Agnes and her mother
Agnes's mother, Henrietta Grace nee Smythe, was born in Chelsea on 3rd September 1824, the daughter of Admiral William Henry Smyth and his wife, Anna Eliza nee Warington, known as Annarella - the Neapolitan diminutive of Anna, for she was born in Naples, where her father was British Consul.
Henrietta Grace was married in St. Luke's, Chelsea, on 10 March 1846, aged 22, to the Revernd Professor Baden Powell, who had been born in Stamford Hill, Middlesex, on 22 August 1796; he was now 49, just 6 years younger than her father (the Admiral), a long-time friend of her new husband (the Rev. Prof.), who had been married (and widowed) twice, and had four motherless children, now aged from 8 down to 4.
Five years later, at the time of the 1851 Census, they were living in Upper Seymour Street, Marylebone
Household Role Sex Age Birthplace
Baden Powell Head Male 45 Hackney,
Henrietta Grace Powell Wife Female 26 Pimlico,
Baden Henry Powell Son Male 9 Oxford,
Henry Warrington Powell Son Male 4 Oxford,
George Smyth Powell Son Male 3 Oxford,
Augustus Smyth Powell Son Male 2 Oxford,
Francis Smyth Powell Son Male 0 Oxford,
So in that five years she had presented her husband with four sons. Baden Henry, the 9-year0old, was the youngest of his previous wife's children the other older three had moved to live with their mother's family in Ireland.
Also in the household were these people -
Margaret Hefferman Female 28 Ireland
Eliza Goodgane Female 17 Oxfordshire
Sarah Catteons ? Female 30 Warwickshire
Mary Catteons Sister Female 28 Warwickshire
Samuel Catterns Brother Male 26 Warwickshire
These five last would almost certainly be staff - perhaps Cook, Nanny, Housemaid, Tweeny and Butler ?
The youngest child, known as Frank, had been born on 29 July 1850, so was eight months old; Henrietta Grace was already two months pregnant, but the next thee children died as babies ;-
Henrietta (Smyth) Powell, 28 October 1851 - 9 March 1854 aged 2½
John Penrose (Smyth) Powell. 21 Dec 1852 - 14 Dec 1855 aged 3
Jessie (Smyth) Powell, 25 Nov 1855 - 24 July 1856 aged 8 months.
Henrietta Grace bore three more, but when the youngest was just three weeks old, just fourteen years (and ten childbirths) after her wedding, Henrietta Grace was widowed on 11th June 1860, when her 63-year-old husband suddenly died, and at the age of 36 she became a single mother of six boys and Agnes, all under 14. Just two years later another son died aged 13.
In the 1861 Census, just nine months after losing her husband, the family was now living in Stanhope Street, Paddington, she had only two staff, and had only five boys with her - the Census does not record Baden Henry, who was now 19, so he may have been in Ireland with his mother's family and his three sisters. Her son Robert was four, and Agnes was only 1, and they also do not appear in the Census. The surviving children fell naturally into two groups, the elder four boys aged 10, 11, 13 & 14, and the three "babies" aged 4, 2, and nine months.
Household Role Sex Age Birthplace
Henrietta Powell Head F 36 Westminster, Middlesex
Warington Powell Son M 14 St Peters In The East Oxford,
George Powell Son M 13 St Peters In The East Oxford,
Augustus Powell Son M 11 St Peters In The East Oxford,
Francis Powell Son M 10 St Peters In The East Oxford,
Baden Powell Son M 0 London Paddington, Middlesex
Sarah Gainer Servant F 26 Unknown
Ann Cole Servant F 36 Not Known, Suffolk
Henrietta Grace was - in today's parlance - "one tough cookie" - and needed to be. She managed to bring Agnes and those boys up, each to be quite "noteworthy". Each has an entry on Wikipedia. She had no qualms about pulling strings, and "using" her connections. However, one of her principles was that she and her children were just one "item", and all had to contribute. As a result, marriage was very much to be avoided, so only four of her sons ever married, all "late in life", and only three had children. Henrietta Grace's attitude towards Agnes seems to have been that, as the only surviving daughter, it was Agnes's duty to NOT marry, and to be her mother's companion in old age. Which is what happened.
Agnes's engagement to Sir William Bisset Berry, the Speaker of the South African Assemly - he was 61, she was 43 - was quickly broken off. One can only surmise that Henrietta Grace (then 76) foresaw that Agnes would remain in South Afriica, and that Henrietta Grace woud have to fend for herself, so forbade the match; and Agnes succumbed to the pressure.
Henrietta Grace died at home on the 13th October, 1914 aged 90; life expectnacy for women then was 55, so she had a good innings ! Agnes was then 56. So during "the formative years" - the first five - of the Girl Guide Movement, Agnes's time had to be divided between her mother and her new "baby".