Sophia Bowman (born 1859)

Continuing with my overview of the children of Joseph Bowman, in this post I write about his daughter Sophia.  She was born in 1859, the daughter of Joseph by his first marriage to Elizabeth, and lived at home in Mile End Old Town until the age of 25, working as a tailoress.

Victorian tailoress

On 30 September 1884 Sophia Bowman married 36-year-old Norfolk-born widower Thomas Betts at Holy Trinity church, Stepney. In the marriage register Thomas described himself as a ‘manager’, but in other records his occupation is given variously as coachman, groom and omnibus conductor or driver. Thomas already had four children – Alice, Frances, Thomas and Mary – from his first marriage to Sarah, who was also from Norfolk.

Sophia and Thomas had three children of their own – Joseph (1885), Jessie (1888) and William (1890). At the time of the 1891 census, the family was living at 8 Mossford Street, Mile End Old Town.

Victorian omnibus

Thomas Betts died in 1893 at the age of 47. Three years later, in August 1896, his widow Sophia married Leicestershire-born Robert Joseph Stephenson, who was the same age as her (37) and himself a widower. Robert was a pattern maker, living in Fairfoot Road, Bromley, while Sophia, still working as a tailoress, was living in Ropery Street, Stepney. In the following year they had a son, Henry, and the 1901 census finds the family still living at the address in Roperty Street.

I haven’t yet found any of the family in the 1911 census, and I’m not sure when Robert and Sophia died.

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