Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Thomas Back and Mary Drake

Church of St Paul, Durnford Street, East Stonehouse, Plymouth
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © N Chadwick - geograph.org.uk/p/5625201

Thomas Back (39) married Mary Drake (42) at the Chapel of St Paul, East Stonehouse on 22 Jun 1852. They both gave their address as 20 George Street, which is in Devonport. Thomas is listed as a Labourer, son of Thomas Back, Shipwright and Mary Drake as daughter of Thomas Drake, Shipwright. This, I believe, is all nearly true. Thomas Back, born 1813 and bap. 24 Oct 1813 in Stoke Damerel, was the son of John Back, Shipwright and his wife Martha. (There is a potential marriage of a John Back to a Martha Norton, in Topsham, Devon, on 26 May 1793, but this is so far uncorroborated.)

Mary Drake, born 20 Apr 1810 and baptised in Stoke Damerel on 15 Dec 1812, was indeed the daughter of Thomas Drake, Shipwright and Frances Poad (who in turn had married, in Stoke Damerel, on 25 May 1784).

On the 1852 marriage, Thomas Back is listed as a Bachelor, however, it is my belief that he had previously married an Eliza Stafford on 7 Aug 1837 at St Andrew's Church, Plymouth. On this marriage, Thomas Back is listed as a Mariner, son of John Back, Shipwright. (There is a Thomas Back b. 1813 listed among Britain, Merchant Seamen, 1835-1857.) In 1841, Thomas Back (25), Eliza Back (20), Eliza Back (2) and Mary Back (0) were among a long list of people (boarders perhaps) in Pembroke Streetone of Devonport's principal streets, with a great number of retailers and public houses. I've not found birth registrations for the girls and cannot trace what became of them.

In 1841, Mary Drake (30) was among a similarly long list of people residing in Hill Street, St Helier, Jersey, along with Frances Drake (75), Edward Drake (9) and Mary Drake (5). There is a baptism record for this latter child, in St Helier, Jersey on 25 Jun 1837, illegitimate daughter of Mary Drake.

We next find Mary Drake (44) Unmarried, Tayloress (sic) in Stoke Damerel Workhouse in 1851, accompanied by Mary Drake (14) born in St Helier, Jersey; George Drake (8) and Thomas Drake (0). George Drake, was born 23 Jan 1843 and bap. 30 Jul 1843, illegitimate son of Mary Drake with abode given as Workhouse. Thomas Drake b. 1850 D Quarter in STOKE DAMEREL Volume 09 Page 429, has no mother's maiden name (illegitimate). He was later known as Thomas Back and named Thomas Back as his father.

After their marriage in 1852, the couple added a daughter:
  1. Eliza Back b. 1853 S Qtr in STOKE DAMEREL Vol 05B Page 266
We lose sight of them then until, in 1881, Thomas Back (70) Labourer and Mary Back (72) Tailoress, were found living at 40, Cannon Street, Devonport, seemingly in a separate household, but nevertheless at the very same address as their daughter, Eliza and her husband, Samuel Eastabrook.

Mary Back died in 1883 J Quarter in STOKE DAMEREL Volume 05B Page 226, with age estimated at 75. Thomas Back died five years later, in 1888 D Quarter in STOKE DAMEREL Volume 05B Page 217, age given as 78.

Mary Drake's children: 
  1. What link is there between this Mary Drake and the Edmund Drake, birth year estimated as 1830, from Jersey, Channel Islands? Mary's oldest illegitimate child was listed, in 1841, as Edward Drake, born around 1832 on the Isle of Jersey. Edmund Drake, from Jersey, Chanel Islands, born 1831 is listed, in 1845, among Britain, Merchant Seamen, 1835-1857. Are Edmund Drake and Edward Drake one and the same person? I think he must be. Adding to the circumstantial evidence is that Edmund named his eldest son Edmund George and he named his second son Edward and, on both his marriages, Edmund named his father as Edmund Drake (often correct, but also common is saying the same as one's own name when the father is not known). He also lists his father as a Tailor. If Mary is his mother, she was a Tailoress and again, when people make stuff up for the records, there's usually a grain of truth in it.
  2. Mary Drake (bap. 25 Jun 1837 in St Helier, Jersey) died on 3 Jun 1878 (1878 J Quarter in STOKE DAMEREL Volume 05B Page 261) with age estimated as 38 (she was 40). She was buried on 7 Jun 1878, with her abode on the burial record as 40, Cannon Street, Devonport.
  3. George Drake b. 23 Jan 1843, bap. 30 Jul 1843. George Drake from Devonport, Devon, whose date of birth was listed as 23 Jun 1843 - January and June could be confused, especially if abbreviated - joined the Royal Navy at the Royal William [Yard] on 31 Jul 1857 as a Boy 2nd Class. In 1861, at 17, George was with the "Royal Navy At Sea And In Ports Abroad". He appears to have served until 13 Feb 1868, when he was invalided. He next turns up, in 1881, aged 39, as a boarder in the household of Cornwallis Johnson from Shelford, Cambridgeshire at 19, Pitt Street, Stansfield, Todmorden, Yorkshire, employed as Cellarman at cotton mill. After that, we lose sight of him unfortunately.
  4. Thomas Drake, later known as Thomas Back b. 1850

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