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Family of
Joseph Oldham & Mary Wood

18th to 19th century

updated April 2015

Joseph Oldham, 'of this parish, single man', and Mary Wood 'of this parish, single woman, with consent of parents' were married 'by licence' in Melton on Thursday 14 Jan 1779 by Thomas Lambert, Rector. Both Joseph and Mary signed and the witnesses were 'C.Jeaffreson', (Christopher), and Richard Wood, junior, Mary's brother. See the Searles family for the identity of Christopher Jeaffreson.

Others present at this marriage are listed in the Wood Family Bible, Mary's mother Jane Searles, Christopher Jeaffreson's wife, (Mary), and a Miss Harvey. There is also an unknown person 'Williamson' but his name appearing after that of the vicar he could be the parish clerk.

Joseph is listed together with his brother-in-law, John Wood in a letter dated 7 Jan 1794 from the former vicar of Ufford, the Rev. Samuel Highmoor who had moved to Leicestershire. The matter concerned certain lands at Pettistree, a neighbouring village and the Vicar wrote, that he did 'Make nominate authorize constitute and appoint John Wood of Melton in the said County of Suffolk Gentleman and Joseph Oldham of the same place Grocer and Draper my joint and several true and lawful Attorney and Attornies...' They were to appear at the 'next general or special Court or Courts Baron to be holden in and for the said Manor'. There follows a list of Gentlemen 'and their heirs' to whom the copyhold of these lands was to be surrendered 'as Trustees and for the life of the said Town of Petistree (sic).'

Following on from the above there is no evidence to say whether Joseph Oldham came from Melton himself or whether he only settled there on his marriage, but certainly he remained there from 1779 for the rest of his life.

The earliest reference to Joseph found so far is from the Norfolk Chronicle of 18 Aug 1781 found in the archives of the Rootsweb mailing lists 'OLDHAM, Melton' was among many other grocers in Suffolk, selling the 'incomparable Ointment for the Itch which has been proved upwards of fifty years to cure that Complaint within eight Hours'. It sold at '1 shilling and 6 pence a Ball, for grown Persons, and 1 shilling for Children'.

Among his groceries and draperies it appears that Joseph Oldham also sold a remedy for 'RHEUMATIC, Paralytic, and Gouty Affections, with their usual concomitants, Spasm, or flying Pains, Flatulency, Indigestion, and general Debility, (originating in whatever source)'. Not so surprising, though, to be found among the groceries - the 'most active, penetrating, and effectual remedy in the world' for these and also for the 'severest cuts and bruises' were 'Whitehead's Essence of Mustard Pills' or 'fluid essence of mustard'. The whole 'miracle-cure' advertisement from which these details come can be read among extracts from the Ipswich Journal of 3rd December 1803 (Click 'Edit/Find' and look for 'Oldham'. Use your back arrow to return to this page)

I. Joseph Oldham m. Mary Wood on Wed. 27 Jun 1759 at St Andrew's Old Church, Melton. (For possible connections see Oldhams Pt.1). Mary Wood was the daughter of Richard Wood and Jane (see the Wood Family pt 2 for details) . They had 15 children, perhaps even 16.
No 9 below, John Oldham, is next on the 'main line'. His daughter, Martha, married Robert Stockwell. Follow the link to bypass the rest of this family.

  1. Richard Wood Oldham chr. 24 Nov 1779 m. (1) Elizabeth Johnston 27 Nov 1810 in Melton,
    (2) Maria Watson 28 Nov 1822 in Barham, SFK
  2. Nathanael Oldham chr. 10 Apr 1781 d. 7 Oct 1781 (IGI C062701)
  3. Beliza Oldham chr. 24 Mar 1782 d. Jun Q 1850 in Ipswich (unm.)
  4. Mary Ann Oldham chr. 13 Mar 1783
  5. John Oldham chr. 29 Nov 1784 d..22 Jun 1785 (IGI C062701)
  6. Joseph Oldham chr. 16 Jan 1786, m. Dorcas, d. 27 Apr 1858 in Cape Town SA ('1820 Settler')
  7. Harriot Oldham chr 11 Feb 1788 m William MacFarlane (various spellings) on 4 Mar 1816 in Melton
  8. William Oldham chr 28 Feb 1790 m. Louisa Carkeet
  9. John Oldham chr 11 Apr 1791 m. (1) Martha Thomas (2) Mary Voyce
  10. Searles Wood Oldham chr. 9 Jul 1793 m. Hannah Brooks 30 Sep 1830 in St Margaret's, Leicester
  11. Thomas Wesley Oldham b. 27 May 1795 chr 27 May 1795 ('1820 Settler')
  12. Lucretia Oldham chr 16 Oct 1797 d. 17 Nov 1803 (IGI C062701)
  13. Edwin Oldham b. abt 1799 d. 10 Mar 1859 in Cape Town SA ('1820 Settler')
  14. Alfred Oldham b. abt Dec1800 d. 8 Jun 1803 in Melton (aged 2 yrs, 6 mths)
  15. Charles Oldham chr 24 Mar 1803 d. 20 Dec 1803 (IGI C062701)

Further documents found online late in 2008 reveal that Joseph was declared bankrupt just 200 years earlier. All persons who had claims outstanding against him were told on 6 Aug 1808 to give notice to John Wood of Woodbridge (Joseph's brother-in-law) or Messrs Barry & James, solicitors, Bucklersbury, London. Proceedings were called for on 27 Aug 1808 as detailed on that date in the London Gazette. A meeting was scheduled for 12 noon at the White Hart in Wickham Market on 23rd Sep when the necessary arrangements were to be made to dispose of his assets by sale or private contract. On 21 Jan 1809 Joseph, described as 'Draper and Grocer, Dealer and Chapman' was declared to have fulfilled all conditions as laid down in Acts of Parliament. He was, as suspected, entitled to call himself 'Gent.' The final meeting was on 16th Feb 1809 at 11am at the White Hart in order to make a 'Dividend of the Estate and Effects',  after which any further claims would be disallowed.

Undeterred Joseph was prepared to defend the coast against any invading Frenchmen, and it seems his fortunes were soon on the rise again for his name is recorded on 1st March 1809 in the Bankruptcies and Dividends Monthly Magazine, but this time under the heading 'Dividends', not Bankruptcies. Further evidence of this recovery has now been found in the form of nootice by Joseph himself published in the Bury and Norwich Post on 15th May 1809 and again on the 24th and the 31st, copies available on FindMyPast, and reproduced here as closely as possible, as follows:


Impressed with a Just Sense of Gratitude, begs leave to return thanks to his numerous Friends for their late liberality and kindness to him, and to acquaint them and the public that he has beeen enabled to lay in an entire Stock of GROCERY and DRAPERY GOODS which he can offer on as low terms as at any shop in the trade, and hopes by strict attention and assiduity to merit a continuance of favours he has for so many years received.
N.B. Genuine TEAS and COFFEE of the best qua-lity at very low prices. Funerals completely furnished.
Best Price given for Fleece and Lambs Wool

There appears to be a tiny graphic - a wreath? - in front of the statement about funerals.

'Cousin Wendy' (many thanks!) discovered from the Ipswich Journal in 1812 that Joseph was again 'advertising a fresh supply of Dr Bateman's pectoral Drops' and also many other pills and elixirs for sale! As the gaps in his fortunes are gradually filled in it is fascinating to discover that he was not just the local 'chemist' but also the draper, the grocer, the tailor and even the funeral director! He is also known to have been involved in church affairs in some capacity. Quite an entrepreneur!

On 24 Oct 1805 Samuel Jeaffreson Esq. had been appointed Captain of the Hollesley Bay Volunteers. (It appears that if someone of higher rank than 'Gent.', e.g. an Esq or baronet joined a group of Volunteers he automatically took command.) Samuel Jeaffreson, born in Melton in 1775 was the son of Christopher Jeaffreson (mentioned above, witness to the marriage of Joseph and Mary,) and a cousin. [See the Searles line.] Hollesley Bay was a small hamlet on the R. Deben near Melton, no doubt considered very vulnerable in the event of an invasion by the French under Napoleon. (Mothers used to threaten naughty children that 'Bony' would get them). The London Gazette announced on 1st Mar 1809 that Joseph Oldham, Gent., and a Samuel Thompson had been appointed as Lieutenants in the Hollesley Bay Volunteer Infantry.

Joseph's eldest son 'Richard Wood Oldham Gent.' had been an Ensign with the Melton Volunteers since 14 Aug.1798. He was appointed as  Lieutenant  on 11 Oct 1803 and again as 'Ensign without Purchase' on 22 Sep 1804 and 1 Nov 1805, Samuel Thompson was made ensign here in 1803 and 1805. If they were dressed in the same way as Volunteers in 1782 their uniform would be green and orange, as described in the Norfolk Chronicle (and published online by the British Library Newspaper Library). From the description the local farmers who made up the force were Home Guard, Civil Defence and local police when necessary rolled into one.

Joseph died in Wickham Market 26 Jan 1818 aged 68 and was buried in Melton. Mary died in 1828, in the words on her gravestone:
_____''Sacred to the memory of Mary the wife of Joseph OLDHAM/ who died in the year 1828 in the 70th year of her age...' ____
Both are recorded on the National Burial Index (NBI)


Children of Joseph Oldham & Mary Wood

1. Richard Wood Oldham

Richard Wood Oldham, was married twice -
1) to Elizabeth Johnston of Melton on 27 Nov 1810 - her gravestone is large one at the back on the right as she was buried with Daniel Johnston, Governor of the House of Industry (i.e. workhouse) at Melton. He died 3 Jan 1807 aged 57 and she died 21 Jan 1817 aged 18. The inscription is not clear and appears to suggest she was Daniel's widow as well as wife of Richard! It seems reasonable to assume that she was more likely to be Daniel's daughter. On the left in the same row is the 'vault' of Richard and Mary Wood and next right a 'double' gravestone for Joseph and Mary. The rest of the small stones are for Oldham or Wood children and/or grandchildren.
2) to Maria, or Mary, Watson b. 1795 Bungay, Suffolk, on 28 Nov 1822 in Barham, Suffolk. Richard and Mary had at least five children :
Family grave in Melton old churchyard

The inscription on the Johnstone grave, the large one on the right at the rear of the photo above, reveals that Daniel was the Governor of the House of Industry at Melton (i.e. the workhouse, in a building which later became the Suffolk Lunatic Asylum). It appears that he was succeeded by Richard Wood Oldham when he died at the age of 57 on 3 Jun 1807. From the records of the children Richard remained in Melton till the 1820s when he moved for a time to Newington, which was rapidly becoming a suburb of London on the south bank of the Thames, being there from at least 1828. The A2A site has a record of the renewal of his Fire Insurance Policy with the Sun Fire Office, dated 26 April 1831-2 and then gives his address as Maryland Point Great Bland Street Dover Road.

The location of this address is confirmed by an entry in Charles Booth's notebook, B634 p.13. Great Bland St - in the Trinity Ward of Newington (1891 Census) is now known as Burges St and is parallel to Dover St in Newington, Southwark, a stretch of the famous ancient route to Dover (on the other side are Tabard St and Pilgrimage Rd, etc) Cardinal Bourne St, a cul de sac running north off Burges St, was originally called Lower Bland St and ends at the rear of buildings which must face onto Dover St. itself. Two of William Oldham's children (nephews of Richard's) were born in this area in 1823-8 as were five of his eight children between 1828-35. The 'Maryland Point' part of the address is misleading as it suggests a place in Stratford, E.London now preserved in the name of Maryland Station on the line to Ipswich - but nowhere near the Dover Rd. Perhaps he just called his house Maryland Point! At least 4 of the children were baptised at Holy Trinity between 1828 and 1836 as seen immediately below.

Then, between the births of Lucretia and Martha, about 1836-7 Richard moved to Liverpool, regarded as the most important port in England if not the British Isles. There would be no better place for sailmaking before steam took over! (For more about collaboration between the brothers in this enterprise see below )

Children of Richard Wood Oldham, 1799-1854 and Maria (Watson)

  1. Maria Oldham b. abt 1824 in Melton
  2. Joseph Oldham b. abt 1824 in Melton
  3. Elizabeth Oldham b. 1828 in Newington, Surrey
  4. Thomas Oldham chr. 8 Aug 1830 Holy Trinity, Newington Southwark
  5. Ann Oldham b. 14 Aug 1831, chr. 31 Aug 1831 Holy Trinity Newington Southwark
  6. Isabella Oldham chr. 27 Jan 1833 Holy Trinity, Newington Southwark
  7. Lucretia Oldham b. 24 Dec 1835 Newington, Surrey. chr. 7 Feb 1836 Holy Trinity, Newington
  8. Martha Ann Oldham b. 1837 in Liverpool

In 1851 Richard is listed in Wallingford, visiting his brother John. He was accompanied by his wife Maria and two daughters, Lucretia then 15 and Martha Ann, 13 or 14. Joseph was probably till living in Bangor when Richard Wood Oldham died there on 23 Nov 1854 at Summerhill Terrace, aged 74 or 75. Less than a year later, in June 1855 Joseph married Julia Ann Dorning and moved to Cheshire. See Oldham Part 4 for more on Joseph and his children. Richard's wife Maria was about 15 years younger than him and survived him by nearly 25 years. She was living with her daughter Lucretia in Conway in 1871 but Lucretia moved to Bangor after her marriage. Maria died at Rosemary Cottage, Conway, on 2 Jan 1880.

The original census entry has two vital mistakes which made it hard to find Maria - her birthplace of Bungay looks like 'Rungay' and the enumerator had omitted the 'h', writing 'Oldam', and also put 'Middlesex London' (over something else) instead of Newington plus Southwark or Surrey as Lucretia's birthplace. It would have been acceptable to write 'London' already, but Middlesex is across the Thames!


2. Nathaniel Oldham
Nathaniel was born in Melton and baptised on 10 Apr 1781 but was buried at Melton old church on 7 Oct.1781

3. Beliza Oldham
Beliza was born in Melton and baptised on 24 Mar 1782. She never married but is recorded on the 1841 census as living on Victoria Terrace, Woodbridge Rd, in Ipswich along with a Mary 'Macfarlan' who must surely be a relation of her brother- in-law, Lt William MacFarlane RN, husband of her sister Harriet (no.7 below), in which case 57 is a better reading than 51 as one transcription has it. Beliza was the older by one year and both of them were 'independent'. Beliza died in 1850 [Free BMD Ipswich Vol.12 p. 253) and was buried on 6 Jun at the Unitarian Meeting House in Ipswich.

They would have been left a sum of money by their fathers to be invested to provide a regular income, such that if they married their husband could not 'intermeddle' and take possession of it. All of a woman's property, including the clothes she wore, would have automatically become her husband's property on marriage.

4. Mary Oldham
Mary was born in Melton and baptised on 30 Mar 1783. No-one of the right age has been found later so it seems likely either that she died young or is the M.Oldham aged 65, living in Chipping Ongar, Essex, in 1841 with an (unidentified) Ann Oldham aged 70., both single, both independent.

5. John Oldham
Another one who died young. This first John was baptised on 19 Nov 1784 in Melton and was buried there on 22 Jun 1785

6. Joseph Oldham
emigrated to South Africa and is included with the '1820 Settlers' below.

7. Harriet Oldham
Harriett married Lt William MacFarlane R.N. (b. abt 1786) on 14 Mar 1816 in Melton. (The BVRI spells her name Harriot and MacFarlane has numerous variations, e.g. Mackfarlane or Macfarline). They had 7 children who all seem to have been born in Wickham Market, SFK. With the combination of 'Harriet' and the middle name 'Oldham' the family was easy to identify in 1881. The children were :

    1. Harriet Sarah McFarlane b. 1 Jan 1817 chr.26 Feb 1817
    2. William Richard MacFarlane b. 31 May 1818, chr.3 Jun 1818
    3. Robert Oldham MacFarlane b.14 Mar 1820 chr . 20 Apr 1820, bur. 16 Apr 1840
    4. Walter Henry MacFarlane b. 1822, m. Helen Maria Dryden, d. Jun Q 1897
    5. Beliza Bridget McFarlane b. 13 Mar 1824 chr. 4 May 1824
    6. George Alexander MacFarlane chr. 4 Apr 1827
    7. Edwin John MacFarlane chr. 5 Aug 1829 m. Eliza C. (?), moved to Pembroke

In 1841 they were living in Church Row, Wickham Market, only Beliza 'at home' aged 15. William, 55, is described as now 'Navy H.P.' (?) The one other member of the household was an unknown baby, Emma Barker aged 7 weeks, perhaps the child of Harriet Sarah for whom a marriage has not yet been found.. Next door were living two 'Independent' ladies, Mary Brook and Emily Jeaffreson. (See the Searles family for previous connections with the surnames Brook and Jeaffreson) Those not listed here haven't been traced further.

4. Walter McFarland is found as a lodger in the Piazza Tavistock Hotel, Covent Garden in 1871 aged 48, described as a 'merchant'. He is further revealed, now 59, on the 1881 census as a retired ship owner living at 1 Mayfield Rd, Wimbledon, Surrey with his wife Helen Maria (nee Dryden), born about 1840 at Leeke Wootton in Warwickshire. They married in Wandsworth in the Sep Q of 1872 and had 3 daughters, Emmeline 7, born in Aldborough, Suffolk, Mabel Gerard, 3, born Lower Merton, Surrey and Ethel Dorothy D. 9 mths, born in Wimbledon, three moves over the ten years. A cook and a housemaid completed the household. (Emmeline's birth is recorded without a first name). Their mother died in 1885 and in 1891 all three girls were in boarding school in Wimbledon. What became of them after their father died is not known.

6. George Alexander became an officer in the navy like his father. In 1861 aged 34 he was a 'Master', stationed on HMS Isis in a 'Home Port' though which one is not known.[RG number:RG09 Piece:4492 Folio:18 Page:1] He is found in 1881 [Ref RG11 Piece 5415 Folio 20 Page 11] as a retired naval Staff Commander in Charles St, Steynton, Pembroke in S.Wales with his wife, Eliza.Caroline who he married in the Dec Q 1853 in Haverfordwest, Pembroke. They had two sons, William George Vansittart born 1857 and Ernest H. born 1859 in Milford, Pembroke. In 1891 George and Eliza's address is given as 48 Charles St, Steynton, Milford. It seems likely that they had never moved.

Harriet, 'widow of the late Lt William MacFarlane R.N. of Wickham Market and daughter of Joseph and Mary Oldham of this parish deceased' was buried in Melton. So reads Harriet's flat tombstone in the shadow of the old church in Melton, close to the rest of the family graves. She died on 20 Apr 1859 aged 71 years.


8. William Oldham

William (1790-1879) and Louisa Carkeet (1797-after 1841) had four children but there is so much information on them all that they have been moved to a new page, the Oldham Family Part 3

9. John Oldham & Martha (Thomas)
(main line)
Now on a new page, Oldham Family Part 5

10.Searles Wood Oldham

As can be seen from the tree below 'Searles' was the surname of Richard Wood's wife, found on her gravestone in Melton and solving a long-standing mystery. See the Searles family for full details. The name was carried on down through the family as a first name with at least one more on the Wood side in a later generation, not shown on the tree below. (See the Wood Family for other descendants of John Wood.) Oldhams are continued below.

extract of Wood and Oldham family tree

According to the IGI, Searles Wood Oldham was baptised as 'Ron Searles Wood Oldham' - but he is recorded everywhere else as just 'Searles', like his uncle, Searles Wood, and 1st cousin, Searles Valentine Wood, in the Wood family.
(Ron) Searles Wood Oldham son of Joseph & Mary, chr. 9 Jul 1793 Melton SFK, entered the navy and is listed as Lt Searles Wood Oldham R.N. Most of his career is unknown but he would have begun as a midshipman.

Information from an 1832 Poll Book gives 'Searles W. Oldham Gent.' as resident on Sackville St, Everton' Liverpool. This was the first election after the first Reform Bill, held on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th Jun 1832 with 4 candidates, 2 Liberal, 2 Conservative, presumably two each day. Unlike more recent elections voting preferences were recorded so we know that Searles voted for the two Conservatives, Lord Viscount Sandon and Maj-Gen Sir Howard Douglas, Bt. Mr Ewart, Liberal and Lord Sandon, Conservative, were elected.

The pirates from the Barbary states of North Africa had been operating for over two centuries from ports such as Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers in a reign of terror in the Mediterranean, raiding ships and ports, and capturing Christians to sell them as slaves or as oarsmen for their galleys where they were mercilessly beaten and half-starved. Earlier negotiations had failed as the pirates continued to ill-treat their captives, and in 1824 the British fleet was sent to bombard Algiers, not for the first time. The Ipswich Journal of 4 Mar 1843 records , presumably as part of an obituary as Searles had died (in Liverpool) on 23 Feb 1843, that '“Mr. Oldham obtained his commission for his gallant conduct on the 23rd May, 1824, when senior midshipman of HMS ‘Naiad’, in boarding and setting on fire, during the night, a large Turkish brig of war, moored close under the batteries of Bona..” The action is recorded rather more briefly on a Royal Naval history site but with the missing vital detail about pirates: '1824. Boats of HMS Naiad destroyed a pirate brig at Bona.' (The reign of the fearsome Barbary Pirates finally came to an end in 1830 when the French conquered Algiers.)

Searles retired to Hope St, Liverpool. There he invested about £1200 in a sail-making business with a Margaret Ann Gladstone. His brother Richard was a sailmaker and in his Will of 1842 Searles describes him as 'my brother Richard, Bookkeeper in Liverpool.' In 1841 Richard was living not far away from him at Walton On The Hill, Everton. Perhaps Margaret Gladstone was the one born in Scotland about 1796 and living in Juvenal St, Liverpool in 1841. Her son John, 21, was a sailmaker! Two others were in their twenties and one was only 6 so this one, similar in age to Searles, seems the best candidate.

Searles married firstly Isabella Rankin in Edinburgh on 15 Nov 1825. After her death (date and place unknown) he married Hannah Brooks (b. Jamaica) at St Margaret's, Leicester on 30 Sep 1830 (IGI M034611). Searles and Hannah had 4 children:

    1. Charles Frederick Wood Oldham, chr. St Peter's, Liverpool (IGI P020273) on 2 Apr 1832, became a surgeon in the army with the rank of Major although on the civil list in 1859, in the Shahpur district of India. He was there for many years but returned to England before 1891 to live at The Haugh, Sutton, Suffolk where he is described as a retired Brigade Surgeon. He had 5 children. The eldest, Leslie, born in London in 1860, married Caroline Doyle, sister of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and as a Major in the army was killed in France in 1915. The other 4 were born in India, daughter Mary being still 'at home' in 1891 aged 18. Charles is said to have died in New Zealand.
    2. Rev William Falcon Oldham B.A, received his degree from Trinity College Dublin, and was recorded as preaching his first sermon on Acts 11.2. His career is outlined in the Clergy List for 1861. He was for a short time Assistant Master at the Grammar School in Derby, but eventually went to New Zealand where he married Mary Jane MacGillivray at St Mary's, Riverton on 9 Jan 1866.and had a son who also became a Minister, Rev. Charles Collingwood Oldham, born 28 Dec 1872 in Riverton. Charles married Hilda Mary Ward in 1923 in Christchurch. (Many details of this family appear in clergy records online.)
    3. Purcell McClean Oldham b. 1836, at home in 1841. On 31 Aug 1858 a Purcell Oldham sailed (2nd class cabin) for Auckland, N.Z. (With such an unusual name this must surely be him - more information needed!)
      'FOR AUCKLAND - Daily Southern Cross, Vol XV, Issue 166, 31 Aug 1858 Page 2'
    4. Lucretia Mary Oldhamb.1840 Everton, Liverpool, chr. St Martin in the Fields Liverpool 30 Apr 1840 m. Rev. Joseph Lewis Morris who "studied at Trinity College, Dublin" and was already Vicar of Fillongley Warwicks. There is a fine photograph of the Vicarage at Fillongley online taken later in the century (assuming this is the right church). The wedding took place in Anstey on 28 Jan 1862, and she was perhaps staying with her mother at Frith House, as Anstey, now a suburb of Leicester, is on its western fringe of what must have been the estate. Lucretia and the Rev.Joseph had nine children :

      1. Joseph Frederic b. 2 Dec 1862 (Gentleman's Magazine);
      2. William Burgoyne b. 3 Jul 1864, chr. 13 Mar 1866;
      3. Margaret Ethel b 5 Jan 1866 (according to the Gentleman's Magazine 1866, p.266) so the other date, 14 Feb 1866 must be the baptism;
      4. Mary Frances Emily chr. 3 Nov 1867;
      5. Edith Harriet chr 5 Sep 1869;
      6. Ernest Edward b. 18 May 1871; chr. 13 Jul 1871;
      7. Eleanor Jane chr. 20 Jul 1872, d. Dec Q 1888;
      8. Gwendoline Katherine chr. 16 Jun 1874;
      9. Richard Lewis 1876.

In 1841 Searles was staying with Lucretia Oldham of Melton, widow of Thomas Westley Oldham and her brother, William Chapman Oldham at Frith House in Leicester. The details of the three Oldham families, with two of them inter-marrying, are listed in the Oldham Family Part 1. Whether the three families were related initially is still a mystery, but it's fortunate perhaps that Searles was more original with his children's names - only a Lucretia and no Joseph or Beliza!
The Brook(e)s family probably came from Leicester and could have been part of the same social group as the other Oldhams.

Searles died in Liverpool on 23 Feb 1843, aged 50 and was buried in St James' Cemetery [Reg. of death - Liverpool, Vol.20, p.365]

St James' Cemetery
This church has been rebuilt as the (Anglican) Cathedral. Though Searles Oldham is not listed on this website as the postion of his grave is unknown, it is very interesting and well worth a browse

Sailmaking and the Oldham brothers
Searles left a will in which his wife is of course the chief beneficiary. He also gives some very interesting details about his business affairs. 'I appoint my brother Richard Wood Oldham Bookkeeper in Liverpool.' and about his 'business partner', a Margaret Ann Gladstone in the Sailmaking. He had invested about 'twelve hundred pounds in sterling money' and gave directions about what to do wth it from the sale of the business - what stocks & shares to buy etc. The only matching Margaret Ann Gladstone on the 1841 census is a widow born about 1796 in Scotland and living on Juvenal St Liverpool with, presumably, her 5 children, John 21, Margaret 20, Robert 15, Jessie 12 and Hugh,11, and this identification is surely clinched by the fact that John is described as a 'sailmaker'. His brother Robert, who could be older than 15 but still less than 20, is an 'App. BroKer'. (The handwriting is terrible and the enumerator has scribbled over the first thing he wrote, but it appears to be this).

He is probably the John M.Gladstone living in Rhyl, Denbighshire in 1861 with a son called Hugh, who is involved in ''Merchant Shipping'.

Gore's Directory of Liverpool, 1825, gives Hugh Gladstone, sailmaker, at 8 New Quay, and Moffat ditto at 8 New Quay.
Gore's Directory of Liverpool, 1827, gives Hugh Gladstone, sailmaker, at 3 Crabtree Lane and also Gladstone & Moffat, sailmakers, 10 New Quay.
Pigot's Directory of Liverpool 1828 gives Hugh Gladstone and Moffat at 9 New Quay.
The changing numbers on New Quay (still part of the central waterfront but transformed by modern architecture) could be a re-numbering, not the sailmakers moving, though of course they could have wanted larger (or smaller) premises. Sails were made from flax (linen) traditionally, usually in the form of canvas which is very heavy but not very hard-wearing, Later they were often made of cotton which was lighter. At this time they would still have needed repair or replacement quite frequently.

Looking back it is now possible to see how in fact three of the brothers may have been involved, one way or another, in the sailmaking, not just Richard and Searles but also John who was familiar with the buying of cloth, especially in London, and would know where to go for the best deals. Such business could account for Richard's visit to John in Wallingford in 1851 and perhaps there were many more visits not recorded, being between the censuses.


6.Joseph; 11.Thomas; 12.Edwin : '1820 Settlers'
Colonisation of South Africa by white settlers began quite early, with firstly the Dutch in the 17th century, encouraged by the Dutch East India Company, followed by Germans, Walloons, and people of Huguenot descent. By 1800 the population of Cape Colony was 16,000 people of European descent, 17,000 slaves and an unknown but very large number of Africans. Britain annexed the colony in 1806. In 1819 the British Government began a scheme to encourage emigration to the Cape Colony, promising 100 acres of land and free passage. It was hoped that they would help in controlling a situation troubled by incursions of the Xhosa tribes across the border. About 1000 families agreed to go. The British were also then still outnumbered, with about 8000 British settlers, but 14,000 Dutch. Nevertheless it is claimed that the impact of the 1820 settlers on the history of South Africa was enormous.

In 1836 the Great Trek began with many of the settlers of Dutch descent known as Boers moving north to set up their own colonies in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. There were more difficult times ahead with Zulu wars and later at the end of the century, wars with the Boers. Eventually Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State were reunited with South Africa in the Union of South Africa in 1910 and in 1994 white minority rule came to an end with the enfranchisement of the black population.

The ages of the emigrants, men, women and children, is given on the ship's passenger record. Joseph Oldham was 33, Thomas 27 and Edwin 21. It appears that Joseph was originally intending to form a party himself, probably of about ten men - including his two brothers, Thomas and Edwin, with their families, to take advantage of the government offer of free passage and 1000 acres to settle in South Africa. This plan fell through, probably for lack of support - the total number of settlers was only a fraction of those the government had hoped for when the scheme was proposed by Mr Vansittart (later Lord Bexley), Chancellor of the Exchequer on 12 Jul 1819. They allocated £50,000 towards sending 4000 people to the Eastern Districts of Cape Colony. At the start 90,000 applications were submitted and 4000 selected. The actual numbers of those who eventually embarked in 26 ships for Cape Colony were less than half that. Joseph's proposed party suffered the same lack of firm support and by the time they set sail the three Oldham brothers had joined John Baillie's party instead..The reason for going in a party appears to have been to send groups to particular districts with some restrictions on their movements. Later when one of them wished to move elsewhere he had to get permission. In theory there would have been some kind of support for the settlers on arrival and it shows that various townships were deliberately planned.

At last Baillie's party embarked at Gravesend on the SS.Chapman on 3 December 1819. They arrived in Table Bay on 17 March 1820 and landed at Algoa Bay on 10 April 1820. This was of course many years before the construction of the Suez Canal, so all the passenger and cargo ships to India, Australia and the Far East would have taken on fresh water and supplies at Cape Town or elsewhere.along the coast. The towns were expanding rapidly though up-country the settlements might be only sparsely occupied, if at all.

Many of the settlers in applying to join the scheme had described themselves as farmers though in fact they were mostly from the towns and from London, clerks, small shopkeepers and labourers competing for a shrinking job market and a slump in trade as the soldiers and sailors returned from the Napoleonic Wars. Many of them found the land they had been allocated was poor soil, they had no idea how to run a farm anyway, and eventually abandoned the idea, drifted back to the towns and returned to their former jobs!


6. Joseph Oldham
As Joseph's age was given as 33 on embarkation it can be assumed fairly safely that he was baptised not long after birth in Melton, SFK, on 16 Jan 1786. He married Dorcas Smith (.b.abt. 1789) on 10 Feb 1810 and both signed their names.. .By 1819 when they left England they had been living in Stepney, London for some years, as shown by the streets where each of the children were born... He set sail from Gravesend for the Eastern Cape, with his wife, his four children and two unmarried brothers on the Chapman (details above). Their children were all baptised at St George in the East, Stepney: (3rd generation)

      1. Harriet Oldham b. 31 Mar 1807 Catherine St, chr. 28 Oct 1812 (IGI Batch no. C055783), d. 3 Jul 1872 at Sea Point, South Africa
      2. Mary Ann Oldham b. 29 Feb 1812 Jane St, chr. 28 Oct 1812 (IGI Batch no. C055783)
      3. Beliza Lambert b. 5 Apr 1814 Lower Chapman St, chr. 28 Oct 1812 (assumed to have died in infancy)
      4. Lucretia Oldham b. abt 1817 ; m. William Selwyn; 2 daughters
      5. Josepha Dorcas Oldham b. 10 Apr 1819 Richard St, chr. 5 May 1819; m. James Powrie on 18 Jul 1838 in Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, SA. Josepha d. 13 May 1889 at Claremont Cape Town South Africa (Film 470980)

In South Africa Lucretia became an assistant teacher at a school founded at Bathurst by one of their party, a Dr Edward Roberts. Mrs Louise Roberts continued to run the school in the 1840s after her husband died. Her maiden name was Biddulph, her family coming from Staffordshire, so they might have been distantly related to the Wright-Biddulphs of Burton Park. There were also more Biddulphs among the 1820 Settlers, many from London but probably of the same 'clan' as it's a very localised name. Mrs Roberts later remarried, becoming Dyason. Lucretia, known as Lulu, married William Selwyn, who was recorded in 1851 as a clerk at the Eastern Province Bank in Grahamstown and who published a book of poems and verses. By 1857 William was a cashier at the Commercial Bank, PE. They had two daughters, Emily and Lucretia, also known as 'Lulu'.

Joseph was a 'master mariner' before emigrating - at least that's how he presumably described himself in making his application to go to South Africa. Stepney is just east of the City of London and on the north bank of the Thames, so well-placed for the Port of London. The banks of the Thames below London Bridge at that time were lined with warehouses for imported and exported goods and the river itself was crammed on both sides with sailing ships of every size and description, including passenger ships as well as cargo ships. (See also the Frost Fair of 1814 where these Oldhams may have brushed shoulders with the Cope family!)
Other sources in the IGI for this family are on films 538073, and F1660021. The records have been added in a submission to the LDS on 'Patron Sheets' between 1969 and 1991. The records from St George in the East are said to be copied from the parish registers, referred to as 'day-books' with records dating from 1729-1879. One record incorrectly gives Josepha as Joseph, male.

Joseph died on 27 Apr 1858 aged 73 and was buried in the Irish Cemetery on Robben Island.

11. Thomas Wesley Oldham
Thomas's age on embarkation is given as 27. The (IGI) record gives his baptism as 27 May 1795, so assuming this to be correct he would have been born about 1792/3. 'Wesley' could be a mis-spelling of 'Westley' (see Oldhams Pt 1) but as that originated with Ann Westley and her marriage to William Oldham of Leicester it is unlikely.There could be many reasons for choosing such a middle name, e.g. in memory of the Wesleys, lately deceased, though there's no evidence of the Oldhams having an interest in Methodism, nor has any other reason yet proved very convincing.
After he had been in South Africa for a while Thomas bought a 'Dutch shipwreck', Zeepaard (beached at Cape Recife) from which he built a schooner 'Perseverance'. (The only 'Zeepaard' identified was a Dutch schooner of the 'Gulden Zeepaard' which was wrecked about 1692. ).

13. Edwin Oldham
Edwin was born about 1799-1800, presumably also in Melton as his younger brother, Charles, the last child of Joseph & Mary, was baptised there in 1803. Edwin does not appear in the IGI, but the reason for this omission is guesswork without consulting the original records. He sailed with his brothers Joseph and Thomas to South Africa and was recorded as being a storekeeper in 1822 in Cape Town, selling drapery and tableware.
Edwin married Eliza Marianna Rogers in 1829 in South Africa. M.D.Nash in '1820 Settlers' refers to her as Eliza, Edwin's only child but the family also remembered her as Elizabeth. They had just one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Oldham who became Van der Schalk on marriage.
Edwin died in South Africa on 10 Mar 1859 aged 59 and was buried in the Irish Cemetery on Robben Island..

With many thanks to Peter Ross, a descendant of Lucretia, daughter of Joseph & Dorcas,
for most of the information on the 1820 settlers


14. Alfred Oldham
This child was found from his gravestone and Suffolk burial records.
Born in the Dec Q of 1800, he was buried at Melton on 8 Jun 1803.
Plot 114 Round top headstone; footstone inscribed 'A.O. 1803'
"Alfred son of Joseph. & Mary OLDHAM, / died 8th June 1803 / aged 2 years & 6 months'

15. Charles Oldham
The last! 1803 was a terrible year for the family with the death of Alfred in June, and then Charles, baptised on 24 Mar, who was buried on 20 Dec. Perhaps the saddest part of the churchyard at Melton is the row of little graves in a long line together, with small white headstones most marked only with their initials.

And could this be a 16th child of Joseph Oldham & Mary Wood?.

Joseph Wood Oldham 1801-1807 : a family puzzle
This child was buried in Melton churchyard with one of the few clearly marked headstones. He was obviously related to both Wood and Oldham families but does not fit in Joseph and Mary's family as there was already a Joseph born in 1786 who was one of the 1820 Settlers in South Africa. This earlier Joseph died in Cape Town in 1858, though there is a slim chance that the name might have been used a second time even though the first child survived, a practice which is rare but not unknown.
____The alternative theory is that he was a son of Richard Wood Oldham. (Although Richard was 22 when Joseph was born, he did not marry his first wife Elizabeth Johnston until 1810 - her first husband, Daniel Johnston, only died in 1807)
____Of the rest of the children only two, Beliza and Mary were old enough to be mothers of Joseph. Beliza remained single till her death about 1850 but Mary's fortunes are quite unknown.
____Or perhaps a brother of Joseph sen'r had a son who married one of the Wood family.......... There were certainly very few Oldhams around in Suffolk so the combination of names in 'Wood Oldham' is very intriguing.


Oldham Part 1
Oldham Part 2
Joseph & Mary
Oldham Part 3
Oldham Part 4

Oldham Part 5
John & Martha


List of Gentlemen at Pettistree

William Salmon of Pettistree, Gent.
William Whitbread Second Son of Jacob Whitbread of Loudham Hall in Pettistreee,
Esquire William Salmon the Younger Eldest Son of the aforesaid William Salmon, Gent.
John Levett the Younger Eldest Son of John Levett of Pettistree,
Philip Dikes the Younger, Eldest Son of Philip Dikes Gent., of Pettistree,
Samuel Jeaffreson Eldest Son of Samuel Jeaffreson Gent, late of Pettistree,
William Neeve the Younger Eldest Son of William Neeve of Petistree Gent,
and their heirs