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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sophia Watt's Aunt Taddie

My post on Thomas Watt and his family is still in progress, but I have discovered the will of Sophia Watt's "Aunt Taddie", who, according to Edith Kilgour's Oliphant Family History, was the sister of William Watt and left her niece Sophia a legacy.  It is an immensely useful will as it confirms she is really Sophia's aunt, as Edith Kilgour stated, and it names other family members as well.   It turns out that she got her nickname "Aunt Taddie" through her marriage, which took place in St. Andrews, Scotland, on 19 November 1802, to James Toddie (Scotland Marriages, 1561-1920, FamilySearch.org).  She is a widow at the time her will was made, and her wealthy brother Thomas Watt is her executor, although her own legacies are quite modest.  Her husband James was a mason by trade.  Isabella, or Aunt Taddie, died in St. Andrews on January 13, 1841.

Here is a transcript of the relevant section of the will of Isabella (Watt) Toddie:

"To my sister Mrs. Elizabeth Watt or Mayhew wife of William Mayhew Esquire of Raydon in the County of Suffolk two pair of my Linen sheets--two pair of my best tweeled (sic) sheets and two Table clothes.  To my niece Isabella Watt oldest Daughter of the said Thomas Watt one dozen of my silver Tea spoons, one pair of my Tea Tongs, and one silver milk pot.  To my niece Josephine Watt second Daughter of the said Thomas Watt and wife of George Thomson Esq. Wine Merchant Leith eight old Silver Tea spoons, and pair of Tea Tongs and two Table silver spoons.  To my niece Elizabeth Watt daughter of the said Thomas Watt the best white counterpane I may be possessed of at the time of my death, with one pair of my best unmade sheets.  To my niece Louisa Frances Watt fourth daughter of the said Thomas Watt my Tea Box.  To my niece Mrs. Sophia Watt or Oliphant Daughter of William Watt my Brother and wife of David Oliphant presently residing in America, in the event of her being resident  in this Country at the time of my death, but no otherways all my body clothes....and I request that the said Thomas Watt and Mrs. Louise Antoinette Josephine Dubois or Watt his wife may give at their discretion any memorandum they please to my cousin Catherine Wallace daughter of the late Louis Wallace..."

I don't know if Sophia ever collected her legacy of all of her aunt's clothes, but she must at least have known about the intent. It is interesting to me that Isabella's will names only one sibling apart from her brother Thomas.  I wonder if the others were all dead by that time?  Sophia's parents certainly were.  And it's going to be useful to have the name of one of the Wallace cousins since I currently have no leads at all on the family of Agnes Wallace, William Watt the elder's wife.  Thanks, Aunt Taddie!   


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Update on Possible Parents for Sophia Watt: Now We Know

Way back in 2014, I wrote this post speculating that Sophia Watt's parents might have been William Watt and Jane Bond, whose first husband was John Powis.  My guess was based upon knowing Sophia's birth date and place from the obituary written by her son David Oliphant Jr. and published in The Christian Banner, Volume 11, No. 4, April 1857.   I could only find one birth record for a child named Sophia Watt in London in late March of 1782.   However, finding a record for a Sophia did not prove definitively that this was our Sophia.  


 However, another researcher has recently and very generously sent me an 18-page history of the Oliphant family written by Edith Kilgour, who was a great granddaughter of David Oliphant and Sophia Watt.   Edith tells us that she had access to many old family letters and other documents when writing her family history, so she was relying on more than oral history to create it.  And it is truly a goldmine of information!  I'm so excited and happy to have seen it.

First of all, Edith tells us of a rumour that Sophia was "closely related to James Watt the inventor of the Steam Engine", who was born on January 19, 1736, in Greenock, to another James Watt (shipwright and merchant) and his wife Agnes Muirhead.  James Watt Senior's father was Thomas Watt, mathematics teacher.  At the moment I can't find any relationship between these people and Sophia, and Edith doesn't know what it was precisely.

She does, however, know the names of Sophia's parents and her paternal grandparents.  Hooray!  Now we can go back two generations, which is very good news.

"The first Watt of whom we have record is William Watt of St. Andrews and his wife Agnes Wallace. They had a son William born 17th August, 1759.  The latter married in London "Jean" Bond, an English woman, and they had a son James born on March 26, 1786 and registered in St. Andrews, and a daughter Sophia born March 26, 1783 in London. After the birth of Sophia they evidently returned to St. Andrews to live."  

It's kind of strange that both children were born on the same date, three years apart.

Edith also confirms something that I'd already discovered in the records, that Jane Bond's marriage to William Watt was a second marriage for her.  Her first husband was named John Powis.  

Edith has a lot to say about Sophia's other relatives.  On her mother's side, "not much is known except that her [Sophia's] great grandfather was one Percival Bond and that she had two aunts, Frances and Phyllis, the latter of whom, unmarried, left her a legacy...Sophia Watt had an aunt Isabella (Taddie) who died in 1841 and left her a legacy.  She also had legacies from two other aunts, Anne Turner and Phyllis Bond.  She had at least two uncles, one of whom was  Thomas Watt who was wealthy and travelled to the West Indies.  There he married the daughter of the Governor of Guadeloupe, and afterwards returned to Edinburgh where they lived "in style" in Claremont Crescent...This Thomas Watt had several children.  A daughter, Isabella, married a Mr. Anderson of Jamaica, W.I.  The son, Edward, lived in Trinidad.  Another son, William, also lived in Trinidad and a son, Henry, went as A.D.C. to the Governor of Domenica.  His father [Sophia's Uncle Thomas] wrote to Sophia Watt that this son had been given a handsome establishment and later accepted a judgeship."

And finally, Edith provides us with a Watt-Bond family tree:



There's even more here, mostly about Sophia and David Oliphant's life, but this is enough information to get started with.  First of all, one of the reasons I was so happy to learn that Sophia was indeed the daughter of William Watt is that I have a biography of a William Watt of St. Andrews. This turns out to be a biography of Sophia's grandfather, William Watt Senior.  It was published in 1839, well after his death, in "The Gardener's Magazine, and Register of Rural and Domestic Improvement".


The archives of St. Andrews University were able to give me some supplementary information.  From the book "Biographical Register of the University of St. Andrews 1747-1897" by Robert Smart:

"Watt, William.  Cook and gardener to St. Mary's College 1757-1786 (retired).
 Previously gardener to the Earl of Buchan.

Watt, William.  Cook and gardener to St. Mary's College 1786-22.4.1800 (died aged 83). 
Also worked as a surveyor. 
Born c. 1717 son to William Watt, cook and gardener to St. Mary's College. 

Watt, William.  Cook and gardener to St. Mary's College.  
Son of William Watt, cook and gardener to St. Mary's College."

I think the author incorrectly attributed the death date of the elder William Watt to his son.  It is probably the elder William Watt who died in 1800, age 83 (although to add to the confusion, his biographer in the "Gardener's Journal" has him dying in 1798).  

The librarian at the archives pulled out several relevant entries from the Minutes of St. Mary's College. According to these records, the first William Watt began work at the College on November 24, 1757.  On 16 June 1786, the minutes mention a gratuity awarded to "William Watt Younger" for "extraordinary work" in the gardens, and says that Watt Sr. was retiring due to "age and infirmity".  On 22 July 1800, the minutes report:

"The meeting considering that the offices of Cook and Gardener to the College had become vacant by the death of the late Mr. Watt Senior on the day of _____ last, agreed to nominate Mr. Watt Junior to officiate as a cook for the next session of College."  


On April 3 1801, there is an entry that records the full appointment of William Watt Junior.

By the way, in case it's not clear, St. Mary's College is part of St. Andrew's University in the town of St. Andrews.  


This information is both very helpful and a tiny bit confusing.  It makes it seem as if there are three William Watts, but I think there are only two.  Sophia's father, William Watt, was born in 1759.  He would have been 27 years old in 1786, when the first William Watt retired and the second took his place, which makes sense, especially since it seems as though he was already gardening there in some capacity anyway.  The part about him also working as a surveyor is unexpected.  I think it was the elder William Watt, Sophia's grandfather, who was born circa 1717.  This would make him 22 when entering the Earl of Buchan's service, and 34 when his first child was born.

I don't have a marriage record for William Watt Sr. and Agnes Wallace, but I do have birth records for seven of their children, three more than Edith's family tree contains.  William and Agnes had:

  • Henry, born May 6, 1751, in the parish of Liberton (parish record says the family lives in "Goodtrees").  In the family history Edith refers to this child as Henry David. Apparently Liberton is a parish in the county of Edinburgh, 2 miles outside the city of Edinburgh.   Fun fact:  "Liberton" derives from "Leper's Town", due to a leper hospital the area once containted.  
  • Cardross (male) born September 29, 1754, also at Liberton.  Cardross is a name associated with the Earl of Buchan's family.  
  • Isabelle (on the birth record) or Isabella (on the family tree).  Born December 6, 1757, in the parish of St. Andrew's.  This makes sense, as William Watt the elder began working at St. Andrew's University that year.  From here on in, all the birth records refer to William as being a "Gardener at New College".  According to the St. Mary's College Minutes, St. Mary's College was sometimes referred to as New College at this time.  
  • William, born August 17, 1759, St. Andrews.  This is Sophia Watt's father.  
  • James, born February 28, 1761, St. Andrews.
  • Jean, born January 7, 1763, St. Andrews. 
  • Thomas, born January 31, 1765, St. Andrews.  
It is possible that not all these children survived.

There are two different death records in the St. Andrew's parish records in the name of William Watt.  It makes sense to me that the first William to die would have been Sophia's grandfather, who would indeed have been 83 years old if he was born in 1717 and died in 1800.  His son, Sophia's father, who died in 1803, would have been a relatively young 44 years. 

"William Watt Gardner to St. Mary's College St. Andrews died 27th of April 1800".  

"William Watt Gardner to the New College died here 6 of May 1803". 

Additionally, the book "Monumental Inscriptions pre-1855 in East Fife" by John Fowler Mitchell and Sheila Mitchell records this gravestone inscription in the churchyard of St. Andrew's Cathedral:

"Wm Watt gardner and surveyor here 27.4.18(0)(0 or 6) (83)".   

There are still clues to the Watt and Bond families to explore, and next I am going to look into the family of Sophia's globe-trotting uncle Thomas Watt. 



  




Monday, August 8, 2016

The Family of Stephen Bland, Gardener in Hammersmith

I'm trying to sort out what I know about the Bland family, specifically Stephen Bland, gardener in Hammersmith, who was the father of Ann (Bland) Elliot. I feel like I have lots of bits of information, but it's not necessarily tying together.  In an earlier post I went over the will of Stephen's brother, John Highlord Bland, sword-cutler, and posited that a Thomas Bland who married Gwyn unknown was also a brother.  Here are some clues about Stephen's life and about other potential relatives.

According to his death record, Stephen was born circa 1733.  His brother John Highlord Bland was born around a year earlier, according to the dates on his  tombstone in St. Paul's churchyard, Hammersmith.  John Highlord Bland, who died in 1791, left a very useful will which establishes Stephen as his brother and Stephen's children as his nieces and nephews, and Mrs Gwyn Bland as his sister-in-law and her children as nieces and nephews also.

Stephen Bland, who died in 1810, also left a will.  In it, he made provisions for his daughters Anne Elliot (and her children, John and Robert Elliot, his grandsons) and Harriot Pontifex (wife of Daniel Pontifex, silversmith).  He also left money to his son John Thomas Bland, whom he had with his first wife, and he left income property to two other sons, James Bland and Edward Bland.   Finally, he instructs his son James, to whom he has left "two houses known by the name of (Bawdon?) place in the hamlet aforesaid [i.e. Hammersmith] & now in the occupation of the Rev. Raffles  & Mme. Ann de St. Hippolite" that "the said James Bland will let unto Mrs. Ann & Elizabeth Watts two rooms...during their natural lives out of the house now occupied by Mme. Anne de St. Hippolite".   (Fun fact:  Stephen's tenant, the Rev. Raffles, has his own wikipedia page!)

Although Stephen does not specify why he is leaving instructions for James to house Ann and Elizabeth Watts, it turns out that there is a Bland family connection.  They are the daughters of a Sarah Bland, who married  Peers Watts, a gardener in Fulham, in 1720.  We have a marriage agreement between Sarah and Peers which indicates that Sarah is the daughter of Edward Bland, also a gardener in Fullham.  (Hammersmith is a parish in Fulham, so this is consistent with our Bland family living in Hammersmith).  I don't have a birth record for Sarah, but if she is marrying in 1720 she is not likely to be Stephen's sister, given his later birth date, although it is not impossible.  She might be an aunt, which would make her children Stephen's cousins.


London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1538-1812.  London, All Hallows London Wall Parish Register.  Marriage of Peers Watts and Sarah Bland, September 11, 1720.  Marriage of  William Bland and Sarah Watts, May 10, 1719. 

Sarah married Peers Watts in All-Hallows-on-the-Wall Church in London.  Interestingly, the year before, a William Bland married a Sarah Watts at the same church.  Do these two also fit into our family tree?

London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921.  Marriage Bond for William Bland of St. Giles in the Field, Middlesex, a bachelor age 30, and Sarah Watts of St. Andrew Holborn parish, a spinster, also age 30.  Dated 3 May 1720.  Marriage to be performed at All Hallows on the Wall, London. Why was the bond taken out after the ceremony? 

Peers was a widower when he married Sarah Bland.  His first wife was Elizabeth Keep, whom he married in 1713.

London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1538-1812.  City of London, St. Benet's Wharf Church, 1619-1732.  Marriage of Peers Watts to Elizabeth Keep, 17 September 1713.  
Peers Watts' will, which was written in 1764 and probated 14 July 1772, leaves everything to his "dear wife Sarah Watts", (including "my whole stock of Rabbitts") except for ten pounds which he leaves his son Peers Watts Jr. for mourning.  After his wife's death his property is to be divided equally amongst his three daughters, Sarah Brooks, Ann Watts, and Elizabeth Watts. His wife's death date is unknown, but I imagine it is before 1810 when Stephen wrote his will, otherwise they would still be living with their mother.

Getting back to Stephen's children, we know that his son James apprenticed to become a cutler like his uncle.  Sword-making seems to be a major theme in the Bland family history.  But if we have the correct will, he seems to have changed his occupation later to become a sexton. 

London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1820-1840. James Bland, son of Stephen Bland of Hammersmith, gardener, apprentices himself to John Foster of Fetter's Lane, London, Sword Cutler.  October 7, 1789. 
Stephen's son James Bland was married and living in Hammersmith by 1806, when the St. Paul Hammersmith church begins recording his children's baptisms.  James and his wife Mary Ann baptize Mary Ann Bland on April 6, 1806, George Bland on April 1, 1808, Eleanor Bland on June 25, 1809, Robert Bland on November 9, 1810,  and Ann Bland on August 14, 1812.  Some of the children who are named in Mary Ann Bland's will are not represented here.   It is around this time that Robert Elliot and his wife Ann Bland are having children in the same parish:  in fact, their names appear only one month apart in one case.  

James Bland wrote a will on October 14, 1825 which was probated on July 2, 1836, in which he basically left all his possessions, including the property he inherited in ShortLands from his father, to his wife Mary Ann  Bland.  His wife, in turn, left a rather poignant will stating that her late husband James was "a sexton in the hamlet of Hammersmith in the Parish of Fulham in the County of Middlesex".  She leaves her house, situated in "the Broadway King Street Hammersmith" to her youngest daughter, Frances Ann Bland, to be managed by Mr. Edward Bland "during the time of her insanity she being at this time in Saint [?] Asylum but if it should please God to restore her to her rational ? so as to be enabled to provide for herself" Mary Ann instructs that her property be divided equally amongst her surviving children.  Her sons, Henry Nicholas (Lionel?) Bland and George Bland are named executors, and the will is proved  July 30, 1836.





The London Metropolitan Archives houses the records of the St. Paul Hammersmith church (St. Paul Hammersmith:  Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith and Fulham, DD/0071).  The description suggests that being sexton for St. Paul's was a Bland family occupation:

The second group consists of books kept by the sextons of the church, an office held by members of the Bland family. These also are not primarily registers, and frequently contain details of tolling the bell, the allocation of grave spaces and dealings with undertakers. They also provide evidence of the way in which the overseers and churchwardens settled their accounts with the sexton. In the early 19th century the then sexton, James Bland, provided many of the older books with covers, and gave them numbers and titles. He, or his children, also seem to have used them on occasion as scribbling pads and may be responsible for the large number of missing pages. 


Was Susanna Watts also a child of Peers Watts and Sarah Bland?  Probably not, since she was not mentioned in Stephen's will.  However, she was buried at St. Paul Hammersmith, which has strong associations with the Bland family.

Burial record for Susanna Watts, Jan 17, 1812, age 77, St. Paul's Hammersmith Church.  London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1538-1812.

Here are a few records which probably relate to family members, but I'm unsure exactly how.

London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921.  Marriage of Stephen Edward Bland to Mary Dennis, Feb 15, 1852, in St. George Bloomsbury Church (Camden).  Stephen Edward Bland is a cutler, and son of Stephen John Highlord Bland, also a cutler.  Stephen John Highlord Bland was himself the son of Edward Bland, cutler.   
London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1820-1840.  Apprenticeship of Stephen John Highlord Bland, son of Edward Bland of Cow Cross Street, West Smithfield, Sword Cutler. Apprenticing to Charles Matthews of Kings Head Court, Shoe Lane, London, Cutler.   1817. 
London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925.  March 17, 1758.  Thomas Bland, son of Edward Bland of Hammersmith, Clerk, apprenticed to Sanders Davenport, Cutler. 

Getting back to our Stephen, who was a gardener, not a cutler or sexton, and who named one of his sons Edward (granted, Edward was a very popular name at the time):  could he be related to this Edward Bland, also a gardener in Hammersmith?

London, England, Clandestine Marriage and Baptismal Registers, 1667-1754.  Marriage of Edward Bland, Widower and Gardener of Hammersmith, and Hannah Every, Spinster, Hammersmith.  January 1719.


London, England, Crisp's Marriage Licence Index, 1713-1892.  Marriage License for John Bland, in the parish of St. James, Westminster, widower, and Frances Messenger, of St. Martin in the Fields, Spinster, Feb. 1, 1779.  This could perhaps be Stephen's son John Thomas? 

Hampshire Chronicle, Monday May 1. 1786. John Highlord Bland was a sword-cutler to the King at this time. 


I think putting all these pieces together may be slow work, and some of the above records are probably dead ends.  Hopefully the more I find out, the more the family will come together.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Frank Keyes Foster, Son-in-Law of Calvin Palmer Ladd and Polly Harmon

Our ancestors Calvin Palmer Ladd and Polly Harmon had a total of eight children before Polly's death in 1861 (Calvin would have one more child later in life with his second wife, Charlotte Welsh). We descend through Calvin and Polly's second child, Elizabeth Ladd, who married into the successful Bulmer family of Montreal.  Elizabeth's youngest sister, Lucretia Ella Ladd, born in 1853 when Elizabeth was thirteen, had quite a different type of husband.  In 1879 Lucretia Ella married Frank Keyes Foster, American trade unionist.  The book Workers in America:  A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1 by Robert E. Weir (2013, ABC-Clio publications) has quite a bit of information about his career.  A journalist, activist and would-be politician, life in the Foster home must have been very stimulating.  I am left wondering what the relationship between the Bulmers and the Fosters would have been like--did politics create a divide between the sisters?   By the time Lucretia married Frank, her mother Polly had passed away. Her father Calvin died in 1880, so could not have known his radical son-in-law for long.

Here is Frank's biography from Workers in America.  





Here's a link to Foster's biography in Wikipedia, which mentions that he was a trustee of the Boston Public Library (hooray!).

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Short Obituary for Margaret (Whitfield) Berkeley

I found a short death notice for Margaret Berkeley, sister of Eleanor Whitfield, and daughter of James Whitfield, peruke-maker in London, and Ann Unknown.  Doesn't give a death date, but this is from the Oxford University and City Herald, July 11, 1807.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

Still Fixating on the Whitfield Family


In genealogy, a problem that you can't resolve is known as a "brick wall".  I'm still hitting my head against the brick wall posed by Anne Unknown, wife of James Whitfield, peruke-maker in London, mother of Eleanor Whitfield and grandmother of Ann Bland, who in turn was the wife of Robert Elliot. What's tantalizing is that another researcher has discovered a great clue!  A newspaper   obituary tells us that Anne's uncle is Sir Robert Cotton, 5th Baronet of Connington, and her first cousin is Sir John Bruce Cotton, 6th Baronet of Connington.  With information like that you'd think that finding out who Anne's parents were would be as easy as flipping through a volume of Burke's, but alas, so far no one can find her.  I'm not having much luck discovering the family of James Whitfield, either.  I know that he is the son of another James Whitfield who lived in "Hodington" or Headington, Oxfordshire, but I can't discover anything at all about James the elder.  Many genealogists that I've read suggest that if you need help smashing through those brick walls, you should widen your search to other members of the family and you may find valuable clues.

Now Anne (Unknown) Whitfield's granddaughter, Anne Bland, married Robert Elliot, who appears to have come from a fairly prosperous middle-class family but who was essentially a tradesman (he built a career as a currier in both Hammersmith, England and later in Ontario).  Anne Whitfield's daughter, Eleanor Whitfield, was the wife of James Bland, a gardener in Hammersmith (his brother, Stephen Bland, was a sword-cutler to the King, which sounds pretty fancy but is still a job, i.e. not something a nobleman would do).

However, it's interesting to look at the family that James and Anne Whitfield's daughter Margaret married into.   Eleanor's sister married a man named Lionel Spencer Berkeley.

From Notes and Queries, p. 418, ed. William White. 


Here's an excerpt of what Volume III of The Peerage of England by Arthur Collins has to say about the Berkeley family:










So, in case you're overwhelmed by the meandering style of this family history, let me set out some key points.

  • Margaret Whitfield's father-in-law, Henry Berkeley, held positions in which he directly served  English royalty (he was page of honour to Queen Anne, and Master of the Horse to George I).  He had a distinguished military career and was a Member of Parliament for many years.  
  • Her husband's grandfather was the 2nd Earl of Berkeley.  He was for a time the equivalent of an English Ambassador to Holland, and was later, among many other positions, on the Privy Council of England. 
  • Her husband's uncle was the 3rd Earl of Berkeley.  He also had a distinguished military career, which culminated in the position of Vice-Admiral of Great Britain,  and like his father was on the Privy Council.  
3rdEarlOfBerkeley2.jpg
James Berkeley, 3rd Earl of Berkeley, Margaret Whitfield's Uncle-in-law. 



I could go on some more about the Berkeleys, but the point is, this is quite a family to be attached to. Not to mention that: 
  •  Lionel Spencer Berkeley's mother, Mary Cornwall or Cornewall, was the daughter of the wealthy Colonel Henry Cornewall, M.P. for Weoboly, Hereford and  Herefordshire, and Susanna Williams, daughter of Sir John Williams.    Her brother Velters was also an MP, and her other brothers were all officers in the military.  
  • His paternal grandmother (wife of Charles Berkeley) was Elizabeth Noel.  She was the daughter of Baptist Noel, 3rd Viscount of Campden, and his third wife Hester Wotton.   
While all of these glamorous connections formed by James and Anne's daughter doesn't directly tell us what Anne's connection to the Cotton family is, it does add credence to the idea that the Whitfields are connected somehow to the Baronets of Cotton.   People very rarely drastically jump class lines when they marry--if someone connected to nobility marries into a family, it can be a sign that the first family has good connections as well.

So who did James and Anne Whitfield's other children marry?  The only other sibling of Eleanor's who lived long enough to marry was her sister Anne, who married a man named John Latimer in 1746.  This is probably the same John Latimer (or Lattimer, as it is spelled in the apprenticeship documents) who was her father's apprentice and paid him an apprenticeship fee in 1731.  They had a son named Cotton Edwards Latimer and a daughter named Margaret Sophia Latimer.  What was John's social standing?  I haven't yet found his family, but I'm still trying.  Remember that James Whitfield's father was from Headington?  Coincidentally, there is a Latimer family (headed by Edward Latimer, wine merchant (1774-1845) who had a thriving business in Headington and owned a place called Headington House from 1815-1848.  Of course this is later than James's time, and this Edward appears to have been born elsewhere.  As far as I can tell, they are not connected.  Dead ends everywhere!

The Whitfields also seem to have a connection to Twickenham (both James Whitfield and his wife died there).  There probably isn't a relationship here either, but the Twickenham Museum Website has some information about a Mr. George Whitefield, pronounced Whitfield, and his religious influence in Twickenham.  Yesterday I went to the Toronto Reference Library where most of the library's genealogical material is held, and looked at two books on the history of Twickenham. One (Twickenham Past, a Visual History of Twickenham and Whitton by the Borough of Twickenham Local History Society, published in 1993) was quite interesting but had nothing of direct relevance.  (I did discover that Twickenham during the Whitfield's time was awash with famous writers, such as Alexander Pope).  The second book (Memorials of Twickenham, Parochial and Topographical by Richard Stuteley Cobbett, published in 1872) had some information which I can't connect to our family at the moment.  One chapter contains excerpts from the register of Parish burials from 1743 to 1762, and it contains the two following entries, on pages 68 and 71 respectively:

"The wife of Lionel Berkeley, Esq.  May 6, 1751."
"Cornwall Berkeley, infant son of Lionel Berkeley, Esq., August 30, 1753".  

And on page 100 there is this entry, describing memorials on the floor of the church nave:

"Here lies the body of Martha Berkley (the faithful widow of Lionel Spencer Berkley) who departed this life the 29th day of April, 1751, in the 30th year of her age.  Whose conduct was an ornament to herself, a pattern to her sex, and a pleasure to her husband".  

So, since he is dead by 1751,  this is obviously some other Lionel Spencer Berkeley.  There is a Lionel Spencer Berkeley who married a Martha Colthart in St. Mary's Church, St. Marylebone, London, on March 28, 1740, according to England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973.  The Registers of Marriage of St. Mary le Bone, Middlesex, 1668-1812 and of Oxford Chapel, Vere street, St. Mary le Bone, 1736-1754 also has the following entry under marriages in 1740:

"March 28.  Lionel Spencer Berkeley Esq. of St. Anne's, Westm, & Martha Colthart of St. James, Westm. L."  

The two Lionel Spencer Berkeleys were probably related, although I don't know how.  So it turns out that this information is probably not that relevant to my search for the Whitfield family.  I'm not giving up!




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Birth Family of Helen Paton, Mother of William Rutherford

Who were Helen Paton's parents?  Unfortunately, her marriage record to our ancestor James Rutherford do not give us their names, and our Rutherford family tree is also silent on the matter. Helen Paton died before Scotland began keeping civil death records, and her death record is pretty sketchy--it doesn't even give her age.  There are several family trees on line which suggest that her parents are William Paton and Margaret Laird of  Inchillan.   I've done some investigating and while I can't find any direct evidence that Helen is the daughter of William and Margaret, I have found enough indirect evidence to convince me that it's very likely.

William Paton and Margaret Laird had a daughter named Helen on July 6, 1809.



They also had other children.  Their three eldest were born in Erskine, Renfrewshire, Scotland, before Helen was born.  First was Margaret, born September 21, 1800, then William Jr. was born August 2, 1802, and Janet, born July 31, 1804.  Helen and the younger children were born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire:  Ann Paton was born September 2, 1811, Laird Paton was born March 12, 1814, and Andrew Paton was born January 11, 1816.

Records show that Helen's younger brother Laird Paton had strong ties to the Rutherford family, ties which suggest a close family relationship.   Laird, who grew up  to become a carpenter,  had moved to Montreal by 1846, when Erskine Presbyterian Church has a record of him marrying Ann Scott. From that point forward, birth, marriage and death records in the William Rutherford family, and also in the family of Helen Rutherford (William's sister, who lived in Montreal for several years before her death) are frequently witnessed by Laird, who, if he were Helen's brother, would have been both William and Helen's uncle.  For example:

  1. 1856: Laird Paton is a witness to the marriage of William Rutherford Sr. and Elizabeth Jackson. 
  2. 1864:  Laird Paton is a witness on the burial record of Frederick Clarke Boyland, daughter of Helen (Rutherford) Boyland.  
  3. 1866:  Laird Paton is a witness on the baptism record of Andrew Rutherford, William and Elizabeth's son. 
  4. 1868:  William and Elizabeth have twin boys, and name one of them Edward Laird Rutherford.
  5. 1868:  Laird Paton is a witness on the baptismal record of Helen Paton Boyland, daughter of Helen (Rutherford) Boyland.
  6. 1869:  Edward Laird Rutherford dies; Laird Paton is a witness on the burial record.
  7. 1874:  Laird Paton is a witness in the baptism of Ann Paton Rutherford, daughter of William and Elizabeth.  
Most of these records are from the Montreal Erskine Presbyterian Church, which all three families appear to have attended. 

I have also seen records which suggest that Laird Paton and William Rutherford were in business together during their early days in Montreal.  Eventually Laird formed the company Laird Paton and Son, and William Rutherford started William Rutherford and Sons.

Fun fact:  Laird Paton's son, Thomas Laird Paton, was the first goalie to win the famous Stanley cup.  Here is his bio from the HockeyGods website:

Thomas Laird Paton (1854 – February 10, 1909), was a Canadian Amateur Ice Hockey player of the early era of the sport.  Paton played the position of Goaltender for the Montreal HC (Montreal AAA) and was a member of the first Stanley Cup Winning Team in 1893. Paton would be a founding member of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association Hockey team (Montreal HC).  Paton began goaltending at age 30 and had a successful nine-year career (six years with the lowest goals against average in all of organized Hockey). 
Paton was a pioneer goaltender in organized Hockey. Tom's Hockey career can be traced back to the early Montreal Winter Carnivals, where he backstopped his Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA) to their 1st championship in 1885, posting three shutouts in four games, including one in the final. He again won the carnival championship two years later.
Paton would play goal at the 1st International Hockey game, at the Burlington Winter Carnival in Vermont - February 26, 1886. His Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA) would defeat the Montreal Crystals, and the host team, the Van Ness House to win the carnival championship.
Paton's career would be marked by dominance. Throughout every season he played between 1888 and 1893 for the Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA), his team would win the AHAC championship.
Paton is most notable to be the first goaltender in Stanley Cup history to be awarded the trophy. Ultimate Hockey considers his performance in 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892 and 1893 to be worthy of winning the equivalent to the Vezina trophy that the NHL awards today for top goaltender - He was regarded in many history texts as being undefeated in 1890 and 1891
In 1892 despite a poor regular season effort Paton and the Montreal AAA defeated the Ottawa HC in the final game of the season to win the 1892 AHAC season championship by a score of 1 to 0.
Paton would be go on to be awarded the Stanley Cup in 1893, and retire at the end of the 1893 AHAC season. He is also the first goalie to retire from Stanley Cup Hockey competition as a current champion.
Paton would introduce the game of Hockey to Toronto in late winter of 1887. During a trip to Toronto to visit his friend Hart Massey, Paton learned that no one had heard of the Hockey games that were being played in Montreal, Ottawa and Kingston. Paton and Massey then sent a cable to Montreal, and ordered a box of 18 sticks, a puck and a set of rules to be sent from Montreal, and then organized some demonstration games with 10 local Torontonians at the Granite Curling Club.
Throughout all his pioneering efforts and success in early Hockey, Tom Paton is not a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame