Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder and suicide. What will you find?...

Thursday 7 May 2015

Muriel Thompson - The Sinking of the Lusitania

All Saints Cemetery
Maidenhead Berkshire

"Also of Muriel, dearly-loved youngest daughter of the above (Nathan Curtis Thompson).  Drowned by the sinking of The Lusitania.  May 7th 1915.  - Is All Well With The Child? - It Is Well."

Muriel was born in Maidenhead Berkshire in 1884, the youngest daughter of Nathan Curtis Thompson, a master grocer and his wife, Charlotte Disney.

In her teenage years Muriel attended Wallasey Grange Boarding School for Girls in Westgate-on-Sea in Kent, living at Eyrie House in Roxburgh Road.  By the 1911 Census Muriel had returned to the family home in Fifeld, near Holyport, Maidenhead Berkshire.

In the winter of 1913 Muriel travelled to Miami, Florida to spend time with friends where she remained for eighteen months before booking her return journey on the C Deck of the Lusitania.  It was on the 1st May 1915 at New York, Pier 54 that she alighted the Lusitania for the journey home to England. On 22nd April 1915 the Germany Embassy had issued a warning to all those who intended to travel on the Lusitania.

NOTICE! Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.
Imperial German Embassy”

Lusitania pictured in 1907

On Friday May 7th 1915, The Lusitania passed in front of the German U-boat U'20 eight miles off the coast of Kinsale, Ireland. She was torpedoed and sank in just 18 minutes at 2:30pm. Of the 1,959 passengers and crew aboard only 761 survived. Muriel was among those missing after the tragedy.  Her loss was reported both in England and America.

On Wednesday 12th May 1915 The Palm Beach Post reported:

"Miss Thompson Lost Life In Sinking Of Lusitania

Name Is Not Included In Published List Of Survivors - Spent Winter With Friends Here.

Miss Muriel Thompson, who was returning home to England on the Lusitania after a winter spent in Miami with friends here, was among those lost when the great vessel sank beneath the waves off Kingsdale [sic] last Friday afternoon, shattered by German torpedoes.  Published lists of those saved have not contained her name, while lists in New York papers give her name among those who drowned.

Miss Thompson made many friends here during the winter which she spent at the home of Mrs. J. B. Patterson at 234 Thirteenth Street."

It seems the confusion over those named on the lists gave Muriel's family false hope.  On Saturday 15th May 1915 the Reading Mercury reported:

"Miss Muriel Thompson Missing.

Among the missing victims of the Lusitania is Miss Muriel Thompson, youngest daughter of Mrs. N. C. Thompson of Firfield, [sic] Bray, near Maidenhead, and sister of Messers. P. and S. Thompson.  Miss Thompson had been in America about eighteen months, and was on her way home in the ill-fated vessel.  Members of the family have visited Ireland, but have failed to find any trace of Miss Thompson and they fear that she went down with the vessel and was drowned."

Of the 1,198 people killed during the sinking of the Lusitania, only 289 bodies were ever recovered.  Muriel was not one of them.  Eventually Mrs Thompson was to give up the search for her daughter.  On Saturday 29th May 1915 the Reading Mercury carried the following announcement:

"Deaths -

Thompson - On the 7th inst., by the sinking of the Lusitania, Muriel, dearly loved youngest daughter of the late Mr. N. C. Thompson and Mrs. N. C Thompson Firfield, [sic] Holyport, Berkshire."

Friday 18 July 2014

Flashback Friday - Emma, Edward and Edward Simmonds - Mother, Father and Son

Monument to Emma Simmonds, Edward Simmonds and Edward Simmonds, Bray Parish Cemetery, Holyport Berkshire.

"In Loving Memory Of
Emma Simmonds
Died Feb 17th 1917. 
Also of Edward
husband of the above
Died Dec 20th 1920. 
Also of Edward
son of the above
Died Jan 22nd 1917."

Emma Simmonds was born Emma Johnson in 1846 in Bray Berkshire to Frederick Johnson, a labourer and his wife Charlotte.

On the 1861 Census, Emma is listed aged fourteen living with her parents and siblings at Oakley Green.  Living a few houses away was Edward Simmonds and his family.

Edward Simmonds was born in 1849 in Bray Berkshire to William Simmonds, a wheelwright and his wife Caroline Allen.  Edward and Emma married in Cardiff in 1875.  They can be found on the 1881 Census living at 20 Topaz Street, Cardiff Wales with their three young daughters, Louisa aged four, Charlotte aged two and five month old Elizabeth.  At that time Edward was working as a carpenter, but he was soon to follow in his father's footsteps.

In 1891 Edward and Emma have moved back to Fifield in Berkshire and Edward is working as a wheelwright.  The family has expanded to include eight year old Caroline, six year old Albert, four year old George and two year old Edward.

In 1901 the family are still living in Fifield, but Emma is now listed as Louisa E.  Albert is now a domestic gardener and George is an apprentice wheelwright.  Living next door is Emma's spinster sister Sarah Johnson.

By 1911 Edward has followed his brother Albert into the gardening business, yet he is still living at home in Fifield with Edward and Emma.

After the outbreak of World War I, Edward Jr enlisted with the Devonshire Regiment.  Sadly he was to die as a result of service, either through injury or illness on 22nd January 1917 in Eton Buckinghamshire.  He is buried in a Commonwealth War Grave at St Peter's Churchyard in Burnham Buckinghamshire I picture of Edwards gravestone can be found here.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - William John and Mary Ann Hamaton - West End Farm and the White Hart Maidenhead

Monument to William John Hamaton and Mary Ann Hamaton, St Michael's Churchyard, Bray, Berkshire, England.

"To The Memory Of
William John Hamaton
Died Novr 13th 1862
Aged 70 Years
Fear God And Keep His Commandments:
For This Is The Whole Duty Of Man.
Also Mary Ann
Reclict of the above
Departed this life March 7th 1876
Aged 82 Years."
William John Hamaton was born on 29th February 1792 to William Hamaton and his wife Elizabeth Dobbs.  William was christened on 30th March 1792 at St Michael's Church in Bray, Berkshire.  At the same church on 1st May 1817 William married Margaret Randall. 
I am unable to find any further information on William and Margaret.  However, some time before 1850 William marries Mary Ann Dancer and started up West End Farm in Warfield, Berkshire.
On the 1851 Census both William and Mary Ann appear living at West End Farm in Warfield were William is listed as farming 80 acres and employing 4 labourers.
On 21st July 1856 William took over the licence for the White Hart Public House, High Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire, where they can be found on the 1861 Census.  A year later William was to pass away.
On the 1871 Census the widowed Mary Ann has moved to Flackwell Heath, Wycombe to live with her sisters Rosanna and Ann.  Five years later Mary Ann was to join her husband in his grave.
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Sunday 13 July 2014

Cemetery Sunday - Weep Not My Husband Dear I Pray

St Michael's Churchyard
Bray, Berkshire, England
To The Memory Of
Harriet wife of
Mr. Wm Chapman
Who Died Dec 19th 1841
Aged 30 Years.
Also their infant child
Aged 5 months
Weep Not my Husband dear I Pray,
It was Jesus called us both away.
With my sweet babe upon my breast
I now enjoy perpetual rest."

Friday 11 July 2014

Flashback Friday - Mary and Richard Gorton of Chuffs Farm Holyport

Monument to Mary Sarah Gorton and Richard Gorton of Chuffs Farm, Bray Parish Cemetery, Holyport Berkshire.

"Sacred To The Memory Of
Mary Sarah
beloved wife of Richard Gorton
(of Chuffs Farm Holyport)
Who died August 10th 1904
Aged 76 years.


Richard Gorton
Who died July 29th 1915
Aged 85 years."

Mary Sarah Gorton was born Mary Sarah Snook in 1830 in West Knoyle, Wiltshire to William Snook, a farmer, and his wife Jane Ovens.

Mary lived on her parents farm until her marriage to Richard Gorton, a farmer and baker in 1853 in Highworth Wiltshire.

Richard was born in 1831 in Highworth Wiltshire to Charles Gorton, a baker, and his wife Jane Yeats.

Richard, Mary and their family of twelve children moved around Wiltshire farming until the late 1890s when they moved to Holyport in Berkshire to run Chuffs Farm and Diary.  The 1901 Census shows Richard and Mary living at Chuffs Farms with their daughter Mary.  However Mary Sarah was to pass away three years later.

The 1911 Census shows widowed Richard living with his spinster daughter Mary at 8 Broadway, Maidenhead, Berkshire.  Richard was to pass away in 1915.

Their daughter Mary was to pass away in 1929, 14 years after the death of her father.  Unfortunately I have been able to trace her place of burial.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Julia Anne Hornblower Cock MD

Monument to Julia Anne Hornblower Cock MD, Longden Cemetery, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.

"In Beloved Memory Of
Julia Anne Hornblower Cock MD
Born 22 Feb 1860
The Lord Giveth And The Lord Hath Taken Away
Died 7th Feb 1914
And was interred at Rookwood
Are They Glad Because They are At Rest."
A friend of mind photographed the above monument whilst visiting a local cemetery and asked whether I would be interested in researching the life of Julia Anne Hornblower Cock.
Julia Anne Hornblower Cock was born on 22nd February 1860 to James Cock, a tanner, and his wife Ellen Lloyd.  Julia was christened on 19th March 1860 at St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
Copyright David Dixon.
Julia first appears on the 1861 Census, aged one year and living with her parents and elder siblings at The Baths in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
By 1871 the family had moved to Beauchamp House on The Mount in Shrewsbury.
In 1877 Julia decided to embark on her career in the medical profession which at the time was a male dominated profession.  Julia was one of a few pioneering women who were determined to open up the profession to women.
The 1881 Census finds the twenty one year old Julia a medical student at Bedford college for girls in London.  At the time Julia is boarding at the home of Eliza A Townsend, head of the college, at 79 Gower Street, Finsbury, London. 
The 1891 Census finds the now qualified surgical physician Julia living at 15 Manchester Square in Marylebone, London along with her general servant Mary Jones.  Another lady physician, Jessie Crossfield is living a few houses away at 23 Manchester Square.  It is possible the Julia and Jessie attended the same college.
Between 1887 and 1892 Julia worked as a member of the in-patient and out-patient staff at a hospital for women.  In 1896 Julia took up the position of joint lecturer at the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women.
By 1901 Julia had moved to 15 Nottingham Place, Marylebone, London  where she lived along with her two servants Mary Walton and Clara Barnard.  In 1903 Julia became the Dean of the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women.
By 1911 Julia had moved to Sussex where she is listed as joint head of the household with another lady doctor, Louisa Woodcock at Colesbrook, Watersfield, Pulborough, Sussex.
Julia never married and passed away after suffering from a long illness three years later in 1914 six months before England declared war with Germany.
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Sunday 22 June 2014

Cemetery Sunday - A Blasting Wind

"Fresh as the grass our bodies stand,
And flourish bright and gay.
A blasting wind sweeps o'er the earth,
And fades the grass away."



Friday 20 June 2014

Flashback Friday - William and Emily Langley - Sweet Hearts Reunited

Monument to William and Emily Langley, Bray Parish Cemetery, Holyport, Berkshire, England
"In loving memory of William Langley 1874 - 1939 also his wife Emily Langley 1876 - 1958

Sweethearts Re-united."

William Langley was born in Fifield Berkshire in 1874 to John Langley, a farm labourer and Eliza Goom.  William continued the family occupation of farm labourer throughout his life.  William first appears on the 1881 Census aged seven living in Fifield with his parents and elder siblings, John, May Jane and Louisa.  William's father was working as a farm hand at Stroud Farm in Holyport, Berkshire.  In 1890 William's mother Eliza passed away.  A year later the recently widowed John is still living and working in Fifield.  William is also living with his father, however his occupation is listed as a shoemaker.  It seems that William was working with his elder brother John, also a shoemaker.

In 1901 William is still living with his father in Fifield, but he has returned to farm work.

In 1902 William married Emily Harris.  By 1911 they had two children, Gladys aged 7 and William aged just one year.  Living with them at the time was the 85 year old widowed John Langley.

John Langley was to pass away in 1914

Emily Langley was born Emily Harris in Navestock Essex.  Unfortunately I am not able to trace Emily's birth parents.  On the 1881 Census she can be found living with her grandparents George and Mary Ann Harris and her uncle Cornell Harris.  She continued to live with her grandparents until her marriage to William Langley.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Henry Higgs, Elizabeth Higgs and their son William Higgs - Veterinary Surgeon

Memorial to William Higgs, Henry Higgs and Elizabeth Higgs, St Michael's Churchyard, Bray, Berkshire, England.

"Sacred To The Memory Of
William Higgs
Who Died Decr 18th 1841 Aged 17 years
Henry Higgs
Father Of The Above
Who Died March 31st 1854 Aged 62 Years
Wife Of Henry Higgs
Who Died Novr 13th 1854 Aged 63 Years."
Henry Higgs was born in Bray, Berkshire on 7th July 1792 to John Higgs and his with Mary Anderson
On 25th March 1821 Henry married Elizabeth McCurley.  Elizabeth was born in St Pancras, London in 1800.
Together they had eight children, Mary born in 1822, Elizabeth born in 1824, William born in 1825, Henry born in 1827, John in 1830, James born in 1833, Edward born in 1835 and Ellen born in 1837.
The family appears on the 1841 Census living in Maidenhead High Street, Berkshire where Henry Sr is working as a Veterinary Surgeon.  Sadly on 18th December that year seventeen year old William passed away, possibly from tuberculosis.
 On the 1851 Census, Henry and Elizabeth have moved to Braywick Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire along with Mary, John, James and Edward.  Elizabeth and Ellen are visiting the home of Charles Patfield in Sy Martin in the Fields, Middlesex.  Elizabeth is working as a milliner (hat maker).  I am unable to locate Henry Jr on the 1851 Census.
Sadly on 31st March 1854 Henry Snr passed away from Phthisis Pulmonalis more commonly known as tuberculosis.  Henry Snr had suffered with the condition for 12 months before his death.
Eight months later on 13th November 1854 Elizabeth followed her husband to the grave. 
After the death of their parents, Henry and Elizabeth's children emigrated to Australia where they lived out their lives.
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Sunday 15 June 2014

Cemetery Sunday - Mr Basil Woodhouse

"Sacred To The Memory of
Mr Basil Woodhouse
Died August 9th 1817
Aged 62 Years"
St Michael's Churchyard
Bray, Berkshire


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Friday 13 June 2014

Flashback Friday - Frances Louisa Comber - Nightwatchman's Wife

Monument to Frances Louisa Comber, Bray Parish Cemetery, Holyport Berkshire.

"In Loving Memory Of
Frances Louisa
beloved wife of Charles Comber
who fell asleep April 28th 1907
aged 52 years. 
 Her End Was Peace."

Frances Louisa Comber was born Frances Louisa Gardner in Clapham London around 1855.  I have been unable to track down her birth records or any early census information as Frances continually swapped her first names throughout her life.

In 1878 Frances married Charles Comber, a police constable, in Wandsworth Surrey.  In 1881 the newlyweds can be found living at 35 Union Street in Clapham London with their two young daughters Louisa aged one year and Lucy aged just six days.  At that time Frances was using the name Louisa.

1891 finds the family have moved to Oakley Green in Bray.  Charles in now a Night Watchman and the family has expanded to include Charles William aged nine, Marther [sic] aged four, Ernest aged two and baby Albert, just eleven months old.  Frances is now using the name Frances Lou.

Another ten years pass (1901) and the family have moved to Braywood Cottages in Bray.  Charles is still a Night Watchman, but Frances has now gone back to using the name Louisa.  Their family has expanded again to include Amelia aged eight and three year old Elizabeth.

Sadly Frances was to pass away on 28th April 1907, the death index has her name listed as Louisa Frances.

Charles comber passed away in Eton, Buckinghamshire in 1929.

He must have loved Frances very much to have such a beautiful monument made in her memory.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Richard and Sarah Blackwell and their daughter Kate

Memorial to Sarah and Richard Blackwell, St Michael's Churchyard, Bray, Berkshire, England.
"In Loving Memory Of
Wife of Richard Blackwell
Died May 4th 1888 aged 69 years
They Rest From Their Labours
Richard Blackwell
Died Feb ? years

"Sacred To The Memory Of
Youngest daughter of
Richard and Sarah Blackwell
Died July 4th 1884
Aged 26 Years."
Richard Blackwell was born in 1825 in Beaconsfield, Berkshire to Sarah Blackwell, a publican from Beaconsfield.  On the 1841 Census, fifteen year old Richard can be found living with his mother in Beaconsfield, Berkshire where he is working as a carpenter's apprentice.
Sarah Blackwell was born in 1819 in Woolhampton, Berkshire.  I have been unable to find out anything about Sarah's early life or located a marriage for Richard and Sarah.
In 1847 they celebrated the birth of their first child, a son Herbert, followed by his brother William Henry in 1850.
On the 1851 Census, the young family can be found living at Wycombe End in Beaconsfield.  Sadly six year old Herbert passed away in 1853.  In 1854 another son, Walter Alan joined the family followed by a daughter Alice in 1856 and Kate in 1858.
By the 1861 Census, Richard, Sarah and their children had moved to Braywick in Maidenhead, Berkshire. Sarah has started working as a dress maker to boost the family's income.
By the 1871 Census the family has moved to King Street in Maidenhead where Richard is working as a carpenter along with his eldest surviving son, twenty one year old William.  Seventeen year old Walter is working as a general printer and fifteen year old Alice is helping her mother as a dress maker.
In 1878 William Henry Blackwell married Hannah Mariah Brown in Kensington London.
By the 1881 Census Richard, Sarah and their son Walter have moved to 14 Grove Road in Maidenhead.  William Henry and his wife Hannah are living at 27 Risborough Road with their young children Herbert William aged one and Gertrude aged just eight months.  Alice and Kate are boarding in the home of Mary J Rankin at 20 Conduit in Chelsea, London, where they are working as dress makers
in 1883 Walter Alan married Amy Goodman in Somerset.
Sadly just a year later in 1884 at the age of twenty six, Kate Blackwell passed away.  Her mother Sarah followed her to the grave in 1888 aged sixty nine.
In 1891 the widowed Richard is living with his son Walter and daughter in law Amy and their children Kate Ethel and Mary Alice at 16 Grenfell Avenue, Maidenhead, Berkshire, where he remained until his death in 1908.
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Sunday 8 June 2014

Cemetery Sunday Blog Hop - Mortal Dust

James and Jane Stevens
St Michel's Churchyard
Bray, Berkshire

"All alike are Mortal Dust:
Vain is every Earthly Trust
None can see how soon they may
Be as Nothing, Watch and Pray."

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Friday 6 June 2014

Flashback Friday - George and Emma Hunt from Zoos to Confectionary to Domestic Service

Monument to George and Emma Hunt, Bray Parish Cemetery, Holyport Berkshire.

"In loving memory of our mother Emma Hunt who died May 13th 1925 aged 78 years
Also of
our father George Hunt who died at Aldershot December 5th 1889 aged 44 years"

George Hunt was born in St Pancras London in 1846 to James Hunt, principle keeper at London Zoological Gardens, and Elizabeth Greenaway.  On the 1851 census, five year old George can be found living with his parents, older siblings Elizabeth and Martha as well as his grandmother Elizabeth Greenaway at the Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park, London.  By 1861 James had retired as a keeper and by 1871 had taken up accountancy.  George later became a confectioner.

On 19th April 1873 George married Emma Misselbrook at St Pancras. Emma Misselbrook was born in 1847 in Marylebone, London to Benjamin Misslebrook, a head keeper at London Zoological Gardens, and Jane Goulden.

Together George and Emma had six children; James Benjamin, Emma, Minnie, Kate Misselbrook, George James and May.  James Benjamin, Emma and George James were to all die tragically young, Emma and George both aged 30 years and James in infancy. 

In 1881 George, Emma and their children, Emma, Minnie, Kate and George James are living in Weybourne Road in Farnham, Surrey, where George is working as a confectioner.

George was to also die young, aged 44 in 1889.

 After George's death Emma went into domestic service with her daughter Kate Misselbrook Hunt. They can be found living at 61 Ifield Road, Kensington London long with seventeen year old Emma who is working as a draper's assistant and eight year old May who is attending school. Fifteen year old Minnie is working as a housekeeper for the Harris family in Lewisham.  In 1901 Emma and her daughter Kate are working as domestic housekeeper in Sturt Green, Holyport.  I have been unable to locate Minnie after the 1891 Census.

In 1904 Kate married James William Thomas, an electrical engineer.

In 1911 Emma is living with her youngest daughter May at The Lodge, Holyport, Berkshire.  Both are working as domestic housemaids.  Emma remained in Holyport until her death in 1925

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