Ann Geary | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Biography:
Ann Geary
d. 27/09/1942

William James Geary died 28th July 1929 aged 27 years George Henry Geary died 14th June 1941 aged 78 years Annie Geary, wife of the above, died 27th September 1942 aged 68 years.   Annie’s story Annie was born Annie Morton in Berkhamsted. Her parents were married in Berkhamsted in 1864. Her father, William Morton, was a gardener from Chorleywood, whilst his wife, Sarah Butterfield, had been baptised at St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted on 27th March 1842 and brought up living in Berkhamsted High Street. William and Sarah had children baptised at St Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted as follows:
  • William James (1st son) baptised on 21st August 1864
  • Mary Ann (1st daughter) baptised on 1st July 1866
  • Martha Maria (2nd daughter) baptised on 19th September 1869
  • Joseph (2nd son) baptised on 19th September 1869
  • James (3rd son) baptised on 12th November 1871
  • Ann, born on 17th October 1873, was baptised on 14th June 1874
  • Sarah baptised on 27th February 1876
  • Thomas baptised on 28th July 1878
  • Louisa baptised on 8th May 1881
  • Emily baptised on 26th September 1883
In 1871 William and Sarah were living in Victoria Road with Sarah’s widowed father, Joseph Butterfield. Both Joseph Butterfield and his son-in-law, William Morton, alternated their occupations between domestic gardener and agricultural labourer. In 1881 the family were living in Red Lion Yard. This Yard in Berkhamsted was particularly notorious. There were as many as 18 little cottages behind the Red Lion public-house, which lost its licence in mid-Victorian times. In November 1872, Sarah Catherine Cope née Underwood, widow of baker William Halsey, was about to marry Henry James Wood, gentleman. Part of the settlement of property on marriage included eleven cottages in Red Lion Yard, situated near and behind two messuages on the High Street. Seven of the cottages had been erected on garden ground and the other four had been completed out of the stables and wood houses on the property. Under the 1855 Nuisance Removal Act, overcrowded housing was illegal. There were rules governing accommodation to ensure that each person had 300 cubic feet of air, and appropriate sleeping arrangements (Morning Chronicle, Feb 1855). By 1886, the Yard had come to the attention of the local sanitary authority: “The Inspector reported several houses in Red Lion Yard, Berkhampstead, as being over-crowded, and orders were made in the cases of Thos. Belcher, George Kingston… and Emma Dolling to abate the overcrowding.” George Kingston was the neighbour of the Morton family in 1881. In these densely-populated dwellings, perhaps it is no surprise that drainage problems in 1874 meant that “typhoid fever had been in the Red Lion-yard and other places… from bad and impure water.” In 1887, aged just 46 years old, William Morton died, living his widow with at least five of their children still living at home. By 1891 Sarah had moved her family, including Annie, out of Red Lion Yard and was living in Holliday Street. The area around Holliday Street was a fairly new development so probably a much better environment in which to raise her children. Sarah had become a domestic servant, whilst James, the oldest child still at home, gave his occupation as general labourer, and his two younger sisters Ann, 17, and Sarah, 15, both appear to have entered domestic service. In 1891 another resident of Holliday Street was Annie’s future husband, George Henry Geary, who was living with the family of his brother James Geary (see Rectory Lane Cemetery Plot 581). Both George and his brother James, and two of James’ sons were listed in the census as being Timber Carters. It is likely that the Geary men worked at Sill’s Timber Yard which stood east of Holliday Street. The attached picture shows Sill’s Timber Yard in the 1890’s, at the time when George was most probably working there. In 1891 Annie’s brother, James Morton, married George Henry Geary’s eldest niece, Minnie Geary, daughter of his brother James (see Rectory Lane cemetery Plot 1123 for James and Minnie Morton nee Geary). The newly-weds moved into Holliday Street and had their first daughter there in 1892. One can only imagine that the families must have been in close contact, as on 3rd April 1893 Annie Morton married George Geary, a man 11 year her senior, and her sister-in-law’s brother. In 1881, after the Revd A F Birch became Rector of Northchurch, a converted barn was leased as a Mission Room in George Street. On Good Friday 1881 the first service was taken there by the Reverend Birch and his curate. Two years later, Mr G H Siddans, at that time a lay reader, was appointed to guide the development of the new congregation through its early years. This part of Berkhamsted was populated by workers from the Cooper’s factory and printworks, and men who laboured at the timber yard and nearby coal wharf on the Grand Union Canal. Because of the growing population in the area, drawn in to support the industries that flourished there, the congregation rapidly outgrew its premises and Siddans, ordained priest in 1888, became curate-in-charge of a new ‘iron church’, constructed on land donated by Earl Brownlow just to the north of the railway (where the Cedars flats now stand). The Iron Church, or ‘Tin Tabernacle’ as it became affectionately known, was a prefabricated construction of corrugated iron. It housed the congregation until 1909. It was dedicated on Michaelmas Day, September 29th 1886, and so was called St Michael’s. From 1909 until 1983 it survived as a Church Hall. George and Annie made their home in this part of St Mary’s Northchurch, served by the Iron Church, living initially in George Street, before moving to 39 Ellesmere Road between 1896 and 1899. Their children were baptised at the Iron Church by Rev G H Siddans as follows:
  • Winifred Annie was born on 13th February 1894 and baptised on 1st April 1894.
  • Hilda Florence was privately baptised on 11th September 1895. She was buried on 23rd July 1896 aged 11 months.
  • Edith Lilian, born on 8th October 1896, was baptised on 13th December 1896.
  • Albert George, born in January 1898, was buried on 28th March 1898 aged 8 weeks.
  • Ernest Harry or Harry Ernest was born on 4th March 1899 and privately baptised on 5th April 1899
  • May Jessica was privately baptised on 13th March 1901. She was buried on 29th May 1902 aged 11 months.
  • William James was privately baptised on 16th August 1902
  • Sydney Charles was baptised on 14th February 1904
The last children in the family were twins:
  • Dorothy Jessie, born in April 1907, was buried 22nd March 1909 aged 1 year and 11 months and Arthur Stanley was buried nine days after his twin-sister on 31st March 1909 aged 1 year and 11 months.
Life must have been very hard for George and Annie, losing five of their 10 children before they even got to being two years old. These stark statistics are listed in the 1911 census “Total Children Born Alive – 10, Children still Living - 5, Children who have Died – 5”. On  31st May 1907 H.M. Inspector reports that three girls – Rose Gravestock, Winifred Geary and Lily Hicks, passed the Labour Examination, held on Tuesday May 7th. Four years later Winifred was working at the Mantle Factory in Berkhamsted. Life moves on and Annie’s remaining children grew into adulthood. At some point between 1911 and 1920, Annie and George moved out of Ellesmere Road to live at 72 Shrublands Avenue. In 1917 Annie’s eldest daughter, Winifred married Frank Collins, and on 6th December 1918, presented Annie with her first grandson. In 1920 Edith married Sidney Norris and Annie’s first grand-daughter was born on 7th July 1920. In 1925 William James appears on the Electoral Roll at Shrublands Avenue, with his parents and his brother Harry Ernest. On 28th July 1929 Annie lost a sixth child, when her son, William James Geary, died at West Herts Hospital in Hemel Hempstead aged just 27. His death certificate states that he was a Milk Roundsman, with his home address being 72 Shrublands Avenue. The cause of his death was frightening and painful. He died from a gastric ulcer that caused him to vomit blood. In someone so young the probable cause was the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. This infection was often caused by poor sanitation and standards of living, seasonal diets poor in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in winter, vitamin deficiencies, and frequent febrile infections in childhood. William died a bachelor, with no will, and his death was reported to the registrar by his brother Harry. In 1939 Annie and George were living at 72 Shrublands Avenue with their unmarried son, Harry Ernest. Despite being in his 70’s, George gave his occupation as Timber yard labourer. Annie’s daughters were living nearby: Winifred had three children and was living in Elm Grove and Edith also had three children and was living in Cross Oak Road. This must have been a great comfort to her when George passed away on 14th June 1941. The couple had been married for 48 years. Annie Geary died on 27th September 1942 at West Herts Hospital where her son, William James, had died and she was laid to rest with him and George. Her will was proved on 2nd November 1942 by her eldest son, Harry Ernest Geary.
map View this burial
in the cemetery

William James Geary died 28th July 1929 aged 27 years

George Henry Geary died 14th June 1941 aged 78 years

Annie Geary, wife of the above, died 27th September 1942 aged 68 years.

 

Annie’s story

Annie was born Annie Morton in Berkhamsted. Her parents were married in Berkhamsted in 1864. Her father, William Morton, was a gardener from Chorleywood, whilst his wife, Sarah Butterfield, had been baptised at St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted on 27th March 1842 and brought up living in Berkhamsted High Street.

William and Sarah had children baptised at St Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted as follows:

  • William James (1st son) baptised on 21st August 1864
  • Mary Ann (1st daughter) baptised on 1st July 1866
  • Martha Maria (2nd daughter) baptised on 19th September 1869
  • Joseph (2nd son) baptised on 19th September 1869
  • James (3rd son) baptised on 12th November 1871
  • Ann, born on 17th October 1873, was baptised on 14th June 1874
  • Sarah baptised on 27th February 1876
  • Thomas baptised on 28th July 1878
  • Louisa baptised on 8th May 1881
  • Emily baptised on 26th September 1883

In 1871 William and Sarah were living in Victoria Road with Sarah’s widowed father, Joseph Butterfield. Both Joseph Butterfield and his son-in-law, William Morton, alternated their occupations between domestic gardener and agricultural labourer.

In 1881 the family were living in Red Lion Yard. This Yard in Berkhamsted was particularly notorious. There were as many as 18 little cottages behind the Red Lion public-house, which lost its licence in mid-Victorian times. In November 1872, Sarah Catherine Cope née Underwood, widow of baker William Halsey, was about to marry Henry James Wood, gentleman. Part of the settlement of property on marriage included eleven cottages in Red Lion Yard, situated near and behind two messuages on the High Street. Seven of the cottages had been erected on garden ground and the other four had been completed out of the stables and wood houses on the property.

Under the 1855 Nuisance Removal Act, overcrowded housing was illegal. There were rules governing accommodation to ensure that each person had 300 cubic feet of air, and appropriate sleeping arrangements (Morning Chronicle, Feb 1855). By 1886, the Yard had come to the attention of the local sanitary authority: “The Inspector reported several houses in Red Lion Yard, Berkhampstead, as being over-crowded, and orders were made in the cases of Thos. Belcher, George Kingston… and Emma Dolling to abate the overcrowding.” George Kingston was the neighbour of the Morton family in 1881. In these densely-populated dwellings, perhaps it is no surprise that drainage problems in 1874 meant that “typhoid fever had been in the Red Lion-yard and other places… from bad and impure water.”

In 1887, aged just 46 years old, William Morton died, living his widow with at least five of their children still living at home.

By 1891 Sarah had moved her family, including Annie, out of Red Lion Yard and was living in Holliday Street. The area around Holliday Street was a fairly new development so probably a much better environment in which to raise her children. Sarah had become a domestic servant, whilst James, the oldest child still at home, gave his occupation as general labourer, and his two younger sisters Ann, 17, and Sarah, 15, both appear to have entered domestic service.

In 1891 another resident of Holliday Street was Annie’s future husband, George Henry Geary, who was living with the family of his brother James Geary (see Rectory Lane Cemetery Plot 581). Both George and his brother James, and two of James’ sons were listed in the census as being Timber Carters.

It is likely that the Geary men worked at Sill’s Timber Yard which stood east of Holliday Street. The attached picture shows Sill’s Timber Yard in the 1890’s, at the time when George was most probably working there.

In 1891 Annie’s brother, James Morton, married George Henry Geary’s eldest niece, Minnie Geary, daughter of his brother James (see Rectory Lane cemetery Plot 1123 for James and Minnie Morton nee Geary).

The newly-weds moved into Holliday Street and had their first daughter there in 1892. One can only imagine that the families must have been in close contact, as on 3rd April 1893 Annie Morton married George Geary, a man 11 year her senior, and her sister-in-law’s brother.

In 1881, after the Revd A F Birch became Rector of Northchurch, a converted barn was leased as a Mission Room in George Street. On Good Friday 1881 the first service was taken there by the Reverend Birch and his curate. Two years later, Mr G H Siddans, at that time a lay reader, was appointed to guide the development of the new congregation through its early years.

This part of Berkhamsted was populated by workers from the Cooper’s factory and printworks, and men who laboured at the timber yard and nearby coal wharf on the Grand Union Canal. Because of the growing population in the area, drawn in to support the industries that flourished there, the congregation rapidly outgrew its premises and Siddans, ordained priest in 1888, became curate-in-charge of a new ‘iron church’, constructed on land donated by Earl Brownlow just to the north of the railway (where the Cedars flats now stand). The Iron Church, or ‘Tin Tabernacle’ as it became affectionately known, was a prefabricated construction of corrugated iron. It housed the congregation until 1909. It was dedicated on Michaelmas Day, September 29th 1886, and so was called St Michael’s. From 1909 until 1983 it survived as a Church Hall.

George and Annie made their home in this part of St Mary’s Northchurch, served by the Iron Church, living initially in George Street, before moving to 39 Ellesmere Road between 1896 and 1899. Their children were baptised at the Iron Church by Rev G H Siddans as follows:

  • Winifred Annie was born on 13th February 1894 and baptised on 1st April 1894.
  • Hilda Florence was privately baptised on 11th September 1895. She was buried on 23rd July 1896 aged 11 months.
  • Edith Lilian, born on 8th October 1896, was baptised on 13th December 1896.
  • Albert George, born in January 1898, was buried on 28th March 1898 aged 8 weeks.
  • Ernest Harry or Harry Ernest was born on 4th March 1899 and privately baptised on 5th April 1899
  • May Jessica was privately baptised on 13th March 1901. She was buried on 29th May 1902 aged 11 months.
  • William James was privately baptised on 16th August 1902
  • Sydney Charles was baptised on 14th February 1904

The last children in the family were twins:

  • Dorothy Jessie, born in April 1907, was buried 22nd March 1909 aged 1 year and 11 months and Arthur Stanley was buried nine days after his twin-sister on 31st March 1909 aged 1 year and 11 months.

Life must have been very hard for George and Annie, losing five of their 10 children before they even got to being two years old. These stark statistics are listed in the 1911 census “Total Children Born Alive – 10, Children still Living – 5, Children who have Died – 5”.

On  31st May 1907 H.M. Inspector reports that three girls – Rose Gravestock, Winifred Geary and Lily Hicks, passed the Labour Examination, held on Tuesday May 7th. Four years later Winifred was working at the Mantle Factory in Berkhamsted.

Life moves on and Annie’s remaining children grew into adulthood. At some point between 1911 and 1920, Annie and George moved out of Ellesmere Road to live at 72 Shrublands Avenue. In 1917 Annie’s eldest daughter, Winifred married Frank Collins, and on 6th December 1918, presented Annie with her first grandson. In 1920 Edith married Sidney Norris and Annie’s first grand-daughter was born on 7th July 1920.

In 1925 William James appears on the Electoral Roll at Shrublands Avenue, with his parents and his brother Harry Ernest.

On 28th July 1929 Annie lost a sixth child, when her son, William James Geary, died at West Herts Hospital in Hemel Hempstead aged just 27. His death certificate states that he was a Milk Roundsman, with his home address being 72 Shrublands Avenue. The cause of his death was frightening and painful. He died from a gastric ulcer that caused him to vomit blood. In someone so young the probable cause was the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. This infection was often caused by poor sanitation and standards of living, seasonal diets poor in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in winter, vitamin deficiencies, and frequent febrile infections in childhood. William died a bachelor, with no will, and his death was reported to the registrar by his brother Harry.

In 1939 Annie and George were living at 72 Shrublands Avenue with their unmarried son, Harry Ernest. Despite being in his 70’s, George gave his occupation as Timber yard labourer. Annie’s daughters were living nearby: Winifred had three children and was living in Elm Grove and Edith also had three children and was living in Cross Oak Road. This must have been a great comfort to her when George passed away on 14th June 1941. The couple had been married for 48 years.

Annie Geary died on 27th September 1942 at West Herts Hospital where her son, William James, had died and she was laid to rest with him and George. Her will was proved on 2nd November 1942 by her eldest son, Harry Ernest Geary.

Relatives