Author Topic: Matthew Wilkes born c 1755 Are these the same men?  (Read 85 times)

Offline cristeen

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Matthew Wilkes born c 1755 Are these the same men?
« on: Tuesday 14 May 19 10:50 BST (UK) »
I am attempting to move back a generation from my 4xG grandfather Thomas Wilkes who was born about 1785 in Staffordshire, 1851 census has his POB as Essington. Thomas was a locksmith/ bellhanger in the early part of his life, baptism records & his children's marriage records all confirm this trade.
There is a likely baptism record for Thomas at All Saints Bloxwich on 17 May 1787 to Matthew Wilkes & Hannah. I cannot find another candidate
Based on this baptism I found a marriage record for Matthew Wilkes & Hannah Barber, Sept 1782 St Matthew Walsall. There are also administration records dated 25 Feb 1807 for a Matthew Wilkes, locksmith of Bloxwich dying intestate & widow Hannah which say he died September last & finally a burial record 17 Sept 1806 at Bloxwich.
The above records all seem to be the same couple and probable parents for my Thomas (he named his first daughter Hannah & second son Matthew)
I have also found army records for a Matthew Wilkes of 16th Royal Lancers born about 1754, discharged 1796. He is described as a gunsmith from Wednesbury
I can only find one potential baptism for a Matthew Wilkes born about 1754 in Staffordshire, which was at St Lawrence Darlaston on 12 Oct 1755, parents Matthew & Anne.
I would appreciate opinions on whether these Matthews could be the same man and any advice on where else to look for records which might confirm or deny a link
TIA
Christine
Newson, Steavenson, Walker, Taylor, Dobson, Gardner, Clark, Wilson, Smith, Crossland, Goldfinch, Burnett, Hebdon, Peers, Strother, Askew, Bower, Beckwith, Patton, White, Turner, Nelson, Gilpin, Tomlinson, Thompson, Spedding, Wilkes, Carr, Butterfield, Ormandy, Wilkinson, Cocking, Glover, Pennington, Bowker, Kitching, Langhorn, Haworth, Kirkham.

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Offline philipsearching

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Re: Matthew Wilkes born c 1755 Are these the same men?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 14 May 19 20:58 BST (UK) »
Thomas:
Going on geography:  born c1785 Essington (per 1851 census) - bapt 1787 Bloxwich.  Distance by road under 5 miles.  This is close enough to be fairly confident.  Occupations: Matthew sr locksmith; Thomas locksmith & bellhanger (1851); children named after parents - this is persuasive.

Matthew:
a) Born c1754 gunsmith from Wednesbury (army record).
b) Probable baptism 1755 Darlaston.
c) Matthew mar Hannah 1782 Walsall - age c27 is reasonable.
d) Likely son Thomas - parents Matthew & Hannah.
e) Locksmith of Bloxwich (admin. records) widow Hannah.

Given that a gunsmith would not necessarily have made every part of a gun (could be blacksmith for barrel, woodworker for stock, locksmith for mechanism) I would have no problem with a locksmith also being a gunsmith.

The above points to this being the same family, but I would have three questions:
1) Can Matthew & Hannah be tracked with baptisms/burials around Walsall which would eliminate them?
2) Is there any other burial record for a Thomas in Staffs from 1787 onward which would match?
3) Ian a regimental history show that the regiment was in England  when Thomas (and any other children) were born?

Assuming that the questions don't throw up any problems, I would say that the evidence you have compiled is "beyond reasonable doubt".

Philip
Please help me to help you by citing sources for information.

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Offline cristeen

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Re: Matthew Wilkes born c 1755 Are these the same men?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 15 May 19 15:57 BST (UK) »
Thank you for your thorough reply Philip.
I also thought that a gun smith may have become a lock smith, similar skills involved ie. precision metal working for moving mechanisms.
With regard to your suggestions
1 There are no more baptisms to Matthew & Hannah to be found, I am currently investigating baptisms to a Matthew & to Matthew & Ann (or other Hannah variants) Nothing definite has yet come up.

2 My Thomas Wilkes (if that is to whom you are referring) moved away from Stafford, first to London (I believe, where he married and was widowed, then to Liverpool where he married & was widowed again, married a 3rd time to a girl from Cartmel & moved to Lancashire when he was declared bankrupt. Lived in Kendal then to Preston where he dabbled in ship ownership, became a master mariner and was declared bankrupt again! He ended up in Birkenhead in 1851, a coal dealer & I think died in 1853 at Walton-le-Dale, his widow I think in 1855 at Blackburn)

3 Matthew Wilkes of the 16th Queens Lancers joined up in 1775 and fought in America where he was wounded at the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778, returned to England spring 1779 then fought in Flanders from April 1793 to Feb 1796. He was discharged in June 1796 as a result of his injuries and admitted as a Chelsea Pensioner Aug 1796.
The Chelsea pensioner records have an annotation about 7 years service in Life Guards and there is a transcription for a Matthew Wilkes 2nd Regiment Life Guards discharged 3 Feb 1804 which I suspect is the same man.
I have a burial for a Hannah Wilkes at All Saint Bloxwich 13 Dec 1813, aged 63, abode poorhouse and a baptism for Hannah Barber 9 Jul 1750 Tamworth, father Samuel. These two records seem to confirm Hannah's identity.
Newson, Steavenson, Walker, Taylor, Dobson, Gardner, Clark, Wilson, Smith, Crossland, Goldfinch, Burnett, Hebdon, Peers, Strother, Askew, Bower, Beckwith, Patton, White, Turner, Nelson, Gilpin, Tomlinson, Thompson, Spedding, Wilkes, Carr, Butterfield, Ormandy, Wilkinson, Cocking, Glover, Pennington, Bowker, Kitching, Langhorn, Haworth, Kirkham.

Offline philipsearching

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Re: Matthew Wilkes born c 1755 Are these the same men?
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 15 May 19 16:44 BST (UK) »
Questions are answered!  :)

No alternatives for Matthew or Thomas in Staffs have been identified.
Matthew was in England at the right time to marry and have a family.

I think you've proved that you have the line correct.  Sufficient supporting evidence together with a lack of contradictory evidence - a very nice piece of research.

Matthew looks to have had an eventful life.  I can't quote a reliable source but I believe that the British Army in the 1770s was so desperate for recruits that they relaxed the rules about length of service so Matthew may have been placed on light duties or put on whatever passed for a Reserve List at the time in the early 1780s.  For him to rejoin the Colours later (twice) and end up as a Chelsea Pensioner is a tribute to his good character.

Philip
Please help me to help you by citing sources for information.

Census information is Crown Copyright http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk<br /><br /><br />

Offline cristeen

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Re: Matthew Wilkes born c 1755 Are these the same men?
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 15 May 19 17:12 BST (UK) »
Thank you once again Philip, I am always tempted to 'claim' someone as an ancestor when there are such lovely original records to illustrate their lives. I just wanted to be as sure as I can be before adding this generation to the tree!
Newson, Steavenson, Walker, Taylor, Dobson, Gardner, Clark, Wilson, Smith, Crossland, Goldfinch, Burnett, Hebdon, Peers, Strother, Askew, Bower, Beckwith, Patton, White, Turner, Nelson, Gilpin, Tomlinson, Thompson, Spedding, Wilkes, Carr, Butterfield, Ormandy, Wilkinson, Cocking, Glover, Pennington, Bowker, Kitching, Langhorn, Haworth, Kirkham.