Visitors since Oct 2006
(1851 - 1928)
John Gould was born illegitimately to Susanna Hitchcock Gould in North Molton, Devon on 29 September 1851. He was baptised at All Saints parish church, North Molton on 03 October 1851 and the birth was registered by his mother on 14 October 1851.
There is only one clue as to the identity of John's father and that is provided by his mother. Up to and including the census on 30 March 1851, Susan had always been recorded as Susan Gould. Only six months later, and coincidentally, at the time of Johns birth, Susan has added the name Hitchcock to become Susanna Hitchcock Gould. Certainly there were Hitchcocks living in and around North Molton in 1851.
The 1861 census for North Molton shows John, aged nine living with his grandmother Mary Radford (nee Gould) and her second husband John Radford. The address is a little unclear but appears to be Low Foushat or perhaps Fore Street. John is recorded as a scholar.
Whilst John's mother was at a different address in North Molton at the time of the 1861 census, it does not necessarily follow that she was not responsible for his upbringing. It is as likely that a younger Susan was more able to find paid work than either her 65 year old mother or 69 year old blind step father.
The 1871 census reveals that John was still living in North Molton with his grandmother Mary Radford. Whilst Mary is recorded as the head of the household, John is recorded as an unmarried lodger and working as a masons labourer; the property is called 'Hodges'. At the same address is John's mother Susan and her other son, Philip George who was nine years old.
For reasons as yet unknown, between 1871 and 1876, John moved across Exmoor to take up residence in Kingsbrompton, Somerset. Further research will provide a more accurate date and perhaps a reason for the move.
John is first visible in Kingsbrompton when at 24, he married 19 year old Harriet Sydenham. The marriage took place at The Blessed Virgin Mary church Kingsbrompton on 14 February 1876, Valentines day.
Harriet's father William has a recorded occupation of mason. John's occupation on the marriage certificate is that of labourer. Perhaps John met Harriet through working with her father, John having previously worked as a masons labourer.
Approximately 8 ½ months after their marriage, Harriet gave birth to their first child. Rosa Maria was born in Kingsbrompton on 02 October 1876. Baptism records identify John as a labourer living in 'Rock Town', Kings Brompton.
A further child, Ernest William Gould followed on 25 October 1878. The family were still living in Kingsbrompton and the birth certificate reveals John's occupation as labourer. Baptism records identify their address as 'Upper Town', Kings Brompton.
At the age of 29, John became a father again with the birth of George Henry Gould on 24 February 1881. Baptism entries identify John as a miner and labourer living at 'Upper Town', Kings Brompton.
The April 03 1881 census reveals John, Harriet, Ernest William and George Henry as living at 'New House' Brompton Regis (previously known as Kingsbrompton). John's occupation is shown as that of iron ore miner. The house is shared with Thomas, Mary and Elizabeth Forgan and boarder Henry Tackle.
Four year old Rosa was not with the family on census night but staying with her grandparents Maria and William Sydenham at 'Upper Town', Brompton Regis. Being the oldest child, perhaps Rosa was away from home to allow John and Harriet to look after two year old Ernest William and one month old George Henry.
On 13 February 1884, still living in Brompton Regis, John and Harriet became parents again with the birth of Lillian. The birth was registered on 19 March 1884 by Harriet and records John as a 32 year old labourer.
Lillian was christened at the Blessed Virgin Mary church, Brompton Regis on 13 April 1884. The church christening records identify the family as living in 'Upper Town'. John's occupation is recorded as miner and labourer.
Louisa Jane Gould, the fifth child of John and Harriet was born on 12 May 1886 in Brompton Regis. Louisa was also baptised at the parish church; the baptism record dated 14 July 1886, shows that John was working as a mason and labourer and the family were living at 'Upper Town'.
John and the family moved to Pontypridd, South Wales during the weekend of Friday 07 October 1887 to Monday 10 October 1887.
The dating is so precise as school records identify Lilian was withdrawn from school in Brompton Regis on the Friday and all of the children other than Rosa were enrolled in their new school in Pontypridd on the following Monday. Rosa remained at school in Brompton Regis until January 1889, living with her grand parents.
The families departure to South Wales was perhaps, a product of the decline in the working of the mines in Brompton Regis. A diary entry made on 13 March 1890, by a Brompton Regis teacher reads, 'A great many families removing from the parish. This will cause us to loose many children'.
The Brompton Regis iron ore mine was leased to the Ebbw Vale Co; perhaps this may have been a factor in John's choice of places to relocate.
Family stories suggest that John was amongst the first to work on the shafts of the colliery at Navigation, a small hamlet close to Pontypridd. Navigation would not have been large enough to support the increase in demand for accommodation arising out of the establishment of the new mine.
Two years after arriving in Wales, Harriet gave birth to their sixth child Bessie in Pontypridd on 13 October 1889.
At the age of 39, John became a father again for the last time. The birth of a daughter Edith Laura on 18 January 1891, places the family at Evans Houses, Coedpenmaen, Pontypridd. The birth was registered by Harriet on 28 February 1891 and the certificate identifies that John was working as a sinker.
The 1891 census places all the family other than Rosa at 34 Coedpenmaen road, Pontypridd. John is recorded as aged 38 (he was actually 39) and still working as a sinker. Rosa was still living in Brompton Regis.
Living at the same address were coal miners, Isaac and George Carter who are recorded as lodgers, perhaps taken in to support the cost of raising such a large family.
Family stories maintain that John and Harriet separated. Evidence from the following electoral registers suggest the break up may have occurred as early as 1895 as John appeared to move houses several times between 1895 and 1900.
|1895||34 Coedpenmaen Rd|
|West Terrace, Pontypridd|
|1896||4 West Terrace, Pontypridd|
|1898||2 Bonvilston Rd, Pontypridd|
|Cottage, Merthyr Rd, Pontypridd|
|Bronhaulog Villas, Abercynon|
|1899||Bronhaulog Villas, Abercynon|
|1 Walter St, Abercynon|
|45 Catherine St, Abercynon|
|94 Brew Rd, Pontypridd|
It is possible that the above addresses pertain to more than one John Gould (the 1881 census reveals that there were at least 33 living in Glamorgan). However, as none of the addresses remain constant, the suggestion must be that all John Goulds were frequent movers.
The absence of Harriet's and the children's names in any of the above registers does not in itself indicate that Harriet and the family were not moving with John; women were not given the vote until 1928 and neither Ernest William or George Henry were old enough to vote. It is thought unlikely however, that John and Harriet would have moved their young family so frequently in such a short space of time. More likely is that John left or was asked to leave the family home.
The 1901 census shows that John was living at 21, Mountain Ash Road, Abercynon with daughter Rosa Maria and son-in-law Charles Gregory. Also at that address were sons Ernest William and George Henry and daughter Lilian. (William, the eldest son of Charles and Rosa was also listed). It is significant that John's wife Harriet and their three youngest daughters are not shown to be at the same address. (Harriet and the three daughters are now known to have been living at an address in Canton, Cardiff at this time).
The 1901 census incorrectly records the ages (by as much as 17 years) and birth places of most of of the family at 21 Mountain Ash Road. A conclusive reason for this discrepancy has yet to be identified.
An interesting photograph has been found of John and Harriet with their children, and from their apparent ages, it would appear that the photograph was taken approximately 1905 - 1910. This raises an interesting question about the marital state of John and Harriet; did they separate or was this a temporary reconciliation.
It has been suggested that perhaps the family came together as a group for the christening of Sidney, eldest son of George Henry Gould. A further photograph has been uncovered of George Henry, his wife Beatrice Maud, and a young child in a christening gown. George Henry appears to be wearing the same clothes and look in both photographs.
From a similar date, a portrait of John has been uncovered. The portrait appears to have been painted and is in excellent condition.
Although slightly later in date, a further photograph identifies John with his work-mates.
In June 1917, a photograph was taken of the sumpers who worked at Abercynon colliery. As well as appearing in a book by Thomas Evans, 'The story of Abercynon', a copy of the photo is also held by Harry Rogers, a well known mining archivist. Mr Rogers' copy has a note on the rear of the photo naming the sumper fifth from the left in the back row as Mr Gould. At the time of the photograph, John would have been 65.
John's wife Harriet died in Cardiff in 1919. All available records indicate that John was not with Harriet at this time.
The next known address for John is from the electoral register of 1919 where he appears with Albert and William Winter at 3 Salisbury Rd, Abercynon. Albert Winter had married John's youngest daughter Edith Laura in 1914.
Albert Winter was a policeman in the Glamorgan Constabulary and in 1922, moved with Edith Laura to Ely in Cardiff. John, who had been living with them, remained in Abercynon. Marjorie, a granddaughter of John remembers that after a year or so of being separated from his daughter Edith, he made contact to tell them he 'was coming home'.
John remained with his daughter Edith and her husband until his death at 102 Plymouth Wood road, Ely, Cardiff on 03 March 1928. He was 76 years old.
Marjorie tells the story that when John died, his daughter Rosa was at the bedside. Rosa described how during his last moments, he seemed to be responding to someone taking a register. As each name was called, he acknowledged by saying 'Aye - Aye', a favourite expression of his. Eventually it appeared as though his name was called and he responded with 'I'm here' or 'I'm coming' and died.
John's death was registered by his son-in-law Albert Winter on 05 March 1928. The certificate identifies the cause of death as cardiac failure and chronic myocardial dysfunction. His profession is recorded as coal miner (retired).
John was buried in a large marked grave at Glyntaf cemetery on xxxxx. He was joined in the grave by his son-in-law Albert Winter in 1949 and his daughter Edith Laura in 1977.