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William Wilson

Eric Trudgill    -    2 April 2017

The William in question married a Martha, and baptised Plato Wilson in Lt Hadham, Herts in 1825 (basketmaker of Islington, Mdx) and Mark Wilson in Wherstead, Sfk in 1829. After having several children together Plato Wilson (full age son of William, hawker) and Sarah Smith (full age daughter of John, hawker) married in Beccles, Sfk in 1863. Despite also having several children together, Mark Wilson and Sarah Bird donít seem to have got round to troubling a priest or registrar.

Plato, almost always recorded as a hawker, and Sarah Wilson christened five children in Beccles: Louisa in 1851; Plato junior, Alice and George in 1855 (the first two born respectively in 1844 and about 1846-49); and Sidney in 1860. They also christened an Aquilla in Blythburgh, Sfk in 1857. I havenít found baptisms for a Jemima born about 1851, a son born about 1853 (named Samuel in the 1861 census and John in 1871) or an Agnes born about 1861.

Mark, three times recorded as a hawker, and Sarah Wilson christened three children in Beccles 1853-60: Frederick and Patience in 1853 (the latter was to marry Samuel West in 1871 and to be found in Yorkshire in the 1891 census with her widowed mother Sarah Bird), and Daniel in 1860 (his mother on his birth certificate formerly Bird). Mark and Sarah also christened a William in Stoven, Sfk in 1857, and four children in Bungay, Sfk: Martha on January 10th 1872 followed four days later by Sarah, Rosa and Ada.

To Plato and Mark Wilson, documented children of William and Martha, we can clearly add a William Wilson junior, born presumably about 1823, who married Jane Lamb, and an Alice Wilson, born according to the 1881 census in Essex about 1827, who married Robert Bird. a horse-dealer.

William (usually recorded as a hawker) and Jane Wilson christened four children 1844-53: the Mark Wilson (christened in Burstall, Sfk in 1844) who married Eliza Thorpe (sister of the well-known Ambrose) in Eriswell, Sfk in 1867; William christened in Stratton, Sfk in 1846; and Mary Ann and Matilda christened in Beccles in 1851 and 1853. They also belatedly christened a Hiram Lamb in Woodston, Hunts in 1868.

Robert and Alice Bird christened (all as Birds and all in Suffolk) Susan and Mary in Ipswich St Margaret in 1847, a short-lived Frederick in Hoxne in 1850, Benjamin in Hasketon in 1851, a second Frederick in Beccles in 1853 (jointly with Matilda Wilson daughter of William and Jane), Matilda in Ipswich St Margaret in 1855, Aquilla in Blythburgh in 1857 (on her birth certificate daughter of Robert Bird and Alice formerly Wilson), Martha and William in Beccles in 1859, and Louisa in Ipswich St Margaret in 1865.

That William Wilson junior and Alice Bird nee Wilson christened children jointly in 1853 suggests they were siblings. That William Wilson junior christened his first son Mark, and Plato Wilson christened his first daughter Alice, that Alice Bird nee Wilson and Mark Wilson almost certainly married siblings (Robert and Sarah Bird were both born in Ipswich and respectively about 1827 and 1830), suggests all four, William junior, Plato, Alice and Mark, were siblings. And that William junior christened his Mary Ann in 1851 jointly with Louisa daughter of Plato and Sarah, that Alice Bird christened her Aquilla in 1857 jointly with Aquilla daughter of Plato and Sarah, and that William junior christened two sons, Robert and Alfred, in Beccles in 1860 jointly with Sidney, son of Plato and Sarah, and Daniel son of Mark and Sarah, surely confirms the sibling connection.

And I havenít yet mentioned the fact that the three brothers all described themselves at times as Gaskins, not Wilsons. The Plato Wilson who appears with his family in Bungay, Sfk in the 1871 census is manifestly the Plato Gaskin who appears with his family nearby in Wortwell, Nfk in the 1871 census, travelling with a Mark Gaskin and his family (both men exaggerating their age and not naming their wife and children): Plato christened Plato junior as a Wilson in 1855, but he had birth-registered him in 1844 as Plato Gascoyne son of Plato, hawker, and Sarah formerly Smith, and his Aquilla and Sidney were christened respectively in Blythburgh in 1857 and Beccles in 1859 as Gaskins (William juniorís Robert and Alfred, christened with Sidney, were recorded as Gaskins, but Markís Daniel, completing the foursome, was recorded as a Wilson ---- the brothers took a typically relaxed Gypsy view of surnames).

If William junior, Plato, Alice and Mark Wilson were also Gaskins, itís hard not to see to see them connected to the Henry and James Gaskin I discussed last month. First, thereís the coincidence of family connections: Henry and James Gaskin married Ruth and Abigail Lamb, Henryís Walter and Alice Gaskin married Alice and William Lamb, and Jamesí Jane Gaskin married Joseph Lamb, while William Wilson junior married Jane Lamb; William junior and Janeís son Mark Wilson married Ambrose Thorpeís sister Eliza, while Henry Gaskinís daughter Mary married Ambrose himself (who witnessed the wedding of Maryís brother Henry junior), and Maryís brother John was travelling in the 1881 census with Ambrose Thorpeís brother James.

Second, thereís the coincidence of travel connections: Henry and Ruth Gaskin christened their Alice in 1850 (off their usual track) in Beccles, where the four Wilson siblings christened 15 children between them 1851-60; James and Abigail Gaskin, having had five children baptised or born in Essex, christened four children 1845-62 near or in Ipswich, plus another (like Henry and Ruthís last child) in Kesgrave, Sfk, which is now in Ipswich, while William junior, Plato and Mark Wilson were all recorded, when christening children, as hawkers of Ipswich.

Third, thereís the coincidence of joint baptisms: William and Jane Wilsonís last child Hiram (birth registered as Hiram Lamb Gascoigne in 1862) was baptised as a Lamb in 1868 jointly with two daughters of Henry and Ruth Gaskinís William; William and Janeís first child Mark baptised a son in 1876 jointly with a daughter of Henry and Ruthís Alice, and baptised another son in 1877 jointly with daughters of Henry and Ruthís Henry jun and Walter.

And fourth, thereís the coincidence of origins. We have baptisms for four of William and Ann Gaskinís children, Louisa in Standon, Herts in 1806, Sarah in Waltham Abbey, Essex in 1810, razorgrinder, Solomon in Gt Dunmow, Essex in 1813, tinker of Mondon [Gt Munden], Herts, and Henry in Tolleshunt DíArcy, Essex in 1815, travelling basket maker from Barley Hole, Kent; but not for James born probably about 1817. We have baptisms for two of William and Martha Wilsonís children, Plato in 1825 and Mark in 1829, but not for William junior or Alice. Platoís, however, is very instructive: Lt Hadham is close to Gt Dunmow and very close to Standon and Gt Munden, while Mimms, Herts, where in 1855 he said heíd been born, is very close to Waltham Abbey. And Markís baptism is suggestive: Wherstead is very close to Ipswich and, alongside his sister Aliceís alleged birth in one of the Essex Bumpsteads, suggests William, husband of Martha, took Henry and James Gaskin up from the familyís regular patch in Herts through Essex to their new one around Ipswich.

Intriguingly, a William Gaskin was christened in Gt Munden in 1793 base born son of Martha, perhaps a sister of the husband of Ann, and a Maria Gaskin was christened in Sawtry, Hun in 1817, her father James a basket maker of Islington, Mdx like William Wilson at the baptism of his Plato in 1825. So finding a baptism for this Martha or James Gaskin might give us the parents of William Gaskin/Wilson, husband of Ann and Martha.

Copyright © 2017 Eric Trudgill