St Giles Camberwell: Edwin Cross 1856 CE [Church of England] Clerk. Admitted 20 March 1895 ‘Alleged Insane’.  25 March 1895 – Transferred to Claybury:  There were three workhouses in Camberwell.  Their interesting history can be seen at: http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Camberwell/#Post-1834

Claybury Asylum – admission presumably on 25 March 1895.  Discharge unknown: We do not know how long EJFC stayed at Claybury.  Our next sighting of him is in the 1901 Census, in Leavesden – see below.  Claybury was to be the fourth Middlesex County Asylum, but after the reorganisation of local government, it became the 5th London County Council Asylum (the others being Cane Hill, Hanwell, Friern, and Banstead). A feeling for it is given as follows:

‘The construction of the Asylum was finished in 1893.  It had 2,000 beds and the first patients were admitted on 16th May that year.  From May 1893 until February 1894 some 1,130 patients were transferred from 40 different asylums and Licensed Houses.  The remaining 860 were acute cases admitted as they occurred in London (where people were certified insane at a rate of 70 a week). ..The Asylum was built to accommodate 800 male and 1,200 female pauper lunatics, and had over 20 acres of floor space.  The sexes were strictly segregated.  On admission, each patient was examined and photographed.  Male patients were issued with three suits of clothing – two for everyday working wear, that is, one for summer and one for winter, and one for Sundays – as well as an Inverness overcoat.  The women had no specific uniform.’  https://ezitis.myzen.co.uk/claybury.htm   Our next sighting of Edwin is in the 1901 England Census:

1901 Census.  Metropolitan Asylum Leavesden.  Edwin Frederick Cross, Patient, Single, 42, Commercial Clerk, born London Camberwell [sic], Lunatic:  The Metropolitan Asylums Board had established Leavesden in the 1870s as an Asylum for ‘quiet and harmless imbeciles’.  It is located between Abbots Langley and Watford, to the north of London.

For a photo dated 1907, showing staff and a ward at Leavesden, and for a much longer, and very sobering account of the history of the institution, see http://www.workhouses.org.uk/MAB-Leavesden/ 

At some point the asylum also took people with mental illnesses, as there are many ‘lunatics’ in both the 1901 and 1911 censuses.

1911 Census.  Metropolitan Asylum Leavesden, Edwin Cross, Patient, 55. Born London St Georges [sic]. Lunatic. 

Death: 13 February 1916.  Edwin F Cross, Male, 60 years, of Camberwell Parish formerly a Clerk.  Cause of death: Dysentery P.M. Death Reported by F A Hadden, Deputy Medical Superintendent, Leavesden Asylum Watford.

Medical record, Edwin J F Cross, aged 18 years:  Here below is the transcript of EJFC’s medical record when he was admitted aged 18 to the Bethlem Asylum.  Like everything in this report, it makes sobering and sad reading.

Edwin John Frederick Cross.  Age 18. Admitted Jan 9. Previous abode, Camden Town. Occupation Shorthand Clerk. Single. First attack, lasting about three weeks. Supposed cause of insanity ‘over study’.  Not suicidal or dangerous to others.  Has sober habits, good education, weak state of bodily health, religious persuasion – non-conformist. No relatives similarly afflicted.

“1st Medical Certificate

  1. Facts indicating Insanity observed by myself: Religious delusions – imagines himself to be lost since his connection with the Chapel
  2. Other facts (if any) indicating Insanity communicated to me by others: His father states that he has been violent and required restraint about twice a day – that he has delusions about seeing his brother who is now in Canada. [Note here and below that Apsley Samuel Boulding had gone to America, and is not known to have been in Canada, although it is possible that he was].Wm Adams –  Harrington Square

2nd Medical Certificate

  1. Facts indicating Insanity observed by myself: States he has blasphemed the Holy Spirit, but cannot explain in what way or by what act he has done so
  2. Other facts (if any) indicating Insanity communicated to me by others: His father says he told him he had seen his brother on Saturday last – his brother at the same time being in Canada – also told them that he had met his late employer without his arm. Charles Astley Wakefield, St Marylebone”  [He was a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries] 

Discharged “Uncured 6 Jan 1875 WR Williams”

Medical record:  “Informant father.  No insanity in family – No Phthisis [tuberculosis]. Naturally quiet in disposition, but cheerful, steady in conduct. A shorthand clerk. No serious illness or accidents, his health has been fair.

“In October observed to be vacant in manner – slow in answering questions. Was discharged from his employment on this account in October – since then under Medical care – becoming more vacant – A month ago delusions observed – for last fortnight has taken little food – getting weaker though observed to be stouter about the neck and waist – Clothes not meeting – Much constipation – Sleeping badly for the last few days before admission – but complaining of being disturbed at night by voices for a month previously – Reserved and morose in behaviour  from commencement of attack – On Saturday (Jan 3) he lost control of himself, and showed some Violence toward his parents, and had to be forcibly restrained – Under constant control since then is excitable  Not extravagant  – Not suspicious –”

[Different handwriting] “Janry 16. A fat, flabby sallow looking youth suffering from a partial dementia. He is unoccupied & solitary. Eats  fairly & sleeps better. Takes no interest in things around him.

“Janry 24 About the same. Neither sociable nor industrious. Personally tidy and clean”  [there is a galvanic chart to the right of this date entry] 

[next page – to the right of the entries through March 15 are three galvanic charts]

Janry 31st. No improvement

Febry 7. Pale, anemic, indolent & untidy. Given to self abuse. Demented.

Feby 14, 21, 28; March 5:  No change

April 1 To be fed with Stomach Pump once daily.

” 7 To be fed twice daily with Pump. He lies in bed & is in a peculiar cataleptic state

” 10 Takes his food At least some of it

” 14 Takes more food, Still in bed

” 20. Gets up daily Less cataleptic He is gaining strength

” 28. Talks more & reads the paper a little

May 4, 20. About the same

June 5

”  10 Continue galvanism  He is rather brighter. He cries during the Application

[ to the right of this entry are galvanic data and a chart] 

June 20 Galvanism not continued Some slight improvements in cleanliness. Less cataleptic

July 1 A little better but I fear good for nothing

July 22 No change

Aug 28 –  No change

Sept 4 Rather more tidy and brighter

Sept. 10 Still brighter

Sep. 20 Relapsed. As untidy and silly as ever

Oct 9. Brighter and more healthy looking Quite robust and jolly

Oct 20 Now he is talkative & uses strong language very freely. He is rather witty as well as blasphemous

Nov 1 Again untidy and dirty

” 14   Varying

” 30. Again abusive & chappy

Dr. 10 Quiet & less troublesome

” 28 Variable

At one time masturbating & excited Untidy and impulsive.  At another pallid, dirty & sullen

There is no very great regularity as to time in the accesses [sic]; no true “jolie circulaire” [an alternating form of disease with periods of depression and mania, possibly now referred to as bipolar]

He will probably end by becoming a dement

Janry 3 Today without any warning sprang up and smashed a window in the dining room. He then struck one of the doctors in the face
He was put in seclusion for the rest of the day.

Jany 6,  Discharged uncured.

JB”

The Admission and Discharge Register shows:

Discharge: 1875 Jany 11.  Date of last Admission: Jany 9th 1874.  No in Register of Patients 5316.  Edwin John Frederick Cross.  Male.  Private. Discharged Not Improved.

A letter to his half-niece Susanna Spence in New York City:  The following is the letter written to Susanna Mary Spence (1872 – 1933). Her siblings were born as follows: Sarah Charlotte Spence, (1874 – 1959); Florence Victoria Spence (1876 – 1946); Elizabeth J Spence (c. 1878 – ?1951); William Frederick Spence [named after Uncle Fred?] (1879 – 1956); Arthur Boulding Spence  (1882 – 1966)]

53a Chalk Farm Road. Haverstock Hill N W

London April 7th 1882

My dearest Niece

I now take the first opportunity I have had for some time to answer your dear & beautiful little letter you so kindly sent me. It is beautifully written, so clear and neat, and gives bright hopes for prospects in the future.  Now dear before commencing to do so I sincerely ask you to forgive my absence of mind or whatever it may be as dear Mother puts it, rather, of finding or making time to reply & without tiring you with details you will I trust take my apology for not having more quickly done so.

You don’t know how I prize your note. I shall put it in my Cash Box & keep it there for an unknown future, never to part with it, for its sweet, and simple & loving ray of childlike expressions & the willingness so readily displayed in satisfying your uncle Fred’s wish to receive a letter from you so soon as you would be able to send one.

Now tell your dear Mamma to kiss you a thousand times for such a letter as this, at any rate one from her must act as equivalent to it.  What should I say if I could only be amongst you & your dear little Brothers & Sisters.  I am afraid I should never leave you.  It would be a great joy to me to see you all.

I hope I am not fatiguing you at all, because if I am say so & leave the rest for another day.

It pleases me to know you are progressing so nicely in your studies. Dear Susie, depend upon it you cannot use your time better than having something to do – something which will place you one step more in advance of what you were yesterday.  God’s first commandment says “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind.  This is the first & great commandment”  And therefore if we love him so, we shall do everything in that same earnest spirit.  We shall be loved for what we do & shall be pleased to do it, & then we shall be a pleasure to those around us whom we love.

Now I dare say you already know that if you half do a thing your play is not half so joyous & happy as it would have been had you done it properly.  Why is this: Because you are dissatisfied with what you have done & that dissatisfaction is troubling you all the while you are at play.

Whatever we have to do let us do it in our best.  For instance if Mamma asks you to do a little thing which perhaps costs just a little trouble & denial do not forget dear there is One above who watches over you & sees you in all you do or say & who holds the Reward in his hand, not the reward which any earthly parent or friend can offer, but one far higher and nobler & we can all try for it.  Please God & you are sure to please (…) your earthly parents & friends. Don’t mind what any little companions may have to say to you to coax you out of it, as being too much trouble & requiring too much self denial, & say, I don’t take as much trouble as that, I just do it & that is sufficient, for me. I am speaking of great things now & young people are too apt to forget them.  Small they call them but small as they may appear, bring about great results either for good or evil.

“Whatever deserves doing at all, deserves doing well.”

[After a quote from Matthew 7, there are then four verses, the first of which begins “There is a path that leads to God…”  This is followed by another verse of a hymn.]

The letter continues:
I am glad to hear dear that your sister Sarah is sharing in your success at school & that Florie is going soon.

Your dear Grandmama is very pleased at the names your little Brother has had given him [Presumably referring to newborn Arthur Boulding Spence. James Boulding’s sister Charlotte’s son was named Arthur Boulding Cole, and in turn he had a child in 1876 also named Arthur Boulding Cole. It seems possible, then, that Uncle Fred was also in touch with his mother’s Boulding relatives.]  Remember me kindly to your dear little Brothers & Sisters & kiss them all for me & accept much love for yourself, your dear Papa & Mamma included.

Believe me to remain,
Your affectionate Uncle Fred

P.S.  Since writing the above I am sorry to say dear Mother has been taken very ill with a slight attack of rheumatic fever.  She of course keeps her bed & therefore I feel quite unfit to write to your dear Mama & your Uncle Apsley, but will do so as soon as I can…

P.S. 2. Be sure you all have a ride on Jumbo.  He is a beautiful creature.  [Presumably referring to Jumbo the elephant…]

And with that, we say a sad goodbye to Uncle Fred.  Perhaps he found security in the confines of the institutions in which he spent so many years.  The stark details outlined here were replicated for many thousands of men and women who spent years of their lives in institutions in the 19th and 20th centuries.  His half nephew, Arthur Boulding Spence, would repeat this pattern in the mid-20th century in New York State, hopefully in more humane and enlightened surroundings than those which Uncle Fred experienced.

38. Backler/Boulding/Cross: the denoument of my g.g. grandmother Susannah (1817 – 1883)

In which we trace the last years of my g.g. grandmother, Susannah [nee Backler] Boulding/Cross, rounding off the fates of her and the three children born to her second marriage, before following her two surviving Boulding children across the Atlantic.

In previous posts, we have seen that my g.g. grandfather James Boulding appears to have deserted his young family in or after 1848, after the birth of his and Susannah’s third child Apsley Samuel Boulding, and following the death on the same day of their second child, Lucilla Charlotte Boulding.  The first intimation of this supposed desertion comes with the 1851 census, showing Susannah and her two surviving children living with her parents in Islington.  She is ‘married’, but in this census year there is no James Boulding to be found in the British Isles.  It seems possible he had gone to Australia.

1851 England Census.  2 Old Paradise Row.  St Mary, Islington
Samuel Backler, Head, married, 66. Clerk [sic], Born Middlesex Stoke Newington
Mary Backler [nee Pellatt], Wife, married, 60. Born Middlesex Holborn
Esther Maria Backler, daughter, unmarried, 21.  Born Middlesex Bayswater
Susanna Boulding, daughter, married, 34. Born Middlesex Oxford Street.
Susanna Mary Boulding, grand daughter, 5. Scholar at home. Born Middlesex Islington
Apsley Samuel Boulding, grand son, 3. Born London Fleet Street.

We have seen in previous posts that Samuel Backler would live on for another 20 years, apparently tended by his youngest child, Esther Maria.  The status of Susanna, however, would change with her marriage on 28 October 1855, seven years after the disappearance of her husband James.  I am not exactly sure of the legal basis, but there

seems to have been an accepted rule that if someone had disappeared for seven consecutive years, with no news that they were alive, they could be presumed dead.  Hence Susanna’s status at the time of her second marriage as ‘widow’.

The marriage to Edwin John Cross, bachelor (and some 17 years Susannah’s junior), described as ‘Clerk’, took place just four months before the birth of their first child, Edwin John Frederick Cross, born on 24 February 1856, and christened at Christ Church St Marylebone on 30 March 1856, at which time his parents’ address was given as 13 Park Street.  Much more about him in a blogpost to follow.

Two years later another birth followed: Lucilla Beatrice Cross (another try for a little girl named ‘Lucilla’ – I have not found a precedent for Susanna’s use of this name).  Born on 1 June 1858, little Lucilla Beatrice was buried in Camden on 28 March 1861.  Thus the 1861 Census, taken shortly after this sad event, records just Edwin senior, Susannah and son Edwin jr.

1861 England Census. 
St Pancras, Camden Town.  3 Pratt Street (see photo right)
Edwin Cross, Head, Married, 27, China Dealer. Born Middx Marylebone
Susanna Cross, Wife, Married, 44. Born Middx Marylebone [sic]
Edwin Cross, Son, 5. Born Middx Marylebone
Susan Day, Lodger, Widow. Annuitant. Born Essex Harlow.

On 31 August 1862, Maberly Pellatt Cross was born to Edwin (china dealer) and Susannah Cross.  He was christened in September of that year at All Saints Church Camden Town, with the surnames of his mother’s maternal grandparents.  Alas, little Maberly was buried in Camden on 10 April 1863.  Older brother Edwin J F Cross was now about 6 years old, and had witnessed the deaths of two younger siblings.  Could this have affected him later in life?

Two Boulding children – soon to cross the Atlantic
Meanwhile, in 1861, young Edwin’s two half siblings appear to have been farmed out from the new Cross family.  Could this have been due to the influence of their new step-father?  We will take them across the Atlantic in a future blogpost, but suffice to say at the moment that in 1861 we find them as follows:

At number 5 Harley Street (now and then renowned as the location for private health care), in the home of Consulting Surgeon Mitchell Henry, 34, and his wife and 4 children, plus Governess, Butler, Footman, Cook, two Housemaids, Kitchen Maid, and two nursemaids, one of whom was my Great Grandmother Susan [sic] Boulding, unmarried, 16, born Middx Islington.

In the same Census, at 193 Tooley Street, in the home of Charles Bell, a Pawnbroker, we find her brother, 13 year old Apsley Boulding, Warehouse Boy, born Middlesex Strand.  He probably would not have been here long, as shortly after this Census was taken most of Tooley Street was destroyed in the great fire of 1861 (just search Tooley Street fire 1861 for details of this cataclysmic event).

How much these youngsters saw of their mother, step-father and half-siblings, is not known, though we will see that there was at least some correspondence with them after they left for America.

Back to the Cross family.
In 1871, we find Edwin, Susannah and 15 year old Edwin J F Cross at 130 High Street, Camden Town.
In 1881 Edwin and Susannah are at 58a Chalk Farm Road, a bit north of Camden Town (see left).

In this Census, sadly, we find the first intimation that things might not go too well for their only surviving child, Edwin John Frederick Cross.  As I will describe in more detail in a later post, we find in 1881 the following:

E J F C, age 24, Shorthand Writer, Patient, Lunatic, in the Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum, in Banstead Surrey, just up the hill from where I lived for many years.

On 9 February 1883, my G.G. Grandmother Susannah [nee Backler] [Boulding] Cross  died aged 66. She had congestion of the lungs, 7 days.  Her death was registered by her husband, E J Cross, of 156 High Street, Camden Town.

By the June quarter of 1884, Edwin had married widow Frances Anne [nee Lusty] Hilliard, mother of two children, and by the autumn of that year, Edwin had written his Will, leaving everything to his new wife and Executrix.  No mention at all of his son Edwin J F Cross.  Edwin Sr died in 1889, then living in Ramsgate Kent, and his Will was proved by his wife in January 1890.  At some point she emigrated to America, where she was to be found in Herrick Street, Boston in the 1900 US Census, living with her two sons Herbert H Hilliard and Walter J H Hilliard.   Frances died on 3 March 1902 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Brighton MA.  Her son Herbert H Hilliard perished on The Titanic, while her son Walter J H Hilliard died in 1926 and is also interred in Evergreen Cemetery.

Meanwhile, their step-son and step-sibling Edwin J F Cross was living out what was a rather sad and lonely life in England – the subject of my next post.

 

 

37. Boulding/Backler (2): Samuel Boulding (c.1750-1929), his two wives and four (supposed) children

In which we look in a little more detail at the (supposed) children of Samuel Boulding and his soon-to-be wife Mary Shepherd.

Four children baptised – whose were they?  And marriage to Mary Shepherd:           As noted in my previous post, Samuel Boulding had moved to the new development at Upper Craven Place, opposite Kensington Gardens, in about 1815.    Some mysteries ensue:

  • I have found no mention of Elizabeth [nee Leach] Boulding after the record of her marriage with Samuel Boulding on 6 March 1796.  I have searched Marylebone and Westminster records for evidence of burial, but found nothing.
  • Four children were christened at  St James’ Paddington, parents being ‘Samuel and Mary Boulding’.  They were:
    • 8 September 1816: Maria Boulding and Jane Boulding 
    • 9 September 1821: Charlotte Boulding
    • 17 August 1823 (born 24 June 1823): James Boulding
  • But – oops! – we find the following post-hoc marriage on 24 July 1824: again at St Clement Danes, Samuel Boulding is a widower of St James Paddington (with a very shaky signature), Mary Shepherd, a spinster, of ‘this’ parish.  Witnesses M Boyle and Wm Boyle.

Samuel Boulding was buried on 29 July 1829 at St Mary’s Paddington Green, said in the burial register to be age 79.

Was he the father of the four children, christened as children of Samuel and Mary Boulding?  Was Mary Shepherd, whom he married after the births of the four children, their mother, or was their mother another Mary?  How can we know?

If, indeed, Samuel Boulding was 79 when he died, he would have been about 74 when he married Mary Shepherd, and in his late 60’s and early 70s when the four children, shown as his on the diagram above,  were born and baptised.

‘Strangers in blood’: Death duty registers.
Samuel Boulding’s Will, written in 1827 with a codicil in 1828, made provision for his wife – furniture etc, an annual allowance, wine, linen etc – and then charged his executors with the disposal of his properties in Beaumont Street, Sloane Square, and adjacent to his dwelling in Upper Craven Place (formerly Black Lion Lane), and overseeing the administration of funds to the four above-listed children, all minors at the time of his death.  Provision was made for the advance of up to £300 to son James, prior to his reaching the age of 21 (which would happen in 1844, a significant date).  In his Codicil, Samuel noted that if his wife were to re-marry, or to co-habit with another man, the residence in Upper Craven Place should pass to the four children.

Two events gave official recognition to the illegitimacy of the four children.  The first was at the time of the death of Jane Boulding in 1838 (see below).  The second is an annotation in the pages of the death duties register, which can be seen at The National Archives.  This register was begun at the time of death.  It summarised the provisions of the Will, and noted when various transactions were made in accordance with the Will’s provisions.  As late as July 3, 1898, the following note appears:

It has since the pay[men]t of the 1st duty, been discovered that the whole of the legatees & Res. Legatees were Strangers in blood to the tes[ta]tor & the difference of duty is now paid. [different pen and handwriting:] 3 July 1898.  [initials]

The Register page is littered with notes about considerable sums paid – many thousands of £s.  Where did Samuel get the funds for such wealth?

Jane Boulding: death of a ‘bastard’, intestate, 15 February 1838
Jane Boulding’s death certificate shows her death at age 27 [sic], Spinster, of Abscess on the Lungs.  Her address was 7 Winchester Row, and the death was reported by Philip Briggs, ‘father in law’ – the information which subsequently led to discovering the re-marriage of the widowed Mary [Shepherd] Boulding, although I have not conclusively identified her death.  (Apparently the term ‘father in law’ was sometimes used at the time to refer to ‘step-father’.)

Jane had died Intestate, and the document TS 17/59 at The National Archives reported the Administration of her effects: ‘Whereas Jane Boulding late of No. 7 Winchester Row, New Road, Paddington, in the County of Middlesex, spinster, a Bastard … died Intestate…

The Administration, sworn on 23 December 1841, showed estate under £1,500.  Jane did not appear to have profited much from her father’s fortune.

Maria Boulding (c. 1816 – 1897) married widower and father of three children, Daniel Newton Crouch (a Lawyer, born in Scotland) on 17 September 1840, at St Mary’s Church, Marylebone.  Her address was given as 7 Winchester Row, showing she was living with her mother and step father Philip Briggs.  The couple had three children, with no known surviving issue:

  • Maria Charlotte Crouch (1842-1905)
  • Henry Newton Crouch (1843-1868) married in 1867 to Clara Isabella Meymott, one un-named child born and died in 1867.  Clara re-married after Henry’s death a year later.
  • Mary Christina Crouch (c. 1847-1937)

Charlotte Boulding (c. 1816 – ?1916) married widower Thomas Cole (a carriage and portable clock maker) on 23 October 1841, at the Parish Chapel, St Pancras.  Thomas Cole died in 1864. The couple had three children (two others appear in censuses, but they are the children of Thomas Cole’s previous marriage):

  • Arthur Boulding Cole (1844-1926), watch and clockmaker.  He married (1) Elizabeth Emma Wilson in 1868.  They had six children and quite a few grandchildren.  His second marriage to Elizabeth Sarah Rideout produced two more children. The name Arthur Boulding Cole was to have on ongoing role in my family, as in America some years later, his first cousin once removed would be named Arthur Boulding Spence.
  • Catherine Mary Cole (1847 – ?)
  • Florence Eva Cole (1857-1929), according the the 1911 Census, an accountant and secretary, living in Putney.

Not ‘Backler’ Cousins!:  These folk are all my cousins, but as this is a ‘Backler’ blog, I will leave their histories here.  In my next post, I will explore the fate of the errant James Boulding’s deserted wife – Susannah Mary (nee Backler) Boulding.

 

 

36. Boulding origins – using the Middlesex Deeds Register

A bit of a technical sideline: In which we take a quick look at some research I did some years ago using the Middlesex Deeds Register.  It really didn’t help me locate any more information about Samuel Boulding’s origins, but I include it here…because it is there!

Middlesex Deeds Register: Could the Middlesex deeds register at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) help me find out any more about Samuel Boulding’s origins? ?The registers exist for 1709-1938, while the memorials from 1838-1890 were destroyed in 1940.  The documents copied into the registers are abstracts from the originals, including the date of the transaction, the names of the parties, and a description of the property. After the middle of the 19th century, plans might be included, and from 1892 there are separate volumes of plan tracings.  There are indexes from 1709-1919 – the key caveat to all this is that they are in alpha-chronological order in annual volumes, under the surname of the vendor or first party. From 1920-1938 there is an alphabetised card index to the names of the vendors or first parties.

I give this detail about the indexes, because the challenge in using these records is knowing, first, an approximate date of the transaction, and second, the name of the vendor.  Then one has to consult binders at the LMA to check dates and coverage of the microfilm indexes, from which one extracts a reference which helps one find either a microfilm or an original register.  It’s pretty complicated.

The Register wouldn’t have been any help at all if I hadn’t had some other information to help me get started. This was found in a search of The Times on ‘Boulding’, which produced on 20 September 1797 a leasehold estate auction by the Executors of Mr John Spinks deceased. Lot 3 was ‘a neat leasehold house situate on the south side of the said street [Devonshire] and the corner of Beaumont Street, let on lease to Mr. Boulding, at a low rent of £55’.  Particulars were to be obtained at the Rainbow Coffee House in Pall Mall.

Without this information, I would have got nowhere in my search of the Middlesex Deeds Register – I needed the name of ‘Spinks’ to find the entry in the register.  With it, I found a whole series of leases and documents, including John Spinks’ Will (he was a carpenter) and documents showing that the original lease to Spink(s) in 1790 had been from the Duke of Portland, all this area being part of the Cavendish Estate.  What I didn’t find was any evidence of the lease to Samuel Boulding. I did find evidence of his predecessor in the property, a Louis Mange, perfumer, toyman and turner.  Boulding was also said to be a perfumer and toyman in directories of the time.

Yet I know from Sun Fire Insurance records and his will that Samuel Boulding held the property at 12 Beaumont Street on long lease, perhaps living there until sometime in around 1815 he moved to new premises in Upper Craven Place, Bayswater.

And so we move to 1844 and another auction.  It is not clear why this date was chosen – could it be that it was when James Boulding attained the age of 21?  This time it was the executors of Mr. Samuel Boulding, and was for the lease of 12 Beaumont Street, unexpired lease of 44 years (when had it started??); and the lease of 70 years on two properties in Craven Place, Bayswater, where Samuel lived when he died in 1829. This time I used the names of the executors as the vendors, and came up with documents for both properties – tracing the history of the various leases on 12 Beaumont Street, and identifying the beginnings of the Craven Estate through land transfers in about 1813.  Much much more work would be needed to track down the finer detail of both these properties. The language in the registers is opaque, complex, and there are mortgages and re-mortgages; mention of Samuel himself is sparse.

I have learned nothing new from the Middlesex deeds register about Samuel Boulding’s origins (although further searching might yield more information), but I have put flesh on the histories of the properties he owned and lived in.  There are houses in Beaumont Street which would have been contemporary (although now number 12 is within the site of the King Edward VII Hospital); and Craven Place, shown on the map adjacent to Blackman Lane (now Queensway), is now underneath Queensway tube station!  The location opposite Kensington Gardens was surely highly desirable then, as it is now.

 

35. Boulding/Backler (1): Introducing James Boulding (1823 – ?1892) and his (supposed) father Samuel Boulding (c. 1750 – 1829)

In which we introduce my 2x great grandfather James Boulding (1823 – ?1892) and his (supposed) father and my (supposed) 3x g. grandfather Samuel Boulding (c. 1750 – 1829).  With the exception of the ancestry of my great grandfather William Spence, whom we will meet in due course and whose origins in Northern Ireland are difficult to trace, the Bouldings form the smallest fraction of my genealogical records.  Indeed, there are only 8 people with the surname Boulding out of the 1,000+ names in my Family Historian database.  One died in infancy and one as a young adult; one (see below) disappeared aged 25 or so, and the origins of the most senior one (Samuel) remain unknown.  Still, there is plenty to explore, including possible scandal and illegitimacy, and the detonation of a family myth as to the end of the said James Boulding.

 

As described in previous posts, Susannah Mary Backler (1817 – 1883), daughter of Samuel Backler (1784 – 1870) and Mary (nee Pellatt) Backler (1789-1857) married James Boulding, gentleman, on 31 July 1844, at St Mary’s Church, Islington, London, pictured here.

Witnesses were Susannah’s father, Samuel Backler, her sisters – Esther Maria Backler, and Mary Pellatt [nee Backler] – and Mary’s husband and cousin Henry Pellatt.  I do not know who Wm F [?] Young was.  Given the preponderance of Backlers and Pellatts, he was perhaps a supporter of James Boulding.

So far, so good.  The couple were both said to live at 9 Cross Street, now part of a conservation area in Islington.

My great grandmother, Susannah Mary Backler (1845 – 1910), was born 9 months later on 18 May 1845, her father now designated as a stationer, and they having moved to the end of Cross Street, to 140 Upper Street, Islington.

A tragic death.
By 1846, the family were at Pleasant Row in Islington, where Lucilla Charlotte Boulding (1846 – 1848) was born.  I have not found any precedent for the name Lucilla, whereas there was a paternal aunt Charlotte Boulding.  The third child, Apsley Samuel Boulding (1848 – 1925) was born at Dorset Street, near Fleet Street on the same day as the death of little Lucilla Charlotte, of scarlet fever.  Apsley was baptised on the 8th of March 1848 at St Mary’s Islington.  His interesting (and very searchable)  name derives from that of his maternal great grandfather (Apsley Pellatt) and both his maternal and paternal grandfathers (Samuel Backler and Samuel Boulding).

Disappearance of James.
For whatever reason, the registrations of the birth of Apsley Samuel and the death of Lucilla Charlotte are the last we will see of their father James Boulding.  [However – stop press and much excitement – he MAY now be found some 42 years later in NSW, Australia, as I describe below.]  In a later post I will describe the varied fortunes of his wife, Susannah [nee Backler] and her three ill-fated children by her second marriage.  Here, though, we will tease out what can be discovered about James’s said-to-be father, Samuel Boulding.

Samuel Boulding, of St Clement-Danes parish and Marylebone.  The earliest sighting of Samuel Boulding is in Sun Fire Insurance records in 1794.  Properties were insured at 41 and 42 Sloane Square, and his address was given as 10 Great Portland Street, Cavendish Square.  Later he appears as a Perfumer, resident at 12 Beaumont Street, Marylebone.  These were the leasehold properties he bequeathed in his Will in 1829 to his executors John Blake Kirby and Edward Bridger, to hold in trust for his four (spoiler: subsequently-discovered-to-be-illegitimate) children.

In the meantime, what else do I know about Samuel and his two wives?  Precious little!

I do not know where he was born (calculated from his burial record to have been in about 1750), nor anything about him preceding his first marriage to Elisabeth Leach in 1796 at St Clement Danes Church.  Both were of that parish, and witnesses were Thos. Jarrett and S[?] Curtis  (I am none the wiser about who they were).  The surname Boulding is not often found, with clusters in the Sheffield area and Kent.  However, the custodian of the Boulding one-name study has not found an origin for ‘our’ Samuel.  Nor have I found anything about Elisabeth Leach, other than her marriage to Samuel, as above.  I have found no death or burial record for her, although Samuel married again in 1823, after the birth of the four children whose baptisms were registered with him as father, and ‘Mary’ as mother.

Marriage to Mary Shepherd
On 24 July 1824, Samuel Boulding, widower, was married to Mary Shepherd, spinster at St James’s Paddington. This marriage took place after the baptism of the following, all to ‘Samuel Boulding (Gentleman) and Mary, of Paddington’:

  • Maria – she and Jane were christened on 8 September 1816.  No birth date given
  • Jane – see above
  • Charlotte – christened 9 September 1821.  No birth date given
  • James – born June 24 1823, christened 17 August 1823.

More detail about James’s three siblings is in the next post.

Samuel Boulding was buried on 29 July 1829 at St Mary, Paddington Green – a most elegant church, but where the churchyard no longer has stones standing.  His burial record says he was aged 79.  Hmmm…a very mature father!

Points to ponder:

  • Was Mary Shepherd the mother of the 4 children, or could their mother have been another Mary?
  • Was Samuel really a widower when he married Mary?  I have never found a burial record for Elizabeth (nee Leach) Boulding.
  • Was Samuel really 79 when he died?  His signature on his marriage certificate with Mary looks suitably wobbly…(if that isn’t too ageist).
  • Was Samuel really the father of the four children?  How did the couple get away with those four baptisms, when they weren’t married?

Stop Press: Did the long-missing James Boulding end his days in the Liverpool Asylum for the Infirm and Destitute in Liverpool, NSW Australia?  Our family lore had it that James had died in a Boer war battle in South Africa.  Could this have been a fabrication to mask the shame of his apparent desertion of his family?  Or a story invented to allow his wife to declare herself a widow and re-marry, seven years after his disappearance?

I have discovered records on Ancestry of the above Asylum, showing in 1884 the admission of James Boulding, stationer, born London 1823.  Subsequent records of the asylum show him as a ‘labourer’, arriving in Australia on the ‘Lancaster’, dates variously shown as 1850, 1857 and 1851.  I can find no ships list of the Lancaster.  I have not seen his full death record, but I have ascertained that, unusually for Australia, no parents’ names are recorded.  The death record of James Boulding on 15 June 1892 at the Asylum says ‘no known relatives’.

Further research is needed, but I feel all the signs indicate that this, at last, is ‘our’ James Boulding.  A sad and apparently lonely end.

 

 

 

 

 

34. Sotherton, Suffolk – the origins of a name?

In which – after a break for a wonderfully long, hot, summer – we visit the tiny hamlet of Sotherton in Suffolk – surely the place for whom our many Sotherton Backlers were named?

The easy part of tracing ‘our’ Backlers descended from Rev Samuel Backler, of Ashwell, Hertforshire, has been the naming of successive offspring as ‘Sotherton’.  As far as I can see, there have been only two other folk with that forename – Sotherton Nathaniel Micklethwait, born in 1824 in Norfolk; and Sotherton Wadham, born in 1881, and shown in the 1881 census as living at Sotherton Farm, Sotherton. There seem also to have been a few with ‘Sotherton’ as their middle name.  And, Sotherton occasionally appears as a surname, for instance the 1674 Hearth Tax returns for Henry Sotherton in Lackford in Suffolk.  A Nicholas Sotherton was Mayor of Norwich in 1539.  What were the origins of his surname?

Sotherton church 6On a chilly, rather gloomy early evening this past May, I was fortunate to be taken to visit the tiny, historic place of Sotherton, near to our holiday destination of Southwold in Suffolk.  We missed the turning off the main road. Backtracking up a narrow lane, passing a few old houses, we came upon St Andrews Church, more or less in the middle of nowhere, with just a house alongside and fields as far as one could see.  The church was locked, and it was too late to seek out the key.  So our view was of the mid-19th century exterior, constructed with materials from an earlier version.  This rather nice website describes it well: http://www.suffolkchurches.co.uk/sotherton.htm

Sotherton itself is a ‘dispersed’ village with a current population of about 70, and never with more than about 180 inhabitants. It appeared in the Domesday Book, and is home to Sotherton Hall, the late 16th/early 17th century farmhouse in which Sotherton Wadham (see above) lived.

There is something moving about being in or near the place of one’s ancestors from hundreds of years ago.  Rural Suffolk may be one of the less-changed parts of the country, and there is no doubt that Backlers lived in or near to this place.  Of course, I have not yet linked ‘our’ Backlers to those of earlier generations, but given the very few early examples of the surname – and almost all of them from East Anglia – I remain convinced that the links are there.  Seeing this lovely church in a beautiful setting was a real treat.Sotherton church 4

Sotherton church 3

 

33. Burton/Backler: the family of Jane Ozella Backler (c.1795-1830) and Daniel Burton (1790-1876)

In which we take a final look at the offspring of Sotherton Backler and Hannah Osborne, reviewing the family and descendants of their seventh child and youngest daughter, Jane Ozella Backler.  We find folk who stayed ‘local’ to their English roots; a famous acting family; and scandal, divorce and flight to Canada. There are quite a few unfinished stories in this post, with several folks’ destinies proving untraceable 

Jane Ozella Backler was christened on 17 February 1795 at St Ann Blackfriars, near to Apothecaries’ Hall, where her father Sotherton Backler was soon to become Clerk to the Society of Apothecaries. Children in previous generations of this family had also been given the name of Ozella – I am not sure why. Two siblings had died before her birth: Thomas (1786-1786) and Elizabeth (1789-1791).  I have never found any further information about brother Benjamin, christened in 1793.  Her three surviving half siblings were about 15 years old when Jane Ozella was born, and she had four surviving older full siblings.  Her birth was to be followed by that of Thomas Osborne Backler (1796-1796), whose name perhaps indicates the name of Hannah Osborne’s father (not confirmed), and Sotherton Backler (1798-1875), whose life as a vicar in Northamptonshire we have reviewed in a previous post.  Jane Ozella’s mother Hannah Osborne would die when she was about 8 years old, leaving her most likely in the care of her older siblings while their father became Clerk to the Apothecaries.

Marriage to Daniel Burton:  Jane Ozella Backler married Daniel Burton at St Clement Danes Church on 9 October 1827.  He was a widower, of that parish, while she was of the parish of St Mary Islington, where in a previous post we have seen her sister Mary [nee Backler] Sudlow lived at about that time.  Possibly Jane Ozella was living with the Sudlows?  Witnesses were Mary Ann Burton and a Burton whose name I can’t read, and Sam’l Backler (Jane Ozella’s older brother and my 3x G Grandfather, reviewed in many previous posts).  Daniel Burton  was a Publisher, born in 1790 in Hounsditch, and previously married and widowed.

Jane Ozella’s early death:  Daniel’s marriage with Jane Ozella was to be sadly short-lived, as she would die in 1830, perhaps in childbirth.  Jane Ozella Burton was buried on 20 November 1830 at Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, where her parents had been interred before her.

On 7 December 1835, the twice-widowed Daniel Burton would marry again, to Juliana Maria Willats (1785-1869).  I can identify no children from this marriage. He died in 1876.

 

Descendants of Jane Ozella Backler and Daniel Burton (see chart above)(please note: there is one missing person from this chart, a sibling at bottom right to John Q Mayes.  This person may still be living – I have found no trace after the mid 1950s):
Jane Ozella Backler and Daniel Burton  had one child: Sarah Ann Burton, born 1 September 1828 and baptised at Fetter Lane Independent Chapel on 10 October 1828, the family being of the parish of St Andrews Holborn.  Sarah Ann Burton, or Sarah Ann Mayes as she would become, obligingly appears in every English census from 1851 to 1911. Frustratingly, I cannot locate her in the 1841 census, when her father appears with his new wife, but not with his daughter who would have appeared as aged 12 in that census.

Sarah Ann Burton marriage to John Mayes, 1853:  By 1851, Sarah Ann Burton  is to be found in Olney, Buckinghamshire as a teacher in a Ladies’ Seminary, said to have been born in Holloway, London.  It is here that two years later we find a record of a marriage registration with John Mayes (JUN quarter Newport Pagnell, 3a 564).  This short-lived marriage was to produce two children, before John Mayes died in 1857 – at least I deduce that fact from the two deaths of ‘John Mayes’ registered in that year, one in Newport Pagnell Union in Sep quarter (03A 319, age 42) and one in Bedford in Dec quarter of 1857 (03B 21, age 61).  Could these be father and son?  Hard to tell, since we don’t know how old John Mayes was when he married Sarah Ann, although I think it may be safe to assume that he was the 36 year old John Mayes, Tailor, living on High Street, Olney, Bucks, in the 1851 census, born in Olney, and therefore about 42 by the year of the deaths noted above in 1857.

1861 and 1871: The widowed Sarah Ann Mayes was living in Bedford by the time of the 1861 Census, where she appears as a schoolmistress. widow, with her two young children.  In 1871 she is living at 13 Western Street in Bedford, as the Proprietor of a Ladies’ School.  As well as a number of pupils in residence, we find her 80 year old father Daniel Burton, a retired publisher.  In 1871, daughter Mary Ann Mayes is found as a pupil in Hanwell, Middx, but I cannot find John Burton Mayes in this census.

1881 – 1916: Still on Western Street in 1881, Sarah Ann has been joined by her daughter Mary Ann, also a teacher,  where they are to be found in 1891, along with Sarah Ann’s 10-year old grand daughter Alice Ella Burton Mayes,  a pupil about whom scandal will unfold further down this page!  By 1901, 72 year old Sarah is living on her own in smaller premises on Bower Street, now a Teacher of Needlework.  Mary Ann is to be found as a servant in Hampstead.  In 1911, Sarah Ann was living on her own in Almshouses at 31 Dame Alice Street in Bedford, where she presumably lived until her death in 1916.  She was not entirely on her own – her widowed daughter-in-law Rachel Richardson had also moved to Bedford by this time.

Descendants of Sarah Ann Burton and John Mayes:

[yes, 2 before 1, since there is little to report] Mary Ann Mayes (1856 – ?), whose birth was registered in 1856 in Newport Pagnell.  I have summarised her history alongside that of her mother, above, and after the 1901 Census, I cannot find anything more, having searched for marriage, death, migration, etc.  And so we can move swiftly on to the scion of the rest of the Burton/Backler/Mayes descendants:

1  John Burton Mayes (1854 – 1909):  (birth registration: 1854 JUN qtr Newport P. 3a 453) married Rachel Richardson (?1858 – ?) in 1879 in Lambeth.  In the 1881 Census in Stockwell, with their daughter Alice E B Mayes, he was a commercial traveller.  In 1891 in Wandsworth he was a stationer, as he was in 1901 in Kingston.  However, he was to die in 1909, leaving about £500, and his wife would move to Bedford, near her mother-in-law.  I cannot trace her after the 1911 Census.  The couple had two children:

1.1 Alice Ella Burton Mayes (1880 – ?) was born in 1880, and apparently lived with her parents until her marriage in 1903 to John Sibley Richardson (1872 – ?) (who was not, as far as I can see, related to her mother Rachel Richardson).   John Sibley Richardson variously cites his birth country as Staffordshire and Warwickshire, probably because his birthplace, Harborne, is a village, a parish, and a sub-district in the district of Kings-Norton and county of Stafford. The village stands near the boundaries with Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and Birmingham borough, 3 miles SW of Birmingham.  Such places often find themselves designated in different counties, depending on border configurations.

Scandal and divorce: And here our story takes on a hint of scandal.  In the 1911 Census, we find  at 43 Braemar Avenue, Wood Green, North London, the couple Alice and John (he is an Automatic Slot Machine Dealer), and their 5 year old son Denis Richardson (1905 – ?).   I had thought I had lost touch with them after that until, in preparing this post, I came across his divorce petition against her, which can be seen on Ancestry.  In brief, Alice apparently left John S Richardson in autumn 1911 to take up residence in Notting Hill Gate and elsewhere with Charles Grange Lowther (1879 – ?), an artist born in Hull in 1879, who had won scholarships for his art studies.  In 1912, John S Richardson petitioned for divorce from Alice, which was finalised in 2013, with him apparently taking custody of the young Denis.  Meanwhile, Charles G Lowther’s wife also petitioned for divorce in 1912, citing the relationship between Alice and Charles.  

I had thought there that the trail ran cold, BUT, there is recorded on 13 October 1912, the arrival into Montreal, Quebec, of Chas G Lowther, artist, 33, and his ‘wife’ Alice E Lowther…from that point on, I can find no trace.

Nor can I find a certain ending for John S Richardson.

1.1.1 Denis Richardson (1905 – )
Oh my. 
I have just rescued myself from a near-amateur error.  I had recorded ‘our’ Denis Richardson as the one who died by torpedo in the Atlantic in 1942, but NO!  More detailed checking of registered births and mothers’ surnames on the GRO website reveals that the torpedoed Denis’ birth was registered in 1906 to a different mother’s surname. His birthdate is given on his 2nd Mates’ certificate, confirming that he is indeed not ‘ours’.  ‘Our’ Denis’ birth was registered in 1905, and he disappears like his father after the 1911 Census and the subsequent divorce.  End of story for the moment!

1.2 Frank Burton Mayes (aka Frank MILRAY) (1888 – 1936) Born 24 April 1888 in Camberwell.  Frank married first Elsie Georgina Thomas (?1889 – ?) on 8 August 1909 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.  Elsie’s mother Ethel had been widowed by the time of the 1891 Census, when Elsie was 2 years old.  In 1911, Elsie and Frank lived at the desirable address of 15 Chaucer Mansions, Queen’s Club Gardens, West Kensington.  Both were aged 22, she born in Worcestershire, Longden, and Frank in London, Denmark Hill.  He designated himself as an actor.

And there Elsie’s trail runs cold!

1.2.1  Our next sighting of Frank Burton Mayes is the registration of his presumed son, John Quinton MAYES (1921 – 2012).  Not one birth registration, but five!  Herewith what I have found, courtesy of the FreeBMD website: freebmd.org.uk:

DEC qtr 1921: An entry with annotation at the bottom of the registration page, linked to an asterisk in the right alphabetical place under Mayes: Mayes, John Q. Mother’s surname McPherson.  Wandsworth 5D.  See M/60

FreeBMD explains this unusual entry as follows (but all is not straightforward as the subsequent entries will reveal): ‘Normally GRO Index page numbers are numeric, optionally followed by a letter. As this page number (‘see M/60’) does not follow this format it is possible that it is a Late Entry. Late Entries mean that the registration of the event was delayed, e.g. parents did not attend the Register Office to record a birth but the birth was registered much later when the child was about to begin work, or an Inquest after a death prevented the immediate issuing of a death certificate. A Late Entry attempts to show a searcher where to look for the actual GRO reference. Unfortunately the format of such Late Entries is not standardised, but the usual pattern is a letter showing the Quarter of the Registration [March (M), June (J), September (S) or December (D)] followed by the last two digits of the year, thus giving the quarter and year when the Registration was entered into the GRO records. A reference that reads ‘see J/75′ would therefore indicate that the GRO registration and reference is probably to be found in the June Quarter of either 1875 or 1975 (depending on context).’

MAR qtr 1922: McPherson John Q.  Mother’s surname McPherson. Wandsworth 1d 1097.  Annotated at the bottom of the page: See S/24 [ie, September quarter 1924]

Mar qtr 1922: Mayes John Q.  Mother’s surname McPherson.  Wandsworth 1d 1097.  Annotated at bottom of page: Mayes, John Q. Mother surname McPherson. Wandsworth 1D. See Sept ’24.

Sep qtr 1924: McPherson John Q. AND Mayes John Q.  Both names appear in the printed lists, both have  mother surname as McPherson and are now referred to as Wandsworth 1d 1009.

Mar qtr 1960: Mayes John Q. Mother surname McPherson. Wandsworth 5D 1116.

Phew! Since I can’t find out what happened to Elsie Georgina Thomas Mayes, I can only surmise that she and Frank Burton Mayes aka Milray separated, or that she died.  Frank Burton Mayes married (2) to the actress Esther Dorothea Constance Stuart McPherson  in the June quarter of 1924, in Kings Norton, some three years after the first registered but much amended registered appearance of John Quinton Mayes.  Without ordering all the various certificates, it is difficult to unpiece the story, but it seems little John was first registered in his mother’s surname, and then had it amended to that of his father – at least we assume that John Burton Mayes aka Milray was little John Quinton Mayes’ father!

In terms of biographical detail, I can’t do better than show just one cutting from The Stage (22 September 1927), of which there are many similar ones; and then show the following pieces about the artist and actor Frank Burton Mayes aka Milray.  The first one is copied from the e-bay website offering for sale an attractive wood block engraving:

Frank Milray; 1888-1936, (born Mayes) actor and printmaker, as an actor he toured with the the Alexander Marsh Company 1922-24 and Julia Nielson Fred Terry Company all over the country, painting and sketching as he toured. He married Esther McPherson (1897-1965) they had a son; John Mayes (1921-2012), John acted with the well-known Shakespearean actor-manager Donald Wolfit. In 1928 Frank retired to ‘The Willows’ Pavenham, Bedfordshire.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Limited-edition-wood-block-engraving-pencil-signed-Frank-Milray-Mayes-1920s-/292380702781

And another piece:

About this Item: The Willows Presse, Pavenham, Bedfordshire, 1924. No Binding. Condition: Fine. Limited Edition. Six original linocuts of Pavenham, handprinted by the Bedfordshire actor and artist Frank Mayes, working under the pseudonym Milray, at his home, Willow Cottage, using the imprint, ‘The Willows Presse’. Each shows a street view of the village, and are hand-printed on beige paper. The prints are numbered 1 – 6, First Series, and all but one are signed in pencil, and dated 1929. Print sizes vary, but are approx. 15 x 10cm, 13 x 16cm, 13.5 x 11.5cm, 14.5 x 12cm, 12.5 x 17.5, 14 x 13cm. Each print has been recently remounted on cream card, with the original backing card retained (each bears a printed slip with an impression of the artist’s house, and the wording “Handprynted by Milray at the Willows Presse, Pavenham, Bedfordshire” Underneath is a small panel with the wording “Pavenham Village 1st Series” and the handwritten number (1 to 6). Frank Mayes used the name Milray as an actor from the early 1920s and when signing his work as an artist. When he was not engaged as an actor on tour throughout the UK he lived in Pavenham, from 1923-1931, after which he and his family moved to the neighbouring village of Stevington until his death in 1936. The original portfolio which contained these prints is present, although in very poor condition. It bears the same imprint as the prints, but at the bottom is hand-written, “6 Mounted Proofs”, suggesting that these were the very first printing of each linocut. The prints themselves are in fine condition, and are most attractively done. Signed by Illustrator. Seller Inventory # 005912.
https://www.abebooks.com/book-search/title/pavenham/

As to John Quinton Mayes, I know little other than what is summarised above in the portraits of his father.  For posterity, he deposited family papers about himself, his father and mother, and other McPherson actors.  Wouldn’t it be a treat to see these documents about two Backler descendants! They are described as follows on the website of the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Texas, Austin: http://norman.hrc.utexas.edu/fasearch/findingAid.cfm?eadid=00340

The John Mayes Family Papers, circa 1879-1970s, document the lives and lengthy careers of three generations of British actors, writers, and artists. Among the primary family members were brothers Herbert Pearson (1866-1955, born McPherson) and Quinton McPherson (1871-1940); Quinton’s daughter Esther McPherson (1897-1965) and her husband Frank Milray (1888-1936, born Mayes); and the son of Esther and Frank, John Mayes (1921-2012). John Mayes, who acted with the well-known Shakespearean actor-manager Donald Wolfit, brought together his family’s papers with his own, including his research and notes about the family.

1.2.1  As noted with reference to the family tree above, there is another Mayes/McPherson child, but the person is perhaps still living – I cannot trace any sign after the mid 1950s.  I do know who it is…

And there we leave the last batch of descendants of the children of Sotherton Backler and his wives Fran Harris and Hannah Osborne – except, of course, for my direct line descended from Samuel Backler (1784 – 1870) and his daughter Susannah Mary Backler (1817 – 1883), to which we will turn in the next post.