1 Elsoms of Boston
The Elsoms of Boston known to the writer of these jottings are of three generations. Of the first generation are John and Isaac, born in the latter part of the 18th century.
John Elsom - grandfather of the writer was born on the 11th February - possibly in 1792, but more probably in 1793. He was probably a native of Boston, for he was a "free man" of the Borough, which "freedom" carried certain political privileges. He served an apprenticeship to the cabinet making business, and was a proficient workman. his father started him in business as a cabinet maker in a good position in Boston, but he did not retain that position very log, and had to retire to one of the back streets of the town. He belonged to a troop of yeomanry and his soldiering - together with his fondness for lively company, and want of sobriety, prevented his prosperity. He married and had two sons born to him, and there may have been other children. His wife died early. When past work he was maintained by his two sons. He died early in the year - probably 1861, a few days before completing his 68th year.
The above John Elsom had a brother named Isaac, probably about two years his junior. How he spent his boyhood and youth the writer cannot say; but he married a Boston woman, and afterwards removed to Liverpool, where, for some years he was proprietor of a refreshment house. They had one child, a daughter, who married a Mr. W. Derham, wool and cotton broker. Mr. & Mrs. Derham had two children - Kate and Florence. About 1860 - possibly a little before that year, but certainly not much later, the whole family - seven persons in all - removed to London and took up residence in Tottenham, Mr. & Mrs. Elsom at Florence Villa, Phillip Lane, and Mr Derham and family at Stoneleigh, Tottenham Green - not far from Tottenham High Cross. A photograph of Stoneleigh is now in the possession of the writer. The house is now unrecognisable (the neighbourhood having seriously deteriorated) & made into a steam Laundry or factory of some kind. Mr. Derham went daily by bus to and from London, doing business at his office in Swan Lane, Moorgate St. He also dabbled in farming, at Hazlewood Farm, Palmers Green, on the New River, and also at New Park, where he lost a good deal of the money which he made in business. Mr. Elsom (my father's uncle Isaac) died at Tottenham aged 68 years. Portraits of him and his wife with their little girl (afterwards Mrs Derham) in the arms of her father, are now in the possession of the writer of these jottings. At a later date, Mrs. Derham died and some time after, Mr. Derham with his two daughters and his wife's mother removed to the neighbourhood of Surbiton, where he and the old lady died. Kate Derham became the wife of a Mr. Marin, who was in the London tea trade, but what became of Florence the writer cannot say.
It is probably that John and Isaac Elsom who have been referred to had a brother whose name was George. The writer has heard his father say that the Elsoms for several generations included a George, and an Isaac and a John. Moreover, the writer remembers a George Elsom, who was a nephew of the above John and Isaac and a cousin of the writer's father. It is highly probable, therefore, that John and Isaac had a brother - possibly an elder brother whose name was George, though I do not know this for a fact. Probably also they had a sister, as the writer has frequently heard his father refer to Aunt Gibson. She lived, I think, at Kirton Skeldyke.
The George Elsom just referred to - nephew of John and Isaac - lived for a time at Donnington, where he occupied a small farm. I remember visiting the farm with my father and mother. This George Elsom had a rather large family, including several growing boys, and there not seeming to be room enough for their development in this country, the whole family emigrated to Canada or the United States. This was about 1860 - possibly a little earlier. The writer's father had a few letters from his cousin, reporting a measure of prosperity, but nothing has been heard of them for many years.
Another nephew of John and Isaac Elsom was Zephaniah Elsom of Helpringham Fen. The writer saw him once, but this was upwards of fifty years ago.
The Elsoms of Boston of the second generation of whom the writer has any definite knowledge were John and Isaac, sons of John Elsom the cabinet maker. John, the elder, was born probably in the year 1820. He was of feeble physique - short, spare and short sighted. He did not receive much education, but he could write a passable letter and had some knowledge of arithmetic and book keeping. He was for some time in the ropewalk of Mr. John Norton, Ropemaker, Boston, who was in business near Bargate Bridge, but he never became very proficient as a workman and was better employed serving customers, keeping the books and doing odd jobs in the shop. He married (I believe) niece of his employer, and eventually conducted successfully a small grocery business next door. He was a member of Boston Wesleyan Church, and a teacher in the Sunday School. While a youth he signed the temperance (teetotal) pledge, and was one of the first to advocate teetotalism in the Market place in Boston. He died about 1864 or 1865, aged only 44 or 45 years. His widow
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and one child - a daughter - removed to a nice house on the Skirbeck side of Maud Foster Drain.
Isaac, the second son of John Elsom the cabinet maker, was born November 29, 1822. Owing to the poverty of his circumstances for which his father was chiefly to blame, he had even less schooling than his brother, and at eight years of age had to go to work to earn something towards providing food for himself and the family. For one year he worked in a rope walk for a shilling a week. Then he learned of another rope maker in the town who wanted a boy & offered him half a crown a week! After this situation he went and secured it. his new master was Mr John Norton, already referred to, and with him he continued as boy, apprentice, and man, until the Spring of 1845, when he removed to Spalding, where he remained until his death on December 10, 1910, aged 88.
The only Elsom of Boston of the third generation of which the writer has certain knowledge - and that only limited - is Martha Elsom, daughter and only child of John Elsom, Grocer. After the death of her father she continued to reside for some time with her mother, near the Maud Foster - better known as the Bargate - Drain. Eventually she married, but to whom, the writer cannot say - and as the marriage was an unhappy one, followed by a separation, he does not care to enquire.
There is today an Elsom who is landlord of a beer house in Boston, but whether related to those already mentioned, the writer cannot say. Possibly he is one of the Elsoms of Helpringham Fen.