Jacob 1789-1849

Born: 1789 at Potton, Bedfordshire baptised there 15 May 1789

Parents: William Russell 1734?-1820 and Hannah Maria Gregory 1750?-1808

Siblings: Martha Russell 1776-?, Sarah Russell 1777-?; Rebecca Russell 1779-?; Anna Maria Russell 1782-?; Martha Russell 1785-?; William Russell 1787-?; Joseph Russell 1791-? and Mary Russell 1794-?

Married: 1. Mary Richardson 1790?-1828 on 18 June 1811 at Potton, Bedfordshire

2. Susannah Wagstaff c1795-1845 on 15 August 1830 at Potton, Bedfordshire

Offspring: 1. Mary Russell 1814-?, Hannah Russell 1816-?, Ann Russell 1819-?, Jacob Russell 1821-?, Frances “Fanny”  Russell 1824-? married William Cockman 1823-?, William Russell 1826-?

2. Emma Russell 1831-?, George Wagstaff Russell 1834-1891, Louisa Russell 1837-?

Lived in: Potton; Deptford, South London; Hitchin

Died: 11 October 1849 of cholera ‘4 days’ in St Mary’s churchyard, Hitchin buried there in an unmarked grave

When William and Hannah Maria Russell moved from Shefford to Potton, both in Bedfordshire they came with one daughter Martha. So Jacob Russell was their second son and seventh child, but their sixth child to be recorded in the Potton baptismal records.

The next official record of Jacob’s life is on 18 June 1811 when he married Mary Richardson.   It was the first marriage for both of them and they were probably illiterate as they signed with ‘X’s’ on their marriage record.

They were probably very poor as they would have saved money by having their first four children Mary, Hannah, Ann and Jacob baptised on the same day, 27 April 1821.  Luckily, for our record the ages of the older children were given in the register. Six years earlier Jacob’s brother William had also had a number of his children baptised on the same day. Jacob and Mary’s remain two children seemed to have been baptised when infants in 1824 and 1826.  In all these entries Jacob is described as a fellmonger.

Jacob’s wife Mary died in 1828 aged 38 years and was buried at Potton on 9 April 1828. Later that year a 93 year old Mary Richardson, who may have been Mary’s grandmother, died and was described in the registers as “she was mother, grand- and great grand mother to 115 children”.

Jacob’s second wife Susanna Wagstaff

On 15 August 1830 Jacob married our direct ancestor widow Susanna Townsend, nee Wagstaff at Potton. Susanna signed her name while Jacob left his mark in the register. Through Susanna Wagstaff we can trace our family back to the birth, on 26 April 1723 of Thomas Wagstaff son of William and  Frances  in the nearby village of Sutton. Thomas moved to Potton when he married Susannah Foskew in 1748 and they lived there for the rest of their lives.

Jacob and Susanna had three children all baptised in Potton. Emma Russell was baptised  on 5 July 1831 and George Wagstaff Russell on 16 February 1834.  Louisa Russell, born 2 November 1836 was not baptised until 11 July 1841 and all sources show that they had 8 year old George Wagstaff Russell baptised for a second time on the same day.

The wait to baptise Louisa may have been because at the time of the 1841 census, on the night of  6 June 1841 Jacob, a fellmonger was lodging with a family in Deptford, London on the south side of the Thames near the leather centre of Bermondsey.  At the census ‘Susan’ Russell was living in Royston Street, Potton with offspring Emma, George and Louisa and two young Wagstaff children.  While searching the 1841 census records not other likely record for Jacob came to light.

Local Wills mentioning Jacob’s dwelling

  1. Thos Seamer of Potton, Carpenter in 1847 left to his bro Jas: messuages [= dwelling houses with outbuildings and land assigned to their use] at Biggleswade and in Potton now in the tenure of Jos Yourbey, Jn Yourbey, Jas Harris and Mrs Tate with appurtenances and the ‘Woolpack’ at Potton now in the occ of Mrs Lyles, Jacob Russell, Thos Duffin, Jn Head, Jos Boness and Giggle with appurtenances and…   [Bedfordshire Archives ref GK286/13.]
  2. 13 February 1836: Manor of Potton Rectoria. Admission at General Court Baron of Frederick Hogg and William Lindsell to various copyhold properties in Potton.
    Scope and Content: Recites (1) Death of Samuel Wells; (2) Will of Samuel Wells dated 16 October 1816 appointing his sons-in-law Robert Lindsell and William Hogg and Joseph Meen (who died in testator’s lifetime) executors to sell and dispose of his real estate ; (3) Bargain and sale of 6 January 1836 between (i) Robert Lindsell and William Hogg, and (ii) Frederick Hogg of Girtford, merchant and William Lindsell of Huntingdon, merchant £1869. Property (a) Inn in Potton known as the White Swan, formerly in several tenures of James Hall, the Widow Hills, and [blank], and then occupied by John Tyler; (b) Cottage in Potton adjoining the White Swan Inn, formerly occupied by Elizabeth Eaves, widow, and then by Charles Smith; (c) Three other cottages or tenements near to or adjoining the Swan Inn in the several tenures of Leeling Binson, John Cooper and Jacob Russell; (d) Messuage or dwelling house in Potton known as the Three Horseshoes, formerly in occupation of Thomas Ellis and then of Thomas Partridge; (e) Messuage, cottage or tenement in Potton known as the Chequers, which was built by John Pedley the Elder of Potton on the site of certain messuages or cottages which were burnt down by fire in the year 1783 and then in occupation of Elizabeth Mead. [Bedfordshire Archives ref Z1578/POT/2/14]

Death of Susanna and then Jacob

Susanna died on 13 March 1845 at Potton from consumption.  The informant was Susannah Townsend, Susanna’s daughter from her first marriage who had been “Present at the death”. See Susanna’s page for the death certificate.

By 1849 61 year old Jacob was living in Hitchin, probably in Dead Street in the worst area of the town.  There was an outbreak of cholera and he was probably helped to the church yard of St Mary’s where he died on 11 October 1849 and buried in an unmarked grave, no doubt with other cholera victims.  The informant, who was ‘present at the death’ was Ann Simpkins of Dead Street who signed with a mark.  Ann Simpkins born 1797 and her husband John born 1794 survived the outbreak and at the 1851 census were living in Ship Yard off Dead Street. By the 1871 census they were living in Wimbush Lane, a better part of Hitchin with Samuel and Harriet Cherry, their daughter and bricklayer’s labourer son-in-law.

Two years later at  the time of the 1851 census  Jacob and Susanna’s offspring

  • 19 year old Emma was living in Wellington Street, Riseley near Bedford with ‘relation’ confectioner William Cockman.  As William’s wife 27 year old Frances was born in Potton it can be surmised that Frances was Jacob’s daughter by his first wife Mary, so Emma and Frances were half-sisters.
  • 14 year old Louisa was living at 6 Compton Place, Islington, London who was one of two servants in the household of Joseph Pocklington, clerk to a meat salesman.
  • 19 year old [!! he was only 17 years old] GWR senior, described as a fellmonger was a ‘visitor’ in Bancroft, Hitchin with butcher George Hall and his family.

The second cholera pandemic lasted from 1829-1851. In 1832 it reached London and the United Kingdom where more than 55,000 people died. Jacob died during a two-year outbreak that began in 1848 in England and Wales and claimed 52,000 lives.

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