Herbert H Hilliard (1868-1912)

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.