Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey's life left very little trace in the public records. We know that she married Robert Gregory in 1826 in Diseworth, Leicestershire, and from the census records in 1841 and 1851 we know that they had at least 6 children - Mary, Jane, John, Robert, Sarah and Ellen. Everything else has to be deduced from other sources.

It seems that Sarah was probably the sister of Joseph Harvey, a grocer with a shop in Market Place in Leicester. In the 1851 census Joseph had a nephew living with him, Robert Gregory, whose age corresponds with Sarah's son Robert (born 1835). He also had an employee, Thomas Brown Orton, who later married Sarah and Robert's daughter Sarah Gregory. And Joseph seems to have provided a character reference to Robert Gregory when he was tried for receiving stolen goods in 1838.

A newspaper item in the Leicester Chronicle, Saturday, November 27, 1841, notes the death "on 12th inst, Mrs Harvey, aged 74, mother of John and Joseph Harvey, grocers, Market-place". The only recorded death for that date which fits the description of Mrs Harvey is that of a Mary Harvey. And the only Mary I can find who married  a Harvey in Leicestershire in the period which would fit with Joseph's age is Mary Jarrom, who married Robert Harvey in April 1796. (This tallies with several online family trees which have Mary Jarrom and Robert Harvey as the parents of Joseph).

Long Whatton Baptist Chapel, built 1793
photo from Matt Fascione
Unfortunately I can't find any record of Joseph's birth, which would have been in about 1808 based on his age on the census and his age at death. But four children of a Robert and Mary Harvey were baptised in the Long Whatton Baptist church, Belton (the place where Joseph was born) according to the Non Conformist and Parochial registers - Peter (1799), John (1801), Sarah (1803) and Jane (1805).

The presence of John and Sarah in the list is interesting, especially since Sarah's date of birth would fit with Sarah Gregory nee Harvey. Joseph's absence from the same records could be explained by the fact that Robert Harvey died in 1808 (according to one on-line family tree which says the date is recorded in the Diseworth church). Possibly the crisis in the family somehow prevented him being baptised in the same church.

If Sarah was Joseph and John's sister, she seems to have had a much less successful life than her brothers, in worldly terms at least. Joseph married Selina Tyers in 1846, an event which was deemed important enough to be noted in the Leicester chronicle. Joseph's grocery business did well enough for him to employ several other people as shop assistants and servants, and when he died at the age of 73 he left an estate of nearly £600. Robert Gregory left no estate when he died at the age of 38.

Sarah herself seems to have died in Whetstone, near Blaby in Leicestershire, in May 1851. A brief notice in the Leicester Chronicle notes that "Mrs Gregory, sister of Mr J Harvey, grocer, died at Whetstone after a few days illness." She was 46. Her two youngest children, Sarah (11) and Ellen (10) were still living with her at home when the census was taken earlier in 1851. What became of them is a mystery. The young Sarah reappears when she married Thomas Orton in 1865, but I haven't been able to trace Ellen.

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