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

Showing posts with label Okehampton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Okehampton. Show all posts

Monday 23 October 2023

Thomas Back (Thomas Drake) and Elizabeth Mary Horn

Plymouth: Morice Square
cc-by-sa/2.0- © Martin Bodman -

Thomas Back, son of Thomas Back and Mary Drake married Elizabeth Mary Horn (b. 1859 in Okehampton, Devon), daughter of James Horn and Elizabeth Bolt, on 23 Oct 1884 at St Paul's Church, Devonport. (The Anglican Church of Saint Paul the Apostle was situated on the east side of Morice Square.)

Born Thomas Drake (1850 D Quarter in STOKE DAMEREL Volume 09 Page 429), as he was named Thomas, it did seem likely that he was the son of Thomas Back, who his mother married two years later. He started life in Stoke Damerel Workhouse, where he was in 1851 with his mother and his older (half) siblings, Mary and George. He was subsequently known as Thomas Back and on his marriage certificate in 1884, as Thomas Back, Stoker RN, lists his address as 40, Cannon Street, Devonport - the very same address where we find both his parents and his sister in 1881, so we can be sure it's him - and names his father as Thomas Back, Labourer. Of course, this could simply be because that was the man who was around as he was growing up, but actually being named after him at birth, seems to confirm what we're being told.

Thomas Back, DOB 15 Oct 1850 (agrees with the quarter of his birth registration), enlisted in the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class in July 1865, volunteering at HMS Implacable (1805) - former Duguay-Trouin, turned training ship (exactly the same ship, on exactly the same day as my great-grandfather, David Jones). Thomas Back's naval career does not appear to progress at this point, there being no entries beyond enlistment. 

There is then a record of a Thomas Back from Devonport, with date of birth given as 14 Oct 1849 (one year and one day of difference and this time the year does NOT agree with his birth registration), but we know this is our man from other records (marriage, census), who joined the Royal Navy on 9 Jan 1873 and served for 21 years, until 27 Apr 1894. He began as a Stoker 2nd Class, moved up to Stoker, Leading Stoker and Leading Stoker 1st Class.

Both naval records list Thomas as having Black hair and Hazel eyes. He was 4 ft 10 in at 14 and grew to 5 ft 6 in as an adult, gaining a bunch of tattoos.

From May 1873 to Aug 1875, Thomas was with HMS Agincourt (1865) at Portland, Dorset and, during that time, spent 28 days in Dorchester Gaol (HM Prison Dorchester) - Pure Victorian detention in all it’s glory.

At the time of the census of 1881, Thomas Back (30) Stoker, was moored in Hong Kong aboard HMS Victor Emmanuel (1855), which ship he was assigned to from Jun 1880 to Jan 1882, Feb 1882 to Jan 1883 and again from Feb to Apr 1883 (transferring to HMS Pegasus (1878) for the month in 1882, also in China and HMS Albatross (1873) in Jan 1883).

Two days before his marriage, Thomas joined HMS Tamar (1863), commissioned at Devonport on 21 Oct 1884 and then, from 15 Jan 1885 until 22 Jan 1889, was with HMS Nelson (1876). She sailed for the Australia Station after commissioning and became the flagship there in 1885. She was in Sydney and Brisbane and at the Woolloomooloo Bay Regatta on 18 Apr 1885, remaining on station until returning home in January 1889.

Thomas and Elizabeth's only child was born later that year:

  1. Lilian Mary Back b. 4 Nov 1889 D Q in STOKE DAMEREL 05B 340
Thomas spent time with HMS Magicienne (1888) in Portsmouth in 1890; HMS Goshawk (1872) took him to Gibraltar from May 1890 to Jun 1892 and while he was away, Elizabeth M Back (31) Wife Of A Stoker RN and Lilian M Back (1) were living in St Levan Road, Devonport. Thomas finished his career, from Dec 1892 to Apr 1894, at HMS Vivid II, the Stokers and Engine Room Artificers School in Devonport, before being pensioned.

In 1901, Thomas Back (50) Naval Pensioner was living in Avondale Terrace, Devonport with wife, Elizabeth M Back (41), daughter, Lilian M Back (11) and John Cornhill (29) General Labourer from Ireland, Boarder.

Thomas Back died in 1906 D Quarter in DEVONPORT Volume 05B Page 220. His age was estimated as 58 (he was 56), gaining yet another year on top of the one he added the second time he enlisted in the Navy.

In 1911, Elizabeth Back (51) Widow from Okehampton, Devonshire, was living in East Stonehouse. Living with her were recently married, son-in-law and daughter, Charles and Lilian Renshaw.

In 1921, Elizabeth Mary Back was still living with Charles and Lilian Renshaw (and their two daughters), at 7 Duckworth Street, Devonport.

Elizabeth Mary Back died, at 66, in 1926 M Quarter in DEVONPORT.

Monday 7 August 2023

Robert Middleton and Mary Pyke

Interior Warkleigh Church
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © David Brinicombe -

Robert Middleton (bap. 4 Jun 1826 in Knowstone), son of Robert Middleton and Elizabeth Baker, married Mary Pyke (b. 1831), daughter of William Pyke, Husbandman, on 7 Aug 1855, at the church of St John, Warkleigh, Devon. Robert made his mark, while Mary Pyke,  with a Y, was able to scrawl her signature. Witnesses to their wedding were John Beer and Sarah Ford.

Mary Pyke already had an illegitimate daughter, Selina Ann Pyke, b. 1852 M Quarter in OKEHAMPTON Volume 05B Page 369, bap. (as Selina Ann Pike, listed as daughter of Mary) on 28 Mar 1852 in Sampford Courtenay.

Robert and Mary Middleton had a further eleven children:
  1. Sarah Middleton b. 1856 M Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON Volume 05B Page 432. Died aged 3 in 1859 J Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON Volume 05B Page 305 and buried on 22 Apr 1859 in Warkleigh, Devon.
  2. Samuel Middleton b. 1857 J Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON Volume 05B Page 423, bap. 2 Apr 1857 privately, in Warkleigh, Devon. Died 1857 J Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON Volume 05B Page 299.
  3. Emily Middleton b. 1858 S Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON Volume 05B Page 402, bap. 12 Sep 1858 in Warkleigh, Devon
  4. James Middleton b. 1860 J Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON Volume 05B Page 425, bap. 10 Jun 1860 in Warkleigh, Devon
  5. Thomas Middleton b. 9 Oct 1862 D Qtr in OKEHAMPTON Vol 05B 410
  6. Sarah Ann Middleton b. 1864 S Qtr in OKEHAMPTON Vol 05B 395
  7. Robert Middleton b. 29 Aug 1867 S Qtr in OKEHAMPTON Vol 05B 409
  8. Mary Middleton b. 1870 (No GRO registration found)
  9. William Middleton b. 3 Jan 1873 M Qtr in OKEHAMPTON Vol 05B 408
  10. John Middleton b. 1874 J Qtr in OKEHAMPTON Vol 05B Page 393. Died aged 19 and was buried on 19 Sep 1893 in Okehampton
  11. Charles Middleton b. 1876 D Qtr in OKEHAMPTON Vol 05B Page 359, bap. 3 Dec 1876 in Okehampton. Died aged 2 in 1879 M Quarter Vol 05B Page 295 and was buried on 7 Jan 1879 in Okehampton
All of the births registered in South Molton have the mother's maiden name spelled as PYKE. On Sarah Ann's and Robert's registrations, it's also PYKE, however, on those of the remaining four boys: Thomas, William, John and Charles, registered in Oakhampton, it was spelled PIKE.

On earlier baptisms their address was Little Shortridge "... the census records show that the population at Little Shortridge briefly peaked between the 1850s and the 1880s, with up to five households of farm workers and their families who presumably lived within subdivided accommodation."

In 1861, Robert Middleton (36) Ag Lab was living at Chapel, Sampford Courtenay, Okehampton, with Mary Middleton (29), Emily Middleton (2), James Middleton (11 mo), Selina Pyke (9) listed as Daughter-in-law (they mean Step-daughter) and in the next household, but it appears lodging with them, were Ann Pyke (65) Widow (Mary's mother? It appears that Mary's father, William Pike (sic), had died, aged 68, in 1860) and Samuel Pyke (25) (Mary's brother). In fact, it looks as if Robert and Mary have moved into Mary's parent's home as this was previously their address, where, as was customary, he became the "man of the house" and head of the family.

In 1871, Robert Middleton (46) Ag Lab, was living in Lower Ajustment, Sampford Courtenay, Okehampton, Devon, with Mary Middleton (40), James Middleton (11), Thomas Middleton (9), Sarah [Ann] Middleton (7), Robert Middleton (4) and Mary Middleton (1). Selina Ann Pyke (19) late a Servant was living in the household of John Easterbrook (33) Farm Labourer at Lower Treecott, Sampford Courtenay, Okehampton, listed as a First Cousin. Emily Middleton (12) from Warkleigh, Devon, was a Domestic Servant to Willmote Coombe (59) [Female] Farmer at Cliston, Sampford Courtenay.

In 1881, at Brightley, Okehampton, were Robert Middleton (56) Railway lab packer; Mary Middleton (50), Robert Middleton (14), Mary Middleton (12), William Middleton (8) and John Middleton (7). James Middleton was with the Army in Southern Afghanistan; Thomas Middleton (18) from Sampford, Devonshire was with the Royal Navy aboard the 4th Class Corvette, HMS Tenedos (1870), At Sea Off Antigua Long 61' 17' W Lat 16' 56' N; Sarah Ann Middleton (17) Domestic Servant was in the household of Charles Henry Child (57) Farmer and Gentleman at Goldburn, Inwardleigh, Okehampton.

Robert Middleton died, aged 63, in 1889 S Quarter in OKEHAMPTON Volume 05B Page 253 and was buried on 20 Jul 1889, in Okehampton.

In 1891, Mary Middleton (62) Widow was listed as a Lodger in the household of John Lang (who had married daughter, Mary Middleton), at Brightly Hamlet Cottage, Station Road, Okehampton; William Middleton (18) Agricultural Labourer was employed by Richard Sloman (35) Farmer at Knowle Farm, Station Road, Okehampton; John Middleton (16) was a Lodger with his older brother, James Middleton at Brightly Cottage, Station Road, Okehampton.

In 1901, Mary Middleton (70) Mother-in-law, living in North Street, Okehampton with John and Mary Lang, was a Monthly nurse.

In 1911, Mary Middleton (82) Mother-in-law, Widow, still lived with John and Mary Lang at 38 North Street, Okehampton.

Mary Middleton, with aged estimated as 84, died in 1912 D Quarter in OKEHAMPTON Volume 05B Page 466.