Park, Vause and Drake families of Hull and Bath

One of the long-standing mysteries of our family history is how my great great grandfather Richard Vause, who lived in Hull, met his bride Matilda Park, who was born in Belfast and lived in Bath. He was living in Hull in the 1851 census, and at the beginning of 1852 they were married in Bath and very soon sailed to Natal.

Now we’ve found a couple of census records that could explain how they met.

Matilda Park was the daughter of William Park (of Belfast, Bath and Quebec) and Mary Martin (daughter of John Martin of Belfast). There is more information about the family here and here.

One of Matilda Park’s sisters was Margaret Martin Park, who married James Drake, a surgeon dentist, at St Saviour’s Church, Bath, on 8 June 1848, and the 1851 census shows them in Hull, as visitors in the home of Simeon Mosely, also a surgeon dentist, at 15 Whitefriars Gate, Holy Trinity, Hull.  Their daughter Mary Edith Drake was born in Hull in about December 1850.

Perhaps James Drake and Simeon Mosely were partners in a dental practice, and perhaps Richard Vause was one of their patients, and maybe Matilda Park went to Hull to visit her sister. A lot of maybes, perhaps, or perhapses, maybe. But the fact that members of the Park family were living in Hull in 1850 could explain how Richard Vause met them.

In the 1861 census the Drake family were living at Castle Church, Staffordshire, and in 1871 in Warwickshire, where Margaret Drake appears to have died in 1878.

Mary Edith Drake was later known as Edith, and was single, living on her own means in Penge, London, in the 1891 census. She appears to have been the only child, and does not seem to have married, so there’s no point in looking for present-day relatives from that branch of the family.

Perhaps one thing that could be added is that last week I was contacted by Peter Henderson, who is researching a William Park/Mary Martin family for a friend. That family is in Scotland, and it is not the same family as the one I have been describing here. Peter said a Catherine Raw had a family tree that has conflated the two families. Richard and Matilda Vause’s eldest daughter Polly did marry a John James Raw, so there is a link between the Vause and Raw families, though I’m not sure where Catherine fits in. But the Park/Martin family of Scotland appears to be entirely separate, with no link to ours.

William Park of Bath, Belfast and Quebec

My great-great grandmother was Matilda Park (1828-1881). She was born in Belfast, Ireland, and married Richard Vause in Bath, Somerset, England, in 1852 and they emigrated to Natal in the following month.

Richard Vause was born in Hull, and grew up there, and so one of the mysteries of our family history is how he met and married a girl who lived in Bath. He did work in shipping for a while, and that may have led him to travel, but Bath was not exactly a major port.

Matilda was the youngest daughter of William Park (c1780-1844) and Mary Martin (c1784-1851).Her death announcement in The Times (Jun 17, 1881) reads:

On the 12th May, at her residence, Bellevue, aged 52, deeply lamented,
MATILDA, the much-loved wife of RICHARD VAUSE, of Robinson, Vause, and Co.,
Durban, Natal, youngest daughter of the late William Park, Esq., of Bath,
Somersetshire (formerly of Belfast and Quebec, Canada), and granddaughter of
the late John Martin, Esq., of Messrs. John Martin and Co., Belfast,
Ireland. Friends at a distance will kindly accept this intimation.

Also in The Times (Mar 5, 1855) appears this death announcement:

On the 1st inst., in his 35th year, Samuel Martin Harrison, Esq., youngest
son of the late John Knox Harrison, Esq., and grandson of the late John
Martin, Esq., of Belfast.

So Samuel Martin Harrison was possibly a first cousin of Matilda Park, and John Knox Harrison may have married a sister of Mary Martin.

Mary Martin is described as the daughter of John Martin of John Martin & Co, Belfast.

Matilda Park and Richard Vause were married in a double wedding ceremony, along with Matilda’s sister Octavia. The Bath Herald of 10 Jan 1852 carried the following marriage announcement

Jan. 6, at St Saviour’s, in this city, by the Rev. Dr. Stamer, Rector, Frederick Robert Hawkins, esq., of Trowbridge, to Octavia, daughter of the late William Park, esq., of Belfast.
At the same time Richard Vause, esq., of Hull, to Matilda also daughter of the late William Park esq., of Belfast.

The name Octavia could imply that she was the eighth child in the family (making Matilda the ninth), and there were certainly other siblings.

A death announcement in the Natal Mercury reports that Annie G. Barrett (born Park) sister of Matilda Vause died 19 Aug 1871 New York, aged 52. Another death announcement in the Natal Mercury noted that Alice Bruce, wife of John Bruce of the Surveyor General’s Department, niece of Matilda Vause (born Park) died 21 MAR 1877 at Rosehill, Port Louis, Mauritius aged 28. Another announcement in the same paper noted that William Bruce of the Storekeeper General’s Department died at Port Louis, Mauritius on 3 June 1885, and that he was a nephew of Matilda Vause.

A marriage register entry shows that Margaret Martin Park married James Drake in Bath in 1848.

I’m interested in finding out more about William Park, and his connections with Belfast and Quebec. There is some more about him on our family Wiki pages. We’d also like to know more about his children, and descendants of his other children, and more about the Martin family of Belfast. There is more information about Matilda Park and her husband Richard Vause here.

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