By H Dominic W Stiles, on 1 July 2016
To disappoint you, the person who features today had no exciting adventures, and was probably not significant to anyone outside his friends and family. He was an ordinary person. He probably led an ordinary life, but honestly, while we usually have some additional source to the online genealogical information, such as a short obituary or a story in a paper, I have nothing for Thomas except this rather nice photograph of him with his pinking shears. On the back it says “80 years old” in pencil, then in ink, but not Selwyn Oxley’s hand, “Thomas Henry Jones died Dec. 26 aged 86 at Ashford Mddx Tailor”. Printed below in very small type – the photo is on a postcard backing as are most of our collection – is “Freeman, Photo, Ashford, Staines.” The photo probably dates from circa 1915 (he was 84 when he died rather than 86 – see below).
Born in Deptford in 1837, Thomas Henry Jones was baptised on the 23rd of July that year, the son of John and Mary Ann Thomas. His father was a shoemaker, and the family lived then in Grove Lane according to the baptismal records (lodged at the London Metropolitan Archives and also on line). He attended the Old Kent Road Asylum, and was there in the 1851 census when he was 13.
In the 1861 census he was living with his married sister and her family in Deptford. That census tells us he was deaf from birth. Towards the end of that year he married a deaf lady called Susannah or Susan Anderson, daughter of Irish immigrants and, according to the 1861 census, deaf from birth. She was born in Chelsea, circa 1834, and worked as a dressmaker. In 1861 she was living in Carteret Street by St. James’s Park supporting her mother, and with a lodger nineteen year old Hannah Rowe, a deaf shirtmaker from Tiverton. I wonder if they met through being a dressmaker and a tailor, or through the deaf community? They had at least four children, Alfred, Walter, Caroline and Albert, born in Deptford, Rotherhithe and then Deptford, which suggests that the family did not move too far away from where Thomas grew up. Susannah must have died a little after the 1881 census, as Thomas married again, to Eleanor Thompson (b.1851), in Bethnal Green in 1882 (see Free BMD). She too was profoundly deaf, but I have not certainly identified her in the 1861 or 1871 censuses, although there is a Thompson family who might fit in the Hackney workhouse in 1871.
In 1901 the family was living in Staines, with their three surviving children of six in total, and with a deaf boarder, William Lake (b.ca 1881 in New Brompton, Kent). The youngest daughter, Beatrice, was born when Eleanor was 44. Beatrice Eleanor (b. 1895) married a George Matthews in 1915 and only died in 1974.
By 1911 they were living at 5 Vine Cottages, Ashford, Middlesex. Thomas died at his home in London Road, Stanwell, on the 26th of December 1921, and was buried on the 31st, aged 84.
1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 6755; Schedule Number: 220
1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 1175; Folio: 37; Page: 24
1881 Census Class: RG11; Piece: 701; Folio: 17; Page: 28; GSU roll: 1341164
1871 Census Class: RG10; Piece: 743; Folio: 84; Page: 24; GSU roll: 824719
1861 Census Class: RG 9; Piece: 397; Folio: 127; Page: 1; GSU roll: 542630
1841 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 484; Book: 9; Civil Parish: Lewisham; County: Kent; Enumeration District: 5 6; Folio: 9; Page: 11; Line: 2; GSU roll: 306876
1861 Census Class: RG 9; Piece: 53; Folio: 73; Page: 15; GSU roll: 542564
1851 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 1480; Folio: 353; Page: 46; GSU roll: 87804-87805
London Metropolitan Archives, Deptford St Paul, Register of Baptism, p75/pau, Item 007
London Metropolitan Archives, Death records Call Number: dro/022/a/01/020