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Emma’s birth in Dedham, Essex

Emma Howard nee Joslin was baptised on 18th December 1843 at St Mary’s Church, Dedham in Essex, a village about 8 miles north-east of Colchester. She was the daughter of Daniel Joslin or Jossleyn (1801-1861) and his wife Eliza née Clark (1811-1889). Her birth was registered in the Lexden and Winstree Union in Q4 1843 which could mean that she was born in the workhouse at Stanway, a short distance south-west of Colchester.

Daniel and Eliza had married in 1829. The 1841 Census records the family at Dedham with three children: Elizabeth aged 10, James aged 6 and Sarah 5 months. Daniel was an agricultural labourer. 

By the time of the 1851 Census the Joslins had moved closer to Colchester along the Ipswich Road [now the A12] to the village of Langham, and Emma aged 7 had been added to the family. Daniel was now a hurdle maker.

The Joslins in 1861

The 1861 Census records Daniel and Eliza living in the Ipswich Road in the Mile End Parish of Colchester. Sarah is still at home, unmarried and working as a Silk Winder. The household also includes a granddaughter Ann Joslin b.1855 (birth registered as Ann Maria Joslin) who is Elizabeth’s daughter. 

Elizabeth had married William Bland, an agricultural labourer, in early 1858 and in 1861 they are also living on the Ipswich Road not too far from the Joslins with children Alice Eliza b. 1856 (birth registered as Alice Eliza Joslin), Thirza b.1858 and George William b.1860. 

James married Priscilla Marshall in 1859 and they are found in 1861 in Ardleigh, another small village north-east of Colchester, with their first child, one-year-old James junior. James senior is a journeyman carpenter.

Emma appears in the 1861 Census aged 17. She is a servant to William Griffin, a widowed Linen Draper, in Botolph Street, Colchester. In addition to Emma the household includes one female assistant and seven male assistants all aged between 17 and 21, a housekeeper aged 55, two female servants aged 15 and 18 and one male servant aged 17.  

Emma and Sarah marry soldiers

On 12th October 1863 Emma married John Patterson, a private in the 38th Regiment of Foot, in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. Colchester was and continues to be an important garrison with a large barracks to the south of the town. Marriages between soldiers and local women were not uncommon. Emma’s sister Sarah had married John Cooper, a soldier, in July 1863.

John Patterson was probably born in Ballinderry, County Antrim, Ireland in 1837. He enlisted in the 38th Regiment of Foot in 1854 aged 17 and was in India from 1857 until 1862. After landing at Calcutta [now Kolkata] the regiment was initially at Lucknow, which had recently been reoccupied after being under siege during the Indian Mutiny, and then from 1861 in Dinapore [now Danapur]. 

The regiment embarked for England in January 1862 and John was at the Colchester Barracks until 1864 when he was discharged. He was listed in army records as a cook. He was re-engaged in the 44th Regiment of Foot at Colchester in March 1865 and was at Landguard Fort on the north bank of the mouth of the Orwell later in 1865. In February 1866 he went to Dover. In 1867-8 he was at Aldershot and then the regiment moved to Ireland later in 1868. John was promoted to Corporal in May 1868 and Sergeant in August 1869.

For much of the time in Ireland he was based at a large camp at Curragh south-west of Dublin, and then later at Cork. He transferred back to the 38th Regiment of Foot in 1871, returned to Dover in 1872 and was discharged in September 1873 suffering from anaemia. (On Ancestry- User Behoffbauer’s research).

Emma was with him during his service as we can see from the birthplaces of their nine children.

John Walter b.1864 Colchester, Essex

James Herbert b.1866 Landguard Fort, Suffolk

Robert Ellis b.1867 Farnham, Surrey

Sarah Ann Catherine b.1869 Tipperary, Ireland

Daniel b. 30th Oct 1870 Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland

Thomas Henry b. 26th February 1872 Dover, Kent

Arthur b. 24th February 1874 Colchester, Essex

Alice Eliza b. 26th November 1875 Colchester, Essex.

Elizabeth Maud b. 19th December 1877 Colchester, Essex

A tragic accident

Following his discharge from the army John obtained work with one of the largest brewery companies in Essex at the time, Charrington Nicholl and Co of East Hill, Colchester.

Unfortunately, a tragic accident befell him at the brewery on the 15th September 1879. Newspaper reports of the jury inquest, held in the brewery’s onsite public house the Goat and Boot Inn, tell how he had climbed down into an empty vat to clean it, against the advice of his co-workers. Stooping down to retrieve a hammer that he had dropped he was overcome by the heavier-than-air carbon dioxide (then called carbonic acid gas) pooled in the bottom of the vat.

Desperate attempts to rescue him by breaking open the bottom of the wooden vat were to no avail; he was beyond saving. The reports say that his body was taken to his home in Brook Street, a road that intersects with East Hill not far from the brewery.

The jury agreed with the coroner that no blame could be attached to anyone other than the deceased. John’s surname is given incorrectly as Pattison in the reports and that is the spelling that appears on his death certificate. 

One report ended by noting that the deceased had left a widow and seven children. We know from a death registration that Daniel had died in Colchester in 1873 aged 3. It seems that Robert must also have died before 1879 as though no death registration has been found he is the only other child for whom there are no later records; he may have died in Ireland.

Emma remarries

Just over a year after John Patterson’s death Emma married widower Philip Howard, a labourer, in Chelmsford, a town about 25 miles south-west of Colchester. They were both 37. Philip had been married to Eliza Louisa Channell who had died in 1874 and they had had three children.

By the time of the 1881 Census Philip and Emma were living in Hope Square, Primrose Hill. Chelmsford in a household that included children from both of their marriages, all using the surname Howard, and also their own child Emma Louisa who was one week old. They would go on to have a further three children: Elsie Phyllis b. 8th June 1884 Colchester and sadly died Q4 1884, Albert Edward b. 1886 Colchester and sadly died Q2 1887 and Clifford Philip b. 24th November 1887 Colchester.

The 1891 Census records Philip and Emma at 26 Brook Street, Colchester with Emma junior and Clifford. It is likely that they had moved there before Elsie Phyllis was born in Colchester in 1884. It seems that Philip and Emma had moved back if not to the house she shared with John, then to the same street. It was also the street where Emma’s sister and brother-in-law Elizabeth and William Bland had been living since at least 1881 at number 37. 

Emma and Philip move to London

By the time of the 1901 Census Emma and Philip had moved to London and were living in St Leonard’s Road, Bromley-by-Bow, Poplar with Emma’s youngest daughter by John Patterson, Elizabeth Maud (using the surname Howard). Philip’s occupation was given as Dock Labourer.  They seem to have followed the lead of the older Patterson children. John Walter had married in Poplar in 1890 and was living in Bromley-by-Bow in 1891. That same year James Herbert was living in the parish of St George-in-the-East, Wapping. 

In October 1904 Philip was admitted to Poplar Workhouse for the first of seventeen periods that he spent there between then and June 1909. His occupation is recorded as ‘dock labourer’.

Emma is admitted to the workhouse and then Long Grove Asylum

Emma was admitted to Poplar Workhouse briefly for the first time in February 1907. She is described as ‘ill’ and it is noted that her husband Philip is at 31 Sabbarton Street, which was close to the Limehouse Cut in Poplar. She was admitted again on the 20th November 1907, described as ‘insane’. At the time Philip was also in the workhouse. 

A week later on the 27th November she was transferred to Long Grove Asylum which is confirmed by the Lunacy Patients’ Admission Register. Emma died in the asylum on the 2nd May 1908 aged 64 and was buried in Horton Cemetery on the 7th May. Her cause of death confirmed by post mortem was recorded as ‘Cerebral Tumour several months Congestion of the Lungs 2 days’.

Starting from a small Essex village, Emma travelled widely with her first husband John Patterson to Surrey, Ireland and Kent before moving back to Colchester. Then after his untimely death, leaving her to care for seven children aged between 15 and 2, she married her second husband Philip Howard in Chelmsford.

After a few years they had returned to Colchester where three of their four children were born: she had given birth to 13 in total of whom 9 survived into adulthood. Then a final move in middle age to the East End of London. If that was in search of better prospects of employment Philip’s frequent admissions to the workhouse show that it was not successful. Finally, Emma’s illness and admission to the asylum. A sad end to a long journey.

Philip after Emma’s death: a speculative addendum

The latest definite record that has been found for Philip is a discharge from the Poplar Workhouse on 12th June 1909 at his own request. Emma junior and Clifford were both in Poplar on census day 1911. Emma had married Charles Pearce in 1900 and was with her family and Clifford was lodging with the family of his future wife, Primrose Myers. Philip was not living with either of them. 

So, where was Philip? A possible answer introduces one of the alternatives to the workhouse for the poor: the notorious common lodging house where a bed and a meal could be had for a few pence a night. 

There is a death registration for a Philip James Howard aged 74 in Q4 1916 in Gravesend, Kent which nearly matches Philip’s estimated year of birth of 1843. According to the death certificate he was a Furniture and Rag Dealer of 10 Eden Place, Gravesend and his demise on the 15th December 1916 from bronchitis was reported by his widow, H. Howard, who was present at his death. Was this him?

There is also a 1911 census return for a Phillip Howard aged 50, born in Diss, Norfolk and living at 27 West Street, Gravesend, which was a lodging house. His occupation is given as dock labourer and he is described as being married to Hannah Howard, aged 40 and born in Wolverhampton, who was the Lodging House Deputy. [A Lodging House Deputy managed the establishment on behalf of a proprietor.] 

Philip would actually have been 68 in 1911. In earlier census returns his birth place is given as Stoke Ash or the nearby Wickham Skeith in Suffolk except for 1891 when it is given as Eye, Suffolk. All those locations are within six miles of Diss. He was recorded as a dock labourer when he was in the workhouse in Poplar. The 1911 census form, which appears all to be in the same hand, was signed ‘Hannah Howard’. Was she careless or perhaps even intentionally inaccurate about Philip’s age and birth place when completing the form? The difficulties faced by enumerators in getting census returns from Lodging House Deputies were sufficiently well-known to be the subject of humorous cartoons.

Could it be that a year after Emma’s death Philip decided that he would look for work down river at the docks at Gravesend and that he met Hannah at the dockside lodging house and formed a relationship with her? Lodging Houses were often run by a married couple or at least a couple that purported to be married: no record has been found of a marriage between Philip and Hannah. All we can say is that it is a possibility.

For information about common lodging houses see: www.workhouses.org.uk/lodging/

Emma, Philip and John’s descendants

Emma and John’s Children

Seven of the nine Patterson children survived into adulthood:

Year bornPlace bornOccupationPlace diedYear died
John Walter1864Colchester, EssexMarried 13 children (9 alive in 1911)PastrycookWest Ham1928
James Herbert1866 Landguard Fort, SuffolkMarried 8 children (6 alive in 1911}Basket MakerEaling1952
Robert Ellis1867Farnham, Surreybef. 1879
Sarah Ann1869Tipperary, IrelandMarried 4 children (all alive in 1911)Husband was a Plumber and FitterAlberta, Canada1926
Thomas Henry1872Dover, KentMarried 7 childrenPlumberWillesden1953
Arthur1874Colchester, EssexMarried 4 childrenInsurance AgentWisbech1949
Alice Eliza1875Colchester, EssexUnmarriedServantProbably Strand, London1897
Elizabeth Maud1877Colchester, EssexMarried 3 childrenHusband was a TailorDurham1946

Philip and Eliza Louisa’s children

The latest records that it has been possible to find for two of Philip’s first family are:

Charles Edward 1871 Census; William 1881 Census

Year bornPlace bornOccupationPlace diedYear died
James Philip1866Lynn, NorfolkMarried 7 childrenMaster BakerWorthing, Sussex1949
Charles Edward1869Eye, Suffolk????
William1872Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk????

Emma and Philip’s children

Two children of Philip’s second family survived into adulthood. Both lived in East London from around the time that Emma and Philip moved to Bromley-by-Bow.

Clifford Philip enlisted in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (Special Reserve) in 1908 and was posted to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in February 1915. He was wounded in action near Givenchy in March 1915, suffering severe concussion, and discharged from the army in November 1915.

Year bornPlace bornOccupationPlace diedYear died
Emma Louisa1881Chelmsford, EssexMarried 4 childrenHusband was a Grocer’s ManagerCamberwell1958
Elsie Phyllis1884ColchesterColchester1884
Albert Edward1886ColchesterColchester1887
Clifford Philip1887Colchester, EssexMarried 6 childrenFishmongerPoplar1965
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