I saw John first in the 1901 London census, where he was a Foreman Platelayer on the railway. His eldest son, John 22, is a Stoker. Another son, George is said to have been born in Stonebridge, Mdx. Here is a transcript of the census return:
1901 John 1856 Stbg Elizabeth 45 John 22 Louisa 18 George 12 Horace 5 Freda 4 Herbert C 1 in Willesden Mdx.
I dug back into John’s past.
In 1891, John and Elizabeth are living in 5 Melville Rd, Willesden and he calls himself a General Labourer.
1891 John 1856 Stbg Elizabeth 35 John 12 Laura 8 Arthur 4 George 2 Ethel 4m in Willisden Mdx
Now, this is the interesting bit:
In 1881, John and his new wife are in Northall, but they have with them their new son, John 1879, who was born in Middlesex. I found their marriage:
Name: John Tearle
Year of Registration: 1877
Quarter of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
District: Leighton Buzzard
County: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire
and she is Elizabeth Tompkins of Eaton Bray. The certificate says John’s residence at the time of marriage was Northall and his father was John Tearle, Labourer. Also interestingly, they are living in a house immediately next door to John and Charlotte Irons.
1881 John 1857 Stbg Elizabeth 24 Northall John 2 Mdx in Northall
In 1871, John is 15ys and living with John and Charlotte Irons – he is John’s nephew.
1871 John 1856 Stbg neph John Irons 56 Charlotte 53 in Northall
In 1861, John is 5yrs old, living in the household of his uncle John and Charlotte Irons. He is their nephew.
1861 John 1856 Stbg nephew of John Irons 41 Charlotte 1818 Edels in Northall
I could not find the link that made John Tearle 1856 a nephew of John Irons, so I concentrated on his parents; who were they? One of them was John, not surprisingly, a labourer and in the village was a John Tearle who in 1840 had married a Northall girl called Eliza Irons. I sent off for their marriage certificate, too.
Eliza Iron’s father was Edward Irons and a search though the IGI gave me the marriage of Edward Irons and Hannah Tarman in Northchurch, Herts, on 12 Aug 1803. They had 10 children, and two of them were Eliza, born 1818, and John Irons, born 1814, one of Eliza’s elder brothers. Another brother was Thomas Irons born 1812, and Ann Irons, born 1821, they were here making their marks as witnesses to this wedding. There was no question I had the right family. As we can see from the marriage certificate, John was born to an unmarried Mary Tearle, almost certainly of Stanbridge. I went looking for her. In the 1841 census, a John Tearle aged 20 with a wife Eliza 20, a daughter Sarah aged 2 and a daughter Mary aged 4m, are living in Stanbridge only a few houses from Abel Tearle and Martha nee Emerton. Abel has his children living with him as well as his 65yr old father-in-law, Joseph Emerton. In villages, families combine and re-combine to give support to each other. And to a certain extent, in a village as small as Stanbridge, everyone is also a neighbour. If our John is 20, then he was born about 1820. Barbara reminded us that there was a Mary Tearle who baptised a “John son of Mary Tearle a bastard” in 1823. Mary was the daughter of John 1770 and Mary nee Janes. The Stanbridge PRs record her baptism in 1803.
We have to be careful not to get too tied up over accurate dates, here, because John is a bit woolly either on his maths or his birth date, or both, because in 1841 he is 20, in 1851 he is 32, in 1861 he is 40 and in 1871 he is 54. He died on 1 Oct 1877.
There is the fascinating picture of John in the 1871 Stanbridge census with an unmarried daughter Mary Ann (29) and her daughter Annie, as well as another unmarried daughter, Jane (26) with her son Zephaniah.
So the last son of John and Eliza, John 1856, did not live with his family, although admittedly not very far away from them, but lived with his uncle and aunt, John and Charlotte Irons. Why? I think the answer lies in the fact that his mother Eliza died in Dec 1856, probably of childbirth or one of its many complications. Unusually, John did not remarry, probably because he had daughters who were old enough to look after him so he didn’t need to marry again quickly, as many of the village men had to do. John 1856, therefore, was given to his childless uncle and no doubt into a very grateful and caring little family, no matter how poor they were.
So why did he go to Willesden?
Richard Tearle has pointed out the following:
“As I’m sure you’re aware, Willesden, Harlesden and Stonebridge are very close together in London and, all of these places tie in with Watford and Leighton Buzzard as being important places on the (then) fairly new LNWR line from Euston to Scotland (via Preston!!)”
There was work – and there was family.
We know John and Elizabeth were in London between 1881 and 1891, because in the 1891 census, John is recorded as having been born in 1879 in Alperton, then Louisa was born in Willesden in 1882. In 1881, Jonathon 1862 (son of William 1832 and Catharine nee Fountain) was in Willesden, George 1844 of Stanbridge and Lavinia nee George were in Kentish Town, George 1855 of Slapton and Elizabeth were in Mile End, Old Town (a railway town) John 1831 from Toddington and William were in Acton, Joseph 1834 of Dagnall and Elizabeth nee Naylor were in Hammersmith, William North Tearle and Emily were in Camberwell. It’s noo far a stretch to point out that there are family ties throughout all of this, but the strongest ones are to George 1844 and William North and Emily. George is a Stanbridge man, so ties to the village are very strong, and a railway voyage was an adventure. William North T and Emily must have gone back to Leighton Buzzard to have their last child, because Monta Monica 1876 died in Leighton Buzzard in 1877.
So we have now uncovered the story of John 1823 and his son John 1856. Interestingly, we have also visited the stories of John’s mother, Mary 1803, and even of his grandparents, John 1770 and Mary nee Janes. In two sons, we have traversed from 1770 to 1901.