Emma Turner The children
Emma Turner +
William John Richards
This family portrait probably dates from a slightly later era, but nevertheless I don't think that children's clothes changed all that much in that time. And it was difficult to find pictures of small families, which underlines how unusual the size of this family was.
Willie/William John 1854-1921
There was a big gap between William and Ellen - which mystifies me, unless her mother Emma had lots of miscarriages. Whatever happened William would have been six or seven when she was born. It is unlikely then that they were really close, particularly as a little sister was born some four years after Ellen. Poor William must have been almost like an only child.
As a small child she lived with her parents in Southsea (the southern seaside part of Portsmouth), and would have known her maternal grandfather for the first few years of her life. So I am imagining children who may well have got far more attention than most children at the time - both from her mother, who only had three children to attend to and from a grandfather too. There were parks and the beach to play in and excursions to be made to the docks and across the water to Gosport and the Isle of Wight. She went to school and learned, no doubt from her mother, the dressmaking skills that provided her with a job. Whether that job was at home or in a factory I do not know. Apparently Portsmouth was big into dressmaking at this time.
Eventually, somewhat later than usual for most young women of the time, she married. She was 29 years old when she married Edward Henry Eason at St Mary's in Portsea. Shortly after their marriage her mother came to spend her last years with the family, so Ellen was obviously a good daughter, and her husband Edward must have been a good man too - his job description on the census forms I have describe him as a Relieving Officer, Infant Protection Visitor - so he had a job with a social conscience too I guess. Although he is always described as a relieving officer, which does not imply a permanent position the family seems to have lived in the same house for many years. They had six children - four boys and two girls, one of whom, Phyllis, died before her first birthday. I think the first three boys, maybe two, went off to WW1 where they served in the Medical Corps and seem to have distinguished themselves sufficiently to achieve the recognition of a silver medal. Because they are not direct ancestors of mine I have not checked this out completely so I could be wrong, but since the two Easons - Harold and Cyril - seem to have enlisted at the same time into the same corps I am assuming that this is they. How stressful for their parents this must have been.
And both Edward and Ellen lived long enough to see WW2 as well - with Harold at least serving in that war too - this time in the Merchant Navy. Edward died in 1942, shortly followed by Ellen in 1944. She was an old lady of 81 and may well have been known to my mother, although as a great aunt of my mother's she was never mentioned.
1863-1944 - huge change - two world wars, emancipation of women, the modern world as we know it begins and yet as a child there were no cars, no electricity, no flight. I so admire these women with coping with all of that.
The couple is Russian and probably rather more well-off than Ellen and Edward, but it's about the right date, and I liked it!
Little sister - the baby of the family who tragically died at the age of 19. I do not know why - TB perhaps or any one of the diseases that carried people off in those days. The last record we have of her before her death is at the age of 14 in the 1881 census, just living at home with her parents. She may or may not have still been at school. She may have become a dressmaker like her older sister which may have allowed her to make a dress like the one in the lovely portrait by Alexandre Cabanel - otherwise rather too expensive for this family I suspect. A short life, but hopefully a happy one.
William John Richards
Willie/William John Richards