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Who was Aunt Mary ?

Aunt Mary was Mary Powell, the second daughter of David Powell (22 Nov 1764 - 15 May 1832) and Mary Townsend (1775 - 12 Mar 1809), who were married on 20 Dec 1798. 

Aunt Mary, the third child, was born in Walthamstow on 27th Oct 1802, and baptised in the Parish Church. On 12th March 1809, when Aunt Mary was just 6½, her mother died, leaving six children. 

The following year, on 9 Aug 1810, Mary's father was married in Hampstead, to Grizell Hoare (7 Sept 1781 - 21 Feb 1852), and she went on to produce seven children, the last was born in 1823, when Aunt Mary was 19.

Aunt Mary was somewhat of an invalid all her life, but it is not known what form this took, nor how much she was handicapped.  She did not marry, and lived at home with her parents.  Her father was killed by lightning in 1832 aged 66, but Aunt Mary continued to live with her step-mother until her step-mother's death in 1852 at the age of 71.  

A very large Family Tree is available here, in text format.  This Family Tree shows just a few - those mentioned on this page:-

[Right click on it to open a large view]

In 1854 Mary went to live with her first cousin Dr Henry Powell (6 Mar 1809 - 18 May 1867); he was a son of Baden Powell, who was a brother of her father, two of twelve children. "Baden" was the maiden name of Susannah Baden, whose daughter Susannah married Andrew Thistlethwaite, Baden's father's mother. 
Henry's eldest brother was the Rev. Prof. Baden Powell.
Henry was then living in Coventry, with his wife Mary Sophia nee Watson, whom he married on 20th Jan 1842 in Tottenham.  By 1854 when Aunt Mary (then 52) went to live with them, they had had seven children, though one had died.  They went on to have three more.   Although to the children she was actually "first cousin once removed", out of courtesy and convenience she would have been callled "Aunt Mary", and would have been a great help to their mother.

In 1862 Henry and his family left Coventry and went to live at Brighton, taking Aunt Mary with them.  She continued to live with them until 1865, when her old friend Miss Elizabeth Snaith left Clapton and went to 41 Cambridge Road, Brighton, and Aunt Mary, then 63, moved in with her.

Aunt Mary died on 24th April 1874, aged 72. 

What is her Book ?

On the cover is written:-









It is a Journal recording the bare facts of incidents in the lives of the Powell family, her cousins.  The first entry is for 11th January 1800, before Aunt Mary was born, but it seems that she actually started her Book in about 1823, when she was 21, but started by recording presumably from notes (or memories) kept by her family.

Then what happened ?

On 20th Dec 1865, after Aunt Mary's death the previous April, her Book was handed to two sisters, her neices, Maria Read nee Powell (3 November 1846 - 5 January 1918) and Alice Catharine Powell (6 June 1843 - 30 September 1914), daughters of Agnes nee Powell (a half-sister of Aunt Mary) and her husband, Nathanial Powell, whose father James was a brther of Aunt Mary's father David, i.e. Agnes and Nathaniel were first cousins.

The copy transcribed here was typed out from the original by Richard C. Powell in October, 1923, when the original was in the possession of a third sister, Annie Louisa Powell (14 April 1851 - Q3, 1928), then living in St. Columba's Vicarage, Stratford, East London, the other two sisters having died.  It is her name on the cover.  To those three sisters, Aunt Mary was indeed an Aunt - their mother's half-sister. 

Obviously, in the beginning the Book was hand-written, but THIS copy was typed in 1923, and the cover says "Re-bound in MCMXXIV" (1924) - but the last entry (typed), on Page 116, is dated September 1931.... "It's a Mystery".

How many copies were made, and where they and the original are now, are mysteries yet to be solved.

IF, by any chance, you should happen to have anything to add, please get in touch.


Just because there is a record in this book does NOT necessarily mean that it is 100% correct.

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