The Elusive Dobsons

This is the second of four posts about William Smith of Melmerby (1781-1857) and his family. In a previous post I said that William and his wife Mary Longrigg had seven surviving adult children:

John Smith (1815-1884)
Ann Dobson (1819-    )
Mary Sutton (1821-1882?)
Agnes Scott (1823-1898)
William Smith (1825-1905)
Elizabeth Harrison (1831-1900)
Lancelot Smith (1833-1889)

The oldest surviving son John inherited his father’s freehold property in Melmerby when William died in 1857. I will write about John Smith and his family later.

This particular post will be about Ann, who was a first cousin of my great-grandfather Lancelot Smith of Corballis.

Unfortunately, I know less about Ann and the family she married into – the Dobsons – than about any of her siblings. Actually, I have more questions than answers about her life. If any of my readers knows more, I would be pleased to get additional information or be advised of incorrect information or assumptions I have used here.

Ann Dobson (1819-????)
Ann was actually the fifth child but the second surviving child and eldest surviving daughter of William Smith and Mary Longrigg. In 1841 Ann was listed in the census records as living at home in Melmerby with her parents William and Mary Smith and five other siblings: John, William, Jane, Elizabeth and Lancelot. Ann would have been 21 years old at that time.

In July 1847, Ann married Benjamin Dobson in Melmerby Parish Church. Benjamin had a small farm of 11.5 acres; I think the farm was in Patterdale, Westmorland, although that is not certain. (Curiously, he was born in Southwark, London although his parents lived in the West Ward of Westmorland both before and after he was born.) Although Patterdale is in Westmorland, it is quite close to Penrith and, therefore, to Melmerby.

In this map, Penrith is in the upper right hand corner. The red line is the border between Cumberland to the north and Westmorland to the south. Patterdale is at the south end of Ullswater, one of the famous lakes in the Lake District.

In the 1851 census, Ann with her husband Benjamin Dobson and two young daughters (Margaret aged 2 and Mary aged 5 months) were visiting the Smith family in Melmerby. In the same census of 1851, Benjamin’s brothers Lancelot and Hiram, sister Caroline and his mother Margaret Dobson were all recorded as living in Patterdale. (Benjamin’s mother Margaret and her husband Lancelot Dobson had about eight children, some born in Southwark, London, and others in Westmorland).

In 1857, Ann was given £140 in her father’s Will of 1857. (Each of  her sisters received the same legacy.) This was a significant amount of money then. One estimate is it would be worth about £12,260 in terms of today’s standard of living. I imagine this money was very helpful to Ann.

The first big question I have is: where were Benjamin, Ann, Margaret and Mary in 1861? In the census for that year, they were not in Patterdale although Benjamin’s siblings Lancelot, Hiram and Caroline, as well as his mother Margaret, were still there.

The second question:  when (or where) Ann or Benjamin did die? Dobson was quite a common name in mid- to late-nineteenth century Northern England – particularly in Yorkshire and Durham  but also in Westmorland – and there are too many Ann Dobsons and Benjamin Dobsons in the civil registration records for reliable identification. I thought Benjamin had died in 1866 but now I am unsure. Possibly the Dobson family was not in Northern England, in which case their identification in the English civil registration lists is even more difficult.

Information I have been given (but have not fully verified) is that Ann and Benjamin had four children: Margaret (born September 1848), William (born May 1849), Mary (born October 1850) and Jane (born August 1855). I believe all the children were born in Patterdale.

Having searched diligently for any of the Dobson family members in the 1861, 1871 and 1881 censuses in England, I found none of them – which is odd. Further searches for Benjamin, Ann, Margaret and Mary Dobson in other records (e.g., emigration records, US and Canadian censuses and civil registration records in Ireland and Scotland) have all proved fruitless. So, where were the Dobsons?

What is even odder is that I think Ann’s daughter Mary Dobson re-appeared later. She was a small baby when visiting her grandparents in Melmerby in March 1851. But the next time I can maybe identify her is in 1891, when she was 40 years old. This raises another question: where was Mary living for the previous four decades? The most likely answer is: living in another country. But where?

In 1891, there was a Mary Dobson, born in Patterdale, who was unmarried and living with an aunt and uncle, Rebecca and Joseph Alcock in Threlkeld, which is west of Penrith and in Cumberland. Joseph Alcock was a master shoemaker and his wife Rebecca was a younger sister of Benjamin Dobson. So, unless Rebecca had two nieces called Mary Dobson, both born in or around 1850 in Patterdale, I think this Mary must be the daughter of Benjamin and Ann Dobson.

Rebecca Alcock died in Threlkeld in 1897 at the age of  80. In the 1901 census, Mary was still living in Threlkeld with her uncle Joseph, by then a retired shoemaker. Joseph died in 1904, aged 87. Mary stayed in Threlkeld and appears in the 1911 census living on private means, aged 60 and unmarried. So I assume she inherited the house and some money from her uncle Joseph. Mary died in 1922, aged 72, in Penrith civil registration district (which would include Threlkeld).

This is a very incomplete story about Ann Dobson, her husband Benjamin and her daughters Margaret and Mary. I hope I can improve it over time. More records may become publicly available. I do not believe Ann had any direct descendants but possibly someone better acquainted with the Dobsons than I am can add more information to this story.

Posted in Dobson, Families, Melmerby, Patterdale, Penrith, Places, Smith, Threlkeld, Westmorland | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

William Smith of Melmerby (1781-1857) and his family

This is the first of four posts I am writing about William Smith and his family even though they are not direct ancestors of mine (William was my great-great-grandfather’s older brother). I am doing this because I have found some interesting information about this family that I want to share.

I have tended to picture the Smiths of Melmerby as preferring to stay put in the Cumberland village where they owned freehold property, sometimes living in nearby communities in the Upper Eden valley such as Gamblesby, and only reluctantly leaving there to go to live somewhere else. This may be only partly true. Certainly, by the nineteenth century, other possible ways of making a living were opening up following the industrial revolution.

Upper Eden Valley, Cumberland

So far I have found that, rather than leave the land and go to work in a Lancashire cotton mill, a coal mine or other industrial enterprise, the Smiths either moved to the nearest market town of Penrith or in some cases they ventured further afield, including to London. (My own line of Melmerby Smiths stuck to farming and went to Ireland to continue farming there on a scale that was impossible for them in Cumberland.)

When I started researching the male line of Smiths going back from my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall, I was focused on tracing the eldest sons in order to get back as far as possible in Cumberland. While doing so, I did often wonder what happened to the younger sons and to the daughters. In the earliest generations, information about those sons and daughters was very scarce indeed. However, by the nineteenth century, the available sources of information had expanded.

Those sources are now increasingly available on-line so it is possible to learn much more about all the members of the family fairly easily. The principal sources I have used here are: church baptisms, census records, probate records and wills (when available), and civil registration of births, marriages and deaths.

The William Smith I am writing about in this post was the oldest surviving son of John Smith of Melmerby so he inherited the family farm in Melmerby (see his father John Smith Jr.’s will, probated in 1821).

William  also inherited freehold property in Gamblesby (Parish of Addingham) under his mother Hannah Smith’s will of 1832.  Hannah Huddart came from Gamblesby where her father William Huddart was a yeoman farmer. I believe that Hannah was an only child and inherited her father’s property. Gamblesby is about a mile and a half (2.5 km) north-west of Melmerby.

William had an older brother John who died in 1802, aged 24, in Jamaica. There is a gravestone in Melmerby parish churchyard commemorating his death. I have no information on why he went to Jamaica.

In February 1812, William married Mary Longrigg in Kirkoswald Parish Church.  (Her birthplace in census records is always given as Kirkoswald.) Mary was under age when she married, with her parents’ permission. She was baptised in Kirkoswald Parish Church on November 3rd 1793 so she was eighteen when she married William Smith, who was 31.

In their early years of marriage, William and Mary lived in Hesket, which is north-west of Kirkoswald and about 12 miles (20 km) from Melmerby. Hesket is where their first three children were born. The other children were born in Melmerby.

William and Mary had 11 children, of whom four died young. (Thomas was an infant, Isaac was aged 7, Jane died when she was 16 or 17 and the eldest daughter Hannah died when she was 25.) There were four surviving daughters and three surviving sons.

William’s three adult sons were: John, William and Lancelot. John inherited the Melmerby farm and other freehold property; William inherited freehold land in Gamblesby and farmed there; and Lancelot inherited a small freehold property in Gamblesby but he went to London (more later on him and his surprising career). Both John and William were yeoman farmers in their respective communities.

William had four adult daughters: Ann, Mary, Agnes and Elizabeth. Each of them received £140 in William Smith’s will of 1857.

Tracing females in public records is somewhat more difficult than searching for males but I have identified all the daughters’ married names and have been able to follow a bit of their lives, as described in later posts. They were: Ann Dobson, Mary Sutton, Agnes Scott and Elizabeth Harrison.

William lived in Melmerby until his death in 1857. His will provided for generous support to his widow Mary, who continued to live in Melmerby until she died in 1868. Both of them were buried in the churchyard of Melmerby Parish Church.

William’s successor on the Melmerby property was his son John Smith. I will be writing about John later when I describe his family. Before I do that, I want to write about William’s other children. The next post will be about William’s oldest daughter, Ann Dobson.

Posted in Families, Gamblesby, Melmerby, Smith | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Branches and Twigs on the Family Tree

In my original quest for information about my Smith ancestors – starting from my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall – I was most interested in tracing back the male line to the origins of the Smith family in the small village of Melmerby. For much of its existence, Melmerby was in the county of Cumberland in north-west England; in 1974, the county was absorbed into the bigger county of Cumbria.

Melmerby and the Fells: from photograph by Val Corbett

I have written numerous posts and pages on this blog about the Smith family line and do not expect to find out much more about them through traditional genealogical research. For example, in the case of two of my direct male ancestors in Melmerby – John Smith (1712-1795) and William Smith (1640-1720) – I cannot identify their wives other than by their forename. Maiden surnames were not considered important to record in parish marriage registers of the time. Maybe through DNA tests and genetic matching, I will be able to find out more about these unknown female ancestors… I would also be interested to learn more – if I could – about the younger sons and the daughters in each Smith family that I have explored.

Recently I have spent time researching the 19th-century branches of the Smith family in Cumberland who are related to my Smiths in Ireland through cousin-ship. Records for this more recent century are much better, particularly with the establishment of the census system every ten years starting in 1841 but also with civil registration of births, marriages and deaths after 1837 and the publication of probate records for wills (which were becoming more common in the family).

Much earlier on this blog, I wrote a brief post about the Melmerby Smiths after 1821 but they were not a major focus for me at that time and I did not know much about them.

The following chart shows when the Smith family lines diverged from my perspective. Both lines go back to John Smith and Hannah Huddart. (In my genealogy charts and pages I have called him John Smith Jr. to distinguish him from his father of the same name.)

While it is very nice that the Smith families of Melmerby continued – with rare exceptions – to use the forenames familiar to them, this has often made it difficult to know which William Smith, John Smith or Thomas Smith is being documented. It is also a challenge when writing about them. Although Lancelot Smiths abound in the larger family tree, they were not – in the Melmerby line – the eldest sons. Common names for the Melmerby Smith daughters were Mary, Agnes and Hannah.

My great-great-grandfather Lancelot Smith (1785-1871) was a younger son of John Smith of Melmerby and his wife Hannah Huddart of Gamblesby. Lancelot’s older brother William Smith (1781-1857) inherited the freehold farm property in Melmerby from his father while Lancelot had a small freehold property in Gamblesby as well as a small freehold property in Melmerby (inherited from his uncle Thomas). I imagine it was difficult for him to support his wife and family of eight children on the property he could farm. In the 1850s, this Lancelot Smith and most of his family, including two of his sons – Lancelot and Thomas – moved to Ireland to farm as tenants in County Tipperary. This might have been seen as a step down from being a yeoman farmer in Cumberland but I believe it represented a significant economic opportunity to manage much larger farms and, ultimately, to own them after the Irish Land Acts of the late 19th century were implemented.

After William Smith died in Melmerby in 1857, his son John Smith (1815-1884) settled into the Melmerby property. He was a first cousin of my great-grandfather, Lancelot Smith of Corballis (Corballis was the name of the farm in County Dublin where he lived for many years from the early 1870s).

John Smith died in 1884 and his heir to the Melmerby property was George Hardy Smith (1852-1928). George and his siblings were second cousins to my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall.

Having now collected more information about the 19th-century Melmerby Smiths, I will be writing several posts about them soon. The first posts will be about William Smith of Melmerby (1781-1857) and his family of eleven children.

That will be followed by a few posts about his son John Smith (1815-1884) and his family, with some focus on John’s daughters – the Misses Smith of Penrith – as well as his younger sons John and Christopher. Related to these posts will be one about the Hardys of Park Head.

Posted in Families, Gamblesby, Hardy, Huddart, Melmerby, Smith, Tipperary | Tagged , , ,

Mystery Photographs from Penrith

I have several old photographs that are a bit of a mystery. They were taken in Penrith, Cumberland, in formal studio settings.  The photographs have come to me via a cousin, who was given a photograph album belonging to a distant cousin in the Smith family. Most of the people in the album can be identified as Smiths or relations of Smiths.

However, there is a set of photographs containing people whom I cannot identify. These are the “mystery photographs”. I hope by adding them to my blog that someone will have an idea of their identity.

The photographs in the album are wonderfully clear even though they are only 4″ by 2.5″ (about 10 cm by 6 cm) in size.  Most of them were taken by the same photographer; on the backs of these particular photographs, it says “T H S Melt, Photographer, 26 Arthur Street, Penrith”.  Because the photographs were taken in Penrith, the people portrayed may be Smiths from Melmerby. (I wrote an earlier post about the Melmerby Smiths after 1821 on this blog.)

Judging by the clothes the people are wearing, the photographs were probably taken in the early to mid-1870s.  If I choose the date of 1875 and then find the Melmerby Smiths who were adults in that year, I might get close to finding out who these people are.  But I recognize this is only a guess.

I would welcome any ideas you have about the people portrayed as well as when the pictures were taken.  If you know anything about the photographer “T H S Melt”, that would be helpful as well. I could not find him in any on-line listing of 19th century photographers.

In 1875, the head of the Smith family in Melmerby was John Smith who was 60 years old at that time; his wife Mary Smith (nee Hardy) was 53.  Their children at that date were:

  • William Smith, aged 26
  • George Hardy Smith, aged 23
  • Mary Ann Smith, aged 21
  • Agnes Smith, aged 19
  • Hannah Smith, aged 17
  • John Smith, aged 14
  • Christopher Smith, aged 10

Penrith group 1873This is the family group picture.  There are also individual portraits of some of the people in this group.

The arrangement of people in such formal portraits is usually significant.  I think the man seated in the centre is the head of the family.  The focus of the picture appears to be on the young woman seated at the front with a young man beside her.  Was this photograph taken on the occasion of a betrothal?  The woman standing behind the head of the family is a widow, based on the black dress and the small black head-dress she is wearing.  The older woman seated on the left also seems to be a widow.

Well, who are they? Here is my guess.

The man seated in the centre is John Smith.

The bearded man standing on the right bears some resemblance to the head of the family (and it is not just the whiskers); I think they could be brothers.  John’s younger brother William Smith and his wife Elizabeth Smith (nee Harrison) lived in Gamblesby and they were both 50 years old in 1875.  I think it is William and his wife who are standing together on the right of the picture.

The young man standing at the back on the left has his arm around the shoulders of the older woman next to him; she is wearing a striped dress. I think this is George Hardy Smith and his mother Mary Smith (nee Hardy).

The young woman seated at the right bears a strong resemblance  to George Hardy Smith so is probably one of his three sisters. Maybe it is Mary Ann Smith although it could be his second sister Agnes Smith.  (I suggest the latter possibility because Mary Ann was living with the Hardys in Park Head at the time.)

The widow standing behind the head of the family could be John Smith’s sister Ann Dobson, who was married to Benjamin Dobson; he had died in 1866.

I do not have any idea who is the older woman seated on the left.  It is not John Smith’s mother because she died in 1868. Nor is it Mary Smith’s mother, Eleanor Hardy, who died in 1864. Possibly she is related to the young woman seated at the front?

The couple at the front of the group is the biggest puzzle of all.

Is the young man William Smith, John and May Smith’s eldest son? If so, is the young woman his fiancee? And what is her name?

An alternative is that the young woman is a Smith but it is unlikely to be one of John Smith’s daughters; none of his three surviving daughters ever married. Another possibility: is the young woman the daughter of Ann Dobson? She had an older daughter Margaret who never married. There was a second daughter Mary but I have no information about her life.

Definitely a mystery.

Below are individual portraits of four of the people in the group picture. I have no idea why only these few portraits were in the photograph album. It might have been expected there would be portraits of the two people at the front of the group but I do not have those. In any case, the following images help to show more clearly four of the people in the group photograph.

Penrith 1

Penrith 2

Penrith 5


Posted in Dobson, Families, Gamblesby, Hardy, Harrison, Melmerby, Penrith, Photographs, Smith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sad Story of William B. Upton

(Updated November 17, 2017)

When I was looking for on-line information about my 3X great-grandfather William Bayly Upton, I came across a few items about a William B. Upton, born around 1828 and living in Cashel. I wondered who he might be and if he was related to the Uptons I was researching. Recently I concluded that he was related but the question remained: who was he? I thought there were two possible candidates: William Upton, son of William Upton, apothecary, and brother of Eliza Upton (my great-grandmother); and William Bayly Upton, son of David Upton, and first cousin of Eliza. I don’t have good evidence of this but I believe that Eliza’s brother William died as a boy in 1849. That has left David Upton’s son as the most likely person.

When David Upton died suddenly  in 1846, he left his widow Mary nee Gilbert and three children in Cashel. I have found their eldest son was William Bayly Upton, probably born in early 1828. The second son was Matthew Gilbert Upton who was born in November 1829. The only daughter Frances (Fanny) was born around 1837. So, at the time of their father’s death, they were aged about 18, 16 and 9 respectively.

At some time between 1846 and 1860, Mary Upton emigrated from Ireland to the United States with her daughter Fanny. Mary owned property in Cashel but was not living there in the 1850 Griffith’s Valuation records. So I think she had left Cashel by 1848 or 1849. Her son Matthew may have emigrated on his own in 1851. To date, I could not find any of them in the US Census for 1850.

In the 1860 US census, Mary and Fanny were living in New York City while Matthew was living in San Francisco. Mary and Fanny do not appear to have prospered in New York; Mary died in Brooklyn in 1869 and Fanny died in New York City in 1876. Fanny was unmarried.

Meantime in California, in 1860 Matthew was a widower with a young son, William Bayly Upton, aged 3. (The young boy was living with a family called Gorham, presumably because his father could not care for him on his own.) Matthew was an editor of the San Francisco ‘Bulletin” newspaper and continued in this occupation for many years. Around 1865 he married a second time and had two daughters, Frances and Elizabeth. In 1892, Matthew’s son William Bayly Upton also had a son, William Bayly Upton Jr., and he in turn had one son, William Bayly Upton III, born in 1929 and died unmarried in 1984. As far as I can tell, that is where the male line of Uptons from Cashel ended in the United States.

Here is an abbreviated version of the Upton family tree showing the David Bayly Upton line and how it relates to Eliza Upton and the Smith family.

On-line searches have not shown any trace of Matthew’s brother in the United States and I believe he stayed at home in Cashel. In the Upton family book written by W. H Upton in the 1890s, there is a cryptic comment about this particular William Bayly Upton that “his life was wrecked in early manhood”. What did this mean? See what you think from the story I have been able to piece together about this unfortunate man.

The following descriptions of William B. Upton come mainly from the Irish Prison Registers we well as from Dublin Workhouse registers and a couple of newspaper items. Already you can see this is not going to have a happy ending. Nor does it have a happy beginning, in early 1860.

Bear in mind that William Bayly Upton, this man’s grandfather, was still alive in 1860 and continued to live in Cashel until January 1863. William B. Upton also had three aunts and numerous cousins living in the town. His cousin Eliza Upton married Lancelot Smith in 1862 and she went to live on the farm at Rathcoun with the Smiths. They stayed at Rathcoun, very close to Cashel, until 1871 when they moved to the farm at Corballis in County Dublin.

The first time that it is recorded that William Upton was sent to gaol (or jail if you prefer) was on February 23, 1860. He was charged with assault – the record does not say who he assaulted. He was committed to Clonmel Gaol by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench at the Cashel Petty Sessions with a sentence of bail or three months. The Clonmel Gaol Registry shows he was discharged on May 22, 1860 so obviously he did not have bail money. The registry also includes information about the person being imprisoned. Age: 32. Can he read and write: yes. Religion: Protestant. Height: 5′ 8.5″. Physical appearance: blue eyes, auburn hair, fresh complexion.

On July 5 1860, William Upton was charged with insubordinate conduct in the Workhouse in Cashel. So we know that by this time (if not earlier), he was living in the Workhouse. Again he was committed to gaol by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench with a sentence of 14 days’ hard labour; he was discharged the second time on July 18, 1860. (This time, the registry says he was 5′ 9″ tall and had hazel eyes.)

On August 14, 1862, William B. Upton was charged with refusing to work in the Workhouse. This time in the Clonmel Gaol registry he was described as: aged 34; can read and write; Protestant; 5′ 9″ tall; blue eyes, fair hair, fresh complexion. He was committed to gaol by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench and sentenced to one month’s hard labour. The prisoner was discharged on September 10, 1862.

Having apparently learned nothing from this experience, William B. Upton was charged on October 30, 1862, with four offences of refusing to work in the Poor House (the same institution as the Workhouse). The Clonmel Gaol Registry description this time was: aged 34; read and write; Protestant; 5′ 9″; hazel eyes, auburn hair, fresh complexion. He was sentenced by the Hon. J M. Ffrench to 14 days’ hard labour times four (in other words, to 56 days of hard labour); he was discharged on December 24, 1862.

This particular episode was reported in a somewhat jocular manner in the local newspaper, the “Tipperary Free Press”, on October 31, 1862:

A pauper inmate of the workhouse named William Upton, was brought up for refusing to work on the farm for four consecutive days, and otherwise infringing the regulations of the house. Upton had frequently occupied a position in advance of the Cashel Magistrates, with a body guard around him. On the present occasion he retired, and will not appear in public until about Christmas. He is going for training at the county gymnasium.

Leaving aside the contemptuous tone of this little item in the newspaper, it is worth noting the mention of the frequency of William Upton’s appearances before the magistrates in Cashel and the comment about a “body guard”. Does the latter imply that this man was prone to being violent?

On May 7, 1863, William B. Upton was back again at the Cashel Petty Sessions court, this time charged with seven offences under the Poor Law. What those offences were is not stated in the Gaol Registry. His description: aged 35; read and write; Protestant; 5′ 8.5″; hazel eyes, auburn hair, fresh complexion. He was committed to gaol by I. M. Bushe, Esq. and Richard Phillips Esq. to one month’s hard labour times 7. He was discharged on November 18, 1863.

Three and half years later, William B. Upton was back in court. On June 21, 1867, he was charged with using “threatening language, etc.”.  No further details are given to show who he threatened or what the “etc.” represented. His description: aged 39; can read; Protestant; 5′ 8.5″; grey eyes, sandy hair, fresh complexion. He was sentenced by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench Esq. to bail of £10 and sureties in £5 each or six months. Hard labour was not mentioned this time. He was discharged on December 4, 1867, so again he could not raise the money for bail.

On July 7, 1868, William B. Upton charged a blind man with an assault at the workhouse. The “Tipperary Free Press” of July 17 gives its version of what this case at the Cashel Petty Sessions was about:

William B. Upton charged a blind man named Denis Gooly with an assault at the workhouse on the 7th instant. It appears Gooly had been struck by some missile which was thrown, and he brandished an old floorcloth over his head, which struck Upton in the face, and he retaliated by giving Gooly a blow to the temple. Case dismissed.

Further trouble ensued. On August 27, 1868, William B. Upton was again charged with assault and was sentenced to two months’ hard labour by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench at Cashel Petty Sessions. By now, William B. Upton was 40 years old. The Gaol Registry description also says: can read and write; Protestant, 5′ 9″; hazel eyes, auburn hair, fresh complexion. He was discharged on October 21, 1868.

I have included the personal descriptions from the Clonmel Gaol Registers because it helps to confirm we have the same person each time. Although the first two events are about “William Upton” and the others are about “William B. Upton”, I think the descriptions of personal characteristics show it is the same person each time.  The age matches the estimated birth date and the Protestant religious affiliation is uncommon in the Clonmel Gaol registers. The height measurements vary only slightly although the eye colour and hair colour seem to change a few times. The “fresh complexion” descriptor is not particularly meaningful since it seems from the registers that almost all prisoners had this. Not many Irish people are sallow (the other option).

The last time that William B. Upton was in Clonmel gaol was in 1868. I assume he continued to live at the Cashel Workhouse as a pauper. William B. Upton died in 1874 in Cashel. His age in the civil registration records is given as 44 but he would have been 46.

A very sad, poverty-stricken, violent and short life. Here was a man who must have had many opportunities to do well in life but was unable – for whatever reason – to take advantage of those opportunities. William B. Upton’s father David Bayly Upton was Actuary to the Government Savings Bank in Cashel and Clerk of the Quarter Sessions – both highly responsible positions – before his untimely death in 1846.

His grandfather William Bayly Upton was a relatively wealthy man of considerable education and status in the town of Cashel. I wonder what he thought and felt about this grandson who was his namesake and could have been his heir. Did William B. Upton suffer from some form of mental illness that nowadays would have been identified and treated? It seems clear to me that the Upton family had given up trying to help him so he descended to being a pauper in the local workhouse and being sent to prison periodically for insubordinate and violent behaviour.

I also wonder when William B. Upton became destitute. We know he was in the Cashel Workhouse in 1860. There is a record in the Dublin Workhouses registers of a William Upton from Tipperary aged 28 in 1856 who stayed for a few months in the North Dublin Workhouse. Had he already been disowned by his family at that date? What had he done to have earned that treatment? When did he have to seek help under the Poor Law that would require him to live and work in the Cashel Workhouse? These are questions that have no answers and we are unlikely to get any from the records of his time.

A sad story indeed.


Posted in Cashel, Clonmel, Families, Upton | Tagged , , ,

Margaret Joyce – from Cashel to Romford

I became interested in Margaret Joyce and her family initially because of their link to the Smiths via the Uptons of Cashel, County Tipperary.

The Joyce family is linked to the Uptons in this way: The second daughter of William Bayly Upton and his wife Margaret McClure was named Rebecca, who was born in or around 1809. She was the second youngest in the family, I believe.

In 1830, Rebecca Upton was married to Terence McGrath  (also written as Magrath). They had seven children, including two daughters: Rebecca and Margaret. These children were first cousins of Eliza Upton who married Lancelot Smith.

Rebecca Upton Magrath was named as one of two women who inherited the real property of her father William Bayly Upton in Cashel when he died in 1863. According to the will, Rebecca’s inheritance from her father was tied so that, when she died, her own daughters Rebecca and Margaret were to inherit. (The other heir to the Upton property was Rebecca’s older sister Prudence who married Robert Charters. Her inheritance was similarly tied to the next generation, Ellen Charters.)

Rebecca Magrath died in December 1875 and probate for her will was granted in October 1877 to her sole legatee: her daughter Margaret  – by then called “Margaret Joyce, wife of John Joyce”. From this I assume that Margaret’s sister Rebecca had already died and had left no children. Usually in those days, probate was granted in much less time than 22 months so there may have been some question about who was to inherit. Possibly it was related to Margaret’s very recent marriage and consequent change of name.

Margaret Joyce was one of William Bayly Upton’s grandchildren and, therefore, one of Eliza (Upton) Smith’s many cousins. I have no information so far on what happened to the ownership of the houses and other real property that Margaret inherited in 1877. Since she probably did not live in Cashel after her marriage, I wonder if the property was simply sold off. Collecting rents from afar would have been difficult although she could have appointed an agent.

Margaret Joyce had a very unusual middle name: Affra (also written as Aphra). I have no idea what the origin of that name was. Happily, with an unusual name like that, it has been a bit easier to trace her in Irish records and to distinguish her from all the many other Margaret Magraths. (There was a second married couple around the same time period called John Joyce and Margaret Magrath which has made it a bit difficult.)

I have found that Margaret Affra Magrath and John Evans Joyce were married in 1877 in Dublin. John was born in County Galway around 1848 and was a Clerk of Petty Sessions. Judging from the birth places of their children – Tipperary, Kerry, Carlow, Leitrim and Roscommon – he and his family moved around the country quite a lot. Their children were:

Theobald Upton Joyce, born 1878
Emily May Joyce, born around 1883
John Ulick Joyce, born 1885
Affra Margaret Joyce, born around 1886
Charles William Joyce, born 1887
Walter E. Penefather Joyce, born around 1888

Given the date gap between the first two children, it is probable there was at least one other child born in the family but I have no firm information on their names or whether they died young. It is possible there was a daughter Ephemie Elizabeth, born in Limerick in 1879.

The Joyce children were second cousins of my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall.

The following chart is a very abbreviated version of the family showing the connections between the Joyce family, William Bayly Upton and the Smiths.

The name of the eldest son Theobald Upton Joyce is interesting in two ways. The name Theobald is unusual and makes it more likely one can find him in later records (more on that in a while). Also, the inclusion of the name Upton as his middle name is helpful in ensuring I have the right family. Joyce is a common surname, especially in western Ireland.

The youngest son Walter also had an interesting name. Other records show his full name as Walter Evans Penefather Joyce.

The Joyce family can be found in Wexford in the 1901 Irish census which shows the parents with their five younger children. Irish censuses are always useful when it comes to information about religious affiliations. John Evans Joyce and his children were listed as Church of Ireland (i.e., Anglican) whereas Margaret Affra Joyce was Methodist. I could not find the eldest son Theobald in the Irish census in 1901 (an explanation for this emerged later).

None of the Joyce family is listed in the 1911 Irish census. In looking elsewhere for Theobald Upton Joyce, I was interested to find him in the 1911 English census, living in Liverpool with his mother Margaret, a widow, and his two sisters: Emily and Aphra. Therefore, it seems that Margaret’s husband John Evans Joyce died between the two census years. I have not been able to find a death date or death place for him in Ireland or England. In the 1911 English census, Theobald’s occupation is given as a Pensioner, South African Constabulary. So that suggests he was probably in South Africa in 1901.

In another document I found references to the fact that Theobald was “invalided from the South African Police at the end of the Boer War” and, in 1915, was “serving on the staff of the Royal Naval Ordnance, Portsmouth”. Theobald served in the Devon Regiment from November 1914 until December 1916. From at least 1911, Theobald’s three younger brothers were serving in various capacities in the Royal Marines. His brother Charles served in the Royal Marine Artillery and his brother Walter fought in the Dardanelles with the Portsmouth Battalion Royal Marine Brigade during the First World War. Both brothers survived the war.

Theobald’s third brother John Ulick Joyce was less fortunate. He was a corporal in the Royal Marine Light Infantry and was killed in the devastating explosion on board HMS “Bulwark” at Sheerness in December 1914 that killed hundreds of men. He was 29 years old and had been married for only two years to Josephine Corish in County Wexford. Their son Raymond U. Joyce was born in Hampshire in late 1914, maybe only a couple of weeks or months before John was killed.

Looking for information on the two Joyce sisters has been much more difficult. I believe that Affra Margaret Joyce died in Poplar, London in 1913 but I do not have any information on her older sister Emily May (Mary) Joyce after 1911. It is possible she married but, since I don’t have her married name, I cannot search for information on her later life.

From other searches, I have concluded that the three surviving Joyce brothers had close links with the British Royal Navy and Theobald in particular continued to be employed in some capacity by the Royal Navy in the Portsmouth area for many years. According to English electoral registers, between 1915 and 1926 Theobald lived in Gosport, Hampshire, with his mother Margaret and – at various dates – with his brothers Charles and Walter. I lost track of him after 1926 until 1931, when he appears again on the electoral register but this time living in Macclesfield, Cheshire, with his mother Margaret.

In what seems like a major life change, Theobald was married in 1935 to Florence E. Day in Romford, Essex. I can only assume that his work with the Royal Navy had required him to move to that part of England although by then he was about 56 years old. In 1936, Theobald’s mother Margaret Joyce died in Romford aged 86.

In the 1939 Register, Theobald and Florence were living in Ilford, Essex.  By this time Theobald was a retired Royal Naval Ordnance Clerk. Theobald died in Ilford in early 1960. His age of death is given as 79 although I think he was actually 81.

Theobald’s brother Walter E. P. Joyce died in 1951 in Gosport, Hampshire, at the age of 62. I have no other details of his life after the First World War.

An interesting family, all born in Ireland but living in England from the early 1900s. Their move to England happened long before the 1917 Easter Rising and all of the chaos that followed up to and beyond the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 and the civil war. I wonder if they kept in contact with any of their Irish relatives and if Margaret Joyce continued to own any property in Cashel.

Posted in Cashel, Families, Joyce, Magrath, Upton | Tagged , , , , ,

William Bayly Upton’s will

(Updated November 17, 2017)

Finding a will – even if it is a transcription – is a wonderful thing in Irish genealogy research. So many original wills and similar documents were lost in the fire at the Four Courts in Dublin during the Civil War in 1922.

Recently I found the transcription of the November 1861 will of William Bayly Upton, my 3X great-grandfather. I knew he had died on the 13th of January 1863 but had no idea what happened to his property and other possessions after that. Now I know something about that.

The transcription is part of a collection of wills that were registered in the District Registry for Waterford, which covered the counties of Waterford, Wexford and Tipperary. The volumes of transcriptions were kept in Waterford and are now being digitized and made available on-line by the subscription service Find My Past.

From looking at the lists of properties in Griffith’s Valuation published in 1850, I knew that William Bayly Upton lived in Cashel and had significant property in the town including houses, gardens and vacant lots on several streets and lanes branching off Main Street in the centre of the town. I was curious to know what he decided should be done with that after he died.

It was usual in most families for the sons, particularly the eldest son, to inherit their father’s property. But, as I have already explained in other posts, all five of William Bayly Upton’s sons died before he did. Two of his sons, William and David, had children. But, as far as I know, William’s two sons died as children. David had two sons; the younger one, Matthew Gilbert Upton, emigrated with his mother and sister Fanny to the United States after his father died in 1846. I think Matthew’s older brother William stayed in Tipperary and was not reliable (I will write about him on another occasion). William Bayly Upton’s youngest son, Bayly, died in 1852 and I believe he was unmarried. So William Bayly Upton had no Upton grandsons in Cashel that he could trust with his estate. He did have grandsons from his daughters’ families but they were not favoured in the first instance.

He also had a granddaughter Eliza Upton (my great-grandmother), who was living in Cashel in 1861. She was the daughter of William Upton. She is not mentioned in the will. Eliza married Lancelot Smith in June 1862 so maybe her grandfather thought she would be provided for through that marriage.

Interestingly enough, he decided to bequeath his real property and residual assets to two of his daughters – although he had three daughters (Prudence, Rebecca and Margaret). What was the reasoning behind this? I think Margaret was omitted because she was no longer living in Cashel whereas the other two were. Margaret, who married Thomas Ryall, died in Dublin in 1866.

Prudence Upton was the eldest daughter and she was married to Robert Charters (also often written as Chartres). She was born in 1798, by my calculation, so she was 63 years old when her father’s will was signed. This is what Prudence received:

I will and bequeath unto my daughter Prudence Charters all that and those houses in Chapel Lane viz. the house occupied and inhabited by herself and the three other houses above her and on the same side of the said street and which three houses I hold by lease under Margaret Harrington the third of said three houses is situate at the entrance into Lester’s lane and also the several eight houses and the void and empty spaces of ground extending from the house occupied by Patrick Ekins to Mrs. Dolan’s gate leading into her garden and the empty space extending from the other side of said gate to the houses occupied by John Ryan and the garden behind the house occupied by Michael Keefe, all which house and waste ground and garden I now hold under Abel Richard Woodroofe Esquire and here I have to state that the space over Mrs. Dolan’s gateway heretofore a room belongs to me and forms part of my lease

This is quite a complicated description that is hard to follow without a map.

So here are a couple of maps to give you an idea of where these properties were.

First is a modern map showing the centre of Cashel with Main Street going in a diagonal line. The Rock of Cashel, with its ancient church buildings is to the north of Main Street beside Rock Lane. The streets and lanes where William Bayly Upton had property were: Main Street, Friar Street (also written as Friar’s, Fryar, or Friary Street), Chapel Lane (now called Dominic Street), Lester’s Lane (not visible on this map), and Green House Lane (also not visible).

Ordnance Survey of Ireland modern map excerpt

The second map is a closer look at the centre of the town at about 1900. It shows more of the lanes as well as the streets. Lester’s Lane is identified as Lyster’s Lane, to the left of Chapel Lane. Green House Lane is not identified in this map either but may be what is called Quirk’s Lane, which leads into Main Street on the south side of that street.

Ordnance Survey of Ireland map excerpt c 1900

Rebecca Upton married Terence McGrath (later written as Magrath) in 1830. She was born around 1809 so she was about 52 when her father’s will was written in November 1861. Apart from one other bequest, Rebecca Magrath received the rest of the property, as follows:

And to my daughter Rebecca Magrath I will and bequeath all the rest of my property consisting of holdings in Fryar street, in said city of Cashel being the house in which John Dunn collar maker lives and the next house now a gateway held from me under a proposal by William Corcoran and the next house some time since occupied by Margaret McEnroe which property I hold under the late Mr. William Phelan as also the house and concerns which Mr. Thomas Carew holds from me under lease and which I purchased from Richard Lockwood Esq. at forty years purchase and also that portion of Green house lane in said city of Cashel which the said Mr. Thomas Carew holds under lease from me and which Garden is part of the property I hold in said Green house lane which I hold under lease from Thomas Dwyer Esquire Solicitor all which garden and houses in said Green house lane I will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Magrath being the Bakery house and two rooms one over Mr. Thomas Hayden’s kitchen and the second over a back room of the adjoining house and a house opposite to where Patrick Magrath lives in said lane both which places Mr. Thomas Hayden holds from me under leases also a house the said Mr. Hayden holds at a weekly rent of one shilling per week the rest of the houses in said Green house lane being held by weekly tenants and consist of twelve distinct houses and ten rooms in the large house I also will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Magrath the property partly in the Main street and Chapel lane which I hold under lease from the late Richard Wood Apothecary which consist of three houses once held by Catherine Farrel another held by Mrs. Dolan and the one in the lane by Michael Ryan barber and the fourth being in the lane called Chapel lane and next door to the house held by Michael Ryan the barber as aforesaid and the two houses held by Catherine Farrel and Mrs. Dolan in the Main street, in stating the houses held under the late Richard Wood Apothecary I mentioned at first any three houses instead of four which number I wrote over the word three as above

It seems to me that Rebecca got the bulk of the property from her father’s will. She was also named as the residuary legatee for any money that remained after other assets (including his books) were sold and his debts were paid.

The will also describes certain yearly rents that each daughter would have to pay to those who were the ultimate owners of specific pieces of property they would inherit.

Having stated which property was to go to Prudence and which to Rebecca, their father’s will then goes on to bind them as to who would inherit the property when they died. So, in the case of Prudence, her daughter Ellen Charters was to be the heir to her mother’s real property (assuming she had not sold it before then). Prudence Charters died in 1864, only about a year after she inherited the property from her father.

I have no information on the life of Ellen Charters and do not know if she married. I did find an Ellen Charters in the 1911 Irish census living in Kilshane townland, which is not far from Cashel. She was unmarried, aged 72, and a member of the Church of Ireland. I have not been able to find her in the 1901 census; that might help to confirm I have the right Ellen Charters.

The will further specifies that if Ellen died without any legitimate children, the property would then go to her cousin William Bayly Magrath, one of Rebecca’s children.

Rebecca Magrath was also tied as to whom she could bequeath the real property she inherited from her father. The will specifies that the property would then go to Rebecca’s two daughters Margaret and Rebecca “share and share alike” (in other words, split equally). Rebecca Magrath died in 1875 and probate for her will was granted in 1877 to her daughter Margaret who was recently married to John Evans Joyce. Margaret’s sister Rebecca must have died before 1877 because Margaret was the sole legatee.

Going back again to the original will, William Bayly Upton specifies that if his granddaughters Margaret and Rebecca Magrath died without legitimate issue then the property was to be shared equally between their brothers Terry and James Magrath. This provision would not have been activated because Margaret (Magrath) Joyce had several children. I will write about the Joyce family in another post later on.

Probate on the will of William Bayly Upton was granted to Rebecca Magrath, widow, on the 7th of February 1863.

It is tempting to speculate about why William Bayly Upton decided to favour some of his female descendants as his heirs but it is probably best not to do that. Of course, you can do so if you wish …

Posted in Cashel, Charters, Families, Magrath, Ryall, Smith, Tipperary, Upton | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,