James CHRISTOPHER (c1764 - 1847)
Agricultural Labourer of Dorset

(Surname variations encountered: Christophers, Christefors, Christever, Christover, Cristever)

©Compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington March 2013 (Last updated Oct 2017)

Link to House of CHRISTOPHER Master File

I believe that James CHRISTOPHER was the son of William Trask Christopher (1741-1785) and Elizabeth DARK (1739-1830) and was born around 1764 during the eight year period (1763 to 1771) when we loose track of the whereabouts of the whole family .

In trying to fix his year of birth we have a number of indicators. He died at Lytchett Minister in Dorset in 1847 with both the parish burial register and the registration at the General Registry Office (GRO) recording his age as being 83, making him born circa 1764(1). He also appears in the 1841 Census where unusually the enumerator appears to have entered his exact age (2) as being 79 which would place his birth a bit later in 1768. The ages on this return however appear to be only approximations(3) so I have stayed with 1764 as the most likely year of his birth. As far as I can tell James stayed with his parents as they moved around the countryside in search of work. If this is the case he would have been 8 years old when his younger brother George was baptised at Cheselbourne in 1772 and 11 when they first arrived at Lady St Mary's parish in Wareham. We know the family were living in the adjacent parish of St Martin's in Wareham by 1778 (when he was aged 14) but had arrived at Lytchett Minister by 1781.

At the age of 17 Lytchett Minister was probably the first place he was paid an adult wage and James seems to have spent the rest of his life in the immediate area bordered by the three villages of Lytchett Minister, Lytchett Matravers and Morden which are about 4 miles apart. The last of his siblings was born at Morden in 1785 which is where his father was also buried later that year so it's not particularly surprising to find this area forming the focus for the rest of his life.

1st Marriage to Elizabeth CONEY at Lytchett Minster - 1800

Lytchett Minster Church and a copy of their marriage entry in the parish register
© Picture Church Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

The earliest firm evidence that we have of James CHRISTOPHER as an individual is his marriage to Elizabeth CONEY (1776-1808) on 30th January 1800 in the parish church at Lytchett Minister(4). She was the eldest child of Robert CONEY (1755-1827) by his wife Elizabeth POLLARD (b 1756), a native of Wareham, who was known locally as Betty.
    Background to Elizabeth CONEY's Family:
    Although Elizabeth and her 3 siblings were all born and raised in Lytchett Minster her family came from Cranborne which is not far from Edmonsham where the Christopher family originates. Her grandfather Andrew CONEY (d.1789) was a Yeoman (farmer) but also a brickmaker, a trade he seems to have passed down to his two surviving sons. His wife (Elizabeth's grandmother) Susannah nee Hording died in Cranborne in 1787 so pre-deceased her husband. Andrew's eldest son and heir was James CONEY( 1752-1781) but he died when he was only 29 years old in 1781, so Elizabeth's father Robert CONEY (1755-1827) was named as sole executor of Andrew's will and granted administration of his estate on 10th January 1789. Robert's four surviving children Elizabeth (1776-1808); James (b.1777); Andrew (1784-1876) and Rebecca (b.1786-) were each left a bequest of £10, payable when they reached their respective ages of 21 years. This would have represented about 6 months wages for those working on the land so was quite a reasonable bequest for Elizabeth to receive in 1797.Turning to other bequests in the will:-

    Robert's brother James had married Keturah HENNING in Lytchett Minster in 1778 and produced 2 children (James in 1778 and Andrew in 1780) before James (the father) died in 1781. Keturah had already re-married (in 1783) by the time Andrew came to draw up his will so he only made provision for his 2 surviving grandchildren by her. They also were left £10 each, but James as his natural heir in line of succession, was also to inherit a house with outhouses and a half garden plot when he attained his age of majority. His younger brother Andrew was also to inherit part of Andrew's dwelling house and half the garden plot.

    Robert and James also had an elder sister Elizabeth CONEY (1746-1826) who had married Morgan NEW ( 1744-1820) in Cranborne in 1769 when she would have received her share of her fathers estate in the form of a dowry. Her two children however did receive a bequest in Andrew's will. Her daughter Elizabeth New (b.1770) receiving £15 and brother James New (b. 1772) £10 both at the age of 21.

    After provision for his bequests and payment of all his debts and funeral expenses Elizabeth's father Robert was left the rest of his estate. This included all her grandfather's stock in trade, all the implements he used in husbandry as well as use of the dwellings mentioned above until such time as the 2 sons of James came into their inheritance. Robert however had already moved away from Cranborne when he married Elizabeth Pollard in Wareham in 1775 and settled at Lytchett Minster to raise his family so is unlikely to have taken possession, just administered his fathers estate. The important point here is that Elizabeth came from a family that was much better off than his own.
Elizabeth CONEY (1776-1808) was Robert's eldest child, being baptised at Lytchett Minster on 17th March 1776, so she was 24 years old at marriage (some ten years junior to James). Her mother originated from Wareham and we know that James arrived in Wareham with his own family in 1775 so both families shared something of a common background. Elizabeth's younger brother Andrew CONEY (b.1784) acted as one of two witnesses. Unusually the church at Lytchett Minster has no official dedication to a saint, and unfortunately the nave was destroyed by fire which was rebuilt in 1833, but the tower is built of local 'heathland' red sandstone and is medieval in date. I can trace 2 children from this marriage:-
    Rebecca CHRISTOPHER (1801-1872) We now come to another of the many anomalies surrounding Christopher Family Records:- having married at the end of Jan 1800 we would normally expect James & Elizabeth's first child to be baptised the following year. Sure enough we have the baptism of a Rebecca the daughter of a James Christopher baptised in nearby Lytchett Matravers on 25th Oct 1801, but the parish register shows the mothers name to be Rebecca as well, not Elizabeth. We cannot locate a marriage, other children or even a death of a Rebecca Christopher (the mother) anywhere in Dorset and this raises the possibility that the scribe made a mistake in the mothers name(5).

    Rebecca's life after her baptism in 1801 also suggests she was their daughter. Rebecca marries when she is 39 years old to John RICKETTS (1768-1859) an agricultural labourer in the nearby parish of Morden on 27th Feb 1840.(6) She gives her place of abode as Morden which would be correct if she is the daughter of James and Elizabeth as she would have been living there with her father and step mother since 1809. They settle in Morden to live raising 3 children there before John RICKETTS dies of dropsy and is buried in the parish church at Morden on 11th Dec 1859 aged 62. Rebecca was 42 when she had her first child George Ricketts (bap Morden 19 Sep 1843) ; 44 when she had William (bap Morden 7th Apr 1845) and 48 years old when she had her last child Jane baptised there on 4th Feb 1849.

    After his death Rebecca is shown in the 1861 census as working as a nurse in Morden, but on 27th May 1865 when she was 64 she married for a second time to Peter LOVELL (1813-1869) another agricultural labourer in the village. Peter, then aged 48, was the widowed husband of her step sister Fanny CHRISTOPHER (1811-1863) by whom he had 14 children. Their marriage survived until Peters sudden death from a heart attack and burial in Morden on 20th Aug 1869. Rebecca's eldest son George Ricketts became a gamekeeper and found employment in Kirkby Lancashire where he met and married Mary HOWARD, a native of Eccleston Lancashire in 1867. Their first child was born in Kirkby in 1868 so when her 2nd husband died Rebecca moved to Lancashire to live with George and her daughter in law. Rebecca died in 1st quarter of 1872 in the district of Wareham but I have not so far located her burial.
    Andrew CHRISTOPHER (b 1803-1847) Their 2nd child was named after Elizabeth's brother and grandfather Andrew CONEY and was baptised in the 16th century font at Lytchett Minster on 28th Aug 1803. Despite our best efforts over many years we were unable to locate anything else about him in England. Recently however genealogists in Canada have alleged that he emigrated marrying on 20th June 1826 at the Trinity Anglican Church in Digby Nova Scotia to Elizabeth WEAR (1807-1894). The prime source quoted, and one which I am happy to rely on(10), comes from an entry in "A Genealogy and History of the Shute [i.e.CHUTE] family of America: with some account of Allied Families". Importantly one of the Allied Families is the Wear Family, and thankfully all the children of Joseph WEAR (1764-1844) who married Elizabeth CHUTE are recorded. Andrew's wife was the 9th of their 11 children and it states "Elizabeth born July 2nd 1807 married Andrew son of James CHRISTOPHER, from England June 26th 1826. He died April 30th 1847 aged 43".

    Andrew does appear briefly in the 1838 Census of Canada where he is described as a Yeoman of Hillsburgh township in Digby but this is only a numeric census so all we know is that there were 7 of them in the family, i.e. Andrew his wife and 5 children. His death is recorded at Glanville Annapolis Nova Scotia on 30th April 1847, but no age is given. I have outlined the information that I have in the genealogical notes below.(10) Children from this marriage are:-

      10.1 Sophronia Christopher (1827-1900) bap Clements Annapolis Nova Scotia 18th Apr 1827. She married circa 1850 to James McGregor (1830-1916) a Calvinist Baptist reported to be of Scottish descent and also a native of Nova Scotia. They lived until 1877 at Annapolis in Nova Scotia raising a family of 13 children between 1850-1871 before moving to live at Lynn in Essex Massachusetts. Sophronia died when she was aged 73 on 18th Oct 1900 followed by James McGregor in 1916.

      10.2 Phebe [Phoebe] E Christopher (b.1831) born at Clements Annapolis Nova Scotia about 1831 the genealogy states that she married firstly Manasseh [Manassah] McGrath (b.c1827) and had 2 children by him before he died at sea (bef c. 1855) one of these children was James Harvey McGrath (b1852) who married 4th Aug 1880 at Marblehead Massachusetts USA to Letitia Jane Matthews. Phebe married 2ndly to Thomas McGrath (b.c.1835) a brother of her first husband, and had 4 daughters and a son by him.

      10.3 John Christopher (1833-1867) born at Clements Annapolis Nova Scotia about 1833 he married Elizabeth Hammond (1837-1925) known as Lizzie at Marblehead Massachusetts in USA on 14th March 1859. They had a bachelor son Ellsworth Christopher (1861-1950). John Christopher died at Marblehead on 7th July 1867.

      10.4 Charlotte Elizabeth Christopher (1835-1891) born at Bear River, Annapolis Nova Scotia about 1835 she married Henry Frederick Maughan (1809-1872)

      10.5 Emeline [Emmeline] Christopher born Clements (b.1837) born at Clements Annapolis Nova Scotia she married Eber RING

      10.6 Amy Ann Christopher (1841-1913) born Nova Scotia 23 Aug 1839; married Stephen Harris Taylor (1838-1902) at Digby Nova Scotia and raised a family of 10 children

      10.7 Ruth Sophia Christopher (1842-1871) bap Nova Scotia 1842; married Sydney Smith Apt (1828-1876) and had 5 children
Elizabeth (nee Coney) died at Lytchett Minster and was buried there aged 32 on 13th October 1808. James younger brother George CHRISTOPHER (1772-1843) was at this time living in Morden and James met there his second wife Jane Stickland. Before we leave the Coney Family however it is worth noting that the skill of bricklaying and brick making seems to have been evident in the Coney family of Cranborne from an early date (pre 1739) and this skill passed down to each generation. It is undoubtedly where James son Samuel by his second marriage acquired his skills as a brickmaker

2nd Marriage in 1809 to Jane STICKLAND (1775-1860)

A year after the death of his first wife James married again this time to a Jane Stickland in St Mary’s church in Morden on Boxing Day, 26th December 1809. I have not included a picture as the present church was rebuilt in 1873. Jane was the youngest daughter of Richard Stickland by his wife Betty Barnes and had been christened in Morden Church on 27th December 1775. She was therefore 34 when she married James Christopher who was 45, and came from a family entrenched in Morden for several generations. She brought with her four illegitimate children.
    Background to Jane STICKLAND's Life prior to her marriage

    Jane was the 5th of seven children of a Richard Stickland by his wife Betty Barnes and her parents had married in Morden on 15th May 1769 producing their family between 1770 and 1784 before Betty died aged about 41 and was buried in Morden churchyard on 11 January 1789. Richard was well respected in Morden becoming the churchwarden by 1792 and he remarried to an Ann Selloe again in Morden on 28 July 1795. They had one further child in December of the following year but unfortunately his wife died during delivery and was buried in Morden on 4th of that month. The baby was named after her and baptised the same day. Sadly, perhaps weakened by the difficult birth, she also died a few years later and was laid to rest with her mother on 17th August 1800. Richard however was made of stern stuff and he married for the third time at the age of 61 on 4th September 1800 to a Mary Prior. I assume Mary was of a similar age as no more children appear to have resulted from this union. Richard lived until he was 88 years old and was buried in Morden with his wives on 15th day of January in the year 1827.

    Returning to Jane her own mother died when she was 14, a difficult age at the best of times, and her father did not remarry until she was 20 by which time she was working as a domestic servant to a local farmer. As we have seen above 1796 was a difficult time for the family with the death of her stepmother and Jane became pregnant in April the following year. In fact she was to give birth to four illegitimate children in Morden over the next 11 years so I will deal with each of these in turn.

    Birth of Isabella STICKLAND (1798-1882)

    The Morden Parish Registers show that Jane’s first child was “base born” and baptised as Isabella STICKLAND on 21st January 1798. When she was 21 years old she too had an illegitimate child whom she gave the very unusual name of Mereb Stickland and had baptised in the Lytchett Minster on 12th September 1819. Twenty months later Isabella was married there to William CHRISTOPHER (1800-1853) the eldest son of James brother George CHRISTOPHER (1772-1843) by his wife Jane DOREY (1776-1835). Their life together is the subject of a separate account but Isabella lived until she was 84 years old and had twelve more children with William. She must have been doing something right because quite unusually all of her children lived into adulthood. It needs to be remembered that half of all deaths at this time were infants.

    Birth of John and James Lithgow STICKLAND - 1803

    Jane’s next two children were also recorded as base born and baptised together on 29th December 1803. They were named John and James Lithgow Stickland.

    The official position regarding bastards was set out by the Parliamentary Act of 1743/4 which laid down that a bastard was to have the “settlement” of his or her mother and that the mother was to be publicly whipped through the town or village. With no contraception however bastardy was commonplace, so this threat was rarely carried out. The plight of agricultural labourers in Dorset was dreadful from about 1780 and steadily got worse so your place of “settlement” was important as it determined your right to poor relief from the parish.

    Overseers of the poor had a right to charge the mother or father with the cost of her lying in and the child’s upkeep until they were apprenticed which could be from the age of seven. Single women who became pregnant therefore often underwent a settlement examination by the overseer during which they would be questioned as to who the father was. If they were not satisfied about provision for the child they could even have the father arrested by the Constable of the parish and put in jail until he provided a bastardy bond. Where the offender was a valued employee the employer sometimes put up the bond, or where the father was a landowner of wealth for a lump sum payment to be made.

    Another common practice at this time was to brand an illegitimate child with a second name which was the surname of the father. The baptism of both these children in 1803 was therefore a public declaration as to who their father was and strengthened her case for support from someone with the unusual surname of “Lithgow.” Being baptised together in these circumstances does not necessarily mean they were twins. Whilst Jane may well have had support during the early years from the Lithgow’s this often ceased when they reached the age of seven and could be apprenticed so perhaps that was another reason for her to marry.

    The Churchwarden Accounts for East Morden for the years 1800 to 1805 show that landowners by the name of Lithgow were assessed for rates on various properties that they owned. Among their tenants for example was an Ann Stickland. The 1841 to 1871 Census returns show that there was a farmer called James LITHGOW (1785-1863) living at Sherford Farm in Morden. He was the son of John LITHGOW (1748-1832) who left a will when he died in 1832 and its clear they were wealthy landowners around Morden. If you head a short distance south out of Morden on what is today the B3075 you quickly come to the cross roads with the A35 from Dorchester heading east to Lytchett Minster. Along the road to the east you encounter within a mile the hamlet of Slepe and Bulbury Woods, and further along Organford Manor. This is where many of the Christopher family originate so its clear that they worked the fields in this area for many years. 500 meters straight over the cross roads is the hamlet of Sherford, and 1000 meters further on where the road crosses the Sherford river is Sherford Farm. Living next door to James Lithgow was their step sister Fanny Christopher (see below) and her husband Peter Lovell with their growing family. James Lithgow's holding is described in the census as being 140 acres and shows that he was employing 3 men and a boy. James Lithgow had originally been baptised in Almer on 27th September 1785 which is situated only about a mile north of Morden and he would have been about 20 when these children were born. His father John Lithgow and his wife had 8 children that I know of from 1782 to 1791. Whilst supposition it does seem possible that sometime before he inherited the farm James, or perhaps even his father, may have been responsible for the birth of these children.

    Birth of Jane Stickland (1809-1897)

    The last of the four illegitimate children prior to Jane’s marriage to James was a girl and she was not baptised until 24th Sep 1809 when she took her mothers name. Baptism occurred barely 3 months before Jane’s wedding to James Christopher and this raises the possibility that she was his child. What I suspect happened was that after the death of his first wife in Oct 1808 James probably needed support bringing up his young family and moved from Lytchett Minster to Morden where his brother George was living. I know Jane Stickland was living in Morden, was available for work, and was obviously experienced at raising children; so she may have been brought into the family fairly quickly as it would have suited both of them. It was common practice to name the eldest child after the parents but because Jane already had children called James and Jane no Christopher’s were so named. I think her birth may well therefore have been the catalyst for them to marry and perhaps Boxing Day an appropriate date on which to start a new life together.

    Jane the daughter married when she was 26 years old in Corfe Castle to an agricultural labourer called George Peach who had been born in the village. They married on 17 August 1835 and set up home nearby at Woolgrastone where they were both to remain for the rest of their lives. They raised a family of more than seven children, one of which Elizabeth Matilda Peach was to marry the grandson of her Sister Isabella called Samuel Christopher. George Peach lived until he was 84 and died in 1893 whilst Jane continued until she was 87 years old [although it says 91 on her certificate] dying in Corfe Castle around May 1897.

Children from 2nd Marriage (1811-1817)

After their marriage James and Jane continued to reside in Morden where they had another four children baptised. I give brief details of their lives below :-
    Fanny CHRISTOPHER (1811-1863). Fanny was probably born around the end of 1811(7) and quickly followed by Samuel at the end of 1812.  Whether for the sake of economy or because they were not regular churchgoers I do not know, but they were both baptised together in St Mary’s church in Morden on the 3rd January 1813 by an officiating Minister Rev. John Wilkins , although the Rev Grosvenor ministered the souls of the parish from 1793 - 1841. When Fanny Christopher reached her maturity she married in Morden church on 5th April 1832 to a local agricultural labourer by the name of Peter LOVEL (1813-1869) who was 2 years her junior. They lived at Sherford Cottage in Morden all their lives raising a family of 14 children between 1834 and 1854. Sherford cottage was one of the cottages on Sherford farm rented out to agricultural labourers who worked for James LITHGOW(1786-1863). Fanny's death is recorded in the Morden parish burial register for the year 1863 where it also gives the cause of death as Pleurisy. Today with better diagnosis this rarely leads to death but it is often associated with other forms of inflammatory disease within the chest, more particularly pneumonia, bronchiectasis and tuberculosis. On the 27th May 1865 Peter Lovell remarried to his wife's step sister Rebecca CHRISTOPHER (1801-1872). Their marriage survived until Peters sudden death from a heart attack and burial in Morden on 20th Aug 1869.
    Samuel CHRISTOPHER (1812-1896) As stated above he was baptised at Morden with his sister Fanny on 3rd Jan 1813. When he grew up he appears to have been taught the skills of bricklaying and progressed to be a journeyman brickmaker by the coney family. He moved around a bit more than some of his contemporaries and he met a very young girl  in Charlton Marshall called Hannah DENNIS (1820-1904) and like his mother before him married on Boxing day in the year 1836 in his brides parish. Although Samuel was then 23 years old Hannah was still only 16 being the sixth child from the marriage of James DENNIS to Mary DRAKE who married in the parish in 1802. Samuel and Hannah raised a family of 11 children together in Charlton Marshall between the years 1837 and 1865 and had many descendants.They were both buried at Charlton Marshall, Samuel on 14th Feb 1896 and Hannah on 1st Feb 1904.
    Reuben CHRISTOPHER (1815-1894) Reuben was baptised with my 3x great grandfather Henry CHRISTOPHER (1815 -1865) the son of James brother George CHRISTOPHER (1772-1843). They were baptised together in St Mary’s Church on 2nd April 1815 by Rev Charles Bowle MA who the curate at St Marys. In 1825 he was appointed vicar of Milborne Port but returned as vicar of St Marys in Morden in 1834. The combined baptism was possible because George lived in Morden with his growing family from at least 1813 to 1820. Reuben lived with his parents working in the fields surrounding Morden as an agricultural labourer moving with them to Lytchett Matravers by 1841 and then Lytchett Minster by 1850 when he married at the age of 35. He married Elizabeth SKINNER (1828-1908) the 22 year old eldest daughter of another Agricultural labourer George SKINNER by his wife Mary Anne (nee Parker). Elizabeth had been baptised in Lytchett Minster on 6th July 1828 and they married after Banns there on Christmas day 1850. They raised a family of 6 children over the next 20 years having them baptised in Lytchett Minster and Lytchett Matravers according to where Reuben was working at the time.(8) Reuben died on 20th Feb 1894 the official cause on his death certificate shows 'papilloma of bladder homatuna exhaustion' and it states his age to be 74 although we know that he was actually 79. He was buried at Lytchett Matravers on 25th. Elizabeth joined him on 27th June 1908.
    Caroline CHRISTOPHER (1817-?) Their last child Caroline had to go it alone on the 21st April 1817 and received the blessing at the hands of John Basket the curate. I cannot however locate a marriage or death for her.(9)

Death of James CHRISTOPHER - 1847

I know very little about James later life except that he continued to work as an agricultural labourer in the district and was living in Lytchett Matravers on 6th June 1841 with Jane and their son Reuben when the first Census to record people was taken. This at least confirmed that he had been born in Dorset. He died from internal bleeding at the age of 83 in Lytchett Minster on the 12th February 1847 and was then buried in the local churchyard four days later.

Death of Jane CHRISTOPHER - 1860

After James died Jane seems to have been classified as a pauper and lived for a while in the 1850’s at Organford in the company of her sons Reuben Christopher (with his wife Elizabeth), Samuel Christopher and John Stickland. The Poole Poor Law Union was formed on 2nd October 1835 and the new workhouse was erected in 1838/9 at Longfleet and, like her husbands brother George, this is where she eventually died in 1860 at the age of 86.

Genealogical Notes:-

(1). The parish burial register entry is on page 54 for the year 1847: entry 425 and states "Name: James Christopher; Abode: Lytchett Minster; date buried 16th Feb; Age: 83 (years) ; Performed by Rev W Wilkinson. His death Certificate shows:- Registration district of Poole 1847 death in the district of Lytchett Minster in County of Dorset No 363 12th February 1847 at Lytchett Minster James Christopher Male age 83 years occupation Labourer cause of death Haematuria 1 week Certified informant the mark X of Maria Bender in attendance Lytchett Minster registered 15th February 1847 by registrar Benjamin Galton. The informant Maria Bender does not appear to be a family member.

(2). For the 1841 Census only - ages were supposed to be entered into 5 year bands so if he was aged 79 he should have been in the band for 75/79 which was to be recorded as 75.

(3). The problem with the 1841 Census is that it was the first time a census had been undertaken on a national basis so it was probably the first time James as head of the household would have been handed the census return for completion by the enumerator. We know James was illiterate signing his name with an 'X' on his 1st marriage in 1800 so he would not have been able to read the form and in practice the form would have been completed by the enumerator asking him questions probably on the doorstep. James appears to have given his age as 79, the age of his wife Jane as 73 and the age of his son Reuben 22. Jane was baptised in 1775 so she was actually 66 not 73 and Reuben was baptised in 1815 so was 26 not 22 which suggests that James age is an approximation as well.

(4). Lytchett Minister Marriage Register:- James Cristever bachelor of this parish and Elizabeth Coney spinster of this parish were married in this church by Banns this 30th day of Jan in the year one thousand eight hundred by me Edward Harben curate - both their marks - in the presence of Andrew Coney and Henry Harris.

(5). Regarding Rebecca Christophers parentage:- There is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that her mothers Christian name was not Rebecca. First Rebecca is a very unusual Christian name when coupled with Christopher. We have painstakingly constructed a data base over the last 10 years (at March 2013) of all known entries that relate to the Christopher family in Dorset prior to 1900. It has 3053 entries but only 3 relate to the name Rebecca. Two of these three relate to this Rebecca's baptism and marriage, the other to Rebecca Lucas (1800-1831) who married John Christopher and is clearly not the mother here. Second I cannot locate a marriage of a Rebecca to a James Christopher anywhere in England on Ancestry or the IGI. Nor her death or re-marriage. The baptism is right when we would expect it to be a year after James and Elizabeth marriage and it took place in the next village of Lytchett Matravers. In looking at the parish register I note a change in hand of the scribe recording baptisms in July 1801 so it's possible that he was not familiar with the family who were not married there and had arrived within the last year. Furthermore Elizabeth had a 15 year old sister called Rebecca CONEY who might well have attended the baptism. She appears as a witness at the marriage of their brother Andrew Coney to Judith Plowman in Lytchett Matravers on 24th July 1804. Also James & Elizabeth's 1st recorded child was Andrew Christopher who was not baptised until 28th Aug 1803 at Lytchett Minster some 3 years 8 months after their marriage suggesting the possibility of an earlier child.

(6). Ancestry.com Image Page 6 Marriages Parish of Morden Dorset :- 1840 Marriage solemnized by Banns in the church at Morden in the County of Dorset Entry 11 Married February twenty seventh John RICKETTS of full age a widower a labourer abode Morden father William RICKETTS a labourer: to Rebecca CHRISTOPHER of full age a spinster a servant abode Morden father James CHRISTOPHER a Labourer were married in this church by me J.H. Carnegie Curate of Morden both their marks witnesses William Nichols and Mary Woodcock

(7). Fanny CHRISTOPHER (18111-1863) Her year of birth has been estimated from her age given in the following documents 1841 Census aged 29 = 1812; 1851 Census aged 40 = 1811; 1861 Census age 48 = 1813; death certificate 1863 age 52 =1811.

(8). Children of Reuben CHRISTOPHER (1815-1895) and Elizabeth SKINNER (1828-1908) were :- (1) Reuben Christopher (1851-1917); (2) Mary Jane Christopher (1854-1902) who remained a spinster but had 2 illegitimate children (3) Mark Christopher (1856-1949) (4) Caroline Christopher (1860-?) who married Richard Lawrence in 1879 (5) Walter Christopher (1864-1952) (6) Agnes Christopher (1871-1948)

(9). Caroline CHRISTOPHER (b 1817) - Do not confuse with the Caroline Christopher who married William Sywer. This Caroline was born at Mapperton but Bap 12 Oct 1828 in Almer Dorset, a milliner and dressmaker she married (1) Jun Qtr 1844 when she was 15 years old to an agricultural labourer William SWYER [Born abt 1818 Sturminster Marshall] and had at least 3 children by him (2) in Mar Qtr 1857 a William CRABB She then became the housekeeper for (3) Henry JAMES a farm shepherd of Sturminster Marshall (b 1833c Shapwick, alive 1891) and lived with, and bore him 5 illegitimate children. By 1891 she is calling herself Caroline James but I can't locate a marriage and she appears to have died in Wimborne in 1894 in either the Mar or sep Qtr under the name of Caroline Crabb

(10) Andrew CHRISTOPHER (b.1803) Said to have married at Trinity Church Digy Nova Scotia on 20th June 1826: This marriage is briefly recorded on the CLDS database (although Elizabeth's maiden name is given as Wire) and the image is not yet (Oct 2017) available to view. There is no indication in the index that he came from England, nor does it state his fathers name. (CLDS Batch M 53413-2/GS Film 1376194). I have not been able to locate a seaman's record or a passenger immigration return here or in Canadian records that are so far on-line (few of either seem have survived from this date). Whilst we lack positive records to support the Chute Family account Andrew does disappear from Dorset where we have a record of all known births marriages and deaths for the Christopher Family surname. Regarding "A Genealogy and History of the Shute [i.e.CHUTE] family of America:with some account of Allied Families". This account was written at Swampscott 9th July 1894 and published at Salem Massachusetts that year by William E Chute and the crucial entry is buried in the "Allied Families" Section page ccxxvi. This account was written within living memory and I see no reason to doubt it:-
    "ELIZABETH born July 2nd 1807 married Andrew son of James CHRISTOPHER, from England June 26th 1826. He died April 30th 1847 aged 43". she married secondly Henry son of George APT April 5th 1849; he died Jan 2nd 1877, aged 70; she married thirdly to Joseph CHUTE July 2nd 1877. Children: (1) Sophronia born April 18th 1827 married James McGregor, 2d Jt.,Oct., 1846; 13 children; moved to Lynn Massachusetts 1877. (2) Phebe born 1831; married Manasseh McGrath; 2 children; married 2ndly Thomas McGrath, a brother; 3 daughters and a son named William Hicks. (3) John , b.1833 married Lizzie Hammond ; son Ellsworth in Marblehead (USA) (4) Elizabeth, b 1837 married Eber Ring; 3 children. (6) Emma A., b. 1839 married Stephen, son of Ambrose Taylor ; 8 children. (7) Ruth S., b. 1842; married Smith Apt; 5 children (8) Henry Apt b. 1852; married Ida daughter of William Ford ; 7 children

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