The Ion

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

John Phillips, father of Mary Anne Phillips

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this silhouette of John Phillips, father of Mary Anne Phillips who married Thomas Trewin and sailed with him and their three children on the ship Ion to Quebec City in 1857. The silhouette is quite small, just 3 x 4 inches or so. Someone has done a bit of embellishing with pencil. This copy of the silhouette was sent to me by Ruth Dean, a descendant of one of Mary Anne (Phillips) and Thomas Trewin’s children, Emma Trewin Ludey. Ruth has also sent along some great new (to me) photos from that family line, for which I am most grateful. I will post them soon.

With luck we will eventually find out more about the Phillips family. Did Mary Anne have any siblings, for example. We believe the Phillips lived in the Greenwich/Woolwich area which was once in the County of Kent but is now part of Greater London. Ruth discovered evidence of a John Phillips working as a tin plate worker on Wellington Street. Anyone out there with more information, we’d love to hear from you!

John Phillips silhouette from personal collection of Ruth K. Dean family. Used with permission.

John Phillips silhouette from personal collection of Ruth K. Dean family. Used with permission.

Categories: Greenwich, Ludey, Phillips, The Ion, Trewin, Woolwich | 2 Comments

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

On the Ship Ion

To continue last post’s topic of the emigration of Thomas J. Trewin and Mary Ann Phillips to Canada in 1857, a while back I came across The Ships List website when searching for information on the ship Ion. The site lists news from the Canadian News and American Intelligencer 1857. The entry for July 8, 1857, states:

“The ship Ion leaves Woolwich Arsenal jetty this day, having on board 187 emigrants (about 240 souls), bound for Quebec. On Saturday 17 single men will leave in the Hibernia, which will complete the shipment of the unemployed artisans connected with the Government works. These poor people have all been shipped under the superintendence of the shipping committee of the Wellington Emigration Fund.”

I was very intrigued by this information since I had no idea the Trewin family had emigrated to Canada because of impoverished circumstances. The web page contains news and information on many different ships (both commercial and passenger) making the crossing from Europe. Some passenger names are listed. These are mostly those who were located in cabins. As the Trewins are not listed, I can only surmise that they were in steerage. I also was curious to see what caused these artisans to be unemployed and what the role of the Wellington Emigration Fund was. I discovered that there was an armaments factory located in Woolwich which is located on the south side of the River Thames in southeast London (formerly in County of Kent). The arsenal expanded greatly during the Crimean War (1854-1856), but once the war ended, a substantial number of the workers there became unemployed. Evidently, the Wellington Fund Emigration Committee worked to resettle many of these unemployed artisans, together with their wives and children if married, in Canada.

Another entry from the Canadian News and American Intelligencer for June 10, 1857, which is located on the same web page, states:

“We are glad to learn that the Wellington Emigration Fund Committee are exercising the utmost vigilance, in conjunction with the Woolwich Committee, to ship off a number of the unemployed workmen from that locality to Canada with all speed. On Thursday next, the ship Midlothian will call at the Arsenal Jetty to take on board sixty adults. These will consist of the most extremely destitute cases, and sad, indeed, was their condition when mustered for inspection. The gentlemen forming the Woolwich Committee, however, have behaved most liberally towards the unfortunate people, all of whom appeared very thankful for the generosity exhibited towards them. Each emigrant will be supplied with a railway ticket franking them from Quebec (the port of debarcation) to Toronto. Next week, from 150 to 200 adults will be shipped in the Henry Cook, from Liverpool, and they will be speedily followed by about a similar number in the Ion, from London. By this means the severe distress at present existing in the neighbourhood of Woolwich will be partly alleviated…”

This explains how the Trewins ended up in Toronto for the two years before heading south to resettle in New Jersey. The July 22, 1857, entry of the Intelligencer informs as to how many individuals emigrated to that point under the umbrella of the Wellington Fund Emigration Committee’s efforts. From May 24 to July 17, 1857, the total number of “souls” was 1,097. Two hundred forty-eight of them had traveled on the Ion.

So this explains the circumstances under which the Trewins came to Canada. I don’t yet know what prompted them to leave Toronto and head south to New Jersey. More on the Trewins in the next post.

Categories: Crimean War, Quebec City, Quebec, The Ion, Toronto, Ontario, Trewin, Woolwich, Greater London | 5 Comments

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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