George Edkins (1823-1908) was born at Long Marston, Gloucestershire, in about 1823, the son of William Edkins
George married Elizabeth Neal on 30th October 1847 at Elizabeth’s village of birth, Aston Somerville in Gloucestershire. The early days of their married life were spent at Bengeworth, Evesham. They had eight children (seven daughters and at last a son): Emma (1848-1915), Mary (1852-1869), Ellen (1853-1937), Betsey (1855-1931), Caroline (1857-1932), Jane/Jennie (1859-1941), Alice (1862-1940) and Oliver (1864-?). At the time of the 1851 census, George and Elizabeth were living at 1 Longdon Hill, Bengeworth Field, with their first-born child, Emma. George was described as a milk man. They were still at Longdon Hill when Mary was born in 1852 (George was described as a gardener at her baptism in September 1852) but, by the time Ellen was born in 1853, they had moved a mile or two away to Murcot. Ellen, Betsey and Caroline were all born at Murcot. In 1856, when two of the children were baptised at Childswickham, George was described as a farmer. By the time of Jennie’s birth in 1959, they were living in Wickhamford, where they remained for the next 16 years.
In the 1861 census, George was described as an agricultural labourer and Elizabeth was a gloveress. The four eldest daughters were all scholars and would have walked daily to Badsey to attend the National School.
By 1871, only the four youngest children were still living at home. George was now a market gardener of 11 acres (the only market gardener listed in Wickhamford). He had only recently taken up market gardening as when Emma, his eldest daughter, married Thomas Jelfs in 1869, he was still described as a labourer. Mary had died in 1869, Ellen was working as a servant in Berkshire and Betsey was a servant at Wickhamford Manor.
Following in the footsteps of their two eldest daughters, Emma Jelfs and Ellen Edkins, George and Elizabeth Edkins and their five youngest children left Liverpool in steerage class on “City of New York”, arriving in New York on 15th October 1875. It is perhaps not surprising that, with family, friends and neighbours who had emigrated, George and Elizabeth also decided to make the voyage overseas (Wickhamford neighbours, John and Mary Ann Sears, had emigrated in 1872). George and Elizabeth settled in the state of Ohio, where a number of Badsey and Wickhamford families were already living.
In 1880, George and Elizabeth were living in Bainbridge, Geauga County, Ohio, with their three youngest children, Jennie, Alice and Oliver. George was a farmer. Nine-year-old Jesse Reynolds, described as a nephew, was also staying there. But surely he was a grandson? George and Elizabeth’s eldest daughter, Emma Jelfs, had also emigrated to America but her husband, Thomas Jelfs, had died and she had married again in 1879 to George Reynolds.
Elizabeth Edkins had died by 1890. On 31st March 1891, George married Anna Day in Sangamon, Illinois. Anna was the widow of Edwin M Day. In 1900, George and Anna were living in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois. George died on 22nd February 1908 in Springfield, Illinois, but was laid to rest in Restland Cemetery, Bainbridge.
Shortly after George’s death, the “Civil War and Later Wars Index to Remarried Widow Pension Applications, 1848-1934”, reveals that Anna applied for a pension on 17th March 1908. It seems that, after the death of George, Anna went to live with two of her step-daughters, Jennie Beardsley and Alice Montgomery. She is listed on the 1910 Federal Census as a boarder at Jennie’s home in Huntsburg, Ohio, and also at Alice’s home in Cleveland, Ohio, as a “roomer”, so presumably she moved between the two households. Anna Edkins died on 5th March 1912 in Cleveland.
- George Edkins – Wickhamford’s First Market Gardener
- Elizabeth Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Betsey Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Caroline Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Jane Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Alice Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Oliver Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Ellen Edkins – emigrated 1874
- Emma Jelfs (née Edkins) – emigrated 1874
- Thomas Jelfs – emigrated 1874
- Jesse Jelfs – emigrated 1874