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Archive for the 'Deaf History' Category

“Notwithstanding the importance attached to gesture-language by the teachers of the Combined Method, they do not teach it” – Zenas Westervelt

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 6 July 2018

We have a small collection of original annual reports for various United States Deaf Institutions from the 19th century.  There is for example a run for the Clarke School from the first report in 1867 all the way to 1961.  There are some shorter runs and odd volumes or single reports.  Here we have the Rochester, Western New York Institution for Deaf Mutes, Thirteenth Annual Report for 1890.

At that time the principal was Zenas Freeman Westervelt (1849-1918).  Born in Columbus, Ohio, Westervelt‘s New York born mother mother Martha Freeman was matron of the Ohio Institution, and he grew up there, so we must suppose he was very familiar with sign language – or gesture as he calls it.  He became a teacher of the Deaf in the Maryland School (1871-3), before moving to the New York Institution (1873-5) (American Annals of the Deaf, 1918 p.226).  In New York he was one of “five bright young teachers under Dr. Isaac Peet, who later became principals or superintendents and of whom Dr. Westervelt was the last survivor” (ibid.).

Westervelt had been gathering names of Deaf children in western New York state who were not in school, and Mrs. Gilman Perkins, who had a Deaf daughter Carolyn, and asked Westervelt to start a school there (1872).

He chose to use the manual alphabet, spelling English, as the medium of instruction –

to the exclusion of the sign language […] thus placing the pupils in a constant environment of the English language.  He was also an advocate of oral teaching. (ibid. p.227).

In the thirteenth Annual Report for the school, Westervelt wrote an article called The American Vernacular Method (p.43-60) as he termed it.  He discusses what he calls The American Combined Method, and how it used –

the language of gesture, and the idea of the idea of the combination is that through this medium the attempt shall be made to teach English composition and reading, dactylology, speech and speech-reading on the lips, and aural apprehension.[…]

Notwithstanding the importance attached to gesture-language by the teachers of the Combined Method, they do not teach it; that is, there is no systematic instruction looking to the mastery of the language by the little deaf child.  The teachers, however, use it to the little ones, expecting them to understand; the older pupils use it with the same confidence that the children will learn its meaning through use, as it is the vernacular of the Combined-Method schools. […] One not familiar with the work of the profession might be justified in asking,: at what grade in the Combined-Method schools is the limit (p.47-8)

He develops his argument, and I cannot do justice to it so include the whole of this, the first of two articles (1890 and 1891?).  I suppose the second part is in the following annual report – unfortunately we do not have that.

His relationship with sign language is complex.  He does not appear to have been anti sign language, indeed he call it “ingenius [sic],” and says of De l’Epee that “What he accomplished was giving to the deaf signs for ideas, words, which they could readily use and comprehend” (ibid. p.48-9).  Yet he says gesture is more restrictive in expression and vocabulary, and that (p.52) “No books have been written in gesture.”  Further on, he says-

Yet when the educated gesturer is compared with the deaf mute as he was before the invention of the gesture-language of De l’Epee, the incalculable good that it has accomplished  is manifest.  Under the circumstances which prevailed during the early years of deaf mute instruction, when those admitted to the schools were adults or fully grown youths, and the time allowed at institutions was but four years, there was doubtless need of gesture language.

It seems clear that he did not mean oral education – “the following summary of the reasons which have led me to oppose the “Combined Method,” which teaches through “signs,” also the “German Method,” which teaches through speech” (p.45).  What he wanted was for Deaf children to acquire English and an ability to read and write English using the manual alphabet – finger spelling – later called the Rochester Method.  “It were better for every child who is to spend his life among the American people that he should be brought up an American and not a foreigner.”  He wanted Deaf children to fit into American life and language as immigrants did – or at least as some did if you read the footnotes in his article (see page 60 particularly).

Presumably in that second part he explains his attitude to the “German Method,” and then his system.  There must be copies of all these reports in U.S. libraries.  Perhaps if someone comes across it they could scan it and make it available online.

From 1892 passport records we know Westervelt had at that time brown hair, an aquiline nose, grey eyes, a square chin, and was 5′ 8″ tall.  He was twice married, firstly in 1875 to Mary H. Nodine (died 1893) then in 1898 to Adelia C. Fay, whose son Edmund he adopted.  He died of heart failure on 17th of February, 1918.

As to how anyone could have lip-read him with that beard, we cannot hazard a guess.

Obituary, American Annals of the Deaf, 1918 Vol.53 (2) p.226-7

Padden, C. and Gunsauls, D.C., How the Alphabet Came to Be Used in a Sign Language. Sign Language Studies vol.4 (1) 2003

Westervelt, Z.F., The American Vernacular method, (p.43-60) in Thirteenth Annual Report of the Western New York Institution for Deaf Mutes, 1890

1860 Census – Year: 1860; Census Place: Columbus Ward 3, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: M653_964; Page: 127; Family History Library Film: 803964

1900 Census – Year: 1900; Census Place: Rochester Ward 17, Monroe, New York; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0137

1910 Census – Year: 1910; Census Place: Rochester Ward 17, Monroe, New York; Roll: T624_992; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0159; FHL microfilm: 1375005

Passport Records – National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 396; Volume #: Roll 396 – 24 Jun 1892-29 Jun 1892

“Oh – Ted – this seems like a beautiful dream!” she enunciated. “Hope – and Cheer! A friendly Magazine of Interest For The Deaf, And Conducted By The Deaf”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 June 2018

In an untidily amateurishly stitched together collection of programmes and oddments for the Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb in our collection*, there lies a curious mimeographed magazine, called – with the title in inverted commas – “Hope – and Cheer!”  It continues with the sub-heading, ‘A friendly Magazine of Interest For The Deaf, And Conducted By The Deaf.’  It was edited by Tom Kelsall and Alice Christina Burnett (1874-1961).  It assures us it was produced by Deaf people, so we must accept that Kelsall and Burnett were deaf, although Alice is not described as such in any census I could see.  As we have discussed before though, that could be for a number of reasons, for example because someone else (her husband or father) filled in the form, or because she did not think it was a disability, or perhaps she was not profoundly deaf.

Alice was born in Edinburgh, on the 19th of September, 1874, daughter of Alice Stuart and George Burnett, who was Lord Lyon King of Arms.  A living relative of his was also a Herald.  In 1881 they lived at 21 Walker Street, Edinburgh.  In 1902 she married Louis Holloway, and in 1911 they were living on a private income, in Oxford Villas, Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

As an aside, it is very curious that Louis, born in Southampton, was living on his own means in 1901, with his father who was a bricklayer’s labourer.  Louis was 26 – how did he make his money, and how did he meet and woo Alice?

I have not been able to pin down Alice’s fellow editor, Tom Kelsall, who had been seriously ill, delaying this second edition of “Hope – and Cheer!” that came out in June-July, whatever year.  Logic suggests they were quite familiar with each other from some social situation, and had had ample time to discuss this magazine before starting it.  The content suggests it was a wartime production.  I do not suppose it lasted very long.  There is a rather maudlin tale written by Alice, called The lonely man and the lonely girl, that tells us how a Deaf girl starts a correspondence with a soldier, and it all ends happily –

He held out his arms to her.
And she went to them.
“Oh – Ted – this seems like a beautiful dream!” she enunciated.
He seemed so strong, so kind, so good to trust in!
“It is – the dream of my life, but it’s quite real,” he answered on his fingers – “Before my leave is over, then?”
She nodded shyly.

There is a paragraph, with ‘Our Monthly Problem – Whether you would rather be Deaf, of Blind.’  I recall having seen this sort of item before, even in old copies of British Deaf Times.

Cutliffe Hyne dwells upon the doom of deafness.  Sir Arthur Pearson declares deafness to be worse than blindness, and Sir Ferederick Milner agrees with him.  Mr. Wilson of the National Hostels for Deafened Soldiers and Sailors, on the contrary , say, “I would rather be deaf, dumb, and have two wooden legs, and only one arm, than be blind.”  What is your opinion? and why?  We award a prize of 3/- for the best letter, of within 200 words, on this subject.

Alice also offers handwriting analysis under the name ‘Grapho.’

“Hope – and Cheer!” contains some adverts. One from a widow, Mrs Margaret Chubb (1854-1950), formerly Jenkins, was offering rooms to rent in Penzance.  She was Deaf from Smallpox, aged 3 according to the 1911 census, when she was living at the same address with her son.  Her husband, who she married in 1888, was Richard Chubb (1852-?), a tailor from Devonshire.  Richard had also been ‘deaf and dumb’ and attended the Institution for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb at Walcot, Bath, where we find him in 1861, aged nine.

Finally, there is an advert from Samuel Driver of Leeds for ‘agents’ to run ‘Chocolate Clubs’ which I assume were along the lines of Christmas clubs.  If I have identified the correct Samuel, born in Keighley in 1888, he was not deaf – but his mechanic father Thomas Driver (1859-?) was, as was also their lodger, Eliza Dunn (b.ca.1868), who worked as a ‘Worsted Rover’.  Thomas, son of a mechanic Wilkinson Driver, was deaf from childhood and had already been identified as such aged two.

How did these people find out about “Hope – and Cheer!”?  How did Alice Holloway/Burnett and Tom Kelsall meet, and how did they distribute the magazine?  How long did it survive?  Are other copies in existence, or it this unique?  As with the previous post, we can see that exploring one trivial thing can open a world of forgotten connections.  There are plenty of further avenues to explore with this disparate collection of people.

Click images for a larger size.

If you can identify Kelsall please leave a comment.

*They were bound by L.Burroughs, ‘deaf and dumb’ in July, 1922.

UPDATE – [2/7/18] a relative by marriage of Alice adds this information – “In the 1939 Register Ref: RG101/2650C/005/18 Alice and Louis are living at 53 Argyll Street, Ryde, I.O.W. Her Birthdate is confirmed as 19 Sep 1874 and his given as 17? Feb 1880. Her occupation is given as “W V S Red Cross Hospital Supply Service” and his as “Private Means” Her Death was registered aged 86 Q1 1961 vol 6b page 1093 Isle of Wight His death registered Q3 1973 Isle of Wight. His Birth date given as 14 Feb 1880.”

Alice Burnett

1881 Scottish Census – Parish: St George; ED: 91; Page: 4; Line: 1; Roll: cssct1881_283

1901 Scottish Census – Parish: Edinburgh St George; ED: 1; Page: 9; Line: 21; Roll: CSSCT1901_363

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 5721; Schedule Number: 122

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Burnett

Margaret Chubb

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1857; Folio: 74; Page: 11 – with Richard Chubb

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 14071; Schedule Number: 173

1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/6699A

Richard Chubb

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 1690; Folio: 53; Page: 5; GSU roll: 542851

Thomas Driver

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3227; Folio: 45; Page: 37; GSU roll: 543099

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 4076; Folio: 174; Page: 28

Louis Holloway

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 1079; Folio: 7; Page: 5

Three Deaf Ladies of Liverpool, “respected and loved by all who know them”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 26 June 2018

In The British Deaf Times for January-February 1921 has this charming picture of three deaf ladies.  The paper of this issue, and some from late in the war, was acidic in quality, and has deteriorated seriously in the last few years as it has been well-thumbed by users.  This volume really needs restoration – that involves sandwiching those pages within some opaque material, but that makes pages less clear.  An ideal solution would be proper digitisation.

All three were “deaf and dumb, and have been from birth.”  The lady in the centre is Miss Mary.E.Walker (her initials were M.A.E. or perhaps M.E.A.).  She was born on January the 1st 1836 in Leeds.  The article tells us she was deaf from birth, but the censuses omit that information.  She was a ‘lady visitor to the deaf,’ by which we must suppose she worked with local missioners, visited Deaf people in her community, and presumably prayed with them.  I suppose it was a sort of community support worker role.  At any rate, she did that for thirty-five years, presumably able to support herself ‘by her own means’ as the census says, having a wealthy family background.

Margaret C. Hawkins on the left, was born in 1841.  She died in 1923.  She was also a ‘lady visitor,’ connected to the Liverpool Society.  In the 1881 census, where she is recorded as deaf and dumb, she was a teacher, living at a convalescent home for children at Black Moss Lane, Maghull, Lancashire.

On the right, Miss Mary Housman was born in Liverpool in January 1844.  By 1901 she was living with Margaret in 76 Rosebery Street, Toxteth.  Looking at it on Street-view now shows that it is long gone.  It would once have been neat back-to-back housing, and their neighbours in 1901 were in occupations such as clerks, chemists, a police sargeant, and a stevedore, whereas most of the housing left is run-down, and the remaining terrace of once pretty houses looks as if it is condemned.  Interestingly, the two ladies, both described as ‘deaf and dumb from childhood,’ had two other Deaf lodgers, Robert Fletcher Housman (1846-1921) who was her brother, and Anne (Annie) Jackson, b.1844.  The Housman family was from Skerton,Lancashire, their parents, Robert Fletcher and Agnes were ‘landed proprietors.’  Robert junior was described as deaf in the 1861 census but his sister as deaf and dumb.

Anne Jackson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire.  She was a servant working for Housman and Hawkins in 1891, but by 1911 is described as living with them under her own means.  In 1891 they were in 24 Jermyn Street,  which is not too far from their later home in Rosebery Street.  Margaret Hawkins was described as a ‘lady Visitor’ which the enumerator has misunderstood as meaning she was not head of the household, and ‘Deaf and dumb from birth.’  The other members of the household are described as ‘Deaf and dumb.’  As well as Mary Housman as a boarder and the servant Annie Jackson, there was also an Eliza Jane Hudson, b.1852 in Carnarvon, as a boarder, and Mary Rigby, b.ca.1840 in Liverpool.
In 1871 Rigby was living with her widowed mother, in Slater Street.  She was ‘Deaf from Fever’ which explains why she was not marked as deaf on earlier censuses.

By 1911 the three were living together at 14 Hatherley Street, Liverpool, the next street down from Rosebery Street.  A certain P.H. Morris, b.ca. 1874, in St. Helen’s, ‘Deaf from born,’ is there as a boarder.  I tried looking for a female P.H. Morris to no avail, but there is a Philip Hornby Morris who was born in the right place and was the right age to fit.  As the age column has been altered – the usual 1911 census error where people did not read the form before filling it in – I wonder if our deaf P.H. Morris is him… I am open to correction!

In 1921 when the article was written, they lived together at Prenton, Birkenhead, all three being, we are told, ‘staunch churchwomen.’  The were, we are assured, “respected and loved by all who know them.”  They were part of a network of Deaf people, and we might assume there were other boarders and visitors from the Deaf community in the north west in the intervening years not covered by the censuses.  It would make an interesting project to follow the lives of all these peoplewith some sort of social network analysis.

An Appreciation.  The British Deaf Times 1921 p.8

Miss Walker

1841 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 1346; Book: 4; Civil Parish: Leeds; County: Yorkshire; Enumeration District: 4; Folio: 26; Page: 2; Line: 10; GSU roll: 464289

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3357; Folio: 123; Page: 31; GSU roll: 543119 – Headingly with her sister Elizabeth

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 3463; Folio: 39; Page: 2 – Poulton Bare and Torrisholme, Lancs. as a visitor in a lodging house.

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 4914; Folio: 78; Page: 21

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 22266

Miss Housman

1851 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 2272; Folio: 106; Page: 56; GSU roll: 87299

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3156; Folio: 62; Page: 21; GSU roll: 543088

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 2936; Folio: 54; Page: 41

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 3438; Folio: 41; Page: 21

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 22266

Miss Hawkins

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 3744; Folio: 99; Page: 10; GSU roll: 1341896

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 2936; Folio: 54; Page: 41

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 3438; Folio: 41; Page: 21

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 22266

Miss Rigby

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 3775; Folio: 46; Page: 33; GSU roll: 841888

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 3651; Folio: 39; Page: 17; GSU roll: 1341875

John David Willoughby & Ernest Warr – teacher & private pupil

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 15 June 2018

John David Willoughby , was a teacher of the deaf and first vice-president of the National Association of Teachers of the Deaf.  He was born in Liverpool in 1863, son of John Willoughby, a grocer, and Harriet Gay, from Manchester.  His career seems to have been settled upon early in life.  In a biographical sketch written in 1896 in The British Deaf-Mute, we are told that twenty-two years before then he began as a pupil teacher in an Elementary School doing a five year apprenticeship.  He would have been around eleven years old when he began.  After that, he worked at Manchester School at first under the oralist convert, Andrew Patterson, then under Patterson’s successor, Bessant (ibid).  The BDM article tells us that he acquireds “a complete and comprehensive knowledge of the intricacies of the system.”  In 1885 he sat for the first examination at the new College of Teachers of the Deaf in Paddington Green.

Willoughby married Florence Toothill on the 18th of September, 1886, and they had three daughters.  That same year he began to take on private pupils.  From where his children were born we can assume he was in Hyde, Manchester, in 1888, in York in 1893, in Lewisham in 1895, and according to the 1901 census, when he called himself ‘Professor of Oral Education of Deaf,’ he was living at 86 Blackheath Road, Greenwich.  The BDM says,

When the government at last decided to do something towards helping forward the education of the deaf, Mr. Willoughby became anxious to return to Public School work, and he accordingly applied to and was appointed by the London School Board. Being now once again in a Government School he lost no time in qualifying for the Elementary Teacher’s’ Certificate, taking the first year’s papers in December, 1894, and the second year’s in June, 1895.

I wonder whether the fact that on the 1901 census he described himself as a Secretary was a contributory factor?  Running a small private school cannot have been easy.

He was also one of the founders of of the Association of Teachers of the Deaf and Dumb – later ‘National’ and now BATOD.  I wonder if he is mentioned in their archives?  His obituary tells us that he did not stick with state education however.  He had been a petitioner to the Government to recognise Certificates of Teachers of the Deaf (BDM), but the obituary says “Had the teachers’ claims for better conditions moved at the pace of Mr. Willoughby’s hopes and ambitions the profession might have retained his services; but, as a consequence,, he sought and found another field for his abilities.”

In 1911 he was living in Deal, Kent, and in his role as a Freemason, he was an ‘inspector.’  Perhaps it was in connection with Freemasonry that he became a Freeman of the City of London in July 1913 (see online records) at which time he was living in ‘Highfield,’ Chertsey, Surrey, where he was head of Highfield College, Walton-on-Thames.  This is presumably a long gone private school.  Willoughby was a victim of the 1918 influenza epidemic.

In the 1901 census, Ernest Stanley Daniel Warr (b. 1890) was living with the Willoughby family as a private pupil.  Interestingly, he was still with them in 1911 when they were in Deal, and when he was described on the census as a ‘mechanical dentist’ whatever that might be.  Perhaps it means he made false teeth?  In 1916 Warr lived at 9 Albion Road, Lewisham, and was still there in the 1930s.  That summer he married Mabel Johnson, and the Rev. William Raper baptised their daughter at St. Barnabas’s Church for the Deaf that December.  He was described as an ‘engineer’ on the baptismal register.  I have been unable to track down Warr on the 1891 census, though I did find the registration of his birth in Forest Hill (Camberwell registration district), in the last quarter of 1890, so I have no idea about his family background.

Ernest Warr died in 1967 in South London, so I expect he remained a part of the Deaf community there.  If you can add anything on him please comment.

British Deaf-Mute, 1896, 5, 124. (photo)

The Teacher of the Deaf, 1919 p.50

1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 4568; Schedule Number: 67

1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 538; Folio: 41; Page: 8

1891 Census Class: RG12; Piece: 3888; Folio: 136; Page: 26

 

“deaf as he was, and deafer than he really was” – İsmet İnönü’s diplomatic skill – turning off his hearing aid

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 11 May 2018

İsmet İnönü (1884-1973), the Turkish delegate at the Armistice of Mudanya, and later representative in negotiations for the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, had hearing loss.  He became Prime Minister of Turkey and President. He had been a gunnery officer, so I wonder if his hearing loss was related to that.  Among other things, The Times for the 18th of November, 1922, said of him, “His reputation during the Great War was that of a safe, hard-working, rather cautious Staff Colonel, deaf, and consequently short-tempered, and a terror to slack or casual subordinates.”

At any rate, during the negotiations at Lausanne, in what Cleveland calls “a classic in the annals of international diplomacy” it seems that when Lord Curzon spoke, İsmet would turn off his hearing aid, and only turn it back on afterwards, restating his original position “as though the British Foreign Secretary had never uttered a word”  (Cleveland, chapter 10, 2016).

Later, Sir Charles Harington, in a speech quoted indirectly in The Times said,

Referring to Chanak and the Mudania Conference, Sir Charles said it was a near thing, but there were three factors in the problem. The greatest factor was Lord Curzon himself in Paris; the nextwas the splendid body of reinforcements sent to him; and the other was the friendship he formed, after the fifth day at Mudania, with General Ismet Pasha. It was quite safe to say that, difficult as Ismet Pasha was, deaf as he was, and deafer than he really was (laughter), they had made great friends. (The Times, 21st of November, 1923)

He is second from the left in this photo of the Turkish Mudanya delegation, from a postcard in our collection, where Selwyn Oxley noted Ismet Pasha (an honorary title) was deaf.

It would be interesting to know where his hearing aid came from, as I have no idea how many manufacturers were making them at that time.  If you can add anything about his hearing loss, please do in the comment field below.

William L. Cleveland, Martin Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East (6th ed. 2016)

The Times (London, England), Saturday, Nov 18, 1922; pg. 11; Issue 43192

The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Nov 21, 1923; pg. 11; Issue 43504

“Clacton is too dull for me” – Fred Barnard 1889-1961

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 26 April 2018

Frederick Barnard was born in Battersea Park Road, on the 13th of March, 1889.*  He was the son of Arthur Edward Barnard, who was a ‘machine man’ (mechanic) when he married in 1883, and a newsagent in 1901, and in 1911 was a confectioner, and Grace Bassage, at one time a hairdresser (1901), both from Lambeth.  Fred lost his hearing aged four (1911 census).  He became a pupil at Margate, where we find him on the 1901 census, then aged 12. By the time of the 1911 census Fred was working as a carpenter, and living with his mother’s brother, John Bassage, a dock labourer, at 505 Southwark Park Road.  His family was living in Clacton by 1901 if not earlier.

In 1911 his parents were living at Cressingham House, North Road, Clacton.

I suspect, but I cannot be sure, that when Fred’s father died in 1918, he decided to move back in with his mother to help out, losing touch with his social life in London.  At some point thereafter he contacted a friend in London, and we have the postcard with the note on the back and a portrait of Fred.

Dear Sir
Just a few lines to wish you a Bright & Prosperous New Year.
I hope you will like this photo.
I wish I was in London now because I miss many of the deaf and dumb.
Clacton is too dull for me. Please remember me to all at the club.
kind Regards
from Fred Barnard

I suppose that the club would be the National Deaf Club, or a local deaf club in south London, but could also be St. Saviour’s Church. Whichever it was, and whoever the ‘sir’ was to whom it is addressed, it looks as if it spent some time pinned to a notice board.

Fred died in 1961.
*See www.ancestry.co.uk

Census 1891 – not found him or his parents – perhaps they were missed or their names are poorlt transcribed.

Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 824; Folio: 31; Page: 3 (Fred)

Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 1695; Folio: 8; Page: 7 (parents)

Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 10229; Schedule Number: 119 (parents)

Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 1901 (Fred)

Thanks, as ever, to Norma McGilp for great assistance!

Note – I removed some uncertain information. I am pretty sure of the identification of the Fred as oppsed to other Fred Barnards of the time.

I discovered his parents from the aunt & uncle in the 1911 census when he was staying with them.  I surmised either Fred’s mother was a Bassage, or his father’s sister had married one, and I searched Free BMD for a marriage between a Grace Ann Bassage & an Arthur Edward Barnard.

The 1911 census has Arthur E. Barnard and Grace in Clacton (as in 1901), Arthur as a confectioner/newsagent, and tells us they’d had 4 children, 2 living, the other being Maude Elizabeth (1885-?) –
Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 1695; Folio: 8; Page: 7 (parents)
Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 10229; Schedule Number: 119 (parents)

Fred was born on the 13th of March 1889, in Battersea, like his sister. He was baptised the following year 17/8/1890 at Bermondsey St Mary Magdalene – London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: p71/mmg/028.

I suspect that the death recorded Deaths Mar 1884 Barnard, Arthur, Wandsworth 1d 417, is a first child who was named after his dad.  Likewise another child in Deaths for 1887 March, Wandsworth 1d 451, Barnard, Edith Annie, aged 0, would I suggest be the other child who died.

 

A CODA – Child of Deaf Adults – Lon Chaney

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 20 April 2018

Many children of deaf people are hearing.  In deaf studies they are sometimes called CODAs – Children of Deaf Adults.  Being a CODA has its own set of issues and problems growing up, but it also has some advantages.  A CODA child will often be roped in to interpret between parents and officials, doctors, or the world in general, but it can also give them a foot in two cultures.  One example mentioned many times in these blog pages, is the Rev. Fred Gilby.  His parents were discover that he was not Deaf, and he learnt to sign when other children were beginning to speak (memoirs p.8).

Another such child, was the famous actor, Leonidas Frank “Lon” Chaney (1883-1930).  His mother, Emma, was Deaf, the daughter of Jonathan Kennedy, a farmer from Illinois, and from the birthplaces of his children you can see how their family typified the movement of settlers west onto the prairie; Ohio, then Kansas, then Emma married in Colorado where Lon was born.  Emma’s sister Matilda and brother Orange were also Deaf.  Jonathan Kennedy founded the Colorado Deaf School in 1874, no doubt because of his Deaf children.  We have some U.S.A. institution annual reports, but not those for Colorado unfortunately.

Chaney’s father, Frank, a barber, was also Deaf, and born in Ohio.  He met Emma at the Colorado school.  It seems that Chaney was a very private man, and there are many gaps in his early life, where comparatively little is known.

It may be that his facial expressiveness was part of a skill set he acquired when communicating with his parents, then used in his theatrical life.  He certainly put his abilities to great use in silent films, portraying, for example, the deaf Quasimodo, in the 1923 film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I have not had time to delve into his life, so I cannot say whether he was a true signer or not.  If you know, please comment with a source for any reference and I will update this.

Lon Chaney, the ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ (source of photo unknown)

If you know the song ‘Werewolves of London, you may recall he gets a mention –

“I saw Lon Chaney walking with the Queen

Doing the Werewolves of London.”

Though he was the Phantom of the Opera, and his son was the Wolf Man!

See www.ancestry.co.uk for his family tree

“Brandy for giddiness, 2s” – Jonathan Swift’s Meniere’s Disease

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 13 April 2018

One of the great writers of English, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was plagued for much of his life by bouts of giddiness, and by increasing deafness, though in many other respects he was healthy and lived to the age of seventy-seven.  It sometimes incapacitated him for long periods.

In August 1727 he wrote to Lady Henrietta Howard,

About two hours before you were born, I got my giddiness by eating a hundred golden pippins at a time at Richmond, and, when you were five years and a quarter old, baiting 2 days, I got my deafness, and these two friends, one or other, have visited me, every year since: and being old acquaintances, have now thought fit to come together.

It seems to have begun when he was twenty, according to the autobiographical notes in Forster’s biography (p.27),  but there, there is a footnote inserted that says Swift had added, “in 1690.”  The word ‘hours’ in the letter to Henrietta Howard may be an error for, or misreading of, ‘years,’ or it could be he had forgotten precisely when it happenened.

At first he self-medicated – on the 16th of November, 1708, he wrote “Brandy for giddiness, 2s.”

Bucknill (p.495-6) quotes Swift’s ‘Journal to Stella’ for October 1710: “This morning, sitting in my bed, I had a fit of giddiness; the room turned round for about a minute and then it went off leaving me sickish, but not very.  I saw Dr. Cockburn to-day, and he promises to send me the pills that did me good last year; and likewise has promised me an oil for my ears, that he has been making for that ailment for somebody else.”  The diagnosis seems to be that he had Ménière’s disease (see Bucknill and Bewley).

Some years after the letter, several newspapers published a poem that Swift had written about his illness, both in Latin and in English (Grub Street Journal, Thursday, November 14, 1734; Issue 255), although the version with the answers seems to be later –

Vertiginosus, inops, surdus, male gratus amicis;
Non campana sonans, tonitru non ab Jove missum,
Quod mage mirandum, saltem si credere fas est,
Non clamosa meas mulier jam percutit aures.

DOCTOR: Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone.
ANSWER: Except the first, the fault’s your own.
DOCTOR: To all my friends a burden grown.
ANSWER: Because to few you will be shewn.
Give them good wine, and meat to stuff,
You may have company enough.
DOCTOR: No more I hear my church’s bell,
Than if it rang out for my knell.
ANSWER: Then write and read, ’twill do as well.
DOCTOR: At thunder now no more I start,
Than at the rumbling of a cart.
ANSWER: Think then of thunder when you fart.
DOCTOR: Nay, what’s incredible, alack!
No more I hear a woman’s clack.
ANSWER: A woman’s clack, if I have skill,
Sounds somewhat like a throwster’s mill;
But louder than a bell, or thunder:
That does, I own, increase my wonder.

Although he lived to a good age, Swift’s final few years seem to have found him the victim of what Bewley calls, ‘terminal dementia’ (p.604).
Bewley, Thomas, The health of Jonathan Swift.  J. R. Soc. Med. 1998;91 :602-605

Bucknill JC. Dean Swift’s disease. Brain 1881;4:493-506

Forster, John, The Life of Jonathan Swift, Volume 1

The Works of the English Poets. With Prefaces, Biographical and …, Volume 40

Three Deaf Tailors of Plymouth

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 6 April 2018

This photo, shows three tailors of Plymouth who were deaf.  The photo probably dates from 1910/20.  It is possible that one of men, on the right or in the centre, may be Edward John Tavenor (1855-1938), who was born in Plymouth, but attended the Old Kent Road Asylum where he is listed in the 1871 census.  Perhaps those in the photograph are a little young looking, but perhaps the photo is a little older than my guess.

At any rate, Edward was not born deaf according to the 1861 census, and so he probably lost his hearing having already acquired some speech.  He was involved in the local Plymouth and District Deaf and Dumb Mission for a number of years as a member of the committee.  At that time the missioner was Hiram Blount, who was himself deaf.  Edward married a Deaf lady, Susannah Creber, in 1880.  I am not sure if she was educated locally or not.

I have touched on the Plymouth Mission before, and there is a rich seam of Deaf history to be mined here.

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 1442; Folio: 68; Page: 56; GSU roll: 542813 (Edward)

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 1454; Folio: 85; Page: 27; GSU roll: 542815 (Susannah)

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 601; Folio: 112; Page: 5; GSU roll: 818907

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1744; Folio: 140; Page: 43

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 2093; Folio: 27; Page: 46

1911 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1725; Folio: 24; Page: 42

Plymouth Mission Annual Reports for 1915, 1916, 1919, 1920, 1922, 1924 (we have incomplete holdings)

“Edmond Searle, lately deceased, was so famous at curing all sorts of Deafness” – the Searls of Pye Corner & their Rival, Graves Overton

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 23 March 2018

Last year while searching for something completely different, I came across the name Margaret Searl or Searle, around 1700, in Smithfield, London.  She has a brief mention in the excellent book by C.J.S. Thompson, The Quacks of Old London (Barnes and Noble, 1993).  She was the last of her family it seems, who had carried out a business near Pye Corner, which is where the Great Fire of London ended. What we can glean from advertisements of the time, on Bills that survive and in contemporary newspapers, is that her father Edmund or Edmond, together with his nephew we must assume, Samuel, set up in business from at least 1668, ‘curing deafness.’  The first record I have come across for Edmund, is his burial on the 7th of July, 1695, at St. Sepulchre’s Church, Holborn, which is opposite the Old Bailey.  His son, Samuel, was buried in the same church on the 17th of December, 1699.

Unfortunately for Samuel’s widow Margaret, who was I assume his cousin, a former servant or apprentice of Edmund’s, Graves Overton, gave out that Margaret was dead, and that he had the secret of the deafness cure [I reproduce the text with the orthography of the original] –

WHereas Mr. Edmond Searle, lately deceased, was so famous at curing all sorts of Deafness, this is therefore to Advertise all Persons that Graves Overton, his only Servant , lives at the Hand and Ear in Pye Corner, alias Gilt-spur-street, near Newgate, where he performs the same Cures by his Masters secret Method. There being now, none of his Masters Family living but himself, that performs the said Cure. (Friday the 1st. of March, 1700, Old Bailey Records)

Another advertisement says, “Graves Overton, who Cures Deafness and is the only Surviving Servant of Mr. Edmund Searle, who was famous in that art, lives at the Hand and Ear in Pye Corner, next Giltspur Street.” (May 29, 1701)

He must have had the first advertisement for a while in 1700, as a month before that, this riposte appeared in The Post Boy (Issue 753) refering to ‘The [Old Bailey] Sessions paper’ –

This ding-dong of rivalry must have gone on for a while.  Here is the text of one of Margaret’s bills which survive –

Margaret Searl, Wife to the late Samuel Searl, Famous for Relieving and Curing deafness, Depending on any External Obstruction Of the Organ of the Ear; Who had Practised This art above Thirty Eight Years past, and Communicated the Secret to me only, who Practis’d it with him, in his Life time, for many Years, after the same Way and Method. Still living in Pye-Corner, over-against the Golden Ball, by West-Smithfield, London; (though it is Reported that I was Dead, by some Pretenders to deceive the World) where I am ready, upon any Occasion of that Nature, to serve such as apply themselves to me: Being the Surviver of my Father Edmund Searl, and late Husband Samuel Searl. Whereas several Servants of my Father Edmund Searl, have put out Bills for Curing of deafness. This is to Certifie, That neither my Father, or Husband, ever Instructed, or Communicated this Secret to any of their Servants, or any Apprentice whatsoever. (1706, 18th Century Collections Online)

When Overton’s daughter Mary was baptised, on 17/12/1693-1694, he was living with his wife Rebecca on Snow Hill, just around the corner, and they were still there when his son John was born in 1696.  Overton had married Rebecca Walserd in Temple Church, on the 25th of November, 1692.  Overton died in 1704, and was buried at St. Sepulchre’s on the 4th of March.

Poor Margaret Searl – the quacks multiplied, as they tend to, and it seems Overton was not her only rival, for in The Post Boy for January 16th, 1701, we read (with spellings accurately rendered),

WHereas Graves Overton does put out Bil’s for Curing of Deafness; This is to certify all People, that Mr. Edmund Searl declared before his death, that he never did instruct him in that Art, especially being a Turn-over to him, nor any other of his Apprentices that were bound to him, if they would have given Two hundred Pounds down, as can be Attested by several Persons. Neither did Mr. Samuel Searl ever instruct Thomas Lamb, his Brother-in-Law in Curing of Deafness, nor any thing but a Barber’s Trade, nor any other Person but his Wife, who (being the Survivor of those two famous Men) lives still at the Old House in Pye-Corner, who practis’d with her late Husband Samuel Searl in his Life-time, and now does after the same Way and Method with good success.

From this then we learn the not surprising fact that the Searls (also sometimes ‘Serle’) were barbers, the trade with which surgeons in England had a close association for 200 years.  I wonder if he had any association with St. Bartholomew’s Hospital which is right opposite Pye Corner.  At any rate, it is perhaps unfair to call them quacks as their deafness ‘cures’ were probably harmless, while a doctor of the time was far more likely to kill you.

Margaret Searl[e] was buried in St. Sepulchre’s on the 29th of March, 1709/10, and what became of the ‘cure’ we can only guess!

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1812; Reference Number: P69/SEP/A/001/MS07219/003

Post Boy (1695) (London, England), February 3, 1700 – February 6, 1700; Issue 753.

Post Boy (1695) (London, England), March 12, 1700 – March 14, 1700; Issue 769.

Post Man and the Historical Account (London, England), September 24, 1700 – September 26, 1700

Post Boy (1695) (London, England), January 14, 1701 – January 16, 1701; Issue 901.

Post Boy (1695) (London, England), May 27, 1701 – May 29, 1701; Issue 940

Title: Samuel Searl, famous for relieving and curing deafness, depending on any external obstruction of the organ of the ear; Date: 1680-1689 Reel position: Tract Supplement / E8:1[75]

Title: Margaret Searl, wife to the late Samuel Searl, famous for relieving and curing deafness, … Date: 1706 Reel position: Tract Supplement / E8:2[59]