I’ve written about my 3x great grandfather in my post about the brickwall that I have regarding his wife, Esther Turner. For the sake of completeness, however, I’ll summarise what I think I know about him here. I’m uncertain about some of the research as the facts don’t tie together neatly, but I’ll set it out here and hope that someone reading this may be able to help!
John was born in 1829, the son of William Millington Mason and Mary Ann, nee Dorsett. He was baptised at St Paul’s , Hammersmith on 2nd December 1829. In 1841 he was living with his parents, his brother James and his sister Jemima at 4 Webbs Lane, Hammersmith. I haven’t found him in 1851 although there is a possible record for him which shows a John Mason, aged 22, living on his own at “Oxford Lodge” Hammersmith. His occupation is given as a house porter.
My next sighting of him is in 1853, but even here I’m not totally sure I’ve found the right man. On August 31st 1853, at St Dunstan’s West, John Mason, a gentleman of Fleet Street, son of William Millington Mason (deceased) married Esther Turner, daughter of Thomas Turner, a farmer. Two things suggest that this may be the correct couple: the distinctive middle name “Millington” and Esther’s surname. I was always told that the family had a connection to the painter JMW Turner – I haven’t found any evidence to support that yet!
Things now get even more confusing as Esther appears to use the name Elizabeth in addition to, or as well as, the name Esther.
On July 31st 1854, a son, John Thomas Mason was born to John and Elizabeth Mason, (formerly Turner), who were living at 6 Pleasant Place, Hammersmith. John’s occupation is given as “coachman” which vaguely fits with a family tale of him being a coachman in a well-to-do household, and running away with the daughter of the house! Needless to say, this story doesn’t seem to be based on fact either!
John and Esther Elizabeth’s next child was a daughter, Mary Emma Turner Mason, who was born on April 6th 1856 and baptised at St Stephen’s Hammersmith on 29th June 1856. The family was living at Acton Vale ,and John’s occupation is still “coachman”.
On 12th August 1857, another son was born at 3 Edwards Street, Marylebone. James Edward Mason was baptised at St Thomas, Portman Square on 3rd April 1859. John is now a “gentleman” (was this a euphemism for “unemployed”?) Just to add to the confusion, Esther is recorded as “Hester”.
A fourth child, George William Millington Mason, was born in March 1859 and baptised on the same day as James Edward. Sadly, George died in the September quarter of 1859. I need to send for his death certificate to find out what happened to him.
I haven’t found John and Esther in 1861 although the children are at 3 Edward Street. In 1871, the family is at 82 Wigmore Street, Marylebone, living with Mary Cross, a 58 year old widow , a silversmith. John’s relationship to Mary is given as “brother” but I think that the connection is more likely to be through Esther. By this time, John had become a manager in Mary’s silversmith business. I need to research this connection thoroughly; I have some preliminary notes but need to tie everything together.
John died on 5th May 1873 aged 43. His occupation is given as “jeweller” and he died of “fatty degeneration of the heart”. An inquest was held on 8th May 1873, but I haven’t yet located any records or newspaper reports.
John and Esther’s son, John Thomas Mason, was my 2 x great grandfather. I’ll write about him in another post.