Some lives are easy, some are much harder, some are unbearable, riddled with heartbreak and sadness. Sadness only a mother and father can feel or understand.
Death though inevitable, is cruel beyond any of our wildest dreams. It hunts us down with all its fury, leaving only rivers of tears behind.
My Great, Great-Grandparents had a life so incredibly hard, I really don’t know how they got through it, their strength is humbling.
Grab a tissue, and a cupa and let me tell you all about the life of Fanny Pearce.
Fanny Pearce, my Great, Great- Grandmother was born on the 8th August 1867 at, West Wellow, Hampshire, England, to William Pearce and Mary Ann Pearce nee Pointer.
Her father William was working as a, Shoemaker Journeyman. He registered her birth on the 14th September 1867.
Fanny was Christened on the 29th September 1867 at St. Margaret’s, East Wellow, Hampshire, England.
The Pearce family welcome a new addition to the family, between the months of January and March 1870, when Mary Ann gives birth to John Thomas Pearce, in West Wellow, Hampshire.
On the 2nd April 1871, the census is taken, which finds the Pearce family living at, Lower Green, West Wellow, Hampshire.
William was working as a Shoe Maker.
Their neighbors were, James and Harry Pearce (William’s brothers), and also, William Biddlecombe, his wife Ann and their children, Mary, Harry and Alfred.
On the 15th of May 1874, Mary Ann gives birth to, Harry Pearce, at West Wellow, Hampshire.
William was still working as a Shoe Marker.
Mary Ann registered Harry’s Birth on the 12th June 1874, She signed with an X.
I will tell you all about Harry in a few weeks time.
Fanny’s Mother, Mary Ann gave birth to William Pearce, between the months of July and September 1877, in the Romsey district.
The 1881 census was taken on the 3rd April, which shows Fanny residing at Whitenap Farm, Whitenap, Romsey, Hampshire, where she was working as a servant for William Allan.
Fanny’s sister, Esther was working along side Fanny.
|Kate C. Allan||28|
|Frideric A. Allan||10|
|Louisa E. Klitz||31|
On the 3rd April 1886, Fanny married, George Hatcher, son of Charles Hatcher and Susan Luke.
They marry at Romsey Primitive Methodist Chapel, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Fanny’s, rank or profession is listed as a Domestic and Charles is a Labourer.
Fanny was residing at West Wellow, Hampshire and Charles, at Lockerley, Hampshire.
Their witnesses were, William Pearce and Fanny’s sister, Esther Dowell nee Pearce. The name Dowell, is very interesting, as a Sarah Dowell, was the informant of Matthias Shinkfield death, you may remember him from last weeks blog post and about the mystery between the Shinkfields, Wheelers and Hatcher families. You can find out more here and here. Could there possibly be a connection between my Maternal and Paternal lines?
Fanny had been a little naughty, she had a bun in the oven when she married George. Their first born, a baby girl, Florence Fanny Hatcher, arrived on the 28th November 1886 at Newtown, Lockerley, Hampshire.
George was working as a General Labourer.
And they were residing at Newtown, Lockerley.
Florence’s birth was registered on the 15th December 1886 by Fanny.
It wasn’t long before, Fanny and George welcome a son into the world.
Caleb George Hatcher, was born on the 9th April 1888 at Newtown, Lockerley, Hampshire.
Charles was working as a Agricultural Labourer.
Fanny registered his birth on the 23rd May 1888.
Fanny and George’s life’s were turned up side down, when Caleb George Hatcher, dies on the 12th February 1889, at Lockerley, Hampshire.
Caleb George Hatcher was only 10 months old and died due to a fit of convolutions brought on by teething.
I was absolutely horrified when I received his death certificate, I had no idea teething could cause death. I still can’t get my head around it.
I thought I would have a look at the Newspaper archives to see if I could find any information, luckily I managed to find one article on Caleb’s death, so I thought I would share it with you.
Sudden death of a child – An inquest was held at Newtown, parish of Lockerley, on Thursday by Mr. B. Hatfield, county coroner, on the body of Caleb George Hatcher, angel ten months, the child of George Hatcher, an engine driver. It seemed that on Tuesday night, while the mother was giving the child the breast, his head fell on one side, he became black and blue in the face, and died in a few minutes. Mr J. J. Newman, a surgeon assisting Dr. Taylor, of Romsey, made a post-Mortimer examination, and he believed from that death was due to a convulsive fit, probably brought on by teething. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.
Caleb was buried at St. John’s, Lockerley, Hampshire, on the 17th February 1889.
I really couldn’t imagine anything worse than burying you child. The pain poor Fanny and George must have felt, is unbearable to think about.
My heart truly aches for them.
A little joy returned to the family, when Fanny gave birth to a second son, Ernest John Hatcher. Ernest was born on the 7th January 1890, at Newtown, Lockerley, Hampshire.
George was working as a Genral Labourer. He registered Ernest’s birth on the 14th February 1890.
The emotions Fanny must have been feeling, she had a beautiful new baby boy, whom I’m sure filled her heart with so much love, all the while, she would have been grieving for her son Caleb.
It absolutely heartbreaking.
The 1891 census finds Fanny, George, Florence and Ernest, residing at 2 Butlers Wood, Lockerley, Hampshire.
They have George’s mother, Susan Hatcher nee Luke and brother William Hatcher, living with them.
George was working as a Agricultural Labourer and his Brother William was living off a Parish Allowance. You can read a little about William’s story here.
Their neighbors were George Barry Moody, his wife Elizabeth Moody nee Grist, their son David Barry Moody and a boarder called Ernest Hillier, who was Elizabeth Grist’s grandson from her first marriage to Enos Hillier. Elizabeth Grist and Enos Hillier are my husbands 4th Great-parents. Ernest was the son of Walter Hillier and Caroline Abrahams.
Their other neighbors were George A Russ and his wife Georgina Russ.
On the 22nd March 1892, Fanny gave birth to her 3rd son, James Hatcher at Butler’s Wood, Newtown, Lockerley, Hampshire.
George was working as a General Labourer.
14 days later, Baby James died from Bronchitis, on the 3rd April 1892 at Butlers Wood, Lockerley, Hampshire.
George Hatcher was present at his sons death and on the 4th April 1892, he registered James’s birth and also his death. How horrific.
Hopefully Fanny, would have found a little happiness when she gave birth to my Great-Grandmother Eva Kate Hatcher, on the 14th August 1893 at Newtown, Lockerley, Hampshire.
George was once again working as a Agricultural Labourer and he registered Eva’s birth on the 21st September 1893.
Fanny then gave birth to her 4th son, Wilfred Charles Hatcher, in the April to June quarter of 1899, in the Romsey district.
I thought I had ordered his birth certificate but it looks like I haven’t, or I’ve lost it.
The 1901 census was taken on the 31st March. The Hatcher family were residing at Carters Clay, Lockerley, Hampshire.
George was working as an Engine Driver at a Flour Mill, which we believe was at Dunbridge, Hampshire, England.
Their neighbors were, William Betteridge and also, James Whitlock and his wife Kate.
On the 15th November 1905, Wilfred Charles Hatcher died, at Carters Clay, Lockerley, Hampshire.
He died from Diphtheria. He was only 7 years old.
George was still working as an engine driver at the floor mills.
Ernest John Hatcher, Wilfred’s brother, registered Wilfred’s death on the 17th November 1905.
No wonder Fanny or George didn’t/couldn’t do it. How can anyone have faced registering another one of their sons deaths?
1909 brought more heartbreak. Fanny and George lost yet another son, their only remaining son.
Ernest John Hatcher, died on the 10th January 1909 at New Cottages, Dunbridge, Hampshire, from Acute Meningitis. He was 19 years old.
George, was present at his death and registered Ernest John’s death on the 11th January 1909.
Ernest John Hatcher was buried at St. John’s, Lockerley, on the 14th January 1909.
The 1911 census was taken on the 2nd April which finds Fanny, George and Eva living at Mottisfont, Romsey, Hampshire.
The census confirms that Fanny and George have had 6 children, 4 have died and 2 are living.
They had been married 25 years.
George was still working as an Engine Driver.
I’m not sure how much more Fanny can endure, as 1913 brought more death.
Her husband George Hatcher died on the 17th March 1913 at Upper Ratley, Awbridge, Hampshire.
George was 57 years old and died from Acute Nephritis.
Nephritis is often caused by infections, and toxins, but is most commonly caused by autoimmune disorders that affect the major organs like kidneys. Now this is very interesting.
Could my autoimmune diseases be hereditary???
Elizabeth Betteridge his cousin was present at his death and also registers it, on the 18th March 1913.
George was buried at St. John’s, Lockerley, on the 22nd March 1913.
Three years later, Fanny loses her brother Harry Pearce. I’m not going to give anything away, you will have to wait to find out more about him in a few weeks time.
Death does not give poor Fanny a break as two years later, Fanny’s daughter Florence died, on the 11th December 1918 at The Hampshire County Lunatic Asylum, Fareham, Hampshire.
She leaves behind her husband William George Dowling and their four children, William, Ethel, Wilfred and Iris Dowling, aka Aunty -Aunty.
Florence died due to, Exhaustion from Mania.
The Pearce/Hatcher story just get more and more upsetting, doesn’t it. They have been through so much and it is still not over.
Fanny’s Father, William died on the 21st September 1923 at 157 Middlesbridge Street, Romsey. His cause of death was Heart Failure.
Fanny’s paper trail grows cold up until the, 1939 Register, where I find, Fanny living at 27 Portersbridge Street, Romsey, with her daughter Eva kate Hatcher, her only surviving child, Eva’s husband Frank Newell/Rudgely, their son Donald George Newell (my Grandad) and Iris Dowling, Fanny’s granddaughter.
Fanny is listed as old age pensioner on private means, Eva was an unpaid domestic, Frank was working as a builders labour, Donald was working in a butcher’s shop, and Iris was a paid domestic.
I’m so pleased to see that Fanny was being looked after, in her later years and that she was surrounded by her family especially her two grandchildren. I hope she found peace from having them around her, after loosing so many of her own children.😢
Fanny is one tough cookie. She survived all through the horrors of the Second World War. I wonder what her story was throughout this devastating period of history?
Fanny draws her last breath shortly after the war is won. She died on the 7th December 1945, at Portersbridge Street, Romsey, Hampshire, at the grand old age of 78.
She died from Senile Myocardial Degeneration.
Iris Bundy, her granddaughter, was informant of her death on the 10th December 1945.
Fanny was laid to rest at The Romsey Old Cemetery, Botley Road, Romsey, Hampshire, on the 11 December 1945, in Plot P145.
Thankfully, I will never fully understand the heartbreak Fanny and George, felt throughout their lives or how they found the strength to continue. All I know is my heart aches for them. I really am extremely Proud to be able to call them my family, and I for one will never forget the horrific life’s they endured.
May you rest in peace, Great, Great-Granny
Fanny Hatcher Nee Pearce.
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