Thursday, October 29, 2009

DAWES Family Mystery No 2

This is DAWES Family mystery No. 2 because No. 1 is the photo at the beginning of this blog which has yet to be identified. See it here.

The following is a letter that was written from Reg BARNES (1905-1983) to his cousin Win (DAWES) RHODEN (1906-1994) and I would date probably in the 1970's although this is a guess. I have a photocopy of it, provided to me by a descendant of Win DAWES.

Our grandfather's father was named Thomas Dawes. He was born in Hadlow, near Maidstone, Kent in the year 1812! At the time of the Census Returns 1851 he was 39 and married to Ann, who was a native of Uckfield, and aged 35. They had a son Joseph, age 15, Labourer, born in Uckfield, a daughter Lucy, age 13, born in Uckfield, a son Thomas, age 11, Scholar, born in Framfield, a daughter Ann, age 8, Scholar, born in Uckfield and a daughter Margaret, age 5, born in Uckfield.

This would mean that Thomas, our grandfather (name underlined, above) was born in 1840, and he used to say it was at Lantern Cottage, Bird-in-Eye Hill, which, although on the outskirts of Uckfield, is actually in the parish of Framfield. The place is still standing, though it has been added to since Grandpa's day, and is now called Lantern House. It stands by itself, now surrounded by trees, and I often pass it on my walks. The family must only have had a short period of residence there. Now comes a most peculiar circumstance: In a list of christenings in Uckfield Parish by John Underwood, Curate (which I found in the Archives at Lewes), it gives Aug. 29th, 1842, Thomas, son of Thomas & Ann Dawes, Uckfield (Bricklayer). And then again on Oct. 22nd, 1843, Thomas, son of Thomas & Ann Dawes, Uckfield (Bricklayer), and on the same date Ann, daughter of Thomas & Ann Dawes, Uckfield (Bricklayer).

Was Grandfather really christened twice? And the second time a double christening with his younger sister! One of these days I am going to draw our present Rector's attention to this, and see if he has an explanation. As far as education was concerned, Grandpa used to say he got as far as M.U.D., and there he stuck! At the age of 14 he walked to Brighton in a pair of his father's old boots to seek employment, and by sheer grit and perserverance became in course of time one of Brighton's leading builders.

He married about 1862, when he was 21 years old, Sarah Boxall, whose mother was said to be the daughter of Dr. Jenner, the originator of vaccination. Grandpa had a family of nine, four boys and five girls, our Uncle Walter being the eldest. You know who the others were, of course. Aunt Ada died, I believe, before you & I were born, and there was one (I think a girl) who died in infancy. Aunt Bertha was born April 22nd, 1871, my mother (Minnie) Sep. 18th, 1874. Connie's father (Tom) Dec. 16th, 1880.Can you give me the date of birth of your father (my Uncle Bert)? The other birth dates I do not know. Grandpa lost his first wife, as you know, and married Sarah Roust, from Battle, by whom he had one child (our half-Uncle George).


Reg is right about most of his facts and you can find the missing pieces elsewhere in earlier blogs including the birth and death of Florence Ellen in 1870.

The mystery is the double christening of Thomas. There could be a number of explanations for this:
1) The first Thomas died in infancy and the next son was also named Thomas.
2) Thomas b. 1840 was sickly and was christened quickly at home in 1842 and then properly in the church with his sister in 1843.
3) He was born in Framfield and his parents didn't want him christened there and waited until they moved to Uckfield proper.

Since his older siblings Joseph and Lucy, were both christened within weeks of their births it is strange that Thomas wasn't. His birth registration gives his birth date as 14 Jan 1840. The family are found in the 1841 census at the North Entrance of Uckfield with Joseph (5), Lucy (4) and Thomas (1) which supports his birth is 1840. The 1851 census shows Thomas as eleven which is correct for the Thomas born in 1840. There are no recorded deaths or burials for a Thomas between 1840 and 1842 or additional births for that matter.

Why he was christened so long after his birth and then again a year later will remain as much of a mystery for me as it was for Reg Barnes many years ago?

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