Saturday, 5 January 2019

Thomas Bisgood Times Three


This story is inspired by the prompt “first” and actually covers the lives of the first three Thomas Bisgood’s that I have uncovered so far in my research.  Only the first Thomas Bisgood is my direct ancestor.

The first Thomas Bisgood was born around 1757.  I haven’t found a record of his birth or baptism yet.  The name “Bisgood” (and its variations) is rare in England.  As there are similar names that occurred in Scandinavia and the Netherlands, I wonder if Thomas was a migrant from Northern Europe or the descendant of recent migrants.

I think Thomas Bisgood married Alice early in the 1780’s.  Thomas and Alice Bisgood had a daughter, Elizabeth, born 12 October 1782 and baptised 1 January 1783, in the parish church of St John the Evangelist, Westminster.  I have not found any other records relating to Alice or Elizabeth.

St Martin-in-the-Fields Church
(public domain photo from Wikipediea)
On 4 June 1788, Thomas Bisgood married Mary Head at St Martin-in-the-Fields, the famous church now next to Trafalgar Square in London, by banns.  Both signed the register, so must have been educated.

Thomas and Mary had at least eight children: Elizabeth, Charlotte, Mary Ann, John, Harriet (my ancestor), Henry, Thomas (the second one) and Nelson.  Nelson and Mary died in infancy.  The first two children were baptised at St Dunstan in the West, the third child at St Andrews, Holborn, while the family were living in Cursitor St, near Chancery Lane.  The remaining children were baptised at St Leonard’s Shoreditch, by which time the family were living in Gray’s Inn Lane (now Gray’s Inn Road).

I don’t know Thomas Bisgood’s occupation but I wonder if he was something like an attorney’s clerk, or even an attorney, as he always lived near the Inns of Court and his son and grandson, the other Thomas’s, were both lawyers.

This first Thomas Bisgood died late in 1816 and was buried on 29 December at St Leonard’s Shoreditch, age given as 59.

The second Thomas Bisgood, was born on 22 February 1805, in Shoreditch (as mentioned above), so was not quite 12 when his father died.  His mother, Mary, died only 6 years later in 1822. By then, his surviving older sisters were all married, so one of them may have looked after him until he came of age.

By 1824, Thomas Bisgood was training as a legal clerk – I found a newspaper mention of this.  He became an attorney 1834.  In 1842, according to various newspaper articles, his partner, Samuel Richardson Gilbert, went insolvent.  His name crops up in various newspaper articles about court cases through the 1840s and 1850s.

This Thomas Bisgood marries Maria Oakes on 11 January 1829 at St Mary-le-Bow, another famous London church.  Thomas and Maria had at least six children, including Thomas Fallows Bisgood, born 11 December 1829 and baptised at Old Church St Pancras the following year.

Sometime before 1861, Thomas Bisgood migrated to New York, USA, leaving his family in London.  I assume that he was estranged from his wife.  At this time in England, divorce was not an option for most people.  In 1864, he because a naturalised US citizen.  He lived in Brooklyn, New York and died there in 1878.

Meanwhile, son Thomas Fallows Bisgood also trained as a lawyer.  According to an obituary, he practiced in Paris as well as in London.

The third Thomas married Annie Martha Yates in Kensington in 1849.  They had several children, including another Thomas (who I will not write about).  However, like his father, Thomas’s marriage appears to have failed.  He left his wife with his brother, Henry, who was already living with them (in the 1861 census), and joined his father in New York before 1870.  Thomas became a naturalised USA citizen in in 1874.  His son Henry had joined him in New York by 1880.  Within months of Annie’s death in 1886, Thomas Fallows Bisgood remarried to an Edith.  He married a third time in 1889 to Alice Maude Whitaker and had two more children, one of who died in the 1960s, extending this story over 200 years.
Sag Harbour c. 1880s
(photo from Wikipedia, no known copyright restrictions)

Thomas Fallows Bisgood lived in Sag Harbour, New York, where he became a police justice.  He also stood a Democratic candidate in a judicial election.  He was certainly a prominent citizen of the area.

In 1895, Thomas Fallows Bisgood died of Bright’s disease (kidney disease).

While I know a lot about the second and third Thomas Bisgood, I am continuing to look for any records of the first Thomas Bisgood’s life before he married Mary Head.  Perhaps there is an earlier Thomas Bisgood yet to find.


Notes on lineage: Me > Dad > John Edward Blake > Alice Mary Elliston > George Elliston > Samuel Joseph George Elliston (first cousin of Thomas Fallows Bisgood) > Harriet Bisgood (sister of Thomas Bisgood) > Thomas Bisgood (the first)

The "First" prompt is part of 52 ancestors in 52 weeks.


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