I’m continuing to explore what became of the children of my 5 x great uncle Bowes John Gibson, who died in 1817. In the previous post, I concluded that three daughters, Elizabeth, Emily and Matilda Henrietta, survived from Bowes John’s second marriage to Mary Catherine Bretman. Matilda did not marry and died in 1845 at the age of 32. Elizabeth’s life story is complicated and will be discussed in another post. In this post I want to share what we know about the remaining sister, Emily.

Emily Gibson was born on 12th August in 1805 in Mile End Old Town and baptised at the parish church of St Dunstan and All Saints on 22nd November that year. She was the sixth of eight children born to Bowes John and Mary Catherine Gibson. When her father died in 1817, Emily was twelve years old, and when her mother died in June 1826 she would have been not quite twenty-one.

Despite her youth, and the fact that at least three of her surviving siblings were older than her, Emily was appointed as executrix of her mother’s will, together with the executor Richard Aldridge of Clay Hill, Tottenham. We shall have more to say about Mr Aldridge, who eventually married Emily’s older sister Elizabeth, in another post. I assume that Emily played the piano, since her mother bequeathed her a pianoforte, as well as various items of jewellery.

St Helen's Bishopsgate

St Helen’s Bishopsgate today

On 18th November 1835, when she would have been thirty years old, and therefore past the normal marrying age for the period, Emily was married at the church of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, in the City of London. Her husband was John Godfrey Grove. It only struck me recently, on revisiting these records, that his Christian names are the same as those of Emily’s cousin, John Godfrey Schwartz, the son of her father’s sister Ann Schwartz née Gibson, who married another cousin, Frances Collins; and also those of his son, her second cousin, who married another second cousin, Mary Ann Bonner. (I wrote about these tangled relationships in a recent post; I should add the caveat that I don’t yet have conclusive evidence for some of these relationships.)

As I’ve noted before, the Schwartz family are elusive and difficult to trace in the records available online. Might John Godfrey Grove provide a clue that would help me to track them down? Perhaps one of his parents was connected in some way to the Schwartz family? As well as his first names, there is also the fact that he and Emily were married in Bishopsgate, a part of London associated with the Schwartz family (the first John Godfrey Schwartz married his cousin Frances Collins there in 1780, albeit in the nearby church of St Botolph).

London docks

London docks

Emily’s husband John Godfrey Grove is almost certainly the person of that name who was baptized at the church of St John at Hackney on 25th January 1807; he had been born on 10th December 1806, so was just a little younger than Emily when they married. His parents were John and Susanna Grove, for whom I have yet to find any other children. They had been married at the same church on 21st July 1803.

One of the witnesses to that marriage was Matthias Walton, who was almost certainly Susanna’s father. He would die in 1808 and be buried at St Thomas’ church in Hackney. Matthias seems to have been a bricklayer, originally from Bethnal Green, but this almost certainly means that he owned a building business, rather than that he was a manual labourer. He was married to Susanna Walker, originally from Hackney. There is no mention of a daughter named Susanna in his will, suggesting that she may have predeceased him; this may explain why there were no Grove children after John Godfrey.

Hackney in 1840

Hackney in 1840

Matthias Walton gives his address as Well Street, Hackney, the same street where John Grove would be paying land tax between 1810 and 1816. Could he also be the John Grove who was paying land tax in Bethnal Green between 1799 and 1812? And if he remarried after Susanna’s death, as one might expect of a young husband with an infant son, is he the John Grove who married Martha Timmins French at the church of St Matthew, Bethnal Green, in August 1807 (ten months after the birth of his son John Godfrey)? This John Grove can be found in census records in 1841, 1851 and 1861, where is he described variously as a retired clerk in the Naval Office, a house proprietor and fund holder. Still alive at the age of 90, he is said to have been born in about 1771. Unfortunately, there is no hint of any connection with the Schwartz family.

John Grove senior’s profession seems to be echoed in his son John Godfrey’s occupation. When his and Emily’s only child, Emily Elizabeth Grove, was baptized at St Dunstan’s, Stepney, on 22nd March 1842, John Godfrey was described as a ‘clerk in the docks’. At the time, the couple were living in Mile End Old Town. If the 1851 census record is correct, then Emily Elizabeth was actually born five years earlier, in about 1837, about a year after her parents’ marriage. The reason for Emily’s baptism being scheduled for this later date, and for her middle name, is that her aunt Elizabeth Gibson was marrying shipowner Richard Aldridge on the same day at the same church, perhaps in the same ceremony.

A Victorian National School

A Victorian National School

I have a note somewhere that John Godfrey Grove died shortly after his daughter’s birth, but I can’t now find a record of this. Nor can I find any of the family in the 1841 census, though I assume they must still have been in Stepney at this time. Emily Grove née Gibson was certainly a widow by 1851, when the census finds her and her daughter Emily Elizabeth,  aged 14, living at the National or Charity School in Keston, near Bromley in Kent. Emily senior, now 43, is working as a governess and her daughter as a monitor or ‘adjutrix’ (a female helper or assistant).

And that is the last record I’ve managed to find for either Emily Grove or for her daughter Emily Elizabeth.

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