George Henry Geary | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Biography:
George Henry Geary
d. 14/06/1941

George Henry Geary

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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.   George Henry’s story Although buried at Rectory Lane Cemetery, the burial-ground for the Parish of St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted town centre, George Henry (from here onwards called just George) Geary was very much a product of the parish of St Mary’s Northchurch. His paternal grandfather, Jeremiah Geary had been baptised there on 30th August 1801, whilst George’s paternal grandmother Anne Halsey was baptised at St Mary’s on 12th July 1801, thus appearing on the same page of the baptismal register as her future husband. The couple married in Paddington on 27th February 1825, and stayed there long enough to have five children: William (1826), Harriet (1827), Elizabeth (1830), James (1831) George (1833). Jeremiah Geary died sometime between 1833 and 1841, when his widow Ann was back in Northchurch, surrounded by members of her Halsey family. George’s father, William Geary married Mary Anne Halsey (probably a cousin) on 27th June 1847 at St Mary’s Northchurch. His mother was already pregnant when she got married, as George’s eldest sister, Frances Elizabeth Geary, was born on 12th November 1847. William and Mary Anne had all of their children, including George, baptised at St Mary’s Northchurch as follows:
  • Frances Emma, baptised 25th December 1847, married Thomas Garner in 1868 at St Peter’s.
  • James, baptised 24th March 1850 (see Plot 581 for James’ story)
  • Ann, baptised 30th May 1852.
  • George Frederick, baptised 25th December 1854
  • William, baptised 5th July 1857, married and raised a family in Bell Lane, Northchurch.
  • Joseph Charles, baptised 29th January 1860
  • George Henry was born on 2nd October 1862 and baptised 23rd November 1862
  • Lizzy, baptised 25th June 1865
William Geary gave his occupation as a labourer at the time of his marriage in 1847, and brickmaker at the time of the 1851, 1861 & 1871 censuses. William and Mary Ann lived initially at Woodcock Hill before moving down into Northchurch High Street by 1861. Although the work that William was having to do was probably heavy manual labour, it was his wife, Mary Ann Geary who predeceased her husband. She was buried at St Mary’s on 7th March 1869, when George was just seven years old. All of the Geary boys appeared to have worked as labourers. In 1871 George’s brother Frederick was a labourer in a timber yard, James was a labourer on the coal wharf of the Grand Union Canal and William junior was a labourer in a brickyard, probably with his father William. At that time the family, living in Northchurch High Street, was all male, consisting of the widowed William and his sons Frederick, William, Charles and George. In 1881 George was the last one left living with his father. At the age of 18, he now gave his occupation as brickmaker’s labourer, the same as that of his father. On 14th May 1883 George’s father, William Geary, married Mary Ann Humphrey, a woman from Berkhamsted, at Broadway Chapel, aka St John’s Bourne End. William and Mary lived at Bell Lane, Northchurch, which is at the bottom of Woodcock Hill and about 1.8 miles on foot from where James and his family were living. In 1891 George was living with the family of his brother James Geary (see Rectory Lane Cemetery Plot 581) in Holliday Street. 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 picture below shows Sill’s Timber Yard in the 1890s, at the time when George was most probably working there. In 1891 George’s eldest niece, Minnie Geary, daughter of his brother James, married one James Morton in Berkhamsted (see Rectory Lane cemetery Plot 1123 for James and Minnie Morton, nee Geary). George was 12 years younger than his big brother, James and only nine years older than his niece, Minnie. 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 George married Annie Morton, a woman 11 years his junior, who was also his niece’s sister-in-law. 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 a new congregation, based around George Street and Ellesmere Road, 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 a 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, with their address given as following:
  • 1894 George Street, Sunnyside1895 George Street
  • 1896 41 George Street
  • 1899 Ellesmere Road
  • 1901 39 Ellesmere Road, parish of Northchurch
  • 1902 Ellesmere Road
  • 1904 39 Ellesmere Road
As this area was served by the Iron Church, their children were baptised at the Iron Church by Rev G H Siddans as follows:
  • Winifred Annie was 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 was baptised on 13th December 1896.
  • Albert George, born in January 1868, was buried on 28th March 1898 aged 8 weeks.
  • Ernest Harry was born on 4th March 1899 and privately baptised on 5th April 1899.
  • May Jessica was born in February 1901 and privately baptised on 13th March 1901. She was buried on 29th May 1902 aged 11 months [sic].
  • William James was privately baptised on 16th August 1902.
  • Sydney Charles was baptised on 14th February 1904.
  • Dorothy Jessie, born in April 1907, was buried 22nd March 1909 aged 1 year and 11 months
  • Arthur Stanley born in 1907 and buried 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 George’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 George’s eldest daughter, Winifred married Frank Collins, and on 6th December 1918, presented George with his first grandson. In 1920 Edith married Sidney Norris and George’s first grand-daughter was born on 7th July 1920. On 28th July 1929 George and Annie lost a sixth child, when their 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. George’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. George Henry Geary died on 14th June 1941, leaving no will. We know that he was still living at Shrublands Avenue as that was the address given when his widow, Annie, died on 27th September 1942.
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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.

 

George Henry’s story

Although buried at Rectory Lane Cemetery, the burial-ground for the Parish of St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted town centre, George Henry (from here onwards called just George) Geary was very much a product of the parish of St Mary’s Northchurch. His paternal grandfather, Jeremiah Geary had been baptised there on 30th August 1801, whilst George’s paternal grandmother Anne Halsey was baptised at St Mary’s on 12th July 1801, thus appearing on the same page of the baptismal register as her future husband. The couple married in Paddington on 27th February 1825, and stayed there long enough to have five children: William (1826), Harriet (1827), Elizabeth (1830), James (1831) George (1833). Jeremiah Geary died sometime between 1833 and 1841, when his widow Ann was back in Northchurch, surrounded by members of her Halsey family.

George’s father, William Geary married Mary Anne Halsey (probably a cousin) on 27th June 1847 at St Mary’s Northchurch. His mother was already pregnant when she got married, as George’s eldest sister, Frances Elizabeth Geary, was born on 12th November 1847.

William and Mary Anne had all of their children, including George, baptised at St Mary’s Northchurch as follows:

  • Frances Emma, baptised 25th December 1847, married Thomas Garner in 1868 at St Peter’s.
  • James, baptised 24th March 1850 (see Plot 581 for James’ story)
  • Ann, baptised 30th May 1852.
  • George Frederick, baptised 25th December 1854
  • William, baptised 5th July 1857, married and raised a family in Bell Lane, Northchurch.
  • Joseph Charles, baptised 29th January 1860
  • George Henry was born on 2nd October 1862 and baptised 23rd November 1862
  • Lizzy, baptised 25th June 1865

William Geary gave his occupation as a labourer at the time of his marriage in 1847, and brickmaker at the time of the 1851, 1861 & 1871 censuses. William and Mary Ann lived initially at Woodcock Hill before moving down into Northchurch High Street by 1861. Although the work that William was having to do was probably heavy manual labour, it was his wife, Mary Ann Geary who predeceased her husband. She was buried at St Mary’s on 7th March 1869, when George was just seven years old.

All of the Geary boys appeared to have worked as labourers. In 1871 George’s brother Frederick was a labourer in a timber yard, James was a labourer on the coal wharf of the Grand Union Canal and William junior was a labourer in a brickyard, probably with his father William. At that time the family, living in Northchurch High Street, was all male, consisting of the widowed William and his sons Frederick, William, Charles and George.

In 1881 George was the last one left living with his father. At the age of 18, he now gave his occupation as brickmaker’s labourer, the same as that of his father.

On 14th May 1883 George’s father, William Geary, married Mary Ann Humphrey, a woman from Berkhamsted, at Broadway Chapel, aka St John’s Bourne End. William and Mary lived at Bell Lane, Northchurch, which is at the bottom of Woodcock Hill and about 1.8 miles on foot from where James and his family were living.

In 1891 George was living with the family of his brother James Geary (see Rectory Lane Cemetery Plot 581) in Holliday Street. 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 picture below shows Sill’s Timber Yard in the 1890s, at the time when George was most probably working there.

In 1891 George’s eldest niece, Minnie Geary, daughter of his brother James, married one James Morton in Berkhamsted (see Rectory Lane cemetery Plot 1123 for James and Minnie Morton, nee Geary). George was 12 years younger than his big brother, James and only nine years older than his niece, Minnie.

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 George married Annie Morton, a woman 11 years his junior, who was also his niece’s sister-in-law.

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 a new congregation, based around George Street and Ellesmere Road, 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 a 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, with their address given as following:

  • 1894 George Street, Sunnyside1895 George Street
  • 1896 41 George Street
  • 1899 Ellesmere Road
  • 1901 39 Ellesmere Road, parish of Northchurch
  • 1902 Ellesmere Road
  • 1904 39 Ellesmere Road

As this area was served by the Iron Church, their children were baptised at the Iron Church by Rev G H Siddans as follows:

  • Winifred Annie was 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 was baptised on 13th December 1896.
  • Albert George, born in January 1868, was buried on 28th March 1898 aged 8 weeks.
  • Ernest Harry was born on 4th March 1899 and privately baptised on 5th April 1899.
  • May Jessica was born in February 1901 and privately baptised on 13th March 1901. She was buried on 29th May 1902 aged 11 months [sic].
  • William James was privately baptised on 16th August 1902.
  • Sydney Charles was baptised on 14th February 1904.
  • Dorothy Jessie, born in April 1907, was buried 22nd March 1909 aged 1 year and 11 months
  • Arthur Stanley born in 1907 and buried 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 George’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 George’s eldest daughter, Winifred married Frank Collins, and on 6th December 1918, presented George with his first grandson. In 1920 Edith married Sidney Norris and George’s first grand-daughter was born on 7th July 1920.

On 28th July 1929 George and Annie lost a sixth child, when their 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. George’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.

George Henry Geary died on 14th June 1941, leaving no will. We know that he was still living at Shrublands Avenue as that was the address given when his widow, Annie, died on 27th September 1942.

Relatives