This week’s #52 Ancestors theme is So many Descendants and I decided to look at the family Robert Carey Harmer and his wife Mary Jenner.
Robert Carey Harmer was my Great x4 Grandfather born to Samuel and Phoebe Harmer and baptised on 11 October 1814 in Ashburnham, Sussex. Mary Jenner was baptised on 4 April 1819 in Battle to Samuel and Philadelphia. Robert and Mary were married on 17 September 1838 at Battle, Robert signed the register and Mary left her mark. He was 23 years old and a labourer and she was 19.
Robert was living in Ponts Green, a tiny hamlet not far from Ashburnham by the time of the 1841 census. He was a labourer, presumably a farm labourer and they had two children, my Great x3 Grandmother Ellen Augusta who was 2 years old and Frederick who was 1.
In September 1840 the tithe apportionments were written down for Ashburnham and Robert rented a cottage and garden at number 368, in the centre of the hamlet of Ponts Green and also rented an allotment number 163 just up the lane. Other of those allotments were also rented by Harmers, a William and a Charles and they were possibly his brothers. They rented the properties from the Earl of Ashburnham.
Ellen was the first of 12 children, she was born in 1839 and baptised at Ashburnham on 8 September 1839. I touched on Ellen’s story back in March, in my blog Light a Candle. Her husband was John Fuller and two of their sons worked down the Gypsum mines in Mountfield, Sussex. Ellen was swiftly followed by George Frederick who was born in 1841 and baptised on 22 March 1841 in Ashburnham. He married Mary Elizabeth Saunders in 1871, again in Ashburnham and died in Hastings in 1886.
Robert Samuel followed in 1843 and in 1863 married Caroline Holland, in Netherfield, Sussex. In 1844 Mary Jane was born and again baptised in Ashburnham on 1 December 1844, she married John Alfred Crouch in 1865 in Ashburnham. Reuben Esau was born in 1846, baptised on 24 May 1846 in Ashburnham and married Hannah Catt on 20 August 1877 in Ashburnham. He died in 1932 in Newhaven, Sussex.
Sarah Ann was born on 1 July 1848, baptised on 13 August 1848 in Ashburnham and married George Foord in 1868 in Netherfield, Sussex. She died in 1902 in Bexhill. Her sister, Harriet Elizabeth was born in 1850 and baptised on 11 August 1850 in Ashburnham. She married Trayton Christmas of Herstmonceux on 27 May 1871 in Ashburnham.
The next census was taken in 1851 and the family were still in Ponts Green, unfortunately in such a small place the Enumerator did not write names of houses or roads but I am presuming they are in the same cottage. Robert’s mother Phoebe is a widow and is living with the family, She was an Ag Lab, same as Robert. Children with them were Allen (Ellen) George, Robert, Mary, Rubin, Sarah and Harriot. They had not lost any children to childhood illnesses. I have a sneaking suspicion that is unusual and maybe it was because they lived in the countryside or maybe they were just lucky.
The following year in 1852 Rosina was born, she was baptised in Ashburnham on 22 August 1852 and she married William Akehurst in 1869 at Herstmonceux, Sussex. He was from Hellingly, Sussex. Next came Charles William born 1855 and baptised again in Ashburnham on 8 April 1855. He married Martha Morris in 1876 in Ashburnham and died in Cuckfield, Sussex in 1935. Agnes Louisa was born in 1857 in Ashburnham, baptised on 25 October 1857 in Ashburnham and married George Levi Ford from Wartling on 12 October 1878 in Ashburnham. The last son was born in 1859, Arthur James and he was baptised in Ashburnham on 25 October 1859 and he married Charlotte Jane Hills in Ashburnham on 25 August 1883 and died in Winchester, Hampshire in 1940.
The 1861 census shows that Robert was an Ag Lab, his mother had died in the intervening 10 years and both Ellen and George had moved from the family home as had Mary Jane. Reuben and Robert, 15 and 12 were both Ag Labs as well and probably working with their father. Again they were in Ponts Green.
There was just one more child to come, Philadelphia born in 1863 and baptised on 10 July 1863 at Ashburnham. Unfortunately she was buried on 12 July 1863, 2 days later. There were no more children born to Robert and Mary.
At the time of the 1871 census all the boys who were unmarried and still at home with their father were Ag Labs, again in Ponts Green. The 1881 census tells the same story. Charles William by this time with his wife, Martha were living at Ashburnham in a cottage at the Parsonage. He was described as a gardener.
Robert died in 1887 and was buried on 26 October 1887 at Penhurst, another closeby village. He left Mary, a widow who by the time of the 1891 census was living in the Alms Houses in Ashburnham. She had a granddaughter living with her, Ann Ford who was 17 and must have been a great help to her widowed grandmother.
Mary died in 1896 and was also buried at Penhurst along with her husband, I’ve not found a grave there.
I have a feeling that it is unusual to find a family with so many children where all but one made it to adulthood and mostly died in old age. My next task is to find any descendants of them through my DNA matches and see how far they moved from Sussex if at all.