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MarieCeleste Report 20 Jan 2013 16:16

I'm just annoyed that I can't find REWB in 1910. Personally, I think he was hiding from Nettie's first husband so was laying low!

I'll do the odd check on him from time to time.

It's great when a poster gives us some background to the people we're looking for, so thanks!

Nicola S

Nicola S Report 20 Jan 2013 15:43

Back from the frozen wastes.

Isabel Hervey was Emmeline's maternal aunt and the younger sister of my Great Great Grandfather. We have great photographs of Isabel and also her sister Rosamond, and another photo of their SEVEN servants outside the house they shared in Cheshire before Rosamond married in her middle age. Then Isabel and other family members went to live in a beautiful house in Petersfield, Hampshire where Rosamond's husband had been born.

Aline is a family name and it appears on some of Emmeline's documents.

Emmeline's will is a fascinating document and she specifically left significant family portraits to her two daughters; and stipulated that they were to be offered for sale to UK galleries after their death/s. I'm on the trail of them as we speak . . . It would be such fun to go and view them.

Thank you to all who have helped me with this search. And I hope I've given something in return?

<3 <3


MarieCeleste Report 19 Jan 2013 12:30

Nicola, none of the records I've seen so far (birth marriage, census) mention a middle name for Emmeline, where did Aline come from?


England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
Name: Emmeline Walker
Probate Date: 4 Aug 1931
Death Date: 14 Mar 1931
Death Place: Pennsylvania, USA
Registry: London, England

Can't find Emmeline in 1910/1 either, in 1901 she's in Hampshire with Isabel Hervey.


MarieCeleste Report 19 Jan 2013 12:23

I think the Besants were regular commuters across the Atlantic.

Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945

Name: Mrs. Emmeline Walker
Arrival Date: 1 Nov 1908
Age: 49 Years
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1859
Gender: Female
Ethnic Background: English
Port of Departure: Liverpool, England
Ship Name: Merion
Port of Arrival: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Friend's Name: Mr. E E Walker
Last Residence: United States of America
Birthplace: Congleton, England
Microfilm Roll Number: T840_64

She was going to her husband E E Walker at 50 xx 9 xx St, Phila, PA. She had previously been in USA in PA for 2 years up to 1908.

Also travelling on the same ticket were Miss V Ursula Walker age 24 - she had never been in USA before. Accompanying them was a Miss Jane Clarke age 40 who had previously been in USA for 2 years to 1907. (Jane Clark is listed as a servant with the Besant family in 1891)

Nicola S

Nicola S Report 18 Jan 2013 23:47

To Marie Celeste:
Thank you again and again for ALL your help on this one. Have just come in from very snowy evening and hope you're safe and sound as well?

His elder sister was EMMELINE ALINE WALKER, nee Besant. She married George Edward Walker in Cheshire and they emigrated to Philadelphia. I'm not near my records on this one just now and cannot remember their dates in PA and don't know either whether I have them in the 1910.

I'm not available at all tomorrow; will be on an errand of mercy so hope the weather is kind. But if you get a chance to look at the 1910 for him, perhaps in PA?, then I would be very grateful of course.

Will hopefully be back to this on Sunday and be able to add more meat to these bones of the info which I already know.

Thank you again.

PS: have heard back from Glendale, and REWB and also his second wife are interred there in separate niches, cremated remains.

:-D :-D


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 18:24

With her first husband:

1900 United States Federal Census
Name: Nettie Lawrence [Nettie Pratt]
Age: 44
Birth Date: Jun 1855
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1900: San Jose Ward 2, Santa Clara, California
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Henry H Lawrence
Marriage Year: 1895
Years Married: 5
Father's Birthplace: Vermont
Mother's Name: Betsy Pratt
Mother's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother: number of living children: 0
Mother: How many children: 0

Household Members:
Name Age
Betsy Pratt 78 (mother)
Henry H Lawrence 38 Teacher of Music
Nettie Lawrence 44 Teacher of Menticulture ??
Lizzy Gilrad 54

I'm wondering if her occupation was Horticulture?

Note they're in San Jose which was where Robert was in 1901/1902 (Hmm .....)


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 18:16

Just in case it's useful, 1880 for his second wife:

1880 United States Federal Census

Name: Nettie L. Pratt
Age: 23
Birth Year: abt 1857
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1880: Wheaton, DuPage, Illinois
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Marital Status: Single
Father's Name: Lenard Pratt
Father's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother's Name: Betza Pratt
Mother's Birthplace: Pennsylvania

Occupation: At Home
Cannot read/write:
Deaf and dumb:
Otherwise disabled:
Idiotic or insane:

Household Members:
Name Age
Lenard Pratt 60 - Doctor
Betza Pratt 58
Nettie L. Pratt 23
Lugi Stanpugh 28
Alexander Bower 22

(The last 2 are servants)


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 17:52

There's this incoming list in 1896:

UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
Name: R Besant
Birth Date: abt 1866
Age: 30
Port of Departure: New York, New York, United States
Arrival Date: 14 Apr 1896
Port of Arrival: Plymouth, England
Ship Name: Columbia
Shipping Line: Hamburg-American Company's

He's travelling with L Besant (28) and he's described as a "fruit grower" (ties in with the City Directory entries where he's an "orchardist"). I think maybe he just dabbled at things.


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 17:44

I have searched high and low and can't see him anywhere in 1910/11.

He's either horribly mis-transcribed somewhere or was someplace where there wasn't any census (or at least none that is available on-line).

Who was the sister in USA?, I could check to see if he's with her.


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 17:28

Nicola, REW was obviously an educated and literate person so quite likely had a copy of his birth certificate amongst his papers, or had it recorded somewhere. The death informant may have had access to those papers.

Given Nettie's age when they married it's highly unlikely they had children.

Wonder if he was a bit of a black sheep hence not mentioned on the kerbs?

Home in the warm and dry now and have had another look at the 1913 marriage record image. Definitely second marriage for both, he was widowed and she was divorced (which must be why she married in her maiden name). Wonder if his family didn't approve of him marrying a divorcee?

Nicola S

Nicola S Report 18 Jan 2013 14:50

Great stuff again. Thank you.

I've just heard back from Glendale about his burial details; he is in a niche next door to his [second] wife who died in 1933. Just waiting to see the inscription on the tablet. So that's nailed for sure now.

Existence of any children by first or second marriage would be very very helpful, please. I'm thinking that there just may be offspring because someone knew precisely what his dob was at the time of his death and it is absolutely correct - I have his BC.

This is proving a very interesting line of research. The whole family have led very interesting lives; first daughter married an English pottery manufacturer and they emigrated to PA, first son became a Colonel and fought out in Egypt [twice] and we have his journals, second daughter changed her first name from Jane to Jean and married an eminent Canadian chemist, younger son is REWB as above. All these siblings EXCEPT Robert are commemorated on the grave kerbs as I have mentioned above.


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 14:46

Second marriage

Robert Eddy William Besant, "California, County Marriages, 1850-1952"

name: Robert Eddy William Besant
event: Marriage
event date: 26 Sep 1913
event place: , California, United States
gender: Male
age: 49
estimated birth year: 1864
father: William Besant
mother: Violet Hewey
spouse: Nittie Lela Pratt
spouse's age: 51
spouse's gender: Female
spouse's estimated birth year: 1862
spouse's father: Leonard Pratt
spouse's mother: Betsey Belding
page: 265
film number: 2074107
digital folder number: 004929839
image number: 01261

Citing this Record:

You can view the original on familysearch, looks like second marriage for both but image hard to see on my phone.


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 14:20

Nicola, I' ve posted details of his first marriage which was in 1890. Lilian was born Ohio but I guess it may have been assumed she was British on the shipping lists because R E W was.

He was definitely listed as Rev on that outgoing voyage and a farmer when they arrived. My guess is he wasn' t an ordained clergyman but perhaps he was a lay minister? Both families seemed comfortably off, maybe he had a generous allowance or private income?

Can' t see any mention of children but hadn' t specifically been looking. Will investigate.

Not wrapped warm - sat in garage waiting for car to be fixed (but at least they' ve got free wi- fi!)

Nicola S

Nicola S Report 18 Jan 2013 14:06

How fascinating to find that article about her parents! You just never know what's going to come up, and I guess that's what keeps us all going at this Family History research.

Wonderful stuff.

Thank you to everyone who has helped.

I've emailed Glendale to see if there is a memorial to him, and possibly her too.

Just wish I could get him in the 1910 and then it might nail his occupation. Are we sure that he is listed as a 'Reverend' on the ship's manifest? We've known for ages that his papa was a Rector [C of E] but REWB seems to have emigrated long before he could have read Divinity/other in the UK and it's frustrating that his occupation slot is left blank on all the above documents. And do we deduce that he was childless from both marriages? - I see that Antoinette/Nettie was older than him, and his first wife is given as British though I cannot find their marriage here or over there.

Any ideas on this, please?

Hope that wherever you are, you are wrapped up warm against all this snow!

:-D <3


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 14:02

Death of his first wife:

Web: New Jersey, Find A Grave Index, 1664-2011
Name: Lillian Victor Besant
Birth Date: 1857
Age at Death: 54
Death Date: 1911
Burial Place: Ridgewood, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA

(Think she may have fibbed about her age when she married R E W)


MargaretM Report 18 Jan 2013 00:08

California death records are free here:


MarieCeleste Report 18 Jan 2013 00:02

Just in case it comes in useful, this is Lillian with her family in 1870:

1870 United States Federal Census

Name: Orville J Victor
Age in 1870: 42
Birth Year: abt 1828
Birthplace: Ohio
Home in 1870: Hohokus, Bergen, New Jersey
Race: White
Gender: Male
Post Office: Ramsey
Value of real estate: $25,000

Household Members:
Name Age
Orville J Victor 42 - An editor
Metta V Victor 38
Lilian Victor 13
Alice Victor 11
Bertha Victor 9
Winthrop Victor 8
Lucy Victor 7
Guy Victor 5
Metta Victor 3
Martha Rayle 42
Anna Martin 23
Ridget Murphy 22

The family were quite comfortably off, it seems.

An interesting article about her parents:

(Will delve some more tomorrow)


MarieCeleste Report 17 Jan 2013 23:23

Earlier on he seems to be in California:

U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta)
Name: R E W Besant
Residence Year: 1901
Street Address: Lincoln av nr Minnesota av
Residence Place: San Jose, California
Occupation: Orchardist
Publication Title: San Jose City Directory Including Santa Clara County

He's listed just with "Mrs Besant" but in 1902 he's listed on his own.


MarieCeleste Report 17 Jan 2013 23:14

Nicola - that occupation is an error, there is actually none listed.

He's also at the same address in LA in 1914 and 1920 just listed as "Robt". No occupation on any.

Nicola S

Nicola S Report 17 Jan 2013 23:13

Marie Celeste, you are an amazing detective and you think outside the box too!

In the 1921 Directory, do you know what his Occupation of 'HI' might be please?

Back to this tomorrow.