Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What happened to Rose?

Rose Whybrew was the fifth daughter of  David and Susan Whybrew (nee Mason) and my father's great aunt, though he never met her. She is another of the unsolved mysteries in my family history research. I've been able to follow her life story as far as Chicago, USA, in 1918, but then she disappears. Despite hours spent searching, I haven't found any trace of her after that. What I do know about her suggests she had a difficult and sad life.

The SS Canada of the Dominion Line
Rose was born in 1877 while her father David was stationed in Canterbury in Kent. She married a shoe maker from London, George Henry Anthony, in 1897. Their first child, a daughter named Harriet, was born in Colchester, Essex, in 1900, but died before she was six months old.

In 1907, not long after the birth of their son George William, Rose and George Henry Anthony migrated to Chicago aboard the SS Canada. According to the 1910 US census, George W. was the fifth child born to Rose. I haven't found any record of the other births, so possibly the other three were stillborn.

Like many English migrants to the USA, they sailed to Quebec in Canada, then crossed into the United States through Vermont. Their names appear in the border crossing records in October 1907. Rose is described as being 5 ft 3 3/4 in, with ruddy skin, brown hair and hazel eyes.

State St, Chicago, c1907
The family were destined for 48th Avenue in Chicago, where Rose's sister Alice lived with her husband Herbert Miller and their daughter Alice.

When Alice Miller senior died in 1909, Herbert remarried and moved out with his new wife (also called Alice) and his daughter, leaving Rose and George at the 48th Avenue address. In the 1910 US census the Anthony's were apparently still living at 626, 48th Avenue.  Rose was working as a "janitress".

Rose's young son George died at the age of 6 in 1913, and was buried at Forest Home cemetery in Chicago, where his aunt Alice was also buried. As far as I can discover, there were no other children born to Rose and George in the USA.

In 1918 George senior received call-up papers for the US army. The papers show him as still living on 48th Ave, but although Rose is listed as next of kin, her address is given as 4823 W Congress St, Chicago. That is the last mention I can find for Rose.

The call-up papers were never signed. George may have been resident in the Norward Park psychiatric hospital at the time. A patient named George Anthony, born in England in 1874, and married, was listed there in the 1920 census. He may also have been there in 1910. Although George Anthony is listed at the same address as Rose in the 1910 census, someone of the same name and age is recorded as an inmate of the Norward Park hospital. Perhaps Rose filled out his details in the census with hers and young George's, not realising that only those actually on the premises on the night of the census were to be included.

Kankakee State Hospital
In the 1930 census, what appears to be the same George Anthony was a patient of the Jacksonville State Hospital for the Insane and in the 1940 census the same person was a patient of the Kankakee State Hospital in Manteno. When this man died on 16 May 1941, his previous occupation was recorded as "shoe cobbler", which tallies with George Henry Anthony's occupation when he arrived in the USA.

What happened to Rose? If she remained in the USA, I haven't been able to identify her on any of the censuses after 1910. The George Anthony who was in Jacksonville in 1930 was said to be single, so if he was Rose's husband, it suggests she had either separated from him or died. But I haven't been able to find any record of a divorce, remarriage or death for Rose.

Did she return to England? I discovered a Rose Anthony from Chicago who travelled to England in 1924. But then I found her passport application, which clearly showed that it wasn't the same Rose Anthony.

Did she perhaps migrate to Australia where her mother's family lived, or join her cousins in Canada? Did she revert to using her maiden name? I've looked at all these possibilities, but haven't had any success in finding her. For now she remains a mystery.


You can find out more about Susan and David Whybrew and their family, in my book Susan: convict's daughter, soldier's wife, nobody's fool, available on Amazon and other online books stores


  1. Frustrating for you ... Hope that one day you find Rose.

  2. Thanks Jill. I'm sure something will turn up one of these days.

  3. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    thank you, Chris
    Maybe Rose is hiding with some of my MIAs (Missing in Ancestry)!

    1. Thanks Chris, I'm always amazed by the variety and number of useful links you provide in your Friday Fossickings.