Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Thank God for the odd middle name that falls to the font-dipped child. It makes my life as a researcher possible. The reason for this laudable note is that R.S.Smythe had a nephew, Lancelot Wellesley Smith, whose middle name, and indeed his first made him easy to find among the accursed ubiquity of 'Smith'.

He had a son in turn named Grenfall! and not that but Grenfall Wellesley Smith who up until late last century had been part of the Penrith Archaeological Group! God bless them and HIM. I have written a letter off to NSW in hope that someone there still knows the man and/or the whereabouts of his kin. Human relations are tenuous things as we researchers know; gossamer that looks like chains but with a generation (20 years) can melt into the air as if was never ever there.

As for Octavia Hamilton's second 'husband'; his middle name was Holme, taken from his mother's maiden name no doubt because Thomas Holme Davis' grandfather William Holme Esq. of Norton Folgate was wealthy enough to have a kneeling statue of himself built over his burial in London's St. Swithins, Londonstone, now long destroyed but one of the first of Inigo Jones' Churches. What did Holme do to merit the passage of the family surname with such fidelity? I wonder doubly as no obituary shows up in the times or any of the 19th century on-line newspapers. William Holme c.1763-1835 and wife Mary...who were they? Was he the distiller who was partnered with Thomas Wilson at Upper Thames in 1803? That might certainly account for Thomas Holme Davis career as Victualler.

History is a tease.

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