John David Taylor continued…

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In my last post about my great-great-grandfather John David Taylor’s ‘other woman’, I discovered that there were two children born to their union. I had obtained the birth certificate for the oldest son, William Henry Taylor, born in 1892 on the Isle of Wight, which gave the other woman’s name as Nelly Taylor, formerly Moss but I had been unable to find any trace of Ellen or Nelly Moss, born in Swindon in about 1871.

On the day of that post, I had ordered the birth certificate for the second child, Charles Albert Taylor and when it arrived, it gave me the clue I needed to track down his mother.  The birth certificate read:

Certified copy of an Entry of Birth given at the General Register Office; Registration District Stoke Damerel; 1895 Birth in the Sub-district of Tamar in the County of Devonport;
#456, Twenty second March 1895, 27 Martin Terrace, Charles Albert, boy, father: John David Taylor, mother: Ellen Taylor, formerly Morse, father’s occupation: boilermaker (journeyman), registered by John David Taylor, father, 27 Martin Terrace, Morice Town, on thirtieth April 1895.

With the corrected spelling of Ellen’s last name as MORSE, I was finally able to find some information about her.  In 1871, I found her living in Swindon, Wiltshire living with what appear to be her grandparents, Thomas and Edith Morse, along with her aunt Ann, her parents William and Maria Morse and an older brother William.

Thomas Morse, head, married, aged 57, labourer in factory, Wiltshire, Stratton St Margaret;
Edith Morse, wife, married, aged 58, Wiltshire, ?;
Ann Morse, daughter, unmarried, aged 19, labourer in farm, Wilts, Swindon;
William Morse, son, married, aged 22, labourer in factory, Wilts, Swindon;
Maria Morse, wife, married, aged 19, Wilts, South Marston Highworth;
William Morse, son, aged 2, Wiltshire, Stratton St Margaret;
Ellen Morse, daughter, aged 1, Wiltshire, Stratton St Margaret;

“1871 England Census,”, database on-line and digital images, Ancestry UK (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : downloaded image 2 February 2013), Class: RG10, Piece: 1879, Folio: 23, Page: 15, and GSU roll: 830858.; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1871.

By 1881, something had happened to the family and Ellen and her brother were living in Llanover, Blaenovon in Wales with the Keene family and were listed as ‘adopted’:

26 King Street;
Charles Keene, head, married, aged 35, Iron Stone Miner, Swindon;
Elizabeth Keene, wife, married, aged 35, Beaufort, ?;
William Morse, adopted, aged 11, scholar, Swindon;
Ellen Morse, adopted, aged 11, scholar, Swindon;

“1881 England Census,”, database on-line and digital images, Ancestry UK (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : downloaded image 2 February 2012), Class: RG11, Piece: 5238, Folio: 23, Page: 40, and GSU roll: 1342261.; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881; 1881 British Isles Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Then in 1891, I found Ellen still living with Charles and Elizabeth Keen(e), but this time, she is listed as their niece.

Lion Street, Coffee Tavern;
Charles Keen, head, married, aged 44, keeper of Coffee Tavern, Wiltshire, Swindon;
Elizabeth Keen, wife, married, aged 43, Mon, Blaenavon;
Elizabeth Keen, mother, widowed, aged 68, Wilts, Swindon;
Ellen Morse, niece, single, aged 20, Wilts, Swindon;
Charles Morse, nephew, single, aged 18, general labourer at ironworks, Wilts, Swindon;
Albert Morse, nephew, single, aged 16, general labourer at ironworks, Wilts, Swindon;
Edith Morse, niece, aged 14, Wilts, Swindon;
William Watkins, boarder, single, aged 21, general labourer at ironworks, Hereford;
Samuel Cook, visitor, single, aged 26, traveller in hardware, Lancashire, Blackburn;
Sarah Jane Cook, visitor, aged 34, Traveller in Hardware, Lancashire, Blackburn;
Robert Pickup, visitor, aged 28, Traveller in hardware, Lancashire, Bury;
Edward Headman, boarder, single, aged 28, bricklayer, Barrow-in-Furness;
James Whelan, boarder, single, aged 19, bricklayer, Cumberland, Milom;

“1891 England Census,”, database on-line and digital images, Ancestry UK (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : downloaded image 2 February 2013), Class: RG12, Piece: 4350, Folio: 23, Page: 40, and GSU roll: 6099460.; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1891.

John David Taylor had been living and running a business in Blaenavon when he was forced into bankruptcy in December of 1890:

“Receiving Orders,” The London Gazette, 16 December 1890, Issue 26115, p32; #3893, Taylor, John David, 34 Strand, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, and formerly of Blaenavon, Monmouthshire, contractor, Tredegar Court, Petition filed 10 Dec 1890, number of matter 7 of 1890, received order 11 Dec 1890, number of receiving order 7, Debtor.; online database, The London Gazette Online Archive (http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ : downloaded image 30 September 2010), The London Gazette Online Archive.

This is more than likely where JD met Ellen Morse. After his bankruptcy, they must have left Wales for the Isle of Wight where their first child, William Henry, was born. It is only conjecture on my part, but I’m hypothesizing that their first child, William, was named for Ellen’s father and their second child, Charles, was named for her uncle Charles Keen(e).

My next move will be to further investigate Ellen’s family, both in Wiltshire and in Wales, tracing them forward after Ellen ran off with JD, to see if I might find any clues to what happened to Ellen, William and Charles after John David died in 1902. In the meantime, I’ve posted information about them in my “Most Wanted” listings on my family website.

Barbara J Starmans is a social historian, freelance writer and obsessed genealogist living in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada and has been doing genealogical research for the past 35 years. She is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada with professional learning certificates in General Methodology and in English Records and recently become an instructor for them with an intermediate course on Social History.

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