Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Brookes Family - the family of Thomas Clayton’s wife

Emma Brookes was the wife of Thomas Clayton, the blacksmith from Willenhall. Emma was born on 4th of April 1843 at 2 Court, Ward Street in St George’s district. Her father was Samuel Brookes a pearl button maker and her mother was Betsy Brookes, formerly Foley.

Samuel Brookes married Betsy (real name Elizabeth) Foley in Handsworth on 29th February 1836. In the 1851 census the Brookes family are recorded at 53 Rodney Road, Handsworth:

Samuel Brookes is the head of the household, he is aged 35 and working as a pearl button maker (born in Birmingham). His wife Elizabeth Brookes (Betsy Foley) was 33 years old and was also born in Birmingham.

The couple had four children registered in the household. First was Ellen aged 13, next was Elizabeth, aged 10, then Emma aged 6 and finally a son named Francis aged 7. (I think that Emma should have been recorded as 8 not 6—in keeping with her birth certificate). All of the children were born in Birmingham, except Francis born in Handsworth, which was then located in Staffordshire not Warwickshire).

Living next door to the Brookes family in Rodney Road was a 74 year old man named Charles Foley, a widower born in Stourbridge. Charles Foley’s profession is given as a Craft Toy Maker — toy making referred to small trinkets usually made of metal. There is one additional resident living with Charles Foley, a 13 year old girl named Ann Stokes, who is listed as a servant.

We can speculate that Charles Foley could have been the father of Betsy (Elizabeth) who was living next door.

In the 1881 census Samuel and Betsy are recorded at 65C 13H Farm Street. He is a 66 year old pearl button cutter and she is 60 years old. Also recorded was a 7 year old grand daughter named Deborah Brookes.

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