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Endicott Roots
More recent Endicotts
More recent Endicotts

19th century Endicott ancestors

G.L.'s grand- and great-grand-parents.

Elizabeth Steel c 1824 - 1879

Elizabeth Steel or Still, later Enticott or Endicott, then Sutton, was the mother of 'Papa' Endicott. I do not think I ever heard anything about her from my mother, although she did refer to Elizabeth's second husband, 'Papa' Endicott's stepfather, as a travelling tinker. So all we can ever expect to know of her is what can be gleaned from the various records that exist.

Elizabeth Steel was born around 1824,[1] in Whitechurch, Dorset,[2] which probably means Whitchurch Canonicorum, which is less than 10 miles from Axminster, just across the Dorset border. Her father, John Steel or Still, was a labourer, presumably a farm worker.[3] Nothing is revealed of her occupation or education, though she was sufficiently literate to be able to sign her name on her marriage certificates.[4]

She married John Enticott, a 26 year-old farm labourer, in the Axminster Parish Church on March 25 1847. The couple were both living in Axminster at the time of the wedding, which took place after banns had been called. The ceremony was performed by I (?) H Way and witnessed by John Morgan and James French.[5] It may be surmised that Elizabeth met John after going to Axminster to find work, probably as a domestic; Whitchurch lies almost halfway between Axminster and Bridport, the two nearest towns of any size.

The son, and apparently only child, of Elizabeth and John, was born on July 7, 1848, and called John, like his father. On his birth certificate his mother's name is spelt both Enticott and Endicott, indicating the well-established variation of spelling. The family was living at Smallridge, a hamlet about 2 miles out of Axminster, where John had been living with his mother, Mary Enticott, before his marriage. It appears from John's death certificate that he already knew from the time of his marriage, or before, that he was suffering from phthisis (tuberculosis), the 'white plague' of the 19th century, which he would probably have called 'consumption'.[6]

The 1851 census return records Elizabeth Enticott as living with her husband and son in Smallridge, John Enticott being described as a farm labourer. The census record was for the night of March 30 1851; John Enticott died four days later on April 3 at the age of thirty. Also in the household was Mary Ann Drower, John's niece, aged 18, who probably helped with housework. The next census entry records Mary Enticott, widow aged 73, working as a letter carrier, and her grand-daughter, Ann, aged 8, who was in school. Mary Enticott was John's mother, and it was she who put her mark on John's death certificate as having been present at his death. Here one gets some picture of John Enticott dying surrounded by his women relatives from the youngest to the oldest.[7]

Two years later Elizabeth married again. Her second husband was James Sutton, a widower, whose father, Joseph Sutton, was a joiner. James was a licensed hawker (the travelling tinker of my mother's stories) and was apparently living in Cornwall, at Kenwyn near Truro.
The wedding took place on July 7, 1853, in All Saints Church, Chardstock (about 2 miles north of Smallridge). The clergyman who officiated was James G Price(?) and the witnesses were George Marley and Ann Austin (who made her mark). There appears to be a third witness called Mary Dawe, but the surname is very unclear. Elizabeth is recorded as resident in the parish of All Saints, Chardstock, so possibly she had moved from Smallridge after John's death, perhaps to find work.[8]

In 1862 Elizabeth Sutton, along with her husband, James, gave their consent for her 14 year-old son, John, to sign on for 10 years service in the Royal Navy from the age of 18, plus the years until he reached that age. The consent was as follows:
'This is to certify that we the parents of
John Endicott give our consent for him to
join H M Services
Signed by
his father in law James Sutton
and his mother Elizabeth Sutton [9]

So far no other references to Elizabeth have been found until her death on March 9, 1879. She may have moved around with her husband and may have had another child, but this is not easy to establish. Her second husband, James Sutton, described as a cutler, predeceased her. She had seen her first grandchild, Eleanor Frances, who was born in February 1878.[10] She was only 56 when she died of the effects of a second cerebral embolism, having had a previous episode 6 months earlier. At the time of her death she was living at 16 Neswick Street, Plymouth, which was presumably the residence of her son and his family. Her death certificate was signed by her daughter-in-law, Mary (nee Derrick), who had been present when she died.[11] Her son, John, was serving on HMS Cambridge, gunnery ship at Devonport (Plymouth), at the time , presumably doing gunnery training - he was promoted to acting gunner in 1883.[12] It is to be hoped that he was able to visit his mother during her final illness.

1 From age in 1851 census - 27
2 Place of birth given in 1851 census
3 Occupation given on his daughter's marriage
certificates; also sources of variant spellings of
his surname.
4 While her first husband made his mark, there is no such
indication against her name on either certificate.
5 Marriage certificate 1847
6 Cause of death on certificate 1851 phthisis 3 years
7 Census 1851 and death certificate 1851
8 Marriage certificate 1853
9 ADM 139\628
10 Birth certificate 1878
11 Death certificate 1879
12 ADM 188/59 (?)


. . . and there's always more to discover!

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