Harriet CoxHarriet’s origins remained a mystery for quite a while. I only found out her maiden name when I acquired the birth certificate for her daughter Eliza, as most of her children were born before 1837. The spidery writing revealed her name to be Harriet Cox and this in turn confirmed her marriage to Edmund Greenway on the 15th April 1827 in St Andrew’s in Chichester. As Harriet died in South Bersted on the 28th October 1861 she appears in three censuses: 1841 says that she was born in Sussex; 1851 gives her place of birth as Poole in Dorset, while 1861 places it in South Bersted. As Poole seemed a quite random choice that seemed the most likely place to pursue.Sometimes it helps to think around a problem and eventually I came across the actual images of the Chichester parish registers on FamilySearch and found that the witnesses to Harriet and Edmund’s wedding were Shadrach and Ann Nash: Shadrach Nash had married Ann Foot at St Peter the Great in Chichester in 1817. More than that the marriage in the St Andrew’s register immediately preceding Harriet’s - three days before - was for a Leah Cox and Robert Morgan. Hoping for a connection I began a search on these more unusual names, and did end up in Dorset, but a few miles inland from Poole at Sturminster Marshall.Ann Foot, it became clear, was Harriet’s half-sister, being the illegitimate daughter of Harriet’s mother, also Ann Foot, born in 1791 in Sturminster Marshall in Dorset, before her mother married Obadiah Cox. Obadiah and Ann had five further children, and Harriet was baptised as Henrietta (the feminine version of the Henry/Harry switch) on the 28th September 1800 in Sturminster Marshall, where her father worked as a tailor, at the same time as her twin sister Leah. So the three sisters - Ann Foot, Henrietta/Harriet and Leah - had all moved to Chichester from Dorset probably before 1817, and I suspect their mother had too, for an Ann Cox, aged 57, was buried at St Peter the Great in the city on the 19th of October 1828. Further digging revealed the fact that Ann’s daughter Charlotte, born in 1793 in Sturminster Marshall, also came to Chichester; she married John Boniface in South Bersted on the 24th August 1829, and he came from a family of Bognor fishermen with a sideline in smuggling and sheep stealing. While Charlotte’s age of 36 seems advanced for a first marriage, as she waited until after her mother’s death, it suggests that she had spent the previous years as her mother’s companion. Charlotte and John had four children before 1841: William in 1830, Leah in 1832, Frederick in 1833 and Harriet in 1836: the girls’ names helpfully reflecting Charlotte’s younger sisters. William and Frederick went to sea as fishermen, and by 1861 the family had moved to Littlehampton, where Charlotte died in 1872.In 1824 Harriet had an illegitimate daughter who was baptised as Ann Cox in St Peter the Great on the 3rd December. This Ann Cox is living with the apparently childless Shadrach and Ann Nash in 1841, and married James Ikin in South Bersted in 1847. He was a master baker, and later worked as a grocer, and they ended up in Alverstoke in Hampshire, which is also where Harriet’s son Arthur and his family settled once he’d retired from his coastguard duties in Ireland; Arthur’s 13 year old son Frank is living with the Ikins as an Errand Boy at the time of the 1881 census. Edmund Greenway and Harriet settled in South Bersted where their first son George was baptised in 1827. Frank followed in 1829, Ellen in 1831, Frederick in 1832, Rebecca in 1834, Arthur in 1836, Eliza in 1837, Charlotte in 1840, Alice in 1842 and William in 1844. Their sons George, Frank, Frederick and Arthur all went to sea. The first three as merchant seamen, while Arthur was a Coast Guard based at Tralee in County Kerry, where he married Catherine Donovan and had ten children; by 1881 he was back in England and working as a nurse at the Royal Navy Haslar Hospital. All Edmund and Harriet’s daughterswent to London to work in service, with three of them - Rebecca, Ellen and Charlotte - marrying in Hammersmith in the 1850s. Eliza and Alice both married in Pimlico in 1861 and 1862 respectively. Harriet died in 1861 and surprisingly for the wife of a Labourer her death is announced in the local paper: "On the 28th ult. at Bognor, the wife of Mr Edmund Greenway, after a long and very severe suffering, aged 62." Sussex Agricultural Express, 2nd November 1861. Edmund must have wanted his and Harriet’s extended family around Sussex to hear the news. The death certificate, recording her five-year struggle with breast cancer, strangely describes her as the widow of Edmund Greenway; the informant is Ellen Gumbrell, a neighbour in the 1861 census.
Murray families: the Cox family from DorsetHarriet Cox