8 Oct 2011

Part 11: Visit to New Hampshire

Thomas Swinfield had died in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1893. He was apparently buried in Proprietor’s Cemetery along with his daughter, Elizabeth Warburton (1839-1925). Despite all my efforts to contact someone at South Street Cemetery, of which Proprietor’s is just one of five enormous parts, in advance of a trip to New England (as part of a 60th Birthday extended holiday to NE America and Canada), no-one answered the phone or replied to the messages which I left.
St John's Episcopal Church

On arrival, we went to the Portsmouth Public Library. The man who showed us around the “Special Collections” room was very helpful and we had the resources to ourselves. They hold an index to those buried at South Street which links the inscriptions to a map showing where the graves are. Not only did we locate the Swinfield/Warburton plot but also the burial of Thomas’s “wife”, Maria, Elizabeth’s mother, who had emigrated with him in 1854. She died as early as 31st October 1865, stated to be aged just 60. This was recorded in the records of St John’s Church in Chapel Street. She died just prior to his marriage to his second wife, Amy, in 1866. Both Frances and William John Warburton, her grandchildren, were married in that church in 1882 and 1890. 

We were then able to visit Proprietor’s Cemetery and go straight to the grave. What an amazing feeling it was for both Di and me to stand by the stone which commemorates Thomas’s passing and where he was laid to rest after such an adventurous life! He was later joined by his daughter and her husband as well as his grandson and granddaughter. It seems that Edwin Swinfield Warburton commissioned the inscription about 1926 leaving room for his death year to be added when he finally joined them. That was not done! The other grandson, William John Warburton (1864-1930), is buried with his family elsewhere in the Harmony Grove area of South Street. He was the great-grandfather of my newly found 3rd cousin, once removed, who lives in South Carolina. It seems that someone still tends the Warburton/Swinfield grave as fresh pelargoniums have recently been planted. I have left a card asking them to contact me the next time they visit. I wonder who they are?

1207 & 1205 Islington Street
We even visited the house where Thomas died in 1893 at 1207 Islington Street. It had been divided into two parts, as required in his will. The eastern half, now 1205, was left to his grandson. Another house, 1191 Islington, was built on the same plot around the time of WWI, where William Warburton lived until his death in 1930.  
1191 Islington Street

It is very strange and moving that we have now found out so much about Thomas after more than 30 years of searching. It was very hard to leave Portsmouth, which is a lovely place to live!  

3 Oct 2011

Part 10: Cousins in America!

Elizabeth Swinfield Cooper, born at 10.15 am on Tuesday, 28th February 1839, at Calverton, as the illegitimate daughter of Thomas Swinfield and Maria Cooper, was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at the time of the 1860 census. She was the newly-married wife of John Warburton, a painter. What happened to her and do we have American cousins?

Marriage of 1859 

The card index of registration records for New Hampshire is searchable through the FamilySearch website of the Mormon Church. Elizabeth Swinfield had married John on 27th August 1859 in the Middle Street Baptist Church, Court Street, when she was 20. It is believed, from all the records found for her, many unearthed by genealogist, Sandi Hewlett of Philadelphia, that she produced at least four children. They were Frances, born in 1862 at Portsmouth; William John born 6th December 1864 somewhere in the state of Massachussetts; Annie who was born and died in 1865/6 at Philadelphia and Edward or Edwin on 28th October 1866 in Boston.   

By 1870, when the census was taken, this couple and their three young children were back in Philadelphia. John was working as a French polisher. 

1880 census of Portsmouth, NH
1886 Portsmouth City Directory 
In 1880, Elizabeth was a young widow of just 40, living with Fannie, William and Edward at 9 Bartlett Street, back in Portsmouth. The 1886 Portsmouth city directory places them in residence at Islington Road/Street, the house which Thomas Swinfield left in his will, dated 1891, to his daughter and his grandson, William. Interestingly, although Frances Swinfield Jameson did not die until 1923 and the other son, Edwin/Edward, lived until 1927, neither was mentioned by their grandfather.

Elizabeth remained a widow throughout the remainder of her long life, living at Milburn Street in 1900 and Islington Street in 1910 and 1920. She was at 1207 and her son at 1191 and were these the two halves of the same building as bequeathed by Thomas? Elizabeth finally died at the age of 86 on 23rd January 1925 of a brain haemorrhage. Her obituary was published in the Portsmouth Herald on that same day. She too was laid to rest in Proprietor’s Cemetery, possibly with her father.
1910 census of Islington Street, Portsmouth, for the Warburton and Davis families

Obituary of Elizabeth Swinfield Warburton,
died 23 January 1925, in The Portsmouth Herald
Frances Jameson had a daughter, Josephine, who married Charles Edwin Davis. They lived with the Warburtons in 1910. After the death of her husband, she moved to California where both she and her own daughter died. It is not yet known if there are any living descendants of hers. 

William John Warburton (1864-1930), the executor of Thomas’s will of 1894, had three sons. Only one, John Edwin (1891-1964) had issue. Just this week, we have, through the social network which is Facebook, made contact with his granddaughter in South Carolina. 

My sons have an American 4th  cousin!