Jane, William and Edith, Part 3

This is the third and final post in a series about the children of John Casbon (1779–1813) and his wife Martha (Wagstaff; 1775–1855). Today I’ll focus on Edith, the third child. Edith was born October 9, 1808, and baptized one month later in the tiny village of Whaddon, Cambridgeshire.[1] Whaddon is about 1.5 miles west of Meldreth.

Edith bp Whaddon 1808
Detail from Whaddon parish register, 1808: “Edith Daughter of John Casbourne and Martha his
wife late Mart Wagstaff baptized privately Novr 9th born Octr 9th.” (Click on image to enlarge)

It’s interesting to me that neither Jane, William nor Edith were born or baptized in Meldreth proper. There is no clue in the records as to what their father John was doing in Royston or Whaddon. By the time of his death in 1813, they were living in Meldreth.[2]

I know more about the man Edith married than I do about Edith herself. His name was Nehemiah Sell, of nearby Bassingbourn, and they were married in 1829.[3]

Nehemiah Sell Edith Casbon marriage 1829
Marriage record of Nehemiah Sell & Edith Casbourn, February 13, 1829, from Meldreth parish register.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Both Nehemiah and Edith signed with their marks, as did the two witnesses, one of whom was her brother William.

Nehemiah was a man who managed to get into the local news, and not in a good way. This article appeared in the September 12, 1835 Huntingdon, Bedford, & Peterborough Gazette.[4]

Huntingdon Bedford PBoro Gazette 12Sep1835 N Sell arson
(Click on image to enlarge)

The Grand Jury returned a verdict of “No Bill,” meaning there was insufficient evidence for a conviction.[5] However, Nehemiah didn’t stay out of trouble for long. He was suspected of being an accomplice in the theft of a sheep in 1837.[6] In 1839 he was convicted to 3 months hard labor for stealing wheat.[7]

Meanwhile, Edith and Nehemiah had a growing family. By 1840 they had five children: Martha, Eliza, Ann Edith, John, and Mary Ann.[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] The 1841 census shows Edith and the surviving four children.[13] Where was Nehemiah? Another son, Nehemiah William, was born in 1843.[14]

Edith 1841 census Melbourne]
Detail from 1841 census, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, England.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Then, in 1845, Nehemiah was caught in the act of committing a vicious crime, as reported in the April 12, 1845 Ipswich Journal.[15]

N Sell attempted murder 1845
(Click on image to enlarge)

He was tried and convicted of assault with intent to murder, and sentenced to be transported for 15 years.[16]

Ipswich Journal 2Aug1845 N Sell trial conviction
Details of Nehemiah Sell’s trial and conviction,
from The Ipswich Journal. (Click on image to enlarge)

He was initially transported to Norfolk Island, a penal colony almost 900 miles east of the Australian mainland (and home of the Norfolk Pine!), and later moved to Tasmania, a large island south of Australia, then known as Van Diemand’s Land. [17],[18], He was eventually granted a conditional pardon, and married a woman named Ann Ferguson in 1854.[19],[20] Nehemiah stated truthfully (whether he realized it or not) to local officials that he was a widower when he married Ann. I don’t think he ever returned to England.

What happened to Edith after Nehemiah was convicted and sent away? Life could only have been difficult for a poor single mother with a large family. The 1851 census shows that she was listed as a “widow,” living on Dolphin Lane in Melbourn and working as a “hawker of fruit.”

Edith 1851 census Melbourne
Detail from 1851 census, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire. (Click on image to enlarge)

The work probably brought in a little income, but I doubt that it was enough to support her large family. Maybe she got some help from her two siblings and her adult children.

The observant reader might have noticed something else in the 1851 census. Two of the children, Charles (“Chas”) and George, were born after Nehemiah’s transportation to Norfolk Island. Their baptisms were recorded along with those of Mary Ann and Nehemiah William in 1854. [21]

4 baptisms 1854
Detail from Melbourn parish register, showing baptisms of Mary Ann (age 13), Nehemiah
William (age 11), Charles (age 7), and George (age 4) in 1854. (Click on image to enlarge)

Nehemiah is listed as the father of Mary Ann and Nehemiah William in the baptismal register, while no father is listed for Chas or George.

The timing of this baptism is interesting as well. The four children were baptized together on February 21, 1854. This was the day after their mother Edith’s burial at Melbourn.[22] She was 46 years old when she died. Her five minor children, ranging in age from 4 to 15, were suddenly orphaned. Someone must have deemed it vital that their souls be saved in light of their mother’s death.

What became of the children? Eldest daughter Martha had already married in 1848.[23] Her younger brother (Nehemiah) William was living with her in 1861 and working as a railway porter.[24] Aside from these two, I haven’t been able to trace the other children. Maybe one of Edith and/or Nehemiah’s descendants will see this post someday and give me an update.

[1] Parish of Whaddon (Cambridgeshire, England), “Baptisms, 1692-1876; burials, 1691-1812; marriages, 1692-1713, 1746-1878; banns, 1754-1812,” no page #, Edith Casbourne (born Oct 9) baptism, 9 Nov 1808; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,04,0570, item 5.
[2] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” John Casbail burial, 3 Dec 1813; FHL microfilm 1,040,542.
[3] Parish of Meldreth, “Marriages 1813-37,” p. 20, Nehemiah Sell & Edith Casbourn, 13 Feb 1829; FHL microfilm 1,040,542, item 8.
[4] “Town and County News … Commitments,” Huntingdon, Bedford, & Peterborough Gazette, Cambridge and Hertford Independent Press, 12 Sep 1835, p. 2, col. 2; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000417%2F18350912%2F010%2F0002&browse=true : accessed 19 December 2016).
[5] “Cambridgeshire Assizes … Crown Court,” The Huntingdon, Bedford, & Peterborough Gazette, etc., 19 Mar 1836, p. 2, col. 6; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000417%2f18360319%2f008 : accessed 9 April 2017).
[6] “Cambridgeshire Assizes … Prisoners – Thursday,” The Cambridge (England) Chronicle and Journal and Huntingdonshire Gazette, 27 Jul 1839, p. 2, col. 3; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000420%2F18390727%2F012%2F0002&browse=true : accessed 19 December 2016).
[7] “Cambridgeshire Sessions,” The Huntingdon, Bedford, & Peterborough Gazette, etc., 23 Feb 1839, p. 2, col. 7; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710-1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000417%2F18390223%2F029%2F0002&browse=true : accessed 6 April 2017).
[8] Parish of Meldreth, “Baptisms 1813-67,” p. 35, Martha Sell, 15 May 1831; FHL microfilm 1,040,542, item 5.
[9] Parish of Bassingbourn (Cambridgeshire), “Baptisms 1813-32,” p. 25, Eliza Sell, 9 Sep 1832; FHL microfilm 1,040,367, item 14.
[10] Parish of Bassingbourn, “Baptisms 1833-57,” p. 25, Ann Sell, 13 Nov 1834; FHL microfilm  1,040,367, item 15.
[11] Parish of Bassingbourn, “Baptisms 1833-57,” p. 25, John Casbon Sell, birth July 1837, baptism 21 January 1837; FHL microfilm 1,040,367, item 15.
[12] Parish of Melbourn, “Baptisms 1841-71,” p. 51, Mary Anne Sell (age 13), 21 Feb 1854; FHL microfilm 1,040,541, item 4.
[13] “1841 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” Melbourn, Royston & Buntingford, Cambridgeshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0000941292 : accessed 20 December 2016), entry for Edith Sell (age 33); citing [The National Archives], HO 107, piece 63, book 15, folio 14, p. 23.
[14] Parish of Melbourn, “Baptisms 1841-71,” p. 51, Nehemiah William Sell (age 11), 21 Feb 1854; FHL microfilm 1,040,541, item 4.
[15] “Miscellaneous … Attempted Murder and Robbery,” The Ipswich Journal, and Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire Advertiser, 12 Apr 1845, p. 3, col. 6; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710–1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000071%2F18450412%2F007%2F0003&browse=true : accessed 19 December 2016).
[16] “Suffolk Summer Assizes … Assault with Intent to Murder,” The Ipswich Journal, etc., 2 Aug 1845, p. 4, col. 4; imaged in “British Newspapers 1710–1953,” online archive, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000071%2F18450802%2F012%2F0004&browse=true : accessed 19 December 2016).
[17] “Van Diemand’s Land,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Diemen%27s_Land : accessed 7 April 2017), rev. 30 Mar 17, 01:11.
[18] “Norfolk Island,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfolk_Island#19th_century : accessed 7 April 2017), rev. 6 Apr 17, 12:22.
[19] “Record Search,” database with images, Tasmanian Government (Australia) LiNC (https://www.linc.tas.gov.au/Pages/Home.aspx : accessed 7 April 2017), entry for Nehemiah Sell, 1846 convict records; citing Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office series CON33, item CON33/1/87.
[20] “Record Search,” database with images, Tasmanian Government (Australia) LiNC (accessed 7 April 2017), Nehemiah Sell & Ann Ferguson marriage, 8°May 1854; citing Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, resource RGD37/1/13, no. 108.
[21] Parish of Melbourn, “Baptisms 1841-71,” p. 51, Charles Sell (age 7) & George Sell (age 4), FHL microfilm 1,040,541, item 4.
[22] Cambridge Family History Society, “Melbourn Burials 1739–1950,” PDF transcription, p. 44, Edith Sell (age 47), 20 Feb 1854; citing Melbourn parish registers.
[23] “England Marriages, 1538–1973 ,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N2Q6-5TY : accessed 8 April 2017), William Camp and Martha Sell, 29 Dec 1848; citing Melbourn, Cambridge, England, FHL microfilm 990,296.
[24] Barrington Road, Foxton, Royston, Hertfordshire; image and transcription, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1861%2f0005023711 : accessed 9 April 2017), entry for William Sell (age 18) in household of William Camp; citing [The National Archives], enumeration district 7, RG 09, piece 814 folio 105, p. 15.
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