Thursday, April 30, 2009

Harry Meabry Oakley, My Great-Grandfather.

Above: Harry Meabry Oakley, taken in Manchester in August of 1879, aged sixteen years.

My maternal great-grandfather, Harry Meabry Oakley, was born on New Years Day, 1863, at Shooters Hill, Clive, Shropshire. He was the second of four children born to Edwin Thomas Oakley and Jane Elizabeth Oakley, who were second cousins. His unusual middle name of 'Meabry' was given in honour of his paternal grandmother, Jane Meabry.
Harry's early childhood was spent at Shooters Hill with his elder brother John and his younger sister Amy, who was known as 'Jean'.Towards the end of the 1860s his father Edwin moved the family to Liverpool for business reasons.The family were living at 131 Islington, Liverpool, in December of 1868 when Harry's younger brother, three month old Edwin Burlton Oakley, died of convulsions. In October of 1869 Edwin Oakley was declared bankrupt, and his address was given as Magdala Street, Smithdown Road, Liverpool.
The 1870s was a very turbulent time for Harry Oakley. His beloved mother, Jane Elizabeth Oakley, contracted ovarian cancer, and died in October 1871, aged only 33 years.Harry was only eight years old at the time, and as an old man would tell his sons the tale of how his father threw himself upon his wife's grave at the cemetery, weeping, and then married soon after. He was obviously still very bitter over his father's remarriage, even after many years had passed, but the story was exaggerated by either Harry himself or his sons in the retelling. Edwin Oakley did indeed remarry, but not until 1874, three years after Jane's death.
The provision of a stepmother for John, Harry and Jean came in the form of 25 year old Elizabeth Jane Turner from Moss Side in Manchester. I don't think that Harry resented Elizabeth herself, rather than the very act of his father remarrying at all. The was certainly a rift between Harry and his father that I don't think was ever healed.Harry carried with him for years a letter written to him by his mother when he was a very small child( which has been reproduced in a previous blog entry), but there has never been any evidence of any correspendence written by his father after Harry moved to Wales and then Australia.A small birthday book called 'A Chaplet of Flowers' was given to Harry by his sister Jean in January 1877, when he was 14.It contains very few entries, but does contain the following:
January 25: Mr. Turner died 1877
January 27: Buried Mr. Turner at Brooklands.
March 13: Amy J. Oakley
September 11: Albert E. Oakley born 1875
October 8: the letter 'J' was written- this is the birthday of Edwin's elder brother John Oakley.
October 20: Mrs Turner born 1818 Oct 20th.
October 30: Mrs Oakley born October 30th, 1851.

Harry added the birth dates of his wife and two sons when he started a family in Australia, but the above entries are the only ones he wrote in England. Notably absent is any mention of his father. The fact that he included Mr and Mrs Turner, the parents of his step-mother, and his step mother herself( although he did refer to her as 'Mrs Oakley!), but not Edwin tells us that his animosity lay primarily with his father.

Who was "Langley"???

Here remains the one final mystery about Margaret Ellen Oakley...assuming that the photo of the woman above is of Margaret Oakley ( of which I am 99.9 % certain), who is the man in the tiny photograph cut out and pasted onto the back of said photo?
The top photo above is the photo that appears in Amy Jane Oakley's album. The next two photos show what is on the reverse of the top photo..."Aunt Nellie at 18", and a photo of a bearded man with 'Langley 1876' written underneath.
Who was Langley? Was Langley his first name or surname? Could he have been the father of Margaret's baby? This is so frustrating!!!!
Of course, I've done some poking around in various records for evidence of Langley's identity, but without knowledge of whether we are dealing with a first or last name it is nigh impossible to even come up with a list of candidates for Langley's identity.
The 1881 U.K census has 14 men whose first name was 'Langley' who were born in the period 1841-1851. One of them, Langley Thompson, was born in Liverpool in c. 1847, so he was about the same age as Margaret Oakley. In 1881 and 1901 he was living in Liscard, Cheshire, which coincidentally is also where Deborah Potts, the carer of Polly Oakley in the 1881 census, was located in the census returns of 1891 and 1901.
Langley Thompson had married Lydia Cook in 1875, at Plympton, Cornwall. He has born in 1846, the son of Samuel Vallis Thompson and Georgiana Langley.Langley and Lydia had two daughters- Georgiana born c. 1877 in Liverpool, and Frances in c. 1878. It's ridiculous to go chasing a person who is most likely nothing to do with Margaret Oakley, but desperate times call for desperate measures! I have ordered the birth certificate of Polly Oakley who was born in Liverpool in 1878, so we shall see. I don't have high hopes that she will be Margaret's child, however...the name "Polly" is just too out of character for any of the Oakley family to use for a child's 'real' name, as opposed to a nickname derivative of 'Mary'.

Letter from Margaret Oakley to her nephew Harry Oakley

Death certificate Margaret Ellen Oakley and birth certificate of Polly Oakley, her daughter.

Death Notices for Margaret Ellen Oakley

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Margaret Ellen Oakley, daughter of John and Ellen.

Above: Birth certificate of the younger of two daughters born to John Bourne Oakley and Ellen Eliza Lewis- Margaret Ellen Oakley born July 18, 1846.

Above: I believe that this may be the only photo of Jane Elizabeth Oakley's only sibling- her sister Margaret Ellen Oakley.The photo comes from an album belonging to Jane Elizabeth's daughter Amy Jane Oakley, and on the back is written "Aunt Nellie at 18". The photo was taken at the studio of J Groom, Shrewsbury, unlike others from the same album of Jane Elizabeth Oakley, her husband Edwin,father John Bourne Oakley and son John Griffith Oakley, who all sat for photographer James Laing of Shrewsbury. Josiah Groom, photographic artist of Shrewsbury, became bankrupt in 1864. He was aged 25 and employed as a photographer and gilt frame maker in the 1861 census, living at Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury.
  There are no other contenders for the title of "Aunt Nellie"- Amy's mother had only one sister, and her father had two, Jane and Fanny, neither of whom this woman could be.One of Edwin's uncles, Thomas Oakley, had married a woman called Ellen Meabry, but she was far too old to be the subject of the photo.
Because the mother of Jane Elizabeth and Margaret Ellen Oakley was christened 'Elinor' and known as 'Ellen', as was her own mother, perhaps her little granddaughter Margaret Ellen was known as 'Nellie".
The photo's subject is the right age to be Margaret Ellen Oakley-she was born c. 1846, so to be 18 years old the photo would have been taken c. 1864-65, which is about right.
In addition, there is a strong similarity between Jane Elizabeth Oakley and the woman in the photo above-they could easily be sisters.

Margaret Ellen Oakley was born on July 18, 1846, in the family home at English Frankton, Ellesmere parish, Shropshire. On her birth certificate her parents were noted as being John Bourne Oakley, farmer, and Ellen Eliza Lewis. Baby Margaret was baptised when she was five days old, on 23 July, 1846 , at Cockshutt.

Margaret grew up with her elder sister and parents in the small village of English Frankton, where her father owned land and houses.In the 1851 census she was at home with her parents, aged four, and her sister Jane was away at school in Ellesmere.
By the time of the next census in 1861, Jane had married her cousin Edwin Oakley and was living at "The Grove", Middle, Shropshire. At the time of the census 14 year old Margaret was living with her sister, although on the actual night of the census she was at 'The Grove' without Jane and Edwin- they were away somewhere, and Margaret and her little nephew, John Griffith Oakley, had been left in the care of nurse and cook Jane Lloyd.
In 1871, Margaret was back home living with her parents in English Frankton.Her age was given as 23, but she would have been almost 25.In October of 1871, Margaret lost her only sibling when her sister Jane Elizabeth Oakley died of ovarian cancer, leaving her children motherless. It is possible that initially Margaret helped to care for the children, since she had spent a good deal of time with the family up to that point.
Harry Oakley kept a letter written to him by his aunt Margaret after his mother's death, in which she expresses her excitement over his upcoming visit. She says:
"My darling Harry,
I cannot tell you how we are looking forward to seeing your dear face tomorrow. We shall expect you by dinner time, but I shall not come to meet you, for your Papa said Charles Smith would bring you.
I do so wish dear Jack were coming with you but we shall see him in August I hope.
Give my fond love to him, dear Missie and Papa and tell the latter we hope he will let you stay with us the whole of your holidays, for the country air will do you good, love. We have such a pretty little kitten for you but I have given Nip away, but hope to have a smaller one soon.
With much love to each. Believe me ever, Your loving Auntie, Margaret E. Oakley".

The letter is undated, but must have been written after Jane's death in October 1871 as she is not mentioned in the letter. I imagine that "Missie" is a pet name for Amy Jane, Harry's sister, and 'Dear Jack' is his elder brother John Griffith Oakley.

Margaret's father, John Bourne Oakley, died at his home in English Frankton on August 15, 1873, when Margaret was 27. Her mother Ellen Lewis Oakley was about 61 years old, and presumably she and Margaret remained at English Frankton after the death of John.
For the next five years, up until her death, Margaret Ellen Oakley's life is a mystery.Her death notice appeared in three papers that I located- the Pall Mall Gazette, The Liverpool Mercury and The London Times. All state that she died at the age of 28 years, but she was actually four years older.
I sent away for Margaret's death certificate, curious to ascertain her cause of death was since her sister had also died relatively young. I was amazed, and incredibly saddened, to read that on the tenth of November, 1878, at 59 Berrington Hill,Liverpool, Margaret Ellen Oakley had died of PUERPURAL PERITONITIS of eight days duration.
This condition, of course, was a complication of childbirth, and poor Margaret had ended her first pregnancy with terrible suffering followed by death. It would have been a dreadful manner in which to die. The following exert comes from " The Attempt to Understand Puerperal Fever in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries: The Influence of Inflammation Theory by CHRISTINE HALLETT, PhD:

" Puerperal fever was a devastating disease. It affected women within the first three days after childbirth and progressed rapidly, causing acute symptoms of severe abdominal pain, fever and debility.
The Edinburgh physician William Campbell, in his treatise of 1822, observed that the symptoms of puerperal fever could be complex and difficult to interpret. In the majority of patients the disease appeared on the third day, and commenced with rigor, headache and the “cold fit” followed by extreme heat, perspiration and thirst. Abdominal pain was an almost ubiquitous feature and this began as a mild symptom, becoming increasingly severe over the duration of the disease. This pain—which was accompanied by abdominal distension—was usually located in the hypogastric and iliac regions, and any apparent remission tended to be dangerous, indicating mortification. There was “great derangement of the vascular system”, the pulse rising to as much as 140 beats per minute, and the patient tended to lie on her back and appear listless and indifferent. The tongue was usually white, although it could become dark and furred in the face of impending death. Respiration was difficult due to the abdominal pain and distension, and the patient was prone to nausea and vomiting. The early stages of the disease could be characterized by constipation, which, however, soon gave way to diarrhoea. Urination was usually painful and the urine was “high coloured and turbid”. The production of milk was usually suppressed, but the flow of lochia tended to continue. A minority of sufferers experienced delirium and mania."
'Puerperal Peritonitis' indicates that the infection has spread beyond the uterus to include the surrounding regions within the abdominal cavity.
Surprisingly, Edwin T. Oakley registered his sister-in-law's death:- Informant-"Edwin T. Oakley, brother-in-law present at death, of 82 Dorset Street, Hulme, Manchester."
My mind, full to over-brimming with too many detective novels and family sagas, immediately thought "Ah Ha! Edwin had an affair with his dead wife's younger sister!" Of course, there are absolutely no grounds upon which to base this statement- it is reasonable that Margaret, who had viewed her sister's family as her own second family since she was a young girl, would call upon Edwin either when the problem of her pregnancy surfaced or when she fell so ill after childbirth. It also must be remembered that Edwin Oakley was also her blood kin...they were second cousins as well as related through marriage.
Edwin Oakley had been married to his second wife Elizabeth Turner for four years when Margaret died, and was living in Manchester. The distance between Liverpool and Manchester is about 33 miles (53 km), so Edwin wouldn't have had to travel a great distance to come to Margaret's assistance.
I would love to know where Margaret's mother Ellen Lewis Oakley was at this time. Did she know her daughter was pregnant, or was it kept a secret? Did she ever know what killed her daughter? What was Margaret doing in Liverpool anyway, when her home was in Shropshire, and who was she living with?
A check of the 1881 census to see who was living at 59 Bevington Hill, where Margaret died, was not very helpful. Two branches of the Gibbs family were living there- 29 year old Henry Gibbs (he was actually about 31), a master plasterer, and his wife Lillian and 10 month old son Henry, and the family of 29 year old Gilbert Gibbs, including his wife Mary and five children. No obvious tie-ins with the Oakley family there, and I can't find a directory for Liverpool c. 1878 that may give me a clue as to who else lived at 59 Bevington Hill at the same time as Margaret.
Most important amongst all of the questions arising from Margaret's mystery pregnancy is "What happened to Margaret's baby?" Did the child die along with the mother, or did it live and was relocated to a home with another family?
I looked for Oakley births in Liverpool amongst the BMD index for the December Quarter for 1878, and found only one...a baby girl named Polly Oakley.I checked for her in the 1881 census, and here comes the interesting part...two year old Polly Oakley,born Liverpool, was a 'visitor' in the house of 28 year old James Potts, an Engineer(ship) from Mellor in Derbyshire, and his Irish wife Deborah.They lived at 15 Biskerton St, Toxteth Park, Lancashire.
This suggests the age-old scenario of a motherless baby being placed with a 'wet nurse. I have researched both James Potts and his wife and there is no Oakley connection that I can find.
James Potts was actually born Frederick James Potts in c. 1852,at Mellor, Derbyshire. He married Deborah Hannah Wright in Liverpool in early 1878. Deborah was born c. 1852 in Ireland, the daughter of Henry Wright, a dock hand, and his wife Deborah.
For Deborah to become wet nurse to baby Polly Oakley, she would have had to have lost a baby of her own.The death index shows that a Margaret Potts, aged 1, died in the December 1/4 of 1878 at Liverpool...time, age and place correct, but unless I get the death certificate I will never know.
Deborah and James had no living children- James died in Chorlton, Lancashire, in 1888. In the 1891 census Deborah Potts was a 37 year old widowed housekeeper for the McGhie family of Liscard, Cheshire. In 1901 she was still in Liscard, aged 47, and still working as a housekeeper for George William McGhie.

Letter from Jane Elizabeth Oakley to her son Harry

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Children of John Bourne Oakley and Ellen Eliza Lewis

Pictured above, Jane Elizabeth Oakley was the elder of two daughters born to John Bourne Oakley and Ellen Eliza Lewis. She was born on Friday,October 27, 1837, at Ellesmere, Shropshire, and was baptised two days later on Sunday, October 29, at Cockshutt.
Her upbringing would have been comfortable, if not overly wealthy. Her father John classified himself as a "Gentleman", which means that for the entirety of his life he never worked, but relied upon income from various bequests in wills. This included land around English Frankton that he inherited, and although he described himself as a 'retired farmer' in the census of 1861, he would have relied totally on agricultural labourers to do the farm work, certainly not himself!
When Jane was almost eight years old her sibling Margaret Ellen Oakley arrived. Margaret was born on July 18, 1846, at Frankton, and she was baptised at Cockshutt on July 23, 1846.

The census of 1861 revealed that 13 year old Jane Elizabeth was living away from her home at English Frankton, and residing at Ellesmere with three other female pupils at a small girls' school.

1861: Trimpley, Ellesmere.
Eliza Birch/head/unmarried/ 33/ Governess/ born Sussex, Wellington
Ellen Burch/ teacher/ unmarried/24/teacher/ born ?
Ann Jebb/pupil/unmarried/19/pupil/born Bagley, Salop
Catherine Jones/pupil/unmarr/16/ pupil/ born Owestry, Salop
Jane Oakley/pupil/unmarr/13/pupil/ born Salop-English Frankton
Mary Shingler/pupil/unmarr/9/pupil/born Salop-Sandford.
Harriet Humphreys/servant/unmarr/20/house servant/ born Flintshire

John Bourne Oakley was the first cousin of John Oakley, a wealthy grocer from Shrewsbury who had established himself in London with a lucrative partnership in the Fortnum and Mason Store in Piccadilly.Their fathers were brothers John Oakley and Timothy Oakley, who had died within several years of each other in the early 1820s.
The two cousins must have maintained family contact with each other, as two of their children became engaged to be married in the mid-1850s. Edwin Thomas Oakley was the third son of John Oakley and Jane Meabry, and had been born in Westminster c. 1834. He fell in love with his second cousin Jane Elizabeth Oakley, and they were married on Wednesday, November 3, 1858, at Saint Mary's, Shrewsbury.
Jane was 21 at the time of her marriage, and had been living at Shooters Hill, Clive, with her widowed great-aunt, Jane Burlton Griffith, who was her deceased grandmother's sister.
Witnesses at the marriage were Edwin's brother William Alfred Oakley and two females named Jane Birch and Sarah Ann Brookes, perhaps friends of Jane Elizabeth's.
At the time of his marriage, Edwin Oakley was a merchant in Birkenhead, Cheshire, and it was to here that he returned with his new wife. Jane quickly fell pregnant with her first child, and their son John Griffith Oakley was born in Birkenhead on Saturday, October 8, 1859.

When Jane Oakley's great-aunt Jane Griffith died on January 1, 1861,she and her sister Margaret were the main beneficiaries of the will. The Oakley family moved into Shooters Hill, which gave Jane a reprieve of several years from her husband's none-too-successful business ventures.
On New years day, 1863,at Shooters Hill, Clive, Jane Elizabeth Oakley gave birth to her second child, a son named Harry Meabry Oakley. The 'Meabry' second name came from his paternal grandmother, Jane Meabry, who had married John Oakley.
A daughter followed the following year....on Sunday, March 13, 1864, at Shooters Hill, Clive, Jane Elizabeth Oakley gave birth to Amy Jane Oakley, her only daughter.
Towards the end of 1868,in Liverpool, Jane Elizabeth Oakley and Edwin had their final child, a son named Edwin Burlton Oakley. He lived for only three months, dying of convulsions on December 13, 1868, at 131 Islington,Liverpool.
Although the Oakleys were residing in Liverpool, the newspaper notice of baby Edwin's death stated that they were "of Shooters Hill".
The death of her fourth and final child heralded the start of a traumatic time for Jane Elizabeth. The following year her husband again got himself into financial difficulties. A notice published in the London gazette of December 14, 1869, stated:
" Edwin Thomas Oakley of Magdala St, Smithdown Road, Liverpool, County Lancaster, in lodgings, out of business, previously of Chatham Street, In Liverpool, out of business, and previous thereto of 131 Islington in Liverpool,Wine Merchant, Aerated Water Manufacturer and Ale and Porter Bottler, adjudicated bankrupt( in forma pauperis) on the 15th day of October, 1869.
( Definition: IN FORMA PAUPERIS - Lat. 'in the form of a pauper.' Someone who is without the funds to pursue the normal costs of a lawsuit or criminal defense. Upon the court's granting of this status the person is entitled to waiver of normal costs and/or appointment of counsel.In English Law, when a person is so poor that he cannot bear the charges of suing at law or in equity, upon making oath that he is not worth five pounds and bringing a certificate from a counselor at law that he believes him to have a just cause, he is permitted to sue informa pauperis, in the manner of a pauper; that is, he is allowed to have original writs and subpoenas gratis and counsel assigned him without fee.)
Poor Jane would have gone from a very comfortable living in a beautiful country home to lodgings in Liverpool within a matter of a year or so.To compound matters, she fell ill, and in the ensuing months became worse rather than better.Her attending physician dignosed her with disease of the ovaries, and at the age of 34 years, Jane Elizabeth Oakley died.
Just prior to her death, the 1871 census return shows that the Oakleys were residing at Monks Coppenhall, near Crewe in Cheshire. The information reveals that on the night that the census was taken- Sunday, April 2, 1871- the Oakley family was split in two, with parents Edwin and Jane staying at a Temperance House in Crewe, and the three children at their home 46 Beech Street, Monks Coppenhall, with a servant, widow Elizabeth Smith.
Jane was only six months away from her death, and would have been very ill. Most likley her husband had taken her away for complete rest, for either the weekend or a little longer.
Jane Elizabeth Oakley died on Tuesday, October 31, 1871, just four days after her 34th birthday.According to a story told by her son, Harry Oakley, to his own children, Edwin was absolutely distraught over the death of his wife. At the graveside he is supposed to have thrown himself on Jane's grave, weeping unconsolably. I can't verify this story, nor can I even locate the final resting place of Jane Elizabeth Oakley. I had the records checked for Monks Coppenhall Cemetery and she was not buried there, so she may very well have been taken home to Shropshire for burial at either Clive,the cemetery closest to her home at Shooters Hill, or even English Frankton or Cockshutt where she grew up.
Jane's children were aged 12(John),8 (Harry)and 7(Amy Jane).Almost three years later their father married again. Elizabeth Jane Turner was the 25 year old daughter of John and Elizabeth Turner of Moss Side, Manchester, and as well as being the step-mother of John, Harry and Amy, she also gave birth to three more children with Edwin.

I really connect with Jane Elizabeth Oakley. Her portrait, sent out to Australia to Harry Oakley by his aunt Fanny Fortnum Oakley Scorer, hangs on my wall, and I often look up at her and imagine the anquish she must have felt at leaving her three beloved children. Following this blog is a letter written to her second child, Harry, when he was just a little boy, and she obviously doted upon him.

Birth, marriage and death certificates of Jane Elizabeth Oakley

Friday, April 24, 2009

John Bourne Oakley and Ellen Lewis continued.

It took me many years to locate a marriage for John Bourne Oakley and Ellen Lewis, but as their first child was born in 1837, I guessed that they were married c. 1835-6 when both parties would have been aged in their early twenties. In December of 2015, I finally discovered that John and Ellen had married at St Peters in Liverpool...they were both stated as 'being of this parish', and were married by license on January 30, 1837. Witnesses were Richard and Elizabeth Lewis, the latter signing her name with a cross. John's occupation was given as 'Gentleman'.

Jane Elizabeth Oakley was born on October 27,1837. Her mother's name on the birth certificate was given as Ellen Eliza Lewis, which is the first and only time that I have seen the name 'Eliza' used in relation to Ellen's name. Her father's occupation was given as 'Gentleman' of English Frankton. Jane's place of birth was given as 'Ellesmere' rather than English Frankton.
The 1841 census return finds them living at English Frankton:

John Oakley/ 30/ Yeoman/ born in county
Ellen Oakley/25/ born in county
Jane Oakley/3/ b in c.

John and Ellen's second and final child was born in c. 1846. Named Margaret Ellen Oakley, she was baptised at Cockshutt on July 23, 1846.The 1851 census shows 4 year old Margaret living at home with her parents in English Frankton, but her sister Jane Elizabeth is missing:

1851: English Frankton.
John Bourne Oakley/ head/ married/ 39/ Annuitant/ born Pulverbatch
Ellen Oakley/wife/ married/ 38/ born Petton
Margaret Ellen Oakley/ daughter/ 4/ scholar/ born Ellesmere
Elizabeth Lewis/ visitor/unmarried/ 48/ born Petton
Elizabeth Simons/ servant/unmarried/14/ house servant/ born Yarmouth

Jane Elizabeth Oakley was finally found living at a school in Trimpley, Ellesmere, which was run by Eliza Birch. Jane was thirteen years old, and one of only four live-in pupils.
In 1858, when Jane was twenty one years of age, she married Edwin Thomas Oakley, her twenty three year old second cousin.Again, her father's occupation was given as "Gentleman" on the certificate.

In 1861, the Oakley household in English Frankton was missing both daughters:

1861: English Frankton.
John B. Oakley/head/married/49/ retired farmer/ born Salop-Church Pulverbatch
Ellen Oakley/wife/married/47/born Salop Petton
Samuel Povall/servant/10/general servant/born Salop Ellesmere

Jane Elizabeth Oakley and her husband Edwin were missing in action...I have searched for them for years in the 1861 census and have failed miserably to find them. I can locate their baby son, John Griffith Oakley, who is at their home at "The Grove", Middle, Salop, with his 14 year old aunt Margaret Ellen Oakley and three servants:

1861: The Grove, Middle, Shropshire.
John G. Oakley/son/1/ born Birkenhead, Cheshire
Margaret E. Oakley/sister/unmarr/14/scholar/ born Salop-English Frankton
Jane Lloyd/servant/unmarried/44/nurse and cook/ born Montgomeryshire
Frederick Morris/servant/married/25/groom/ born Salop-Baschurch
Elizabeth Morris/wife/marr/23/house maid/Born Salop-Bagley.

The last census in which John Bourne Oakley appears is that of 1871:
1871: English Frankton.
John B. Oakley/ head/married/59/ Annuitant/ born Salop-Church Pulverbatch.
Ellen Oakley/wife/married/51/ born Petton (Incorrect age-she was almost 59)
Margaret E. Oakley/daughter/unmarried/23/born Salop-Ellesmere.

John Bourne Oakley died on August 15, 1873, at his English Frankton home.He was 62 years of age, and his cause of death was cancer.The informant on his death certificate was Frances Bagnall of English Frankton, who was present at John's death. The 1871 census shows that the Bagnall family were neighbours of the Oakleys...father Samuel Bagnall was a 41 year old manager of a threshing machine, and he and his wife Ann had six children living with them at home, of whom 22 year old Frances was the eldest. She and Margaret Ellen Oakley were roughly the same age, and most likely were friends. Alternatively, Frances Bagnall may have worked as a live-out servant to the Oakleys- if she only lived several houses away there would be no need for her to live in. She was not educated, as she signed John Oakley's death certificate with a cross.

It was perhaps a good thing that John Bourne Oakley was not around to face the scandal that erupted in his family in the year 1878. His elder daughter Jane Elizabeth Oakley had died of cancer at the age of 33 in 1871, tragically leaving three young children without a mother.
Margaret Ellen Oakley never married, and also died young in November of 1878. I was amazed, and very saddened, to read of her cause of death when I sent for her death certificate...she died of puerperal peritonitis of eight days duration, on November 10, 1878, at 59 Bevington Hill, Liverpool. This, of course, is a deadly infection as the result of childbirth, so poor Margaret died at the age of 31 after giving birth to an illegitimate child. More about Margaret in her own blog entry.

Ellen Lewis Oakley, widow of John Bourne Oakley, was about 59 years old when she lost her husband, and after her daughter Margaret died she had no immediate family left. Her son-in-law Edwin Oakley had remarried in 1874, and started another family with his new wife in Manchester. Her only grandchildren from her daughter Jane Elizabeth Oakley were John and Amy, who were living with their father, and Harry, who had argued with his father and moved to Wales.
Ellen Oakley turned to her own Lewis family for support, and moved in to live with her nephew and niece, John Lewis Thomas and his sister Jane Thomas. They lived in School Court or Lane, Castle Street, Shrewsbury.

1881: School Lane, St. Marys, Shrewsbury.
John L. Thomas/ head/unmarried/39/ hair dresser/ born Salop-Shrewsbury.
Jane Thomas/ sister/unmarried/42/ dress maker/ born Salop- Shrewsbury.
Ellen Oakley/aunt/widow/62/independent/ born Salop-Petton.
Agnes Manley/niece/13/born Salop-Church Stretton.

Like in the previous census, Ellen's age was incorrect...she was almost 69 not 62.

On the 23 October, 1884, 72 year old Ellen Lewis Oakley died at her home in School Court, Castle Street, Shrewsbury. Her cause of death as given by Dr. Whitwell is very wishy-washy..."mort cordis syncope-probably". Her nephew J.L Thomas of School Court, Castle Street, Shrewsbury, who was in attendance at his aunt's death, registered the event the following day.

Photos of Lewis sisters...perhaps???

The above two photographs are in the album that Amy Jane Oakley brought out with her to Australia when she emigrated from England in 1887. The bottom photo is on a page with the photo which is marked "Grandpapa" on the reverse, and which has been positively identified as John Bourne Oakley. I believe the top photo may be John Bourne Oakley's wife, Ellen Lewis Oakley. Both of the above photographs would have been taken in the 1860s, so Ellen would have been in her fifties. I would guess that the women in both photos were older, but I am a particularly terrible judge of age. Perhaps the ladies are two of Ellen Lewis Oakley's elder sisters, Elizabeth and Mary who also lived in English Frankton? Feasible, perhaps, but I think that I can spy a ring on the wedding fingers of both women, and Ellen's sisters were both spinsters.
I have just had a thought re. the suspected wedding rings...the lady on the same page as John Bourne Oakley may be his wife Ellen Eliza Lewis Oakley, and the other woman may very well be John Bourne's aunt, Jane Burlton Griiffith of Shooters Hill, who I believe may have helped to raise him when he was orphaned at the age of nine. Jane died in 1861, so if the photo was taken after this date it rules her out as a candidate.

The Lewis family of Petton, Salop.

My involvement with the Lewis family of Petton comes through the marriage of Elinor/Ellen Lewis to John Bourne Oakley. This couple were my great-great-great grandparents, and they grew up in the neighbouring villages of English Frankton and Petton.

Petton is a small settlement just one mile due south from Cockshutt, and John and Helen Lewis lived in the village at 'Church Cottage', positioned right next to the village church. John Lewis was born in the early 1760s, and his wife Elinor ( Helen/Ellen) Williams was from Guilsfield in Wales (my one and only Welsh ancestor!) The marriage of John Lewis and Elinor Williams is shown above and was copied from the marriage register of Guildfield in Montgomeryshire.

In the Petton Church records, it is recorded that John and Elinor Lewis had two sons and four daughters, all baptised in the Petton Church between 1799 and 1812:

Ann Lewis baptised June 2, 1799, daughter of John and Helen Lewis.

Elizabeth Lewis baptised September 27, 1802, daughter of John and Elinor Lewis.

Jane Lewis baptised March 18, 1804, daughter of John and Elinor Lewis.

John Lewis baptised June 19, 1808, son of John and Helen Lewis.

Richard Lewis baptised June 24, 1810, son of John and Ellen Lewis

Elinor Lewis baptised June 28, 1812, daughter of John and Helen Lewis.

I can find no further records of sons John and Richard. There are however records of another daughter, Mary Lewis, born c. 1807 in Petton, so at the moment it looks as though John and Eleanor Lewis had five daughters survive to reach adulthood...Ann, Elizabeth, Jane, Mary and Ellen.
Only three daughters married- Ellen married John Bourne Oakley and had two daughters: eldest sister Ann married Samuel Thomas and had two daughters and a son; and their sister Jane married John Price and had three daughters and a son.
The very interesting book "Cockshutt & Petton Remembered", edited by the Cockshutt Parish History Group ( and which I purchased from the Shropshire Family History Group)had the following information about the Lewis family of Petton:

" 'Church House' or as it was called in 1928 'Church Cottage' has some of the best views in Petton, from its lofty position next to the church. It started out as a humble 'bothy' or worker cottage that has been added to and improved over the years. It is marked on maps of 1842, but may have been earlier as this was the area of some of the earliest settlement in Petton.
In the 1841 census John Lewis and his wife Helen were living there with their family. They had their children christened at Petton Church, the earliest recorded was Sarah in 1799. Mr Lewis died aged 87 in 1847 and his wife ten years later, so they lived in Petton for most of their lives.
In records, Mr. Lewis was responsible for the tithes on a garden which is now the site of 1 and 2 Copse Cottages." page 328.

The book states that the first Lewis child to be baptised in the Petton Church was Sarah in 1799- the LDS site has this child named as 'Ann', and she is called 'Ann' in all census returns pertaining to her.

The 1841 census finds members of the Lewis family in the following residences:

Petton: John Lewis/ 75/ Ag. Labourer/ born in county
Ellen Lewis/ 70/ born in county
Mary Lewis/ 30/ b in c
Elizabeth Lewis/30/ b in c

Loppington: John Price Jnr/ 29/ tailor/ born in county
Jane Price/ 35/ wife/ b in c ( maiden name Lewis)
Ellen Price/ 7/daughter/ b in c
Elizabeth Price/ 6/ daughter/b in c
John Price/ 4/ son/ b in c
Jane Price/ 1/ daughter/ b in c

English Frankton: John Oakley/ 30/ Yeoman/ b in c
Ellen Oakley/ 25/ b in c (maiden name Lewis)
Jane Oakley/3/ b in c.

Castle Foregate, St. Alkmond, Shrewsbury.
Samuel Thomas/ 40/ ___ clerk/ born in county
Ann Thomas/ 40/ b in c ( maiden name Lewis)
Ellen Thomas/9/ b in c
Jane Thomas/5/ b in c
John Thomas/ 2/ b in c

By the time the 1851 census rolled around, John Lewis had died, and his eighty year old widow Eleanor was still living in their cottage at Petton with her spinster daughter,44 year old Mary. Her daughter Jane Price was still living with her husband at Loppington, and daughter Elizabeth Lewis was living with the Oakley family at English Frankton. Eldest daughter Ann Lewis Thomas was living at Pride Hill, Saint Mary, Shrewsbury, with her husband Samuel, a letter carrier, and children Ellen, Jane and John.

Ellen/Eleanor Lewis, my great-great-great-great grandmother, died in the June 1/4 of 1857 at her home in Petton. Her daughter Ann Lewis Thomas also lost her husband in the decade between 1851 and 1861

After Samuel Thomas died, Ann continued to live in their home at Pride Hill, Shrewsbury, with her daughter Jane. In the 1861 census, both were supporting themselves by dressmaking. The 1871 census shows Ann and Jane Thomas still living together, but they had moved house to School Court, Saint Marys, Shrewsbury.Ann's son, John Lewis Thomas, aged 27, was also living back at home, and was a hair dresser.
It was two of Ann Thomas's children who took in their aunt, Ellen Bourne Oakley, after she was widowed in the 1870s.
These two Thomas children, John Lewis Thomas and his sister Jane Thomas, both aged in a very interesting manner during the course of several census returns.Jane was the elder of the two, born on February 13, 1836, in Shrewsbury. Her brother John Lewis Thomas was born in the December 1/4 of 1838.In the census returns up to 1881, Jane was correctly stated as being the elder sibling by two years, but from 1891, however,wishful thinking on Jane's behalf seems to have taken over...she has not only suddenly became the younger sibling, but she has aged only one year in ten!!! In 1881 Jane Thomas was a 42 year old unmarried dressmaker, and in 1891 she was a 43 year old single dressmaker.Her hair dresser brother John wasn't quite so extreme- his age went from 39 in 1881 to 45 in 1891.
The 1901 census states that John Thomas is again the elder sibling at 52, which is about ten years under his actual age. His sister Jane has thrown truth to the four winds and stated her age as reality she was about 65 years old! She aged from 42 in 1881 to 45 in 1901- a mere three years in twenty!
The 1911 census shows that sanity has prevailed, and Jane Thomas has gone from 45 in 1901 back to her correct age of 74. She has also been reinstated as the elder of the two siblings, with John Lewis Thomas being 72.

Briefly, the Lewis family of Petton can be summarised as follows:
Issue of John Lewis ( c. 1760-1847) and wife Eleanor/Ellen/Helen( c. 1771-1857):

* ANN LEWIS: baptised March 18, 1804, Petton. Married Samuel Thomas,clerk and letter carrier.Lived in Shrewsbury.Family:
1.ELLEN THOMAS born December 16, 1831, Shrewsbury. Married whitesmith and gas fitter JAMES MANLEY, 1858, Shrewsbury.Their children Alice Jane b 1860 d 1870; Alfred Thomas b 1862, Church Stretton; Florence Annie b 1865, Church Stretton; Agnes Lizzy b 1867, Church Stretton; James Lewis b 1869, Church Stretton; Edith Jane b 1871, Church Stretton, and Nellie Franes b 1875, Church Stretton.

2. MARY ANN THOMAS born September 22, 1833, Shrewsbury. No other record:

3. JANE THOMAS born February 13, 1836, Shrewsbury.A dressmaker. Did not marry.

4. JOHN LEWIS Thomas born 1838, Shrewsbury.Hair dresser. Did not marry.

* ELIZABETH LEWIS: baptised September 27, 1802, Petton.Did not marry.In 1841 census was still living with her parents and sister Mary at Petton, aged 38. In 1851 was in English Frankton, visiting with her sister Ellen Bourne Oakley and Ellen's husband John Bourne Oakley.Remained in English Frankton for the rest of her life, accompanied by sister Mary Lewis. They set up a grocers' business in English Frankton, and both sisters were stated as being 'grocers' in the census returns of 1861 and 1871.In 1861 they had two nieces living with them- Ellen Price, 26, and her widowed sister Elizabeth Thwaite, 24. These were the daughters of Jane Lewis and John Price. Elizabeth had with her a year old son, John Thwaite. She had married his father, Solomon Thwaite, in 1858,and he died the following year.Baby John Thwaite fared little better than his father, dying in 1863.
Elizabeth Lewis died in English Frankton in 1874.

* JANE LEWIS: baptised March 18, 1804, Petton.She married John Price, tailor,on November 5, 1832, at Loppington, Salop. Their children were:
1. Ellen Price: baptised August 25, 1833, Loppington.
2. Elizabeth Price: baptised March 15, 1835, Loppington. Married Solomon Thwaite 1858. Widowed 1859. One son from this marriage, John Solomon Price Thwaite, born 1859, died 1863.
3. John Price: baptised November 27, 1836, Loppington.
4. Jane Price: baptised September 1, 1839, Loppington.

Jane Lewis Price died c. 1854-55, Loppington.

*MARY LEWIS: born c. 1807, Petton. Did not marry. Lived with her parents until their deaths, and then resided with her elder sister Elizabeth Lewis at English Frankton until her death in 1874. Mary worked as a grocer with her sister. She died in 1878.

* JOHN LEWIS: baptised June 19, 1808, Petton. No other information.

* RICHARD LEWIS:baptised June 24, 1810, Petton. No further information.

* ELINOR LEWIS: baptised June 28, 1812, Petton. Known as 'Ellen'. My great-great-great grandmother. Married John Bourne Oakley, and had two daughters, Jane Elizabeth Oakley and Margaret Ellen Oakley.
Elinor's story shall continue with her husband's in the next blog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

John Bourne Oakley, my Great-Great-Great Grandfather

My great-great-great grandfather, John Bourne Oakley(pictured above) was born at Pulverbatch, Shropshire, in 1812, the only living child of Timothy Oakley and Elizabeth Burlton.He was baptised at Pulverbatch on February 23, 1813.
At some stage during his early childhood,John and his parents moved north to English Frankton where his mother was born and where her family still resided. His father purchased farm land there, and for several years all went well.
Then, in 1818, a run of tragedies started that would eventually leave John an orphan without even grandparents to take him in.
First to be buried in the graveyard of Saint Simon and Saint Jude at Cockshutt was John Bourne Oakley's uncle, John Burlton, at the age of 29. His infant daughter Jane Elizabeth joined him five months later, followed by John Whettall Oakley, John Bourne's grandfather,the next March. Grandmother Elizabeth Burlton was buried with her husband only five weeks later,in April 1819.
The Oakley family of English Frankton was to have two years without loss, and then within the space of eight months both Timothy Oakley and his wife Elizabeth died- Timothy on July 4, 1821, and Elizabeth on March 16, 1822.
Both made monetary provisions for their only child in their wills, and Elizabeth named her cousin, Thomas Maddox, and brother-in-law John Griffith, as guardians of John Bourne Oakley during his minority.
John Oakley was about nine years old when he lost his parents.He had no grandparents alive to care for him...his Burlton grandparents John and Elizabeth had died in 1819, and his paternal Oakley grandparents Richard Oakley and Margaret Meyrick Oakley had died in 1786 and 1817 respectively.
Of his mother's siblings, John Bourne Oakley had only one living Aunt, Jane Burlton Griffith, who lived at Shooters Hill near Wem with her husband John Griffith. They had no children, so they very well may have taken in their young nephew, especially as John Griffith had been nominated as one of his guardians.
Amongst his father Timothy's siblings, John had two living uncles, Thomas and William, and a childless aunt, Margaret Oakley Jandrell.Thomas Oakley married Elizabeth Broome of Church Stretton. They farmed at Hope Bowdler, and had no children, nor did William Oakley who lived at Church Pulverbatch.
Margaret Jandrell left twenty pounds to John Bourne Oakley in her will when she died in 1835.His other aunt, Jane Burlton Griffith, also left him a bequest in her will when she died in 1861, although her husband, and John's guardian, did not mention him in his will made in 1850.
I don't think that John Bourne Oakley ever had to work for an census returns from 1841 to 1871, his occupation was described as "Yeoman"(1841), "Annuitant" (1851), "Retired farmer" (1861) and "Annuitant" again in 1871.

John Bourne Oakley was in his early to mid twenties when he married a girl from Petton, Shropshire. Eleanor,or Ellen, Lewis was the daughter of John and Eleanor/Ellen/Helen Lewis.

I will pause in John Bourne Oakley's story for a moment to go off on a small tangent about my Lewis ancestors.

Will of John Burlton the Younger, 1818.

In summary, the above will states:
Last will and testament of me, JOHN BURLTON of English frankton, parish of Ellesmere, Gentleman.
- Give and devise to my dear wife ELIZABETH BURLTON the beds, linen, plate, china as she brought here for her own use and benefit with the sum of £200 to be paid by my executors twelve months after my decease besides a jointure of £45 per year as my father settled upon her at marriage.
- Remainder of my personal estate to my father JOHN WHETTALL BURLTON of English Frankton and my brother-in-law JOHN GRIFFITH of Wem in trust for my daughter JANE BURLTON now an infant for them to employ the money as they think proper for the best use and benefit of my child.
- And as there has been no settlement between me and the trustees of my late father-in-law RICHARD OAKLEY and the executors of my late cousin JOHN BRAZENORE as there is money due to me I empower my executors to settle that business and apply the money as above for the use of my child.
-I appoint my father JOHN WHETTALL BURLTON and my brother-in-law JOHN GRIFFITH joint executors.
Written: November 15, 1817
John Burlton died: March 13, 1818.
His infant daughter Jane Burlton died August 31, 1818, aged one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Will of John Whottall Burlton, 1819.


By permission of Almighty God I, John Whettall Burlton of English Frankton in the parish of Ellesmere in the county of Salop, Esquire, being sick and weak in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner following( that is to say)
Whereas my dear Wife Elizabeth Burlton is provided for by settlement on her marriage with me but in token of the love and affection I have and bear for and towards my said wife I give and devise unto her ALL that my messuage or dwelling house with the Garden and Croft of land thereto adjoining which I lately purchased off and from Mr. William Jenks situate and being in English Frankton aforesaid to hold to her, my said wife Elizabeth Burlton and her assigns for and during the term of her natural life, free from all taxes and other deductions, Parliamentary or otherwise except the window duty.

I also give to my said wife all and every the household goods
and furniture, plate, linen and china which shall happen to be in and upon the said messuage or dwelling house and premises at the time of my decease to and for her own use and benefit forever.

And I do hereby give, devise and bequeath unto my said wife Elizabeth Burlton and her assigns for and during the term of her natural life one annuity or clear yearly rent or sum of forty pounds of lawful British currency free of all taxes and other payments, deductions, Parliamentary or otherwise to be issuing and payable out of and from all other my freehold estate not hereinbefore mentioned and to be paid and payable by four quarterly payments in the year (viz) at and upon the 25th day of March, the 24th day of June, the 29th day of September and the 25th day of December; the first payment thereof to be on such of the same days that as shall first and next happen after my decease in addition to any other annuity and sums or sums of money or other property which my said wife shall or may be any ways entitles unto under or by virtue of the said marriage settlement and this my will or either of them.

And it is my will and I do hereby direct that my said wife shall have and receive the sum of twenty pounds within one month of my decease in part and on account of the two first quarterly payments of her annuities under the said Settlement and this my will.

I give the sum of three hundred pounds unto such persons or persons and for such intents and purposes as my daughter Elizabeth Oakley notwithstanding her coverture shall by any writing or writings signed with her hand order, direct or appoint and for default of and in the mean time until she shall make or give such order, direction or appointment do and shall pay the yearly interest and produce thereof into the proper hands of my said daughter Elizabeth Oakley for her own sole and separate use and disposal exclusive of her husband and wherewith he shall not in anywise intermeddle, neither shall the same or any part thereof be subject or liable to his debts, control, managements or engagements, but the receipt and receipts of my said daughter alone or any such person or persons as she shall from time to time order, direct or appoint to receive the same shall only be effectual and sufficient discharge and discharges for so much and such part or parts thereof as shall be therein respectively acknowledged and expressed to be received.

And in case my said daughter ELIZABETH OAKLEY happen to die without making or giving such appointment as aforesaid I give the said sum of three hundred pounds and the interest and produce thereof which may become due from the time of her decease unto and for the use of all and every child and children of my said daughter ELIZABETH OAKLEY lawfully to be begotten to be equally divided between or amongst them if more than one share and share alike.

And it is my will and I do hereby direct that my daughters ELIZABETH OAKLEY and JANE GRIFFITHS shall at their joint expense buy, draw and deliver to my said wife during her life at her dwelling house at English Frankton aforesaid all such coals as she shall want or consume, the same to be drawn and carried rom such Pits as she, my said wife, shall from time to time direct or appoint.

I give and devise all and every the messuages, lands, tenements, hereditaments and real estates whatsoever situate lying and being in the County of Salop and elsewhere whereof or wherein for any person or persons in trust for me have or hath or am is or are entitled to any estate or interest of freehold or inheritance in possession reversion remainder or expectancy or which I may died possessed of or be any ways entitled to at the time of my decease with their and every of their appurtenances unto my said two daughters ELIZABETH OAKLEY and JANE GRIFFITHS, their heirs and assigns for ever, to take as tenants in common and not as joint tenants, but subject nevertheless to the life estate and interest of my said wife ELIZABETH BURLTON of and in the messuage or dwelling house garden and croft of land hereinbefore by me given to her for her life. And also subject to the payment of the said annuity in the menner so by me hereinbefore also given to my said wife.

And as for and concerning all the rest, residue and remainder of my monies, goods, chattels, estate and effects of what nature or kind soever not hereinbefore given and disposed of subject to the payment of my just debts, my funeral expenses, and the funeral expenses of my said wife, and the expence of proving this, my will, and carrying the same into execution, and also of the coals for my said wife as aforesaid, I give and bequeath the same unto the said ELIZABETH OAKLEY and JANE GRIFFITHS to be equally divided between them, share and share alike.

And I do hereby make, nominate and appoint my said wife ELIZABETH BURLTON and my said daughters ELIZABETH OAKLEY and JANE GRIFFITHS executrixes of this, my will, hereby revoking and making void all and every other will and wills at any time heretofore by me made, and do declare this to be my last will and testament.
In witness whereof I the said JOHN WHETTALL BURLTON the Testator have hereunto set my hand and seal the sixth day of March in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Nineteen.
Jn W Burlton.

Signed sealed declared and published by the within named John Whettall Burlton the Testator as and for his last will and Testament in the presence of us, who in his presence, at his request, and in the presence of eachother have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto-

Eliz Williams
Joseph Baugh
Pr Pritchard.

Additional papers:

“ Will in the Bishop’s Court of Lichfield
In the goods of John Whettall Burlton, deceased.

Appeared personally: Elizabeth Oakley, the wife of Timothy Oakley of English Frankton in the parish of Ellesmere in the county of Salop, and Jane Griffith, the wife of John Griffith of Wem in the same county, Mercer, the surviving executrixes named in the last will and testament of the said John Whettall Burlton, late of English Frankton, in the county of Salop, Esquire, deceased,
And made oath that the estate and effects of the said deceased…… are under the value of one thousand and five hundred pounds, to the best of these deponents’ knowledge, information and belief.

Sworn on the 29th day of February, 1820, before me, Francis Salt, Commissioner.
Elizabeth Oakley
Jane Griffith.”

Another document dealt with probate, and said, amongst other things…

“ Whereas it has been alleged, before the Rev Charles Buckeridge,D.D., that John Whettall Burlton late of English Frankton in the parish of Ellesmere in the county of Salop and Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, Esquire, deceased, duly made and executed, his last will and testament, in writing, and therein named Elizabeth the wife of Timothy Oakley of English Frankton aforesaid, Jane the wife of John Griffith of Wem, mercer, and Elizabeth Burlton of the parish of Ellesmere, since deceased, executrixes thereof.
QRY. When he died?
ANS: 9 March 1819.

On the twenty ninth day of February, 1820, this commission was duly executed and the said Elizabeth Oakley, wife of Timothy Oakley of English Frankton, and Jane Griffith, wife of John Griffith of the parish of Wem, mercer, were duly sworn according to the above oath before me.
Francis Salt, Commissioner.

The Burltons of English Frankton, Salop.

Very little is known by me about my Burlton family. The name first appears in my family tree in 1809 when Elizabeth Burlton of English Frankton married Timothy Oakley in Ellemere, thus becoming my great-great-great-great grandmother.
She died in 1822 at the age of 39, leaving only one living child, a son named John Bourne Oakley. Her husband Timothy Oakley had predeceased her by eight months,leaving eight year old John an orphan.

Elizabeth Burlton's parents were John Whottall(or 'Whettall' or 'Whittall'!!) Burlton and his wife Elizabeth. I can't find a marriage for the couple, so I don't know Elizabeth's maiden name as yet. John was born c. 1752. Another Burlton family were also living in Cockshutt at the same time as John and Elizabeth, and the age of the head of the family, William Burlton, suggests that he may perhaps have been a brother of John. William Burlton was born c. 1756, and his wife was Margaret, again maiden name unknown.
John and Elizabeth Burlton had three children- two daughters and a son:

ELIZABETH BURLTON: baptised November 17, 1782, Cockshutt. Married Timothy Oakley June 7, 1809, Ellesmere. Died March 16, 1822, aged 39.

JANE BURLTON: baptised December 16, 1786, Cockshutt. Married John Griffith, 21 April, 1816, Ellesmere.No issue. Died January 1, 1861.

JOHN BURLTON: baptised October 28, 1788, Cockshutt. Married Elizabeth Oakley,January 4, 1816, Stapleton. She was the niece of Timothy Oakley, and daughter of Timothy's brother Richard Oakley of The Moat, Stapleton.They had one daughter, Jane Oakley, who was baptised on June 1, 1817. She died aged one in August of 1818. Her father John had died in the previous March, aged 29.

John Burlton the Elder must have held land around English Frankton as it is mentioned in his will. The Burlton family suffered great losses amongst their members in the five year period around 1820.
Son John Burlton was the first to pass away, aged only 29, in March of 1818. His death was reported in 'The Monthly Magazine': Died- At English Frankton, Mr. John Burlton, deservedly lamented." His one year old daughter Jane Elizabeth Burlton died in August of the same year.
Seven months later, in March of 1819, 67 year old John Whottall Burlton died, followed the very next month by his wife Elizabeth, aged 62.
There was a "death-free" gap until 1821, when Elizabeth Burlton's husband, Timothy Oakley, died in July of 1821. Elizabeth herself was buried eight months later,in March of 1822.
William Burlton of English Frankton was also buried in January of 1822, aged 66.

I have never, in any other family branches, had such an intense cluster of deaths in one family over such a short period. I would love to discovered the causes of their deaths, and what the death rate in the villages of Cockshutt and English Frankton was in the period 1818-1822.

Will of Timothy Oakley, written in 1821


This is the last will and testament of me, Timothy Oakley, of English Frankton, in the parish of Ellesmere in the County of Salop, gentleman.
First I direct all my just debts, funeral expenses and the costs and charges of proving this my will to be fully paid and satisfied by out of my personal estate if sufficient.

And I give devise and bequeath unto my dear wife Elizabeth all my moity or half part of the messuages, lands and hereditaments which I lately purchased off from Mr. John Griffith and Jane his wife and also all those cottages and land and other hereditaments which I which I heretofore purchased and which said premises are all situated in English Frankton aforesaid and all other my real estate whatsoever to hold this unto and to the use of my dear wife, her heirs and assigns upon trust to obtain a conveyance of the moity of the said hereditaments and premises purchased from Mr. John Griffith and Jane his wife and to get in the legal estate through and by mortgage of all or any part or parts of my said estate and premises hereby devised as aforesaid to raise so much money for payment of my debts and other debts as my said personal estate shall fall short of paying and pay thereout and all debts and charges attending the same and afterwards the remainder of my own debts and also the debts and sums of money which I have bound myself to pay in and by the articles for the purchase of the said moity – and subject to the payment of this and debts and sums of money I give and devise the whole of my real estate aforesaid unto my dear wife and her assigns until my son John Bourne shall attain his age of twenty three years and in case he shall live to arrive at that age then I give and devise the same several messuages and moity until the appurtenances ___ to my said son, his heirs and assigns for _____ only _______ and charged with the payment of my said debts and any debts aforesaid.

And I do give devise and bequeath all my leasehold and personal estate and effects of what nature or kind soever and whatsoever unto my said dear wife to be by her used and enjoyed in such manner as she thinks fit until my said son shall arrive at the age of twenty three years with______ in carrying on the farming business to sell and exchange my stock and produce as she shall think fit and on my son arriving at the age of twenty three years I give devise and bequeath the same to him for his own use and benefit provided he pays or secures to be paid so much of my said debts and the debts I have contracted to discharge as then remain unpaid by and out of the real and personal estate duly by me given to him as aforesaid and indemnifies his mother’s moity of the same hereditaments and premises at Frankton aforesaid therefrom
And in case my said son shall depart this life before he attains his age of twenty three years I give devise and bequeath all my said real leasehold and personal estates and property unto my dear said wife , her heirs, executors and administrators for ever recommending her, my said dear wife, nevertheless to dispose of some part thereof or such part or parts as she thinks fit among such of my own relations as shall be living at her decease and to such of any said relations as she thinks to propose and I do duly declare that the receipt or receipts of my said dear wife shall be sufficient discharge for any sum or sums of money in any such receipt or receipts to have been received and the mortgage or mortgages of all or any part or parts of my said estates shall not be compellable to see to the application of the money to be by them or any of them at nor be answerable or accountable for the misapplication or nonapplications thereof And I herby appoint my said dear wife sole executrix of this my will all former wills by me made. In witness whereof I have pen to set my hand and seal as follows to the two first sheets and this sheet my hand only and to this last sheet my hand and seal the twenty eighth day of May 1821.
Timothy Oakley

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses hereto. W. Egerton Jeffreys
Samuel Williams,
John Jukes,servant to Mr.Oakley

Additional two sheets of paper accompanying the will of Timothy Oakley:

“ Will in the Bishop’s court of Lichfield.
In the goods of Timothy Oakley, deceased.

Appeared personally Elizabeth Oakley of English Frankton in the parish of Ellesmere in the county of Salop, widow, the sole executrix named in the last will and testament of the said Timothy Oakley late of English Frankton in the parish of Ellesmere in the county of Salop aforesaid, farmer, deceased, and made oath that the Estate and effects of the said deceased…….are under the value of fifteen hundred pounds to the best of this deponents knowledge, information and belief.

Sworn on the 15th day of December , 1821, before me, Richard Walker.
Elizabeth Oakley.”

From the final document attached to the will:-

“ QRY: When he died?
ANS: 29th June, 1821.
On the thirteenth day of December 1821 this commission was duly executed and the said Elizabeth Oakley was duly sworn according to the above oath before me, Richard Walker, Commissioner.”

Timothy Oakley wrote the above will on May 28th, 1821, just 32 days before his death.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Timothy Oakley & Elizabeth Burlton, my G-G-G-G Grandparents

Before I launch into the life story of my great-grandfather, Harry Meabry Oakley, I must pause to backtrack several generations to discuss Timothy Oakley and his wife Elizabeth Burlton. Remember many blog entries ago when I mentioned that my great-great grandparents, Edwin Thomas Oakley and his wife Jane Elizabeth Oakley, were second cousins? I then went on to write the story of Edwin's father, John Oakley, with the promise of returning to deal with Jane Elizabeth's parents and grandparents.
Now is the time, and I will start with Timothy Oakley, my four greats grandfather who was Jane Elizabeth Oakley's grandfather.
As previously mentioned, Timothy Oakley was the brother of my g-g-g-g grandfather, John Oakley the Shrewsbury Grocer. Timothy was baptised on June 29, 1773, at Stapleton, the son of Richard Oakley and Margaret Meyrick.
On June 7, 1809, at Ellesmere, Shropshire, 36 year old Timothy Oakley married 26 year old Elizabeth Burlton.Elizabeth was the oldest child of John Whettall( or Whottall) Burlton and his wife Elizabeth of Cockshutt and English Frankton.She was baptised at Cockshutt on November 17, 1782. Siblings were Jane Burlton, baptised December 6, 1786, Cockshutt, and John Burlton, baptised October 28, 1788.
Elizabeth Burlton's sister Jane married John Griffith of Wem at Ellesmere on April 21, 1816, and it was this couple who owned Shooters Hill near Clive.
John Burlton the Younger married Elizabeth Oakley(baptised July 27, 1794). She was the neice of Timothy Oakley, being the only daughter of Timothy's eldest brother Richard Oakley of The Moat, Stapleton, and his wife Jane Brazenor.
I have the wills of both John Burlton the Elder and John Burlton the Younger, who died in 1819 and 1818 respectively, and will reproduce them in part later.

Timothy Oakley and his wife Elizabeth Burlton had only two children together, one of whom died in infancy. John Oakley was baptised on April 11, 1811, at Church Pulverbatch, Salop, the first child of Timothy and Elizabeth Oakley.This is the only record located for this John Oakley, but he must have died very young as Timothy's and Elizabeth's next child was also named 'John'. NOTE: The online publication of digitised parish records from Shropshire have shown that the two baptismal records of John Oakley, child of Timothy and Elizabeth, are in fact records for the same child. The first baptism was a private baptism, and the second was in the church at Pulverbatch.

John Bourne Oakley was baptised at Pulverbatch,Salop,on February 23, 1813, the only surviving child of Timothy Oakley and Elizabeth Burlton.The small family moved north to English Frankton, where both Timothy and Elizabeth died in the early 1820s.
Timothy Oakley died on June 29, 1821, and his wife Elizabeth on March 10, 1822.
From the national Burial Index for Shropshire:
Burials for OAKLEY in the parish of Cockshutt SS Simon & Jude
Timothy OAKLEY buried 4 July, 1821, aged 48, of Frankton; born c. 1773
Elizabeth OAKLEY buried 16 March, 1822, aged 39, of Frankton, born c. 1783

It was a tragic time for young John Bourne Oakley, who was under the age of ten years when he lost both parents. Not only was he orphaned, but he also lost his maternal grandparents, John and Elizabeth Burlton, and his uncle, John Burlton, around the same time:
NBI for Shropshire:
Burials for BURLTON in the parish of Cockshutt SS Simon & Jude
John BURLTON, buried 13 March, 1818, aged 29 years, of Frankton. Born c. 1789. Brother of Elizabeth Burlton Oakley.
Jane Elizabeth BURLTON, buried 31 August, 1818, aged 1 year, of Stapleton. Born c. 1817. Daughter of John Burlton and his wife Elizabeth Oakley. John Bourne Oakley's cousin.
John BURLTON, buried 15 March, 1819, aged 67 years, of Frankton. Born c. 1752. father of Elizabeth Burlton Oakley and grandfather of John Bourne Oakley.
Elizabeth BURLTON, buried 24 April, 1819, aged 62 years, of Frankton. Born c. 1757. Mother of Elizabeth Burlton Oakley and grandmother of John Bourne Oakley.
William BURLTON buried 14 January, 1822, aged 66, of Frankton. Born c.1756. Brother of John Burlton the Elder, and Uncle of Elizabeth Burlton Oakley.
Elizabeth BURLTON 25 Feb 1824 65 Frankton 1759 ( I don't know who this Elizabeth Burlton was-she was around the same age as John Burlton's wife Elizabeth who had died in 1819)

Both Timothy Oakley and his wife Elizabeth Burlton Oakley left very detailed wills. I obtained copies of both wills from the wonderfully helpful staff at the Lichfield Record Office, but unfortunately the size of the pages make it difficult to scan for reproduction here. A translation of the wills, or parts thereof that are interesting, will be included in the next blog entries.

7. Percy Oakley, the final child of Edwin Thomas Oakley.

Percy Oakley was born in 1887 in Manchester, the seventh and final child born to Edwin Oakley and the third child born to his second wife Elizabeth Turner.
I know next to nothing about Percy Oakley, who was my great-great uncle. My grandfather Norman Oakley and his brother Gordon never once mentioned him to me during our family history discussions, and I am positive that their father had never told them of Percy's existence for some reason.They knew of Albert and Mabel, although nothing beyond their names, but finding Percy with the family in the 1891 census was a complete surprise to me.
In 1891 he was a three year old child,living with his parents and siblings with his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Turner, in Moss Side.
In 1901 Percy was a 15 year old student living at 7 Cedar Avenue, Walthamstow, in Essex. By 1911 he was living with the rest of his family at 13 Park Rd, Richmond, twenty three years old and working as an insurance clerk.
That is my last sighting of Percy Oakley thus far..I hope I can add more to his story as time goes on.

6. Mabel Oakley, the sixth child of Edwin Oakley

Mabel Oakley was born in early 1882 in the Chorlton district of Manchester, the sixth child born to Edwin Oakley and the second child born of his second marriage to Elizabeth Turner.
The above photograph was in the old album belonging to Amy Jane Oakley. It has nothing written on the reverse, but is supposed to be a photo of Amy's half sister, Mabel Oakley. I have no idea if it is a photo of Mabel- the location is correct, and the period of the photo seems to be consistent of the age Mabel would have been. My great-Uncle Gordon Oakley gave me his aunt Jean's album in the 1990s, and had slipped in pieces of paper with identities of the people when known. All of these people would never have been personally met by Gordon, so I don't know where he obtained his information and just how correct that information was.I will tentatively leave the identity of this photo as Mabel Oakley until hopefully one day someone can verify or otherwise the girl's name.
I have researched the photographer 'E.Ireland", and he moved his location around between census returns.Edward Ireland was a photographer in the Manchester district for over twenty years, assisted by his daughter Elizabeth and sons Charles and Frank as they became old enough to assist him.
Mabel Oakley can be traced through the English census returns as follows:

1891:Moss Side, Lancashire( home of her maternal grandmother Elizabeth Turner)
Mabel Oakley/ granddaughter/9/scholar/born Moss Side.

1901: Walthamstow, Essex, 7 cedar Avenue.
Mabel Oakley/daughter/19/shorthand and typewriter/ born Manchester.

1911: 13 Park Rd, Richmond, Surrey
Mabel Oakley/daughter/29/single/stenographer/ born Manchester.

I have no evidence of Mabel Oakley ever having been married. There is a shipping record on that shows Mabel had sailed on the ship 'Rawalpindi' in 1928 from Japan to London.Her details were:
"Mabel Oakley of 13 Park Road, Richmond, Surrey, home duties, aged 46. Landed London 24 August 1928, port of departure Yokoham, Japan."
So, if she married, it must have been after this date.

5. Albert Edward Oakley, fifth child of Edwin Oakley.

Albert Edward Oakley was born on September 11, 1875, the first child of Edwin Oakley's second marriage.His mother was Elizabeth Jane Turner who had married his father the previous August.
I wish I knew more about Albert Oakley and the other two children born of Edwin's second marriage. Harry Oakley, Edwin's second child who emigrated to Australia and lost contact-quite deliberately, I feel- with his family in England, told his sons very little about his half-siblings.
I have a little birthday book called 'A Chaplet of Flowers' that was given to Harry on his 14th birthday by his sister Amy Jane. In it are very few names, but Albert E. Oakley is one, which is how I obtained Albert's date of birth.
The above photo of Albert has written on the back "Albert- step brother London". It was given to me by Harry's son Gordon Oakley, and with it was a photograph of a beautiful smiling boy on a bike taken in the same location as the photo of Albert.It is inscribed on the reverse "Peter Oakley, Albert's boy, 1935". So, an attempt at keeping the family together by correspondence must have been made at some time during the 1900s.
I have traced Albert through the census returns 1881 through to 1911. The task was made easy by the fact that he was living at home with his parents for all four census returns, as were his two siblings:
1881: 57 Denmark Street,Chorlton On Medlock
Albert E. Oakley/son/ aged 5/ born Manchester

1891: Moss Side, Lancashire.(house of his grandmother Elizabeth Turner)
Albert E. Oakley/ grandson/15/clerk/ born Moss Side

1901: Walthamstow, Essex.
Albert E. Oakley/ son/25/ commercial traveller/ born Manchester

1911: 13 Park Rd, Richmond Hill, Surrey.
Albert Edward Oakley/son/35/single/insurance broker/born Manchester.

This shows that Albert decided rather late in life to get married. I don't know when and to whom, or whether he and his wife had any other children besides Peter. I have found what could prove to be a good lead on Albert's marriage...the N.A.A has a divorce court file for a 1924 divorce case between Albert Edward Oakley and his wife Victoria Isabella Oakley. Albert is the appellant petitioning for the divorce, his wife Victoria is the respondent and a man named Arthur George Wright is named as the .au gives two more interesting pieces of information: in 1912 Alfred E. Oakley married Victoria I. Parker in the Richmond, Surrey, district (where our Albert lived with his parents in the 1911 census), and in 1925, the year after the divorce petition, there was another marriage in Richmond, Surrey, of Albert E. Oakley to Florence W. Howes. It all ties in, but of course must be proved before a 'definite' can be applied.
If any descendants of Peter or Albert Oakley find this blog, I would just love them to make contact with me and reunite the Oakleys again after so many years.
STOP PRESS: It is now May 15, 2009, and I have just this moment located evidence that it is indeed our Albert Oakley involved in the divorce case with Victoria Isabella Parker, and that he did marry Florence Howes in 1925, and that they DID have a son named Peter in 1926 at Richmond. There was no issue from Albert's first marriage, and I can't locate any further children from his second, but I have only been searching for ten minutes! I'm off now to do some more scouting around.

4. Edwin Burlton Oakley, 4th child of Edwin & Jane.

Little Edwin Burlton Oakley spent only three months in the world. He was the fourth and final child born to Edwin Thomas and his wife Jane Elizabeth Oakley, and was born in the latter part of 1868. He was named for his father Edwin and his maternal great-grandmother Elizabeth Burlton.
As can be seen from the above death certificate, baby Edwin died of convulsions aged three months, on December 13, 1868. His mother had no more children..she died aged 33 in 1871.

Jean Oakley's Obituary

The above appeared in 'St. Andrew's Parish Paper' on June 1, 1962.

Jean Oakley's birth and death certificates.

The birth certificate written above is a copy of an actual entry written at the time that Edwin Oakley registered his daughter's birth in 1864. The original that I have is so delicate that it is falling to pieces.
Jean's death was registered by someone that resided at the same address in Brighton, so it is not surprising that it contained several mistakes- namely, 1.Her father was Edwin Thomas Oakley, NOT Thomas Oakley. 2. She was born at Shooters Hill, Clive, Shropshire, not Manchester. 3. She had been in Victoria for 75 years, not 98, which was her age.

Amy Jane Oakley aged 35, c.1899

This is a photograph of Miss Jean Oakley aged 35 years, taken c. 1899.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jean Oakley's Story cont.

Above: This photo of Amy Jane Oakley is unfortunately undated, and the photographer's name at the bottom is cut off so we cannot even see the location it was taken.

After Jean graduated from the Leipzig Conservatorium she returned to her family in Manchester.Her brothers John and Harry were both living in Newtown in Wales, and Harry had decided to emigrate to Australia. Both he and Jean booked a passage on the steam ship S.S Orient, and at the age of 23 Amy Jane Oakley sailed off to her new country and a new life.
Jean immediately began to place newspaper advertisements to offer her services as a teacher of the pianoforte, and continued to do so over the next three or four decades.She must have taught thousands of young Melbournians how to play the piano over a career that spanned the better part of forty years.
One of Jean's advertisements was spied by my great-great grandmother Bertha Hughan Bishop, whose own mother had been an Oakley from back in England. She contacted Jean to see if any relationship existed between the two families, and although no kinship was found, Jean became an intimate friend with all of the Bishop family. In particular, she and Olive Bishop, Bertha's eldest daughter, became close friends. Olive was four years younger than Jean, and the pair shared many common interests. Jean introduced Olive to her brother Harry, and over the years their initial friendship developed into something deeper, encouraged all the way, no doubt, by Jean!
Jean Oakley made an excellent name for herself as a teacher of piano throughout Melbourne, teaching both in her own home and in the homes of private pupils.She formed many lasting friendships with both her students and their parents.
Harry Oakley and Olive Bishop finally married in 1904, and had two sons- Harry Gordon, known as Gordon, was born in 1908, and his brother Norman Meabry was born the folowing year in 1909. Their Aunt Jean idolised both boys, and they both loved their old spinster aunt. Gordon wrote of Jean:
" In later life Jean lived in Brighton where she leased large houses and rented them out on a room basis to tenants. What started as a hobby for her became a livelihood.
She collected for the Burwood Boys Home for many years from business houses all over Melbourne. She possessed and valued a very large number of influential friends, but never used them up or let them know that she had little resources financially.
Gossip she hated- she believed in taking people as she found them.
She was a staunch member of St. Andrew's Church of England in Brighton. She would never divulge her age, saying" I do not feel that age, so why boast of it? I am blessed with good health and the energy to walk and talk and listen, and make some contribution to the Burwood Boys."
Jean also declared herself a fan of eye glasses: " Spectacles are can see most things that you like, while you can see over or under people or acts that you don't appreciate." "

Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to make contact with Peter Scorer in England. He is related through Edwin Oakley's sister, Fanny Fortnum Oakley, who married Alfred Scorer. Amongst many wonderful pieces of information and other treasures, Peter was kind enough to send me some exerpts of letters written by his cousin Betty Scorer when she visited Australia with the de Basil Ballets Russes in Australia in 1936.Betty was the daughter of George Scorer (Fanny Oakley's son)and so would have been Jean Oakley's first cousin, once removed. She danced under the name "Elisabeth Souvorova".
She was writing back home to her mother Amy Lock Scorer in England, and several times mentioned Jean Oakley in her letters:

‘Dane Court’
(no date) probably early-mid November 1936

The other day when I was cooking the lunch, there came a faint tap on the door, & outside I found an old lady, who asked me if I was Betty Scorer. It turned out to be Amy Oakley – cousin of Daddy’s, who came out here with her brother thirty five years ago -- she had seen my picture & name in the papers & got my address from the theatre, she is quite a dear, very poor I think, she used to teach music, until her eyesight became affected, & now she collects money for a boys’ home. She says she remembers you well, as a “beautiful girl” before your marriage -- she didn’t even know it was you Daddy married -- tho’ Alfred has kept her posted with family news during all these years. She has invited me to the country house of a friend of hers next Sunday. Isn’t it odd! ………."

His Majesty’s Theatre
17 November (1936)

Very little news, Miss Oakley has been to see us several times, she is really rather a dear. She is terribly interested in the family & wants very much to see a photo of Daddy."

His Majesty’s Theatre
24th November (1936)

Otherwise we have been working very hard, & have been out quite a bit. Our potty cousin Miss Oakley took us out to some friends of hers who live in the “bush” on Sunday -- they have a lovely house and perfect surroundings -- but were frightful people. The woman is about seventy & does arts & crafts -- hooked rugs -- bark baskets etc. & is very high minded, & her husband, about 65, appeared to be a howling pansy, & made the most coy advances to Alyosha (Betty’s future husband and my uncle. P) -- & never stopped talking to me about this beautiful young man -- who “opened all the windows of the world to him!” Very sinister !"

I would LOVE to know the identity of the couple in the last letter! Jean would have been aged in her seventies when she made herself known to Betty Scorer.

EXCITEMENT!!! I have just this very second discovered that the whole collection of letters written by Betty Scorer whilst on tour to her family back in England have been digitised and are available online at

They are described as following:

"Series 1: Letters, 1933-1949

Letters from Betty Frank (nee Scorer) to her mother, Amy Scorer, in London. The letters primarily date from the 1936-1937 tour of Australia and New Zealand by Colonel W. de Basil's Monte Carlo Russian Ballet. Frank danced with the company under the name Elisabeth Souvorova.
There are two early letters written by Frank from Scotland and Liverpool, and then several letters from her tour of Europe with the Ballets Russes de Leon Woizikowsky, beginning in Berlin, 1935, and travelling through Spain and France. From September 1936 to August 1937 the letters record Frank's role as a member of the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet, as the company embarked on its tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Frank's letters provide vivid descriptions of the company's voyage to Australia aboard the SS Moldavia; places visited on the voyage and throughout the tour in Australia and New Zealand; members of the company, including Leon Woizikowsky, Alexander Philippov, Jacques Lidji, Valentina Blinova, Mira Dimina and Nina Raievska; rehearsals and performances of such works as L'apres-midi d'un faune, Contes russes and Les sylphides; cultural life in Australia; and events such as the death of Mira Dimina from leukaemia in Melbourne, November 1936, coronation celebrations in May 1937 and the Franks' marriage in Melbourne, c.July 1937.
The series includes several letters from Frank's husband, Alexis Frank, signed 'Alyosha'. There is also a letter (in French) from Colonel Wassily de Basil.
Please note: these letters have been digitised, and are available online through this finding aid (

They are fascinating to read- please excuse me for an hour or so whilst I go and indulge myself!