Part 2 - SECTION III
ROSES OF SOMERSET ENGLAND.
In the 23 years of their marriage Fanny and Henry were to have nine children,
seven girls and two boys and these were :
1. ADA HELENA BORN JAN/MAR 1880
2. FLORENCE BORN JAN/MAR 1883
3. LILY BORN 11th. SEPT. 1884
4. MINNIE BORN JUL/SEP 1885
5. MAY BORN APR/JUN 1888
6. ETHEL BORN APR/JUN 1890
7. HENRY BRITON BORN SEP 1892
8. ELSIE MAUDE BORN 23rd JUN 1894
9. JOHN LEONARD BORN APR/JUN 1898
MOST OF THE ABOVE YEARS ARE ACCURATE WITH THE MONTHS BEING ESTABLISHED FROM THE QUARTERLY BIRTH INDEXES.
On the 1881 cnesus Ada Helena is shown as being born at Cannington, Somerset whilst Minnie, May, Ethel and Elsie Maude are shown as being born at Bridgewater, Somerset. (I would believe that this means the births were registered in Bridgewater)
As mentioned previously Fanny died in 1902 and it would be probable that Henry would have remarried fairly soon after Fanny's death because of the young children. This may have been about 1903-5 and all that we know about her is that her first name was Florrie and was shown on Henry's death certificate when he died 8th. July 1925 at the Ashford Waterworks.and that she was 79 when she herself died c. 1945.
Elsie May can recall her mother, Elsie Maude, telling her that she would have been the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter if her brother - Henry Briton - had not been born before her. This is interesting because it means that our maternal Grandmother - Fanny Williams must have been a seventh daughter of John Williams. There must have been at least one brother because know that Elsie Maude had a cousin named Enoch Williams and may have been named after his father i.e.Elsies Uncle Enoch.
Elsie Maude was only 8 years old when her mother died and she expressed her opinion more than once that she did not like her stepmother - Florrie.
One story she related more than once concerned an occasion when her mother was making rhubarb wine which was in a large open tub. Apparently, when her step-mother, Florrie was out, the young children, who had been in the garden and had dirty boots on, had taken them off and started throwing them about in the room where the rhubarb wine was being made. One of the boots fell into the Rhubarb wine tub. Needless to say the children were scared and fished out the boot and did not say anything. Sometime later, when Florrie was tasting the wine she declared that it was the best tasting rhubarb wine she had ever made. She could not understand why the children burst out laughing when they heard this and Mam always had a laugh when she told this story to us.
Although we don't know for sure we think Elsie left her home at Spaxton at a relatively young age. One reason being that there would not have been a lot of work available in the small village of Spaxton. She would have been about 13 or 14 when she left and as an educated guess she may initially gone to the English Midlands to be with her Williams cousins from her mothers family. Perhaps later she may have workied for a time in Melton Mowbray. Eventually she must have moved closer to Birmingham and was working at 132 Middleton Hall Road, Kings Norton when she married in 1918
We do have some information about some of the other Rose children.
ADA HELENA ROSE
Was the eldest child having been born in 1880 in Cannington. She was listed on the 1881 and 1891 census for Spaxton. We do not have any information about what happened to her.
FLORENCE ( FLORRIE/FLORA ).
See the Roses of America
Was born 11th September 1885 and died at the relatively young age of 37 on 10th August 1922 in Somerset. As far as we know she did not marry. (This information was found in the Somerset County Records Office at Taunton when we were there in 1987).
See the Roses of America
Was the only one of my mothers family I ever met - Aunt May-. She did not marry and lived most of her life in Somerset, initially with her father and stepmother in Spaxton until her father died in 1925. After his death she moved with her stepmother to Wembdon Hill on the outskirts of Bridgewater until her stepmother died a few years later (1945) and finally on her own in West Street in Bridgewater itself until she died on 28th August 1949. I believe she is buried in a Bridgewater cemetary.
I remember visiting her with Mum in Bridgewater when I was about 10 or 11 towards the end of the war. She also came to stay with us for a while in 1947 when we were living at Neville Road, Leeds.
The circumstances which led up to me finding out about and finally meeting with Marcia Roman and her brother John in 1995 came as a result of my letter to the Bridgewater Mercury in June 1994 asking for information about the Rose family in Spaxton. Marcia wrote to me, in December saying that she had known my Aunt May and her step-mother when they lived in the cottage which was attached to the old Cottage inn at Wembdon
They had moved there in 1925 after Henry Rose had died, presumbably because the cottage they had in the Waterworks was a 'tied' cottage and was only available for waterworks employees. The Roman's lived in a pair of two storied houses behind the Cottage Inn - they are still there to this day 1998 - and their gardens adjoined the Cottage Inn garden. Both Marcia and John knew the Rose ladies and remembered them as quiet, genteel people who enjoyed their walks in the country lanes so that the enforced move to a side street in Bridgewater must have been a devastating experience for them. As small children (the Roman's) ran errands for the Rose ladies to the village shop and were rewarded with biscuits and sweets. May Rose worked as an housekeeper in a house on Wembdon Hill and Marcia remembered that her mother visited her in hospital when she became ill. After the 1939-45 war the Roman's bought the semi-detached cottages. John married and brought up his family in one of them. Marcia became a teacher and lived in the other. She seemed to have travelled around the world and never married. It was during our 1995 visit that we met them and Marcia gave me the small watercolour painting she had done in about 1927 of the old thatched Cottage Inn which was very nice. Rona and I saw them again in 1998. Both John and Marcia are now retired and Marcia is 79 in 1998.
ETHEL ROSE -
See the Roses of America
HENRY BRITON ROSE (called Brit)
We believe Henry was a miner. His wife's name was Cecily and it is believed they lived on Watling Street near Cannock e.g. not far from where his mother - Fanny Williams - was born. They had a son called Edward born about 1925 and believe he married a French girl about 1947. Elsie recalls he may have been going blind in the early 1940's as the result of working in the mines.
(As an assumption it is possible that his grandfather - John Williams may also have been a miner having migrated from Wales to the Midland coal mines, however his marriage states that he was a farm labourere.)
ELSIE MAUDE ROSE
Elsie Maude Rose and John McDonnell were married on Wednesday 28th. August 1918 at St. Edward's Catholic Church, Elmdon Road, Selly Park, Birmingham.
The church on Elmdon Road is not far from the Cadbury's chocolate factory in Bournville a southern suburb of Birmingham. St. Edward's is a red brick church and in still use in August 1987. It still looks very much as it would have done in 1918 with the possible exception of an extension to the rear porch and the repositioning of the main altar closer to the pews. The Sanctuary and backdrop also look as if they could have been there in 1918.
At the time of their marriage, Elsie was living at 132 Middletonhall Road, Kings Norton, where she worked as a house keeper. In 1918, this three-storey house would have been in a good middle class area of Birmingham with the owners being fairly well off and the house was still in existence in 1987.
Following his return from India in December 1917 or January 1918 (his overseas service officially ended on 28th. December 1917 either in India or on his return to England) he visited Dublin in Ireland to be discharged on 19th. February 1918 and returned to Birmingham.
John lived at 77 Pershore Road; Stirchley until he married, which was only a couple of miles away from Middletonhall Road. In August 1987, when we visited Birmingham the Pershore Road area had obviously been rebuilt over the years. 77 Pershore Road was probably a Boarding House and he would have needed to live there for the few months after his return from Ireland to when he married.
Family reminiscences have it that upon his return from India he was sent to a hospital on the outskirts of Birmingham specializing in spinal injuries and the one that seems to fit the bill best is the hospital nearby at Selly Park also called Stirchley. Middletonhall Road, Pershore Road, the Stirchley hospital and St. Edward's Church on Elmdon Road, were all within a mile or two of each other, a convenient thing in the era before universally owned motor cars.
During the few weeks after his return from India whilst he was still at the Selly Park /Stirchley hospital and after the initial encounter he and Elsie got to know one another before he returned to Dublin for his final medical discharge in February 1918.
His return to Pershore Road would have given him about six months to establish residence before being married at St. Edward's Church, Elmdon Road, Selly Park, Kings Norton on 28th.August 1918. . The witnesses at the marriage were Elsie's sister, May, and very probably, an ex soldier friend of John's named F. Briden.
At the time John and Elsie's wedding photograph (q.v.) was taken, John would have been 39 years old and Elsie 24 years old. In this wedding photograph he had on the special lapel Silver War Badge given to discharged ex servicemen who had 'done their bit' and who were medically unfit or wounded so as to avoid being questioned as to why they were not in the forces. I still have the badge with his campaign medals.
John and Elsie moved to Leeds a short time after they were married and in 1920, John Leonard was born there. Bearing in mind that when John enlisted in Leeds in 1914 there was a significant Irish population there and many would have returned after the war, it would have been natural for them to settle in Leeds. Whatever the reasons they made their home there and this is where their family was born and grew up.
The early 1920's were obviously a time of mixed fortunes, with the birth of three children and the death of John's mother in December 1921 closely followed by the loss of baby Patrick from whooping cough in January 1922, aged two months old.
John and Elsie McDonnell had six children :
JOHN LEONARD, ELSIE MAY, PATRICK JAMES, EILEEN MAUD, KATHLEEN ROSE & MICHAEL KEVIN
During the years that the young McDonnell family were growing up, John their father, worked for various building contractors and would have worked on a lot of major buildings still standing in Leeds.
From 1939 - 1942/3 he was employed by M. Harrison's of Leeds. By Otty Bros in 1944/45 and for another London firm for a short period in 1942/43.
It wasn't until about 1946 when he was actually 67 years old and more than eligible for a State pension which started at 65 that it became necessary to prove that he was born in 1879 and not 1890, as was shown on his army records and his marriage certificate. (John had reduced his age when he enlisted in 1914 and did not amend it correctly when he returned to civilian life).
John Leonard, his eldest son, went to Ireland in September 1946 and obtained a baptismal certificate, which proved he was born in 1879. It seems puzzling in retrospect why a birth certificate was not obtained instead of a baptismal one. We called into the County Records Office in Castlebar, the County Town of Mayo, in 1979 and found his birth entry quite easily as well as his brother Michael born in 1885. We would have been able to get a copy of the entry and subsequently a proper certicifate without any trouble.
They lived in their Richmond Street home from about 1919 to 1927 and then moved house quite a number of times during the next few years for a variety of reasons. Most of the moves were because of their growing family and in many cases because of a steady improvement in their circumstances.
John McDonnell had not been in good health for quite a few years prior to his death. It was while they were living at Poole Road that John died whilst he and Elsie were having a rare outing to the cinema on September 30th. 1950.
JOHN MCDONNELL Is buried in Killingbeck Catholic Cemetery, York Road
- near Crossgates, Leeds , England.
Section 'S' Plot No. 159 .
ELSIE MCDONNELL (ROSE) Is buried in Centennial Park Cemetery
Adelaide, South Australia, AUSTRALIA.
Catholic Section 'E', Path 24, Allotment 565A .
John Leonard McDonnell and Michael Kevin McDonnell, together with his mother, migrated to Australia in 1958 and 1960 respectively. John Leonard died in 1981 in Adelaide, South Australia. Elsie May McDonnell and her husband John Moss also went to Australia in about 1965. Eileen Maude McDonnell (Gough) died in 1986 in Birmingham England. Kathleen Rose McDonnell ( Blackburn ) still lives near Wakefield in Yorkshire, England.
JOHN LEONARD ROSE
John Leonard was the youngest of Henry and Fanny Rose It is believed his wife was called Margaret and that they had three children - Leonard Henry, Bettina Margaret and another girl name unknown. For some reason Leonard went to Kent and was a farmer there somewhere near Maidstone. His neice Eileen Maude McDonnell (Gough) visited him sometime in the early 1940's when she was in the Womens Royal Naval Service but could not remember much about him.
It is a puzzle why Leonard lived in Kent. Elsie Moss recalls a family comment that he may have been in the navy but there is nothing to substantiate this. However, if this was the case it may have been that he also left home at a young age and joined the navy (dislike of stepmother like Elsie Maude) and was perhaps discharged form the navy in Chatham)
As he was born in 1898 he would have been over sixteen years of age when the First World War started in August 1914. He may have enlisted as soon as he could and eventually taking his discharge at Chatham. (Supposition but possible)
Elsie Moss recalls that her mother may have got a letter from Florrie Schmidt (Rose) in Rochester U.S.A. in the mid 1960's saying that Leonard had died.
We have a little information about some of Elsie Maudes cousins on her mothers side.
One of Fanny ROSE (nee Williams) sister - name unknown - married a man named GIBSON. (as a guess, because Fanny's first daughter was named Ada this may be a strong possibilty)
They had three daughters - ADA, LILY, & LIZZIE.
ADA GIBSON married FRANK HITCHEN and had two daughters called
Ada and Lily. Lily married a man named Saint and had a daughter called June in 1949/1950.
LILY GIBSON married JOHN WRIGHT no children
Lizzia GIBSON married married a man called Edwards and had a son who served in the Royal Air Force
Lizzie had a sweet shop off the Hednesford Road, Cannock. I can remember going down to visit them (Mums cousins) with mum when I was about eleven years old in the summer of 1944. We were sitting in their back garden, and I can remember looking up to the the sky in the long summer day evening and seeing streams of bombers, (possibly British) making a lot of noise on the way to bomb Germany that night. I can also remember being given a packet of sweets (lollies) which was quite a treat for a 11 year old boy because sweets were rationed and in short supply.
The connection with Somerset was gradually lost with the disbursement of Henry's and Fanny's children. Some to America and, some we think, to Kent and also back to Cannock with of course, my mother Elsie Maude, to Leeds in Yorkshire.
Henry died 8th July 1925 in Spaxton and his second wife Florrie about 1945 aged 79 years. May was the only ROSE left in Somerset, when she died in 1947 .
So ended the Rose family links with Somerset.