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Edward COLE sr 1831 - 1860

June 28th, 2010 (02:51 pm)

Edward Cole senior was my great-great-great-grandfather. 




The only piece of information I have which may possibly apply to him, was given to me as applying to his son. Apparently “Grandad Cole” (that is, my grandmother Violet May Cook(t)’s maternal grandfather), used to live at Maryland Cottages on Brownsea Island, and used to sing at the Castle. One day he was summoned to sing but was unable to oblige due to being ill. The very next day he was kicked off the island, and pined for the rest of his life. He eventually died, at Baiter, staring out towards the island he could never go home to. That story is far more likely to belong to Edward junior, rather than to his father who provably died in Dorchester.




For a long time Edward only existed as a name on the marriage certificate of his son, also Edward Cole, my gg-grand-father. Eventually I found a likely candidate for Edward senior on ancestry.co.uk - a Private Marine aged 19, at Haslar Hospital. Having a Royal Marine for a step-father (Allan Peter Blinston, b29th May 1941 approx, adopted), I had always been aware of Haslar - in fact I think Allan was in there for a while for his shoulders. Then I decided to search The National Archives and I found the following entry: “Edward Cole, born Dorset. Attestation papers to serve in the Royal Marines at Portsmouth 1849 (when aged 17). Discharged 1853 as an Invalid.” I requested an estimate for making the papers (4 pages) available for download. (The cost was £22-40, which I thought very steep, but I had high hopes of being able to find out his next of kin, where he'd served and why he was in hospital. When I eventually got the papers I was very disappointed not to find a next-of-kin noted, or more details of his service or sick-leave. However, to compensate, I did learn what ship he’d served on (just the one in his short career), which opens up vast googling possibilities.




Given that Edward was 19 at the 1851 census, he was presumably born around 1831/2. This is supported by the fact that he stated that he was seventeen years and six months old when he joined in 1849. At the extremes, he either turned seventeen years and six months on 9th January 1849 ie born July 9th 1831, or he was going to be seventeen years and seven months on 10th January 1849 ie born June 10th 1831. Therefore he was born between 10th June and 9th July 1831. Such a person would have been NINE years old at the 1841 census, and indeed my Edward was given as NINETEEN in 1851.

I have not yet found a christening for Edward, nor an 1841 record I am confident of. His marriage to Charlotte states him as being 30 as at 2nd May 1858, giving him a birth date of 3rd May 1827 to 2nd May 1828. His marriage to Eliza merely states that he, like her, is of full age, making his date of birth earlier than 14th August 1832, assuming he told the truth at this marriage.


Edward’s discharge papers from the Royal Marines state that he was born “in the Parish of Wimborne, in or near the Town of Wimborne in the County of Dorset.”




Not known for sure yet. From his first marriage certificate I have that his father was James Cole, a labourer. From his second marriage certificate we learn that James was a gamekeeper. From a possible entry (?Edmond? Cole) in 1841 I have his mother as Ann, widowed by then. This doesn’t really tie up with the fact that he doesn’t state James as being deceased either in 1853 or 1858.





The possible family I found in 1841 have about six siblings.









We do not know when Edward started work, or where he worked. When he joined the Marines in 1849 he stated his occupation as Labourer, which could realistically cover anything the recruiting sergeant considered worthy of no grander name.





On 9th January 1849, Edward signed his Attestation to join the Portmouth Division of the Royal Marines as a Private. Someone has written “10 past 1 on Tuesday” next to the page or part page containing the Attestation, but I can’t even tell from the image whether it’s originally the same piece of paper, or whether some later researcher has scribbled a personal note on a historical record! Edward officially became a Private on 11th January 1849. His age was given as seventeen years and six months, which was six months underage. He therefore had to sign on for twelve years and six months rather than just twelve years.


Edward became Number 6195, 90 Company. According to his discharge papers, Edward was a Labourer at the time of his signing up.


Edward’s appearance at Attestation is given as fresh complexion, height 5’ 7½”, hair and eyes brown. He said he had been given two shillings and sixpence to enlist, and the Magistrate confirmed that he “was not enlisted until twenty-four hours had elapsed after receiving Enlisting Money.”


The surgeon’s report, signed 9th January 1949 at Forton, says “He has the following particular Marks or Scars: a circular scar from a burn on the back between the shoulders, and a smaller one immediately below it arising from same cause; a small scar from a Cut xx xx forehead.”


His Attestation states that he was enlisted “on the 9th day of January 1849 at 10 mins before 1 o’ clock pm, at Forton Barracks”. Edward states that his Bounty was £3/17/6. He was not at that time in the Militia; he was not married nor apprenticed; he was not, and never had been, in the Services.


Edward made his mark on his Attestation at “¼ past 11 o’ clock AM” at Gosport.





In the 1851 census, Edward is in Haslar Hospital, and is stated as being a “Private Marine”. His birthplace is given as Colehill in Wimborne. His records do not show his medical history, and he doesn’t appear to have been in hospital very long on this occasion, as he was assigned to his (only) ship in August of the same year.



1851 - 1853: ABOARD H.M.S. RODNEY (1833)


If I’m reading the discharge papers correctly, Edward was attached to HMS Rodney on 19th August 1851 and spent a total of one year, six months and fourteen days afloat, presumably all on the Rodney.

Six ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Rodney, and Edward’s ship was the fourth of the name, a 92-gun second-rate “wooden wall” ship of the line designed by Sir Robert Seppings, Chief Surveyor of the Navy. Measuring 205 feet along the gun deck by 54 feet in the beam and a tonnage of 2626, she was innovative in that she was the first two-deck ship to carry more than 90 guns. She was built at Pembroke having been laid down in 1827 and was launched in 1833, at which time she carried men, 47 boys and 146 Royal Marines.


Among Edward’s colleagues on the Rodney - although we can have no idea whether he ever knew them - were William Neilson Edward Hall, the first Canadian sailor and black man to receive the Victoria Cross, and the future VICE-ADMIRAL SIR WILLIAM KENNEDY, K.C.B, who was aboard as a Midshipman.


In his book, FIFTY YEARS IN THE ROYAL NAVY, Sir William tells us that when he joined the service on 10th December 1851, Rodney was “a fine 90-gun, sailing line-of-battle ship, then lying in Portsmouth harbour waiting for her crew”. We learn from Sir William that amongst her officers, “Captain Graham was an officer of the old school and a fine seaman, and the commander, George Randolph, one of the smartest officers of the day, and a strict disciplinarian.”


The following passage describes life on the Rodney at a time during which we may reasonably assume Edward was aboard:


“Anything more miserable I cannot imagine than an old line-of-battle ship rolling and pitching in the trough of the sea, the gunroom ports all barred in, and nothing but "salt horse" to eat, for in those days we were not allowed to take any live stock to sea. After this cruise the Rodney was attached to the Channel Squadron.


“Whilst cruising with this squadron we came very near being wrecked on Lisbon bar. We were being towed out by a steamer in a dead calm, but there was a terrific sea on the bar, the hawsers parted, and we were left rolling helplessly in the trough of the sea, and drifting towards a most dangerous reef. The tiller broke off short in the rudder, the rudder-head sprang, and it seemed all over with us, when a light breeze came up from seaward, all sail was made, and we managed to get. back into port.


“Feb, 1853.- We left Spithead in a snowstorm, and being discovered snowballing on the poop, the commander ordered me and another youngster to remain there for the rest of the day and sweep the poop clean of snow.”


This last paragraph describes setting sail for Malta; although the dates of Edward’s service aboard the Rodney suggest he must have been aboard, his record does not state that he was ever in Malta. On the contrary, his record shows that he was assigned ashore on 4th March 1853. Presumably he was considered unfit for passage to a foreign station.






Before and after his service on the Rodney, Edward served a total of two years, eight months and twenty-seven days ashore, up to 21st April 1853. His Discharge Board met on 23rd April 1853, and reached the conclusion that “his general conduct and character is Good.” It would appear that Edward was in Haslar Hospital when the Discharge Board met, but there is a word I can’t read. It looks like ‘luk’ but there is a dot as if there is an ‘i’ in the middle.


Edward’s discharge papers show that he was a Private from 11th January 1849 to 21st April 1853, a total of four years, three months and eleven days. However, for six months of this time he was “under age” ie under eighteen, and so his total service credited is adjusted to three years, nine months and eleven days.


His discharge papers state that his name does not appear in the Defaulters’ Book, and his discharge was signed at Forton Royal Marine Barracks on 23rd April 1853. The cause of discharge is given as “Phthisis - Contracted in the Service”. Although ships’ surgeons had known since 1824 that the constant dampness caused by frequent scrubbing of the decks increased the incidence of tuberculosis (phthisis), this was still common practice for many years afterwards, and it seems the most likely explanation for Edward’s contracting the disease. Edward was invalided from Haslar Hospital on 16th April 1853.


The Discharge Board consisted of Captains Kennedy and Menzies, with Colonel Wearing presiding. The standard wording “appeared” (ie before the board) is crossed out, and the unreadable word “luk” appears again, as in “90th Co Edd Cole Private luk in Haslar Hospital appeared.”


On 11th August 1853, shortly after the occupation of the Danubian Principalities, Queen Victoria conducted a review of a Royal Navy fleet at Portsmouth, at which Czar Nicholas's two eldest daughters, Maria Nikolayevna and Olga Nikolayevna - who happened to be in England to the time - were honoured guests. The event is reviewed here. The Rodney was not present, being in Malta, but I wonder if Edward went to watch, or whether he was too ill?





From 1853 until his death in 1860, Edward appears to have worked on the railway. In 1856 he says he is a Porter, and by 1858 he calls himself a Pointsman.





For a long time, this marriage was speculation only: I had Edward’s son, my gg-grandfather Edward jr, born London, as grandson to William Hine in 1861 and 1871, but no sign of the mother. Also in the household in 1861 are William’s daughter Emma née Hine and her husband Andrew Kerley. Having found their marriage under HIND/KERLEY, I then looked for a HIND/COLE marriage, and found it in 1853.


On 14th August 1853, Edward Cole, Labourer, and Eliza Hind were married in the Parish Church of Wimborne. Both were of full age, batchelor and spinster. Fathers were James Cole and William Hind, both Labourers. Edward signed and Eliza made her mark. The ceremony was conducted after Banns by Henry Good, who also seems to have been a witness! There are two other witnesses: William Allen and Charles ??Dephus?? William Allen was my favoured candidate for husband to Eliza’s sister Jane, and I think his being Eliza’s witness proves my case. This presumably means Charles ??Dephus?? was on Edward’s side, although if Edward wasn’t local Charles might have been a friend or relative of the Hines’. I need to check the certificate for Edward’s occupation.





In 1861 and 1871, Edward jr’s grandfather William Hine gave his place of birth as London. Unfortunately there are rather too many Edward Coles born “London” around this time to have much hope of identifying the correct one. From 1881 onwards Edward jr stated Wimborne as his place of birth, but the family story says he claimed to have been born on Brownsea.


Edward’s old ship, HMS Rodney, was at the siege of Sevastopol, which took place September 1854 - September 1855. Would that have been any reason for Edward and Eliza to have been in London? The Rodney went aground during a Naval attack on the town, on 17th October 1854.





There is no sign of Eliza in 1861 or 1871, but there is a death record in Wimborne in the June quarter of 1856. I sent for the certificate - Eliza Cole, wife of Edward Cole, a Porter on Railway, died on 5th April 1856 of Phthisis. She was only 24 and had been “ill some time”. As I now know that Edward was invalided out of the service due to Phthisis, one has to wonder whether she caught it from him.


Eliza died in Pamphill, and the informant was Jane James, present at the death. I need to find Jane James in 1851. I thought she was a sister, but a Jane Hine married William Allen in 1844; a William Allen was witness at Edward and Eliza’s marriage; I can find no death of William Allen or remarriage of Jane Allen between 1853 and 1856. (Of the fifteen Jane Jameses in Dorset in 1851, nine are in RD Wimborne!)


In 1857 one of Edward’s former shipmates, William Hall, distinguished himself greatly at the siege of Lucknow and was later awarded the V.C. for the action.




I had not been able to find Edward anywhere after the marriage to Eliza, but then I found on freebmd a marriage to Charlotte Facey or Sarah Beavis in the second quarter of 1858. The other male on the page was a Robert Hine, although I think this is probably coincidental. I have found Robert and Sarah Hine in 1861, and I have also found a widowed Charlotte Cole in all censuses 1861 to 1901. I sent for the marriage certificate, thinking it would be great if it said widower, father James Cole, labourer, occupation Porter on Railway!! When it arrived, it said widower, father James Cole, game-keeper, occupation Pointsman. That’s my man! The only odd bit is that it gives Edward’s age as 30, which really doesn’t fit, while Charlotte’s is given as 26 which does.


Charlotte’s father is given as Rich’d Feacey, Smith, and her address as The Hill [Fordington]. Her occupation is Laundress, as it remained for the rest of her life.


Edward and Charlotte were married after banns in the Parish Church of Fordington, by Frederick John Moule, Curate. The first witness looks like K Feacey, but the “K” looks more like the “R” in Edward’s address (Cuckold’s Row!) than like the “K” for the second witness, K L Feacey. (Kezia Langford Feacey??). Did Charlotte have a brother Richard?


We will probably never know whether Edward took his four-year-old son with him to his new marriage; what we do know is that by 1861 Edward jr is living with his maternal grandfather, William Hine, near Wimborne. The suggests that even if he did accompany his father to his new life in Dorchester, he was removed back to Wimborne and his mother’s family after Edward sr’s death.





Edward and Charlotte’s daughter Emily Charlotte was registered in the March quarter of 1859 in RD Dorchester, and according to the IGI she was christened in Fordington on 11th July 1859. However, St George’s in Fordington has a baptism for Emily Charlotte, daughter of Edward and Charlotte, on 12th May 1859. Address The Hill, father’s occupation Porter, and gives 11th July as her burial date.


Emily Charlotte died at only fourt months old and was buried on 11th July 1859 at St George’s, Fordington. Her residence was given as Fordington  Hill, and the death was registered in the September quarter of 1859 in RD Dorchester.






Edward’s former shipmate William Hall was awarded his Victoria Cross on Oct. 28, 1859. The ceremony took place aboard HMS Donegal in Queenstown, Ireland. Given that not only was Hall the first black man to receive the most distinguished award in the British forces, but his parents had been slaves, this was presumably big news at the time. I wonder how Edward felt about it all - whether he was pleased to have been safely out of the action, or disappointed to have missed the glory he possibly signed up for.





The rather grandly named second child of the second marriage was registered in the June quarter of 1860, and baptised at St George’s, Fordington, on 27th May 1860. Edward and Charlotte’s address is given as The Hill, and Edward’s occupation as Porter.


I have found Alfred Ernest Edward in the census up to 1901. In the December quarter of 1881 he married Mary Clatworthy Davies in the Bedminster RD, which is apparently around Bristol somewhere.





Edward died in RD Dorchester in the second quarter of 1860. The cause of death is given as “Valvular Disease of the Heart, 3 Years, Consolidation of the Lungs”, which to me sounds like two quite separate life-threatening conditions, with the later presumably being what invalided him out of the Marines. His death was registered by an Alfred Cole, present at the death, who was a resident of Southampton. This could well be the Alfred Cole who was four years old in 1841, brother to “Edmond”.


Edward presumably died after 27th May 1860 (when his son Alfred was christened). Perhaps his brother Alfred was visiting to be godfather to the baby? Edward was buried at St George’s, Fordington, on 11th June 1860. He was supposedly 33 years old, although by my reckoning he was only 28 or 29. His residence was again given as “The Hill”.