The Faces of War

Photo of entrance to Gallipoli: The scale of our war
Photo of the entrance to “Gallipoli: The scale of our war” at Te Papa, Wellington until 2018

There has been quite a lot of press in the last two years about World War I (WWI) due to the centenary of events that occurred.  One recurring theme seems to be that everyone (male) went to war and most of them died or were tragically injured either mentally or physically.

That’s not quite true.

Which is good news for people like me who don’t really feel connected to WWI.  My grandfather did get there for the last 3 weeks (I’m not kidding) but he was married to his first wife then and it seems like it’s part of their history, not mine.

I did a quick presentation for the Kilbirnie branch of the NZSG on my Gran’s 5 maternal uncles and their war experiences in WWI.  Here’s the edited condensed version with some links.

The O’Callaghan Brothers

My gg-grandparents Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan and Winifred Alice Baker had 9 children.  Four girls including my g-grandmother Greta followed by 5 boys.  This post is the story of those brothers.  I’m going to do them in order of length of military service, rather than chronological age.

Jasper Warner O’Callaghan 1880-1933 – military service 4 years 112 days

Jasper Warner O'Callaghan - military uniform - cropped

Jasper, the second son, joined up in August 1914, less than a month after war had been declared.  He was a chemist living in Dunedin at the time.  By the beginning of December he was a Lance Corporal in the Otago Mounted Rifles and in Egypt.  He soon ended up in the NZ Medical Corps.

On May 20, 1915 he left Alexandria for the Dardenelles aka Gallipoli.  He was part of the Field Ambulance at Anzac Cove.

Jasper followed the war to France in 1916.  On 30 June, 1917, he was awarded the Military Medalion for acts of Gallantry in the field.  I haven’t managed to find any online detail of his actions.

To understand his war, you should read his service record in conjunction with the New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War 1914-1918.

In February 1918, Jasper was made a Sergeant.  On 13 December, 1918 he was officially discharged back in New Zealand.

In 1926 he married Alexis Allardyce and had two children before dying prematurely in 1933 of appendicitis (pre-antibiotics).

Thomas Robert O’Callaghan 1879-1944 – military service 2 years 129 days

Winifred and Thomas Robert O'Callaghan 1930s - cropped

Thomas and his wife Winifred in the 1930s

Thomas left his wife Winifred and three children to enlist in June 1916 – just before the Military Service Act 1916 was enacted allowing conscription.

When you read Thomas’ medical report on enlistment, you get the impression that given the choice, the Army would have said no due to eye problems.  But in 1916 they were so desperate for men they said yes and Thomas was in England for Christmas on the way to France.

But first, in January, Thomas spent time in hospital with conjunctivitis.  One of the amusing parts of his service record is the letter pointing out that he was in a Military Hospital at this point, not a Venereal Disease Hospital!  The stigma of a Venereal Disease Hospital was very great!

He joined up with the NZ Rifle Brigade in France.  To understand his war, you should read his service record in conjunction with the Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

In April 1918, Thomas was admitted to hospital with diarrhea and this heralded the end of his war.  In August he was on the Ionic heading back to New Zealand.  His continuing eye problems had given him a medical discharge.

Gerald Charles O’Callaghan 1882-1947 – military service ? days
Gordon Harcourt O’Callaghan 1884-1953 –military service 318 days

Photo of Gordon and Gerald O'Callaghan

Gordon & Gerald

Gerald and Gordon are known to their mother’s side of the family as “Winifred’s bad boys”.  I’m putting them together because their military experience was very similar.  In 1916, both were drafted.  Like around half of draftees, they appealed their drafts.

Gerald was living in Strathmore in Taranaki.  His appeal was reported in the Hawera & Normanby Star on 2 February, 1917:

Gerald Charles O’Callaghan, settler, Strathmore, appealed on the ground of undue hardship and religious objections, and asked for three months’ exemption. There was no appearance of-appellant, and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

Records after that are very thin on the ground. For a while I couldn’t find anything and thought maybe he had just gone bush – his occupation on the electoral roll at that time being bushman.  And then on Archive NZ’s Archway appeared his ballot, attestation and medical papers – in Christchurch, 22 May, 1917.

Gordon was clerk at Akaroa County Council.  His appeal was reported in the Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser on 17 April, 1917.  The chair of the military board was not impressed with Gordon and the Council asking for 3 months to get affairs in order before he went off to service:

Mr Bishop said it was a much fairer thing to the Empire that they should take over such men to help them in the field. He alluded to the need of men which was pressing and even greater than the need for food. The Acting Prime Minister was urging the Board to send more men and it was his clear duty to send as many as possible.

Gordon was attested on 18 May, 1917 – four days before his brother.

Both were classed C2 – not suitable for active service overseas, but suitable for home service.  The reason given was their health – VDH.

VDH is Valvular Disease of the Heart.  It results from contracting rheumatic fever as a child, and is usually associated today with poverty and living in cramped conditions.  Given their father died when they were 13 and 11 respectively leaving 9 children, this was not unexpected.

For Gerald, this appears to be the end of his war.  He has no further records.

Gordon was given “leave without pay” until 14 January 1918 (9 months!), when he was expected to turn up for service.  He served until 30 November, 1918 when he was given a “Certificate of Leave in lieu of Discharge”.  He started out as a Private and ended up as a T/Cpl (Transport Corporal?)

Gerald and Gordon became “billiard hall proprietors” together in the 1930s.  Neither married nor had any (known) children.

William Bell O’Callaghan 1885-1960 – military service 0 days

William did no military service at all.  Like many others, he was given a Reservist classification in the draft.  In his case “Class C – Reservists who have two children”.

The O’Callaghan casualties

Winifred was lucky – she ended the war with all her sons still alive.  Her sisters-in-law were not so lucky.  The O’Callaghan brothers lost 2 of their cousins in the war:

Lest we forget.


A 19th Century Scandal: Bigamy?

Updated 14 February 2013

Two of my gg-grandfathers were not living with their respective gg-grandmother when they predeceased their wives (see the other in D.I.V.O.R.C.E).  I like to think it’s because the wives wanted to be happy.  This is the story of the Rose Anne Maria Buxton and James Ebenezer Nicholls.

I’ve already mentioned that the discovery of my Gran’s family’s Bible got me first interested in my family tree.  It also hides one of the best family scandals.  Have a look and see if you can spot it.

When I was living in London, I worked for a while in Drury Lane.  This was really close to St Catherine’s House and Somerset House where, at the time, lots of genealogical records were held.  At lunchtime I would go and look up dead people.  I started out collecting certificates.

The ones for the Nicholls family were relatively easy as I had the Bible to give me names dates and places.  I started with my first English ancestor – my Gran’s father Alfred James Nicholls.  Filling in the form, for some reason, I put his father’s name Alfred in the section on the back.  When I turned up to collect the certificate, the response was “no, the details didn’t match”.  I was sure I had the right entry so I asked to get it anyway.

A few more days later I turned up again to get the certificate.  Imagine my shock when I discovered that Alfred James’ father was not Alfred, but James Ebenezer.  The name was familiar and the first thing I did when I got home that evening was pull out my family tree.  James Ebenezer was there – the younger brother of Alfred!  I should add that the mother was who I was expecting – Rose Anne Maria Buxton (please note there are a number of spelling variations on her name – the e’s and a’s are interchanged depending on the source – this is my variation).

The next day I went and looked at the marriage indexes.  The index reference in 1869 for James matched the one for Rose.  I ordered the certificate and it indeed confirmed that James and Rose had married on 7 June 1859 in Woolich, Kent.

I was perplexed.  What was going on?  There wasn’t really any chance of James being mistaken for Alfred – it wasn’t one of his middle names.  Unless something nefarious like identity fraud was involved.  It’s not that difficult today, and it was even easier back then!

The mystery had to stay on the back burner until I was in Christchurch in early 2000.  There, at the Canterbury Museum, I found some further information which had been submitted by my half cousin Ruth Gardner.  Further research has fleshed out the story a little, but only hints at what really happened.

Alfred was born to John Nicholls and Elizabeth Ludwell in Bermondsey, London in 1841.  Two sisters later, James Ebenezer was born in 1850.  Rose was born a few months before James in late 1849 in Middleton, Norfolk to Robert Buxton and Frances Maw.

Between 1853-57, Rose moves with her family to Woolwich in Kent.  Her father was a shipwright, so it was probably for work at the docks there.

In 1862, Alfred immigrated to Victoria, Australia where he was a teacher.  He is not known to have married there.

Back in London, in 1869 James and Rose married.  They proceeded to have three children – John Robert (1871 – 1917), Louisa Elizabeth (1873 – 1930) and Alfred James (1874 – 1949).  In October 1875, they arrived in Sydney, Australia on the Samuel Plimsoll as Assisted Immigrants.

Then it gets a bit sketchy.  The next fact we had for certain was that in November 1877, Rose gave birth to her fourth child, Ethel.  The father was Alfred and they were living in Akaroa, New Zealand.

What happened?????

The melodramatic gene kicked in (got it from my Aunt – no relation to this scandal).  Had James died, leaving Rose destitute with the only person she knew in the southern hemisphere Alfred?  Had James run off?  Had Rose and Alfred killed him?  Did he consent to his brother running off with his wife?  Or did they just disappear into the night?

James and his family had made it pretty quickly from NSW to Victoria.  There obviously weren’t any constraints on Assisted Immigrants to stay near their destination.  Perhaps they always intended to join Alfred in Victoria and the Samuel Plimsoll was the first ship out.

An amazingly detailed research piece on Alfred’s teaching career in Victoria describes him in October 1876 as having “serious domestic complications” and “leaving the country” (which the researcher thought surely meant district!).

Further research by my Melbourne cousins has filled in some of the blanks.  And the answer appears to be in Tasmania.

Tasmanian Archives have digitized their “ED2 – Applications for Teaching Positions and Associated Correspondence”.  Among the records is an application by Alfred to teach in Tasmania.  It’s dated 21 October, 1876 and his address is given as Hobart Town.  Page 3 of the records is a letter from Alfred giving further details, but as is noted on Page 2, none after 1871.

The remaining pages do not paint the best picture of Alfred (and Rose).  Page 4 is a letter from the Secretary of the Board of Education in Victoria alleging that Alfred left his last school there having embezzled some of the school’s funds.

And then there are the letters from James.

While it’s exciting to see his handwriting, the circumstances that produced it are very sad:

Northern Dairy
Madeline Street
November 16 1876

“Dear Sir,

I have just received a letter from the Education Department Melbourne to tell me that my brother Mr Alfred Nicholls has applied to your Board for employment.  I wish to inform you that he is not a fit person to instruct the young while he is leading the life he is, he has run away from the Dimboola State School 1372, he left it on the 12th of Oct/76 came down to Melbourne and took away my wife and three children.  They have robbed me of all they could lay hands on.  If you will be kind enough to comply with my request that is not to give him employment & if you have to dismiss him as my wife has a home to come to which she will be obliged to if he can not get employment.  They are of course living as man and wife.  This is not the first woman he has served like this for he was living with one for seven years and then left her in Sydney and now he has trapped I being a new chum only being out from home one year.

I think he ought to be kicked out of Hobart Town.  This statement is quite true.

I remain Sir
Your Obed Servt,
James Nicholls

To the Secretary
NB If you now his address please to send it to me. JN”

A second letter from James dated 29 November 1876 thanks the Tasmanian Secretary of the Education Dept for not employing his brother.

The next trace of Alfred (and therefore Rose and the children) is in Dunedin, New Zealand.

I’ve always been intrigued by their NZ dates.  There is a news item in the local Otago Daily Times 17 Jan 1877 saying he has been appointed to Mataura Bridge School and another in the Press, Christchurch has him appointed at Akaroa on Dec 22 1876.  (I am assuming there is only Alfred Nicholls which is supported by another article on Feb 20 1877 which has another person being appointed master at Mataura Bridge).  They possibly took the first job that came along – in a nice, rural, isolated spot!

Anyway, Rose and Alfred spent the rest of their lives together in Akaroa and later Christchurch, New Zealand.  The family bible lists 9 children, but only 6 were Alfred’s.  Alfred was father to his brother’s children too.  Their story – according to their daughter Aldyth’s birth certificate, is that they married on James and Rose’s wedding date but in Melbourne.  As they never married, strictly speaking there was no bigamy.

For more on Alfred and Rose, see my cousin Ruth’s blog.

So what happened to James?

We only have hints into what exactly happened between Rose, James and Alfred in 1875-6.  James died in 1924, outliving his brother by 7 years and predeceasing his wife by one.  He was still in Victoria and still legally married to Rose (there is no record of a divorce in Victoria).  [Thanks to the Helpful People on GenForum!]

According to his death certificate (which was completed by Walter Ernest Jensen his “authorised agent” who was present at his death), he had a wife he married in London, two sons and a daughter – details unknown – Rose and his children by her.  So he had never remarried (which would have been bigamous) nor had he had any further children.  I always wonder if he knew where his family went after Tasmania…?

James is buried in Fawkner Memorial Park in the same plot as Charles Edward Jensen who had died in 1919.  Charles was only 45 years old at his death, the son of Carl Jensen and Charlotte Blythe.  From the electoral roll I have found that James was living with Charles’ mother Charlotte and brother James Arthur from at least 1919. Both James’ were tanners.

Further research in Victoria by my Melbourne cousins has found that James had a long relationship with the Jensen family.  A number of their children had the middle name Nicholls and two sons were called Alfred.  As my cousin points out “it would seem James had no hang-ups about the name Alfred” !!!

I only have dates and places for James, so I have no idea what sort of a man he was.  He may have been the innocent party or the guilty one.  It is unlikely we will ever know – unless the Jensen family have passed down a story about him????

Upping Sticks: Overview

Being a Kiwi, I’m the descendent of immigrants. I vary between being a 5th generation and only a 2nd generation New Zealander.

Here are the numbers on who was born here in New Zealand:

GG-Grandparents – 1 out of 16 (6.25%) although 7 died in NZ and 1 in Australia

G-Grandparents – 3 out of 8 (37.5%)

Grandparents – 2 out of 4 (50%)

Parents – 2 out of 2 (100%)

If we look at my GG-Grandparents then we have the following nationalities:

England – 10

Scotland – 1

Ireland – 1

Ulster – 2

USA – 1

NZ – 1

So the long winded non-mathmatical point I am trying to make, is that they all had to get here somehow.  Some are quite simple stories – like my grandmother who shipped out in convoy during WWII – my grandfather received a telegram saying “the package has arrived” and surprised his flatmates with something like “This is my fiancee who just arrived from England.  Want to come to a wedding?”.  Others are much more complicated.

So I’m doing a series of posts on the ones I have found information about:

Baker (King) family from London, England

Black (Greacen) family from Northern Ireland

The Black Family on the Fiery Star

The Black Children

Johnston (Foster) from Scotland (Northern Ireland)

O’Callaghan siblings from Cork, Ireland

Famous Namesakes

This page is a bit like my post “houses my family doesn’t own anymore” – this is “famous people that could be my ancestors but aren’t”.  It could also be subtitled “What you can find in ten minutes on Google.”  Or “the people that always turn up first on Google when you’re searching for your family”.  More will follow later.

Frederick Hewitt

My ggg-grandfather’s namesake, Frederick William Hewitt (1857-1916) was an anesthesiologist who looked after the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, helping remove his appendics in 1902.  He got a knighthood for his troubles and a ward is named after him at St George’s Hospital (now in Tooting, London).  According to an article on the Life & Health Library, he “later designed the first oral airways, probably as a result of taking care of the king, an overweight, bearded man”.  Whatever that means.  He also “designed an early anesthesia machine to administer variable portions of nitrous oxide and oxygen, a combination used widely for dental procedures and short surgeries from the late nineteenth century until today” (Modern Anesthesia Is Developed).

The Royal College of Surgeons also have an annual Frederick Hewitt Lecture.

His family came from Badbury in Wiltshire so is, so far, not related.

Jasper Pyne

My gg-grandfather was Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan, named for his uncle Jasper Richard Masters Pyne (1797-1860) (along with 4 other O’Callaghan’s).  Uncle Jasper also inspired another sibling to name a son after him – Jasper Douglas Masters Pyne (1848-1888).

JDMP (for short) sounds like a very entertaining personality.  He was also an MP who (like other family MP’s) got into a bit of trouble and when a warrent was issued for his arrest went into hiding.  From the Old Waterford Society newsletter Spring 1990:

A furious District Inspector Wynne of Cappoquin denied that there was a single word of truth in the Freeman’s account. ‘Mr. Pyne has not returned to Lisfinny Castle‘, he explained, ‘ for the simple reason that he has never left it. He merely pretended to do so. He had hidden himself in his room, but had been overheard talking and joking by the night patrols. Pyne’s accent and laugh were such, Wynne assured his superiors, that they could not possibly be mistaken.

On 2 January 1888 District Inspector Bourchier of the Special Branch confirmed that Pyne was safely within the castle and a police patrol properly posted without.  There was no possibility of escape, except by means of an underground passage, but, he added hastily, none such existed.  District Inspector Barry corroborated his colleague’s report that Pyne was hemned in on every side and that all avenues of escape were sealed off.

The police, however, had underestimated Irish nationalist ingenuity. On the evening of Friday, 13 January, some 200 cattle were stampeded in the vicinity of the castle. While the 20 constables on duty contended with this bovine diversion Pyne scampered down the exterior wall and made his way to a waiting car that set off immediately for Cork.   The telegraph wires at Tallow had been cut and when the police eventually realised that they had been duped they were unable to raise the alarm.  The fugitive boarded a cargo ship bound for Plymouth whence he proceeded to London on the afternoon on 16 January.

The Star newspaper of Canterbury, New Zealand (perhaps knowing of all of his cousins here in NZ?) reports as follows on 18 January 1888 (page 4):

The Escape of Mr Jasper Pyne.

LONDON, Jan. 17. It has transpired that Mr Jasper Pyne has effected his escape to England. Mr Pyne, who is the member for West Waterford, was charged with inciting resistance to the Sheriff, and in order to prevent his being arrested he fortified his residence, Lisfarny Castle, and after holding out for  some time succeeded in escaping.

You could just imagine the scene in a movie!

JDMP was arrested entering the House of Commons and served six weeks in prison.  He later was declared dead after disappearing off the Holyhead to Dublin ferry in mysterious circumstances.

And nowdays there’s even a racing horse named called Jasper Pyne.

The Other John Key

As it’s  election year here in New Zealand, I thought it might be interesting to tell the story of the other John Key – my 3rd great grand uncle.  This is a story of research and proof that there’s nothing new under the sun!  No similarity to persons living is intended!!  And as far as I’m aware, there is no relationship between either JK.

Fairly early on in my family research I discovered that the uncle of my gg-grandmother Mary Sophia Key had been a Lord Mayor of London – Sir John Key, Bt; brother of my ggg-grandfather Jonathan Muckleston Key.  It helped immensely that he was a ‘Bt’ as the Key family lineage was to be found in various Baronetcy books.  My research into Sir John was limited to these and biographies such as the one found on :

Key, Sir John (1794-1858)

wholesale stationer and reformer was one of the lasts links to City radicalism. Born 16 August, the eldest son of John Key of Denmark Hill, he joined his fathers business in 1818. Originally located at 30 Abchurch Lane as John Key and Sons they moved finally to 97 and 103 Newgate Street. He married Charlotte Green and they had one son and three daughters.

No stranger to the City’s streets, he became an Alderman for Langbourn ward in 1823 and for Bridge Street Without in 1851. He formally retired just two years later, by which time he could look back to an illustrious career in City politics. In 1824 he was Sheriff for London and Middlesex, Master of the Stationers’ Company and in 1830 and 1831, Lord Mayor. Famously, during his second Mayoralty, he advised William 1V and Queen Adelaide not to attend the opening of the new London Bridge fearing violence against the Duke of Wellington and for this decision became the target of popular satire. He went on to be presented with a Baronet at the end of his term of office by the King and was elected to parliament to represent the City between 1832 and 1833, when he finally accepted the Chilton Hundreds. Demonstrating his reformist credentials, he supported the abolition of slavery, the repeal of part of the assessed taxes, abrogation of the Corn Laws, the adoption of triennial parliaments and the vote by ballot. Earlier he had expressed enthusiasm for the extension of the franchise. His most arduous test came, however, when he fought Benjamin Scott for the post of City Chamberlain in 1853. In a bitterly contested election, Key finally won through polling 6,095 and beating his rival by just 275 votes. When he died after suffering for some days with gout on 15 July 1858, Scott succeeded him to that prized office.

A fairly straight-forward life really.  Nothing particularly interesting in it at all – another politician uncle (there are others in my tree).

Thus I moved onto more perplexing things – where had the Muckleston come from in my ggg-grandfather’s name?  It wasn’t a maternal surname and no one else had it in their name.  So I kept searching for him wherever I went.

One day in the National Library in Wellington, I went searching for him in the Times newspaper archive.  The search came up with an article with the enticing title of “First Report from the Select Committee on the Stationery Contract”.  Stationery was the Key family business.  The date – August 26 1833.

The fourth paragraph of the article states that the facts of the allegations are “so notorious that your committee deemed it unnecessary to examine witnesses to that point”.  What….?!!  Fortunately, being a newspaper, they kindly gave a full run down of the allegations which culminated in Sir John “accepting” the Chilton Hundreds after only 2 years as an MP.

So what is the Chilton Hundreds?  Its full title is Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham.  From my research, I like to think of it as “the naughty seat”, although it’s not really a seat.  In Britain, while you can resign your seat, you can’t resign from Parliament.  Instead you are appointed to an “office of profit under The Crown” which disqualifies you from sitting as an MP.  This dates from 1624 when MP’s were often elected “against their will” (see Wikipedia for more information).  The last MP to “accept” the Chilton Hundreds was Eric Illsley who resigned before he was due to be sentenced for dishonestly claiming parliamentary expenses.  Other recent incumbents include Tony Blair and John Profumo.  (okay, I have picked the more scandalous ones – ill health and appointments to more interesting jobs have also been the reason for “accepting”).

So what did Sir John Key, Bt do to end up in the “naughty seat”?  The Select Committee were looking at two things:

  • The contract entered into in June 1832 between the Government Stationery office and Jonathan Muckleston Key, and,
  • The appointment of Mr Kingsmill Grove Key to the situation of the storekeeper of the Stationery office.

Sir John had given the Government stationery contract to his brother Jonathan.  Jonathan had turned up to sign on the dotted line, but that was the limit of his involvement.  Sir John provided the bills and wrote all the required correspondence.  Therefore Jonathan was considered the “nominal contractor” and Sir John the real one.

Further research online found the Hansard for August 5 1833 (see Google Books).  Sir Robert Peel (creator of the ‘Peelers’ – the first Police) states:

That Act contained provisions declaring, that no man entering into any contract for the supply of articles for the public use should have a seat in Parliament, and that no man in Parliament should enter into any such contract, and retain his seat; and it further declared, that “in every such contract, agreement, or commission, shall be inserted the condition that no Member of the House of Commons shall be admitted to have directly or indirectly, any share in the gains, profits, or benefits arising there from.”


But not content with that, when the position became vacant, Sir John’s son Kingsmill Grove King Key was appointed the storekeeper of the Stationery office.  The storekeeper’s job was to inspect the incoming stationery supplies and ensure they were of appropriate quality.  Sir John told Charles Wood, the secretary to the Treasury who made the appointment that his son was “of age”.

Kingsmill is described to the Select Committee as “a youth of 18 or 19 years of age, not legally competent to give the necessary bonds of security, or qualified to perform the official duties of a situation requiring a knowledge of the that stationery business, only to be obtained by experience.

Oops again!

So how did this all come to a head?  Reports relating to the goings on in Parliament on 5 August 1833 can be found in the Hansard and The Parliamentary Review And Family Magazine (PRFM) (again on Google Books).  PRFM reports that, unlike the important matters of the day, the Sir John Key case “drew crowds of anxiously curious and enquiring members to the House at an early hour”.  Nothing like having one of your local MP’s getting in trouble to attract a crowd!

Hansard reports that Sir Henry Hardinge (MP for Launceston) presented to Parliament a petition by other stationers “twenty-six or twenty-seven in number”.  This petition made the allegations above.   However, from PRFM it would appear that Sir John had already “accepted” Chilton Hundreds and “and a salary, we believe, of ten shillings a-year, or some such magnificent sum”.  It goes on to say “Sir John has, by vacating his seat, tacitly admitted that he values the profits of a Stationery Contractor more highly than the honour of being one of the Representatives of the first City in the world, and a Senator of the Land”.

Sir Henry got his select committee, but PRFM implies that by letting Sir John accept the Chilton Hundreds he got away with it.

Fraser’s magazine for Town and Country (also on Google Books) of September 1833 provides another interesting insight.  “Don” Key (as they refer to Sir John) “was desirous of procuring for his hopeful heir the benefits of the Stationers’ Company, as a freeman of that very rich corporation”.  Stating that his son was 21, the Stationers’ Company checked Sir John’s marriage certificate and came to the conclusion that “Eighteen years and three months, therefore, was the full age of the boy, unless Oh! the Don Key!”  Already annoyed by the contracts going to his brother, the Stationers’ Company had dobbed Sir John in by petitioning Parliament.

All this scandal doesn’t seem to have affected Sir John much (when was Teflon invented?).  Despite Fraser’s suggesting “that the city, if it have any sense of honour left, should strip him of his aldermanic gown and chains”, as detailed in his biography above he continued to hold offices in the City of London until his death in 1858.

His son Kingsmill lived to inherit the Barontcy which died out with his grandson Sir Kingsmill James Key in 1932.  You can read more about the Grove family (Sir John’s gt-uncle), Sir John and his son Kingsmill on the Thornbury House website.

Jonathan (1806-1888) had apparently “retired” from the family business by 1832 (aged 26!).  In the 1861 census his occupation is “Commissioner of the Lieutenant of the City of London for Taxes”.  And I did eventually find the origins of the Muckleston – it came from his godfather and (rich) family friend Joseph Muckleston.

And thanks to one of John Key’s descendents, we have a political caricature of Sir John, Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington.  I don’t think it’s a true likeness of Sir John 😉