A Letter Puzzle Solved: Scholefield, Gall and Greenway

Another day, another letter, another mystery. “Dear Aunt Tydfil” this one starts and is signed by “Nancy Greenway”. Who? And so the hunt begins…

While rummaging amongst all my family papers and letters the other day, I came across a letter written to “Dear Aunt Tydfil” with a photo of an old woman hugging a little boy. I liked the look of her face. Her smile is warm and the way she firmly hugs the little boy and holds his hand, she obviously loves him. But who is she? And exactly how is she related to “Aunt Tydfil”.

Turning to the letter for clues, I commenced searching, and here is what I discovered…

Remember Aunt Tydfil?

I’ve written about my great-grandmother, Tydfil SCHOLEFIELD (nee DAVIES), in a previous blog post so I won’t recount background here except to remind you she was born in Wales in 1861, emigrated to Australia in 1890 and married my great-grandfather, George Alfred SCHOLEFIELD, in Rockhampton on 27th March 1897. By 1931, the time of this letter, Tydfil had been a widow for 20 years. She had 1 surviving son and two daughters and lived in Longreach, Queensland.

So…Scholefield or Davies?

My main problem with this letter was determining from which side of the family it came – SCHOLEFIELD or DAVIES? I hoped DAVIES as I know so little about them, but I wasn’t holding my breath.

There were lots of hints and clues in the letter, but it was a search on the address printed in the letterhead which provided the answer.

Address in printed letterhead

Address in printed letterhead

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website has a listing for Serjeant Ernest Scholefield GALL who died on 30 July 1915 at age 27.1 On the record is noted:

Son of Annie E. Gall, of 10, Larches Avenue, East Sheen, London, and the late James Gall. Cashier, Barclays Bank.”

I was sad to see the death of this young man but I was also excited to see his middle name as it gave me the direction I needed. After a bit of investigation, the details all fell into place. However, I won’t give a blow by blow account of each step of my search.

And The Winner is…

Instead, meet Tydfil’s sister-in-law, Annie Elizabeth GALL nee SCHOLEFIELD and her grandson, Michael W. GREENWAY.

Annie Elizabeth Gall (nee Scholefield) & her grandson, Michael Greenway

Annie Elizabeth Gall (nee Scholefield) & her grandson, Michael Greenway

The Early Years

Annie Elizabeth SCHOLEFIELD was born in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire in 1845, the second eldest of 11 children.2 Her parents were William SCHOLEFIELD, a successful wool merchant, and Charlotte HAY. One of her brothers was my great-grandfather, George Alfred SCHOLEFIELD, who later emigrated to Australia and married Tydfil DAVIES.

Annie is listed in the 1871 England Census as a lady housekeeper for a Scottish wine merchant, Duncan Irvine, at 139 Clapham Road, Lambeth, London.3 Annie’s age is 24, a year younger than it should be, but not the first time I found some creativity surrounding her age. Whenever Annie is at home with her parents, her age is listed correctly. But everywhere else, it is wildly off.

It took awhile, but I finally found Annie in the 1881 England Census. Unexpectedly, in a grand house called The Rookery in Middleton Tyas in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Annie is now a governess aged 30 years.4 A full five years younger than she really was! Interestingly, she is listed as a visitor rather than as a servant. Perhaps she was a day governess, or maybe being interviewed for the post or maybe governesses were treated a little differently to other servants at the time?

I certainly can find no link to her being related to anyone in the house – with either the servants or the owners. In fact, when you look at the lives of the owners, a personal relationship seems even less likely.

The Rookery belonged to Jonathan Edmund Backhouse, later Sir Backhouse when made a Baronet in 1901. He was a director of his multi-generational family banking business, Jonathan Backhouse & Co. Bank, which later merged with Barclays of London to become Barclays Bank.5,6 (Note Serjeant Ernest Scholefield GALL was a cashier at Barclays Bank.)

I spent time researching the occupants of this house in the hope I could find clues in how Annie met her husband who she married two years later. I suspect the answer may lie in the occupations of Jonathan Backhouse and Annie’s future husband.

 So, Who Was Annie’s Husband-To-Be?

James GALL was born in Elgin, Moray, Scotland in 1844.7 He married Margaret GOLDIE, also from Elgin, in 1871 in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Since they were both from the same town in Scotland, it may seem strange they were married so far away. However, at the time, Margaret was living with her brother, the pastor of the Congregational Church in Grantham.8,9 Afterwards, they returned to James’ home in London with the 1871 England Census listing his occupation as banker’s clerk.10

By the 1881 England Census, James and his family had moved around a bit (based on the birth places of their 7 children) finally ending up in Church Street, Eastwood, Nottingham.11 Tragically, James’ wife, Margaret, died at the age of 38 just before the census in 1881.9,12 In the census, the youngest child was under one month old suggesting Margaret’s death had something to do with the birth. Two of James’ sisters-in-law were also listed in the household, most likely rallying around to help the grief-stricken young family.

Just two years later, James GALL married Annie Elizabeth SCHOLEFIELD in Leeds, Yorkshire (Annie’s home town and where her parents still lived) and afterwards they returned to live in Eastwood.13

So Close And Yet So Far

Eastwood is almost 70 miles south of Leeds. James lived in Church Street before and after his marriage to Annie. So, how did they even meet and get to know each other?

In the 1881 Census, James’ occupation is listed as a bank manager. Further investigation showed he was the manager of the Nottingham Joint Stock Bank Ltd in Eastwood.14

I can think of a couple of scenarios…for example, the stricken family would be desperately in need of some support. Presumably James, now a bank manager, could afford such support and advertised for a governess for his young family? Being in the same business, maybe James was acquainted with Jonathan Backhouse who may have recommended Annie?

It is hard to know at such a distance in time, but certainly, James and Annie were almost the same age, so it isn’t too far fetched to think James may have married the family governess.

Wife…And Mother

Annie was no naive young girl when she married James. She was 37 years old and James was 39. However, when Annie married James, she suddenly had a ready-made family of seven young children ranging in age from about 2 years to 11 years. For the youngest child, at least, Annie was possibly the only mother they had ever known.

However, I daresay her life as a governess as well as her experience as the second oldest in a family of 11 children, prepared her extremely well to take on what would normally be considered a large and daunting responsibility. And if she was previously their governess, then hopefully it was a smooth transition to the role of mother.

Annie and James had two other children, Annie Charlotte GALL in 1885 and Ernest Scholefield GALL in 1888.15,16 Ernest never married and, as seen above, died in 1915. Annie Charlotte married Cecil William GREENWAY in 1923 and had, as far as I can tell, only one child, Michael W. GREENWAY in 1925.17,18

James died at the age of 72 on 26 June 1916 in Barnes, Surrey.19,20

Annie and Michael

By this time, you may have realised the author of the letter, Nancy GREENWAY, is actually Annie Charlotte GREENWAY (nee GALL), Annie Elizabeth’s daughter.

In Nancy’s letter to Aunt Tydfil, Nancy talks about the very close relationship between grandmother and grandson. Nancy writes that Annie,

was for the last few years wrapped up in my little boy. They were devoted to each other and she said he had made her old age happy in spite of all her troubles.

I think this is wonderfully illustrated by the lovely little photograph I found with the letter.

Michael is described as,

such a jolly little chap, six last Xmas, but tall and usually thought to be seven or eight.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out what happened to Michael. He is not listed with his parents in the 1939 UK Register but I have been unable to identify any death record for him.21 He would have been 14 years old in 1939 and I very much hope he was just at boarding school or visiting relatives or perhaps evacuated during the war as part of Operation Pied Piper and wasn’t recorded properly in the Register.

I have tried to follow what happened to all of the children from both James’ first and second marriages, but I won’t list all their doings here though I found plenty of interesting links back to Australia. Maybe in another post.

What Happened To Annie?

Annie’s final years were spent with the daughter and grandson she loved deeply, and they in turn loved her very much. Nancy writes about her mother’s final illness and how after consultations with her doctor, “Uncle Robert”22 and Annie herself, it was decided she was too old to stand the shock of an operation and,

in fact she could not bear the idea any more than we could, of being sent away to a nursing home or hospital.

Annie Elizabeth died at the age of 84 on 28 July 1930 in East Sheen, Surrey, with her daughter and grandson by her side .23,24

I’ll finish with a description of Annie by her daughter:

One of mother’s greatest charms was her wonderful interest in other people and their doings and her great unselfishness. This was expressed over and over again in letters from old friends everywhere after her death.



Sources & Notes

1 “Casualty Details – Grave Registration Report,” database and image, cwgc.org (http://www.cwgc.org/ : accessed 6 March 2016), entry for Serjeant Ernest Scholefield Gall, Service No: A/693, Kings’s Royal Rifle Corps.

“England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837 – 1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 6 August 2014), Birth entry for Ann Elizabeth Scholefield; citing December [quarter] 1845, Leeds, vol. 23, p. 463.

3 “1871 England Census,” database and image, findmypast.com.au (http://www.findmypast.com.au : accessed 10 March 2016), entry for Annie E Scholefield (age 24), Lambeth St Michaels, London, Surrey; citing PRO RG 10/678, folio 119, p. 2; Lambeth registration district, household [10].

4 “1881 England Census,” database and image, findmypast.com.au (http://www.findmypast.com.au : accessed 12 March 2016), entry for Annie Eliz. Scholefield (age 30), Middleton Tyas, Yorkshire; citing PRO RG 11/4880, folio 84, p. 10; Richmond registration district, household [61].

5 DEATH OF SIR JONATHAN BACKHOUSE. (1918, July 29). The Yorkshire Post, p. 5. Retrieved March 11, 2016, from http://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000687%2f19180729%2f140

6 A VENERABLE BANKER. (1915, December 22). Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser, p. 6. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000460%2f19151222%2f122

7 “1861 Scotland Census,” database – transcription only, findmypast.com.au (http://www.findmypast.com.au : accessed 11 March 2016), entry for James Gall (age 17), North Guildry Street, Elgin, Moray, Scotland; citing PRO RG 09/-, folio -, p. -; Elgin registration district, ED 10.

8 MARRIED. (1871, February 3). The Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, p. 4. Marriage notice for James Gall and Margaret Goldie. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000400%2f18810507%2f027

9 OBITUARY. (1881, May 7). The Journal, p. 4. Obituary for Margaret Gall. Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000400%2f18810507%2f027

10 “1871 England Census,” database and image, findmypast.com.au (http://www.findmypast.com.au : accessed 10 March 2016), entry for James Gall (age 27), Islington, London, Middlesex; citing PRO RG 10/301, folio 91, p. 25; Islington registration district, household [137].

11 “1881 England Census,” database and image, findmypast.com.au (http://www.findmypast.com.au : accessed 8 March 2016), entry for James Gall (age 37) and family, Eastwood, Basford, Nottinghamshire; citing PRO RG 11/3320, folio 157, p. 17; Basford registration district, household [84].

12 “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837 – 1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 8 March 2016), Death entry for Margaret Gall (age 38); citing March [quarter] 1881, Basford vol. 7b: p. 74.

13 MARRIAGES. (1883, January 12). The York Herald, p. 4. Marriage notice for James Gall and Annie E Scholefield. Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/ViewArticle?id=BL%2F0000499%2F18830112%2F012%2F0004&browse=true

14 DISTRICT AND PARISH COUNCILS: EASTWOOD (NOTTS) PARISH. (1895, January 3). The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, p. 2. James Gall, manager of the Joint Stock Bank, was elected treasurer. Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000181%2f18950103%2f004

15 “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837 – 1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 8 March 2016), Birth entry for Annie Charlotte Gall; citing December [quarter] 1885, Basford vol. 7b: p. 113.

16 “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837 – 1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 8 March 2016), Birth entry for Ernest Scholefield Gall; citing March [quarter] 1888, Basford vol. 7b: p. 130.

17 “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837 – 1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 8 March 2016), marriage entry for Cecil W Greenway and Annie C Gall; citing September [quarter] 1923, Richmond S., vol. 2a: p. 1366.

18 “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837 – 1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 8 March 2016), Birth entry for Michael W Greenway (mother’s maiden name: GALL); citing March [quarter] 1925, Wandsworth vol. 1d: p. 1115.

19 “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837 – 1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 8 March 2016), Death entry for James Gall (age 72); citing June [quarter] 1916, Richmond S. vol. 2a: p. 620.

20 “National Probate Calendar: Index to Wills and Administration, 1858-1996,” database and images, GOV.UK Service: Find A Will (http://probatesearch.service.gov.uk : accessed 11 March 2016), index entry for James Gall, died 26 June 1916; 1916 Calendar, p289.

21 “1939 Register,” database and image, findmypast.com.au (http://www.findmypast.com.au : accessed 6 March 2016), entry for Cecil W Greenway, 10 Larches Avenue, Barnes M.B., Surrey; citing record series: RG 101, Piece:1313I, p:002, Line:19; Borough: Barnes, registration district: 30 – 4.

22 “Uncle Robert” is Robert Ernest Scholefield, Annie’s youngest sibling. He studied medicine at Oxford and became a doctor.

23 “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837 – 1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 8 March 2016), Death entry for Annie E Gall (age 84); citing September [quarter] 1930, Richmond S. vol. 2a: p. 569.

24 “National Probate Calendar: Index to Wills and Administration, 1858-1996,” database and images, GOV.UK Service: Find A Will (http://probatesearch.service.gov.uk : accessed 11 March 2016), index entry for Annie Elizabeth Gall, died 28 July 1930; 1930 Calendar, p397.

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