I doubt the picture above is of a family of boys. They are all too close in age for that, but nevertheless it would give you an idea of what a family of working class boys would look like. There are seven in this picture. James and Eliza had nine sons, one of whom (Thomas) definitely died as an infant, and another two (Charles John and George Alfred) who may have. As I said before, “poor Eliza!”. So what happened to them all? And then in the autumn of their days it seems they became responsible for two of their grandchildren - Frederick and Isabel, the children of their widowed son Frederick. In 1881 George is the only one of their children still living at home. Alfred, although only fourteen is a working for and living with a local fishmonger, a profession he was to follow. But also in the house are two small children, Frederick aged five and Isabel aged one. Frederick is described as their son, and although this is just possible, a search for births to their son Frederick did indeed turn up a son of the right age. Frederick’s wife Christina, died in 1880, the year that Isabel was born, so we can assume that she died in childbirth. And her grandparents stepped into the breach and took the two motherless children in, whilst their father continued to work in London. Although it must have been a sad time, it might also have been joyful - at last a little girl in the house. And Isabel stayed with them, even after Frederick remarried and his son returned to live with him. For all I know she was with them until they died. She married in 1908, but her grandparents were both dead by then.
Henry William 1847-1932
William was baptised Henry William, but in all the censuses he seems to have been known as William Henry. I’m assuming the William was for his great-grandfather Dearman, but I don’t know his Brown grandparents names, so it might have come from that side of the family - as might have Henry. He was born out of wedlock, but I am 99% sure that he was James’ son.
Sometime between the ages of 13 and 23 he left home and went to work for Charles Standingford, a Carrier, as a Carman, a profession he was to maintain for the rest of his life. A Carman was like a nineteenth century truckie - he drove some sort of vehicle delivering goods - usually in the employ of somebody else. However, by 1901 William was working for himself as a carrier and remover and employing others, though his employees may just have been his sons.
William married an Emma Amelia Fuller in 1872 in Shoreditch - maybe she came from there - and they had ten children - a mix of boys and girls. and a lot of mouths to feed They lived just down the road from his parents in 1881. In 1891 he was in Tottenham hospital but I have no idea why. Whatever it was he must have recovered, because in 1901 he is back in Enfield and now a carrier and remover in his own right. By 1911, still living in the same house, his business must have been flourishing, because his wife is assisting him with the business and two of his sons, Arthur and Albert, are working for him.
The censuses end there, so there is very little else that I know about him. But he lived to the ripe old age of 84 and died in 1932. Imagine how different life in 1932 would have been to when he was born in 1847. Unimaginable.
Frederick, the second illegitimate son, became a confectioner by trade, but the latter part of his life seems to have been rather less prestigious.
Sometime between 1871 and 1875 he left home and moved to the big smoke - probably because there would have been more opportunities for confectioners in the city. And as an aside, confectioner is really a very different profession to the more macho professions of the rest of the tribe. Be that as it may, in 1875 he married Christina Bute in St. Anne’s, Soho, and they had two children, Frederick James and Isabel Christine. But Christina died - probably whilst giving birth to Isabel - the dates tally, and Isabel was also born in hospital, according to the 1881 census - not as normal then as now.
So Frederick went home to Enfield, where his two children are found living with their grandparents, James and Eliza in 1881. Frederick himself is living down the street on his own. Then Frederick did what most men in his situation do - he married again, this time in 1884, to Mary Collins in Bethnal Green - so he had obviously moved back to the city. There was a daughter Florence, but then this wife died too.
He married one more time to Cecilia who was almost twenty years younger than he. Well I can’t find a marriage anywhere, so I don’t know Cecilia’s surname, but I have two censuses and some births in the index to prove it. Maybe they just never married. Anyway the relationship produced at least three children - all girls - Cecilia, Marian and Winifred and lasted until his death - so maybe there was some stability in his life again.
However, it also seems to have brought a downturn in Frederick’s circumstances for by 1901 he is no longer a confectioner - he is a colour/paint factory worker living in Kentish Town in the east end. Maybe it all finally got to him, he couldn’t find work, he took to drink ...? I do not know. In 1911 he is still working as an artists’ colour grinder and his wife and children are also slaving away at lowly trades. I think he continued to live in Kentish Town, but he seems to have died in Hampstead in 1935. His wife lived on until 1965 when she died also in Hampstead - she was 94. Wow - we could have known her - we were well into our twenties by then, and also living in Hampstead (well not quite).
The direct ancestor of the bunch. His story is told here..
John Charles 1856-1922
Not a lot to say about John Charles. He was a labourer - on the roads, a building site - I do not know. He married Emily at some point after 1881, but I cannot find the marriage and they do not appear to have had any children. An unexceptional life. He died at the age of 66.
Thomas 1858-1858 The baby who died. James and Eliza’s first tragedy. He may have been named after James’ maternal grandfather, who may have helped look after James when his mother died and/or when his father was transported.
Charles John/George 1861-1937
Charles was obviously an important name, as was John. Well John was Eliza’s father’r name, but I have no idea why Charles. A little unimaginative though - particularly as John Charles was still alive!
Initially all I had for this child of James and Eliza was a baptism record, and because I couldn’t find anything else I started to wonder whether there was confusion with John Charles - after all it’s just a swapping of names isn’t it? But there are definitely two baptisms listed. I scoured St. Andrew’s records for a burial but he didn’t seem to have died as an infant either. So what happened to him.
Well as I am writing this I am doing a little bit of investigation and this is what I have now realised - where previously I had two separate children - Charles John and George Alfred, there is actually only Charles John or George. The baptism in July has him listed as Charles John, but this might be yet another mistake by the vicar or curate, because the only official registration of birth is for Charles George - and indeed, he seems to have been known as George here and there, or later in life as Charles George.
I suppose I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. So what was his life like? Well pretty sad and lonely mostly I think. He lived at home with his parents until his twenties, then he temporarily disappears. However, in 1901 he resurfaces in a boarding house in Islington working as a general labourer (building) , still single. Which is interesting really. But there in 1911, now in Leyton, Essex (Greater London really) he is suddenly married - and to a much older woman. He is 49 and she is 62! So I then found the marriage in 1903 in Fulham. Well, well, well. No children of course. I do hope this made him happy. These barest of facts give me an impression of a sad and lonely man. I think his wife died in 1929 in West Ham. He died in 1937 still somewhere in Essex.
Sophia Annie 1865-1866 - the real tragedy for Eliza. At last a daughter and she dies at just three months old. It must have been truly heartbreaking And for James too - she was named for the mother he never knew.
Alfred Arthur 1867-1907
To finish with the most sensational story. I fear Alfred Arthur was not a nice guy! He became a fishmonger by trade and married Mary Ann Kitchener in 1888 in Bethnal Green. But shortly afterwards they were back in Enfield, so I can only assume that Bethnal Green is where she came from. Her family also were fishmongers. He also describes himself as a costermonger, which is a street trader, and his wife refers to ‘her barrow’ at her trial. For on July 27 1907 Mary Ann shot her husband. He was drunk and abusive and, it seems, always was, and so she finally broke and shot him. One of the witnesses describes their relationship thus: “prisoner is a most respectable, hard-working woman; she has had a shocking time with her husband; he was a thorough blackguard, the most filthy-tongued man I ever heard; he had been on the drink, with money that she had earned, all this week.” Apparently she only meant to frighten him, and was very distressed. Alfred, who did not die immediately, also said it was his fault: “She did not mean to do it; it was my fault; she did not know it was loaded; I drove her to it.” He languished for a few days, seemed to improve, but on August 2 he died. She was let off, which, I would have thought, was pretty unusual. You can read an account of the trial here. So another sad tale from the Dearman annals. But probably not that uncommon - well the domestic violence and the drinking anyway - maybe not the killing. Good that his parents were dead and not around to see this.