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Fighting Fred Price.

Eric Trudgill    -    29 November 2014

The first substantial account of Fighting Fred Price’s family was given, probably soon after 1910, by his daughter-in-law, Jane Hollow, who had borne Samson Price at least eleven children between 1868 and 1892, and Jane’s account was later revised by the great gypsiologist, T W Thompson. They were agreed that Henry Price and Ellen Ingram were the parents of Fred, Robert, Sinoh, Richard, Amos and Nebuchadnezzar, the first five of whom we now know were christened, in the West Country, in Much Cowarne, Hef in 1803, in Wellington, Shrops in 1813 and 1815, in Stanford on Teme, Worcs in 1819 and in Yarkhill, Hef in 1824 (no trace has been found of Nebuchadnezzar). To these we can add Letitia, christened in Sherriff Hales, Shrops in 1807, and Henry, christened in Orleton Hef in 1817.

Fred himself, Jane Hollow (or perhaps T W Thompson) claimed, married Ellen Taylor, daughter of Phoenix and sister of the famous Richard who married Lucy Lock. Fred and Ellen, Jane and Thompson between them claimed, were the parents of seven sons, William, Josiah, Hope, Samson, Goliath, Frederick, Caradoc, and a daughter, Starini. Baptisms have been found for Hope in Llandilo Fawr, Carmarthens in 1831, for Faith (another son) in Carew, Pembrokes in 1838, for two Fredericks (one in Myddle, Shrops in 1834 who presumably died young, and another in Vaynor, Brecons in 1840), and for Caradoc in Llangynwyd, Glam in 1846 as Faith Caradog Cerdin Price (presumably his brother Faith had also died young). In addition William, Josiah, Samson and Goliath have all been found in the census.

Most of the early family structure given by Jane Hollow and T W Thompson stands up very well. But while there’s no doubt Henry Price married Ellen Ingram (in Shropshire in 1803 four months after they’d christened Fred), I have serious doubts about Fred marrying Ellen Taylor. I’ve seen nothing in the records to confirm this, and have found a strong piece of evidence against it, the marriage certificate for Fred’s daughter, Starini, who it turns out can also be found in the census like her brothers, but as a Boswell, not a Price.

In Delamere, Cheshire in 1839 Thomas Boswell (19 son of Richard) married Starany Florence (21 daughter of Frederick Price and Ellen Florence). The Ellen here, I believe, was a daughter of George Florence and Ann Bailey, who had married in Staffordshire in 1780. It may be objected that Fred, baptised in April 1803, was a little young to sire a daughter who claimed to be 21 in July 1839, but it’s possible Henry and Ellen were slow to christen their son as they certainly were to formalize their marriage, and it’s possible Starany added a year to her age in 1839, unlike her husband, who got his spot on.

What makes the case for Fred’s wife being a Florence, not a Taylor, even stronger is the evidence that he had a sister who married Ellen Florence’s brother George. We look in vain for cousin marriages between Fred’s children and the Taylor family, but his sons, Josiah and Hope Price, married respectively Ashella and Matilda Florence, daughters of George and Lucy Florence, George having been christened in 1804 (and again in 1807 with two siblings), a child, like Ellen, of George Florence and Ann Bailey.

And the fact that Ashella and Matilda were both christened (like at least three of their siblings) as the children of George and Lucy Price as well as of George and Lucy Florence, suggests not only that George and Lucy liked to give their children multiple baptisms (occasionally using Lucy’s alternate forename, Tryphena), but also that Lucy/Tryphena was a Price, almost certainly Fred’s sister, born about 1805 between him and Letitia (she couldn’t have been born after Letitia since she christened her first child in 1822). This child was called Hope, an uncommon name not found in the Florences but used by Fighting Fred Price just nine years later; Lucy also christened a son Frederick, a common name but again not found in the Florences. Fred himself doesn’t seem to have named a daughter Lucy, but four of his sons had a Lucina.

If we accept Fighting Fred Price’s wife was Ellen Florence daughter of George and Ann, not Ellen Taylor daughter of Phoenix (whose existence has never been documented), and if we accept Fred had a sister, Lucy, who married George Florence son of George and Ann, it follows Ellen Florence and Lucy Price were sisters-in-law twice over through their husband and their brother, and it follows Fred’s sons, Josiah and Hope, and Lucy’s daughters, Ashella and Matilda, were involved in first-cousin marriages twice over.

And it doesn’t stop there. If Lucy Florence was Fred’s sister, she was also sister of his brother Robert, whose son Cornelius married her daughter Saney, whose second son called Robert (the first having died as an infant) married her granddaughter Matilda, and whose apparent son Nebuchad- nezzar married her granddaughter Georgiana. Similarly if Lucy Florence was Fred’s and Robert’s sister, she was also sister of their brother Amos, whose daughter Ellen married Lucy’s grandson Noah, and whose son Richard married her granddaughter Harriet.

I find it hard to explain these Price/Florence marriages in any terms other than a connection between not just Fred’s sister and Ellen’s brother but also between Fred and Ellen themselves. I can’t believe Starany was the only child of Fred Price and Ellen Florence, or that Fred followed his father in marrying an Ellen, not once but twice.

Copyright © 2014 Eric Trudgill