So much to do…

June 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm (news, people, places, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The two days of a “weekend” just go so quickly. No wonder I never get anything “done”! I was up past 3 a.m. last night, working (don’t sleep well these days anyway…), and now NOON Sunday approaches

I’m still beavering away at Augusta’s 1798 diary, trying to get a fully readable and correct copy for Mark Woodford, along with some notes on who were many of the people. JASNA News will run a little story about Mark and his father Charles Woodford and the “finding” of Augusta when their next issue comes out in August. That will be nice – and a well-named month, huh?! Wish I could sit down and compare Augusta and Eliza Chute’s 1798s! But that means contacting the Hampshire Record Office, for I never completely transcribed Eliza’s diary, just looked for the periods during which she was in London — and meeting the Goslings (Eliza was particular friends with Eliza Gosling, Mary’s young mother). Actually, I was thinking of contacting HRO to see about Microfilming Eliza’s early diaries (as a start; though her diaries are less numerous than Emma’s!), when Mark contacted me with his diary.

Anyway, in the last few days I’ve gone from being in 1798 to being back in the 1830s and looking up Mary’s diaries once again. Why? a wonderful email from Jim in Liverpool — who has an interest in the Alexander Davisons because of his research into Lord Nelson. Funnily enough what becomes big news in Augusta’s diary towards the end of the year?Nelson’s Nile Victory! See how it all eventually dovetails, one item into another, one person’s thoughts or actions into another’s.

So I’ve spent a couple days pulling out old papers, looking up old computer files, relooking for internet information (especially on and Internet Archive). And imagine what I found while “not” looking for it: A Birth Announcement for FANNY SMITH! (28 October 1803) My, that fits so well: I was looking to augment my little booklet on Fanny, before turning it into something available to the public, with illustrations!

I also have begun working up a new blog page on ESTATES & HOMES, which will feature images and some useful links. And I think something on all the churches these people either attended or were buried in will soon be in the works.

But all takes TIME, and working just to pay bills does NOT help give me that time. I’ve a book chapter to write, Augusta to finish (she goes back to her owner in a couple weeks!), and a proposal for funding to work up for mid-July. Some funding would be nice as I could then get some copies of what I know to be out there…

But: to get back to Mary. I was struck again, as I pulled out comments on the Davisons, their children and in-laws (a certain General White — who seems to have no given name!; and Captain Samuel Cook, who in 1840 took the name of Widdrington). I had forgotten that twin Percy Davison married twice; and hadn’t noticed that Maria Smith (Emma’s youngest sister) comments on the vivacity and broken English of Rosalie, the foreign-born wife of twin William Davison. Rosalie’s descendents come into play with the items sold at auction in 2002 — and written about in the book Nelson’s Purse. The catalogue is online, so here’s a link to that. The BBC reported on the “sky high” prices fetched at this auction. Yow! For instance, look at Lot 65: a letter from Nelson to Davison; short, little more than a half-page (though of  interest to me because of Nelson’s solicitations for Davison’s current battle against gout!); it sold for over 11,000 pounds (estimated at £1,000-1,500).

I’d rather see the letters from Frances, Lady Nelson to Davison; is there a book out there yet? Though, even then, I can imagine that she writes about herself – so to have the letters Alexander wrote in return would be the real prize! For people always write about themselves when writing to others, don’t we?

But: to get back to Mary. I’ve noticed this before, though never mentioned it in this blog: people in 18th/19th century England used the words “introduce” and “met” in separate, specific ways. I had long wondered if Edward Ferrars was really “introduced” to the Dashwood ladies in Sense and sensibility; indeed this evidently would have been the case, for Austen uses that word in chapter III: “…the brother of Mrs John Dashwood, a gentlemanlike and pleasing young man who was introduced to their acquaintance soon after his sister’s establishment at Norland…” Augusta, in 1798, uses this same manner of speech as she meets for the first time her in-laws and others of Charles Smith’s relations; Mary does the same in the 1830s when discussing the new cousins, the husbands of Elizabeth and Dorothy Davison. I guess Fanny never introducing members of her immediate family to the step-mother and half-sisters of her husband just adds fodder to the self-centered mentally she shows earlier, over the funds her husband could grant these women after his father’s death. You would NEVER see the Smiths or Goslings not hosting never mind not even knowing the siblings of any of their in-laws (of course it helps when sometimes those very relatives are your OWN relatives…).


  1. Craig from Australia said,

    Hi Janeite,
    please email me, I may have something that will be useful with your research.

  2. Bob Janes said,

    General White was Frederick Cortlandt White (c1771-1859) later it seems to have become Courtland. He married Elizabeth, his second wife, on the same day as Dorothy married Samuel Cook.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Bob — what a fortuitously-timed comment. Until this past weekend, I had had no idea of General White’s first name; I had searched high and low for about seven years. And here you are with a middle name and news of an earlier wife.

      I had long known that the girls married in a double ceremony; but could not for the life of find any further information on him. This past weekend, thanks to “FindMyPast” I found a marriage registry — and his first name: Frederick!

      I’ll have to see if I noted down any firmer birthdate. I may not have, not being able to winnow out any false “hits”. I’ll let you know (if you’re interested).

      BTW, you do know that Cook underwent a name change: Widdrington. An online copy of his book luckily had it penciled on; otherwise I might never have known.

      I’m re-re-reading your comment — Cortlandt then you think was a last name, then, later taken in conjunction with White? Hmmm…. I’ll have to see what I can find.

      Does he interest you? are you interested in hearing more about the family he married into? Or anything I do turn up about him? – if so, let me know and I’ll keep you updated. Emma doesn’t really mention the Davisons et al much; but Mary’s diaries do – though more of the “Elizabeth and Gen. White to dinner” variety of entry.

      Thanks for writing!


      • Bob Janes said,

        The brief answer is that it was his mother’s name she was Eve van Cortlandt see brief bio here;

        Her husband, Henry White was also her cousin.

        Gen White’s first wife was Sophia Heaton Coore, they had a daughter
        Cordelia Frederica White

        I came across the family whist exploring a fairly remote corner of my family tree.


      • Janeite Kelly said,

        Hi, again, Bob — the bio is exceptionally intriguing! Really?!? this woman was Frederick’s mother (he being one of the sons who “were in the British service and remained in London”)?? I’m in Vermont, so close to New York, so it would be a GREAT THRILL to think of this “American arm” of the family – and during SUCH a tumultuous time as the American Revolution!

        You’ve given food for thought, indeed!


      • Bob Janes said,

        Ah, I was wrong: Henry wasn’t Eve’s cousin; it was their son, also Henry White, who married his cousin Ann van Courtlandt.

        I had seen the Widdrington connection – Samuel Cook’s maternal grandmother was Frances Widdrington. I found a tree for this branch here:


      • Janeite Kelly said,

        Hi, Bob – all very interesting, especially about FREDERICK White (oh, so wonderful having a first name for him!) having a daughter. I’m not sure I’ve come across a “Miss White” (diaries are very formal when it comes to naming people), but will have to look. My natural assumption, if I had seen such, would have been for an unmarried sister of his.

        With materials dependent on (1) what has survived and (2) what has been located by me at present, I have some few mentions of Mr & Mrs Alexander Davison, very much in passing; and then Mary (Gosling) Smith’s later diaries where she mentions her cousins. (Harriet Davison being her father’s sister.) I’m really intent on finding more about Mrs Davison!

        Thanks for the links; I’ll take a look.


      • Bob Janes said,

        Looking at Cordelia White again she married the Rev Robert Allen Scott just a few days before her father re-married. Indeed it may have been on the same day, I don’t have a precise date.

        Can’t help much with Harriet :-(


      • Bob Janes said,

        The weddings are interesting – it wasn’t a triple wedding, though they all my have been on the same day. The Spectator reports them all as 18th September, I have 14th Sept for Cordelia, but that may have been when banns were read.

        Cordelia White married the Rev Robert Scott in St Mary, Bryanston Square; the two Davison sisters were married in Trinity Church, St Marylebone. The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal says that they were married by none other than the Rev Robert Scott.


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