Saturday, June 25, 2011

The descendants of Sir John Campbell, KCTS

This is part of my ongoing exploration of Charles Street, mainly in the 1871 census, though as it happens Sir John died in 1863.

I became curious about Sir John's wealth (or lack of it) and where it went after his death. One avenue I explored was the obvious one: his descendants.

Sir John's Portuguese wife and young son died when the boy was young, leaving only a daughter, Elizabeth Campbell (1818 - 1883). During Elizabeth's childhood, Sir John was away fighting on what ended up being the losing side of a revolution in Portugal. He then spent some more time there as a prisoner of war, while the British government washed their hands of him.

My suspicion is that Elizabeth may have been raised during his absence by one of Sir John's two sisters, Elizabeth. (His other sister, Marianna, died in 1810.) The two sisters had married two brothers from a very good family. Elizabeth married Reverend George Walton Onslow (1768 - 1844) and had at least 11 children.

One clue to the connection between this Elizabeth and Sir John that helped me find her and then figure out she was his sister, was that one of the children's name was Pitcairn Onslow. Sir John's mother was Annie Pitcairn and the name is a handy finding aid, especially when wallowing in a soup of Campbells.

Marianna Campbell married Reverend Arthur Onslow (1773 - 1851), and had at least three children. One, William Campbell Onslow, has the name of his grandfather (William Campbell) embedded in his own name.

In 1844, at the age of 26, Elizabeth (Sir John's daughter) married Edmond Sexten Pery Calvert (1797 - 1866), who would have been 46 or 47 by then. As far as I know, she was his first wife. The Calvert family has a lot of interesting connections, but I will try my hardest not to tell you about each and every one.

The Family Life of Elizabeth and Edmond Sexten Pery Calvert

It is hard for me to prove this next bit with absolute certainty, but my interpretation of the evidence suggests that E&E's first child was actually not one child, but twins. Felix Calvert was born in the spring of 1845 and died very soon thereafter. It looks like Felix had a twin sister, Frances Elise Calvert, who also died very soon after birth.

The next year, a daughter was born and survived. Her name was Frances Elizabeth Calvert, born on August 9, 1846. Her birth was noted in the magazine The Patrician.

A little brother, also called Felix, arrived on September 12, 1847. One source of confusion in researching family history is that names were recycled within the same generation, as this branch of the Calvert family demonstrates. In fact, from one generation to the next, the name "Felix" is very common in the Calverts and also in their relatives, the Ladbrokes.

The last child of Elizabeth Campbell Calvert of whom I'm aware of was Walter, born on September 4, 1849 at Charles Street. I would be on solid ground in suggesting this event happened at the home of Sir John Campbell and his second wife, Harriet Maria (nee Norie), at 51 Charles Street.

Frances Elise died before she was 10 years old, in the spring of 1856.

Her two brothers, however, did live quite long lives. Their father, Edmond Sexten Pery Calvert, died in 1866 at 68. Felix was 19, Walter 17 and their mother, Elizabeth 48 when that happened. She did not remarry.

For much of her life, Elizabeth lived with her son Felix. She died at 65 in late December of 1883. Felix lived on, farming the Calvert estate at Furneux Pelham in Hertfordshire until his death, unmarried, at age 62. He was a Justice of the Peace.

The youngest, Walter Campbell Calvert, went into the military and reached the rank of Captain in the 5th Dragoon Guards. He died in 1932, having had the longest life of them all, at 82. He too appears to have been unmarried and as far as I know, left no children.

And thus the line of Sir John Campbell, KCTS, expired. There are many collateral descendants – nephews, nieces, cousins, and so on – but no one who traces back to Sir John directly.

What happened to the family fortune?

The question to ask before that one is, "Was there a family fortune?" I have looked into this and the answers were surprising. That's for another day, though.

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