Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The children of John Oakley and Jane Meabry: 1. John Jeffryes Oakley


Above: John Jeffryes Oakley, eldest son of John Oakley and Jane Meabry, who for over 30 years was a partner in the famous London grocery store Fortnum, Mason & Co.

John Jeffryes Oakley was the first child born to John Oakley and his wife of twelve months, Jane Meabry. He was born at the Oakley’s residence at Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, on July 16, 1828. At the age of two and a half months, baby John was taken to the famous St. Paul’s, Covent Gardens, to be baptised into the Anglican faith.

As the first born of six children, and the eldest son, John was raised to take over his father’s business interests, and he did this admirably throughout his life.
The first mention of him as a young man came from an article in a London newspaper (the “Daily World Press”), dated February 23, 1851. It describes an “Impudent Robbery” in which John Jeffries (sic) Oakley, then aged twenty three, was robbed of a medal, and Miss Jane Elizabeth Oakley of 1,200 coral beads. The article in full reads as follows:

“ John Smithers, 16, and Thomas Sturgess, 16, were indicted for stealing 1,200 coral beads and a medal, the property of Jane Elizabeth Oakley and John Jeffries Oakley. The prosecutor in this case was Mr. Oakley, of Grass Farm, Finchley, and on the afternoon of the 15th instance, at about five o’clock, the housekeeper observed the prisoners in the hall, endeavouring to steal out unobserved, the prisoner Sturgess having his boots in his hand; Smithers escaped and got into a shrubbery near the house, but Sturgess was captured by the housekeeper who, having secured him, proceeded to search the house when she found that the prisoners had got in through the parlour window, and that the drawers in several of the upstairs rooms had been opened and ransacked.

One of the farm servants was at work upon the lawn, and he saw the prisoners go along the carriage-drive towards the house, but he took no particular notice of them, supposing they had business at the house. In a short time, however, he saw one of them (Smithers) run from the shrubberies, and having then some suspicion, he followed, and eventually captured him.
He was given into custody with the other prisoner, and, on being searched, some lucifer matches were found upon Smithers. When they were locked up in the cage, Sturgess was overheard by a
policeman to say to Smithers “ What did you do with the beads and medal?” To which he replied “ I threw them into the shrubs. I hope they won’t find them; if they do, we shall be done. You would not lie under that bed, as I told you, until it got dark, or we should have got off.”
On a search being made in the shrubbery, the beads and medal were found, and they were now identified – the beads as being the property of Miss Jane E. Oakley, and the medal as the property of Mr. John Jeffries Oakley. The prisoners were found guilty, and the court sentenced each of them to six months hard labour.”

The girl in question was his sister, Jane Elizabeth Oakley, who was some four years younger than John.
The Oakley family had obtained for themselves a country residence at Golder’s Green, Barnet, a farming area several miles from London famous in that period for supplying the hay for the many horses stabled throughout the city. The Oakley’s business interests still remained in London, mainly in the Piccadilly area at the “Fortnum, Mason & Co’ business, and they still kept private apartments above the shop at 183 Piccadilly.

When John Jeffryes married two years later, both his and his father’s occupations were given as “merchant”, and his address as being St. James, Westminster. This refers to his address at 183 Piccadilly, which is in the parish and district of St. James Westminster.
John’s bride was Harriet Eliza Moginie, the daughter of Halloway merchant Cornelius Moginie and his wife Harriet Eliza Woods. C.W. Edmonstone married them at St. Johns Church, Islington, on March 30, 1854, and the witnesses who signed their marriage certificate was Harriet’s father, Cornelius Moginie, and her sister Elizabeth Moginie.
Ten and a half months later Harriet gave birth to the Oakley son and heir….the birth was announced in London’s prestigious newspaper “The Times” on Tuesday, February 20, 1855, as follows:

“ BIRTHS: On the 17th inst., at 13 Little Stanhope street, Mayfair, Mrs. John Jeffryes Oakley, of a son.”

The child was named Alfred John Oakley, and his life was to prove very interesting indeed, despite a tragic ending in a distant land!

Twenty two months later, the Oakleys were blessed with their second child, a daughter who was named Edith Oakley. Again, the birth was proudly announced to London’s society in “The Times”….Monday, December 22, 1856:

“ BIRTHS: On the 19th inst. at 13 Little Stanhope Street, Mayfair, Mrs. John Jeffryes Oakley, of a daughter.”

In 1861, John Oakley Snr died, leaving John Jeffryes as the Oakley partner in Fortnum, Mason & Co. The following year The Times newspaper carried a report of an incident involving John Jeffrys and a pilfering employee….

“Law: Before Mr. Payne.
Richard Shilcock, 28, grocer, and Richard Pater, 32, labourer, were indicted, the former for stealing 6lb weight each of currants and sugar, value 6s, the property of Frederick Keats and others, his masters; and the latter for feloniously receiving them, well knowing them to have been stolen.

Mr. Cooper prosecuted; Mr. Pater appeared for Shilcock, and Mr. Holdsworth for Pater.
Charles Butcher, police-constable, 137 C, said that on the night of 2nd of December, about 7 o’clock, he was in South Bruton Mews, when he saw Shilcock drive up to a public house with a van belonging to Messrs. Fortnum and mason, of Piccadilly. He waited for a few minutes, when Pater came out of the house and joined him. They remained in conversation for some minutes, when Shilcock handed to Pater the two paper parcels produced from the van. Pater handed a handkerchief to Shilcock,
which he walked away towards Bruton Street. He took him into custody, and then went back to the van and secured Shilcock.

In the parcels were 6 lb weight of sugar and 6 lb weight of currents. The lodgings of the prisoners were afterwards searched, and wine and other articles were found, which were identified as belonging to the prosecutors.
Mr. J.J. Oakley said he was in the service of Mr. Frederick Keats and two others, trading under the name of Fortnum and Mason, of number 182 Piccadilly. The prisoner Shilcock was in their service as a carman. The two parcels had the private mark upon them. Shilcock had no authority to part with the goods to Pater. The parcels were not goods for delivery, but had been abstracted from the warehouse.
Mr. Holdsworth and Mr. Pater having addressed the jury, both prisoners found GUILTY. Mr. Payne sentenced Shilcock to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for six months, and Pater for four months.
Tuesday, December 16, 1862.”

A total of five children were born to John and Harriett Oakley- one son and four daughters. Following Alfred John and Edith there came Gertrude Jane Oakley in 1861; Beatrice Ellen Scorer Oakley in 1863 and Constance Maria Oakley in 1867.
Two daughters-Beatrice and Gertrude- never married and remained spinsters all of their lives. Son Alfred married but had no children, and a similar situation existed for eldest daughter Edith. It was youngest child, Constance Oakley, who married and had three children, and whose descendants carry on John Jeffrys Oakley's bloodline to this day.

Following is a brief rundown on the lives of the five Oakley siblings:

1.ALFRED JOHN OAKLEY: born February 17, 1855, 13 Little Stanhope Street, Mayfair. His family home for most of his childhood was 183 Piccadilly, the private apartments above Fortnum & Mason. The 1861 census finds him at this address aged six, with his parents and little sister Edith, as well as a cook, nurse and housemaid.

In 1871 16 year old John was still at 183 Piccadilly, and his family had increased in size by three sisters- 9 year old Gertrude, 7 year old Beatrice and Constance, aged just 3.
On January 21, 1880, Alfred was admitted to Pembroke College at Cambridge University, where he proved to be an exceptional student. He obtained his B.A in 1883, and his M.A in 1887, the latter being conferred by proxy as he was working at a University in Madras, India.
The 1881 census finds Alfred J. Oakley lodging at 4 Panton Street, Cambridge, as a 25 year old undergraduate of Pembroke College. It was while he was at University that Alfred's path crossed with that of a young woman who would change the course of his life.

Above: Isabel Cooper-Oakley, wife of John Jeffrys Oakley's only son, Alfred John Oakley.
Harriett Isabel Cooper, known as 'Isabel', was born in Amritsas, Punjab, India, her father Frederick Cooper being an official in the colonial government. Her father was a believer in female schooling, and young Isabel and her younger sister Laura Mary Cooper received a good education for the time. Due to an injury received in 1877, Isabel did not walk for two years, causing her to intensify her studies.
During this time she read "Isis Unveiled", the first major writing of a woman named Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, cofounder of the Theosophical Society. Her study of psychic subjects ended, however, when she recovered from her injury. She turned to women's issues and set as her goal attending the first females' residential college in England,Girton College, in Cambridge.
While at Cambridge in 1882 she met her future husband, A. J. Oakley, and Archibald Knightley and his wife. Together they developed a new interest in Theosophy and joined the Theosophical Society in the spring of 1884. In the fall they accompanied Blavatsky to India. The Cooper-Oakleys became dedicated Theosophists and close associates of Blavatsky's. Isabel remained loyal through the scandals arising from the charges of fraud by the Society for Psychical Research,whilst Alfred had a falling out with Blavatsky. After Blavatsky's death in 1891, Isabel became an international lecturer for the society.

After Alfred's January 5 marriage to Isabel, the following announcement appeared in the Times newspaper:

"CHANGE OF NAME- Notice is hereby given that Alfred John Cooper-Oakley, B.A., Cantab, of Oaklands, West Enfield, in the County of Middlesex, did by deed poll, dated 10th day of January, 1884, declare his intention of TAKING THE NAME of ALFRED JOHN COOPER-OAKLEY in lieu of the name of Alfred John Oakley, and that he would thenceforth use no other name but that of Alfred John Cooper-Oakley. Dated this 11th day of January, 1884." Times, Saturday, January 12, 1884.

This was an increasingly common feminist policy in the 1880s - to hyphenate the bride's name with that of the groom. I wonder how John Jeffrys Oakley felt to see his only son changing the Oakley name, and setting off with his headstrong wife along a path so different from the one which he would have envisioned for his son and heir.

The Cooper-Oakleys accompanied Helena Blavatsky to India in 1884. Following is a description of the night before their departure, as written by C.W Leadbeater, a Theosophist who often locked horns with Alfred Oakley:

"Mr. and Mrs. Cooper-Oakley were to accompany her on the voyage to India, and it was to their house that I went with her very late that night - in fact, I believe it was after midnight, so I really ought to say very early the next morning.Even at that hour a number of devoted friends were gathered in Mrs. Oakley's drawing-room to say farewell to Madame Blavatsky, who seated herself in an easy-chair by the fireside. She was talking brilliantly to those who were present, and rolling one of her eternal cigarettes, when suddenly her right hand was jerked out towards the fire in a very peculiar fashion, and lay palm upwards. She looked down at it in surprise, as I did myself, for I was standing close to her, leaning with an elbow on the mantelpiece: and several of us saw quite clearly a sort of whitish mist form in the palm of her hand and then condense into a piece of folded paper, which she at once handed to me, saying: "There is your answer." Every one in the room crowded round, of course, but she sent me away outside to read it, saying that I must not let anyone see its contents.” C.W Leadbeater .

Alfred Oakley seems to have given up a promising career as a teacher and educationist to follow Theosophy.The following advertisement and similar others appeared in the London Times newspaper at various occasions in 1884:

" EDUCATION: West Enfield, Middlesex, Oaklands.
-A.J. Cooper-Oakley, B.A., Cantab., PREPARES BOYS for the public schools &c. Modern languages specially attended to. Workshops. House specially built for the school. Sanitary arrangements guaranteed. Very healthy locality. Home comforts and individual attention. Terms and prospectus on application.
March 5, 1884."

As far as I can tell, whilst Theosophy may still be followed as a respected form of religion, one of its founders, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, was a particularly shonky character, dealing with all sorts of trickery-pokery that the Victorians thrived on. It is amazing that so many very highly educated people were infatuated with Theosophy, to the extent that, like the Cooper Oakleys, it ruled their lives.
One modern writer described a biography of Helena Blavatsky's life as follows:

" Ironically, Blavatsky had both brains and a willful sort of charm. She traveled widely (all over Europe, India, the U.S., etc.) and attracted a number of notable people, including W. B. Yeats and Annie Besant. She led a busy existence, erotic at its outset (various ill-assorted marriages and affairs) and eccentric at its close (despite the birth of her illegitimate son Yuri she stoutly maintained her total virginity). She chain-smoked cigarettes (one of her unsympathetic hosts counted 200 a day), ate like a pig, and produced, at one time or another, practically every parapsychological phenomenon known to man--levitation, poltergeists, ""spirit photography,"" telepathy, clairvoyance, you name it. So, with all this, why is Meade's story so sleep-inducing? Mainly because H.P.B. was a fake, and while some of her fakeries have their amusing side (mysterious letters from the other world fluttering down to astonished recipients--through a hole in the ceiling), after a while they sorely test the reader's patience. All these shenanigans might be tolerable if Blavatsky had any real message, but her supposed synthesis of Hinduism, Buddhism, and ""Occultism"" is a joke, a crazy quilt of borrowed, stolen, or misunderstood material. The life of H.P.B. was a colorful footnote to Victorian history, but a 500-page footnote is a monstrosity."

There was an enormous amount of in-fighting and back-stabbing amongst the Theosophists, with splinter groups breaking away and venemous letters being exchanged at a rapid rate between Helena Blavatsky and her ever-changing array of closest friends.

A book called "Women's Religious Experience" by Pat Holden, has a section on Isabel Cooper-Oakley which reads in part as follows:

" Isabel Cooper-Oakley, 1854-1914. ...She was born in Amritsar,the daughter of Henry Cooper (NOTE: her father was actually Frederick Cooper),C.B., Commissioner of Lahore, a supporter of the cause of Indian education, including the education of women. No doubt he encouraged his daughter's desire for higher education, but her entry to Girton was delayed until 1882 owing to illness following an accident in her early twenties.In the intervening years she became interested in spiritualism, studied 'Isis Unveiled', and became involved in the women's suffrage movement and the Social Purity Alliance.
At Cambridge she met a group of young men who were soon to become prominent in the Theosophical Society, including Bertram Keightley; G.R.S Mead, who became Blavatsky's secretary and married Isabel's sister Laura; and her own future husband, A.J Oakley. Isabel and Laura joined the Theosophical Society in 1884 during a visit to London of Helena Blavatsky, who was gratified by this accession of younger, university-educated supporters, some of whom accompanied her on her return to India, including the recently-married Cooper-Oakleys (in true feminist style they had hyphenated their names); apparently they sank all their resources in the venture.

From: Isabel Cooper-Oakley, November 1884, Egypt [HPB: In Memory 1891, p 14–5]

HPB [joined] Mr. Oakley and myself [during the middle of October] and remained with us until we started for India with her. The house party [in London] consisted of HPB, my sister [Laura Cooper], Dr. [Archibald] Keightley, Mr. Oakley, and myself. It was early in November 1884 that we left Liverpool for Port Said en route for Madras. It had been arranged that we were to go first to Cairo in order to get some definite information about the antecedents of the Coulombs, who were well known there, as the news of their treachery [against HPB] had already reached us some months before. We reached Port Said on the 17th of November 1884 and there remained some few days for Mr. Leadbeater to join us; on his arrival we took the mail boat down the Suez Canal to Ismailia, and then went by train to Cairo. HPB was a most interesting fellow traveler, her varied information about every part of Egypt was both extensive and extraordinary. Would that I had space to go into the details of that time in Cairo, the drives through the quaint and picturesque bazaars, and her descriptions of the people and their ways. Especially interesting was one long afternoon spent at the Boulak Museum on the borders of the Nile, where HPB astonished [Gaston] Maspero, the well-known Egyptologist, with her knowledge, and as we went through the museum she pointed out to him the grades of the Initiate kings and how they were to be known from the esoteric side. On leaving Cairo, HPB and I went straight to Suez. Mr. Oakley remained at Cairo to get documents from the police about the Coulombs; Mr. Leadbeater joined us at Suez."

From: C. W. Leadbeater, November 1884, Egypt [Leadbeater 1930, 68, 71, 73–7]
"In those days there was no railway running from Port Said, and the only way in which we could reach Cairo was by traveling down the Suez Canal as far as Ismailia, whence we could take train to the capital. The journey down the canal was performed in a tiny little steamer somewhat like a tug-boat. Every night it left Port Said at midnight and reached Ismailia in the early morning.
As the journey continued Madame Blavatsky favored us with the most gloomy prognostications of our future fate.
"Ah! you Europeans," she said, "you think you are going to enter upon the path of occultism and pass triumphantly through all its troubles; you little know what is before you; you have not counted the wrecks by the wayside as I have. The Indians know what to expect, and they have already passed through tests and trials such as have never entered into your wildest dreams, but you, poor feeble things, what can you do?"
She continued these Casandra-like prophecies with a maddening monotony, but her audience was far too reverential to try to change the subject. We sat in the four corners of the compartment, Madame Blavatsky facing the engine, Mr. Oakley sitting opposite to her with the resigned expression of an early Christian martyr; while Mrs. Oakley, weeping profusely, and with a face of ever-increasing horror, sat opposite to me.
Before our conversation began she had been reading some book which she wished to review for the Theosophist, and she was still sitting with the book open upon her knee and the paperknife in her hand. She now resumed her reading, stroking the dust of the desert (which came pouring in at the open window) off the pages of the book with her paper-knife as she read. When an especially vicious puff came in, Mr. Oakley started forward and made a motion as if to close the window; but Madame Blavatsky looked up at him balefully, and said with unmeasured scorn, "You don't mind a little dust, do you?" Poor Mr. Oakley shrank back into his corner like a snail into its shell, and not another word did our leader utter until we steamed into the station at Cairo. The dust certainly was rather trying, but after that one remark we thought it best to suffer it in silence."

In December of that year,1884,the Theosophical convention assembled in Madras, and Isabel's speech was especially well received.However, these deliberations took place against the gathering storm of press campaign orchestrated by Christian missionaries against the Theosophial Society, and specifically accusing Helena Blavatsky of fraudulent mediumistic practices. Characteristically, Blavatsky wanted to fight a libel action, but a committee that included the Cooper-Oakleys vetoed litigation, and the dejected Blavatsky departed for Europe, never to return.
The scandal that exploded following the investigation carried out by the Society for Psychical Research split the TS and nearly finished Helena Blavatsky.
After a period wandering around the continent, Blavatsky was persuaded by Bertram Keightley and others to settle in London to complete the writing of her magnum opus, 'The Secret Doctrine'. Isabel Cooper-Oakley and her sister Laura Cooper joined her household, and became pillars of the Blavatsky Lodge, founded in what can only be described as opposition to the London Lodge dominated by the Sinnetts.
It seems that Alfred Cooper-Oakley remained in India as editor of 'The Theosophist', but left the Society in 1887 on account of doctrinal differences with Helena Blavatsky, who cabled that the entire Blavatsky Lodge would resign were he readmitted. It appears that this may have been the parting of the ways for Isabel and her husband, for no other mention of him appears in the official history of the Theosophical Society.
Undoubtedly Isabel had plenty to occupy her in London, and not simply Theosophy. About 1890, under the name of Madam Isabel, she opened a hat shop in New Bond Street. This was so unheard of an event that it excited Mr. Labouchere, the editor of the Truth, into many words..."Extravagent prices were asked for and willingly paid by society Theosophists and their wealthy friends.
....Isabel started two "Dorothy" Restaurants, one for West End working girls and one for ladies.
...For the rest of her life, Isabel was engeged in official duties of one kind or another on behalf of the Theosophical Society, and spent much time on lecture tours in Australia and various European countries as well as the U.K., but after the turn of the century her base was in Italy.In 1900 she published "Tradition In Masonry and Medieval Mysticism.....Her study of the Comte de Saint Germain was republished post-humously in 1977.
...Her death in 1914 occurred in Budapest.She had been unusually loyal to the TS, having remained in active membership for thirty years...In the words of Clara Codd, a militant suffragette who became the first paid national lecturer for the TS:"It is quite a common practice in the TS; so many attracted by the thought, drift in and out. A small proportion can never leave it again; for them it is life and eternity". Isabel was undoubtedly one of these."
- from 'Women's Religious Experience" by Pat Holden, 1983.

I find it very sad that the marriage of Alfred and Isabel lasted only several years at most-it seems as though they were together as husband and wife for a very short period, although I can't find any evidence that they ever actually divorced.
The Cooper-Oakleys had left London for India with Helena Blavatsky in November, 1884, travelling via Egypt and arriving at Adyar in December 1884. Blavatsky had to face claims concerning her fakery whilst in Adyar, and became very ill. She left India on March 31, 1885, never to return, and went to Naples to recover for several months.The other Theosophists also left India, with the exception of Alfred Cooper-Oakley and Charles Webster Leadbeater. The latter was an ex-Anglican clergyman who thoroughly disliked Alfred, which was unfortunate because they were the only two European men left at the Adyar compound, responsible for the editing and publication of The Theosophist.
Alfred Cooper-Oakley stayed some years at Adyar, India, as an assistant to American-born Colonel Olcott, the co-founder of the Theosophist Society. He left to become Registrar of the University of Madras, but not before he became embroiled in a massive rift in the Theosophist movement in India.
As early as 1886, accusations about Col. Olcott and certain teachings and claims made by him and Blavatsky began to circulate amongst the Theosophists, particularly those in India.In 1889, Blavatsky wrote one of her venemous letters defending her friend Olcott and being scathing about Alfred Cooper Oakley. The letter, published in The Theosophist Magazine, read in part as follows:

" London, November 21, 1889.
...The charge preferred against Col. O I find to be echoes of the voice of one man- Mr Alfred Cooper Oakley. The letters he sent home, to France, to Germany, and all his correspondents, have iterated and reiterated them ad nauseum. And from the evidence within my certain knowledge he is at the bottom of the greater part of the disaffection you notice in India. If his bilious craft and insinuating rhetorics could upset one of the best friends we had and truest Theosophists, Tookaram Tatya, they made short work of the rest. It is his letter to Mme. de Morsier about me,my frauds, the Masters abandoning me, and what not- even accusations of black magic- that made of a devoted friend a terrible enemy of that highly intelligent but as nervous and hysterical woman.
It is his complaints, insinuations and hatred to Olcott that made us lose in India many a good Theosophist.
But as far as that person is concerned with Olcott, let me tell you that the "President" bore with him and put up with his freaks for two years longer than he ought to. Had he parted company with him when I had shown him Mr C. oakley's true nature and character and urged and implored him not to keep a snake and traitor at the Society's Headquarters, less evil would have been done than actually has been done.
Knowing the man's habits and nature as I do, I can only wonder at Olcott's long forebearance and patience. If you really care to know the truth, you have only to ask poor Mrs Cooper Oakley, whose eyes have now been opened (not by me though, but by his own acts), and who is now my friend, pupil and ardent supporter of the T.S. and of the E.S particularly, and who is most penitent for th harm she did me, in connection with her husband when she believed in HIM and disbelieved in me.
Ah yes, that was a nice conspiracy and it engulfed many an ardent Theosophist, to all of whom I wish joy. But to return to Olcott.
I say, that with all his faults and shortcomings, Olcott's little finger is worth a thousand Oakleys."

Goodness me!!!!One doesn't have to search any further to find the reason why the Cooper-Oakley's marriage failed. Fancy having one party going to battle against such a dreadful, conniving woman as Blavatsky, and the other being caught in her web and devoting her life to her.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Theosophy sites and pages dedicated on the internet to discussing Helena Petrova Blavatsky and her followers. From one such site comes the following explanation of the source of vitriole Blavatsky displayed towards Alfred Cooper Oakley:

" Turning to "Old Diary Leaves," we may join Col. Olcott in the summer of 1887, go over the events with him, and observe the workings of his consciousness as described by himself. Beginning with the last chapter of his "Third Series" he says:
"At Chupra, among my foreign letters I received one from H.P.B. which distressed me much. She had consented to start a new magazine with capital subscribed by London friends of hers, while she was still editor and half proprietor of the Theosophist --a most unusual and unbusinesslike proceeding. Besides other causes, among them the persuasion of English friends, a reason which strongly moved her to this was that Mr. Cooper-Oakley, her own appointee as Managing Editor, had more or less sided with T. Subba Row in a dispute which had sprung up between him and H.P.B. on the question whether the 'principles' which go to the make-up of a human being were seven or five in number. Subba Row had replied in our pages to an article of hers on the subject, and her letters to me about it were most bitter and denunciatory of Cooper-Oakley, whom she, without reasonable cause, charged with treachery. It was one of those resistless impulses which carried her away sometimes into extreme measures. She wanted me to take away his editorial authority, and even sent me a foolish document, like a power-of-attorney, empowering me to send him to Coventry, so to say, and not allow any galley-proof to pass to the printer until initialed by myself. Of course, I remonstrated strongly against her thus, without precedent, setting up a rival competing magazine to hurt as much as possible the circulation and influence of our old-established organ, on the title-page of which her name still appeared. But it was useless to protest; she said she was determined to have a magazine in which she could say what she pleased, and in due time Lucifer appeared as her personal organ, and I got on as well as I could without her. Meanwhile, a lively interchange of letters went on between us. She was at strife then, more or less, with Mr. Sinnett, and before this was settled, a number of seceders from his London Lodge organized as the Blavatsky Lodge, and met at her house in Lansdowne Road, where her sparkling personality and vast knowledge of occult things always ensured full meetings.
The stage of dissent and dissimulation was reached and practiced in 1884 and the following years. Compelled by their involvement with her in the affairs of the Society and their joint sponsorship for the numerous miraculous events attributed to the course of its history, a luke-warm support was publicly given to H.P.B., while in private a determined effort was made to suppress and "control" her in the common interest. During these years W. Stainton Moses ("M.A. Oxon"), C. C. Massey, A. O. Hume, V. V. Solovyoff, W. T. Brown, Mrs. Josephine Cables, Mohini M. Chatterji, Subba Row, Mr. Cooper-Oakley, and numerous others, both members of the Society and probationers of the Second Section, succumbed to inner and outer influences and left the Society."

It seems as though Colonel Olcott initially championed Alfred Cooper Oakley and stood up for him against the bullying of Blavatsky, but then a rift developed between the two men.
From the book "Yankee Beacon Of Buddhist Light: Life Of Colonel Henry S. Olcott" by Howard Murphet comes the following:
"1888, the year of another crisis that threatened to split the society, dawned inauspiciously.On January 7 the Colonel noted "C-Oakley seems to have a very bitter and hostile feeling towards me, avoids me, and shuts himself up in his room." A little later Cooper-Oakley threatened to establish a magazine himself "to be called The Vedantin for which the plans and money are ready- if HPB exasperated him much more. Stuff!"

As early as October 1885, Isabel Cooper-Oakley had established her milliner's business back in London...

" A lady, who was formerly a student of Girton, Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, has gone into business as a milliner in Wigmore Street under the non de commerce of Madam Isabel. Circumstances, into which it is unnecessary to enter, obliged this lady to adopt a calling. Her many qualifications gave her choice such as few women enjoy, but she has deliberately chosen business.
The enthusiastic support given to Madam isabel by all the intellectual ladies is done with a purpose, as they are anxious to have it demonstarted that a good education makes a woman capable of developing her faculties, and fits her for either commercial or professional life. They look forward with hope to other ladies following Madam Isabel's footsteps."- The Belfast Newsletter, October 28, 1885.

This article suggests that Isabel and Alfred had already parted ways, meaning that their marriage had lasted less than two years.

Just as Blavatsky had turned against Alfred Cooper Oakley, she also had sunk the claws into Isabel whilst she and Alfred were still together. The following undated letter-probably from 1885-86- was written by Blavatsky and openly mocks Isabel...

"{London, May 10+}
Sunday, God's Day.


Emily Knowles I myself answered, she is a friend. But this is what happened last night about 6 p.m. As Mrs. Cook was with me, Mrs. Cooper Oakley was announced! As I knew you had refused giving her my address I was disagreeably surprised -- but -------. Well, she came in smiling -- beaming, her very hat raising its blooming arms heavenward in glee and joy. "Take care!" I heard my inner voice say, and I did. Then perceiving Mrs. Cook whom she hates and with whom she had a big fight some months ago she wanted to shake hands with her -- though her face became gloomy as night. The lovely atmosphere and aura spread by this brotherly theosophic feeling was a caution! Then she begged Mrs. C. to allow her to talk with me alone a minute or two, and when alone asked me abruptly "Why did you force me to come H. P. B.?" I humbly retorted I never had. "I saw you in a vision three nights running she said and Dugpas too. You said you wanted me"! I suggested that probably it was a Dugpa who had personated me for I never wanted her, nor had I visited her. But she insisted. She said you had no time to answer her, therefore she did not have my address, never knew where she was going when taking her ticket on the railway. Let herself go intuitionally. Arrived at Upper Norwood never knowing where she is going. Got out and went dream-like and stopped before the door of my house and here she was, "brought by a mysterious power." I meekly listened and said I was charmed at such an evolution of psychism in a theosophist but, that I still knew no more than the man in the moon, what it was for. Then she informed me that Master had sent a very favourable and kind message to "Alf" through Subba Row and to her too, telling thusly: -- "Say to Isabel Cooper Oakley so and so" -- text suppressed for my profane ears -- and she feeling very happy after this message. I answered that I was happy to see Subba Row relinquishing his usual reticence. "Oh don't speak ill of Subba Row, I pray you" she exclaimed. "I do love and respect him so." So do I, I said, and I never meant to say anything bad of him, etc. Well she went on producing psychic plants for half an hour -- and though upon entering she only shook hands with me, now took me tenderly under the chin and looked lovingly into my eyes. And now I see some new villainy against me at Adyar. Sure to. Keep this letter to compare and make notes at a future day. Oh my prophetic soul! She left and then Bert and Mrs. Cook came downstairs and began talking of her and I said "Take care, she will return." Oh, no she went up the street -- they said, those Philistines. And we talked; and presently we heard a rap at the door and it was SHE, and she had listened at the door -- you bet your bottom dollar. She had forgotten something.

Well -- the moral of the fable I leave to your personal sagacity. My feelers tell me it will develop in some pretty shaped piece of mud that will be thrown at and stick on the walls of the T.S."

While Isabel regained the favour of Helena Blavatsky after she seperated from her husband, Alfred resigned from the Theosophy Society and spent the rest of his days as an academic and Registrar of Madras University in India. He was noted as being a Professor of Logic and Mental Science, and in 1892 helped write “Longmans' Junior School Grammar for India" By David Salmon, A. J. Cooper Oakley; Publisher Longmans, Green and Co., 1892. Length 134 pages.

Sadly, Alfred John Cooper-Oakley died in Madras in 1899, aged 44 years. I have no idea if he had retained a closeness with his parents and siblings during his extended stay in India, nor do I know if a friendship with his wife was ever re-established, especially after Blavatsky's death in 1891.
Despite Alfred's resignation from the Theosophist Society, the magazine which he had spent so much time editing, The Theosophist, reported his death respectfully and with sincere regret:
" One of the most gifted men and best scholars who have been connected with the Theosophical movement passed away in the night of April 16-17, at his residence at Mylapore,Madras. At the time of his death he was registrar of the University of Madras, Honorary Secretary of the Madras Literary Society, and Master of a Masonic Lodge, all of which important stations he had been filling with credit."
The circumstances of Alfred's death are uncertain-that he died from an overdose of Chloral-Hydrate sleeping mixture is undisputable, but whether he meant to commit suicide or accidentally overdosed is at present unknown to me. Alfred's death notice appeared in the London Times newspaper:

"Deaths: OAKLEY- at Madras, Alfred John Cooper-Oakley, only son of the late John Jeffryes Oakley, aged 44 years. By cablegram.' Monday, April 24, 1899.

Isabel Cooper Oakley carried on her work with the Theosophical Society, lecturing all over the world from the USA to Australia, and writing books and papers.She never remarried, and died in Budapest, Hungary, on March 3, 1914.

"DEATH: Cooper-Oakley- On the 3rd March, at Budapest, Harriet Isabella, widow of the late J. Cooper-Oakley, M.A.,and elder daughter of the late Frederick Henry Cooper, C.B, I.C.S., aged 60 years." -Times, March 5, 1914.

Edith was born on December 19, 1856, at Little Stanhope Street, Mayfair, the second child and first daughter born to John Oakley and his wife Harriet Eliza Moginie. On September 22, 1881, at St. Johns, Paddington, she married Neville Dundas, "Gentleman", the son of Edward Thomas Dundas. Witnesses who signed their marriage certificate were Edith's father, John Oakley, and her sister, Gertrude Jane.

Edith became a vicar's wife when her husband became a Reverend in the Church of England.He was vicar of several churches in England, and then finished his clerical career in Scotland.
Edith Oakley Dundas died at Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland, on December 14, 1918. Her husband Neville remarried Margaret Ruth Shelley, and died himself on October 16, 1935, at Inverallen, Moray, Scotland.

Gertrude was born on December 22, 1861, in the private apartments above Fortnum and Mason, 183 Piccadilly, London.
She never married, and died in Surrey in 1938, aged 76 years.

Beatrice was the fourth child and third daughter born to John J. Oakley and his wife Harriet Eliza Moginie.She was born at 183 Piccadilly on September 12, 1863, and was baptised at St. James, Westminster, on November 3, 1863.
Like her sister Gertrude, Beatrice never married, and died in Scotland on December 19, 1930.Her death certificate states that she died in Skirling, Peebles, at 9:30 a.m on December 19, 1930, of "Purpura, 1 month, and senile dementia." Her death was registered by her nurse, Minnie Brown.

Constance Oakley was the last of five children born to John and Harriett Oakley, and the fourth daughter. She was born at 183 Piccadilly, London, on November 8, 1867, and was baptised at St. James Westminster on January 21, 1868.

Constance married 32 year old auctioneer and estate agent Harry Williams on March 23, 1893, at Paddington. Harry was the son of the splendidly named Wellington Williams, Gentleman and linen collar manufacturer. Wellington Williams in the 1861 census was living with his wife Louisa and six children at Leyton in Essex, where he worked as a linen manuafacturer.
His children were Wellington b c. 1848; Louisa b c. 1847; Anna b 1851; Minnie b 1852;Alfred b 1853: William Cowell b 1854; Edwin b 1856; Ellen Shaw b 1857; Harry b 1859 and Florence b 1864. Harry in 1871, aged 11, was a pupil at a boarding school named Clifton House in Ealing, Middlesex.
All of the Williams boys received excellent educations.Four of them were Carthusians, or students at the Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey, one of the original nine English public schools:
Alfred Williams-1868. Son of Wellington Williams of Park House, Leyton, Essex. Born 1853.
Edwin Williams: 1869-1874. Brother of Alfred Williams(above). Born 1856. Pembroke College, Cambridge Law Tripos 1877.
Harry Williams: 1871. Brother of Edwin(above).Born 1859.
William Cowell Williams: 1869-1873. Brother of Harry Williams(above).Born 1854. Pembroke College, Cambridge. Mathematical Tripos 1876.
NOTE: Definition: Tripos: the final honours degree examinations in all subjects at Cambridge University.
Wellington Williams, father of Harry and father-in-law of Constance, died on February 7, 1892. His death notice in the London Times read "On the 7th February, of pneumonia following influenza, Wellington Williams, of Park House, Leyton, Essex, in his 80th year."

Constance and Harry had two daughters and a son- Vera Moginie Williams; Honor Cowell Williams and Gerald Cowell Williams. The Cowell middle name is from the maiden name of their paternal grandmother, Louisa Cowell.
Vera Williams was born on January 30, 1894, in Watford,Herts. She did not marry, and died in 1958, aged 64.
Her sister Honor, born 1899, married Sir Trenchard Craven William Fowle, the Indian-born son of Frederick Trenchard Thomas Fowle and Dorothea Martha Meade, in 1923. They had a son named John and a daughter named Margaret. Little Margaret was born in 1925 and died in 1929 of T.B., aged only 4. Honor died in 1987, her husband having predeceased her in 1940, aged 55.
Only son, Gerald Cowell Williams,was born on March 30, 1906. He married Rose/Rosina Crighton on June 3, 1931, at Godalming, Surrey. Their children included Gillian Cowell Williams and Penelope Williams. Gerald died in 1984.

John Jeffrys (or Jeffryes) Oakley died in 1897, aged 69 years. The family home for most of John's married life was situated at 24 Sussex Gardens, Westminster, London. The Winrose Hotel is at present located at this address, and photos indicate that the Winrose once was a private residence that has been converted to a hotel.

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