Tag Archives: mercy trower

Mercy STEADMAN’s will provides no answers

21 Jan

The will of Mercy STEADMAN (née TROWER) has arrived and for once a document has arrived that hasn’t provided me more questions than answers.

The truth is that it hasn’t provided me with the answer I was after, the name of Mercy’s husband, but it has given me a few more scraps of information that fill in a bit more of her life, and where her son Ernest John TROWER and her sister Ruth TROWER were living at the time.

The problem with the will, like the death certificate, is that it was written many years after her marriage and the death of her husband. The will was written on the 14th August 1928 whilst Mercy was at Whitesmith near Chiddingly, Sussex.

The will is quite simple, basically all Mercy had was to be divided equally between her son Ernest John TROWER and her sister Ruth TROWER, who was also named as sole executrix.

The only slight mystery is what Mercy was doing in Chiddingly (presumably she was in domestic service there) and did the choice of witnesses (Laura Julia Rebecca LEWER and Harriet AKEHURST) have any significance?

So the search for the husband of Mercy STEADMAN is no further forward and as I write this I am not sure what my next step will be. Time to go back to the drawing board and re-assess what I have discovered so far.

Who were the parents of Ernest John TROWER?

14 Jan

As well as the death certificate for Mercy STEADMAN I also ordered a birth and marriage certificate for two other individuals, just to try and fill in a few gaps in my database. The birth certificate was for Ernest John TROWER, it arrived the day after Mercy’s death certificate.

Ernest John TROWER was one of the individuals in my database that wasn’t actually linked to my tree. I knew he was related to me but not exactly how. He was shown in the 1891 and 1901 census as the grandson of Henry and Jane TROWER, my 3x great-grandparents.

I have yet to find a baptism entry for Ernest and the only clue to his parents identity was the presence of Martha TROWER, one of the daughters of Henry and Jane, in the same household in the 1891 census.

The birth certificate answered part of the question, it identified his mother, but there was no mention of a father. Ernest John TROWER was born on the 14th October 1884 at Harwoods Farm, Henfield, Sussex. The birth was registered by his mother, Mercy TROWER.

I was speechless, Mercy TROWER, the same Mercy TROWER whose husband is proving so illusive. That was not what I had expected at all and adds a whole other dimension to the mystery.

Was Ernest the son of the unknown STEADMAN, who Mercy may or may not have married, was he the son of George BARLEY who may or may not have married Mercy, and whose banns of marriage I have found, or did Mercy have a relationship with another man.

One thing is clear, the whole story of Mercy TROWER has suddenly become a lot more complicated and lot more interesting. I am going to have to do some serious work on this family if I am ever going to get these relationships sorted out.

Have I reached the end of the trail with Mercy TROWER?

13 Jan

The death certificate for Mercy STEADMAN (née TROWER) has arrived from the GRO and it has failed to provide the answer that I had hoped for. If anything it caused a bit of confusion, until I actually figured out what was going on.

The reason for ordering a copy of the certificate was to try and find the name of Mercy’s husband. Under the occupation heading it should have told me that she was a widow and given her ex-husband’s name.

Unfortunately the informant who registered the death didn’t know what her husband’s name was, so all I have is Widow of — Steadman Occupation unknown. Not very helpful to say the least.

It hadn’t occurred to me that because Mercy’s husband had died before 1891, there would be a good chance that whoever registered the death, possibly four decades later, probably never knew who Mercy’s husband was.

The confusion came from the place of death, 2 Upper Shoreham Road, Kingston-by-Sea. This wasn’t the same as her address that was also given on the death certificate (97 Wellington Road, Portslade-by-Sea).

The key to this puzzle is the Steyning Union Workhouse. It appears that the address of the workhouse was 2 Upper Shoreham Road, and the informant who registered the death was H[orace] W[alter] Cawcutt, the master of the Steyning Poor Law Institution.

I know that when Mercy died in 1929 her estate was valued at £404 12s 2d, so she wasn’t exactly a pauper, so my guess is that she was in the workhouse due to ill health (the workhouse would later become part of Southlands Hospital).

So I didn’t find out who Mercy’s husband was, but I haven’t quite given up hope of finding out his name. Records from the Steyning Union Workhouse are apparently held at the East Sussex Record Office, including admission and death registers, there may be a clue held within their pages.

Another 3x great-aunt with some missing years

11 Jan

Three daughters of my 3x great-grandparents Henry and Jane TROWER of Henfield, Sussex have been causing me some concern. In truth I had forgotten about my problems with them, except for Mercy TROWER, until I started searching in the 1911 census.

Fortunately the disappearance of Mary TROWER has been more or less solved now, with the discovery of her marriage to Emanuel MARX. Mercy is still a bit of a puzzle, but I am hoping to resolve that in the very near future.

The other daughter that has given me some problems is Jane. Jane TROWER was born in 1862, apparently in Henfield. I have entries for her in the 1871 and 1881 census, but then she disappears (or at least I can’t find any trace of her) until her death, somewhere in the Horsham Registration District in 1922.

She actually died on the 16th December 1922, or at least that is the date recorded on her gravestone in Henfield Cemetery. It stands next to that of her parent’s Henry and Jane, so I am certain that it is the correct one.

So it doesn’t look like she married, so that is not the reason why I can’t find her in the 1891, 1901 and now the 1911 census. Interestingly I didn’t find an entry for Jane TROWER in the Henfield burial records, so perhaps she was buried under another name, I am going to have to double check that, make sure there was no other Jane buried around that time.

To be honest I had forgotten about Jane, I had a start and end to her life and that seemed enough, but it is now bugging me that I don’t know what happened in the middle. My brain has already started try and fill in the gap.

Did she marry and then divorce? Did no-one know her married name? Did the stone mason make a mistake? Did she leave the country and only come back later in life? Did she spend time in prison, or an asylum (it is Madness Monday after all)?

It looks like the only source left to turn to is her death certificate, I think once I have resolved my problems with Mercy TROWER I will move on to her sister and order a copy of her death certificate to examine for clues.

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