I was very interested in your page on George Austin, as he was my great-great-grandfather’s elder brother. I was surprised that there was no reference to his family, although my recent visit to Engelsea Brook revealed why that is. His obituary states “Sadly, no information about his early life is known….” To my mind this indicates that George had severed contact with his family or they with him and that he never talked about them. However I offer the following details to perhaps set the record straight.
George was one of the 15 children of Francis and Hannah (Carr) Austin of Kingsley; Francis was a blacksmith. Amazingly, for the time, all but one of the children lived to adulthood and all but 2 of those had offspring. Two of his sisters converted to Roman Catholicism, I believe as a condition of employment by a local landowner.
The page states that George married Ellen James in 1844. This is incorrect. They married on 10 December 1837 in Kingsley Parish Church but she died in February 1839 (buried 10 Feb 1839). There was no issue and she may well have died in childbirth. That, I believe, was the year he became a full time preacher and his wife’s demise may have been the trigger.
He married again in 1844, his second wife’s name also being Ellen, although her maiden name is, at the time of writing, unknown because there was, apparently, no civil registration of the marriage. From census returns we know that she was born on Faddeley in Cheshire and it is likely that the wedding took place there.
As the page states, there were 8 children of the marriage:
- Jane Dodd (1846-1889) married firstly Robert Phillips and had a son and secondly, William Fleckney and had 4 more children;
- George Ralph Dodd (1848-1895) married Fanny Collinson and had a son. George junior himself became a Methodist minister;
- John Friskin (1853-1935) married Emily Rimer and had 2 children;
- Francis (1855-1907) married Louisa Rimer and had 4 children;
- Augustin (1860-1925) married Alice Sarah Alexander and had 2 children;
- Louisa Ellen(1862-1938) married Thomas Newton Allen and had a daughter but separated from him in the 1890s and kept a newsagent and stationers in Dunstable;
- Albert Fowell (1865-1940) married Eliza Jane Clark and had no children;
- Ann Wells (1868-1952) married Albert Dimmock Sinfield and had a son.