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Frederick Haydon 1858 - 1912

July 4th, 2010 (10:05 pm)


Frederick was my great-grandfather.

 

This document is my complete version, including notes as to how I came to discover various pieces of information, together with my theories and speculations. At some point I will produce a cut-down version showing only the known facts, with sources where appropriate.

 

 

 

FAMILY TRADITION

 

Although Frederick was in some ways quite mysterious, I had more information handed down about him than any other ancestor. The information given below was told to me by my mother, Mary Rachel Cowan, who got it from her mother, Dorothy Sarah Haydon, who had written the information down for Mary not long before she died. Given that Dar was only eight years old when her father died, and that Dar shared a house with her mother, Kate Anna Plowman, until Kate’s death in 1955, I presume that Dar got her information from Kate.

 

The items of information given were as follows:

 

(1) Date of birth 3rd March 1862

 

(2) He was apprenticed as a Blacksmith in Okehampton

 

(3) Argued with his parents and ran away, breaking his indentures, to join the Army.

 

(4) He said his parents were comfortably off, and moved abroad after he left.

 

(5) He was forever worried that “they” would track him down, because breaking indentures could mean a prison sentence.

 

(6) His first wife was buried in Wimborne Churchyard.

 

(7) Somewhere around the turn of the (19th/20th) century, someone advertised in the paper for him, but he refused to answer, in case it was about the indentures.

 

Other information I was given by Mary:

 

(8) Dar said that until Frederick’s death it was not generally known that he had been married before. Kate certainly knew, so presumably she was talking about her siblings.

 

(9) Some members of the family thought that perhaps the eldest daughter, Florence, was the child of the first wife, as she was a different physical type from the other children.

 

(10) After Frederick died, Kate burned a lot of family papers “so that nothing would come out after she was gone”. There was no hint as to what it was she didn’t want known, and it was assumed that it was Florence’s parentage that was the secret.

 

 

RESEARCHING FREDERICK

 

Paradoxically, I would have been better off starting with the 1901 census than with the information that was handed down to me, because in 1901, unusually for him, he gave his correct age and birthplace! A chance piece of advice in a magazine gave me the vital clue - it said that it was not at all unknown for people trying to hide for whatever reason to change their date of birth. They would often keep the correct day and month, but lie about the year.

 

At the time I started researching, the only census data readily available (ie online) was 1901 and 1881. Despite trying every combination of spellings I could think of, I could never locate Frederick in 1881. I now know that he was in the Army in Ireland at the time, so his record will not have survived.

 

Having failed to find Frederick in 1881, I worked back to 1871, where I expected to find him in Devon, aged about twelve. He was indeed aged twelve in 1871, which gave me the confirmation I needed to start looking for his birth in 1858 or 1859, as suggested by his census ages. The census stated that he had been born in Bideford; I can’t remember whether that was news to me at the time.

 

 

1858: BORN IN BIDEFORD

 

From all the stated ages I had for Frederick, he gave three years older than his stated birth date of 3/3/1862 on two occasions, and four years older on two occasions, including the 1871 census. As I’m sure an apprentice master would be able to tell the difference between an eight-year-old and a twelve-year-old, I decided to work on the assumption that he was actually born on 3rd March 1858 or 1859.

 

I couldn’t find a likely birth on www.freebmd.org, so I wrote to the Superintendent Registrar for Bideford, asking for the registration of any Frederick Haydon (or variants of spelling) born in 1858 or 1859. I did not state the day or month.

 

I received a birth certificate for a Frederick Lee HEYDON, born 3rd March 1858, in Pimlico, Bideford, Devon. No father is stated, but the mother is Thomazin HEYDON, formerly ANDREW, which suggests she was widowed, and that her maiden name had been Andrew. If she was (still) married the baby would normally, although not compulsorily, have been registered with the husband as father.

 

The registrar was James Lee, but Lee seems to be quite a common name in Devon, and there is no reason to suppose any link. Thomazin was the informant, and made her mark, which might explain the different spelling of the surname.

 

I learned from a later census that Thomazin’s Aunt - Elizabeth Crealock, née Pengilly - owned houses in Bideford, so it’s possible that Frederick was born in one of them, but given his mother’s position it’s just as likely he was born in the Workhouse (no relevant records are known to have survived). The Bideford Workhouse was built in 1837-8 on the south side of Meddon Street, and the buildings are still there; they are now residences, after a time as Torridge Hospital.

 

 

PARENTS

 

On both marriage certificates, Frederick stated “father not known”. On one, he even had this fact “certified” by the vicar, although how that gentleman could know apart from Frederick telling him isn’t too clear at present!

 

At first, we assumed that this was to prevent his being found, then when we discovered that he had been apprenticed out by the age of twelve, it seemed likely to be true.

 

Someone called Annie Weare in Australia was indexing all the Missing Persons adverts in the Times; she doesn’t seem to have a website for this, so I will write when I find an address. I remember she had given it a very obscure name - “Patricians and Paupers in the Press” or some such, so perhaps it was a PhD exercise.

 

From his birth certificate, Frederick’s mother was Thomazin Heydon nee Andrew; interestingly, he has a middle name [Lee], which I have never seen used apart from this one document. I would therefore guess his father was Frederick Lee, but this isn’t a rare name in the area, and lacking Poor Law records it seems unlikely we will find out exactly who the father was.

 

Thomazin gave her name as Thomazin HEYDON, formerly ANDREW, and made her mark in the column for “informant”.

 

In my very early days of working on the family tree, I obtained from Harry Broadrick a list of all HAYDONS/HEYDONS in Devon. Included on this list was Thomazin Heydon, Wife, born about 1820. She and her husband Richard Heydon were living in Alwington in 1851. Thomazin said she was born in Woolfardisworthy. She seemed a very likely candidate, especially as at that time I was still under the impression that Thomazin was an unusual name!

 

The theory depended on finding the death of Richard Heydon between April 1851 and the middle of 1857. (If Richard had died after Frederick’s conception, he would almost certainly have been registered as the father, deceased or not). I found the death of a Richard Headon in 1855, who checked out in various ways detailed elsewhere. I then found the marriage of Richard Heydon and Thomazin Andrew, in Bideford in 1847.

 

 

SIBLINGS

 

Following Richard and Thomazin through the census and the birth registrations on freebmd, I found that Frederick had four older half-sisters: Ann (b1847), Elizabeth (b1849), Lucy (b1852) and Augusta (b1855).

 

Ann and Elizabeth were last seen working as servants in 1861; I haven’t yet followed them forward owing to the difficulty of identifying the right one. Lucy and Augusta were rather easier in this regard, and I followed Lucy through the census into Wales, while Augusta moved with her husband to London, where she kept in touch with at least one of her mother’s brothers.

 

As they had all, including Frederick himself, moved away from the parental home by the time Frederick was 3 years old, it is probable he never knew them at all. Presumably Ann and Elizabeth were old enough to remember that their mother had had another child.

 

 

1858 - 1861: FREDERICK’S MOTHER DIES

 

We know that Thomazin survived Frederick’s birth, as she attended the Registry office herself on 5th April 1858, almost five weeks after he was born. However, from that moment on, no record of her has so far been found although I have searched for her death or remarriage under the names of  Headon, Heddon, Heydon, Haydon and even Haddon.

 

In the 1861 census, Thomazin’s third daughter, Lucy, is with a Nancekivell family at Hoops, Parkham, which is the last known address for Thomazin and Richard. She is listed as “Orphan”. I haven’t yet discovered any family links between Thomazin’s family and the Nancekivells.

 

Augusta, meanwhile, is in Bideford with her grandmother, Thomazin’s mother, Christian Andrew née Pengilly. She is in fact listed as grand-daughter, just to make life easier.

 

This seems to make it conclusive that Thomazin had died by March 1861, although we still don’t know whether Frederick was fostered out immediately, or was perhaps taken into the workhouse at birth or at Thomazin’s death. Or perhaps he was born in the workhouse.

 

 

1861: CENSUS

 

I finally found Frederick in Okehampton, aged 3. He is listed as Frederick EDON aged three, born in Bideford. He is shown as a visitor to George Balamey and his wife Mary, who were both born Okehampton. George is a Baker. At present I have no idea who George and Mary are; the IGI has a few marriages of a George Balamy to a Mary, but the surnames of the various Mary’s are not obviously meaningful. I’m not sure why Bideford Union would have sent Frederick all the way to Okehampton, or more to the point why Okehampton would have accepted him, unless George and Mary were related in some way. Unfortunately North Devon Records Office say that apprenticeship and Poor Law records for the period have not survived.

 

As noted above, I think I have found Frederick’s elder sisters: “Ann Heydon” was 14 and a domestic servant in “Wolling Village, village of Woolsery” and given as born in Northam. “Elizabeth Headon” was 11 and a Farm Servant Domestic at Winscott, Knotty Corner and is given as born in Parkham. Neither of these are 100% matches, but they are the best of the ones I have found, and the ages work.

 

 

1861 - 1871: ON THE PARISH?

 

It seems likely that Frederick spent these years, ie most of his childhood, in the home of George and Mary Balamy in East Street, Okehampton. It’s not yet clear whether they were relatives taking him in out of a sense of family obligation, or whether Bideford Union had paid them to bring him up and apprentice him out. Completing an apprenticeship would presumably entitle him to settlement in Okehampton and get him off Bideford’s books.

 

At some point towards the end of this period, Frederick was duly apprenticed to William Coombs, Wheelwright, just next door to his childhood home. He was at most twelve years old; I originally thought this was quite young for the time, but I now realise that parish apprenticeships were often enacted when the pauper child was aged 11.

 

Frederick’s eldest two half-sisters were both working by 1861; although they were only 14 and 11, this doesn’t seem completely out of the usual for servants in that area at that time.

 

 

1870: THE PARISH APPRENTICE

 

This can only be speculation, but unless George and Mary actually were relatives, it would seem likely that Frederick was still chargeable to Bideford Union, and that they would pay for him to be apprenticed. It seems to have been common practice for parish apprentices to be sent out of the parish, the aim being to get them to earn a new settlement elsewhere and thus relieve the burden on the birth parish.

 

Given that Frederick joined the Army on 7th June 1877, and that he told the family he had broken his indentures to do so, his apprenticeship must have begun after 8th June 1870. At that date he would have been twelve years and three months old.

 

 

1871: CENSUS

 

Looking at the ages Frederick gave in 1891 (32) and 1901 (43) , when I am certain I have the right person, I asked Harry Broadrick to look in Bideford for Frederick aged 12, possibly in the workhouse. The nearest match was a Frederick Haydon aged 12 living as a Lodger with the family of William Coombs, a Wheelwright at number 6, East Street, Okehampton. This is, of course, precisely the place where he told the family he had been apprenticed. This Frederick is given as one of two Wheelwright Apprentices, and his place of birth is given as Bideford, which ties up with what he said in 1901. The occupation also seems appropriate for someone whose step-father, -uncle and -grandfather were all Carpenters.

 

Frederick is just next door to George and Mary Balamy, with whom he had presumably spent the previous ten years. Frederick was actually just thirteen at this time, although perhaps no-one knew that. Frederick certainly did in later years, though.

 

Given that I had guessed the age, I asked Harry how many other Frederick Haydons there were aged 7-12 in Devon; there is only one other, birth place not stated, and he is living in Dartmouth aged 8 with Brother Samuel (6) and Grandmother Mary A. Finch (63), a widow working as a Nurse. They are living in ?Locorn? Street near St George’s Square in the St Saviours area of the town. This doesn’t fit anything like so well, and would be the only occasion in recorded history when Frederick was given as younger than his stated date of birth!

 

Although the Frederick I have found was apprenticed as a Wheelwright, there were two blacksmiths within three doors either side. Also, presumably a wheelwright would work with metal for the rims? In the Pigot’s directory of Buckinghamshire for 1830 (while looking for Birds in Fenny Stratford) I have found one Nathaniel Peasnall advertised as both Wheelwright and Blacksmith).

 

 

1871 - 1878: RAN AWAY TO JOIN THE ARMY?

 

For a long time I couldn’t find any clue to Frederick’s Army service. Most articles on tracing Army records state that you will need at least the Regiment and preferably the number. I didn’t have these, nor any idea of how to find them. However, as everything else in the family tradition checked out, I decided to accept for the time being that he actually was in the Army, and that he ran away from his apprenticeship to do so. I then looked at the timing.

 

If he had only just started his apprenticeship in April 1871, then it would presumably have finished in April 1878. In this case he would have run away by April 1878 at the latest. Perhaps he told the army that he was born on 3rd March 1862? But then they wouldn’t have taken him until March 1878 when he was really 20, and surely they could work out he wasn’t only 16. If he told the full truth, he could have joined at 16 in 1874, but that doesn’t sound like Frederick. Perhaps his marriage to Eliza marked the end of his years in the reserves, although apparently he could have married during his reserve time.

 

In the event all of this speculation was unnecessary, because www.findmypast.co.uk kindly started to digitise WO97, the papers of men discharged to pension. Within ten minutes of receiving the email notification of the new dataset, I was looking at a search result reading “Haydon, Frederick, born 1858 Okehampton.” Bingo. The information below, from 1875 to 1885, comes from WO97, together with a certain amount of background reading on diseases and Army regulations.

 

 

1875: ENGAGED INTO THE MILITIA

 

On Monday 12th April 1875, Frederick joined the 1st (or North) Devon Militia. I don’t know yet whether this was voluntary, or whether he was called up, although I understand that there was no conscription into the Militia by that time. At not quite six weeks past his seventeenth birthday, he was now 6576 Private Haydon, First Devon Regiment (Militia). As I understand it, he would have continued his regular employment at the same time.

 

 

1877: JOINED THE REGULAR ARMY

 

On Thursday 7th June 1877, Frederick obtained a Conditional Discharge from the Militia, the discharge being conditional upon his being accepted by the Regular Army. By 6pm on the same day, Frederick was at Topsham Barracks near Exeter to enlist in the Regular Army. The enlistment was for the Royal Regiment of Artillery and was taken by Sergeant Major William Thorne, B/A Royal Horse Artillery.

 

By Frederick’s own story, he had broken his indentures to run away and join the Army; this was punishable by a prison sentence and apparently he feared for the rest of his life that “they” would catch up with him.

 

The regulations at the time of Frederick’s signing up stated that after enlistment a cooling-off period of at least 24 hours, and no more than 96 hours, must pass before the would-be soldier appeared before a magistrate to sign the Attestation. During this period the man was not yet a soldier, and therefore was not entitled to sleep in Barracks. Frederick would have had to find lodgings for himself for the intervening four nights, and it must be considered a possibility that it was during this time that the country apprentice with the Queen’s Shilling acquired the syphilis infection that saw him in and out of hospital six times over the following five years. In support of this is a passage in the book “Call the Midwife” by Jennifer Worth. In the 1950’s Ms Worth worked in Poplar, London and as part of a general nursing practice she worked with a man who had joined the Army in the 1880’s. She recounts his story of walking to Waterloo Station in his new uniform and being waylaid by a pair of prostitutes who were all over him, while others accosted the other young men heading for the station in uniform. When they discovered that he had left the “Queen’s Shilling” with his mother, they got angry and left him alone.

 

Wherever Frederick spent the intervening weekend, at 2:35pm the following Monday, 11th Jun 1877, he appeared before a Magistrate to Attest. The required questions seem to have been put to him by Richard Airey, AG. Frederick stated that he was nineteen years old and had been born in Okehampton. Throughout his life he continued to state his place of birth either as Okehampton, where he had lived since before he was three years old, or as Bideford where he really was born.

 

Frederick gave his trade as Shoeing Smith, and said that he had been offered free kit but no bounty for joining up. He signed the form himself, and agreed to serve for twelve years, although a short-service enlistment of seven years was by then available. Of course, they may not have told him that.

 

On the same day, Frederick underwent a medical examination and was found to be fit for service. Specifically and most relevantly, he showed no signs of syphilis, and had never been marked with ‘D’ (for deserter) or ‘B.C.’ (for bad character). His hearing and vision were within acceptable limits, he did not appear to be of defective intelligence, and he had no signs of phthisis or impaired constitution in general. He did not have a contracted or deformed chest, nor abnormal curvature of the spine, “or any other disease or physical defect calculated to unfit him for the duties of a soldier”.

 

The examining surgeon, ?N.L.Barker?, noted that Frederick appeared to be nineteen, and that he was 5’4” tall with a chest measurement of 36 inches. His complexion was “Fresh”, his hair brown, and his eyes light brown. He apparently had “slight tattoo marks above each wrist”. He gave his religious denomination as Church of England. Again from Jennifer Worth’s book, the recruiting sergeant is quoted as saying that “the Army won’t take none of them hatheists”.

 

Frederick gave the name of his next of kin as George Bellamy, although this was later crossed out - perhaps when George died.

 

It appears that the date Frederick officially joined up was 13th June, when Private F. Haydon, 2138, was allocated to the Royal Artillery, ‘A’ Brigade, and given a job as a Driver. His pay as a Private would have been 1s 1d per day, and his rations were free.

 

On 21st September, Frederick’s educational level was assessed as “4th Class”. I have no idea whether he would have gone to school or not, but we do know that he was apprenticed by the age of twelve, and the fourth-class certificate was apparently “equivalent to the standard for an eight-year-old child today”. (In 1888, not long after Frederick left the Army, the fourth-class certificate was discontinued as 40% of the lower ranks were unable or unwilling to pass it, so it may be that this was an examination at the end of a course of education, rather simply an assessment). I have read that in more recent years, the Army was accustomed to put illiterate recruits through a six-week education course, at the end of which all were able to read.

 

On 8th October, Frederick was taken into hospital in Exeter suffering from “Infection of Glands”. This is a little late for the first signs of syphilis, but possibly he had ignored, or not understood the import of, earlier signs. The cause was noted as “not apparent”, and local treatment was given. He stayed in hospital for just over three weeks and was released on 1st November after examination. The cost of medical care at the time and throughout Frederick’s service was 7d per day.

 

On 31st December he was re-admitted for the same condition; again the stay was just over three weeks, but this time there is no record of an examination on discharge (22nd January 1878). Again the cause is stated to be not apparent, with local treatment given.

 

 

1878: POSTED TO BALLINKILLEG (BALLINCOLLIG?)

 

On 4th March 1878 Frederick arrived at “Ballinkilleg”. This is presumably Ballincollig Barracks, run by the Royal Artillery, which was built to protect the Gunpowder Mills in the small town of Ballincollig. The barracks also hosted detachments of soldiers on their way to and from foreign postings, so who knows who Frederick might have met during the time he was there. Kate Plowman’s brother, for instance? Or perhaps Eliza Cross had a brother in the Army? Eliza’s father George Isaac Cross had an older brother, James Cross, who went into the Army, but I can find no obvious sign of their paths having crossed. By the time James came out of the Army in 1890, syphilitic and alcoholic, Eliza was dead and Frederick already remarried and living in Poole. James lived with George until he died only five years after discharge. He had served the full twenty-one years, all of it abroad. James also had a brother Alfred who was invalided out of the Army in 1874, but this was too early for him to have met Frederick.

 

The day after Frederick’s arrival at Ballincollig, he was taken in to hospital again. Either he had been just waiting until he was settled at the next posting, or Ballincollig had an efficient medical unit. The diagnosis this time was Secondary Syphilis; I can’t make out the notes on treatment, but the cause is given as Syphilitic Poison. This time he was in for just over six weeks. There is no record of an examination on discharge either this time or the next (9th September to 12th October).

 

 

1879: POSTED TO DUBLIN

 

Frederick arrived at Dublin - presumably another Barracks? - on 15th May 1879. Oddly enough, this was only two months after John Shelver’s brother William left Dublin for Natal. In June Frederick he became eligible for a Good Conduct Badge, and presumably received this on 7th December, when he was awarded 1d per day Good Conduct Pay.

 

 

1880: DUBLIN, THEN POSTED TO THE CURRAGH

 

On 15th March Frederick, still in Dublin, was back in hospital, this time for a ‘Bubo’. Local treatment was given, and the cause noted as “Constitutional”. This time the stay was longer, at almost nine weeks, and he was discharged only two weeks before moving to Curragh Camp, where he is noted as arriving on 31st May 1880.

 

On 27th December 1880 Frederick was ‘re-vaccinated successfully’, presumably against smallpox.

 

 

1881: CENSUS

 

At the time of the 1881 census, Frederick was, so far as I can gather from his records, still at the Curragh in Ireland, which almost certainly means that his census record has not survived.

 

 

1881: POSTED TO NEWBRIDGE? APPOINTED SHOEING SMITH

 

On 17th May Frederick arrived at Newbridge (?)  which seems to have been a very short posting, as he was back in Dublin in September. For most of his time at Newbridge Frederick was working as a Driver. Given that his trade on entering the Army was Shoeing Smith, it seems odd to me that they didn’t make use of that. Perhaps he had to do more menial jobs first and wait his turn - in WW1 each brigade (or battery?) had only four Shoeing Smiths, one of whom was a Corporal, together with a Farrier-Sergeant.

 

Anyway, the record shows that Frederick was finally appointed as a Shoeing Smith on 8th September, and was taken to hospital only two days later with an unspecified wound. He was in hospital for just four days for it, and less than a week after coming out he was on his way back to Dublin, arriving there on 19th September.


Frederick's story continues in Part 2

 

 

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