Ethel Telford

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.