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21 Feb 2015

Miss Rebecca's Men: the publican and the soldier

Rebecca Dibben was born in the village of Tarrant Gunville, Dorset in 1794. Aged 20, her first child was born on the island of Guernsey, about 1814, and was given her mother's name.

Rebecca must surely have married the child's father, but this is not the only missing marriage in the family. We cannot find marriages for her sister Jane nor sister Mary either, although both have many descendants.

It was only last week I found the identity of this first husband, Mr Cox, by first name Thomas and as you can see from the below image, he was an innkeeper.

I have combed through the Death duty records for the period 1812 to 1824 looking for a suitable Thomas but not found him.  There was an innkeeper of this name operating in Crediton, Devon, 1815-1821 but he may have been the 50yo Thomas Cox who dies in the parish ten years later.

Cox was the first family member in Guernsey. There were Coxes later to marry Rebecca's cousin W Burge, who came from Child Okeford. Some of this family are thought to have settled in Guernsey, specifically Samuel Drake Cox, who appears in online searches.


Rebecca's second husband was the unlucky Abraham Mackreth of Cockermouth. Barely three weeks after the marriage he is dead, but Rebecca is/was already carrying his child and he is born either at Cockermouth with her hostile in-laws, or at Sturminster Newton where her own family lived.
Mackreth and Rebecca's son was very unlucky in love, too. He married the dazzling Charlotte Quick of Kenton, Devon not far from his stepfathers' (sic) home in Ringwood. However seven years and no children later, Charlotte began to make other arrangements for the security of her genetic burden!

She fell for the Norfolk-born Thynnes who were no apparent connection with the titled variety, later Marquises of Bath. However, they each duped the other. She said her maiden name was Glendinning, well that was originally her mother's rather grand name. He pretended they were heirs to the Carterets as the London Thynnes certainly were.

 
It all had to end, and Thynne who was actually now or later in the Royal Artillery was told to leave Charlotte alone. Charlotte was chaperoned with baby Sophia out to Australia in 1856 with her younger brother ensuring she arrived safely. Once there, it seems there was little family contact. She had a nice lump sum of money keeping her going and lived for another 25 years or so out in the barren cultureless sun. Baby girl marries twice and has a few descendants. 'Carteret' becomes, as I'd originally guessed, 'Cartwright'.

Meanwhile back in England, Mackreth junior was living with his housekeeper and when word finally came in of Charlotte's death, he married her. Thynne had married in 1858 but had no surviving issue by his real wife, dying in Norfolk, perhaps wondering where baby Sophia had gone. He had wanted to keep her as the evidence of the unusual birth certificate suggests, but likely Charlotte's family had Quickly disposed of that notion.

Dignity was saved.

The snip of the marriage certificate for Rebecca Cox's happy marriage to Mr Buggins doesn't reveal his occupation, bath house keeper on the Brighton coast. Odd that being totally naked with strangers was deemed normal by Victorians, but staying with the woman or man you loved was deemed utterly disgraceful.

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca and her sisters weren't the only ones with missing marriages. Her cousin William Dibben junior married a much older woman, Elizabeth Edney, likely in London where he was tailor saddler collar and harness maker. His early demise plunged his family into poverty and eldest boy was found guilty of larceny 1848 and transported to Australia.

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