Thursday, August 11, 2016

An update: Little Elizabeth Ann Portus Vamplew died barely one year old

I was going through a few images and came across one of my great grandmother's cottage hymn book. On the inside cover is a note "Elizabeth Ann Vanplew Portos  Boarn Ap 27-64 & Departed this life Novem. 16-64" and on the opposite page "Mary Ann Vanplue Portus Tomby Nr Coningsby Lincolnshire"
The book is in the possession of cousin Sharon. I had a photo copy of the inside cover, but I never saw the actual book until I visited Sharon one day and we were looking over her cache of family stuff. I was quite taken by it and couldn't help but think about Mary Ann losing her child not one year old. What a hard time that must have been. No wonder she put the information in her little book as a reminder for prayer.

Elizabeth Ann was the first child born to Mary Ann Vamplew of Tumby Woodside, Lincolnshire, England and John Portus of Tumby which isn't too far away. 

[added 15 Sep] Notice on the "Entry of Birth" just added to this blog, there is no father listed, just the mother – Mary Ann. Elizabeth Ann's birth wasn't registered until 12 May 1864 even though she was born towards the end of April. There wasn't a set amount of days before the registration had to be made until 1874 when six weeks was the deadline. Some people still thought it was the church's responsibility to register. Besides all this, my people in Lincolnshire lived in somewhat rural area; the means of traveling to the Registration office wasn't as easy as it is today; time passed. Horncastle was about 8 miles away from Tumby by buggy. Someone would have had to take off work and that would have taken pretty much of the day for travel.

Little Elizabeth Ann was born 27 April 1864, and on 19 June was baptized in St. Peter's, the Wildmore parish church which is south of Tumby Woodside. 
St. Peter's is also referred to as Parish of Thornton-le-Fen and has been called "Frog Hall" since it is near some drains on the fen and during services the sounds of frogs croaking outside was dominant.
Baptisms solemnized in the Parish of Thornton le Fen in the County of Lincoln in the year 1864.   June 19th / Elizabeth Ann Portus illegit: dau of / Mary Ann / Vamplew / Tumby Woodside / Domestic Servant / S. George Kerr   P. Curate
Mary Ann was a domestic servant and John was a farm labourer. As so many times during my research, I have come across pre-marriage births within my family history. This was no exception except, but when they settled in Lake County, Illinois, they told everyone they were married in 1863, when actually they didn't marry until 1 Sep 1864 five months after Elizabeth Ann was born. I guess settling so far away from home, in a new land, it really didn't occur to them 146 years later, someone would know the truth.

This scenario isn't all that unusual. John and Mary Ann were working and according to protocol, couldn't leave to be married less they forfeit their job and income. I suspect John waited until his indenture was completed and then they married making the child legally his.

1864 Marriage solemized at
Chapel in the Chapelry of Thornton le Fen in the County of Lincoln.
Thursday Sept 1st / John Portus  Mary Ann Vamplew / both of full age / Bachelor  Spinster / Labourer  (note: no occupation for Mary Ann) / Part of Tumby Allot / William Portus (father of groom)  James Vamplew (father of bride)/ both fathers are labourers. The marriage was by Banns.  Witnesses: James Vamplew and Jane Portus

About three months after Elizabeth Ann was baptized, her mother and father married. The family was complete and hopefully happy to be. It wasn't more than two months after John and Mary Ann were married that Elizabeth Ann died.

1864 Death in the Sub-district of Tattershall in the County of Lincoln.
Sixteenth November 1864 Coningsby / Elizabeth Ann Portus Vamplew /
Female / 6 months / Daughter of Mary Ann Vamplew now the wife of John Portus Farm Labourer / (cause) Teething Convulsions not certified / X The mark of Maria Stamper  Present at the death  Coningsby / Eighteenth November 1864 

Many babies in those days died of "teething convulsions" because they didn't know how to treat the high temperatures which caused the convulsions. This must have been devastating for both Mary Ann and John. I can't imagine losing a child and so young, too.

Elizabeth Ann is buried in the St. Michael's churchyard, Coningsby. When Bob and I were there a few years ago, we couldn't find any marker or headstone for her. Cousin Alan searched a wooded area in the churchyard just last year before the leaves came out; he found nothing. So if she had a marker of some sort, it isn't there anymore.

St. Michaels Parish church in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, England
John and Mary Ann had three more children in Lincolnshire before they immigrated in 1870 to the United States and settled in Diamond Lake, Lake County, Illinois. Five years later, John's parents would migrate to the U.S. and settle in Garfield, Kansas.

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