Wesleyan Methodist

An Update on the Thomas & Sarah Trewin Family of Woolwich, Co. Kent

Two posts ago, I was wondering what became of my great great grandfather Thomas Trewin’s brothers, William and John. There was quite an age difference between the brothers. William was roughly five years older than Thomas, and John was roughly ten years younger. Thomas emigrated to the US via Canada, and I’d thought perhaps one or both of the brothers may have done the same. Well, I am still not sure about William, but I found three World Connect family trees corroborating that John, house and ship joiner, was already married (Sept 1852) to Susannah Barrett Coad of Lambeth (Surrey, London) at the time Thomas Sr.’s will was written and proved. Susannah was also of the Wesleyan Methodist faith as is evidenced by her baptism on August 20, 1832, at the China Terrace Wesleyan Church in Lambeth. Her parents were originally from Cornwall, her father having been born in Polperro, and her mother in Talland.

Cornwall, 1830 Map; Talland can be seen closer to the northeast corner (for map credit, see below)

Census records presumably (I say presumably, because I have not seen these records with my own eyes) indicate that John and family lived at 4 Watkins Terrace, Bow, Bromley, in 1861; at 62 Fore Street, St. Anne, Limehouse, in 1871; and at New Cross, 33 Brunswick Rd., St. Leonard, Bromley, in 1881. The 1871 Census shows Susannah keeping a coffee shop.

Proximity of Polperro and Talland, Cornwall, UK

John and Susannah had nine children according to all three World Connect Trees; only one tree lists the children and that list contains eight children, so I don’t know about the ninth. The eight listed are Sarah, Thomas, Henry, Jessie, William, Merriam, John, and Arthur. By the 1881 Census, Henry is working as a warehouseman, and William as an “asst. measurer” at the docks. Eldest daughter Sarah married Walter James Odgers Jane in Stepney, London, in 1877. She had five children: John, Edith, Mabel, Lillie, and Arthur.

London Map from 1831, with Woolwich, Lambeth, Limehouse, Bromley and Poplar circled in red (for map credit, see below)

My impression is that these World Connect trees were done by individuals researching the Coad family. Unfortunately, they provide no clues that can take us back to prior generations of our Trewin line. I am going to search the census records to see if I can find older brother William. I doubt he emigrated as age and family commitments probably would have ruled out such a huge undertaking, but you never know. Below is an updated tree showing what we now know about the three brothers.

 Thomas & Sarah Trewin Children*  
1-William Trewin b. 23 Jan 1812, c. 23 Feb 1812, Wesleyan Church, Middle Street, Gosport, Hampshire, England
1-Thomas J. Trewin b. 12 Aug 1817, Woolwich, Kent, England, c. 7 Sep 1817, Wesleyan Methodist Church, William St, Woolwich, Kent, England, d. 19 Sep 1875, Elizabeth, Union, NJ, bur. 22 Sep 1875, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union, NJ
|   +Mary Anne Phillips b. 1820, Deptford, Co. Kent, England, d. 30 May 1878, Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey, bur. 2 Jun 1878, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union, NJ
|     |–2-Thomas John Trewin b. 31 Dec 1839, 9 Powis Street, Woolwich, Co. of
|     |    Kent (now Greater London), d. Jul 1913, bur. 31 Jul 1913, Evergreen
|     |    Cemetery, Hillside, Union, NJ
|     |–2-William Trewin b. 21 Mar 1847, Hardin Street, Woolwich Dockyard, Co.
|     |    Kent (now Greater London), England, d. 4 Dec 1916, Elizabeth General
|     |    Hospital, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, bur. 7 Dec 1916, Evergreen
|     |    Cemetery, Hillside, Union, NJ
|     |–2-Elizabeth Trewin b. 12 Apr 1848, 18 Maxey Rd., Plumstead, Charlton, Co.
|     |    of Kent, d. Bef 1857
|     |–2-Emma Trewin b. 4 May 1850, Campbellwell, England, d. 9 Jun 1933, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ,
|     | bur. 12 Jun 1933, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ
1-John Trewin b. 17 Aug 1827, c. 14 Aug 1831, Wesleyan Methodist Church, William St, Woolwich, Kent, England
|   +Susannah Barrett Coad b. 1832, Lambeth, Surrey, London, c. 20 Aug 1832, China Terrace Wesleyan Church, Lambeth, Surrey, England
|     |–2-Sarah J. Trewin b. Abt 1854, Poplar, London, England
|     |   +Walter James Odgers Jane b. Sep 1852, Limehouse, Middlesex, England
|     |     |–3-John W. Jane b. Abt 1878, Poplar, London, England
|     |     |–3-Edith S. Jane b. Abt 1881, Paddington, London, England
|     |     |–3-Mabel J. Jane b. Abt 1883, Paddington, London, England
|     |     |–3-Lillie M. Jane b. Abt 1886, Paddington, London, England
|     |     |–3-Arthur T. Jane b. Abt 1890, Paddington, London, England
|     |–2-Thomas Trewin b. Abt 1856, Bromley, London, England
|     |–2-Henry Trewin b. Abt 1858, Plumstead, Kent, England
|     |–2-Jessie Trewin b. Abt 1860, Bromley, London, England
|     |–2-William Trewin b. Abt 1862, Bromley, London, England
|     |–2-Merriam Trewin b. Abt 1865, Poplar, London, England
|     |–2-John Trewin b. Abt 1867, Poplar, London, England
|     |–2-Arthur Trewin b. Bef 1870, Bromley, London, England

*There were additional children who did not survive to adulthood. See S-U tab of this blog for full tree.

Below are some photos of the children of Thomas and Mary Anne (Phillips) Trewin who left England in 1857. At the time, Thomas Jr. would have been about 18, William about 10, and Emma about 7.

Thomas John Trewin (Jr), bookbinder, son of Thomas and Mary Ann Trewin; Thomas never married and, in his later years, lived with his sister Emma and brother-in-law. (PHOTO COURTESY of Ruth Kirby Dean, descendant)

William Trewin, son of John & Mary Ann Trewin; William married Edith Fry who died after giving birth to their third child; William then married Elizabeth Sargent with whom he had one child, Zillah.

William Trewin, son of John & Mary Ann Trewin; William married Edith Fry who died after giving birth to their third child; William then married Elizabeth Sargent with whom he had one child, Zillah.

Emma Trewin, daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann Trewin

Emma Trewin, daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann Trewin

Jersey City, NJ, where the Thomas Trewin Family eventually settled after leaving England in 1857

Maps from David Rumsey Map Collection Cartography Associates:

  • Cornwall close-up: England IV. Published under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Published by Baldwin & Cradock, 47 Paternoster Row, June 15th. 1830. J. & C. Walker, sculpt. (London: Chapman and Hall, 1844)
  • East London close-up: The environs of London. Drawn & engraved by H. Waters. Published by Baldwin & Cradock, Paternoster Row, under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, February 1st, 1832. (London: Chapman & Hall, 1844)
Categories: Bromley, London, Coad, England 1861, England 1871, England 1881, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Lambeth, Surrey, Limehouse, London, London, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist, Woolwich, Greater London | Leave a comment

Thomas & Sarah Trewin Family of Woolwich, Co. Kent, England

I was excited to discover that the June 22, 1854, will of Thomas Trewin (the elder) is available online through the UK National Archives.

The document is very difficult to read but so far I have been able to make out the names of three sons—William, Thomas (my ancestor who immigrated to the US with wife Mary Anne Phillips and children in 1857), and John. The fact that a William was listed seems to confirm a previous post’s suspicions that the William Trewin born in Gosport, Hampshire, to a Thomas and Sarah Trewin and christened at the Wesleyan Church there, was indeed the William of this family. Previous research I did showed that Thomas and Sarah had four children who died as infants: two sons, John (the 1st) and Joseph, and two daughters, Mary and Sarah, and that all fits with the three brothers being the sole surviving heirs:

  • William Trewin  b. 23 Jan 1812, c. 23 Feb 1812, Wesleyan Church, Middle Street, Gosport, Hampshire, England
  • Thomas J. Trewin b. 12 Aug 1817, Woolwich, Kent, England, c. 7 Sep 1817,  Wesleyan Methodist Church, William St, Woolwich, Kent, England, d. 19 Sep 1875, Elizabeth, Union, NJ, bur. 22 Sep 1875, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union, NJ
  • John Trewin b. 17 Aug 1827, c. 14 Aug 1831, Wesleyan Methodist Church, William St, Woolwich, Kent, England

Section of an 1832 map* of London; see Woolwich & Plumstead on the right, well beyond what were then the borders of the city and surrounded by marshes and fields. You can see the Tower of London along the river (upper left corner).

Age-wise they would have been 42, 38, and 26 when the will was drawn up. The document was proved several years later on 12 November 1857. By then the “boys” would have been 45, 40, and 30.  Thomas would have left for Quebec City, Canada, on the ship Ion, with his family some four months prior to that, in July 1857 (they later relocated to Jersey City, NJ. See previous posts for details on the circumstances and journey). I have yet to see mention made in the will of Thomas Sr.’s wife Sarah. It seems likely she predeceased him.

In any case, I am going to try to transcribe the will for posting here. It mentions properties in Plumstead and Woolwich (neighboring areas) and a gift to the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Woolwich. It will take some head-scratching, but I will do my best to decipher it.

I would love to know what brought Thomas Sr. and Sarah from Gosport to Woolwich; I presume it was work-related–perhaps to work at the Royal Arsenal or to help build the Wesleyan Chapel in Woolwich. I’d also love to know what  happened to William and John, whether they remained in the Woolwich area, moved elsewhere, or also emigrated to North America.  Are there any descendants out there?

So there is plenty more to learn, but the will provides wonderful new evidence of their lives in Woolwich. Stay tuned…

SEE FOLLOW-UP POST: https://chipsofftheoldblock.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/thomas-trewin-will/

*Map is in the public domain and available for sharing for non-commercial purposes under Creative Commons.

Categories: Death, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Gosport, Hampshire, Jersey City, Hudson Co., Last Wills and Testaments, Quebec City, Quebec, The Ion, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist, Woolwich, Greater London | 4 Comments

The George Wills Line: Some Fresh Information

I was recently contacted by Tim Laker, who lives in England and is a descendant of George Will’s son, Jabez. Tim has provided some fresh information on the Wills line.

First, he brought to my attention the fact that George had all his children baptized in a Wesleyan Chapel in St. Mary-le-bone, London. I don’t recall having heard or read that, but it makes complete sense since George had converted to Methodism and was living in London prior to taking over his father Sampson’s business after the latter’s fatal accident.

Second, Tim alerted me to additional children of Jabez who were missing from my tree: Frederick Arthur and Beatrice. You may remember that Jabez was a stone carver in the tradition of his father and grandfather, Sampson Wills. Frederick Arthur continued in that tradition as did one of his sons, also named Frederick, who died in 1984. According to Tim, the two Fredericks worked together on the restoration of many London buildings including the Houses of Parliament.

And lastly, Tim advised me that he had been doing research on the Family Search site and believes he has ascertained that Sampson Wills’ parents names were Thomas Wills and Elisabeth Rainbow (married 19 June 1761). The marriage date makes it likely that Thomas and Elizabeth were born around 1740. They also resided in the Wolverton, Buckingham, England, area. I love that surname–Rainbow. How exciting to make it back yet another generation! I think Tim may well be right about Thomas and Elizabeth; with a bit of fiddling on the website, I came upon some of Sampson’s siblings and presumably Sampson himself. The tree my grandmother left behind showed Sampson’s birth date as 26 December 1767. A christening on 20 March 1768, as the record indicates, would be very plausible. There was an Elisabeth Wills born the year after Sampson to a Thomas and Elisabeth Wills, but because the birth took place in Bobbing, Kent, and that is a good distance from Wolverton, it seems likely that a different Thomas and Elisabeth Wills were involved there.

1-Thomas Wills b. Cir 1740, Wolverton, Buckingham, England
+Elisabeth Rainbow b. Cir 1740
|–2-Mary Wills c. 17 Jan 1762, Holy Trinity, Wolverton, Buckingham, England
|–2-Wills c. 4 Jan 1763, Holy Trinity, Wolverton, Buckingham, England
|–2-Sarah Wills c. 14 Jun 1764, Holy Trinity, Wolverton, Buckingham, England
|–2-Sampson Wills b. 26 Dec 1767, c. 20 Mar 1768, Holy Trinity, Wolverton, Buckingham, England

Many thanks to Tim for sharing. He promises to fill us in on more as he finds it out!

NOTE: I will be adding more pages to the GSV Wills Memoirs post sometime next week.

Categories: London, Wesleyan Methodist, Wills, Wolverton, Buckinghamshire | 2 Comments

Trewin Ancestral Plot Thickens

Some recent digging on the Family Search website helped me find some siblings for Thomas J. Trewin (b. 1817) whose apprenticeship papers appeared in the last post: Sarah, John, Mary Ann, and John. And the search confirmed that baby Joseph was definitely Thomas’s brother. (Last June, I’d written a post about the condolence letter written to Thomas (Sr.) and Sarah Trewin by someone named Featherstone on the sad occasion of Joseph’s passing in 1833. At the time I had been uncertain as to whom baby Joseph belonged.) Parents Thomas and Sarah were Wesleyan Methodists and all the children mentioned above were baptized in the Wesleyan Methodist Church on William St. in Woolwich (Greater London). We know from biographical information that Thomas (Jr.) took part in the construction of one of London’s first Wesleyan chapel. Whether it was the Woolwich chapel or one elsewhere, I do not yet know.

Early 19th century image of Gosport, England (from http://www.sopse.org.uk)

I have always wondered about parents Thomas and Sarah’s own origins since the Trewin surname seems to have originated in Cornwall in Southwestern England, and at one time, most Trewins were concentrated there. So my curiosity was piqued when during my search I found a William Trewin, born in 1812 to a Thomas Trewin and a Sarah Larsen. Now, I can’t be sure that those parents are our Thomas and Sarah, at least not yet, but the fact that William was baptized in the Wesleyan Church–albeit on Middle Street in Gosport, Hampshire (located near Portsmouth on England’s south coast)–is intriguing. Could it be that the couple migrated from Cornwall to Hampshire, had William (and perhaps some other children) there, and then sometime between 1812 and 1817 traveled up to the Woolwich area, perhaps for work reasons or to join other Wesleyan Methodists, and ended up settling there?

Royal Arsenal, Woolwich (no known copyright restrictions per Wikipedia)

I did find a marriage record for a Thos. Trewin and Sarah Larcom (Larcom and Larsen are close; same number of letters; both begin with “Lar”; perhaps the discrepancy boils down to differing interpretations during document handwriting analysis) dated 27 February 1811. They were married in Alverstoke, Hampshire, which is just two miles from Gosport. This would certainly fit with William Trewin’s birth in Gosport about eleven months later. Now, if only we can prove that this Thomas and Sarah are indeed our Thomas and Sarah who lived in Woolwich–that would be quite something!  Hopefully it won’t take a trip to Alverstoke to figure this out! Anyone with information on the Trewins in Alverstoke or Woolwich, please get in touch. [see update posted on 6/15/12.]

1-Thomas Trewin 
 +Sarah
|--2-William Trewin b. 23 Jan 1812, c. 23 Feb 1812, Wesleyan Church, Middle
|    Street, Gosport, Hampshire, England
|--2-Thomas J. Trewin b. 12 Aug 1817, Woolwich, Kent, England, c. 7 Sep 1817,
|    Wesleyan Methodist Church, William St, Woolwich, Kent, England
|--2-Sarah Trewin b. 29 May 1822, c. 23 Jun 1822, Wesleyan Methodist Church,
|    William St, Woolwich, Kent, England
|--2-John Trewin b. 10 Jun 1824, c. 4 Jul 1824, Wesleyan Methodist Church,
|    William St, Woolwich, Kent, England
|--2-Mary Ann Trewin b. 23 Nov 1825, c. 9 Apr 1826, Wesleyan Methodist Church,
|    William St, Woolwich, Kent, England
|--2-John Trewin b. 17 Aug 1827, c. 14 Aug 1831, Wesleyan Methodist Church,
|    William St, Woolwich, Kent, England
|--2-Joseph Trewin b. 22 Jul 1831, c. 14 Aug 1831, William St, Wesleyan
|    Methodist Church, Woolwich, Kent, England, d. 9 Apr 1833
 
Categories: Alverstoke, Hampshire, Gosport, Hampshire, Phillips, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist, Woolwich, Greater London | 2 Comments

“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

George Wills Handwritten Pledge, 22 February 1846

Here is a handwritten note dated 22 February 1846. It was written by George Wills and appears to be a record of a charitable pledge he made and eventually fulfilled. Funds were donated to various entities including “widows,” “Roade Missionary Meeting,” “Blisworth Missionary Journey,” “Brother Kent,” “Missionary Society,” and “Hope Chapel.” At the end of the note, it reads: “Glory be to God who hath enabled me to redeem my pledge this 31st day of December 1846. May the next year exceed the former. Amen & Amen.” This document confirms what I had read about George Wills–that he was an extremely generous and kind man, a devout Christian, and someone who gave of himself to make life better for those around him. According to Mr. Marsh who manages the Blisworth.org website, builders were known to tithe heavily.

George Wills note dated 22 February 1846

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England, Missionaries, Roade, Northants, Wesleyan Methodist, Wills | Leave a comment

1833 Condolence Letter for Baby Joseph Trewin’s Parents

One of the last items I can share about the Trewins–at least for the time being–is the enclosed letter of condolence which was written for “Brother and Sister Trewin” on the sad occasion of their 20-month-old son Joseph’s passing on 9 April 1833. The letter, written by someone named J.J. Featherstone (perhaps their church pastor), is disintegrating, and today’s scan has finally preserved it once and for all, for it will surely not survive another 178 years!

Condolence Letter on the Occasion of Baby Joseph Trewin’s Passing, page 1

Now, who was this baby Joseph Trewin? He would have been born in 1831, which would make it unlikely that this was the son of Thomas J. Trewin (b. 1817) and his wife Mary Anne Phillips (b. 1820).  As you may recall from a previous post, this was the Trewin couple who departed England on the ship Ion in 1857 to relocate to Canada and later settle in NJ.  I can only assume at this point that Joseph was Thomas J. Trewin’s brother and that the letter was written to the two boys’ parents, Thomas and Sarah Trewin who in 1831 were living in England, probably still in the Woolwich area, and probably still parishoners of the same Wesleyan Methodist Church in which Thomas J. Trewin had been christened in 1817.

Condolence Letter on the Occasion of Baby Joseph Trewin’s Passing, page 2

This letter obviously meant a great deal to the family as it was passed down for many years. Was J.J. Featherstone someone of importance? Someone important in the Wesleyan Methodist Church? A writer of hymns? I’ve tried to find out more, but so far have come up empty-handed.

It is my hope to learn more about the Trewin family’s English roots, beginning with Thomas and Sarah Trewin and going as far back as possible, and, of course, to learn more about Mary Ann Phillips’ roots as well. We have other family lines traced back to 1500s/1600s and one or two even farther back than that. So I have my work cut out for me with the Trewins. On some genealogy sites, I’ve noticed quite a few Trewins in Cornwall, England. Perhaps there’s a link there, but I have yet to confirm that. If anyone out there reading this has information to share, please let me know!

Categories: The Ion, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist, Woolwich, Greater London | Leave a comment

Trewin and Truin, Thomas and Thos

One lesson I’ve learned well is that all genealogical information gleaned must be viewed with some degree of skepticism unless concrete verifiable sources are provided, and even then you can’t assume 100% accuracy. Another lesson learned has to do with spelling. Often family names can be found spelled in a variety of ways, and Trewin is no exception.  I found it spelled “Truin,” which surprised me, but then again, it shouldn’t have. Truin and Trewin sound the same, after all. Even first names can be problematic. Sometimes for William, the abbreviated Wm is used.

William Trewin

Likewise, for Thomas, I found “Thos.” Or you may see nicknames. In searching for a great grandparent named Elizabeth, I came across her in a census record listed as “Lizzie.” Another family relation, Sarah, was listed by her nickname “Sadie.” So you may think records do not exist for your ancestors when they, in fact, do. You may also have always thought an ancestor had one first name only to find that name was an alternate to the real legal name. I’d always heard of an Aunt Minnie. Eventually I learned her name was Mary. I’ve also discovered that some folks went by their middle names in daily life. I learned, for instance, that my Uncle Ben was Edward Benjamin. Also worth noting is that mistakes can be made in the transcription process. For example, one census had my ancestor Emma listed as “Susan”. When I looked at the original document, I could clearly see that it was “Emma,” but for some reason, the transcriber spelled it as “Susan.” Other mistakes are made by the census takers themselves who misspell names perhaps because of different accents. For example, an ancestor Zillah had her name listed as “Allie” in one census.

So, it seems that you may have to tweak names in numerous ways to come up with bona fide (or very likely bona fide) data. Fortunately, when you use a site like Family Search, you can make use of an abundance of filters–something I did not clue in on at first, regrettably, but once I discovered that feature, it simplified searches greatly and presented me with alternatives I might not have considered.

In any case, with all that said, I was able to use the Family Search site to trace the Trewins and flesh out the scanty details we had about the family. Of course, I can’t tell you that everything in this post is 100% true, but I can say that there is a high degree of probability that most of the information is reliable as it is based on family papers, NJ Death and Burial records, England Births and Christening records, census records, and other fairly reliable sources.

William Trewin, taken in 1895

From christening records, I learned that Thomas J. Trewin’s parents’ names were Thomas and Sarah. I also learned that Thomas (Jr.) Trewin’s wife Mary Anne Phillips’ parents’ names were John and Sarah. Thomas and Mary Anne were both born in the County of Kent, England. Today parts of Kent have been taken in by Greater London. Thomas

was born in Woolwich,which is just south of the River Thames, on 12 August 1817. He was christened on 7 September 1817 in the Wesleyan Methodist Church on William Street, in Woolwich. Mary Anne was born in 1820. On Rootsweb World Connect, I found someone listing Mary Anne’s birthplace as “Deppard, Co. Kent, England,” but I have not been able to find a place called “Deppard” so I am not sure what to make of that information.  Most likely this is Deptford, a town south of the River Thames now part of Greater London rather than County Kent. As per the previous post, the pair emigrated to Canada in 1857 and two years later moved to New Jersey, initially settling in Jersey City. According to NJ Deaths and Burials, Thomas, who died in Elizabeth, NJ, on 19 September 1875, had been a carpenter (listed under “Thos. Truin”). He was buried on 22 September 1875 in Evergreen Cemetery in Union County, NJ. I learned (also from NJ records) that Mary Anne passed away on 30 May 1878 in Elizabeth, NJ, and was buried on 2 June 1878, in Evergreen Cemetery as well, next to Thomas. The two were both just 58 years old at the time of their passing.

Copy of William Trewin’s Citizenship Certificate (Image from my family’s personal collection)

Although I don’t have photos of Thomas or Mary Anne, I do have photos (in this post) for their son William and his second wife Elizabeth Sargent.  William, as you may recall from the previous post, had a biography written about him.  He was born in Woolwich, Kent, on 21 March 1847. He was too young to serve in the Civil War and worked in the Commissary Department. He was thrilled to meet President Lincoln at some point during his service. William became a US citizen 0n 26 October 1868. He graduated from Bryant and Stratton Commercial College of NYC the previous year, and from 1867-1868 worked for New York Scientific Magazine. From 1870 to 1890 he worked for the Tidewater Oil Company. In 1896 he established the Trewin Supply Company and sold the company 18 years later. He remained there as a manager until his death from a stroke on 4 December 1916 in Elizabeth (NJ) General Hospital. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery near his parents.

Elizabeth Sargent Trewin (Image from my family’s personal collection)

As for family matters, around 1881, he married his second wife Elizabeth Sargent. They had one daughter, Zillah, born in 1883. The couple also cared for William Clarence Trewin (“Clarence”) and Albert Phillips Trewin (“Bert”), William Trewin’s sons from his first marriage to Edith Fry. The boys would have been about 10 and 12 at the time of the marriage. Edith Fry, a daughter of Judge Asa Fry of Jersey City, NJ, had died tragically on 7 December 1879, shortly after giving birth. The child, born on 5 December 1879, died the next day. Note: I have seen in NJ Deaths and Burials, the year 1880 used for the deaths of both mother and daughter, but I don’t think this is correct. It seems unlikely that almost exactly a year later the two would have passed away. In addition, those documents list the child’s year of birth as 1880, when the NJ Births and Christenings document clearly shows 7 December 1879 and contains more complete detail, e.g. name of father, age of mother, places of birth for mother and father. Also, the biography available online at US GenWeb Archives states: “In 1879 Mr. Trewin was called upon to mourn the loss of his faithful wife.” So I am inclined to believe “1880” is an error. [Update 3/17/12: the year mother and baby died was indeed 1879. Newspaper mention in The Evening Journal, Jersey City, on Tuesday, December 9, 1879: The numerous friends of Judge Fry will sympathise with him in his bereavement. His oldest daughter, Mrs. Trewin, died at Elizabeth on Sunday, and will be buried with her infant this afternoon.]

Eventually older son “Clarence” (born 9 April 1869) married Vivian Reynolds Cross on 3 June 1896 in Manhattan. From what information came down through the family, I understand the couple initially lived in the NYC area and eventually ended up in Camden, NJ. I’ve heard they had a large number of children, but thus far, I have only discovered three: Earl, Vernon, and Roy. “Clarence” may have worked as a journalist at one point. In any case, he was heavily interested in politics and ran for office in NY state at least once (he lost on that occasion).

Elizabeth Sargent Trewin and Zillah Trewin, 1919, Roundtop, NY (Image from my family’s personal collection)

The younger son of William Trewin and Edith Fry, “Bert” (b. 26 June 1871) spent the majority of his working life in Pittsburgh. Apparently he climbed quite high up in US Steel. He was first married to Georgie Francis Duke. She passed away from influenza in 1917. Together they had three children: Elmer Archer, Albert Gray, and Edith May.  “Bert” later remarried Jessie Mallette Smith. “Bert” passed away on 19 April 1948 in Orlando, FL. He and his two wives are buried in Allegheny Cemetery (Find a Grave link)  in Pittsburgh.

(William Trewin’s siblings, Thomas and Emma, in next post)

Categories: Census Records, Civil War, Elizabeth, Union Co., Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Fry, Phillips, Sargent, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist | Leave a comment

Trewin Family of Woolwich, County of Kent

Not long ago, I discovered a little scrap of paper with a faded handwritten note in pencil tucked away with some old family papers: “Thomas and Mary Trewin and three children sailed from England to Quebec on the ship Ion on July 8, 1857.

The other side of the note provided a bit more information:”Were living in Woolwich, County of Kent at that time. Grandpa age 40, Grandma 38, Uncle Will 10 1/2″ I presumed that William referred to our great grandfather William Trewin.

Intrigued, I decided to dig around for some more information about this line of the family about which little was known.

One discovery was a biography about  William Trewin (1845-1916) which I came across in the Memorial Cyclopedia of New Jersey, Ed. Mary Depue Ogden, Vol. III, (Newark: Memorial History Company, 1917). It can be found at Internet Archives. From this bio I was able to learn not only that he had the amazing privilege of meeting Pres. Abraham Lincoln while serving for the Commissary Dept. during the Civil War, but also was able to confirm the details found in the handwritten note as to where in England he and his parents had come from and how and when they ended up in New Jersey.

As confirmed by the bio, William Trewin’s parents were Thomas J. Trewin and Mary Anne Phillips Trewin of Woolwich, England, which at the time of William’s birth (March 21, 1845) was located in the county of Kent. Today it is part of London. If the handwritten note is accurate, Thomas would have been born circa 1817 and Mary circa 1819. Thomas is described in the bio as “the builder and founder of one of the first Wesleyan Methodist chapels erected in London.” I tried to research that angle online, but have yet to find details connecting him to the construction of a Wesleyan Methodist chapel in London. The bio confirms that Thomas and Mary Anne Trewin moved their family to Canada in 1857. William would have been 12. They lived in Toronto and two years later resettled in New Jersey.

The names of William’s two other siblings I have from a genealogy passed down by family: Thomas and Emma. Emma married Francis C. Ludey. Together they had a daughter Mary Emma (Minnie). I do not have any information yet as to what happened to Thomas. Note: Of the two siblings, only Emma is mentioned in the bio as having survived William at the time of his death in 1916.

William was married first to Edith H. Fry, daughter of Judge Asa Fry of Jersey City. Together they had two sons, William Clarence Trewin and Albert Phillips Trewin. Some time after Edith passed away (1879), William married Miss Elizabeth Sargent, also of Jersey City. Together they had one daughter, Zillah.

More on the Trewins in the next post.

Categories: Jersey City, Hudson Co., Lincoln, President Abraham, Ludey, Quebec City, Quebec, Sargent, The Ion, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist, Woolwich, Greater London | Leave a comment

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