Monday, 7 April 2014

Harriet’s story…. Harriet Wilks nee Ford 1816- 1859

Here’s more on the Fords of East Meon…

Harriet Ford, born 1816, comes from a long line of Fords whose records of births deaths and marriages have been kept in the registers of the ancient All Saints Church at East Meon for hundreds of years. We have documented her family back five generations to the 1660s through marriages of Fords with the Philip, Greest, Norman, Webb, Coll and Sylvester families.

Since this is an old town form the days of the Doomsday Book  it seems the name Ford derives from the  Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the old English "ford" -- a shallow place in the river where people can ride or cross with their animals. The surname has been recorded as Ford, Foord, Foard, Forth and Forder since the time of the Saxons.

The occupational surname Ford comes from being known as the keeper of the ford or being in charge of the river crossing.
Daniel Ford b: 1675, d: 22 Mar 1730

... + Elizabeth Webb b: 22 Oct 1681 in East Meon, m: 02 Oct 1699 in East Meon, d: 11 Nov 1729 in East Meon

...... William Ford b: 28 Feb 1713 in East Meon, d: 18 Mar 1799 in East Meon

...... + Mary Norman b: 22 Nov 1719 in East Meon, m: 28 Jun 1737 in East Meon, d: 24 Oct 1785 in East Meon; pauper

......... Henry Ford b: 13 Dec 1753 in East Meon

......... + Sarah Greest b: Abt. 1753, m: 10 Oct 1781 in Hambledon, Hampshire, England, d: 07 Nov 1795 in Hambledon, Hampshire, England

............ Henry Ford b: 18 Apr 1784 in Hambledon, Hampshire, England, d: 1853 in East Meon; Union house

............  + Mary Phillips b: 1790, m: 11 Oct 1811 in East Meon

............... Harriet Ford b: 30 Jun 1816 in East Meon

............... Henry Ford b: 22 Nov 1812 in East Meon parish Church, d: 1814  
The Ford ancestors keep popping up in various church records as paupers. Given the surrounds, presumably they were working as agricultural labourers in the nearby farms or around the ancient mills such as Frogmore and Draytons. So it appears they were  literally “poor as the proverbial” church mice. It’s a time of no social security for those unable to work hence the need for an Alms House in town and another at Petersfield.

Harriet is born and baptised in 1816. Her father Henry and her mother Mary are paupers. When the first census is taken in 1841, Harriet Foard aged 25 lives with her mother Mary (50) and her four-year-old son Charles Foard at Frogmore part of the East Meon/Petersfield registration district. Frogmore’s a local farm and Mill.  A notation on the baptismal record shows little Charles as being the illegitimate son of Charles Kill. 

Harriet Foard, her mother Mary and son Charles in the 1841 census

However, in 1850 she had married William Wilks an East Meon man who was working as an Agricultural labourer at Frogmore. Their marriage is recorded at Portsea on 27 May 1850. Incidentally, William Wilk’s mother Mary was also a pauper and he is christened in East Meon with a notation “illegitimate”. His marriage certificate does however give his father’s name as Philip.

William Wilkes marries Harriet Ford 27th May 1850

The 1851 census Harriet is living with her sons Charles and William Ford as wife -Harriet Wilkes- to William Wilkes. Her two illegitimate sons are noted as "sons in law" by the census taker. Charles is now 14 and little William is 4. William Ford is found recorded in the Parish records as the illegitimate son of Henry Holmes having christened while Harriet was living in Poor Union House at Petersfield.

It seems that the family moves from Frogmore during the next 10 years. In September 1859 Harriet Wilkes dies aged 43 with the Parish records recording her abode as Ripplington (farm). The informant is her elderly neighbour from Frogmore, Lydia Bricknell who is the wife of a pauper labourer at Frogmore. The cause of death is lung disease which she has suffered from “long since” as shown in her death certificate below. 

Family History Tip:

Use the site Dustydocs to pull together all the marvelous work done by the transcribers of church records in your locality.



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