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Dear Reader

Dear Reader # 143

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Spanish version of Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series book seventeen.

I’ve been revisiting the Howe branch of my family tree, making some minor corrections and uncovering some amazing stories, including a murder and three female Howes who joined the Pioneer Trail in the Wild West of America. More about them in a future post. But first, to start at the beginning…

The Howes of Glamorgan first appear in the historical record in the 1600s with John Howe, born c1640, of St Hilary. He was the father of my 8 x great grandfather, John Howe. The Hearth Tax of 1670 and later records show that around 150 people lived in St Hilary, with Welsh the dominant language.

St Hilary Church c1900 (People’s Collection Wales).

In 1675 the Welsh Trust established a school in St Hilary. It’s possible that my 7 x great grandfather Joseph Howe, born c1690, attended this school. Certainly, he was literate. In 1678 ten children attended the school, making it the smallest in the county. Education was provided by the vicar and churchwardens, in English and Welsh.

The Vicarage, St Hilary c1900 (People’s Collection Wales).

c1711 my 7 x great grandfather Joseph Howe married Elizabeth (surname unknown). The couple produced four children: Elizabeth, Dorothy, Mary and my direct ancestor John. Sadly, Dorothy died when only nine days old.

Joseph died in July 1742. He was buried on 5 July 1742. That year, ten people died in St Hilary. Five children were baptised while the parish register recorded only one marriage.

John Howe, my 6 x great grandfather, was baptised on 24 July 1726 in St Hilary, Glamorgan, probably a week after his birth. Sadly, many babies died within a week of their births so baptisms were often swift affairs.

The son of Joseph and Elizabeth, John became a successful farmer. When Joseph died on 5 July 1742, sixteen-year-old John helped his mother to run the farm. He didn’t marry until 1761, a month before his mother died.

From the National Library of Wales, the tithe map of St Mary Church Parish, St Hilary. The Howe family farmed thirty-three fields on this map, twenty-six arable and seven meadow. They also owned Howe Mill.

In the eighteenth century St Hilary was a small, close-knit farming community with a population of around 150. It was self-contained and regulated its own affairs. The church remained the focal point for the religious and social life of the village. Dissenting voices were nonexistent. Then, in 1748, my ancestor Priscilla Howe (a name that reoccurs throughout the generations) registered a meeting house for Quakers and literally ‘shook things up’.

St Hilary. People’s Collection Wales.

In 1753, my 6 x great grandfather John Howe became a churchwarden, Petty Constable and Overseer of the Poor. Overseers of the Poor were chosen from the ‘substantial householders’ within the community and were elected at the annual vestry. Although elected for a year, they often served multiple terms over many years.

As Overseer of the Poor, John made a payment of £1 17s 6d for the making and binding of Bibles, 1s for attending a coroner’s inquest and 7d for a pair of male stockings. He also awarded payments of a few pence to ‘the little boy of whom nothing else is known’.

This is John’s account of 1753, written in his own hand.

The pivotal period of my 6 x great grandfather John Howe’s life arrived in April and May, 1761. On 3 April 1761 he married 39 year old Mary Robert, a widow with two children. Then his first son, John, my 5 x great grandfather, was born on 28 April 1761. That’s right, Mary was eight months pregnant at the time of her marriage. On 1 May 1761 John’s mother, Elizabeth, died aged 62. A marriage, birth and death within four weeks. A very stressful time for John. 

From the age of sixteen John had run his mother’s farm. He was probably waiting until she died before he married, but with Mary eight months pregnant he couldn’t wait any longer.

With his standing in the community, John was an eligible bachelor so Mary, four years his senior, must have been pleased with the match. Equally, she must have possessed qualities that set her apart from younger women. The couple had four children and spent 37 years together, and I trust enriched each other’s lives.

John died on 23 February 1818, aged 91, a remarkable age in any era. And through his family, farm and community activities I sense that he lived a rewarding life.

St Hilary parish church (Wikipedia).

Next week, more about the Howes, including a murder.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #142

Dear Reader,

Operation Zigzag, book one in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series, is #1 on the Amazon charts again this weekend. Many thanks to all my readers for making this possible.

Married life for my 4 x great grandparents John Glissan, a surgeon/dentist/chemist, and Sarah Foreman, a nurse/dentist/chemist got off to a dramatic start when John featured as a witness in an assault case in which the victim was not expected to recover. This report appeared in the Morning Post on 25 July 1835.

During the second half of the 1830s John and Sarah traded as chemists/druggists from 147 Blackfriars Road, London, a desirable residence. However, the rent was high and with children on the way they had to consider their future. A move, slightly down market, seemed inevitable.

John Glissan began his apothecary career in Dublin near the docks. He knew that environment well, so in the 1840s he relocated his wife and three daughters from Blackfriars Road in London to 28 Church Road in St George in the East. There he operated as a surgeon/dentist.

John died on 16 March 1854. Alone, Sarah faced an uncertain future. However, twenty years earlier she had risen to the challenge when she moved from her family home in Tetford, Lincolnshire to London. Once again, she met the challenge: she established herself as a dentist.

A brief history of dentistry. In 1855 Emeline Roberts Jones became the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. She married the dentist Daniel Jones when she was a teenager, and became his assistant in 1855. Lilian Lindsay, 1895, is regarded as the first female dentist in Britain, yet my 4 x great grandmother Sarah Foreman was practicing dentistry with her husband, John Glissan, from 1834 and in her own right from 1854. A remarkable achievement by Sarah.

In the 1860s, when she was sixty, my 4 x great grandmother Sarah Foreman returned to nursing. She became a monthly nurse, a woman who looked after a mother and her baby during the postpartum or postnatal period. Historically, women were expected to rest in bed for an extended period of time after giving birth. Care was provided either by her female relatives (mother or mother-in-law) or, if you could afford it, by a monthly nurse. 

The term “monthly nurse” was most commonly used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, because such a nurse usually remained with the mother and child for four weeks. The term “monthly” is something of a misnomer because the length of time a nurse remained with a family depended on the family’s financial circumstances and needs.

“The Monthly Nurse”. Wellcome Trust.

Born in a small village in Lincolnshire, Sarah moved to London where she became a nurse, a chemist and a dentist. She gave birth to three daughters and guided them through the health hazards of the Victorian era. She died on 4 June 1891 in Raine Street Infirmary aged 87 of senectus, old age, after a life well lived.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #141

Dear Reader,

We experimented by placing Operation Rose, Operation Watchmaker and Operation Overlord, the next three books in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series, on pre-order without blurbs and with dates running into next January, and already they are top 50 hot new releases. Many thanks to my readers for their support.

My latest article for the Seaside News appears on page 14 of the magazine. This one is about an illicit affair in 1814.

My 4 x great grandmother Sarah Foreman was born on 12 October 1803 in Tetford, Lincolnshire and baptised in the local church, St Mary’s, two days later. She was the youngest of four daughters. Sarah’s parents were Hutton Foreman, born in nearby Toynton in 1764, and Lucy Ironmonger, born in nearby East Kirby in  1761.

Hutton, who worked on the land, married twice. His second wife, Mary Blades, was nineteen years younger than him. He fathered eleven children, the last when he was sixty-four. He died in 1847 aged eighty-three.

Hutton’s first wife, my 5 x great grandmother, Lucy Ironmonger was widowed twice before she married him. Unusually for a rural woman of that time she was literate.

Sarah had three sisters, all with similar names: Mary born 1796, Maria born 1798 and Mary Ann born 1801. Maybe their mother Lucy liked the name Mary. Or maybe the children died in infancy because there is no further trace of them in the historical record. If the Marys did die in infancy then with Lucy’s death Sarah would have become the ‘mother’ of the house.

So what did Sarah make of these complex family dynamics? Sarah lost her mother, Lucy, when she was only eight. Her father, Hutton, then married a woman who was only fifteen years her senior. Sarah would have learned from Lucy in her formative years, so she was educated. Did she get on with her step-mother, Mary Blades? We don’t know. But we do know that by the early 1830s Sarah was living in London.

Sarah was in her late twenties or early thirties when she arrived in London. She was unmarried, which suggests that she had a career. In London, Sarah became a nurse/chemist/dentist. Although I have no proof, I suspect that she was nursing in Lincolnshire before her move to the Big City.

Why did Sarah move to London and how did she get there? Clearly, she decided that village life was not for her and that she would take her chances in the city. Maybe she responded to an advertisement looking for a nurse.

In the 1820s and 1830s the annual rate of pay for a nurse was £10, the equivalent of £600 today. Living expenses were covered. Even so, this was meagre renumeration.  In comparison, in the 1820s/30s a skilled tradesman could earn £10 in fifty days.

Sarah probably travelled to London on a coach. The journey from Tetford to London cost around £2, a huge financial commitment. She was making a life-changing journey and if things didn’t work out in London it was unlikely that she could immediately afford the journey back.

In London, Sarah met my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan, a surgeon/chemist/dentist. Had he placed the original advertisement seeking a nurse? After her initial time in London, did she apply to work for him? We don’t know, but I suspect that their careers overlapped, which led to love and marriage.

Sarah and John married on 24 March 1834 in St Brides, Fleet Street, a notorious location for ‘Clandestine’ marriages, marriages conducted in haste or secrecy, without the posting of banns. Many of my ancestors married in this fashion. However, Sarah and John posted banns so theirs was a regular marriage. Sarah and John signed the wedding register, thus confirming they were literate.

Separately, Sarah and John had travelled hundreds of miles from their homes to meet in London. Now, they were a couple. What would married life bring?

More about Sarah and John next time.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

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Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #140

Dear Reader,

This week, I made great progress with the writing of Operation Rose, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE book seven, and Fruit, book four in my Olive Tree Spanish Civil War saga. Covid slowed me down over recent months, but this week was much more like it.

In this month’s issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads…

Crime and thriller author Shawn Reilly Simmons interviewed by Wendy H Jones. Plus, Author Features, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Short Stories, Young Writers, National Batman Day, and so much more!

You discover all sorts when you look through parish records.

My 3 x great grandmother Lucy Sarah Glissan was born in Stepney, London in 1842. In 1851 with her sisters Amelia, 13, and Mary Ann, 6, she was living in 28 Church Road, St-George-in-the-East, London in the shadow of this impressive Anglican church. Lucy’s parents were John Glissan, a surgeon/chemist/dentist and Sarah Glissan née Foreman, a nurse/chemist/dentist.

In 1861 my 3 x great grandmother Lucy Sarah Glissan, 19, was living with her sisters, Amelia, 23, and Sarah Ann, 16, in 2 Charles Street, St George-in-the-East, London. All three were unmarried tailoresses.

A baby also lived with the sisters, William, their ‘brother’. A problem: their mother, Sarah, was a widow of seven years and past childbearing age. To save face, the sisters had lied to the enumerator. So, which one of them gave birth to William?

The answer: my 3 x great grandmother Lucy Sarah Glissan. Shortly after the census was taken, Lucy Sarah married William’s father, Richard Stokes. Sadly, shortly after that William died. The couple produced seven more children including my direct ancestor William Richard Fredrick Stokes.

Lucy Sarah Glissan married Richard Stokes, who later ran a furniture-making business, at St Mary’s, Stepney on 27 May 1861. Both were nineteen, and literate. By 1870 80% of males were literate compared to 75% of females, up from 66% and 50% in thirty years. Lucy Sarah’s younger sister, Mary Ann, who witnessed the wedding, was also literate.

Roath Village School, Cardiff, 1899 (National Museum of Wales).

Lucy Sarah Glissan gave birth to eight children in twenty years 1861 – 1881. Her first and eighth child both died in infancy. The other six prospered. In the Victorian era the average number of children per family was six.

Family portrait, (not the Glissans) 1893.

The Glissan sisters were close, so we should take a moment to explore Amelia and Mary Ann’s lives. Amelia married Charles Samuel, a mariner from Antwerp. The couple did not have any children. When Amelia died in 1894, Charles fell on hard times and entered the workhouse. Mary Ann married James Reynolds, a gun maker/engineer. The couple produced only one child, who died young.

Lucy Sarah died on 9 October 1888 at Red Lion Street, Shoreditch.

***

My 4 x great grandfather John Glissan was born in 1803 in Ireland. In 1824 Apothecaries Hall in Dublin recognised him as an apothecary with a licence to trade. A few years later, John moved to London where he found employment assisting John William Keys Parkinson, son of James Parkinson, the doctor who gave his name to Parkinson’s Disease.

Photographed in 1912 this is 1 Hoxton Square, London, the home and office of Parkinson and Son, surgeons and apothecaries. In the late 1820s my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan assisted the son, James, and added the skills of dentist and surgeon to his trade of apothecary. Picture: Wellcome Trust.

17 September 1829 a report in the London Courier detailing the evidence John Glissan, a surgeon, gave to an inquest into the death of Henry Kellard, a pauper.

In the early 1830s my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan left Parkinson and Son and set up his own business as a surgeon/chemist/dentist. Initially, he struggled and was forced to go on the road as a traveller, selling his medicines. In 1834 he was declared insolvent. Life for him in London was tough.

In early June 1833, at nine o’clock in the evening, Susannah Griffiths left her lodgings at 12 Dyer Street, London. She walked along George Street to the junction of Blackfriars Road, one of the most fashionable roads in nineteenth century London. She made her way to 147 Blackfriars Road and the shop owned by my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan. There, Susannah purchased a quantity of arsenic.

Returning home, Susannah set her needlework to one side and wrote a note, quoting Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d, Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, Raze out the written troubles of the brain.” She added, “I have taken poison.” Then she placed the note under her pillow and swallowed the arsenic.

Susannah was educated. She understood Shakespeare. I imagine that she was a sensitive soul. A coroner’s inquest held at Christ Church Workhouse absolved John Glissan of any blame and concluded that Susannah died whilst being of unsound mind.

Two days after the newspaper report on Susannah’s tragic suicide, this mysterious message appeared in the Morning Advertiser. I’m not sure what to make of the note. There were no follow up messages, so I’m not sure what my ancestor John made of it either.

17 November 1833. If gout was your problem, my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan, a surgeon/dentist/chemist, was your man. In the 1830s, John appeared in many newspapers advertisements promoting potions for all manner of ailments.

16 February 1834. Another advertisement featuring John Glissan. This advert ran on a regular basis in the Weekly True Sun.

Top of the Pops, 16 February 1834. Note that female singers dominated. Madame Vestris (pictured) was Lucia Elizabeth Vestris (née Elizabetta Lucia Bartolozzi; 3 March 1797 – 8 August 1856) an actress and a contralto opera singer. She was also a theatre producer and manager.

For the first thirty years of his life John Glissan concentrated on learning the skills of a chemist, surgeon and dentist, and on establishing his business. In 1834, life offered a new challenge. More about that next time.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #137

Dear Reader,

After a break since Christmas 2021, my blog is back. A week before Christmas, I became ill with Covid. That illness continued well into January. Since then, I have been catching up with my writing schedule, hence the break. 

I hope you will enjoy this blog post and future content.

My latest translations, the Italian version of Operation Locksmith and the Portuguese version of Damaged: Sam Smith Mystery Series book nineteen.

In this month’s issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads…

An exclusive interview with Jennifer Shahade two-time USA Women’s Chess Champion, poker champion, author and podcaster. Plus, Author Features, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Recipes, Short Stories, Jazz Appreciation Month, and so much more!

My Recent Genealogical Research

My 3 x great grandmother Sarah Ann Cottrell was born on 24 June 1848 in St Leonard’s, Shoreditch. Aged twelve she worked as a matchbox maker, on piece rates. Sarah Ann’s father, Mathew, was a fishmonger, a decent trade, so her matchboxes brought in bonus pennies to support her mother and five siblings.

Picture: Wellcome Trust

My 4 x great grandfather Mathew Cottrell was a fishmonger at Billingsgate Market. Here’s the market as Mathew would have seen it plus a description, both from the Illustrated London News, 7 August 1852.

In 1852, my 4 x great grandfather Mathew Cottrell was a fishmonger at Billingsgate Market so it seems fair to assume that his wife, Sarah, was adept at preparing fish dishes. Here’s some advice from A Mother’s Handbook, published the same year.

“Fish should be garnished with horseradish, or hard boiled eggs, cut in rings, and laid around the dish, or pastry, and served with no other vegetable but potatoes. This, or soup, is generally eaten at the commencement of a dinner.”

My 5 x great grandfather Samuel Cottrell was born on 11 July 1796 in Finsbury. After his marriage to Ann Baker he moved to Billingsgate where he worked as a fishmonger. Samuel and Ann were nonconformists, protestant dissenters. He lived in Dunnings Alley, a hotbed of dissent.

Somehow, Samuel and Ann avoided every census in the 1800s. However, the nonconformists kept detailed records, including details of Samuel’s family. These records confirm that a midwife was in attendance for all of Ann’s births along with, on occasion, a surgeon.

My 5 x great grandfather Samuel Cottrell lived a long life, 84 years. However, he struggled during his final two years. Unable to move freely, in 1878 he spent a month in Homerton Workhouse Infirmary. He signed himself out.

Two years later, Samuel spent two years in Bow Road Infirmary, pictured. Shortly after he left, a ‘Mad Russian’ murdered one of the inmates, slicing him with a knife. Within ten days Samuel was back in Homerton. He spent a further six months there, dying on 1 September 1880.

They kept stealing his shoes. My 6 x great grandfather John Cottrell was a boot maker. The Old Bailey website lists three occasions 1830 – 1832 when boys aged ten, twelve and seventeen stole his shoes. The court offered mercy to the ten year old, but the other two were transported for seven years.

St Mary Woolnoth, London. My 7 x great grandfather John Cottrell was born there on 6 Nov 1747 and baptised there on 29 Nov 1747. He ran a business as a chandler. He served on several coroner’s inquest juries and, like my Howe ancestors, was an Overseer of the Poor.

1 July 1762. An indenture belonging to my 7 x great grandfather John Cotterell. His father, also John, paid John Coleratt £80 (£8,200 today) so that he could learn the trade of tallow chandler. These indentures were standard in the 18th and 19th centuries with the names and trades added as applicable.

Apprentices were forbidden from playing cards, dice, entering taverns or playhouses, fornicating or marrying. Usually, these indentures covered a period of seven years. Little wonder that some apprentices broke the agreement and absconded.

John served his apprenticeship and in 1775 established a business on 55 Fore Street, Moorfield, selling food and household items.

As a ‘respectable member of the community’ my 7 x great grandfather John Cotterell served on five Coroner’s juries, in 1776,  1779, 1781, 1783 and 1785, each time investigating suspicious deaths in the community. 

In 1785 on ‘Friday this 20th. Day of May by Seven of the Clock in the After noon twenty-four able and sufficient Men of said Liberty’ gathered at John’s house to investigate the death of Robert Jurquet. The jury concluded that being of unsound mind, with a razor, Robert Jurquet took his own life.

My 7 x great grandfather John Cotterell’s elder brother, William, was sword bearer of the City of London. The office was created in the 14th century when it was recorded that the Lord Mayor should have, at his own expense, someone to bear his sword before him: 

‘a man well-bred’, one ‘who knows how in all places, in that which unto such service pertains, to support the honour of his Lord and of the City.’

Picture: George III receiving the Civic (Pearl) Sword from the Lord Mayor of London on his way to St Paul’s Cathedral, an event William probably attended.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂