Annie Bell (1866-1945) was born at Aldington in 1866, the second of four children and eldest surviving child of William Bell, an agricultural labourer, and his wife, Sarah (née Harris). She grew up in Aldington in the house known today as Corner Cottage, opposite the Manor House. Her father later became the farm bailiff for Arthur Savory of Aldington Manor.
Annie was still living at home at the time of the 1881 census. She worked as a domestic servant, most probably at the Manor.
On 23rd April 1885 in the Church of St John the Baptist, Wickhamford, Annie married William Marsh, a wheelwright, who had been born at Bengeworth, Evesham, in 1862. The address for both Annie and William was given as Aldington. The reason why they married at Wickhamford rather than Annie’s parish of Badsey was because St James’ Church, Badsey, had closed its doors at the end of March for a six-month refurbishment. Arthur Savory and his daughter, Cynthia, were two of the witnesses at the wedding.
Shortly after marriage, Annie and William settled in America. From census returns, it seems that William had first gone to the States in 1883, returned home to marry his sweetheart, then both emigrated shortly after marriage. The Marshes departed Liverpool, arriving in New York on 16th May 1885. They were accompanied by William’s younger sisters, Annie and Alice.
William was naturalised as a US citizen at Chardon, Cuyahoga, Ohio, in 1888. A daughter, Eva Bell, was born at Troy, Geauga County, Ohio in December 1889. The 1900 federal census reveals that they then lived in Cleveland City, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, with William working as an insurance agent.
At the time of the 1910 census, they lived in Willoughby Township, Lake County, Ohio, William now working as a farm labourer. By 1920 they had moved to Burton Township, Geauga County, Ohio, and were still there in 1930. William died at Burton in 1938; Annie was still living there at the time of the 1940 census. She died at Burton in December 1945 and was buried at Maple Grove Cemetery, Thompson, Geauga County, Ohio, alongside her husband.
See also: From Aldington to Ohio – The story of Annie Bell and William Marsh