Wednesday 23 January 2013

News Flash: Black Sheep found in Bristol

At the beginning of December last year I wrote a post about my 1st cousin 4x removed, John Elstob Hutton, who absconded with the funds from the insurance company he was secretary of in Hartlepool, Durham in 1866.  At the time it was reported in various newspapers that it was thought he'd taken around £300 to £500 and left the country.

Last night I found him in Bristol.  I had tried a search on FreeBMD with *Elstob in the Firstname(s) field and Hutton in the Surname.  I was looking for someone entirely different, but was happily surprised to see a marriage and a death for John Elstob Hutton listed in the results.  The registration area for the marriage was Clifton, which I know is Bristol so I then tried a Google search for Bristol Parish Records and found a helpful post from the Bristol and Avon Family History Society.  They were recommending a relatively new set of records on Family Search, parish register transcripts from the Bristol area from 1538 to 1900.    I duly nipped off to try them.

John Elstob Hutton married Jane Susannah Evans at Christchurch, Clifton on 27th January 1869.  He gives his father as Robert Ellstob Hutton (why the double 'el'?  Transcription error or written down wrong by the minister maybe?). 

I've been to Clifton - it's very nice and has lots of historic buildings dating back to the area's heyday as a spa and very busy port.  I found a document about the conservation of the area on Bristol council's website - look under Clifton and Hotwells.  There are some maps in the document too, and lots of historical information. 

In the 1871 census John and Jane were living at 8 Dover Place, Clifton.  I managed to get a picture of the house John was probably living in from Google Maps. Sorry about the funny angle and the cars - but trying to get no.8 straight on was impossible!

Dover Place, Clifton, Bristol, nos 6, 7, 8 (from Google Maps)
It looks like a very nice house for a Commercial Clerk - his declared occupation on the census return - I wonder if his ill gotten gains helped fund it?  They have a 14 year old general servant girl and two lodgers, a dressmaker and a French teacher (I mean he was from France, but yes, he was teaching French as well!) so they weren't that well off. 

John and Jane had two daughters, Caroline Vaughan Hutton, born in late 1869 and Catherine Elizabeth Hutton, born 1873.  There may be more children who died young between census returns, but I could only find one baptism on the Family Search Bristol site - for Caroline at the Holy Trinity church at Westbury on Trym.  By 1881 he has moved to Langton Street in Bedminister, and if Langton Park is the same road the houses are a lot smaller.  He now gives his occupation as Comm Clerk and Watchmaker!

John dies in the last quarter of 1889, still in Bristol.  Jane and Catherine are at Napier Road, Eastville, Bristol in 1891.  Jane is working as a Schoolmistress and Needlewoman, with Catherine as her assistant.  They have three rooms of the small terraced house with two other people as a separate household in two other rooms.  Caroline is not at home, but I found her working and living in as a waitress in a pub on the eponymously named Adam and Eve Passage, off Wine Street, Bristol. There is a baptism record on Family Search for a boy called William Hexham Vaughan Hutton in St Simon's church, Bristol, in June 1890 with the mother's name given as Caroline Hutton - the co-incidence of the Vaughan name suggests this is Caroline's illegitimate son, however I can find no further sign of him or a death entry in that name on FreeBMD.

In fact, on the basis of last night's search the whole of the family goes missing after the 1891 census - there are some deaths which may be them, but nothing conclusive and after 1901, so where are they all in that census?

So I've cleared up the mystery of where John Elstob Hutton went when he fled Hartlepool with his ill gotten gains, he probably took a ship and made his way from one port to another making his way to Bristol.  He appears to have started off fairly well, marrying and starting a family in a nice area, but his fortunes appear to decline and after his death his wife and daughters have to find work to support themselves. 

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