Not my Benjamin Ellison of Birkenshaw/Burnsall, Yorkshire

There are several Benjamin Ellison’s from the same ancient parish of Birstall in Yorkshire all born between 1781 and 1786. On Ancestry.com these men are being rolled into one man.

I myself made the mistake of thinking Frances Rebecca Ellison born 1814 and baptized at St Peter’s in Birstall was the daughter of my Benjamin Ellison but what made me realize the error was that my Benjamin Ellison was a currier, and never a woolstapler. Frances Rebecca’s father Benjamin was a woolstapler. I began trying to figure out who was this other Benjamin and Mary Ellison in Birstall, Yorkshire.

Benjamin Ellison (not my Benjamin!) was born in March 1784 in Cleckheaton (of the Birstall Parish) to John Ellison and Hannah Wilkinson. He had a sister named Sally born 1785 in Cleckheaton and also a brother named Edward born 1788. Sally married Richard Dixson and these two were the signed witnesses to Benjamin’s marriage to Mary Beaumont at St Martin in the Fields, Middlesex, England on 28 DEC 1809. This is why it is important to read the original documents yourself; they often give clues.

Mary Beaumont was the (well-off) daughter of Benjamin and Rebecca Beaumont. She and Benjamin had three children: Francis Beaumont Ellison (1810-1898), Frances Rebecca Ellison (1814-1889 and never married), and George Ellison (1819-1896). All of whom were well-off because of their mother’s estate.

Then Benjamin did a bad bad thing. He left Mary and his family in about 1843 and went to Penzance, Cornwall, England and was living with Mrs. Elizabeth Ruth Seamon. And in 1845, he murdered Mrs. Seamon. He was executed for this crime on 11 AUG 1845 in Cornwall and you can read the entire story here:

http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~wbritonad/genealogy/cornwall/1845/misc/aug.html

In the story, his son George is mentioned and it is stated he was from Birkenshaw. Birkenshaw is essentially the same area as Cleckheaton.

I have a couple more Benjamin Ellison’s to try and figure out as I am not certain of the parents of MY Benjamin Ellison who married Mary Maria Ambler in Baildon, Yorkshire and died in Burnsall in 1832. Benjamin and Mary Maria had my Walker Ellison, whose grave I just visited in Baildon. He named his son Benjamin Walker Ellison, following the naming tradition.

I am using the British naming tradition as a clue and so far, Benjamin and Mary Maria did follow this tradition, which means that Benjamin’s father was William Ellison. Unless William was not their firstborn son. They named their firstborn daughter after the maternal grandmother: Hannah Maria Margaret Ellison. And their second son, if William was the first, after the maternal grandfather John Ambler. More research to be done.

benj_ellison

BENJAMIN ELLISON The above portrait of Benjamin Ellison, the murderer of Mrs. Seaman, of Penzance, is considered to be a good likeness, especially the upper part of the face and head; it was taken in the County Hall, Bodmin, while the unhappy criminal was receiving sentence of death for his awful crime. Ellison was a tall man, nearly six feet high, yet rather slightly formed. His aged was 61, and he was a native of Birkenshaw near Leeds, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He had received a superior education, and had moved in a respectable station in life, having been connected with the manufacturing interest of his native county. We understand that his wife and family are still living, to deplore his untimely and disgraceful end. About two years since, he left his wife and home, in consequence of disagreements about pecuniary matters, and had not been heard of by her or his relatives until after his committal for the murder. The wretched culprit suffered for his crime on Monday last, and a full and authentic account of the execution is given in our fourth page. [The description of his death has been omitted; however, the confession is printed in full. He acknowledged in a letter that Elizabeth Bramble, whose testimony he adamantly denied at the trial, did substantially tell the truth. Ellison’s two sons visited him, but his wife did not – nor did any other relative. Evidently, he had no money of his own, so the will he signed bequeathing property to Mrs. Seaman was “purely a fabrication”; his wife was “possessed of considerable property”. jm]

 

 

 

Walker Ellison’s Grave in Baildon, Yorkshire UPDATE

Walker Ellison was buried in the churchyard at St. John’s Parish Church in Baildon, Yorkshire on April 2, 1841.

ParishRecordsWalker'sBurial

His gravestone is a table top tomb and it is located near the church:  “From the church porch, a path ( made out of headstones) leads to a gap in a hedge. If you go through this gap you enter a small section of the  graveyard . To the left  of the entrance is a              row of table tombs- ie horizontal headstones  supported by stone on the two short sides. The gravestone is about the third such stone from the entrance.” Michael Lawson.

Mike Lawson is a volunteer at St. John’s and he and his colleagues have cleared away this area of the churchyard where Walker is buried. He generously met us at the church and showed us around. Thank you, Mike.

Mike also provided me with the inscription on Walker’s gravestone. It was nearly impossible to take a photo to make the inscription legible.

‘Sacred to the memory of Walker Ellison of Baildon died March 31st 1841 in the 23rd year of  his age. Also of Jeremiah Thomas , brother of the above November 24th 1844 aged 19 years. Both the sons of the late Mr Benjamin Ellison of Burnsall, formerly of Birkenshaw. Also of Peter, infant son of William and Elizabeth Ellison who died September 9th,1850.’

Note that Walker’s brother Jeremiah Thomas Ellison is buried with him. And also his nephew, son of William Ellison.

 

Walker Ellison Grave

St John Churchyard 4St John Churchyard 5

St John Churchyard 3

St John Churchyard 6
The legs of Walker’s table tombstone.
St John Churchyard 7
This is the view of the church from Walker’s grave.
St John Churchyard 8
The churchyard closest to the church. Note that tombstones were lain flat to create a walking path, in the 1970s.

Much of the churchyard is overgrown and largely inaccessible. Mike had access to a pamphlet of all the inscriptions in the graveyard as it is impossible to find someone in certain sections. I did have him check for Margaret Ellison’s parents, Francis and Sarah Cooper, who are also buried here but they do not have a stone marker. Mike explained that whomever buried Walker spent a great deal of money doing so, including the cost of bringing his body to Baildon from Easingwold, where he died. About 35 miles away. Many people, like Francis and Sarah Cooper, simply did not have the money to purchase a stone marker.

St John Churchyard 1St John Churchyard 2St John Churchyard 9St John Churchyard 10

I am fairly certain I am the first descendant of Walker’s to visit his grave since his widow and two children left for America in 1848. My great-grandmother tried to find it in the 70s when she visited England and thought he’d been buried in Easingwold.  Walker was only 23 when he died.

Descendancy:

Walker Ellison ~ Benjamin Walker Ellison~ William Arthur Ellison ~ Harold Delmont Ellison ~ James Arthur Ellison ~ my mother ~ myself