Wednesday, November 16, 2016

William Littleboy b 1803

The start of a Waterman and Lighterman dynasty.

When William Littleboy was born on 6th May, 1803 in Iver, Buckinghamshire, England, the Napoleonic wars between France and England had just started.  Napoleon was planning to invade England, so England ended an uneasy truce created by the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France in May 1803.  King George lll from the house of Hanover was on the thrown, and Mathew Flinders completed the first circumnavigation of Australia.

The son of John Littleboy, an agricultural labourer, and Ann Fenn, we know little of his early life, the family appears to have been living just outside of London in Hillingdon.  William's parents were married the year he was born at St John the Baptist Church, Hillingdon.  Hillingdon is just 3kms from Iver.

St John the Baptist Church, Circa 1818.

William married ANN FRANCIS on 13th November, 1826.  Ann was born in Ealing, Middlesex, England (born about 1807 - 1811) and her parents were Stephen Wyer Francis and Sarah Ford, who were married at St Luke Church, Chelsea.

William and Ann's marriage Banns, London, 1826.  Note that neither of them could read and write, so their signature is a mark (X).

So, almost nothing is known about the family until the 1841 England Census, which was the first English Census to intentionally record names of all individuals in a household or institution. 

Littleboy Family, 1841 Census

The census for 1841 was taken, and mostly written in pencil, in addition many of the census takers made marks on the census and abbreviated names,  that can make it difficult to read digital copies.  Here is a transcription:

Parish of Ealing, page 22, 
Smith Hill (Hall?), Old Brentford.
Wm Litteby, aged 35,  Middlesex, Waterman
Ann Littleby, aged 30,   Middlesex,
Hy Littleby, aged 14, Middlesex,
Wm Littleby aged 13,  Middlesex,
RC Littleby, aged 6,  Middlesex
Elza Littleby, aged 3, Middlesex,
Martha Litteby, aged 1,  Middlesex,

So from this information, we can work out the ages and names of some of their children, and note that William had become a Waterman.  Old Brentford was on the River Thames, across from Kew, and so William most likely ferried people across the river.  He appears to be the first Waterman in the family.   (Note, in this census there is 5 years difference in age between William and Ann)

By the 1851 Census, the family had three more children, but their son William was not listed.  His whereabouts are unknown, he would have been aged 23 years by then.  Henry Littleboy is listed as a waterman, so was following in his father's footsteps.

I have been unable to find the family in the 1861 Census, but they appear in the 1871 census.  By this time, only William and Ann are living together in Brentford, and William is still listed as a waterman.

Just three years later, William died on 30th March 1874, and he is buried at Saint Leonard Church, Heston, Middlesex, England.

The churchyard of Saint Leonard Church, where William is buried.

It appears that Ann was left alone, and by the 1881 census was living in the Tolson Alms House, Isleworth, Middlesex. 
"Tolson’s Almshouses were founded in 1756 as the gift of Mrs Ann Tolson to house six elderly widows or elderly spinsters and six elderly bachelors. By 1860 the almshouses had become decrepit and new buildings were erected on an adjacent site given by John Farnell and entered through an elaborate archway with the men and women housed on opposite sides of the courtyard. In 1959 these buildings were sold and replaced by Tolson House and Lodge which were built in 1967."

Ann is described as an annuitant - that term could describe someone on an allowance or someone with an annual income for investment, in this case it was probably used for an institutionalised pensioner.  This brings up the question of where Ann and William's children were - and why were they not looking after their mother?  I do not know where Ann is buried.

More Information? If you are researching
William Littleboy and Ann Francis
 and would like the sources for this story, 
please contact me or comment below.  I would be happy to collaborate with you.

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