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PAXTON, William Spencer


William was born in 1859 to Thomas Paxton (1826-1867) and his wife, Emma née Cotton (1827-1880). They married in 1848 at Woburn. Thomas was a land agent/ostler, son of William Paxton and Mary Spencer.

Emma was the daughter of Thomas Cotton and Elizabeth Binyon.

When William was born, he was the seventh of nine children, the youngest, Gertrude being born after her father’s death.

Elizabeth 1848
Jane 1850
Emma 1852
Mary Ann 1854
Caroline Evelyn 1856
Henry Thomas 1857
William Spencer 1859 – 1908
Sarah Ann 1864
Gertrude 1868

William moved south to Hendon and Stoke Newington working as a builder’s labourer/scaffolder.

He met and married a Mary Ann Paxton (same surname) on May 18th 1884, at Old St Pancras. Both of their fathers were dead and not named. William and Mary Ann do not appear to have had any children. Mary Ann gave her place of birth as Kentish Town on the 1901 Census.

Looking to see if there was a relationship between the two and using that information, I endeavoured to find out more about Mary Ann. Paxton turned out to be quite a common surname!

I did find Mary Ann on the 1881 Census, living with her widowed mother – Maria aged 60, born at Wadesdon, Buckinghamshire. Further research leads me to believe that her parents were John Paxton and Mary Sadler.

William appears on the Settlement Register for Hackney Union, dated 24th January 1908 and was ‘ceased to be chargeable’ on 17th February.

On 1st February 1908, William enters the workhouse in Hackney (a rather forbidding looking place!) and was discharged to the Infirmary on the 10th.

On the 22nd February, William is transferred to Long Grove where he died on the 18th June 1908. His diagnosis is the all too familiar – general paralysis of the insane.

It is sad to see that so many of these patients appear to be abandoned by their relatives as the deaths are registered by the medical staff.

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