Saturday, 30 July 2016

#15 George Holland Sheaf - Jamaica George revisited.

A while ago I wrote about my 2x great grandfather George Holland Sheaf and the mystery that surrounds much of his life (and death) in Jamaica. You can read that post here to refresh your memory. It seems however, that sometimes one only needs to wait before new information comes to light. As more and more records from around the world get digitized, more information is available to family researchers.

Just on the off chance I did another search for George Holland Sheaf and I have to say I was very, very surprised to see new results. The first new bit of information about him was that he did NOT die in about 1865, but lived until 1 Feb 1893, aged about 75. His death is recorded as having occurred at Bruce Hill in Kings District, Westmoreland, Jamaica. From the little I have been able to find out about Bruce Hill it appears that distant family connections probably through the Moores and the Tates owned this property. He is recorded as being a widower (which we knew) and a pauper (which we did not know).

The second somewhat startling discovery was that at least two of his children, other than Louisa our great grandmother, survived into adulthood. His eldest child Mary Moore Sheaf born in 1849 lived until 1909. She is recorded as dying a spinster at a place possibly called Barnes, Kings District, Westmoreland and her occupation is given as seamstress. Her younger brother George Kemble Holland Sheaf, born in about 1857, also survived childhood and lived until the age of 66, dying of fever in 1922. His death is recorded as having taken place at Friendship, Westmoreland. He also never married and is recorded as having been a carpenter.

Now all this just raises more questions! What happened to the other children? Who looked after them? Why was Granny Sheaf, Louisa, raised by Episcopalian Missionaries (so the story goes) and who were they? Did Granny Sheaf even know that she still had siblings alive after she left Jamaica? Was her father George Holland Sheaf somehow disowned by his wife's family the Briggs? Was he a wastrel? (Possibly, I would suspect!) Aaaaaaargh!!! So many little mysteries to solve!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

#14 Culpepper Goddard - To the Manor Born

This week I have been trying to tidy up the Goddard ancestors on my Sheaf line and it has been proving quite tricky, even with the newly discovered help of Parish Register transcriptions from the Wiltshire Family History Society. The Goddard family was numerous and influential in this part of England but sadly they had very fixed ideas about the naming of children, which makes it a little tricky sorting out where everyone fits in! There are even instances of families with two Thomases or two Johns (usually designated the elder and the younger) but my word, where is the occasional Tibbot or Aubrey when you want one!

This led me to think about the person who connects the Goddard name to our family tree and she in fact has a beautiful and unusual name. Culpepper Goddard, my 8 x great grandmother was baptised in Miserden, Gloucestershire on the 10th August 1641. Her parents were Richard Goddard Esq of Swindon, Wiltshire and Culpepper Sandys. The name Culpepper was the maiden name of her grandmother Margaret, who had passed it on to her own daughter and thence to her granddaughter. Culpepper was the second daughter of Richard and Culpepper; the first being Sandys Goddard who had also been born at Miserden the year before. I wondered for a while why these first two children were baptised at Miserden when Richard was 'of Swindon' and all the later children were baptised at Swindon, however it became clearer when I realized that the Sandys family were based at Miserden. Culpepper Sandys' father William died several months before Culpepper Goddard was born so no doubt that would be reason enough for the baptisms at Miserden.

Richard and Culpepper went on to have three more daughters - Ann, Joan and Bridget - before Culpepper (the mother) died some time after Bridget was born. Richard remarried in 1648 and he and his new wife Ann Bowerman had a long awaited for son, Thomas, who went on to great prominence as High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1675. Richard died soon after young Thomas was born, so his new bride Ann was left to raise her own son and five step-daughters.

Richard was obviously quite a canny man and made sure he had made adequate provision for his daughters, so as to ensure good marriages for them. In Feb 1647/48 he entered into a sale of land along with his kinsmen Thomas Sandys of Miserden, George Fettiplace of Lincoln's Inn and William Lawrence of Broome in order to settle money, in trust, on his daughters Sandys, Culpepper, Ann and Bridget. I presume from this that Joan had died as a youngster.

In 1657, Culpepper received an inheritance from her bachelor Uncle Thomas Sandys, consisting of a gold ring with four diamonds in the form of a cross. I like to imagine that she may have worn this at her wedding which must have taken place fairly soon after. The exact details of when and where she was married are not yet discovered but certainly by 1661 she was wed to John Colles of Guiting Power in Gloucestershire and was a mother to a daughter called Culpepper!

Manor House near Guiting Power
© Copyright Roger Davies and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It seems that the daughter gene continued on very strongly in this part of the family as John Colles and Culpepper only had three children, all daughters; Culpepper born in 1661, Eleanor (our ancestor) born in 1662 and Ann.

At some stage in their married life, Culpepper's bachelor uncle Edmond Goddard came to stay or live with them. When he died in October 1676 he was buried at Guiting Power and his will records bequests to his nieces Culpepper, Bridget and Ann as well as to his nephew by marriage John Colles.

The next mention of Culpepper comes in some legal documents of 1678 where she is named as the wife of John Colles. Also mentioned are two of her sisters, Ann and Bridget, described as spinsters and of Catislade, which was the name of the Colles manor where Culpepper and John were living. It appears that Culpepper as the elder and married sister was looking after the younger girls. I wonder how John coped with his wife, two sisters in law and three daughters? I imagine he went out a lot!

Culpepper was widowed in Jan 1694/95 and her husband John was buried in the church at Guiting Power. Not having any sons to take charge of the Manor, John's will is somewhat complicated. In essence he leaves the property to his good friends Nathaniel Lye (his brother in law, husband of his wife's sister Bridget Goddard) and George Townsend (his nephew, son of his sister Ann), with the income to be divided between his wife Culpepper, his brother William and his unmarried daughters Eleanor and Ann. Quite how the manor ended up back in the ownership of Eleanor and her eventual husband David Hughes I am not sure. Cetainly the incomes from his messuages, tenements, cottages and etc should have provided nicely for his wife and children. I just hope Mr Lye and Mr Townsend played fair!

The next evidence I have for Culpepper is her burial record in Guiting Power on 15th March 1707/08. She was 67 years old. What is interesting though, is that she obviously wasn't living in the manor at the time of her death. I have found an inventory taken after her death which indicates she was living in lodging rooms in Painswick, Gloucestershire. In her will, she divides most of her goods and chattels between her three daughters and I was very excited to find that her special diamond ring, received from her Uncle Thomas Sandys, was mentioned specifically and was bequeathed to her eldest daughter Culpepper.

I suppose the message I take most from Culpepper's story is how financially dependent women of these times were on their fathers, husbands, uncles, brothers in law and nephews. I am reminded of Mrs Bennet in Pride and Predjudice, who in spite of her annoying manners, really does understand the need for her daughters to be financially secure before the estate is entailed away, leaving her children potentially homeless and without prospects.  At all stages of her life Culpepper was forced to rely on men for her security and I hope that the fact she ended up in lodgings in Painswick isn't a result of the system failing to provide for her.