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“Isle of Wight, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), Arthur Sydney Williams, 1937; Isle of Wight Register Office, Cowes, IOW, Hampshire, England. N60/E29.)
iv. Florence Louise Williams was born on 26 March 1865 at 31 St. Johns Road in Ryde, IOW, Hampshire, England.”
The Isle of Wight Chapter of the Bond Family Chronicles takes us back to Jessie William’s parents, George and Harriet Williams who lived in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Like so many of my ancestors, their story is interwoven with tragedy, poverty and loss. And yet, their home, the Isle of Wight, was and still is a magical place, with breathtaking ocean views, rolling green hills and winding roads.
She thinks of nothing but the Isle of Wight and she calls it The Island as if there were no other island in the world.Jane Austen Mansfield Park
George Williams was baptised on 2 April 1823 at Thomas Church in Winchester, Hampshire, England. ((Roy Montgomery, Hampshire, England, to Barbara Jean Starmans, email, 12 September 2006, “George Williams – Suggestions,” privately held by Starmans, Richmond Hill, Ontario, 2006.)) George died of senile decay on 19 December 1907 at 35 Prince Street in Ryde, IOW, Hampshire, England. ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), George Williams, 1907; General Register Office, London, England. I[sle of] Wight vol. 2b: 507.)) He married Harriet Storey on 5 March 1857 at the parish church in Newchurch, IOW, Hampshire, England after banns. ((Isle of Wight, Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage (long form), George Williams and Harriet Storey, 1857; Isle of Wight Register Office, Cowes, IOW, Hampshire, England. COE27.2/296.))
According to George Williams’ death certificate, he was eighty three years old at the time of his death in December 1907 in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), George Williams, 1907.)) This would suggest he was born about 1822. George’s marriage certificate shows his father was Benjamin Williams, a coachman. ((Isle of Wight, Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage (long form), George Williams and Harriet Storey, 1857.)) The 1851 census shows George’s birth place as Winchester, Hampshire. ((Ancestry, “1851 England Census,” database on-line and digital images, Ancestry.co.uk (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : downloaded image 28 July 2006), Class: HO107, Piece: 1664, Folio: 133, Page: 13, and GSU roll: 193571; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1851.))
Looking through baptismal records from Winchester, only one George Williams, with father Benjamin a coachman, is found. He was baptized on 2 April 1823 at St. Thomas Church in Winchester. ((Montgomery to Barbara Starmans, email, 12 September 2006.)) His mother is listed in the record as Jane. No marriage was found in the Hampshire mainland marriage indexes for a Benjamin Williams and Jane in any time period. ((Ibid.)) In the Isle of Wight marriage card index however, there is a record of Benjamin Williams marrying Jane Fellows at Newport on 7 June 1813. ((“Isle of Wight consolidated parish register index, 1539-1858,” White – Williams, FHL Microfilm 1,279,043 and Williams – Woodford, FHL Microfilm 1,279,044 of original card index, Isle of Wight Family History Society, Original cards at Isle of Wight County Record Office, Newport, IOW, Hampshire, England.)) There are no burial records in the Hampshire mainland indexes for either Benjamin or Jane Williams that appear to fit the appropriate ages, ((Montgomery to Barbara Starmans, email, 12 September 2006.)) but on the Isle of Wight, we find a Benjamin Williams burial record from 19 May 1829 in Newport. ((Burial of Benjamin Williams, 19 May 1829, aged 40 at Newport, “Isle of Wight consolidated parish register index, 1539-1858,” FHL microfilm 1,279,043.)) Two weeks after this burial, we find a record of Jane Williams of Newport being given poor relief of 5 shillings for herself and three children. ((Isle of Wight House of Industry (Newport, IOW, Hampshire, England), Weekly Minute and Outdoor Relief Books, 1829-1834, Z/Ho/1-28, 44-63, 74, 30 May 1829 – 7 August 1830, Williams (3 children) 5 s on 30 may and 6 June 1829, subsequent weeks read 6 s. Some entries indicate “Widow Williams – 3 children”; FHL microfilm 1526215.)) On 14 August 1830 we see Jane Williams of Newport being admitted to the House of Industry in Newport along with her children Henry, aged 12, George aged 8 and Charles aged 1-1/2 and a note indicating that her husband was dead. ((Isle of Wight House of Industry (Newport, IOW, Hampshire, England), Admissions and Discharges 1820-1839, Admissions 1830, 14 August 1830, Williams, Jane, aged 40; Williams Henry, aged 12; Williams, George, aged 8; Williams, Charles, aged 1-1/2, admitted by “The Committee” from Newport, Reason: “Husband dead”; FHL microfilm 1470909, item 1.))
With no records existent to disprove the theory and many diverse supporting records, it is very probable that this Benjamin Williams and Jane Fellows are the parents of George Williams.
2. Harriet Storey was baptised on 12 February 1826 at the parish church of Newchurch, IOW, Hampshire, England. ((Parish Church of Newchurch (Newchurch, Isle of Wight), Baptisms, Marriages, Marriage Banns, page 171, Harriet Storey; FHL microfilm 1,470,879 Items 1-15, entry 1365.)) Harriet died of senile decay on 2 June 1906 at 75 St. Johns Road in Ryde, ((Isle of Wight, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), Harriet Williams, 1906; Isle of Wight Register Office, Cowes, IOW, Hampshire, England. R41/E334.)) and was buried on 7 June 1906 at the Ryde Cemetery. ((Dave J Quigley and Isle of Wight Family History Society, compiler, Cemetery Burials on the Isle of Wight, CD-ROM (Isle of Wight: Heritage Digital Archives, 2008), RYDA – Page 259, Harriett Williams, aged 81, burial 7 Jun 1906.))
Harriet Williams’ death certificate shows that she died at the age of eighty one at Ryde on the Isle of Wight in June of 1906. ((Isle of Wight, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), Harriet Williams, 1906.)) This would suggest that her birth occurred in about 1825. The marriage certificate for Harriet Storey to George Williams shows that her father was Thomas Storey, a coachman. ((Isle of Wight, Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage (long form), George Williams and Harriet Storey, 1857.)) Census records from 1861 onward all show Harriet Williams as being born in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. ((Ancestry, “1861 England Census,” database on-line and digital images, Ancestry.co.uk (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : downloaded image 4 August 2006), Class: RG9, Piece: 657, Folio: 103, Page: 27, and GSU roll: 542679; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1861. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1861.)) Prior to her marriage, the only 1851 census record showing a Harriet Storey in Ryde shows her living with her mother, Rebecca Storey. ((Ancestry, “1851 England Census,” database on-line and digital images, Ancestry.co.uk (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : downloaded image 25 July 2006), Class: HO107, Piece: 1664, Folio: 20, Page: 7, and GSU roll: 193571; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1851.)) A search of the Isle of Wight baptism index shows only one Harriet Storey, baptized at the parish church of Newchurch on 12 February 1826, ((“Isle of Wight consolidated parish register index, 1539-1858,” Stile – Taylor, FHL Microfilm 1,279,035 of original card index, Isle of Wight Family History Society, Original cards at Isle of Wight County Record Office, Newport, IOW, Hampshire, England.)) which is consistent with Harriet’s age throughout the various census records and with the age at death given on her death certificate. Her parents are listed as Thomas and Rebecca Storey. A search of the Isle of Wight marriage indexes for Thomas Storey and Rebecca shows only one entry for a Thomas Storey and Rebecca Wearne. ((“Isle of Wight consolidated parish register index, 1539-1858,” Stile – Taylor, FHL Microfilm 1,279,035 of original card index, Isle of Wight Family History Society, Original cards at Isle of Wight County Record Office, Newport, IOW, Hampshire, England.)) A newspaper article from the Newport News gives an account of the death of a coachman, Thomas Storey and indicates that he left a wife and five children, ((“Postscript,” Newport News, Hampshire Telegraph of Portsmouth, England, 20 October 1828, Coachman Storey collapses Saturday last after coach left Ryde. Storey brought to Newport where he died leaving a wife and five children.; Weekly Newspaper, Gale Group (http://find.galegroup.com : downloaded image 15 January 2010), 19th Century British Library Newspapers; Issue 1515.)) a fact consistent with the family grouping of the Rebecca Storey family in 1841. ((Ancestry, “1841 England Census,” database on-line and digital images, Ancestry.co.uk (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : downloaded image 25 July 2006), Class: HO107, Piece 406, Book: 9, Civil Parish: Newchurch, County: Hampshire, Enumeration District: 8, Folio: 28, Page: 11, Line: 5, and GSU roll: 288806; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1841.)) Considering this evidence from many sources, it is very likely that Harriet Storey’s parents were Thomas Storey and Rebecca Wearne.
Children of George and Harriet Williams
i. Jessie Harriet Williams, born 26 November 1857, Ryde, IOW, Hampshire, England; ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), Jessie Harriet Williams, 1857.)) died 29 December 1941, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ((Quebec death certificate 9-033289, (29 December 1941), Jessie Williams.))
ii. George Henry Williams was born on 4 March 1860 at 10 Nelson Street in Ryde, IOW, Hampshire, England. ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), George Henry Williams, 1860; General Register Office, London, England. I[sle of] Wight vol. 2b: 454.)) He died of scarlatina maligna on 2 November 1863 at the age of three at St. Johns Road in Ryde. ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), George Henry Williams, 1863; General Register Office, London, England. I[sle of] Wight vol. 2b: 336.))
iii. Arthur Sydney Williams was born on 16 May 1862 at St. Johns Road in Ryde, IOW, Hampshire, England. ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), Arthur Sydney Williams, 1862; General Register Office, London, England. I[sle of] Wight vol. 2b: 497.)) He died of cardiac degeneration of old age on 18 June 1937 at the age of seventy five at St, Mary’s Hospital in Newport, IOW. Arthur William’s death was registered by JM Rorie, acting Chief Resident Officer of Forest House, Parkhurst. ((Isle of Wight, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), Arthur Sydney Williams, 1937; Isle of Wight Register Office, Cowes, IOW, Hampshire, England. N60/E29.)
iv. Florence Louise Williams was born on 26 March 1865 at 31 St. Johns Road in Ryde, IOW, Hampshire, England. ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), Florence Louise Williams, 1865; General Register Office, London, England. I[sle of] Wight vol. 2b: 504.)) She died on 26 February 1866 of bronchitis at the age of eleven months at St. Johns Road in Ryde. ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), Florence Louise Williams, 1866; General Register Office, London, England. I[sle of] Wight vol. 2b: 369.))
v. Laura Jane Williams was born on 19 January 1867 at 31 St. Johns Road in Ryde, IOW, Hampshire, England. ((England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), Laura Jane Williams, 1867; General Register Office, London, England. I[sle of] Wight vol. 2b: 552.)) No record has been found of her death.
George Williams – Early Years
George Williams was born in Winchester, Hampshire and baptised on 2 April 1823 at St. Thomas Church. George had an older sister Ann who was seven, a sister Jane who was four and a brother Henry who was only two. George was the only one of his siblings to be born on the mainland. His family were “islanders” from the Isle of Wight. George’s father Benjamin may have brought his wife Jane and the children to Winchester looking for work as a coach maker. Perhaps the new job did not work out or maybe the family was just homesick but sometime after George’s birth, the young family returned to the Isle of Wight.
When George was about five years old his younger brother Charles was born but not long after that, tragedy struck the family and George’s father, Benjamin, died at the age of 40. He was buried in Newport on 19 May 1829.
With no means of support now that Benjamin was gone, Jane did not know how she could feed her family. By the end of May, she had no choice but to swallow her pride and accept relief from the parish. The two girls, Ann and young Jane, no longer lived with Jane. At fourteen and ten, they probably had been sent out to work as live-in domestic help. Henry, George and baby Charles were too young to work and stayed with their mother. As a widow with three children to support, Jane received 5 shillings a week from the parish and when it became clear that this wasn’t enough their allowance was raised to 6 shillings a week. Jane continued to struggle to feed and shelter the children but finally, on 14 August 1830, with Charles ill, she had no choice but to enter the “House of Industry” in Newport on the recommendation of the committee.
Not long after the family arrived at “The House”, little Charlie became ill and died. He was buried in the House of Industry cemetery on 8 September 1830. Stricken with grief over the loss of her baby and desperate to escape the workhouse, Jane discharged herself on 2 October 1830 leaving Henry and George behind.
With little choice in the matter, Henry and George settled to life at “The House”. As in many workhouses of the time, their daily breakfast would have been bread and butter served at eight o’clock in the morning. Their dinner was probably taken at noon. On Sundays, they might eat boiled beef and on Mondays they would likely have peas-porridge, made with the water from Sunday’s boiled beef. On Tuesdays they might have only bread and butter and Wednesdays might bring beef soup. Thursday was probably bread and butter again. Friday was often the best meal of the week with potatoes or green peas or beans with fat bacon or pork. Saturdays they likely had to make do with rice-milk. Their supper, after their days work was probably either more bread and butter or a bit of potato.
On 19 October 1833, Henry was discharged from the workhouse at twelve years of age. Probably he had found a situation where he could be apprenticed and work for his own keep. Finally on 2 June 1834, George was also discharged from the workhouse.
By the time of the 1841 census, George had found his life’s work. He was working as an apprentice gardener and living with the Young family. Next door to Young’s was the Turner family consisting of Charles Turner a gardener, his wife Jane and a thirteen year old daughter also named Jane and it was possible that George was apprenticed to him although an official indenture has not been found.
Ten years later, George was twenty six years old still working as a gardener. He lodged with Jacob and Helen Day and their young family at 45 Mount Street in Ryde. In due course, George met Helen Day’s sister Harriet and the two began keeping company.
Harriet Storey – Early Years
Harriet Storey was baptised 12 February 1826 at Newchurch. Her parents were Thomas Storey, a coachman and her mother was Rebecca, formerly Wearne. She was the youngest in a family of five. Her brother William was the oldest at seventeen. Her sister Caroline was fifteen. Her brother Thomas was twelve and the baby Helen was only four years old when Harriet was born.
When Harriet was not quite three, her father Thomas died suddenly while driving the coach from Ryde on 18 October 1828. The Hampshire Telegraph reported what happened that day:
On Saturday last, shortly after the morning coach had left Ryde, the coachman, Storey, was taken suddenly ill, and fell back on the roof quite insensible. One of the passengers then took the reins, and with the assistance of another outside passenger, the poor fellow was brought, between them, a distance of six miles to Newport, where every attention was paid him, but all to no purpose, as he remained in the state he was first taken, till he expired, which happened on the following day, leaving a wife and five children completely destitute.Newport News, Hampshire Telegraph of Portsmouth, England, 20 October 1828
After Thomas was laid to rest, Rebecca pulled herself up by her boot straps. Before long, she was working as a green grocer and doing her best to keep the children well and fed.
On 13 September 1832, Harriet’s oldest brother William married Mary Ann Horder at Newchurch. The following year, Harriet became an aunt when William and Mary Ann’s baby Caroline Elizabeth was born. The baby was baptised at the Wesleyan Church in Ryde on 10 November 1833.
At the time of the 1841 census on 6 June, Rebecca was forty five years old and working as a green grocer. Caroline was twenty, Helen was nineteen and Harriet was fifteen years old. The family lived on Union Street and had a lodger named Dana Denham who was a brick layer.
On 25 November 1845, Harriet’s sister Caroline married Charles Henry Leek at Newchurch and two months later, on 25 January 1846, her sister Helen Sophia married Jacob James Day. Harriet could not have been more excited when later that year, Caroline gave birth to twins on 8 October 1846. The boy was named Walter and the girl was actually named Harriet! But poor wee Harriet was frail from birth and at five months of age, she quietly passed away on 22 February 1847, the day after the twins were baptised at the Methodist Church in Ryde. She was laid to rest in Ryde Cemetery in plot 398. The whole family was devastated.
By October, Caroline’s husband Charles developed pneumonia and on 13 October he passed away and was buried next to the tiny Harriet.
By 30 March 1851, when the census taker came to collect information, Harriet and her mother were living on Monkton Street in Ryde. Rebecca was sixty two years old and working as a green grocer. Harriet was twenty five years old and working as a dress maker.
Towards the end of the year 1851, Caroline’s four year old son Walter became ill with scarlatina and passed away. Walter was buried at Ryde cemetery, reunited with his twin sister and father.
It is not known when Harriet met George Williams but most likely she knew him when he was a lodger at her sister’s house in 1851. Maybe Harriet was waiting to see if George would make something of himself or maybe she was just playing hard to get but it wasn’t until George was thirty three and Harriet was thirty one that the couple finally decided to make a life together.
George Williams and Harriet Storey – The Married Years
On 5 March 1857, George Williams married Harriet Storey at Newchurch. Two days later, an announcement appeared in the Isle of Wight Observer.
Married On the 5th inst., at Newchurch, by the Rev. Alfred Cooper, M.A., Mr George Williams, gardener, to Miss Harriet Storey, both of Ryde.Isle of Wight Observer, Ryde, England, 7 March 1857
Nine months later, on 26 November 1857, Harriet gave birth to a daughter who they named Jessie Harriet. When Jessie was born, George and Harriet were living on George Street, down near the Esplanade, not far from Harriet’s mother lived with her sister Caroline on Pier Street.
The town of Ryde was a popular summer resort and boasted large villas and hotels near the beach where visitors enjoyed the fashionable bathing facilities. George had now been a gardener for many years and probably made a decent living working for some of the wealthier residents of Ryde. On 30 June 1860, he entered some of his plants to the Isle of Wight Horticultural Society Exhibition and won first prize for his six gloxinias and his brace of cucumbers.
On 4 March 1860, George and Harriet’s first son was born in their new home at 10 Nelson Street, a block east of George Street and they named the baby George Henry. No doubt the baby was named for his father and his middle name may have been for George’s brother Henry.
By the following year, the family had moved to St. John’s Road. They were recorded there by the census taker as George and Harriet, both age thirty five, Jessie H, daughter age three and George H, son age one. St. John’s Road was further inland, away from the hustle and bustle of the waterfront and was a quieter place to raise a family. Two years after George Jr. was born, Harriet had another son on 16 May 1862 and they named him Arthur Sydney.
In the early 1860’s, England continued to experience localized epidemics of fever, scarlatina, measles, diphtheria, whooping-cough and small-pox. In the fall of 1863, three year old George Henry came down with the dreaded scarlatina. He would have had a fever, been covered from head to toe in an intensely red rash and his throat would have been very sore. In those days before penicillin, there would not have been much that Harriet could do for young George except try to keep him cool and hydrated and to make sure that six year old Jessie and one year old Arthur did not come into contact with him. Finally, on 2 November, young George could fight no more and he died at home at the age of three.
On 26 March 1865, Harriet had a second daughter who they named Florence Louise but before her first birthday, Florence had developed a case of bronchitis she couldn’t get over and died at home on 26 February 1866. The following year, Harriet and George had their last child on 19 January 1867. They named their daughter Laura Jane.
Harriet’s mother Rebecca was still living with Caroline down on Pier Street but was getting quite elderly at the age of seventy seven and had not been feeling well for some time. On 29 September 1867, Rebecca died while her old friend Mary Ann Perkins was with her. The family buried their mother in Ryde cemetery and placed a headstone that read simply:
In memory of Rebecca, wife of Thomas Storey, departed this life, September 28th 1867, aged 77 years.
At the time of the census in the spring of 1871, the family was still living in the house at 31 St. Johns Road. George was shown as forty six years old and a gardener. Harriet was forty four, Jessie was thirteen, Arthur was eight and young Laura was four years old.
In 1879, George and Harriet’s daughter Jessie found herself in the family way. No doubt it was a difficult conversation when Jessie broke the news to them that she was pregnant with a soldier’s child. Even once Jessie had married William Bond, the baby’s father, in a quiet ceremony at the Wesleyan chapel on 6 August, George and Harriet must still have been worried about their daughter’s future. The couple had married without the sanction of William’s commanding officer and if he were to be transferred, what would happen to their daughter Jessie and her child? Without official sanction, Jessie would not be recognized as William’s wife.
When official permission was finally given for William to marry Jessie, George and Harriet must have been very relieved. The second wedding took place in Portsea, at St. Mary’s Church on 1 October 1879. After the wedding, Jessie must have journeyed back across the Solent to her parent’s home on St. John Street because on 4 October, she gave birth there to the baby they named William George. Then two short months later, George and Harriet were saying goodbye to their first born daughter and their first grandchild as they departed with William and the rest of his regiment, off to his new posting in Delhi, India.
Two years later, when the census was taken, George and Harriet were recorded still living at 79 St. John’s Road. Their son Arthur Sydney was eighteen and working as a coach builder and their youngest daughter Laura was fourteen and still going to school. About this time Arthur began working as an apprentice to Francis Carter. Francis was a carriage and harness maker and employed some two dozen men. By early 1886, George and Harriet found themselves in a familiar situation. Laura Jane was pregnant but this time there would be no last minute marriage. On 9 November 1886, Laura gave birth to a daughter in her parent’s home on St. John’s Road. She named the baby Florence Ethel and on her birth registration, Laura wrote “no father” in the space provided.
While George and Harriet were preoccupied with Laura’s problems, Arthur decided that he had finished with the business of carriage building and after a brief service with the Royal Navy, he joined the army. He enlisted on 19 March 1888 at Bodmin, Cornwall in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. On his attestation papers, he was described as being 5 feet 4-1/2 inches tall, 125 pounds with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. He was heavily tattooed and had a dancing sailor, a Maltese cross and an anchor on his left forearm and a bracelet around his left wrist. There for four dots on the back of his left hand and rings on his middle and ring fingers. On his right forearm were a rose and sailor Jack, another bracelet on his right wrist and three dots on his right hand. On his left leg was a man of war at full sail and on his right leg a tattoo of the crucifixion. On 18 October 1889, Arthur’s regiment was sent off to the East Indies where he would remain for five years.
In the spring of 1891, the census showed George and Harriet still living on St. John’s Road. Laura was twenty four years old and her daughter Florence was just four. A few years later, George and Harriet would have heard from Jessie that William had died in London and that Jessie was taking the children to live in Canada.
Not long after Jessie left, George and Harriet’s only son returned home from the East Indies. Arthur was discharged from service as an invalid on 23 October 1894. He had contracted syphilis while abroad and despite treatment with mercury and other remedies, he was no longer fit for service. Arthur returned home to live with his parents.
It soon became apparent that Arthur was no longer the same man that left the Isle of Wight in 1888. George and Harriet must have despaired at the changes in their son during his time in the East Indies. On 25 July 1898, Arthur was brought forward on charges of theft at the Petty Sessions in Ryde. He was accused of stealing a coat and vest belonging to Henry Barnet on 23 July. During the investigation into the theft, it was discovered that Arthur had stolen the clothing from the Esplanade Hotel stables and had sold it to Mills, a shop keeper on St. John’s Road for a shilling. Arthur told the court, “I have had sunstroke in India, and I am not accountable for my actions.” He was convicted and fined ten shillings and costs or would serve seven days if he failed to pay.
On 6 February 1899, Arthur was once again brought up on charges at the Petty Sessions in Ryde. This time he was accused of forging a cheque for the payment of £5 10s, with intent to defraud. On 25 January, not knowing how to write out a cheque, Arthur had gone into the Turk’s Head bar and asked the landlord, Charles Fripp to assist him with writing one out. Fripp gave Arthur some ink and showed him how to fill out the cheque book that Arthur had from the Capital and Counties bank. Arthur made out the cheque for £5 10s and signed the cheque with the name of Francis Newman. Arthur’s father George had been gardening for Francis Newman for many years and Arthur had even assisted his father with the care of the Newman property on Thomas Street. Arthur then took the cheque and went to a store on High Street and purchased a coat and pair of trousers for £1 13s 6d, giving the cheque as payment and receiving the change in cash. When the police came to arrest Arthur at his parent’s house on St. John’s Road, Arthur said “I don’t remember nothing about it.” When he saw the evidence, he agreed, “Yes, that is my handwriting. I made it out, but I must have been mad at the time.” Arthur was committed to trial at the Assizes in Winchester. On 18 February 1899, Arthur was tried at the Hampshire Assizes and was convicted of the forgery. He was sentenced to six months hard labour.
When the census was taken in March of 1901, the enumerator found George Williams still living on St. John’s Road and still a gardener. His age was listed at seventy five although he was at least seventy seven at the time. Harriet was shown to be seventy five as well and living with them was their granddaughter Florence who was fourteen years old. What became of their daughter Laura is not known.
Pictured here in about 1900, George and Harriet look like they’ve withstood the test of time. George sports a neatly trimmed beard and mustache and wears his suit and vest as though he’s not quite used to the formal apparel. He has a firm grip on his cane and it seems likely that all of the years of gardening have taken their toll on his back and that maybe a little arthritis has settled into his bones. Harriet has only the bit of lace at her neck to offset the austerity of her dress. They appear to be sitting in a conservatory or green house of sorts and one can almost feel the sunshine streaming through the windows.
Not too long after this picture was taken, Harriet died on 2 June 1906. She was buried in the Ryde cemetery on 7 Jun 1906. The following year, on 19 December 1907, George died and was buried at her side.
This concludes the Bond Family Chronicles. The Isle of Wight is one of my favourite places to visit and I’ve been fortunate to visit the Island twice, walking the roads that my ancestors walked, standing in the churches that they were baptised and married in and standing by their graves. The Storey family is still shrouded in mystery but the Williams family roots are spread throughout the villages of the Isle of Wight extending back from Benjamin Williams through four generations of George Williams to the earliest known George Williams of Brook, born in about 1660.The Social Historian
Laura Jane Williams, the youngest known daughter of George and Harriet Williams, is currently on my Most Wanted list. Laura was last seen in the 1891 census at her parent’s house at 75 St Johns Road in Ryde, and she seems to have disappeared afterwards without a trace. Her daughter Florence has been found. She emigrated to Canada in 1905, eventually settling in Michigan. Her descendants have no knowledge of Laura and do not know what happened to her. Any information about her whereabouts after 1891 would be greatly appreciated via bjstarmans @ thesocialhistorian.com.