The Morse family of Bream and Yorkley
Pictures 1 and 2 (above) are of my great grandmother Phoebe Morse, who was baptised on 27th August 1837 at Parkend, daughter of John Morse, a coalminer, and his wife Damaris nee Bailey. In 1861 she was a cook at the Parsonage, Dowdeswell and in 1875 she married a widower and coalminer, Mark Gifford at Parkend Baptist Church. Mark already had three children and a further three were born to Mark and Phoebe. My grandmother Damaris Gifford was one of the last children. Mark was baptised at Bream St. James on 16th July 1837 the son of Mark Gifford and Jane Lewis. The picture of Phoebe as a young woman is obviously quite old, possibly taken in the 1860’s when photography was in its infancy. Phoebe died in 1912 and her husband Mark in 1913.
Picture 3 (above) is of John Wheatstone Morse baptised 15th April 1858 at Bream. He was the son of Edmund Morse (brother of Phoebe above), and Theophilia nee Whetson. In 1881 he is a coal miner living at the Nags Head Inn, Yorkley where his uncle and aunt, William and Selina Morse are mine hosts. By 1891 he has moved to Lancashire and married his first wife Kate Collins there and his occupation is lunatic attendant at an asylum. After his wife’s death he married Emily Freeman of Lydney at Lydney St. Mary’s church. After the marriage they returned to Lancashire where John died in 1926.
Picture 4 (above) is of Minnie Morse (sister of John Wheatstone Morse and daughter of Edmund and Theophilia. In 1889 Minnie married Charles William Morse baptised 1st March 1863 at Bream. Charles was one of the children of Thomas who was miller at Whitecroft Mill and his wife Ann. Charles and Minnie ran various public houses including the Rising Sun Inn, Bream, Royal Oak, Whitecroft, and Oakwood Mill Inn. His occupation was described as Publican, Builder and Undertaker. Minnie died on the 23rd September 1921 at Holly Tree Cottage, Whitecroft and Charles died in 1942.
Picture 5 (above) Charles William Morse as described above.
Picture 6 (above) is of Epsy Eugenia Dulcie Valletta Parry Morse who was baptised at Bream Chapel on 13th February 1889. The father’s name is blank and mother’s name given only as Sarah Jane. Her birth certificate dated 26th May 1888 in Yorkley names her mother as Sarah Jane Parry, a domestic servant. She understandably became known as Dulcie. In the 1891 census she is staying with her uncle John Wheatstone Morse and his wife Kate, and in 1901 she is with her aunt Minnie and Uncle Charles. From the relationships stated on the censuses the only possible father is Minnie and John’s brother Edmund Riley Rainsworth Morse born in 1860 in Bream. In 1881 he is a coal miner living at Yorkley. On 12th February 1890 he set sail from Liverpool to New York on SS Adriatic and died on 10th July 1890 in Clarinda, Iowa, of malarial fever. His obituary showed him to be a regular church attender, and paid tribute to his “industry, honesty and uprightness” and it seems out of character for Edmund to father an illegitimate child and then set off for a new life without her. Also it is a mystery why her mother also left her to be brought up by relatives. However, she seems to have been well looked after. Her granddaughter tells me that she attended Lydney Grammar School and was said to have spoken five languages. She married William Lewis Evans in 1919 at Bream Church and went to live in Wales, where she died in 1966.
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