The children of John Thomas Gibson: Rev. Charles Dockley Gibson (1818 – 1869)

The previous post explored the lives of George Milsom Gibson (1782 -1814) and John Thomas Gibson (1785 – 1852), two of the sons of my 5 x great uncle Bowes John Gibson (1744 – 1817), both of whom served in the British army in India in the first half of the nineteenth century. I noted that George died in his early 30s, leaving a wife and young son, for whom I have been unable to find any further records. John died in India in 1852 at the age of 67, having fathered nine children by his wife Henrietta. Of these children, four seem to have died at a young age, while one son, John James, followed his father into the military but predeceased him, leaving an unknown number of children.

That leaves two sons – Charles Dockley and Thomas Wheatley – and two daughters – Louisa Grace and Henrietta Elizabeth – for whom we have more information. In the next few posts, I’ll set out what we know about their lives, thus taking the story of the Gibson family to the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth.

St John's College, Cambridge, in 1842 (via victorianweb.org)

St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1842 (via victorianweb.org)

In the remainder of this post, I’ll summarise what we know about Charles Dockley Gibson, who was born in 1818. In the previous post I noted that Charles graduated from St John’s College, Cambridge in 1841 and worked for a while as a teacher in London. However, he took holy orders some time before his marriage, in 1843, to Louisa Laing, the daughter of one of his father’s schoolfriends, and seems to have served for a short time in Suffolk, perhaps as a curate.

Charles Dockley Gibson proceeded to the degree of M.A. in 1847 and in 1848 took up an appointment as an army chaplain, returning to India, the country of his birth and still the home of his parents and a number of his siblings. Apparently Charles held a number of posts, serving at St George’s Cathedral in Madras from 1849-57, and at Fort St George from 1862-65 and 1866-68. At one stage he was the chaplain of St John’s church in Vellore. According to one source his father built a small church near his home at Kotagherry, perhaps intending that his son would serve as its incumbent.

Church at Kotagherry, India: was this the church built by John Thomas Gibson? (via http://digitallibrary.usc.edu)

Church at Kotagherry, India: was this the church built by John Thomas Gibson? (via http://digitallibrary.usc.edu)

According to another account, Charles Dockley Gibson was ‘very popular in society on account of his pleasant manners and various accomplishments, and probably on account of his relationship to many Madras officers, civil and military.’ The document continues:

His brother was in the Madras Army, and two of his sisters were married to officers in the same. He had sufficient influence to serve most of his time in Madras. He was on the committee of the Additional Clergy Society during nearly the whole time he was in the Presidency town.

However, his influence was not enough to prevent Charles being removed from Fort St George in 1868, ‘for a neglect of duty’, following a complaint from the General Office Commanding. He died in the following year at Calicut. He was 51 years old. I’m not sure what became of his wife Louisa, or whether they had any surviving children.

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Brothers in arms: George Milsom Gibson and John Thomas Gibson

I’ve been exploring the lives of the children of Bowes John Gibson (1744 – 1817), the East India Company broker who was the younger brother of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson (1733 – 1809). In recent posts I’ve written about the surviving children from Bowes John’s second marriage to Mary Catherine Bretman. In this post, I’m returning to the children who survived from his first marriage to Elizabeth Hendly.

In an earlier post, I noted that only three children appear to have survived from Bowes John’s first marriage. These were his daughter Esther, who married mariner and shipbuilder Thomas Lay, with whom she had two sons, but who disappears from the records after 1797 – and his two sons, George Milsom Gibson and John Thomas Gibson. I’ve written about the latter two before, but I now want to provide a fuller account of their lives, which seem to have followed similar paths. 

Birth and childhood 

George Milsom Gibson was born at Long Walk, Bermondsey, on 18th December 1781 and baptised on 7th January in the following year at the parish church of St Mary Magdalene. As I’ve noted before, he appears to have been named after Captain George Milsom, who died in 1834, and who is described in some sources as serving in the 9th Regiment of the Madras Native Infantry, and in others as being in the service of the East India Company: the two were seemingly not incompatible. Since Bowes John Gibson was in the habit of naming sons after people he knew personally, it seems likely that the two men were friends and associates. Certainly, it seems no coincidence that George Milsom Gibson would end up serving in the Madras Native Infantry like his namesake – who may well have been his godfather. By the time his younger brother John Thomas was born three years later, the Gibson family had moved across the Thames to a house in Mile End Old Town. John was christened on 18th August 1785 at St Dunstan’s, Stepney.

George and John were the seventh and eighth children born to their mother Elizabeth, though it’s unclear how many of their older siblings had survived infancy. Esther, the eldest Gibson child, was already fourteen when George was born. The only other older sibling whose survival we can be sure of was another brother, Grey Dockley Gibson, who was eight years older than George. A younger sister, Matilda Ann, and a younger brother, Carleton, would follow George and John, but neither would survive early childhood.

In 1793, when George was ten and John was eight, their mother Elizabeth died. In the following year their older brother Grey Dockley died at the age of twenty. It was another few years before their father Bowes John married for a second time, though it’s possible that his relationship with Mary Catherine Bretman preceded their formal marriage in 1799. This second marriage would produce eight more (half) siblings for George and John.

An 18th century gentleman's house on Mile End Road: remains of Malplaquet House, built in 1741

An 18th century gentleman’s house on Mile End Road: remains of Malplaquet House, built in 1741

The two boys would have spent most of their childhood in then-fashionable Mile End Old Town, though we know that they were sent to school in Lambeth in south London, possibly as weekly boarders and perhaps (given their motherless state) from an early age. Our main source for this information is the memoir written by John Thomas Gibson’s schoolfriend and future brother-in-law, the composer, singer and actor Charles Edward Horn. Horn writes that ‘the Gibsons and the Laings were our constant visitors as boys from school on Sundays, and this was continued till their departure from school for good and to become cadets for the Indian Service’. Elsewhere he notes that one of the Laing brothers, Henry Laing ‘became the instructor and master of my sister’s children upon her first visit to England after being with her husband in India 10 years, and her second son, Dockley Gibson, being educated for a clergyman, married the daughter of John Laing. Thus we all schoolfellows became afterward related by the marriages of my sister’s and the Laings’ children’.

Marriage

We know that John Thomas Gibson became an officer cadet in the Indian Army in 1800, when he was fifteen years old and, given his superior age, I imagine that George might have joined the service before this (British Library, Oriental and India Office, Cadet Papers, L/MIL/9/111 f 625).

On 20th February 1811, when he was twenty-three years old, John Thomas Gibson married Henrietta Eliza Horn, his old school friend’s sister, at the church of St George the Martyr, Queen Square. John’s father Bowes John Gibson was one of the witnesses, and the other was Henrietta’s father, Charles Frederick Horn – the German-born musician and composer who became a music teacher in the Royal Household.

Memoir of Charles Edward Horn

Memoir of Charles Edward Horn

Charles Edward Horn writes in his memoir of how he ‘left my apartments in Rathbone Place and again joined my father at 25 Queen Square, in consequence of my sister’s marriage with my old schoolfellow J[ohn Thomas] Gibson, then a lieutenant only in the Indian Army, and then leaving with Major Gibson for Madras for they had residence at my father’s house.’

As for George Milsom Gibson, he was married two years after his younger brother. On 22nd September 1813 he married Eliza Harriet Wilson at Fort St George, Madras. I’m grateful to Barbara Haines in Kentucky, who is researching the life of the original George Milsom, for this information. I recently discovered that Eliza Wilson was almost certainly the (illegitimate?) daughter of Welsh-born merchant Thomas Parry.

According to one source:

Parry came to Madras in 1788 and by 1794 he was married to Mary Pearce, widow of a civil servant of the city. Parry’s marriage was not a success, for Mrs. Parry disliked Madras. In 1806 she took her two children and left for England where she lived for the remainder of a rather long life. Parry consoled himself with the local delights. He almost certainly fathered a Miss Eliza Harriett Wilson at whose marriage to Major George Gibson he and his business partner Dare officiated as witnesses. Her son was named George Parry Gibson.

Another source relates that in 1823 ‘Parry and 10 year old George Parry Gibson (his son?) went to South Arcot to visit his indigo factory in Porto Novo and was smitten by Cholera and died soon after.’ George Parry Gibson was, of course, Thomas Parry’s grandson, not his son. By this time, the boy’s father was dead, since George Milsom Gibson passed away less than a year after his marriage to Eliza Wilson. The inscription on his tomb in the Old Cemetery at Visakhapatnam, India, reads as follows:

Sacred to the memory of Major George Milsom Gibson Commandant 1st batt[alion]. 2nd Reg. N[ative] I[nfantry] who departed this life 5 May 1814 Aged 33 years.

It’s unclear whether George died of natural causes or on active service. Nor do we know what became of his widow or his son.

Tombs in the Old Cemetery at Visakhapatnam (via schickrobert.blogspot.com)

Tombs in the Old Cemetery at Visakhapatnam (via schickrobert.blogspot.com)

The children of John Thomas Gibson 

Information about the military career of John Thomas Gibson is harder to come by, though we know that most of it was spent in Madras, in the service of the East India Company, and that he rose to the rank of Major General. Certainly, all of John and Henrietta Gibson’s nine children appear to have been born in India. They were: Louise Grace (born 1811); Mary Emma (1815); John James (1816); Charles Dockley (1818); Edmund (1819); Thomas Wheatley (1823); Henrietta Elizabeth (1824); Matilda (1827); and Edward Samuel (1829). Of these, we know that Mary Emma and Emma both died at the age of two and Matilda at the age of one. I can find no further records for Edmund or Edward Samuel, nor are they mentioned in his father’s will, so I assume that they did not survive either.

John Thomas and Henrietta Gibson’s eldest daughter Louise Grace married George Briggs, a captain in the Madras Artillery, probably sometime in the 1830s.

John and Henrietta’s eldest son John James Gibson served as a captain in the 20th Regiment of the Native Infantry. He was married with children, though I can find no record of his wife or offspring. He predeceased his father, date unknown.

Charles Dockley Gibson graduated from St John’s College, Cambridge in 1841. The census taken that year finds him living in Fulham High Street and working as a teacher. However, by the time of his marriage, on 3rd June 1843, at the church of St John, Hampstead, Charles had taken holy orders and was described in the parish register as a clergyman, living at Corton in Suffolk. His father John Thomas was described as a general in the army. Charles’ bride was Louisa Laing, daughter of John Laing, a gentleman of Hampstead. As we have already noted, John was also an old school friend of Charles’ father.

On 7th December 1847 Thomas Wheatley Gibson married Italian-born Isabella Schneider at Chigwell, Essex. From later census records, we can gather that Thomas followed in his father’s footsteps and served as a captain in the Indian army.

Henrietta Elizabeth Gibson married another Indian army officer, Henry Temple Hillyard, probably some time in the 1840s, possibly in India. Henry would rise to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the 14th Madras Native Infantry.

Nilgiri Hills, India (via onthegotours.com)

Nilgiri Hills, India (via onthegotours.com)

John Thomas Gibson died in 1852 at Kolergherry in the Neilgherry or Nilgiri Hills, India, leaving his house there to his daughter Louise and her husband Captain George Briggs, who was also appointed as one of the executors of his will. From John’s failure to mention his wife Henrietta in his will, we can assume that he predeceased her. Interestingly, we discover that John Thomas Gibson’s life insurance was with ‘Messrs. Parry and Company’.

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The Gibson-Slark connection

In the previous post about Elizabeth Aldridge née Gibson, daughter of my 5 x great uncle Bowes John Gibson (1744 – 1817) and widow of Richard Aldridge (died 1848), I noted that in 1861 she was living at No. 6 Barnsbury Square, Islington. I also observed that Elizabeth’s neighbours at No. 5 were a certain William S. Gibson, his wife Mary Ann, and their infant children Clara Elizabeth and William. We know that they were relatives of Elizabeth’s because, ten years later, Clara would be living with Elizabeth at No.6, the 1871 census record describing her as the latter’s great niece. According to the 1861 record, William S. Gibson was born in 1836 in Northumberland and his wife Mary Ann, who was about the same age, was born in Kingsland, London. Their two children were born in Barnsbury, Islington.

St. John at Hackney in the late 18th century

St. John at Hackney in the late 18th century

William Slark Gibson had married Mary Ann Higgs on 31st July 1858 at the parish church of St John Hackney. William, a mercantile clerk, was said to be resident in the parish of St Mary, Islington (perhaps in Barnsbury Square), while Mary Ann was from Dalston, which was also the home of the Aldridge family. Mary was the daughter of James Higgs, a stockbroker, while William was said to be the son of another William Slark Gibson, a gentleman.

Mary Ann Higgs had been baptised at St John’s, Hackney, on 29th June 1834. At that time her father was working as a linen draper and the family lived on Kingland High Street. By 1841 James and Mary Higgs were living in nearby Kingsland Green. Mary Ann was now seven years old; she had an older brother James, 9, and a younger brother Thomas, 5.

Even if William Slark Gibson had not been living in Barnsbury Square before his marriage, then he and Mary Ann must have moved there shortly afterwards. It was certainly their address when Clara Elizabeth was baptised at St Mary, Islington, on 22nd June 1860, having been born almost exactly a year earlier. Their son William was born in 1861, presumably at the same address.

If, as the 1871 census claims, Clara was Elizabeth Aldridge’s great niece, then her father, William Slark Gibson, must have been Elizabeth’s nephew. This means that William’s father was Elizabeth’s brother. His marriage record claims that William Slark Gibson’s father shared his names, but I wonder if this is an error on the part of the parish clerk? We know that Elizabeth had a brother William Henry, born in 1802. In an earlier post, I speculated that he might be the person of that name buried at the Wesleyan cemetery in Stepney in 1830. But what if I was wrong and William married – presumably somebody with the surname Slark – and they gave their son her surname as a middle name?

It’s irritating that I can’t find a birth record for William Slark Gibson, or any trace of a marriage between William Henry Gibson and a woman with the surname Slark. However, we know that there must to have been some connection to the Slark family since, as I mentioned in the last post, the 1871 census not only finds Clara Gibson sharing a house with Elizabeth Aldridge, but they are also joined by five visitors, all members of the Cope family. These were Ida Philippina C.A.E. Cope, 21 and Constance Catherine C. C. Y. Cope, 18, both said to have been born in Prussia; Carl Edward Hubert Maria Cope, 16, born in Islington; Mabel Agnes Blanche Ella Louise Cope, 14, born in Austria; and Cecil Ernest T. Cope, 9, born in Australia.

Old St Pancras church

Old St Pancras church

These elaborately-named children were the offspring of architect Frederick Charles Cope (1819 – 1885) and his wife Elizabeth Jane Slark. They had been married on 31st January 1843 at the parish church of St Pancras. Frederick’s father Thomas was yet another employee of Her Majesty’s Customs (see previous posts on the Aldridge family), while Elizabeth Jane was the daughter of William Slark, an ironmonger, and his wife Anna Maria, both of whom were witnesses to the marriage.

Elizabeth or Eliza Jane Slark was christened on 8th November 1821 at the church of St James, Clerkenwell. Her parents were William and Anna Maria Slark, her father was described as a gentleman, and the family’s address was Northampton Square. Eliza Jane was the second of the Slarks’ six children.

The records for William Slark and his wife Anna Maria Hancock are curious and contradictory. According to the parish register of St Luke’s, Finsbury, they were married there on 29th December 1818. But the register of St Botolph, Aldersgate claims they were married there on 20th May 1819, and then there is the entry in the parish of register St Pancras stating that their marriage took place in the Parish Chapel on 11th August 1819. Was it really possible for a couple to contract their marriage three times, in three different London churches?

One reason for this disregard for the protocol of the Established Church might have been that the Slarks were Nonconformists. William had been baptised on 22nd November 1797 at the Independent Chapel in the Barbican. His parents were another William Slark and his wife Elizabeth who lived at Old Change, Cheapside.

Clapton Road, from Weller's 1868 map of London

Clapton Road, from Weller’s 1868 map of London

Presumably it’s the same William and Elizabeth Slark, aged 76 and 75 respectively, who can be found living in Clapton Road, Hackney, at the time of the 1851 census. With them are their daughter-in-law, Anna M. Slark, and their grandson William, 19, an articled auctioneer, together with a number of servants. William had been born in 1831, the last of the Slark children: in addition to Eliza Jane, there had also been at least three other daughters born to William and Anna Maria Slark.

Since he was born in 1803, it’s possible that William Henry Gibson, son of Bowes John Gibson and brother of Elizabeth Aldridge née Gibson, married a daughter of William Slark senior and his wife Elizabeth. This would mean that Eliza Jane Slark, who married Frederick Cope, was a cousin of his son William Slark Gibson, thus helping to explain why the Cope children were staying with Elizabeth Aldridge in Barnsbury Square in 1871.

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Elizabeth Aldridge after 1848

In the last post I shared my transcription of the will of Richard Aldridge, the lighterman and Custom House agent who died in 1848, and in the post before that I wrote about his marriage to Elizabeth Gibson, daughter of my 5 x great uncle Bowes John Gibson.

Early Victorian fashions from Graham's Magazine, 1848

Early Victorian fashions from Graham’s Magazine, 1848

In this post I’m exploring what became of Elizabeth Aldridge née Gibson after the death of her husband. In 1848, the year of Richard Aldridge’s death, of Chartist rallies in England and revolutions across Europe, Elizabeth would have been 45 years old. In his will, Richard had bequeathed her their home at 20 Dalston Place, on the semi-rural outskirts of north-east London.

In 1841, 60-year-old Richard Aldridge had been living in Dalston Place with Elizabeth (either ‘our’ Elizabeth, or possibly an earlier wife with the same name: see this post), his adult son Richard junior, teenaged daughter Emily, and married daughter Esther Holliday, with her young daughter Elizabeth, and a female servant. In the following year Richard junior had married Hannah Armstrong and in 1845 Emily had married William Price Inglis. Emily died just a year after her marriage, at the age of 19, probably in childbirth.

When the next census was taken in 1851, three years after the death of Richard Aldridge senior, his widow Elizabeth, a 45-year-old ‘annuitant’, was still living at 20 Dalston Place. With her were William Price Inglis, 36, a clerk with the Post Office; Thomas Inglis, 32, a clerk in Her Majesty’s Customs (did Richard Aldridge have anything to do with his appointment?); and a visitor named Maria Inglis, a ‘Lady’ aged 50. Thomas was said to have been born in Spain and Maria in Portugal, but both were described as British subjects. William was, of course, the widower of Elizabeth’s late stepdaughter Emily Aldridge. Thomas was his brother and Maria their mother, the widow of Thomas Inglis senior, a physician and army staff surgeon.

Barnsbury Square is near the top right of this section from Weller's London map of 1868

Barnsbury Square is near the middle right of this section from Weller’s London map of 1868

It’s not clear whether the Inglis family had taken up permanent residence at Dalston Place, and I can’t find any trace of them after 1851. Certainly by 1861 Elizabeth Aldridge had moved house. The next census finds her, aged 58 (or 60, if you believe the census record), living at Vernon House, at No. 6 Barnsbury Square in Islington. This was the fashionable square where Elizabeth’s brother and sister, Bowes Charles and Matilda Henrietta, lived until their deaths, in 1837 and 1845 respectively. I suspect that at least one house in the square had been left to her children by Mary Catherine Gibson, when she died in 1826, or perhaps by her husband Bowes John Gibson, who had died in 1817.

Elizabeth’s new household included both a servant and an attendant, suggesting that she had ample means to support herself and perhaps that she was growing infirm with age. Next door to Elizabeth, at No. 5 Barnsbury Square, we find William S. Gibson, a mercantile clerk, his wife Mary Ann, their daughter Clara Elizabeth, who is one year old, and son William, only a month old, both of them born in Barnsbury. This is William Slark Gibson, who – we can deduce from other sources – must have been Elizabeth Aldridge’s nephew.

I want to discuss the Slark Gibsons fully in another post, but for now we should note that their relationship with Elizabeth must have been close, since ten years later in 1871 we find their daughter Clara Elizabeth Gibson, now 11, actually living with her 67-year-old great aunt at No.6 Barnsbury Square. Not only that, but they have five visitors staying with them, in addition to a general servant. The visitors are all members of the Cope family: Ida, 21, and Constance, 18, both born in Prussia; Carl, 16, born in Islington; Mabel, 14, born in Austria; and Cecil, 9, born in Australia. It turns out that these were the children of Frederick Charles Cope, an architect, and Elizabeth Jane Slark. The latter was obviously related in some way to William Slark Gibson, and therefore to Clara and by extension Elizabeth, though it will take some more research – and another post – to unravel the precise connections between them.

To date, I’ve been unable to find Elizabeth Aldridge in any records after 1871, so I assume she must have died before the 1881 census was taken.

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The last will and testament of Richard Aldridge (died 1848)

In the last post I wrote about Elizabeth Gibson (born 1803), daughter of my 5 x great uncle Bowes John Gibson (1744 – 1817) and his second wife Mary Catherine Bretman. Elizabeth married ship owner and widower Richard Aldridge in 1842. He died six years later. In this post, I’m reproducing my transcription of Richard Aldridge’s will. Much of it is legalistic detail, but it also provides useful confirmation of some of the facts of Richard’s life, and the lives of his children. For example, the will confirms the married names of his daughters Mary Jane Reynolds and Esther Holliday. It’s also touching that Richard Aldridge describes William Price Inglis, his son-in-law and the husband of his recently-deceased daughter Emily, as a ‘friend’.

Custom House, London, in about 1840

Custom House, London, in about 1840

It’s interesting to note that Richard Aldridge describes himself as a lighterman, the same occupation that I believe was followed by my 6 x great grandfather John Gibson, father of Bowes John. Richard’s association with Trinity House recalls that of my 8 x great grandfather Captain William Greene (grandfather of John Gibson’s wife Mary Greene), who was an Elder Brother and at one time Warden of that institution. And Aldridge is not the only person in my family tree to have served as a Custom House Agent: my 4 x great grandfather James Blanch was described as such at the time of his death, and his son, another James, was a customs officer until his transportation to Australia, having been convicted of stealing from one of the ships he was inspecting.

John Dalston Jones, named in the codicil to the will as a new executor after the death of Captain Joseph Short, was a Welsh-born surgeon and neighbour of the Aldridge family in Dalston.

In the transcription that follows, (?) indicates doubt about a transcribed word, while (???) stands for words that were illegible or otherwise impossible to understand.

This is the last Will and Testament of me Richard Aldridge the elder of Old Trinity House Water Lane Tower Street in the City of London and of No. 20 Dalston place Dalston in the County of Middlesex Lighterman and Custom House Agent as follows (that is to say) I direct my executors as soon as conveniently may be after my death to carry into effect the provisions in the deed of partnership executed by me and my sons Richard Aldridge the younger and Thomas Aldridge and bearing date on or about the nineteenth day of October one thousand eight hundred and forty six contained in the event of my departing this life before the expiration of the partnership term of twenty one years And in particular I direct my executors to do what may be proper of expedient to enforce the execution and delivery to my beloved wife Elizabeth Aldridge of a proper Bond or covenant for securing to her the payment of an annuity of one hundred pounds during her life as stipulated in the seventeenth clause of the said deed of partnership. I give to my executors hereinafter named the sum of three thousand four hundred and fifty three pounds four shillings and nine pence three per cent consolidated Annuities now standing in my name in the Books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England Upon the Trusts following (that is to say) Upon trust to pay the dividends interest and annual proceeds of the said consolidated bank annuities into the proper hands of my said dear wife during her natural life for her sole and separate use free from the control debts or engagements of any husband she may hereafter marry and so as not to be anticipated or allowed by her and from and after the decease of my said wife then as to and concerning the said consolidated bank annuities and the dividends interest and annual proceeds thenceforth to arise therefrom Upon trust for the equal benefit of my four children hereinafter mentioned as tenants in common (that is to say) my daughter Mary Jane (now the wife of Jonathan Reynolds) my daughter Esther now the wife of John Holliday the younger my son Richard Aldridge the younger and my son Thomas Aldridge And I declare that the respective shares in the said trust fund of my said daughters shall be held upon trust for their respective sole and separate use free from the control and engagement of their respective present or any after taken husbands provided always and I so further declare that in case either of my said daughters shall die in my life time or in the lifetime of my said wife leaving a husband her my said daughter surviving then from and after the decease of my said wife the share of each of my said daughters so living shall go to and be held in trust for all or any one or more of the children Grandchildren or other issue of such daughter (such Grandchildren or other issue to be born in her lifetime) for such interest or interests and in such proportions and subject to such conditions restrictions and limitations over in favor of any other or others of their said children Grandchildren or other issue and with such regulations for a maintenance duration and advancement and to be paid or transferred at such age or ages either absolutely or upon such contingencies as such daughter of mine as aforesaid notwithstanding coverture shall at any time or from time to time by any deed will or other Testament in writing with or without power of Revocation direct or appoint And in default of such direction or appointment and subject to any appointment or appointments which shall not be a complete disposition of the whole of the said trust funds constituting the share of such daughter of mine as aforesaid then as to the said stocks funds and securities and the dividends interest and annual produce to arise therefrom In trust for all and every the child and children of such respective daughter of mine who being a son or sons shall attain the age of twenty one years or being a daughter or daughters shall attain that age or marry if more than one in equal shares as tenants in common for the absolute use and benefit of such child or children respectively and if there shall be no child of my said daughter who shall live to acquire a vested interest in such daughters share of the said trust provided In Trust for such person or persons in such manner in all respects as such daughter as aforesaid shall not withstanding coverture by any deed will or other testament in writing with or without power of revocation direct or appoint and for want of such direction of appointment and subject to any appointment which shall not be a complete disposition of my said daughters share of the said trust provided then in trust for the person or persons who would by virtue of the Statutes of distribution be entitled to the personal estate of my said daughter at the time of her decease if she has died intestate and without leaving a husband or child and if more than one in the like shares. I give and bequeath the several Legacies next hereinafter mentioned (that is to say) To my foreman William Thomas Fyfe the Legacy or sum of one hundred pounds To my said daughter Mary Jane Reynolds the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning To my said daughter Esther Holliday the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning To my said son Richard Aldridge the younger the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning To my said son Thomas Aldridge the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning and To my said friend Mr William Prince Inglis of the General Post Office the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning and to my friends Captain Joseph Short of Rosalind Cottage Deptford Road and Thomas Hastings of Clements Lane Lombard Street Shipping Cheesemonger (?) the sum of ten pounds a piece for mourning provided also and I further declare that it shall be lawful for the trustees or trustee for the time being of this my will at any time and from time to time with the consent in (???) of my said wife (notwithstanding any future coverture) during her life And after her decease then in the discretion of the said trustees or trustee to sell and dispose of all or any part of the said Consolidated Bank Annuities hereinafter settled as aforesaid and to invest the money to arise from such sale in any other of the stocks or funds or other Government Securities of the United Kingdom or on mortgage of freehold copyhold or leasehold estates in England or Wales but not in Ireland and to vary of transfer the same as occasion shall require or as shall be thought fit provided also and I do hereby declare that in case the said trustees hereby named or either of them shall die in my life time or shall renounce the execution of the trusts hereby created or in case the said trustees or either of them shall die or shall be absent from the United Kingdom for the space of 6 calendar months at one time or shall otherwise become unwilling or unable to act in the aforesaid trusts then and so often as the same shall happen it shall be lawful for my said wife during her life notwithstanding any future coverture and after her decease for the surviving or continuing trustees or trustee or if there shall be no such trustee them for the retiring or remaining (?) trustees or trustee for the time being or if there shall be no such last mentioned trustee then for the executors or administrators of the last deceased trustee to nominate any fit person or persons to supply the place or places of the trustee or trustees respectively so dying residing abroad or becoming unwilling or unable to act as aforesaid and that immediately after such appointment the said trust estates monies and effects stocks funds and securities shall be converted or transferred in such manner that the same may (???) in such new trustee or trustees jointly with the surviving or continuing trustee or trustees or in such new trustees or trustees solely as the case may require And such new Trustee or Trustees shall have and be capable of exercising all the powers and authorities whatsoever hereinbefore contained in the same manner to all intents and purposes as if he or they had been appointed as a trustee or trustees by this my will provided also that the trustees for the time being of this my will shall be charged and chargeable only with such sums as they respectively shall actually receive by virtue of the trusts hereby reposed in them notwithstanding their joining in any receipt of receipts or doing (?) any other act for the sake of conformity and that they or any of them shall not be answerable or accountable for involuntary misfortune loss or damage which may happen in the execution of the aforesaid trusts or in relation thereto provided also and I hereby further declare that it shall be lawful for the said trustees or trustee for the time being by and out of the money which shall come to their or his hands by virtue of the trusts aforesaid to deduct retain and reimburse for themselves respectively or himself and also to allow to each other all costs charges damages and expenses and fees to counsel for advice which they or any of them may sustain disburse or incur in or about the execution of the aforesaid trusts or in relation thereto I give to my said wife my leasehold dwelling house No. 20 Dalston place Dalston aforesaid together with all my household furniture plate pictures prints glass china and other household effects and also all the housekeeping provisions wine spirits linen and consumable stores and also any bank notes and other ready money which shall be in my said dwelling house at the time of my decease and I bequeath to my said wife all the balance of cash which shall be standing to the credit of my private account with my bankers at the time of my decease subject nevertheless and charged with the payment out of the said Balance of cash of the several pecuniary legacies hereinbefore by me bequeathed and also with the payment of any housekeeping debts I may be owing at the time of my decease and of my funeral expenses and of the expenses of proving this my will and I declare that all the provisions hereby made for my said wife shall be held by her for her sole and separate use free from the control of any husband she may hereafter marry And that the same shall be accepted by her in full satisfaction of all dower (???). or free (???) to which she would otherwise be entitled in or out of any freehold or copyhold hereditaments now or heretofore belonging to me And as to All the Residue and Remainder of my estate and of effects real and personal not hereinbefore bequeathed I give and devise the same to my said sons Richard Aldridge the younger and Thomas Aldridge their heir executors administrators and assigns in equal shares as tenants in common And I give to my said two sons and their heirs and equals in right as tenants in common all real estates which may be vested in me at the time of my death upon any trust or by way or mortgage Upon the trusts and subject to the several rights or equities of redemption affecting the same real estates respectively And I appoint my said wife Elizabeth Aldridge and my friends the said Joseph Short and Thomas Hastings to be Executors and Trustees of this my will and I revoke all other wills by me at any time heretofore made In witness whereof I have to this my will contained in this and the four preceding pages or sheets of paper set my hand this nineteenth day of July one thousand eight hundred and forty seven – Rd. Aldridge – Signed published and declared by the said Testator Richard Aldridge the elder as and for his last will and Testament in the presence of us being present at the same time who in the presence of each other and of the said testator have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses – Hugh Shield Sol. 26 Queen Street Cheapside. Richd. Snelling Junr. his Clerk

This is a Codicil to the last Will and Testament of me Richard Aldridge the elder of Old Trinity House Water Lane Tower Street in the City of London and of No. 20 Dalston place Dalston in the County of Middlesex Lighterman and Custom House Agent Whereas since the date and publication of my said will Joseph Short one of the Executors and Trustees therein named hath departed this life Now I do hereby nominate my friend John Dalston Jones of Queens Road Dalston aforesaid Surgeon to be an Executor and Trustee of my said will in the room of the said Joseph Short and I declare that the said John Dalston Jones shall have and exercise all power trusts rights and interests whatsoever which he would have had and been entitled to exercise respectively in case the name of the said John Dalston Jones had been used throughout my will instead of the name of the said Joseph Short And I give to the said John Dalston Jones a Legacy of ten pounds for mourning and I declare the Legacy of ten pounds in my said will bequeathed to the said Joseph Short to be lapsed and no longer payable In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of September one thousand eight hundred and forty eight – Rd. Aldridge – Signed published and declared by the said testator Richard Aldridge the elder as and for a codicil to this last will and testament in the joint presence of us present at the same time who in the presence of each other and of the said testator have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses –Hugh Shield – Rich. Snelling Jnr. 

Proved at London with a codicil 7th November 1848 before the Worshipful Frederick Thomas Pratt doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the oaths of Elizabeth Aldridge widow the relict and Thomas Hastings the executors named in the will and John Dalston Jones the executor named in the codicil to whom admon was granted having been first sworn duly to administer.

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Elizabeth Gibson and Richard Aldridge

Continuing with my exploration of the lives of the children of my 5 x great uncle Bowes John Gibson (1744 – 1817), in this post I’m returning to his daughter Elizabeth, whose story I first discussed two years ago.

Elizabeth Gibson was the fifth of eight children from Bowes John Gibson’s second marriage, to Mary Catherine Bretman. Born in Mile End Old Town on Christmas Day 1803, Elizabeth was christened in May of the following year, at the parish church of St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney. She might have been named in memory of Bowes John’s first wife, who had died in 1793, or in honour of his sister, my 5 x great grandmother.

Clay Hill Farm, Devonshire Hill, Tottenham (Copyright Bruce Castle Museum)

Clay Hill Farm, Devonshire Hill, Tottenham (Copyright Bruce Castle Museum)

When her father Bowes John died in 1817, Elizabeth was thirteen years old, and she was twenty-two when her mother Mary Catherine died in 1826. As I noted in the last post, Elizabeth’s younger sister Emily was appointed as executrix of their mother’s will, together with a certain Mr Richard Aldridge of Clay Hill, Tottenham, as executor. Clay Hill was a country estate in the Devonshire Hill area of Tottenham: then a rural retreat to the north of London, now absorbed into the sprawl of the modern city.

Mary Catherine Gibson signed and sealed her will on 3rd June 1826. One year later, a daughter named Emily was born to Richard and Elizabeth Aldridge. She was baptised at the church of All Saints or All Hallows, Tottenham on 4th July, her father being described in the parish register as a gentleman.

All Hallows Church, Tottenham by John Bonny (1890), via bbc.co.uk

All Hallows Church, Tottenham by John Bonny (1890), via bbc.co.uk

One might be tempted, then, to suppose that the reason Richard Aldridge was chosen as executor of Mary Gibson’s will, is that he was engaged to be married to her daughter Elizabeth, that the wedding took place soon after Mary’s death, and that the couple named their first child after Elizabeth’s younger sister. However, not only have I failed to find a record for a marriage to Elizabeth Gibson at this date, but the couple would in fact be married some fifteen years later, in 1842.

The picture is complicated by the 1841 census record, which finds 60-year-old lighterman Richard Aldridge and 40-year-old Elizabeth Gibson living at Dalston Place, Hackney, with another Richard Aldridge, aged 25, also a lighterman, Emily Aldridge, 15, Esther Holliday, 30 and Elizabeth Holliday, 4.

Dalston in Greenwood's 1827 map

Dalston in Greenwood’s 1827 map

If we trace these names back through the records, we find that on 10th November 1820, Richard and Mary Aldridge had three children baptised at the church of St George the Martyr in Southwark. Esther Aldridge had been born on 4th September 1813, Richard on 14th December 1814, and Thomas on 24th February 1817. Richard Aldridge senior was described in the parish register as a mariner. On 20th February 1803, a couple with the same names had had a daughter named Mary baptised at St Andrew, Holborn. Their address was given as Fetter Lane.

If all of these children were born to the same couple, then Richard and Mary must have been married by 1802, which places Richard Aldridge senior’s birth some time around 1780. This would match the age given in the 1841 census (remembering that in that census officials tended to round ages up or down).

The reason for Esther’s changed surname in the 1841 census is that she had married John Holliday at the church of St John at Hackney on 2nd July 1836. Richard Aldridge (either her father or her brother) and her sister Emily were witnesses. The 4-year-old Elizabeth Holliday in the census record was the daughter of this marriage – baptized on 25th August 1837 at the same church. The parish register describes John Holliday as a ship owner, the same description that would be given to his father-in-law Richard Aldridge in other records.

Victorian ship owners, with captain and first mate (via owanet.blogspot.com)

Victorian ship owners, with captain and first mate (via owanet.blogspot.com)

Mary Aldridge, daughter of Richard senior, seems to have been the person who married Jonathan Reynolds, described in later records as a gentleman,  at St James Clerkenwell on 13th October 1823. They had a son, also named Jonathan, baptised at All Hallows Tottenham on 18th February 1825 and a daughter Esther christened on 4th April 1827 at St John Wapping.

In 1830, Richard Aldridge junior was apprenticed by his father to Thomas Freeman, citizen and merchant tailor, for a period of seven years. If the 1841 census record is correct, then he must have reverted to his father’s profession at a later date. On 6th August 1837 his younger brother Thomas, a lighterman like his father, married Elizabeth Mary Chew at St Dunstan’s, Stepney. Born in Wapping in 1821, Elizabeth was the daughter of Robert Ford Chew and Caroline May. Thomas and Elizabeth Aldridge would have four children: Emily (born in 1838), Richard (1842), Ruth (1842) and Thomas (1844).

From all of this we can conclude that Richard Aldridge senior had been married at least once before he married Elizabeth Gibson, that his first wife was called Mary, and that he had four children with her: Mary, Esther, Richard and Thomas. We also know that Richard’s first wife Mary must have died by about 1826, since in 1827, when his daughter Emily was born, Richard was married to a woman named Elizabeth.

There are two possible explanations. Either Richard Aldridge was married three times, and both his second and third wives (the third being Elizabeth Gibson) were named Elizabeth. Or he contracted some kind of marriage to Elizabeth Gibson in about 1826, and this was confirmed in an Anglican ceremony in 1842. But in the latter case, the question arises as to why they had no more children after Emily in 1827? On the other hand, is it really possible that the first Elizabeth died between the 1841 census being taken, and the marriage of Richard and Elizabeth Gibson in the following year?

Interior of St Dunstan's, Stepney

Richard Aldridge and Elizabeth Gibson were married at the parish church of St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, on 24th March 1842. Richard was described as a widower and a ship owner, and Elizabeth as a spinster. Richard was said to be the son of another Richard Aldridge, a smith, while (as we know) Elizabeth was the daughter of Bowes John Gibson, a gentleman. Both Richard and Elizabeth were said to be living in Charles Street at the time, the former at No. 46, which adds a further layer of confusion, since Richard at least had been resident in Hackney in the previous year. One of the witnesses to the marriage was Emily Grove née Gibson, Elizabeth’s sister.

Richard Aldridge senior died at 20 Dalston Place, Hackney, in 1848, six years after his marriage to Elizabeth Gibson. In his will, which I’ll discuss in another post, Richard describes himself as a lighterman and custom house agent of Old Trinity House, Water Lane, Tower Street in the City of London.

Richard Aldridge junior must have married his wife, Hannah Armstrong, some time between 1841 and the birth of their daughter, also Hannah, in 1845, though I’ve yet to find a record confirming this. At the time of Hannah’s baptism at St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, the couple were living at North Place and Richard was working as a commercial clerk. By the time of the 1851 census, they were living in nearby Kingsland and Richard was once again described as a lighterman.

On 13 April 1845, Richard Aldridge senior’s youngest daughter, Emily, married William Price Inglis, a gentleman, at St Mary’s church, Finchley. William, born in Chelsea in 1819, was the son of Thomas Inglis, a physician and army staff surgeon, and his wife Maria. Thomas Inglis’ profession obviously involved overseas travel, since his wife was from Portugal and another son, Thomas, was born in Spain. Emily appears to have died within a year of her marriage to William, perhaps in childbirth.

The 1851 census finds Elizabeth Aldridge, née Gibson, a 45-year-old widow and annuitant, still living at 20 Dalston Place, Hackney. As well as a general servant, Priscilla Maria Ward, Elizabeth has three visitors: Maria Inglis, 50, described as a lady, born in Portugal but a British subject; Thomas Inglis, 32, a clerk in Her Majesty’s Customs, born in Spain but similarly a British subject; and William Price Inglis, 36, a widower and a clerk in the Post Office, born in Chelsea. William was the husband of Elizabeth’s late stepdaughter, Emily; Thomas was his brother; and Maria was their mother.

By 1861, when she was about 58 years old, Elizabeth Aldridge had moved to Vernon House at No 6 Barnsbury Square, Islington. Elizabeth’s household includes both a servant and an attendant, suggesting both that she had ample means to support herself and also (perhaps) that she was growing infirm with age. I’ve written before about Elizabeth’s brother Bowes Charles Gibson and sister Matilda Henrietta Gibson, who died in 1837 and 1845 respectively, both of whom lived in Barnsbury Square. It seems likely, then, that the Gibson family had retained ownership of at least one property in this fashionable square.

House in Barnsbury Square (via savills.co.uk)

House in Barnsbury Square (via savills.co.uk)

Next door to Elizabeth, at No. 5 Barnsbury Square, we find a certain William S. Gibson, a mercantile clerk, his wife Mary Ann, their daughter Clara Elizabeth, who is one year old, and son William, only a month old, both of them born in Barnsbury. This is William Slark Gibson, who I deduce from other sources to have been Elizabeth’s nephew, and probably the son of one of her brother William Henry. I plan to return to the intriguing story of the Gibsons and the Slarks in another post.

The 1871 census finds 11-year-old Clara Gibson with her great aunt Elizabeth Aldridge, now 67 and described as an annuitant, at 6 Barnsbury Square. There are also five visitors present, all members of the Cope family: Ida, 21, and Constance, 18, both born in Prussia; Carl, 16, born in Islington; Mabel, 14, born in Austria; and Cecil, 9, born in Australia. These were the children of Frederick Charles Cope and Elizabeth Jane Slark, whose precise relationship to William Slark Gibson I’ve yet to discover.

Frederick Cope (1819 – 1885) was an architect; he had married Elizabeth Jane Slark on 31 January 1843. Frederick and Elizabeth Cope seem to have delighted in giving their children multiple Christian names: the full names and initials of the children visiting Elizabeth Aldridge and Clara Gibson in 1871 were Ida Philippina C.A.E. Cope, Constance Catherine C. C. Y. Cope, Carl Edward Hubert Maria Cope, Mabel Agnes Blanche Ella Louise Cope, and Cecil Ernest T. Cope.

I can’t find Elizabeth Aldridge in the 1881 census, so I assume she must have died before then. However, I’ve yet to find a record of her death.

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Emily Gibson and John Godfrey Grove

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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