Roade, Northants

George Wills (b. 1793): Last Will and Testament

Image from private family archives. George Wills original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to the will

Image from private family archives. George Wills original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to the will

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.)

Son-in-law William Slaymaker inherited George Wills' business in Northampton

Son-in-law William Slaymaker inherited George Wills’ business in Northampton

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

Phoebe Wills Simpson, co-executor of George's will

Phoebe Wills Simpson, co-executor of George’s will

Zillah Simpson (1843 - 1920), George Wills' granddaughter

Zillah Simpson (1843 – 1920), George Wills’ granddaughter


Yew Tree Cottage, Roade, Northamptonshire--home of Zillah Simpson circa 1910; presumably inherited from her mother Phoebe, who presumably inherited it from her father George Wills

Yew Tree Cottage, Roade, Northamptonshire–home of Zillah Simpson circa 1910; presumably inherited from her mother Phoebe, who presumably inherited it from her father George Wills

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!

Categories: Capon, England, Gadsden, Gasgoine, Last Wills and Testaments, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Roade, Northants, Sargent, Simpson, Slaymaker, Wills, Wolverton, Buckinghamshire | Leave a comment

George Sampson Valentine Wills’ Memoirs

Here is George Sampson Valentine Wills’ self-published memoir, A Jubilee Souvenir. The Work of George S.V. Wills and The Westminster College of Chemistry and Pharmacy, which dates back to February 1899. The copyright is expired, so I will be photographing pages (20-30 at a time) and publishing them here. Check back periodically as I will be adding to this post until all 200+ pages are included. For past posts on G.S.V. Wills and his family, please click on the surname Wills in the categories column. Note: Anyone who would like to avoid downloading the pages can contact me via the email address in the About page. I can send the pages to you in zip files.

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, London, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, Roade, Northants, South Croydon, London, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, Wills | Leave a comment

“Wills” Family – Some Important Updates

Image from private family archives. George Wills original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to the will

Image from private family archives. George Wills original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to the will

Today I am posting an update to some of the previous Wills family posts for which I subsequently discovered new information. The posts in question are as follows:

The Fate of Mary Wills, Part I
The Fate of Mary Wills, Part II
George Wills’s Son-in-Law & Granddaughters
Some Photos Related to George Wills and Descendants

The Wills family story passed down to us by my grandmother and her mother was reflected in the above posts. But shortly after I’d written them, I discovered a few details that made me question that account. Some of those details came from the GSV Wills self-published memoir**. (I’d misplaced the book right after posting the first post on GSV Wills, and found it only after I’d made the other Wills family posts.) Other things in general were just not adding up. I was finally forced to admit that the story passed down to us was full of inaccuracies. The whole series of discoveries left me feeling quite deflated and wanting to cool off on the Wills family line for a while, which is why it has taken me this long to do an update. On the other hand, it does feel good to get the story straighter, even though many gaps remain. Where to begin? Rather than take you through the order in which I made my discoveries, it’s probably best to go down these Wills-related posts one by one.

The Fate of Mary Wills, Part I

First, about William Slaymaker being an orphan, well—-I found his birth record! According to England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, posted on the Family Search website, William Slaymaker was born on 2 September 1828 to Mary and John Slaymaker of Weedon Bec and Flore, Northampton, England. (These are neighboring villages 11 miles northwest of Blisworth). He was christened on 10 December 1829, according to England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8)–also posted on the same LDS site. Discovering William’s birth and christening records was a huge shock to me since I’d always believed, hook, line and sinker, that William was a complete orphan whose origins were unknown. So, so much for our previous family history as it had been written down.

But how did William get to Blisworth? Interestingly I discovered a John Slaymaker, “agricultural laborer,” living in Blisworth at the time of the 1851 census. William, 21, was also in Blisworth living with George Wills, “stone mason and builder,” and wife Elizabeth, and Mary (George’s daughter) who is shown with the Slaymaker surname; that fits with our records that the young pair had married in 1850. The 1851 census records confirm William Slaymaker’s birthplace as Weedon, Northamptonshire. John Slaymaker was living with a wife named Esther and two sons, John and Joseph, ages 18 and 4. Could Esther be a second wife? Could this John be William’s father? I believe the answer to those questions to be “yes.” The same census record shows that John (44) was also born in Weedon Bec as was his first son, John (18). However Esther (37) and younger son Joseph (4) were both born in Blisworth. Perhaps John Sr., John Jr., and William Slaymaker relocated to Blisworth after 1st wife Mary’s death, and there John Sr. met Esther and had son Joseph. The Slaymakers had in common with George Wills an involvement in the non-conformist movement. Perhaps George Wills took William under his wing as a worker in his stone masonry business. Blisworth was a very small town (The 1841 census showed about 880 people living there.)

On a complete side note, the 1851 census record mentions George’s 2nd wife’s birthplace as Cambridge. I have made a mental note to research “Elizabeth” further since my grandmother and her mother never documented the fact that George remarried. The 1851 census record shows she was 61, three years older than George at that stage.

‘Old Stone House,” Blisworth, Northamptonshire (the Stoneworks)

Now about the story of George raising William and his own children in Old Stone House, Blisworth, a house he supposedly build for his bride Mary Capon. Well that story turned out to be full of holes too. I figured this out through the blisworth.org.uk website and some correspondence with the site’s manager Tony Marsh, whom I’d contacted in order to offer him a 1913 photo I had of the Old Stone House. To get to the point quickly, Old Stone House in Blisworth was really the Blisworth Stoneworks, built around 1840; it served as headquarters for a limestone quarry that was in existence on the site since the early 1800s, and was part of the Grafton Estate. George and 1st wife Mary married in 1812, so there is NO WAY in the world that he built that particular structure for Mary. If George built Mary an “old stone house,” and he probably did, it was in Stony Stratford or nearby Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, where the pair spent their early married life. So “adios” to the yarn passed down that George owned and built the Stoneworks house for Mary. However, we do know that George was in Blisworth at the time of the 1841 Census living at the Stoneworks with 2nd wife Elizabeth. He is listed as “builder.” Now, since Mary (George’s 1st wife) died in 1839, he must have married Elizabeth around 1840, about when he was participating in the construction of the Stoneworks. So, I think it is highly possible that recollections of George’s children or grandchildren were of him building that big stoneworks house for 2nd wife Elizabeth, which was not really the case, but children don’t know all the details of what’s going on in the world around them, so in their young minds it may have appeared that George was building that home for Elizabeth. George’s youngest daughters, Martha and Mary (14 and 10, respectively, in 1939) may have perceived it that way. The only Wills child known to be born at the stoneworks with relative certainty was Samuel, firstborn child of William Slaymaker and George’s daughter Mary.

Now, about the Duke of Grafton being patron of the Wills family (this is written in GSV Wills’s memoirs), at the time of Sampson Wills’s death (George’s father), George was living on Tottenham Court Road in London. Tony Marsh commented that “George would have been  building townhouses less than a 1/4 mile from some of Grafton’s houses in the Euston Station area.” Whether they had any association there, however, we don’t know (yet, anyway). When Sampson died, George, wife Mary, and their three children who existed up to that point (Ann, Phoebe, and Jabez), had to move back to Stony Stratford to carry on the family business. Though the distance was just 50 miles, it took them three days traveling by wagon with all of their possessions including a cat with kittens.

Photo by Stephen McKay. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic License*

On another side note, per the GSV Wills memoirs of 1899, Sampson Wills, was a renowned builder, whose family was based in Stony Stratford for generations. He was not involved in the non-conformist movement as was son George. Sampson’s 1st contract was to erect mile-stones along the road from Stony Stratford to Bletchley. He constructed the bridge that spans the Ouse at Cosgrove. Cosgrove is just a mile north of Stony Stratford as the crow flies. I looked the bridge up and, if I guessed correctly about which one it is, it is now referred to as “Solomon’s Bridge”–perhaps in the mists of time, “Sampson” changed to “Solomon”?  GSV Wills says the bridge was referred to as “Sampson’s Bridge” even in the late 1890s. For views of the bridge, click here, here, and here!  You can also catch a glimpse of the bridge on this interesting  YouTube video (at about the 50 second mark). The Cosgrove Village website has posted a PDF document about the bridge. They say that the story goes that “a certain Colonel Solomon’s, ‘Lord of the Manor’, agreed to the cutting of the canal on the condition that he was allowed to erect the necessary bridge.” Perhaps, officially it became known as Solomon’s Bridge, while locally, those who were familiar with Sampson Wills’s involvement referred to it as Sampson’s Bridge.

Sampson’s business spanned from 1780 to 1830(?). He worked on the Calverton Church and died attempting to fix the pinnacle; he lost his balance and fell. If you click on the link for Calverton Church in the previous sentence, you’ll see what a precarious maneuver he must have been undertaking. If he did die in 1830, he would have been 63 at the time. In addition, two sons died in service to King George III. I say 1830 with a question mark because Sampson’s books ended in 1830, so I assume that is when he died. GSV Wills stated that Jabez Wills descendants were in possession of Sampson’s original books. That was in 1899, of course, so who knows where they may be today. It would provide clues about the Cosgrove bridge, no doubt.

Now it must have been around late 1830s that the Duke of Grafton asked George to consider relocating from Stony Stratford to Blisworth (10 miles away) to oversee the stoneworks project. According to the GSV Wills book, George agreed because by then his daughter Phoebe had married John Simpson, and Simpson was prepared to carry on George’s business at Stony Stratford. Incidentally, it was in Blisworth that Jabez Wills met Mr. Hickson, the local chemist, who was “twice married and blessed with 21 children.” Jabez married Catherine, one of Mr. Hickson’s daughters, and the couple settled in Roade (3 miles away). There, Catherine gave birth to GSV Wills in 1849.

The Fate of Mary Wills, Part II

Son-in-law William Slaymaker inherited George Wills' business in Northampton

Son-in-law William Slaymaker inherited George Wills’ business in Northampton

The only part of this post that needs updating is with regards to sentence #2–that before emigrating to America, William Slaymaker sold his share of the business to John Simpson. The family yarn passed down to us was that when George died in 1856, he left his Stony Stratford stone masonry business to sons-in-law John Simpson and William Slaymaker.

Well, for William to have sold John his share on the eve of emigrating to America would have been quite a feat because I discovered that John Simpson died in 1861, roughly 5-7 years before the Slaymakers changed their name to Sargent and moved to the US. Another deflating moment! According to the little GSV Wills book, Jabez Wills moved to Stony Stratford to take over the business when John Simpson died. I found the 1861 census records for the Slaymakers–the family was living in Northamptonshire at 2 Mason’s Yard in the parish of St. Sepulchre. William is listed as a mason and builder employing four men. Daughters Elizabeth (6) and Sarah (3) are listed as having been born in St. Sepulchre, which means that the Slaymakers must have moved to Northamptonshire in roughly 1855. Perhaps what really happened was that when George died he left William a share of the business, but William sold it to Simpson straight away and relocated to Northampton where he perceived business to be more lucrative. And when Simpson died, the business transferred to Jabez.

Some Photos Related to George Wills and Descendants

The above text correcting information about the stoneworks should replace details in Paragraph 1 of this post. Also with regard to the information about the Gardiners, evidently while Gardiner may have managed the so-called “Wait Estate,” Simpson’s daughter Mary would not have been involved with the Estate for that length of time since she and Gardiner married in 1875 and he died in 1897. He was 30 years her senior! Also, Tony Marsh who is mentioned above, believes that the “Wait” Estate is probably the Wake Estate. Tony forwarded a couple of links about the Wake Estate, but I have not yet had a chance to review them: http://www.blisworth.org.uk/images/Articles/Wakes-history.htm and http://www.blisworth.org.uk/images/Lyrical/Wake-memoirs.htm.

George Wills’s Son-in-Law & Granddaughters

George Wills's descendants, Northamptonshire, no later than 1897

George Wills's descendants, Northamptonshire, no later than 1897

Now, with regards to this post, the question is obviously: “Who is that man seated in the chair on the left?” It can’t be John Simpson since he died in 1861. In the wheelchair is Phoebe and John Simpson’s daughter Zillah Wills Simpson (29 Jul 1843 – 10 Apr 1920). We know that for sure since she was disabled. Based on the age gap between Mary Simpson and husband William Gardiner, I believe it is William Gardiner who is seated in the chair; he would have been in his mid-eighties at the time, an age that seems to fit this gentleman. The other two ladies are probably identified correctly: Standing in the rear are the elder Simpsons’ daughter Sarah German Simpson Caswell (30 Mar 1849-8 Jan 1929). Seated on the right is the elder Simpsons’ daughter Mary (2 Feb 1839-6 Feb 1917), Gardiner’s wife. (I must admit she looks older than her late 50s to me.) But, now, who is the man standing in the rear? I think it is probably Sarah’s husband, Henry Slee Caswell.  Time will tell–let’s hope someone reads this blog and can give us some clues.

So that’s the update–for now, anyway. Things are bound to change but certainly not nearly so dramatically. Now it seems more like a question of filling in the gaps.

PS: To muddy up the works slightly, I did discover a “Haymaker” family living in Blisworth at the Stoneworks in 1841, at the same time George and Elizabeth Wills were there. Whether these Haymakers were Slaymakers remains to be seen. If I make any progress on that, I will report on it.

*Creative Commons Share-alike 2.0 Generic License

**A Jubilee Souvenir. The Works of George S. V. Wills and The Westminster College of Chemistry and Pharmacy. Stratford: Wilson & Whitworth, Ltd., Printers, Broadway, 1899.

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, Census Records, England 1841, England 1851, England 1861, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, Roade, Northants, Sargent, Simpson, Slaymaker, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, Wesleyan Methodist, Wills | 2 Comments

Phoebe Wills Simpson’s Grave

Phoebe Wills Simpson was born on 11 October 1818 in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England, the fourth child of George and Mary Wills. The mother of seven passed away on 1 August 1890, in Roade, Northamptonshire, England. She was buried 4 days later, in which burial ground I do not yet know. Census records from 1861, 1871, and 1881, indicate that she worked as a dressmaker, draper, and milliner, and lived in Roade from at least 1861 onwards. I do not know the churchyard/cemetery where her grave is situated. I’ll try to find out. Meanwhile, if anyone knows or has suggestions, please let me know. Thanks.

Phoebe Wills Simpson's Grave in Roade

Phoebe Wills Simpson's grave decorated with white tulips

Phoebe Wills Simpson’s grave decorated with white tulips

Phoebe Simpson, daughter of George and Mary Wills

Phoebe Simpson, daughter of George and Mary Wills

Categories: Census Records, England 1861, England 1871, England 1881, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, Roade, Northants, Simpson, Wills | Leave a comment

Yew Tree Cottage, Roade, Northants

Two days ago, I posted some pre-1920 photos of Yew Tree Cottage in Roade, Northamptonshire. This is where Zillah Simpson, a granddaughter of George & Mary Wills resided until her passing in 1920. I was curious about her description of the property and wondered if I could find it online via Google Earth/Google Maps. After much unfruitful searching, I finally did what I should have done to begin with which was to search for “Yew Tree Cottage” in Roade. Lo’ and behold, up pops a sales brochure! See below. To see close ups of the photos, go online to the Horts property company’s listing (obviously, at some point, it may expire).  I think the lovely front dining room painted pale blue must be where Zillah lived during the summer. (From the photos we’ve seen of her, it’s apparent she was confined to a wheelchair; I assume summer was the only time she was able to get out of the house and into the lovely gardens behind the house.) The house today appears to be magnificently restored and maintained. More windows have been added to the exterior. If I had just over a half million dollars sitting about, I’d be tempted to make an offer!

Categories: Roade, Northants, Simpson, Wills | Leave a comment

Some Photos Related to George Wills and Descendants

12/14/2011: Please see the update to this post.

I have scanned some additional photos from an old album belonging to my grandmother.

Below is a photo of “Stone House” on Stoke Road in Blisworth, Northamptonshire. It was taken in 1913. Information passed down from my grandmother states that the house was built by George Wills in 1812 for his bride, Mary Capon, the daughter of Mary Pitt, a cousin of Sir William Pitt. A separate photo taken at a later date (possibly 1935, during my grandmother’s visit to England) shows the house from a slightly different angle. It was in this house that Mary Wills Sargent, daughter of George and Mary Wills was born. Also supposedly born here were two of Mary Wills Sargent’s children, Elizabeth and Samuel. Note the monkey puzzle tree out front.

Stone House, Blisworth, Northamptonshire

Stone House in Blisworth, circa 1935?

Below are two photos taken in Roade of “Yew Tree Cottage” the home in which Zillah Simpson lived. Notice the old gas lamp out front. Zillah was the daughter of Phoebe Wills and John Simpson, about whom I have spoken in previous posts. Zillah spent summers living in the ground floor room on the left (facing the house). In the winter she lived upstairs. She wrote in a postcard that the upstairs room was “cheerful” and looked toward the station. The second photo of the house shows their maid standing out front. Curiously there’s a middle window upstairs in one photo which is absent in the second photo. I presume by the growth of the ivy that it was added sometime later. Zillah lived here until her passing in 1920. I don’t know when the photos were taken, but it must have been before 1920 since Zillah sent them as postcards to my grandmother and her mother.

Yew Tree Cottage, Roade, Northamptonshire

Yew Tree Cottage, Roade, Northamptonshire

This next photo is a photo of the house in which another daughter of Phoebe Wills and John Simpson lived. Mary Simpson Gardiner lived here with her husband William Gardiner. For 54 years, he managed the “Wait Estate.” I have not done any research yet to see what/where Wait Estate was/is, but at some point, I’ll get to it! Click on Gardiner in the list of Categories and you will see a photo of the couple. In the photo album from which I retrieved these photos, there were additional photos of Courteenhall Manor (in miserable condition–the photo, not the manor) and some of the workmen’s cottages on the estate. I am not sure how Courteenhall Manor, which is in or neighboring Roade, relates to the Waits/Simspons/Gardiners or Wait Estate. Perhaps the photo is there just because it is a local place of interest.

Gardiner Residence for 54 Years

Courteenhall Manor, Northamptonshire

Courteenhall Manor, Workmen's Cottages

Some modern-day photos of Courteenhall courtesy of Cj1340 posted on Ookaboo (free pictures of everything on Earth):

Courteenhall House Fete 2008

Courteenhall

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, Gardiner, Roade, Northants, Simpson, Wills | Leave a comment

George Wills’s Descendants: Additional Photos

Further to the last post about the Simpson family, here are a few more photos. Again, Zillah Simpson was a daughter of John and Phoebe (Wills) Simpson. The Phoebe here is that Phoebe (George Wills’s fifth daughter) who died in 1890.The last photo is of the Simpsons’s granddaughter Ella Caswell, daughter of Sarah German Simpson and Henry Slee Caswell.

Zillah Simpson (1843 - 1920), George Wills' granddaughter

Zillah Simpson (1843 – 1920), George Wills’ granddaughter

Zillah Simpson

Zillah Simpson

Phoebe Simpson

Phoebe Simpson

Ella Caswell (center), Sarah German Simpson Caswell's daughter; one of the two ladies seated is a sister-in-law, spouse of William Henry Caswell, Ella's brother

Ella Caswell (center), Sarah German Simpson Caswell's daughter; one of the two ladies seated is a sister-in-law, spouse of William Henry Caswell, Ella's brother

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, Caswell, England, Roade, Northants, Simpson, Wills | Leave a comment

George Wills’s Granddaughters

George Wills's descendants, Northamptonshire, no later than 1897

George Wills's descendants, Northamptonshire, no later than 1897

12/14/2011: Please see the update to this post.

To the left  is a photo taken no later than 1897. In the wheelchair is Phoebe and John Simpson’s daughter Zillah Wills Simpson (29 Jul 1843 – 10 Apr 1920). Standing in the rear are the elder Simpsons’ daughter Sarah German Simpson Caswell (30 Mar 1849-8 Jan 1929). Seated on the right is the elder Simpsons’ daughter Mary (2 Feb 1839-6 Feb 1917).

The photo was obtained by my grandmother Zillah Trewin from her cousin Ella Caswell Carter, Sarah German Simpson Caswell’s daughter, during a July 1935 trip to England. I presume the 1897 cut-off date for the photo was because John Simspon did not live beyond that year. My grandmother Zillah Trewin was named after Zillah Wills Simpson.

John Simpson and Phoebe Wills had six daughters and one son. Missing from this photo are daughter Ann, who married Hercules Smith and emigrated to Australia; Martha, who died at age four; Phoebe, who married Phillip Barnes; and John Simpson who married Fanny Smith and then Mary Bell. I do not know whether Hercules Smith and Fanny Smith were related.

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, Caswell, England, Gardiner, Roade, Northants, Sargent, Simpson, Wills | Leave a comment

William Sargent

I came across an old album of a trip to England taken by my grandmother and her family. In it I was surprised to see a photo of William Sargent (b. 1929), Mary Wills’s husband. It was taken in Northampton, England. Since the family supposedly left for the US right after the end of the Civil War, he would not have been any older than roughly 38 here. Not a very “happy chappy,” but folks did not seem to smile much in photos back then. His daughter Elizabeth’s resemblance to him is striking.

William Sargent

There were also photos of the Blisworth Church in Northamptonshire where Mary and all of her sisters were allegedly married. I’m not certain this was the case and am hoping to find some concrete evidence of that.

Blisworth Church, July 1, 1935

Blisworth Church

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England, Roade, Northants, Sargent, Wills | Leave a comment

George Wills’s Snuff Box

Further to all the previous posts on George Wills, I am including here some photos of a shoe-shaped snuff box that belonged to him. It was passed down by his youngest child Mary Wills to my great grandmother Elizabeth Sargent and so on. These shoe-shaped snuff boxes were very common. Northamptonshire, England, was a major center for shoe-making. George was originally from Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, but spent part of the 1840s in Blisworth, Northamptonshire overseeing building projects. A number of his descendants settled in the vicinity of Roade and Blisworth.

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England, Roade, Northants, Sargent, Wills | Leave a comment

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On caregivers, faith, family, and writing...

Why'd You Eat That?

Food Folklore for the everyday scholar. These are the stories behind the foods we eat.

Cooking without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

Almost Home

Genealogy Research and Consulting

Old Bones Genealogy of New England

Genealogy and Family History Research

ferrebeekeeper

Reflections Concerning Art, Nature, and the Affairs of Humankind (also some gardening anecdotes)

Map of Time | A Trip Into the Past

Navigating Through Someplace Called History

Out Here Studying Stones

Cemeteries & Genealogy

WeGoBack

family research ... discover your ancestry

the Victorian era

Did I misplace my pince-nez again? Light reading on the 19th century.

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This is the story of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life during an extraordinary time frame, and the lessons they learn through experience.

Moore Genealogy

Fun With Genealogy

Meeting my family

RESEARCHING MY FAMILY TREE

Shaking the tree

musings on the journey towards knowing and sharing my family's stories

A Hundred Years Ago

Food and More

Scots Roots

Helping you dig up your Scots roots.

Root To Tip

Not just a list of names and dates

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