Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Harriet Smith, gentleman's wife

St James Church, Tong, built 1727
 © Copyright Humphrey Bolton
licensed for reuse under this CC Licence
Harriet Smith is one of those people whose story can only be told in terms of "daughter of..", "wife of...", mother of...". Anything we know of her character or actions has to be deduced or guessed.

She was born in Armley, near Leeds in Yorkshire, on 18 July 1817, the second daughter of James Smith and Martha Naylor. Her baptism in September that year took place in the Bethel Independent Chapel in Leeds. Her mother's family, the Naylors, were stonemasons from Pudsey, a market town between Leeds and Bradford. Her father's background is obscured by the difficulty of accurately tracing a name like James Smith.

Harriet married Ben Bentley in October 1839. The ceremony took place at St James church in the tiny village of Tong, chosen perhaps because it was mid-way between Pudsey and Ben's home town of Gildersome. Their first child, William, was born the following April. Perhaps Harriet had a miscarriage or still birth between William and her next child, Martha Ann, born in 1845. John Henry arrived in 1847, Alfred Pearson in 1849 and daughter Harriet in 1851. Then came a twelve year gap before Walter Smith was born in 1863.

I've described previously how Ben Bentley became a little too ambitious in making money and in 1856 found himself sentenced to four years penal servitude. He was in Portland prison in Dorset, on the south coast, from 1857 until December 1860. For his wife Harriet the whole experience must have caused both shame and anxiety. She would have had little or no opportunity to visit Ben so far away from Yorkshire. Did she miss him? Was their re-union a joyful one, or did Harriet take a while to come around to accepting Ben back into the marriage bed? We can only guess.

The death in 1861 of her daughter Martha, still in her teens, must have been a great sadness for Harriet. More sadness would have surrounded the bankruptcy in 1865 of her son William. Her first grandchild, as far as I can tell, arrived in 1870 with the birth of a son, James, to Alfred Pearson Bentley and his first (and only legitimate) wife Annie Reed. Several more grandchildren followed.

Harriet died in Dewsbury on 19 December 1876 at the age of 59. She was buried in the Soothill Nether cemetery at Earls Heaton, and the burial is recorded in the Dewsbury Quaker records. The record notes that she was "NM", not a member. Ben's burial, twenty one years later, appears in the same records without the "NM", so perhaps he was, or became, a member. Less than twelve months after Harriet's death he remarried.






Friday, April 21, 2017

Whybrew family past and present

This is a rather special post. A few weeks ago I received an email from Dawn Spradlin, who introduced herself as the great great granddaughter of Jeremiah Whybrew, David Whybrew's older brother. She had come across this site and realised that we must be related. I asked if she would be willing to write something about her research into her own family's history, or share some photos, and to my delight she said she would. Here's what she sent me.


*****

Finding ancestors today is at our fingertips, through the internet, and that is how I met Stella. My daughter, Erin, researched the English Whybrew line of my great great grandfather, Jeremiah Whybrew, who immigrated to NY from Liverpool and settled in Oro, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada in 1851. He travelled on a ship named the Forest Queen along with his girlfriend, Hannah Leatherdale and 16 members of the Leatherdale family.

The Crown Inn, Wormingford, and Whybrew's house opposite.
Jeremiah is mentioned in chapter 5 of Stella’s book, “Susan”. He spent his childhood living in Wormingford, Essex, England along with his family, James (father), Sarah (mother), and siblings including his little brother David. The 1841 census states that they lived opposite the Crown Inn, which is still operating, having been built in the 1600’s.

In 1851 Jeremiah’s mother and father had died, his sisters had gone into service, Jeremiah had boarded the Forest Queen and little 10 year old David had gone into a work house. My heartfelt curiosity about a little boy enduring the workhouse all alone prompted many internet searches, until I found Stella’s Clogs and Clippers blog, with a wealth of information about David and his wife Susan Mason, Stella's great great grandmother.

Stella brought Susan Mason alive in her book "Susan". It was a real page turner for me and brought me closer and more connected to the Whybrews, along with the added benefit of meeting (via email) a current living relative.

Lumber camp, Oro
I can only imagine how my great great grandfather Jeremiah and his new wife, Hannah, coped with their first harsh Canadian winter in Oro, Simcoe, Canada. The area was booming with lumber camps, ore mining camps, shipping and railroads along the Great lakes.

Hannah died in 1867 at 38 after giving birth to a daughter, Emily. Jeremiah was distraught and his children were absorbed into other families. Jeremiah died drunk and prostrate in a snowbank in 1878. He was 43. All the children survived and moved to Escanaba and Gladstone Michigan. 

Vira Whybrew
My grandmother, Vira Whybrew, was born in Escanaba in 1894. She fell in love with an amateur baseball player and moved to Chicago where I grew up. My Whybrew line ends here.

The Gladstone Butchers baseball team


Emily Whybrew Alger
Once again heartfelt curiosity overcame me regarding Emily (my great aunt who died in 1938 in Los Angeles, CA ) and her history prompted me to do several internet searches until I found a living Whybrew. His grandfather and my great grandfather were two of Jeremiah’s children raised by other families.

To actually meet living relatives while following clues and instincts about the past is an amazing gift of this technological age, recharging our curiosity and discovering the links to each other.



Dawn Spradlin
Exeter, New Hampshire





Do you have information, stories, or photos relevant to any of the people and families mentioned here on Clogs and Clippers that you would like to share? If you do, I'd love to hear from you. You can use the contact form on the right to send me a brief message and I'll get back to you by email.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

William Bentley, tailor of Gildersome

Drawing of the first patented lockstitch sewing machine, 
invented in 1845 by Elias Howe and patented in 1846, 
15 years after William Bentley's death. He would have
done all his tailoring work by hand.
After posting a couple of articles about Ben Bentley my plan was to say something about his forebears and those of Harriet Smith, his wife. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot to say with any certainty about Ben's parents. 

His father, William Bentley, was born in Gildersome near Leeds and was baptised on Christmas day, 1785, at the parish church in nearby Batley. He was the son of Samuel Bentley, a clothier of Gildersome, and his wife Hannah Clough.

The baptismal records of several of William's children show that he was married to "Ann Wildrick", daughter of John Wildrick. I haven't been able to trace this Wildrick family or the marriage between William and Ann with any certainty. The only Ann Wildrick I've come across lived in Fishlake, near Doncaster, which is quite a long way from Gildersome and Leeds.

Possibly Wildrick is a variation on Weldrake, with several families by that name (or something similar) living in the Gildersome area. In 1785 a Nancy Weldrick, daughter of John Weldrick was baptised in Birstall, in the Cleckheaton parish, which is not far from Gildersome. Nancy is sometimes used as a diminutive form of Ann. Could this be "Ann Wildrick"?

Curiously, the only possible marriage I've come across for William and Ann, or Nancy, occurred in Oldham, Lancashire. William Bentley, tailor, "of Royton" (sic) married a Nancy Weldrake there on 3 June 1806. Unfortunately no details are given about their ages or their fathers' names. This date would fit in well with the dates of their children's births, but begs the question of why they would go to Oldham to marry. Was William there on business? Were they avoiding marrying in Gildersome for some reason? Or was this another couple entirely? For now it remains a mystery, and I'd be happy to hear any suggestions.

All the children of William and Ann were born in Gildersome. Matthew, the eldest, was born in 1808 and became a tailor like his father. John (1811) Ann (1813) and William (1815) followed before Ben arrived in 1819.

William's name appears in the 1826 General and Commercial Directory for the Borough of Leeds as one of the two tailors living in Gildersome, the other being William Dixon. In the 1830 Leeds and Clothing Directory he's listed as Wm. Bentley & Son, tailor (& draper). He probably had a shop front somewhere close to the Town Green, and would have sold fabric as well as making up clothing on commission and perhaps doing repairs. The first practical and commercially available sewing machine didn't appear until 1846, so he would have done everything by hand.

William died on 4 August 1831 at the relatively young age of 46. According to the Leeds Patriot and Advertiser on 20 August, he died "after a lingering illness". Ann, his wife, died in Gildersome in December 1849.

Image: By Frank Puterbaugh Bachman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

And it's done!

View the book
The book I've been writing about Susan Mason and her family is finally complete and published on Amazon worldwide. It's available as an e-book which can be read on any Kindle device or Kindle app. A paperback version is also available (although sadly not through the Australian Amazon site, which doesn't stock printed books yet). I'm still looking into other e-book options such as epub and ibooks.

I hope if you've enjoyed reading my articles about the Mason and Whybrew families here on Clogs and Clippers you will find this much expanded and chronological version of their stories interesting and enjoyable. The book has extensive endnotes and a bibliography.

I've had great fun writing it. My sincere thanks to all who have helped with the research, editing, and revising of the book. Thanks especially to Katie for the cover and Amy for her editing.

For UK readers, the Kindle edition is available here.
For customers of the Australian Amazon site, it can be found here.

Visit my new "author page" on Amazon for more information.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Almost there

My book about Susan Mason and her family is finally complete and almost ready to launch. In fact it's already sitting on the Kindle Direct Publishing page on Amazon. Once I set a price, then hit the "publish" button, it will be on it's way into the world as an ebook. I'm just waiting for confirmation from a couple of people that they're happy for their names to appear on the acknowledgements page. No doubt I should have thought to ask them much sooner.

In the meantime, here's a preview of the wonderful cover that Katie Stewart designed for me. The image is a detail from a painting by S.T. Gill titled "Rundle St, 1845" showing a street scene from early Adelaide. You can see more of Katie's work at her website Magic Owl Design.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ben Bentley, Gentleman, part 2

Leeds Corn Exchange,
which Ben no doubt visited. Designed by
Cuthbert Brodrick and built in 1863.
Now home to a food emporium and boutique shops.
In my previous post about Ben Bentley I left the unfortunate gentleman languishing in Portland prison in Dorset, after he was arrested for embezzlement. So what became of him and his family?

Ben was released in December 1860, having shown "exemplary" behaviour while in prison. It seems that his time in penal servitude did not damage his reputation or his relationships irreparably. By the time of the census in April 1861 he was back with his family in Dewsbury in Yorkshire and was employed once more as a flour and corn agent (though perhaps not with the same employer). As time went on Ben became a corn dealer, and apparently did quite well for himself.

After the death of his wife Harriet in 1876, Ben married again, to a younger woman named Ann Dove (b 1835). He was still living in Dewsbury and working as a corn dealer in his seventies, but he seems to have retired after that. When he died in 1897 he left an estate of ₤474.11s.1d  (An adult male clerk could earn roughly ₤50 - ₤130 per annum according to newspaper advertisements at the time.) He was buried in the Friends burial ground in Wooldale, near Holmfirth in Yorkshire.

Ben and Harriet's children


Ben might have been pleased that all his sons went into white collar work or skilled trades. But his children had mixed fortunes when it came to money and marriage.

Typesetting using a traditional composing stick.
William, the eldest son (b 1840) became a letter press printer and worked on a weekly newspaper. He married Sarah Ellen Oates in the summer of 1864. By November 1865, according to an item in the Leeds Mercury, he was bankrupt. In 1874 he filed for divorce from Sarah on the grounds of adultery, after she had an affair with a neighbour. He remarried in 1877 to a Mrs Eliza Ann Leonard, but she died only two years later.

Ben and Harriet's eldest daughter Martha Ann (b 1844) died at the age of 16  in June 1861, less than six months after Ben's release from prison.

Ben's second son John Henry (b 1847) followed his brother William to the Friends (Quaker) school at Low Green in Rawdon. As I mentioned previously, the school was unusual for the time in being co-educational. He  became a solicitor's clerk in Huddersfield and married one of his classmates, Hannah Waddington, in 1868.

By the mid 1880's he had risen from being a solicitors' managing clerk to being a solicitor and he and his family were living in Cliffe House in Wooldale (which is possibly why Ben, his father, was buried there). In 1890 John was badly shaken and his left eye was damaged when the mail train in which he was travelling towards London collided with a goods train at Retford. He successfully sued the Great Northern Railway company the following year and was awarded  ₤1800 in damages. Despite this success, his life seemed to go from bad to worse from that point.

In 1898 he was declared bankrupt. In June 1900, in a case that was publicised all over the country,  he was struck off the roll as a solicitor for misappropriating clients' funds. Part of his defence was that he had been suffering from "mental derangement". By 1901 he was back to being a managing clerk in a solicitor's office.

I've already told the story of Ben and Harriet's third son,  Alfred Pearson Bentley (b 1849) in an earlier post. In the light of his childhood experiences and his family background, perhaps his later behaviour seems a little less incomprehensible. At another level it's difficult to understand how he could have abandoned his wife and children as he did, having experienced his own father's disappearance during his early childhood.

Ben and Harriet's younger daughter Harriet (b 1851) was no more fortunate in marriage than her brothers. Her first husband was a foundry worker named Barrett Butler. They married in 1871. Barrett died in 1884, leaving Harriet with four children.

In 1888 Harriet married John Inman, a widowed mechanic and labourer. They were together in Holbeck, near Leeds, in the 1891 census, but by the time the 1901 census was taken, Harriet had separated from Inman and was calling herself Harriet Butler again. She also claimed to be a widow, though Inman was still alive and living in the Holbeck Union workhouse.

The youngest son in Ben and Harriet's family, Walter Smith Bentley, seems to have been the most stable and unremarkable of the four sons (or at least he managed to keep his name out of the newspapers).  Walter was born in 1863, after Ben's release from prison. Like John Henry, he became a solicitor's clerk, but remained in that role for the rest of his life.

In 1887 he married Martha Gosnay at the Friends Meeting House in Dewsbury. They moved south, settling eventually in Stone in Staffordshire. After Martha's death in 1899 he married Ann Childs and they moved to Norfolk.  When he died in 1939 he was living near Shaftesbury in Dorset, not very far from Portland where his father had been in prison. It would be fascinating to know whether he was aware of his father's past connection with Dorset.


Image credits:
1. Leeds Corn Exchange © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under
this Creative Commons Licence
2. Typesetting Image by Wilhei (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], 
via Wikimedia Commons







Thursday, January 26, 2017

Harriet Smith




26 January 2017
Name:Harriet SMITH110
Sex:Female
Father:James SMITH (    -    )
Mother:Martha NAYLOR (1793-    )
   
Individual Facts
Birth18 Jul 1817Armley, Yorkshire, England14,610
Baptism14 Sep 1817 (age 0)Bethel Independent OR Congregational, Leeds, York, England810
Residence1841 (about age 24)Bramley, Yorkshire, England6
Residence1851 (about age 34)Relation to Head of House: Wife  Occupation: shop keeper; Leeds, Yorkshire, England1
Residence1861 (about age 44)Relation to Head of House: Wife; Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England2
Residence1871 (about age 54)Relation to Head of House: Wife; Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England3
Death19 Dec 1876 (age 59)Earls Heaton, Dewsbury, Yorkshire West Riding4,7
Burial22 Dec 1876 (age 59)Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England4
Residence Leeds, West Yorkshire, England10
Residence Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England4
   
Marriages/Children
1. Ben BENTLEY (1819-1897)
Marriage21 Oct 1839 (age 22)Tong, Yorkshire, England5
Census (fam)1871 (about age 54)3
Children
 William BENTLEY (1841-    )
 Martha Ann BENTLEY (1845-1861)
 John Harry BENTLEY (1847-    )
 Alfred Pearson BENTLEY (1849-1922)
Harriet BENTLEY (1851-    )
 Walter Smith BENTLEY (1864-1939)

Notes:

1. Ancestry.com, 1851 England Census, Class: HO107; Piece: 2321; Folio: 787; Page: 19; GSU roll: 87549-87552.
        2. Ancestry.com, 1861 England Census, Class: RG 9; Piece: 3409; Folio: 114; Page: 42; GSU roll: 543127.
        3. Ancestry.com, 1871 England Census, Class: RG10; Piece: 4603; Folio: 8; Page: 10; GSU roll: 848395.
        4. Ancestry.com, West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985, C786/2/B/2.
        5. Ancestry.com, West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935, West Yorkshire Archive Service; Wakefield, Yorkshire, England; Yorkshire Parish Records; Old Reference Number: 50D90/1/3/6.
        6. Ancestry.com, 1841 England Census, Class: HO107; Piece: 1342; Book: 11; Civil Parish: Bramley; County: Yorkshire; Enumeration District: 15; Folio: 52; Page: 13; Line: 5; GSU roll: 464285.
        7. FreeBMD, England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915.
        8. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970.
        9. Ancestry.com, England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975.
        10. Ancestry.com, West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985.

     

More about Harriet Smith: