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Joseph Butler

Eric Trudgill    -    5 February 2012

The first significant Joseph I know in the eighteenth century East Warwicks/West Northants Butler family married Tabitha Davis in Wolford Wks in 1763, and christened an Ann in Norton Nth in 1764 and a Joseph in Long ItchingtonWks in 1767. Joseph senior, I think, probably had an older sister, Mary Butler, who married Thomas Sherriff in AlderminsterWks in 1759(with a George Davis acting as witness) and who christened a son in Bishop’s ItchingtonWks in 1763, and christened another(William Sherriff) in HillmortonWks in 1769 who married an Elizabeth Butler; the dates, places, Davis connection, and probable cousin-marriage here all suggest Mary was Joseph senior’s sibling.

So too possibly were the Richard Butler, husband of Sarah, and the John Butler, husband of Elizabeth, who christened children respectively in Farthinghoe Nth in 1755 and Long Buckby Nth in 1759, the father in each case, like Joseph at his wedding to Tabitha, described as a sojourner. Joseph and Tabitha, besides the Ann and Joseph junior christened in 1764 and 1767, quite possibly had the Elizabeth Butler I mentioned earlier, who married William Sherriff in 1793 (in Peatling Magna Leics, just north of the family’s regular territory), and the Edward Butler who married Anne Webb in 1794 (in Daventry Nth, very much within the family’s regular territory), and who described himself at the wedding, as Joseph junior was to do when christening children in 1797,1807 and 1810, as “of ShuckburghWks”.

This second significant Joseph Butler, son of Joseph and Tabitha, married Letitia Davis in Boddington Nth in 1794, describing himself as a travelling chairbottomer, and his bride, I suspect, was his cousin, niece of Tabitha Davis (and possibly of the George Davis who witnessed Mary Butler’s wedding). Joseph and Letitia incontestably had four children, Susanna, Charles, Amelia and James, baptised respectively in Cold Ashby Nth in 1797, Willoughby Wks in 1807, LongBuckbyNth in 1810, and Farnborough Wks in 1814. Of these Susanna and Amelia in their marriages continued the Davis connection: the witnesses at Susanna’s second wedding in 1825 were John and Sarah Davis, both marking with a cross, not signing; and Amelia married a George Davis in 1828 in Long Itchington, where her father had been christened.

But the striking family connection among the second Joseph’s children was with the offspring of William Colburn and Elizabeth Boswell, about whom I wrote in Romany Routesin September 2011. Susanna Butler’s first wedding was in Newnham Nth in 1818 to William Colburn, the second was in the same church in 1825 to the same man, now calling himself William Boswell. Married jointly with them on this second occasion were Joseph Butler (our third Joseph, surely Susanna’s brother, another child of Joseph and Letitia) and Hannah Colburn (surely William Boswell’s sister, another child of William and Elizabeth). And if this third Joseph’s marriage in 1825 helps to fill the gap between Susanna’s baptism in 1797 and Charles’ in 1807, so does Daniel Butler’s marriage in Long Itchington in 1830 to Amadine Colburn, where the witness, William Boswell, was clearly the brother of the bride. Amadine subsequently married, surely her brother-in-law, the James Butler I mentioned earlier, christened by Joseph and Letitia in 1814. And there’s still one more Colburn marriage to a child of the second Joseph to mention, the one formalized in Long Ithington in 1832 between the Charles Butler christened by Joseph and Letitia in 1807, and Isabella Colburn, christened in Towcester Nth in 1815 daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Colburn (Thomas either an error for William, or more likely his brother and successor as Elizabeth Boswell’s husband).

Susanna Butler by William Boswell had the following children (all Boswells): Ambrose, baptised in 1819, who married his cousin, Maria Hodgkins, daughter of Elizabeth Colburn junior; Anne, baptised in 1822, who married her cousin, William Boswell son of John Colburn/Boswell; Thomas, born about 1826, who married Esther Hodgkins, step-sister of Ambrose Boswell’s wife; Eleanor, baptised in 1829, who married Frederick Smith son of Woodbine Smith and Sarah Boswell, and was said, like Sarah,to have been a Butler (which raises the possibility that Elizabeth, wife of William Colburn, who had another granddaughter, Susanna Sherriff, married to a son of Woodfine and Sarah and said to have been a Butler, was herself, like Sarah, a Boswell/Butler and possibly her sister); Susanna, baptised in 1832, who was the mother of Sylvanus Boswell by her cousin Solomon Hodgkins, full brother of Ambrose Boswell’s wife; Henry, baptised in 1834, who married his cousin, Eliza Hodgkins, half-sister of Solomon and Ambrose Boswell’s wife; and William, born about 1836.

Our third Joseph Butler by Hannah Coburn had the following children (all Butlers): Susanna, baptised in Long Itchington in 1825; Martha, baptised in Potterspury Nth in 1828; Enoch, baptised in Long Itchington in 1832; and Eliza, baptised in High Ferrars Nth in 1836. Of these Susanna married Richard Fletcher son of Thomas Fletcher and Maria Smith, Martha married seemingly a Smith, and Enoch married his cousin, Elizabeth daughter of John Colburn/Boswell (Martha and Enoch christened Butler children in Hook Norton Oxfwithin a few weeks 1852-53). It seems this section of the Butler family sometimes over-imbibed: in Winslow Bucks in 1855 Enoch’s wife, along with her sisters-in-law, Susanna Fletcher and Martha Smith, were convicted of drunkenness, and in the same place the following month Enoch was convicted of assaulting his brother-in-law, Richard Fletcher. The family that stays together sometimes possibly shouldn’t.

Daniel Butler, the third Joseph’s brother, by Amadine Colburn had the following children (all Butlers): Thomas, baptised in WellesbourneWks in 1826; Charles, baptised in DunchurchWks in 1830; and Joseph, our fourth Joseph Butler, born about 1836, of whom more later. Charles’ first, informally married, wife was a so far undetermined Hodgkins: they had the Sophia and Dinah/Amadina who married respectively Samuel Brumwell and Sylvanus Boswell. His second wife was his cousin, Eliza Davis: they married in Worcester in 1875 jointly with Dinah and Sylvanus, and with Samuel and Sophia Brumwell acting as witnesses for both Charles and Dinah. Samuel and Sophia Brumwell had: in 1873 a Charles Henry who probably as Henry Hodgkins married Elizabeth Hodgkins, daughter of Moses, and had a Sylvanus and Stradivarius; around 1875a Thomas who as a Hodgkinscertainly married Rachel Hodgkins, daughter of Moses;and around 1877a Matilda who married her cousin, Stradivarius Boswell, and had between 1904 and 1919 Thomas, Aleck, Elizabeth, Edward, Dinah/Amadina and Sophia. Sylvanus and Dinah Boswell had 1877-1895 (all Boswells) the just mentioned Stradivarius, plus Louisa (who married William Butler, of whom more later), Drusilla, Sophia Augusta (who married Moses Harris), Alick and Sylvanus.

Charles Butler, the third Joseph’s brother,by Isabella Colburn had the following Butler children: Tabitha/ Delitha, born in Wks about 1832; Eliza, christened (as Melisa) in Welton Nth in1835, her father a travelling tinker of Long Itchington; Keziah, born in EttingtonWks about 1838; Daniel, christened in Norton Lindsey Wks in 1841; Thomas, born in Beoley or DeffordWorcs about 1844; and Rosanna christened in TibbertonWorcs in 1850. Of these Tabitha married Hercules Holland son of Benjamin Holland and Sarah Hodgkins; Eliza married Thomas Berry son of William and Mary; Keziah married William Neal son of Henry and Hannah; and Thomas married Sarah Elizabeth Mann in Birmingham St Jude in 1868.

Amelia Butler, the third Joseph’s sister, by George Davis had the following children (all Davises): Letitia, christened in Preston Capes Nth in 1829; the previously mentioned Eliza who in 1875 married her cousin, Charles Butler son of Daniel and Amadine; Zachariah, christened in Wolford Wks in 1840, who married a Caroline; and Mary Ann Davis, christened in Wolford Wks in 1842.

James Butler, seemingly the youngest of the third Joseph’s siblings, by Amadine Colburn had the following children (all Butlers): Susanna, christened in SouthamWks in 1840, who probably married William Smith son of Zachariah Smith and Ann Davis; Louisa, christened in OddingleyWorcs in1845; Matthew, christened in HadzorWorcs in 1848, who married Leanabel Smith in Canon Frome Herefordshire in 1870, daughter of Spencer(actually of Spencer’s parents, Septimusand Prudence); and Cynthia, christened in Little Malvern Worcs in 1851.

Finally, the fourth Joseph Butler, the previously mentioned son of Daniel and Amadine. Joseph Butler, claiming to be the 66 year old bachelor son of Daniel Butler, married Sophia Coleman, claiming to be the 56 year old spinster daughter of Harry Smith,in DroitwichWorcs in 1903. They had the following children: a Cynthia, born probably about 1873 & briefly married to the previously mentioned Thomas Hodgkins (son of Samuel and Sophia Brumwell);yet another Joseph Butler, christened in West Malvern Worcs in 1875, who married his cousin Georgina Davis (daughter of Charles Butler and Eliza) in Droitwich in 1903 (the month before his parents finally tied the knot there); the William Butler, born about 1879, who married Louisa Boswell, daughter of SylvanusBoswell and Dinah Butler/Hodgkins, and had a Zena, Daniel, Henry, Amadine and Edith/Ada; a Sylvia, born about 1884, who married, as a Coleman daughter of Joseph Butler, Moses Hodgkinsson of Moses in Droitwichin 1903 (jointly with her brother Joseph Butler and Georgina Davis), with her half-sisters’ children, Stradivarius and MatildaBoswell,as witnesses; and Sabina Butler, christened in Colwall Herefordshire in 1886. That William and Louisa Butler at the beginning of the 20th century gave their children the names, Daniel and Amadine, that had been given to the fourth Joseph’s parents at the beginning of the 19th century, suggests this section of the Butler family at least was a tight-knit, affectionate bunch.

I’m grateful to Maria Tozer for her generous assistance tracing Daniel and Amadine’s descendants.

Copyright © 2012 Eric Trudgill