Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral

My previous study stories have outlined the extraordinary lives of members of the Morse family who originated from Gloucestershire, England. We have looked at the lives of the two elder daughters of Richard and Ann Morse of the city of Gloucester and followed them as they left the shores of England for Australia in their twenties. Emily was the first to leave in 1863, with her husband Charles Jennings, followed by younger sister Frances on the Montmorency two years later. Frances had planned to join Emily in Sydney but disembarked at the wrong port and spent the rest of her life in the outback while Emily sought fame in the cities of with her second husband, William Holloway, established the famous Holloway Theatre, and whose daughter, Essie Jenyns, was the esteemed Australian Shakespearian actress of her day.

Frances and Emily Morse

Frances and Emily Morse

The younger sister of Emily and Frances was Maria Margaret and, after the departure of her sisters, was living with her parents and brother, Roynon, at 7 Bedford Place, Bristol. In 1867, Maria married a Worcester born man almost twenty years older than her, Gulson Burlingham, who was from a Quaker family. They had eight children and settled in various parts of the country, moving from Bristol to Birmingham, Nottingham and Hereford.

In 1881 they are resident at Wells Road, Nottingham with children, Ethel Ann and Roynan Richard. Their other three children, Gulson, Edward and Margaret are boarders at a school in Grantham, Lincolnshire, a long way from Gloucestershire. In 1891 Gulson is ‘living on income’ at 25 Chandos Street, Hereford, but there is no sign of Maria. The reason was that she was probably on the other side of the world. From 1886 to 1888 for example she was regularly in the passenger lists sailing around Australia, usually with her sister Emily Holloway and family, and sometimes with her niece, Essie Jenyns, and her maid. They travelled saloon class and on 6 February 1886 she sailed on the Pateena with the Holloway Dramatic Company which included Mr and Mrs Holloway, Mr and Mrs Charles Holloway, Maria and two of her children and Miss Jenyns.

Whether Gulson and Maria had actually separated is not known but on Saturday 27th February 1892 the Queenslander newspaper reported that “Mrs Roy(sic) Burlingham, sister of Mrs W J Holloway and aunt of Mrs Woods (Essie Jenyns) is now in Melbourne again. Her sojourn in New Zealand has greatly benefitted her health.” It would seem that Maria was enjoying the high life in the company of her famous sister and family. Her husband Gulson died in Hereford in 1893 aged sixty three years.

While in Australia, Maria had met an English born man called Walter Sully who, since 1885, ran a large emporium at Broken Hill, New South Wales. On his retirement he decided to return to his roots after marrying Maria in 1898. The 1901 census shows them living in style at Teddington Hall, near to the Thames, in Surrey. Also with them is Maria’s daughter Ethel. They appear to be quite comfortably off, as the household consists of a parlourmaid, housemaid, cook and gardener.

rigby d

They did not actually own the property but rented it and the Kelly’s Trade Directories show them as being resident at the Hall from 1900 – 1908. Teddington Hall is described as “one of Teddington’s foremost period landmarks and boasts a quite exquisite Gothic style façade of red brick with stucco dressings, a crenellated parapet and a stone knight in armour in a first floor niche above its magnificent entrance.” The property is Grade II listed denoting it to be of special architectural and historical importance. Dating from about 1860 the house had several owners but gradually fell into disrepair and was later used as government offices. In 2004 it was restored to its former glory.

They later settled in London but there is evidence from the passenger lists that Walter travelled extensively to Canada, New York and Madeira and on 28th October 1907 the Brisbane Courier stated:-

“Mr and Mrs Walter Sully and Miss Sully of Broken Hill, South Australia and Teddington Hall, Middlesex are at present the guests of Mr and Mrs Ralph Clifton, Benyarra, River Road. They will leave today for Japan.” This indicates that they still had interests in Australia.

Walter Sully’s store in Broken Hill

Walter Sully’s store in Broken Hill

In 1900, two of Maria’s sons from her first marriage set sail for Australia but in May 1901 tragedy struck, which was reported in the Adelaide Advertiser:-

“Mr Edward Gulson Burlingham, stepson of Mr Walter Sully, died of pneumonia at the hospital this morning after only two days illness. Deceased arrived from London in July of last year to gain colonial experience. He was about 24 years of age. His brother with whom he came to Australia, is now in Melbourne, attending the celebrations there.”

Walter died first in 1924 and probate was granted as follows:-

Sully Walter of the Constitutional Club, Northumberland Avenue, Middlesex, died on 20 June 1924 at 115 Ashley Gardens, Westminster, Middlesex. Probate was granted to Maria Margaret Sully, widow and Frank Carlisle, Luxton, Gentleman.
Effects £25,7692.13s.4d.

Maria died in London in 1931.

Maria’s son Gulson junior returned from Australia in 1922 and he died on 26th October 1929 at 102 Ashley Gardens, Westminster, Middlesex, near to his mother.

All three of the Morse sisters lived unusual lives, and it is thanks to the wonderful free Australian Trove newspaper site and its social and gossip columns that reports the comings and goings of its “celebrities”, the “Hello” magazine of its day, that we can get an insight into their lives. I am so proud of these pioneering women.

Janet Rigby
Member 1314

COINCIDENCE? Double Letter Surnames in Cricket, 1948

One of my guilty pleasures as a family history researcher is reading old newspapers looking for information about anyone with a SAGGERS or related surname. Several Saggers were cricketers and this is an Australian story I thought would interest other Surname Society researchers.

Harry Kneebone's World of Sport1

Fourteen-year-old Max Pettitt, of 9 Gaol Reserve, Adelaide, writes to point out "a very funny thing"
he noticed in looking through Sheffield Shield records. Five of the wicket-keepers have a double letter
in their names:- Tallon and Siggs (Q), Maddocks (V), Kessey (WA), Saggers NSW). [sic]

Max, whose eye for the double letter may have been sharpened by the plurality of letters in his own
surname, noticed the same feature in English players' names last year - Hammond, Gibb, Hardstaff,
Pollard, Hutton and Washbrook - and in several of the Australians who opposed them in Tests:-
Hassett, McCool, Miller, Dooland, Freer, Morris and Lindwall.

Of course, the sports journalist Harry (Henry William) Kneebone himself would have appreciated these double letter surnames as perhaps did his wife, Dorothy Joyce Hollow,2 and his parents, Harry (Henry) Kneebone and Henrietta Whitta.3


1. The Adelaide Chronicle, South Australia, Thursday, 26 February 1948, page 41. Accessed on Trove, Australian Newspapers On-line, the National Library of Australia:

2. Kneebone / Hollow marriage, Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) Saturday 24 March 1928, page 74:
and The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) Monday 19 March 1928, page 9:

3. Henry Kneebone (1876–1933) entry, Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, Online Edition: ;
Henry "Harry" Kneebone (17 March 1876 – 22 December 1933), entry, Wikipedia:

Some additional details available.

Submitted by M. Diane Rogers
Member 1069
SAGGERS surname family study:

Outrage in the Forest

Hiram Archer was born in 1825 in Yorkley, West Dean, a parish in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. His mother Elizabeth was a widow and was forced to take in a lodger at their house in Pillowell to make ends meet. Hiram started work at the local colliery at Parkend at the age of thirteen and without any discipline from a father, he proved to be a very wayward boy, constantly in trouble. On the night of 29 July 1851 he had been drinking at the Nags Head in Yorkley with his friend James James. The other young men who joined them were George Charles, Richard Kear, Thomas James, Henry Shapcott and Thomas Stephens. They all worked in the local mines and often drank together. Fights were always breaking out in the pub and this night was no exception, the landlord William Charles having to send for the local constabulary again to break up a fight. A middle-aged woman called Mary McCarthy, who was visiting the area looking for her brother, was warming herself by a brazier outside the pub. Then events took a terrible turn. Mary was raped by each of the young men in turn, Hiram Archer being the ringleader.

Nags Head, Yorkley

Nags Head, Yorkley

On 1 August 1851 two of the men, Richard Kear and Thomas Stephens were arrested and taken to Littledean House of Correction, near Cinderford. James James and George Charles were arrested a couple of days later. The police then set out finding the other alleged offenders as Mary McCarthy had said a total of nine men had raped her. The Gloucester Journal reported the arrest of yet another man at Blaenavon in Wales. “We have now to announce the apprehension of another collier on the same charge named Hiram Archer, resident of Pillowell, who had absconded on the morning after the outrage. Mary McCarthy positively identified the prisoner as the man who first committed the assault upon her.”

The news of “The brutal outrage in the Forest” spread from house to house and filled the newspapers for many weeks. Seven of the nine men accused of rape on that Tuesday night of the 28th July 1851 had now been detained at Littledean House of Correction and were taken to the court at Newnham. It was no wonder that Hiram Archer had absconded as he had previously served a sentence of ten days for “absenting himself from his master’s service”. His previous record showed him to be of good character but he was now described as being “of bad character” and his description is given as 5 ft 2 in tall with black hair, dark eyes and a long dark face pitted from smallpox. He was also said to have been “the principal actor in the case” and was committed for trial at Gloucester along with the others.

Hiram Archer, James James, Richard Kear, Henry Shapcott and George Charles were sentenced to transportation for life. Thomas James and Thomas Stephens were each sentenced to fifteen years transportation. In 1853 they all left England for Bermuda after having served time in Millbank Prison, London.

Both Hiram and Thomas James died in October 1853 having contracted yellow fever. George Charles eventually returned to England in 1861 to serve the rest of his sentence there and died in 1875 in Oldcroft, Forest of Dean at the age of 47. James James was released in August 1863 and settled in Australia where he died in 1882. Thomas Stephens arrived back in England for release in 1857 but no more is known of him. Richard Kear and Henry Shapcott were released in 1863 and 1864, returned to the Forest, and both married and had children. They were able to tell the families of the other men of the trials and tribulations of the Bermuda imprisonment and the time spent in Millbank and Portland prisons before leaving England. Hiram’s widowed mother Elizabeth introduced the two men to her grandson and was proud to tell them that he had been named Hiram, after his uncle. Both were accepted back into the community and spent their days quietly until Richard’s death in 1901 and Henry’s in 1906. (The full story of the Forest of Dean convicts is related in ‘Bermuda Dick’ by Averil Kear.)

Janet Rigby
Member 1314

George Edward SILLIFANT

George Edward Sillifont

George was the last of seven children of the globe-trotting William Henry Sillifant. His father was noted as a plasterer in the 1891 and 1901 censuses for England and Wales, and George appears to have followed in his footsteps in the profession.

After returning from their travels in New Jersey, USA and Toronto, Canada, the Sillifant family settled in Lancashire, first in Chorlton and then Hulme. In 1891, George was noted as a scholar aged 6 living at 17 Belleck Street, Hulme (Source: RG12/3197/89/43) with his widowed father and five siblings (his sister Mary died aged just 14 days old in 1878).

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In 1901, George aged 16 and his father William are both boarding at 8 Eden Street, Manchester with George being referred to as a plasterer’s apprentice – presumably his father was teaching him the trade.

Sadly, George lost his father a year later when he was just 17. Although George’s siblings were easily located in the 1911 census, George was nowhere to be found. This would seem to be because he had the globe-trotting bug and he has been found on the SS Campania shipping manifest, arriving in New York in January 1911. He then appears in border crossing manifests from Canada back to the USA, arriving into St Albans, Vermont, in September 1908 from Moncton, Canada and this crossing occurs again in 1915 but the difference here was that his wife, Gladys, was noted in the column ‘name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came’:

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George Edward and Gladys’ marriage has yet to be located but Gladys is known to originate from Wrexham, Wales, being born as Gladys JONES – oh joy! This information has been gleaned for her border crossing card in January 1915:

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George served in the Royal Navy during World War I, enlisting in March 1917, and he transferred to the Royal Air Force when it was formed on 1 April 1918.

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Above, George Edward’s Royal Navy record and below, portions of his RAF record (ADM 188/614/29)

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George and Gladys return to the USA very shortly after the end of World War I and George’s uncle – his late father’s half-brother Francis James – is referred to in the shipping manifest on their return aboard the Baltic.

George and Gladys settled in Williston Park, Nassau, New York it would seem and they are present there in the US Federal Censuses of 1930 and 1940, with their two children, Alfred Edward and Grace born in 1926 (29 June) and 1930 respectively.

At some point, George and Gladys were granted US citizenship by naturalisation though the exact date of the petition and declaration is not clear.

George died in February 1975 with his last known residence noted on the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) as 11783 Seaford, Nassau, New York.

Gladys’ death has not been located and no further information is known about Grace after 1940. Alfred still resided in New York State until at least 1996 and he does not appear to have passed away according to available records.

Kirsty Gray
Member 1002

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ann ASHLEY nee MARTIN (1853-1915) and Family

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ann MARTIN was baptised at St John the Baptist church, Frome, on Whitsunday 15 May 1853. Her parents were James Charles (occupation cordwainer [shoemaker]) and Mary MARTIN of Milk Street, Frome.1

Aged 17, Elizabeth gave her occupation as pupil teacher, of 81 Milk Street, in the 1871 UK census. A Frome vicar arranged for Elizabeth to be a nursery teacher in Folkstone.2

In 1877, Edward ASHLEY (age 23), a missionary teacher at the time, returned from the USA to marry Elizabeth Ann MARTIN (age 24), spinster of Milk Street on 4 October 1877 (following banns on 16 and 23 September) at St John the Baptist church, Frome. Witnesses were the bride's father (shoemaker) and elder sister Lydia MARTIN.

Following their marriage, Edward and Elizabeth sailed from Bristol (near Frome) on the SS Arragon3 and arrived at the port of New York, New York on 23 October 1877. The immigration record (as advised by cousin Vicki) contradicts arrival as Castle Island, [South Boston, Massachusetts] with Elizabeth's occupation recorded as pupil teacher.

The Western Times; Exeter, Friday, October 5, 1877.

The Western Times; Exeter, Friday, October 5, 1877.

Lizzie Martin 2Elizabeth is said by her family to have been a school teacher to the Native Americans and personally knew Chief Sitting Bull. Reverend Edward ASHLEY (1853-1931) also earlier knew General Custer.

The 1880 United States Federal Census4 records Edward ASHLEY, age 26, occupation divinity student, Elizabeth (age 26), occupation keeping house and Jessie H., age 1, birth year abt 1879 Dakota Territory, of Faribault, Rice, Minnesota.

No record has been found for this ASHLEY family in the 1890 United States Federal Census which is not surprising since many records were destroyed by a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington.

At some point, however,  Elizabeth sent home to Frome these Indian beeded gloves which are still in the family as a cherished reminder of our links with Dakota.

Lizzie Martin 3

The 1900 United States Federal Census records Elizabeth A ASHLEY, age 45, birthplace England, home in 1900 of Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, Dewey, South Dakota, race white, immigration year 1877, years married 23. Other Ashley household members were: Edward, age 45, immigration year 1873, birth date December 1854, occupation clergyman; CJW (female), age 21, born South Dakota in December 1878; Edward A., age 18, born South Dakota in December 1881; Martin A., age 16, born South Dakota in April 1883; William C, age 13, born South Dakota in February 1887; Robert L., age 9, born in South Dakota in July 1890.

Elizabeth died on 28 December 1915 and was buried at the Riverside Memorial Park, Aberdeen, Brown County, South Dakota, USA.

Lizzie Martin 4Winona (Elizabeth's oldest child) is known to have corresponded with her cousins in Frome from at least 1918.

Although the originals of the letters sadly no longer exist, someone in the family in the US had the foresight to transcribe them to a typed version so they may be shared with future generations. This exchange of family news and current affairs, including the family's participation in WWI, from across the pond continued until at least 1952, albeit the cousins changed over that time. That first letter from Frome did reveal that Elizabeth had visited her birthplace many years earlier with her youngest son Bob. These letters have, on occasion, given me a very personal insight into the lives of my own direct ancestors.



1 Frome Hundred CMBs 1846-1864
2 Corresponding Cousins letter dated 24 November 1920
3 New York, Passenger Lists 1820-1957 (c/o Ancestry UK)
4 All US Federal Census records obtained from Ancestry Library Edition

Gordon Martin
Member 1210