Alice Beilby (born about 1822) and Robert Thackeray (1825-1859)

Alice is my first cousin four times removed. I have already written about her younger sister, Esther, (1830-1875) who emigrated with her husband William Heaton and two sons, to Utah, USA in 1856. William was a Mormon Elder who had met Esther while he was developing his ministry in the East Riding of Yorkshire in the 1850s. It was entries in his missionary journal which helped me to find out more information about Alice and her husband Robert.

Alice was baptised on 17 February 1822 in St Helen’s Church, Wheldrake, to parents Thomas Beilby (1789-1859) and Mary Walker (1793-1850). By the 1841 census Alice was living in the nearby village of Escrick where she was working for Joseph Lewis, a farming bailiff. At some point Alice moved to York where she became a servant in the North and East Riding’s Pauper Lunatic Asylum, in Clifton. The asylum had opened on 7 April 1847.

OS Yorkshire174 date 1853

Note: the three circles show the asylum, approximate position of St Olave’s parish church and the one on the far right is York Minster.

While she was at the asylum, she met another servant, Robert Thackeray, who was a baker. Robert had been baptised on 18 January 1825 in St Sampson’s Church, York, to parents Robert, a butcher and Elizabeth. Robert was admitted into the Register of Freemen of the City of York on 27 April 1846, by birth right, and his address given as Swinegate, York. 

Around the time Alice met Robert, he seems to have also had a liaison with Mary Ann Richardson. Mary had entered the asylum as a patient in December 1848, been deemed cured and started work there as a housemaid. Robert was named as the father of her child in a report on a bastardy case detailed in the York Herald (23 November 1850, page 6). It seems that Mary had left the asylum in June 1850 and declared that the child she was carrying was Robert’s. Robert was then given notice to quit by the asylum; he said that he would marry Mary if the committee of visitors would allow him to continue working there. They didn’t agree to his request. The magistrates in the bastardy case ordered Robert to pay Mary 1s 6d per week towards the upkeep of her son, Albert, who was born 25 October 1850 and baptised on 1 November 1850 in St Cuthbert’s Church, York. Mary and Albert were living at 34 Bilton Street, York at the time.

Robert left the asylum in June 1850, along with Alice, my ancestor. They were married by licence in St Olave’s church in York on 11 June 1850; they both gave their address as the asylum. Robert’s father, Robert’s occupation was recorded as a butcher and Alice’s father, Thomas’s occupation as a farmer.

St Olave’s Church Tower (York)

By the 1851 census Robert and Alice were living in Wheldrake with her father, Thomas, and Alice’s siblings, William and Mary. What happened next was something of a mystery, until I re-read the missionary journal of William Heaton’s, Alice’s brother in law. His entries for 18 and 19 November 1851 talk about Brother Thackeray (Robert’s brother George) and Alice herself, as follows:

Extracts from William Heaton’s missionary journal for 18 and 19 November 1851

From this it seems that Robert had already emigrated to the USA, perhaps to avoid paying for his son Albert. He may not though have adopted the Mormon faith as I couldn’t find him in either the Saints by Sea or the Mormon Migration Databases.

William later recorded in his diary entry for 2 April 1852 that he had taken tea with “a number of saints and friends at Mother Newsom’s”. Alice was about to join her husband in the USA and this was her farewell party. William then helped Alice with her luggage to the railway station on 5 April and by 8 April the family had heard that Alice had arrived safely in Liverpool. Despite an extensive search of passenger lists and Mormon records I have been unable to find when either Robert or Alice left for the USA. They don’t feature again in William’s journal, although Robert’s younger brother George does. George (1836-1890) arrived in Utah on 7 January 1853 where he served as a Justice of the Peace and County Commissioner.

Unfortunately, the only other record I’ve been able to find for Robert is a Millennium File record on Ancestry with details of Robert’s death on 9 January 1859. No further corroborating evidence has been found.

A record of Alice’s second marriage to Daniel Badcock on 17 September 1868 in Manhattan, Kings, New York, USA has been found. Daniel (born about 1834) had travelled to the USA sometime after he was made bankrupt on 30 May 1862. He had been a brewer and publican of the Bevois Tavern, Winchester, Hampshire, England. However, no further census or other records have so far been found for the couple. A particular challenge with regards to Alice is her age which varies widely depending on the record. For example, when she married Robert in 1850 she said she was 22 (born about 1828), in the 1851 census her age was recorded as 26 (born about 1825) and when she married Daniel she gave her age as 35 (born about 1833). The only baptism record found for Alice was in 1822.   

If you know more about what happened to Alice, Robert and Daniel then do please contact me.  

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography:

Baptisms, marriages and burials. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed April 2021.

Census records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed April 2021.

Freemen records. Collection: City of York Apprentices and Freemen, 1272-1930. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed April 2021.

Heaton, Daniel H. ed. (1967) Missionary Journal of William Heaton. Utah: Publishers Press. https://www.familysearch.org/catalog/search : accessed April 2021.

London Gazette. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed April 2021.

Mormon Migration Database, 1840-1932. https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2365248 : accessed April 2021.

Newspapers. Collection: British Newspaper Collection. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed April 2021.

North and East Ridings of Yorkshire Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Annual Report 1850. https://wellcomelibrary.org/item/b30313740#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&z=-0.4374%2C0.2678%2C1.9259%2C0.9745 : accessed April 2021.

North and East Ridings of Yorkshire Pauper Lunatic Asylum (Clifton). https://www.countyasylums.co.uk/clifton-york/ : accessed April 2021.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : April 2021.

Saints by Sea. https://saintsbysea.lib.byu.edu/ : accessed April 2021.

St Olave’s Church Tower. Beep boop beep, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 : accessed April 2021.

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