Rebecca Allison 1834 to 1909

I came across Rebecca while I was researching the Sarginson family. Tracing her through a series of census records revealed that she had married three husbands during her lifetime and had children with each of them.

All Saints Wistow

All Saints Church, wistow

Rebecca and I share an ancestor. Her grandfather William Allison (1786-1848) is my fourth great grandfather; this makes her father Thomas Allison (1811-1866) my fourth great uncle and Rebecca herself my first cousin four times removed. Rebecca was probably the oldest child of her parents Thomas and Ann Romans (1810-1872), who together had at least eight children. She was baptised on 17 June 1833 in All Saints Church in Wistow and her father’s occupation given as a shoemaker. By the 1851 census the family were living in Bondgate, Selby and in the 1861 census Thomas was described as a master shoemaker still living in Selby. After Rebecca’s father Thomas died her mother Ann continued to live in Bondgate, Selby and was described in the 1871 census as a widow and farmer of four acres.

Selby wistow garforth map

Map showing Wistow, Selby and Garforth

Rebecca married her first husband, William Cleminson (1833-1866), on 11 May 1856 in the newly built St Paul’s Church, Holgate Road, York. William was described as a joiner and his father John a cloth weaver. They both gave their residence as Mount Ephraim, York which at the time was a street primarily lived in by railway workers. Rebecca and William only occurred together once in the 1861 census. By then they were living in Garforth near Pontefract and William was described as a carpenter. They had three children: John (1859-1940), Mary (1863-1901) and Ann (1864-1906). William died in 1866 at the age of 33 and was buried on 27 July 1866 in Garforth.

Rebecca’s second husband was Henry Keely (1842-1869), a railway porter, who she married on 24 Jan 1867 in St Mary’s Church, Garforth. They appear to have had just one child: Harriet, born in 1868 and baptised on 2 May 1869 in Garforth church; her father’s name was given as Harry. Henry died aged 27 in 1869 and was buried on 2 May 1869 in Garforth.

By the 1871 census Rebecca was a widow living in Moor Garforth with three of her children: Mary Cleminson, Ann Cleminson and Harriet Keely. Also in the household were an unmarried “brother” Joseph Keely, an agricultural labourer, and a boarder: Jesse Monks, a coal miner. Joseph was probably her late husbands’ brother.

Rebecca’s third husband was Jesse Monkman (1850-1919) who she married on 30 March 1872 in St Mary’s Church, Garforth. At the time of the wedding Rebecca was described as a widow aged 38 and her father was recorded as Thomas Allison, a shoemaker. Jesse was a bachelor aged 22 and a miner. Presumably he was the boarder living with the family in the 1871 census. Both of them signed the marriage record.

Garforth main st

Main street in Garforth

Rebecca and Jesse had two children: James Thomas Monkman (1872-1947) and Robert Monkman (1875-1956). James was baptised on 11 August 1872 in St Mary’s Church, Garforth, indicating that Rebecca was pregnant at the time of her marriage to Jesse. By the 1881 census Rebecca and Jesse were living at 12 Crompton Street, Armley, near Leeds and Jesse’s occupation given as a labouring maltster. Four children were living with them: Mary Cleminson (a dressmaker), Harriet Keely, James and Robert Monkman. In 1891 the family had moved to 2 Abbotts Place, Armley and Jesse was now described as a maltster. Three children were living with them: Harriet Keely (a tailoress), James and Robert Monkman, both grocers’ assistants.

The final census Rebecca appeared in was the one taken in 1901. Then she was living with Jesse, a maltster, in Laburnum Cottage off the Armley Road. Rebecca died in 1909 and her death was recorded in Hunslet. The 1911 census described Jesse as a widower and foreman maltster living with his housekeeper Emma Simpson at 25 Chadwick Street, Hunslet. Jesse married Betsy Wainwright (1884-1941) in 1921 in St Jude’s Church, Hunslet and died in 1919 aged 68.

Rebecca seems to have had an eventful life, including losing her first two husbands who, were both relatively young when they died. I do wonder how and why they died and if you know anything about any of the people in this story then I would be pleased to hear from you.