Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Martha, Mary Eliza, and Clara Cook Revisited

As I have mentioned in the past, one of my main interests in researching my family history has been finding out more about the family of Emma and William Cook, my maternal great great grandparents. I am happy to say that additional information has been provided to me about their daughters Martha Annie Wheatly Cook, Mary Eliza Cook, and Clara Matilda Cook, who were also the sisters of my great grandmother, Faith. I had previously written about them in two blogposts entitled Mary Eliza and Albert Godfrey: The Cooks Born in Canada, and William and Emma Cook’s Other Children,  the latter of which I now realize contains some key errors about my great grand aunt Martha. Thanks to the kind assistance of some other descendants of William and Emma, I was able to sort this out. (I have also found several other pertinent records in the process. I have also decided to remove the incorrect information from the previous blogpost so as not to run the risk of perpetuating misinformation).

Previously, I had Martha married to a man named Druitt, having a daughter, travelling to England, and dying in 1920. In actuality, she married a man called David Moran, who was the brother of her sister Clara’s husband, Charles Benjamin Moran. David was born David Franklin Moran on June 9, 1878 in Wellington, Ontario to William Moran and Lydia Stephen Terry Moran. His father had been born in Londonderry, Ireland and his mother was born in Ontario. The family moved to Saskatchewan, where Martha and David likely met. They were married between 1901 and 1906, and censuses show them as single in 1901, and married in 1906. In 1906 they are living and farming next door to David’s brother Ben, who has Martha’s sister Clara living with him as a housekeeper.

On March 1, 1911 Martha and David’s son William Arthur Moran was born. It does not appear that they had any other children. By 1938, the family is living in Canoe, near Salmon Arm, British Columbia, where Martha and David reside for the rest of their lives. Martha died on October 24, 1949 in Kamloops, British Columbia of ovarian cancer. David passed away in Kamloops on January 21, 1957. They were both buried in Salmon Arm, likely in the Mount Ida Cemetery. According to family who knew her, she was shorter than her siblings, was “talkative”, and liked to bake cookies. Her son William Arthur, married Myrtle Juanita Lee on May 15, 1946, and was later divorced. They had at least one child, a daughter, who apparently is still living. Arthur died on July 7, 1970 in Vancouver.

I have recently also discovered that David and Martha Moran had played a special role in the life of Martha’s sister, Mary Eliza Cook, when they were living in Rocanville, Saskatchewan. According to a newspaper article of unknown date and origin in the possession of family, they hosted Martha’s wedding to William Foster.  His surname is incorrectly written as “Forest” in the article:

Unknown newspaper and date
Image courtesy of H. Chagun
I estimate the marriage to have taken place in about 1915, as in the previous year Mary is listed under her maiden name in a Vancouver Directory, and the next year she is married according to census data. It is lovely to imagine how she looked as a bride, and how they all must have enjoyed the “large reception and dance”. It is also wonderful to know that her brother-in-law, and husband of her sister Clara, gave her away, and that her brother Godfrey attended the groom. From what I can gather, the "ribbon race" may have been marriage custom from the British Isles, in which the winners won prizes such as alcohol, or were declared the next to be married. (If anyone knows more about wedding "races", I would love to hear what you have to say). Mary Eliza and William had two sons, one named David William Foster, who was born in Winnipeg on June 7, 1918, and who died on September 26, 1989 in White Rock, British Columbia. Their other son may still be living, so no further information will be mentioned now. I have been able to locate William’s date of death, which is January 1, 1972, in New Westminster, British Columbia.

Through the information provided by family, I was also able to find the death date of Mary Eliza and Martha’s sister, Clara Matilda Cook Moran. She died on February 2, 1917, at the age of forty-five, in Rocanville, Saskatchewan, where she was living. She is also buried there. I have no information that she and Ben ever had any children, perhaps due to Clara's advanced age of thirty-eight when she got married in 1910. Ben died on April 27, 1938 in Salmon Arm, where he had been staying for seven months, likely with his brother David, as Martha was the informant for his death registration.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Phoebe Goff: A Life of a Woman in Victorian England

I wrote about the Goff and Saunders families early on in this blog with my four part series on my great grandfather, Herbert Charles Saunders. In these posts, I told the story of Herbert’s parents, and the effect the loss of his mother, Mary Jane Goff, had on his father, James Saunders, and all the events to which this led. This included my great grandfather being sent to Canada as a British Home Child. I have recently found some revealing articles in the British press from the nineteenth century which have helped to shed more light on these families, particularly the Goffs. Or should I say, “Goff or Newbery”. I am not joking. The actual surname of the family for at least about two hundred years and likely longer, was all three words, “Goff or Newbery”. I had never come across such a thing before, and as yet I cannot explain why two surnames were linked  in such a way. It appears that other researchers are as baffled as I am.  (In addition, Goff is often written as Gough). When I research my direct ancestors, I often find more about their siblings than I do about them, and this is the case with Mary Jane and her family. I was able to find more about her parents, her brother Thomas, and her sister Phoebe. I would like to focus on Phoebe today, as her story reads as if it came out of the pages of Charles Dickens or Victor Hugo. She also played an important role in the lives of the James Saunders family, and my great grandfather most certainly would have known her.

Phoebe and Mary Jane were born to George Goff or Newbery, who was born March 22, 1809 in Stockland, Dorset, and Ann Farrant, born about 1816 in Shute, Devon. (Ordering Mary Jane’s birth record from the General Record Office allowed me to identify her parents). George and Ann were married on June 13, 1837 in Shute, a few months before civil registration began in England. Their children, all born in Stockland after it became part of Devon, where the couple lived until George’s death, were Phoebe, born about 1845,  Thomas born 1847, Elizabeth Ann born about 1849, Mary Jane born February 21, 1851, and James born 1857. (Not all of the children’s births seem to have been registered). Interestingly, only Thomas seemed to use the name Newbery as his surname or part of his surname, and George often used only Goff. There may be additional children as there are no births identified between the marriage date and Phoebe’s birth eight years later. However, the couple is childless in the 1841 census. George’s occupation was variously described as “labourer”, “agricultural labourer”, and worker in a brewery. It appears that George Goff or Newbery ran afoul of the law in his life, usually being accused of theft of food items. It appears that he was imprisoned in 1835 at the age of twenty-six for three months for having stolen “flour”. During his imprisonment, he spent time in “solitary confinement”, and was “whipped”. In 1858, he was imprisoned for stealing “heath”, and acquitted of the charge of “receiving stolen goods”. (These may be related to the same charge). His son Thomas, who apparently never married, was often written up in the papers, mainly for being charged with poaching.

(Before I go much further, I should mention that there was another Phoebe Goff who was living in Stockland in 1851. I have virtually ruled her out as a candidate for the Phoebe who is featured in the newspaper articles to follow, as she and her family were no longer living in Stockland by 1861. In fact, they were living in Thurlbear, Somerset. The other Phoebe, born in 1849,  was in fact our Phoebe’s first cousin. She was the daughter of Humphrey Goff or Newberry, who was the brother of our Phoebe’s father, George).

Our Phoebe, who may have been named for her paternal grandmother, Phoebe Long, is found in the 1861 Census at the age of sixteen working as a “broommaker” and living with her parents. According to newspaper accounts, she was working as a “domestic servant” for the vicar, Charles Tucker, the following year, when the following occurred:

Phoebe Goff in Western Times, January 9, 1863
(accessed via Find My Past)
Another account is as follows:

Phoebe Goff in Exeter and Plymouth Gazette,  January 9, 1863
(accessed via Find My Past)

It might be assumed that such thefts may have occurred in the past, otherwise why would the police constable be hiding? Also, it is astonishing that Phoebe’s father asked if he could keep the money Phoebe allegedly stole. It makes one wonder if he put her up to the deed, given his past proclivities. This also seems to be a case of the punishment not fitting the crime, as four months hard labour seems excessive for the crime of stealing mainly food. Perhaps Phoebe was trying to help feed her family. She next appears in the newspapers in connection with another woman’s prosecution for allowing Phoebe and her associates to frequent her establishment. This article is under the heading "Honiton":

Phoebe Goff in Western Times, November 30, 1870
(Accessed via Find My Past)
If this is indeed our Phoebe, which it likely is, (and let’s not think about “Mary Ann” possibly being Mary Jane, gentle reader), then she may have been in the position of not being able to find work due to her criminal record. Also, she is only a “reputed” prostitute. The next year in 1871, the same year she appears in the census still living with her mother and siblings, she is again convicted for “larceny” and is sentenced to another four months in prison.

Phoebe Goff in Criminal Register for Devon, May 9, 1871
(Accessed via Ancestry.ca)
Despite how far she had apparently fallen, her story has a happier outcome then might be predicted. She was nothing if not a survivor.  Phoebe married William Henry Drower on August 2, 1880, at the age of thirty-five, in West Derby, Lancashire, in the Parish of Walton on the Hill. It was the first marriage for both bride and groom. William, who was a stone mason, was also from Devon, but from Colyton. I do not know if they met in Devon, and then moved to Lancashire, or if they met while living in Lancashire. They ran at boarding house at 46 Canal Street in Bootle, Lancashire, and appear to have lived at this address for the rest of their lives according to census data. I can find no evidence that they had any children.

Phoebe and William played an important role in the lives of my great grandfather Herbert Saunders’ family. After the death of Mary Jane, his mother and her sister, his father James is found living with the couple with his brother John and some of the children in the 1891 census. He had lost his job and home in the aftermath of his wife’s death, and his own dissipated behaviour. Phoebe had taken them all in at a very difficult time in their lives. Herbert and his brother Albert were living with their paternal grandmother in Somerset that year, and likely moved to Bootle very soon after. They appear to have also lived with their Aunt Phoebe for a time. In a family account it is stated regarding “the aunt and uncle”, who were most certainly Phoebe and William, that “after a while the burden was too great for these good people”, and the children were placed in an orphanage.

 (It seems that at least Herbert was also taken in at some point by Phoebe and Mary Jane’s sister Elizabeth, likely before he went to live in Lancashire with his siblings. Her married name was “Lee”, and Herbert lists “Elizabeth Lee” as his mother on his marriage certificate, perhaps because she may have been the only “mother” he ever knew).

I suspect that Phoebe continued to be involved with the Saunders family, as her great niece, three-year-old Henrietta Windsor, daughter of Henrietta Saunders Windsor, is enumerated on the 1901 census as being present in her home on census night. Phoebe died in the first quarter of 1917 at the age of seventy-two in West Derby, Lancashire.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thomas Cook: Gang Member, Corn Thief, and Drunkard?

I have been promising to do a blogpost on Thomas Cook, my four times great grandfather, and the father of William Cook Senior, and grandfather of William Cook Junior, about whom I have written previous blogposts, William Cook Senior and the Case of the Purloined Ferret, and William Cook 1849-1908, Saskatchewan Pioneer. I have found a handful of newspaper articles in a database of old British newspapers about a Thomas Cook, and I am fairly certain that most of them apply to our Thomas. As some of them are of an inflammatory nature, I do have to say that I have identified that more than a few Thomas Cooks were living in Timberland and the Timberland area in Lincolnshire in the nineteenth century.

Thomas Cook was born in 1797 in Metheringham, Lincolnshire, and was christened on April 10, 1797 in St. Wilfred Church there. He was the eldest child of William Cook and Elizabeth East, about whom I know little as yet. What I do know is that they were married in Metheringham at St. Wilfred Church on April 12, 1796, and all of their five known children were baptised in the same church. Thomas’s siblings were Richard, born 1798, John, born 1800, Rebecca, born 1803, and William, born 1805. It is possible that Thomas’s brother, John Cook, was the father of another Thomas Cook who lived in Timberland at the time of our Thomas and his family, but more of this later. It goes without saying that the common nature of these given names and surname makes research challenging.

Our Thomas Cook married Elizabeth “Betsy” Pearson on February 18, 1822 at Oswald’s Church in Blankney, Lincolnshire, where he was residing. He was twenty-five and she was thirty-four. She had been born to William and Elizabeth Pearson in 1788, also in Metheringham.  By 1823, the family is living in Timberland, where their first child, Rebecca, is born. Her brothers, Thomas and William, are also born there in 1824 and 1827 respectively. I am not aware of any other children born to this family. This may have been due to Betsy’s older age when she started her family. I am also not certain why the family was living in Timberland, but they appeared to be the first of this line to do so. Thomas’s occupation is described as “labourer” on each of the children’s baptism records.

Chronologically the first newspaper article to be considered is the following, dated January 22, 1830, from the Stamford Mercury, the newspaper from which all the articles presented here are taken.

Thomas Cook in Stamford Mercury, January 22, 1830
accessed via Find My Past
I believe that the “accomplice” may well have been our Thomas Cook, as I have yet to identify another Thomas Cook of about his age living in Timberland proper at about this time.  Interestingly, I cannot yet find him and his family in the 1841 Census of England. This may mean that he was not living in Timberland for a period of time sometime between 1827 when their last child to be baptised there, William, was born, and 1851 when the family appears in Timberland on the census. Did he “get out of Dodge” to avoid the repercussions of his testimony—“lying low” in his version of a nineteenth century witness protection program? If he were a corn thief, and his son William a ferret thief, this may well be a case of “the apple not falling far from the tree”. Nevertheless, it is common not to find people in the census due to their not having been enumerated, or due to mistranscription. Of course, this is all not so idle speculation, and I hope the connection of this story to him does not have Thomas turning over in his grave.

In Timberland in the 1851 Census, the fifty-four-year-old Thomas is described as an “agricultural labourer”. Living with him are his wife and his son Thomas, who is listed as being twenty-six years old. Living in the town is another Thomas Cook, twenty-two years of age, born in Martin, Lincolnshire, and a “farm labourer”, who is the son of a John Cook. Three years later, on May 19, 1854 the following appears in the Stamford Mercury:

Thomas Cook in the Stamford Mercury, May 19, 1854
accessed via Find My Past
Of course, the Thomas Cook in question could have been any of the three Thomas Cooks, but I tend to think it was more likely Thomas Cook the elder. It seems to me that a fifty-seven-year-old man would more likely be the possessor of a “silver watch”, and it feels more probable that a man of his age would have had an advanced enough drinking problem to find himself embarrassed in such a way. If this is our Thomas, it means that we now have a bit of evidence of possible alcoholism going back another two more generations than we were  previously aware, his grandson William most certainly having had a problem with alcohol.

The next newspaper article, again from the Stamford Mercury, and dated May 23, 1856, indicates that Thomas and his son Thomas both were having their homes sold at auction:

Thomas Cook in the Stamford Mercury, May 23, 1856
accessed via Find My Past
As both Thomas Cook Senior and Junior are mentioned in this notice, it is therefore almost certain that these are our Thomases, and it is most informative to know exactly where they were living and to have a description of their dwelling. It is interesting to note that they were living behind the Jolly Drayman, the same establishment where the William Cooks Senior and Junior distinguished themselves with their antics. (Note also that "John Vickers", the plaintiff in the case of the Purloined Ferret, is also living in the same complex of homes, which speaks to William Cook's access to his ferret). 

The very same year, but on December 5th, the following appears in the Stamford Mercury:

Thomas Cook in the Stamford Mercury, December 5, 1856
accessed via Find My Past
This seems to indicate that our Thomas possibly, even briefly, was the proprietor of a public house, The New Inn, and then it was put up for sale. Perhaps when his previous home was sold he needed to live elsewhere, and then took up residence at The New Inn, which was newly constructed.  It, too, was to be sold, and may have occasioned him needing to move again. (I have not been able to rule out that one of the other two Thomas Cooks was the operator of the Inn). In addition,  I have not been able to ascertain if The New Inn stands today, and the current name and address of it. That he did not continue to be the proprietor for any great length of time, if he were the proprietor, is revealed in the 1861 Census, where he is an “agricultural labourer” and lives “in town” with his wife and grandson, Samuel, and next door to his son, Thomas. This would situate him in a similar setting to where he was in 1856, when he lived behind the Jolly Drayman, close to Thomas Junior. It may also mean that he never moved when his home was sold.

Thomas died in January 1862 and was buried on January 21st at St. Andrew’s Church in Timberland. His wife Betsy died three months later in April 1862, and was buried at St. Andrew’s on April 14th. He was sixty-five and she was seventy-four at the time of their deaths.

Which brings me to the question of their daughter, Rebecca.  One of the advantages of doing the research for these blogposts is that I find out new and unexpected information about the people about which I am writing, and their family members. Prior to writing this blogpost, I had no further information about Rebecca, as I could not find any marriage or death data on her. Taking note that Thomas Senior and Betsy were living with their eight-year-old grandson Samuel Cook in 1861, I looked to see if Thomas Junior or his brother William had a son by that name. They did not. Finding no evidence that Thomas Senior ever had other sons, I looked into the possibility that Samuel was the son of Rebecca, born out of wedlock. I found a baptism record for Samuel Cook/Holmes, who was the son of Rebecca Cook, “single woman”, and Samuel Holmes, dated December 5, 1852, at St. Andrew’s Church in Timberland. The civil birth registration lists him as “Samuel Holmes Cook”. The only other record for Samuel I have been able to find is that on the 1871 census he is seventeen years old, and is a “servant” living in Ropsley, Lincolnshire, the residence of his father, Samuel Toynbee Holmes, who is now married with a family. I believe that Rebecca died between the birth of her son in 1852, and 1861, when he is living with his grandparents. I can find no other census or marriage data for her beyond this, (although I did find her in the 1851 census as a “house servant” in Timberland). I believe that she may be the Rebecca Cook who died in the district of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, where Timberland was situated, in 1855. She may have been beloved in her family as both of her brothers named daughters after her, i.e. Thomas had a daughter Rebecca born in 1858, and William had a daughter Ann Rebecca born in 1850. Rebecca’s may be another sad story on my tree of a woman In Victorian England. More to come from the pages of the British press.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Marlow Line: Joseph Long and Joseph Long Johnson in the Newspapers

To start, a word of explanation—as mentioned in previous blogposts, (e.g. William Marlow 1830 to 1895), the parents of my great grandfather on my paternal grandmother’s side, Joseph Marlow, were William Marlow and Elizabeth Johnson. They lived in North Yorkshire, England, and never came to Canada to my knowledge. Elizabeth Johnson, later Marlow, was the daughter of Joseph Long Johnson (1792-1862) and Elizabeth Watson (1796-1843). Joseph and Elizabeth had in common that they both appear to have been children of unwed mothers, John having the surname of his mother, Sarah Johnson, and Elizabeth the surname of her mother, Ellis Watson. I was stuck in my research on Joseph’s line because I could not find his mother’s forebears, and, of course, there was nothing to identify his father.

As you may be aware, it is very difficult normally to ascertain the fathers of children of unwed mothers in previous centuries, although sometimes there are notations in parish records. The first and middle names of sons can also be clues to the father’s identity in some circumstances. Recently, when I was doing some research in British newspapers, I decided to see what I could find on the Marlow line. I was mainly searching first and last names together, as I noticed that it was rare that middle names were included in nineteenth century newspaper stories. In Joseph Long Johnson’s case, Joseph Johnson proved to be all too common a name, and I could not find any articles about him just using his first and last names. I decided to try searching using all three of his names and—bingo! The following article came up about four times in different newspapers in various parts of England in the year 1840:

Legal notice re: Children of Joseph Long,
Yorkshire Gazette, July 25, 1840
Accessed via Find My Past
The Joseph Long Johnson and Sarah Johnson named in the notice are without a doubt our Joseph and Sarah, as the names place of birth match  exactly. Of course, this also means that the three other children mentioned in the article are Joseph’s half siblings. I did some research on all of them on Ancestry, but did not find as much as I hoped—yet. However, I now had the name of Joseph Long Johnson’s father—Joseph Long—as I, and likely others, had wondered about. Surprisingly, he is a “veterinary surgeon”. How he met the young women he had dalliances with is a matter for speculation, but obviously he did get around the country. At first, I was unable to find any other records pertaining to Joseph Long. I still have no real clue where he was born, except that it may have been where he died. Unfortunately, he lived his entire life before cilvil registration began, and before the census started in Britain.

He is quite an enigma, as “natural” children had no rights of inheritance under British law at the time, as far as I am aware. Why did he choose to have his solicitors seek out his own natural children twenty years after his death for some unnamed benefit? Did he have no other heirs? Why did he risk bringing embarrassment to his family with these revelations? Clearly, Sarah Johnson had no qualms naming her son after his father—is this another clue about the relationships involved? She was not the only mother named in the article to include part of the father’s name in her child’s (e.g. "James Long Pritchard"). Furthermore, did Joseph Long Johnson or any of the other children ever see this notice?

I decided to see if I could find the will mentioned in the article, and, lo and behold, I was able to locate it through the National Archives website and have it sent to me (for a fee). Unfortunately, I am struggling with the writing, and need to take time to try to transcribe it for myself. I promise to update you all in another blogpost once I have made more sense of it. I hope it will reveal more clues to life and identity of the mysterious Joseph Long. So far, I see that that he was also a “farrier”, i.e. a shoer of horses.

I am wondering if any of the Marlow descendants can detect the presence of veterinary surgeon genes in their blood. For example, how many of us have had careers related to horses, other animals, or to medicine? If the article is correct, Joseph Long Johnson did--he was a "groom or jockey". Interestingly, his was the only livelihood mentioned in the piece attached to any of the children.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Images of Mother Simington's Blood Purifier

Mother Simington's Blood Purifier
Bottle Front
(Photo courtesy of Sandy Faul)
I have been meaning to share something with you for a while, and that is some photos of an actual bottle of Mother Simington’s Blood Purifier. I heard from reader Sandy Faul that she had an empty bottle in her possession, and she kindly agreed to provide me with photos and permission to share them on this blog. You will recall from a previous blogpost, dated February 13, 2013, and titled Mother Elizabeth Simington and Her Blood Purifier, that Elizabeth Crawford Simington, the sister of my great great grandmother Jane Crawford Monk, was the producer of a health elixir called Mother Simington’s Blood Purifier, which was sold all over Iowa and nationwide at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. It had panacea-like properties as there seemed to be nothing that it was not purported to cure.

Mother Simington's Blood Purifier
Side View
(Photo courtesy of Sandy Faul)
Sandy states that she obtained the bottle from The Milford Pharmacy and Gift Store in Milford, Iowa. It had come into the store’s possession after being found in the wall of a house in Milford which was being demolished. The bottle is described as: seven inches high, with four square sides, with two sides printed in English, and two in Danish, and was manufactured in Milford, Iowa by the Mother Simington Company. (Apparently there was a wave of Danish immigration to Iowa in the 1870’s). She provided me with photos of three of the sides, as the paper on all of the sides had started to “peel away from age”. Sandy also forwarded me a section from History of Clay County by Dian Gustafson, in which is it claimed that some of the ingredients of the elixir were “sorghum and molasses”. Gustafson also reports that Elizabeth had run the “first boarding house in Sanborn after her husband’s death”, which was in 1899, and that she “catered to the first users of the new railroad when it came through”.

Mother Simington's Blood Purifier
Back view
(Photo courtesy of Sandy Faul)
Many thanks to Sandy for the photos, data from her own research, and permission to share these with you. I so appreciate hearing from readers of this blog, and all they share with me.

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers and to those who share some Canadian heritage.