George Wills died in 1857 and his son-in-law William Slaymaker and daughter Mary removed to Northampton to head a stone masonry business there. With them were their daughter Elizabeth (my great grandmother) who would have been six at the time the above ad appeared; son Samuel who would have been about eight (he went on to be a well-known Methodist minister affiliated with Ocean Grove, NJ); and daughter Sarah (a.k.a. Sadie) who would have been just a baby. Son William appeared in 1861, probably after this ad was placed. I’ve done quite a few posts about them already. When they emigrated to the US in 1870, they changed their last name to ‘Sargent.’ The family settled in Jersey City, Hudson Co., NJ. I’ve found a few more traces of their Northamptonshire roots and will share them in future posts.
I recently came upon this new (to me) photo of my great grandmother Elizabeth Sargent (her family’s original surname, Slaymaker, was changed to Sargent prior to 1870), second wife of William Trewin. Seems many of us descendants are blondes/redheads, and though the photo is in black and white, I think it is fairly safe to say that her hair may have been ginger/chestnut in appearance. Her daughter Zillah’s hair had reddish tones. The photo may have been taken circa 1882 — around the time she married William.
I’m not sure where our family line’s Slaymakers fit in with others of that surname dwelling in England in the late 18th century/early 19th century and prior to that. But I did recently stumble on an 1841 Census record that provided some more clues about my 2nd great grandfather William Slaymaker (who changed his name to Sargent prior to emigrating to the US in 1870).
Funnily enough, the way I came upon the record was by doing a search of the Wills line on Family Search. Up popped a record for a “Geoe Wills”. I found that spelling odd so I clicked it open, and through findmypast.co.uk was able to view the original record. Here I found not only our 3rd great grandfather George Wills and his second wife Elizabeth living at the Stoneworks in Blisworth, Northamptonshire, but also William Slaymaker and his parents, John & Mary, and siblings–Elizabeth, John, Sarah, and a female whose name may have been Harriet. For some reason, the census taker abbreviated many of the first names: George was “Geo e”; Mary was “Ma y”; William was “Wm”, Richard was “Rich d”. Those abbreviations had the last letter input as a superscript. I guess whoever transcribed all these records for Family Search simply left them “as is”, which I suppose was the right thing to do, but it would take a lot of creativity for anyone searching to think of looking for names in such a way.
In any case, William’s father John (34) is listed as a laborer; Mary is 36; William was 12; Elizabeth 10, John 8; Sarah 6; and Harriet [spelling ?] 3. All lived at the Stoneworks (mentioned in previous posts, most notably this one).
When I compared this census record with the 1851 record, I could see that John the father had remarried someone named Esther who was born in Blisworth. Son John (18) was living with them as was a son by this new marriage: Joseph, age 4. So John’s first wife Mary must have passed away in or before 1847. William was 21 and by then had married George Wills’ youngest daughter Mary; William and Mary were living with George Wills and his 2nd wife Elizabeth.
I found John and Esther Slaymaker in the 1861 and 1881 census records. In 1861 they were living with son Joseph in Boughton, Northamptonshire, a small village north of the city of Northampton. John was working as a railway gateman. In 1881, they were living in “Needles” in Litchborough, Northamptonshire, a tiny village to the west of Northampton. He was 74 and working as an agricultural laborer, poor old chap. I “googled” Needles and up popped a fancy 22-page real estate brochure on a property in Litchborough called Needles; I gather this was once a substantial estate with multiple dwellings and buildings, farmland, etc. It would seem that John Slaymaker and his second wife Esther may well have lived and worked here. The 1881 census shows a granddaughter Beatrice living with them. She was 6, born in Belgrave, Leicestershire (some 40 miles north of Northampton), and may well have been a daughter of son Joseph, who by then would have been about 34.
As you can see from the below family tree, John Slaymaker, who was my 3rd great grandfather, had siblings named Sarah and Thomas. There were probably others, but these are the only ones I have found so far. All were the children of Thomas and Elizabeth Slaymaker who were probably born in the late 1760s or thereabouts.
So that’s a bit of a glimpse into our Northamptonshire Slaymaker line. We surely have numerous Slaymaker cousins out there in the UK and beyond; hopefully they’ll stumble upon this blog someday and drop us a line! Anyone new to this blog can find more posts on the Wills line and Slaymaker / Sargent line by searching under the relevant surnames in the Categories section (right side of blog; you may have to scroll down a bit; best to read them in chronological order).
Slaymaker Family Tree – 1st three generations
(View the Sargent line by going to the S-U tab above)
|—-2-Sarah Slaymaker c. 20 May 1792, Weedon and Floore, Northampton, England
|—-2-Thomas Slaymaker b. 3 May 1803, c. 6 Jun 1803, Weedon and Floore, Northampton, England
|—-2-John Slaymaker b. 19 Apr 1807, Weedon Beck, Northamptonshire, England, c. 21 Jun 1807,
|——-Weedon and Flore, Northampton, England
|——+Mary b. Abt 1805
|———3-William Sargent b. 2 Sep 1828, Weedon Beck, Northamptonshire, c. 10 Dec 1829,
|———–Weedon and Flore, Northamptonshire, England, |————d. New Jersey, United States
|————+Mary Wills b. 11 Nov 1829, Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, England, d. 6 Dec 1877,
|————–Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey
|———3-Elizabeth (Betsey) Slaymaker b. 11 Oct 1830, c. 30 Nov 1830, Weedon and Floore, Northampton
|———3-John Slaymaker b. Abt 1835
|———3-Sarah Slaymaker b. 1836, Weedon, Northamptonshire
|———3-Harriet Slaymaker b. Abt 1838
|——+Esther b. Abt 1814, Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England
|———3-Joseph Slaymaker b. Abt 1847, Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England
|————-4-Beatrice Slaymaker [daughter of Joseph?] b. Abt 1875, Belgrave, Leicestershire, England
Thanks to Tim Laker, a George Wills descendant, for discovering George’s Last Will and Testament on file at the UK National Archives. It dates back to July 1857 and was proved in London on November 14, 1857. Among other things, this document reveals what happened to George’s business when he passed away. My past posts on the matter had been inconclusive, but here we find out for certain that George did indeed split his business between his son Jabez and his son-in-law William Slaymaker. (William Slaymaker was married to George’s daughter Mary. William and Mary Slaymaker changed their surname to Sargent before immigrating to the US in 1870.)
Jabez inherited George’s business in Wolverton, while William inherited George’s business in Northampton. The will is very difficult to read, but here is what I have gleaned so far. Dots indicate text I was unable to decipher and in many cases I have made a “best guess”:
This the Last Will and Testament of one George Wills of Northampton in the County of Northampton Mason made this second day of July in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven in the following … viz … I will that all my just debts be payed and my burial expenses be paid … I give and … to my son Jabez Wills my house and premises at Wolverton in the County of Buckingham. I give and bequeath my business at Northampton house yard and premises to to my son-in-law William Slaymaker. I give and bequeath to my daughter Mrs. Phoebe Simpson of Roade in the said County one Cottage. I give and it bequeath to my Daughter Martha Capon Gasgoine [spelling?] of …. in the County of Warwick one Cottage, also I give and bequeath her my portrait (viz/ the said Martha Capon Gasgoine [spelling?]). I give and bequeath to my late Daughter Ann ??’s [Spelling of married name hard to decipher; I’d always thought it was “Grear,” but this looks different] four children one Cottage. I give and bequeath to my Granddaughter Zillah Simpson one Cottage. The Cottages are situated in what is … St. Siz [?] Street Northampton. I will that the whole of my … debts and …. be sold and the money be applied for payments of my … at my … I will that the Bibel presented to me by the ……….. of Ashton in the said County be given to William Slaymaker. Lastly I make and constitute and appoint my …. Mr. George Wills of Broad Lane Northampton Builder and my daughter Phoebe Simpson of Roade in the County as … my Executor and Executrix of this my last Will and Testament and I hereby empower them to collect all monies due to me in … bills or otherwise at my … and to retain and pay themselves all that is due to them and all expenses related to their said Trust in which hereof I have hereunto set my hand this day and year first as above written ——–GEORGE WILLS —-Signed sealed published and delivered by the herewith Testator as and for this his Will and Testament in the presents of us who at his request and in his presents and in the presents of oath and oath other have have subscribed our names as witnesses hereto————Witness Samuel Pasenall —— John Parbery
PROVED at London 14th Nov. 1857 before the Judge by the Oath of George Wills and Phoebe (in the appointment written Phoeby Simpson, Widow, the Daughter, the Executors to whom …. was granted to having been first sworn by common duty to administer
The will leaves me with some questions and general thoughts:
- I’d always had George’s year of death listed as 1856, but obviously it was 1857.
- My date of death of daughter Ann Gadsden Wills Grear [last name correct?] must also be wrong (d. 1 Nov 1858); she obviously predeceased her father George.
- Daughter Martha Capon inherited George’s portrait. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a photo of the full-color original? Of course, it’s fantastic to at least have the version in tones of gray; I don’t have any information on Martha’s descendants, and perhaps one of them still has this portrait. Maybe they will find us through this blog someday.
- William Slaymaker is mentioned as inheriting a Bible. I have no idea what happened to that Bible. If it was taken to America when the family relocated, it must have ended up with someone other than daughter Elizabeth, my great grandmother; we’ve never seen it or heard of it prior to this.
- Lastly and most interestingly, who is this George Wills the executor? I can’t make out the word before his name. George had a son on 10 Mar 1827 who was named George Sampson Wills. Our records always showed that this son died the following year, but perhaps not. Any thoughts on whether this was indeed George’s son, George?
I’ll close for now, but please feel free to share your ideas and knowledge on any of the above! Many heads are definitely better than one!