Sunday Eve., Sept. 12, 1909
My dear Syd,
Your letter was received last Monday and Abbie asked me to answer it as I can explain that matter better than she. It is quite a long story but suppose I'll get it down plain enough for you to understand just where we all com in. I'll tell you just what we know; Aunt Teresa is mistaken about this Withington being your great grandmother's brother (your grandpa Martin's mother was Aunt Teresa's mother also), this man is the father of Aunt Teresa's grandfather, in other words he was the great grandfather to your father (that is if it can be proven that we are related to him at all). What is to be proven is this: Are the Withingtons to whom we are related from England, and was this James Withington our great grandfather; if anyone can be found who will swear to this then the money is ours (this fortune comes from the wife of this man Withington and not from he himself). This is the way the story goes: An Englishman who had two daughters was granted a pension for saving the King's life (I don't remember the name of this man), at any rate one of these girls married a Withington and came to America. After her father's death her sister received half of the estate and this Mrs. W. could not be found so her share was put in a bank in England. Now it seems they are anxious to get rid of that money and the English Counsel advertised it in the St. Louis papers for the heirs of this Mrs. Withington. An old lady, a Mrs. Taylor who was a Martin saw this ad last year and commenced at once to get all the information she could. The trouble is this: all the old folks who knew Aunt T's grandfather are dead and it looks as if we will never be able to do very much. This Hanley you mention in your letter has a daughter living near us. She has taken an active part in this and Mrs. Taylor is going to Europe soon if she hasn't gone already (as the Dutchmen say). This all seems like a fairy tale to us, but suppose if the right ones could be found or if a family history were found we would be heirs alright for there seems to be only one family of Withington spelling their name as these do. I suppose you will figure out how near we are to this fortune: it dates back 100 years so there'll be a great many to come on for shares as you may well imagine.
Did you hear of Inez getting married? I will send you a clipping from the paper: she and Clare are thinking of renting a flat and housekeeping together. The boys are great chums and they all feel like it would be nice to live in the same house. Things seem to be on a standstill here now, the weather has been cool and gloomy for the past two weeks and it looks as if we are to have an unusual early fall, all the summer gardens have closed so we poor rubes can only stay at home or go car riding. Our Church had a lawn fete last Saturday the 4th, but the weather being cool kept us from having a very good time; every time we'd eat ice cream or drink anything we would nearly freeze. Ione Love came out to go with us and remained over Sunday with us. She and Mamie will teach Inez's room this year, she does not care to go back to her school as that Smith woman still has it in for her, Ha Ha. Wish you could hear her talk.
I suppose Abbie told you Will had put down quite a few of our grapes into wine, we drew it off yesterday and have 48 gallons. It is doing well and will be ready for use in November if all goes right. Will hasn't found his beagle yet but still lives in hopes of getting her back when the hunting season opens. Abbie told you about having Flossie stolen, didn't she?
We had a postal last week from Fred and Stella. They had no news, what is Fred doing in Windthorst? I declare he beats all I have ever seen for moving around, everytime Abbie hears from him he's in a different place.
Trusting this finds you well and with love and best wishes from all, I remain as ever,
(signed) Irene Emmerling
Notes written 11/6/93 (before I got records from All Saints and St. Paul's):
This letter could be written to Sidney Alexander Martin, 1883- 1954, or to his father, Sidney James Martin, 1861-????. (I suspect it was the former.) My grandfather, Sidney Augustus, was born in 1916 to Sidney Alexander. He thinks that Irene Emmerling was probably Sidney J.'s cousin, since he knows that Sidney A. had no cousins named Irene.
Sidney J.'s father was Thomas Martin, b. ca. 1835, d. ca. 1861. He is supposed to have died at about the age of 25 of tuberculosis shortly after his son was born, and that's all I know about Thomas (this supposed Withington connection is one way I'm trying to learn more about him, as I'm stuck). Irene Emmerling could have been Thomas Martin's niece.
Thomas' wife and Sidney J.'s mother, Laura Ensor, remarried and had several more children, but none were named Teresa, which is another reason why I think that it's all another generation back. (Laura's father was Dr. Sidney Renford Ensor, an English doctor, which is where all these Sidneys come from.)
If the letter is written to Sidney A., then "your grandpa Martin" is Thomas Martin's father. That would mean that "Aunt Teresa" was Thomas' aunt, since "your grandpa Martin's mother was Aunt Teresa's mother also." If Sidney J. and Irene Emmerling are first cousins, that would make Aunt Teresa their great aunt.
If Mr. Withington "was the great grandfather to your father," that would make him Thomas Martin's great grandfather. But the letter writer also says "this man is the father of Aunt Teresa's grandfather," which makes him Aunt Teresa's great grandfather. Assuming that Aunt Teresa and Thomas are of separate generations, then the generations don't work out.
As for the fortune itself, if we take the writer literally that it "dates back 100 years," then the King whom the pensioner saved would have been King George III. In 1811, he was declared insane and his son became Regent until 1820, when the old mad king died and the Prince became George IV. George was succeeded by his brother William, and then in 1837 Victoria inherited the crown. So the king whose life was saved really could have been any one of three. And of course, it might have been Queen Victoria herself. There is a very famous account of an attempted assasination while she was driving in Hyde Park with Prince Albert.
As for place, it all happens in three counties in Missouri just north and west of St. Louis: Lincoln, St. Charles, and Franklin (St. Charles was underwater during much of the Great Flood of 1993). Thomas Martin was probably married and died in either St. Charles or Lincoln County (I have found no records of his birth, marriage, or death). Sidney James Martin, his son, was born in Monroe township, Lincoln County, 24 September 1861; Laura Ensor, Thomas' wife, was born in St. Charles County. Her father, the physician, was "a London doctor who emigrated to St. Louis" (according to a letter written by one of Laura's daughters by her second marriage) before 1836, when he married Elvira Dyer and settled in St. Charles County (Pioneer Families of Missouri, p. 147). In June of 1860 he and his family (Laura included) resided in Cuivre township, St. Charles County (U.S. Census).
In Missouri General Records and Abstracts (Eddleman), I found early evidence of the Withingtons. In 1817, John Withington appraised a horse (Vol.1,p.211, Estrays from Missouri Gazette). There is a Francis Withington in the Lincoln County Tax Lists of 1821 (Vol.2,p.93), and there is a Callaway County marriage between Francis Withurington and Polly Parker in 1827 (Vol.3,p.29). In 1837, James and Thomas Withington appraised a horse (Vol.2,p.8, St. Louis County Estrays, Missouri Republican). [Vol.1., p.17 lists Sydney Ensaw with 40 acres in the St. Charles County Tax Lists in 1836.]
According to Missouri Marriages before 1840 (Ormesher), p.247: Withington, Francis to Polly Goodman 2 Apr 1832 in Lincoln Co. Withington, Nelson Jr. to Rebeckah Decker 19 Sept 1837, Franklin Co. P.30: Wm Brown to Elizabeth Withington 11 Jan 1838 in Franklin Co. P.61: Decker, Jacob to Betty Withington 13/17 Aug 1837 in Franklin Co.
I was unable to find any Withingtons in the 1820 census in Missouri. In the 1830 census, there are five: William, James, John, Thomas Sr. and Thomas Jr. John was in Franklin County, the rest in St. Louis County.
John is a good candidate for the husband of the heiress. In 1830 he was either between 40 and 50 or 30 and 40, his wife between 30 and 40, and they had a large family and one slave. Thomas Jr. is also a candidate; he was between 40 and 50 and there is a female in his household between 20 and 30; they had a fairly large family and one slave as well.
Thomas Sr. and his wife were between 60 and 70; they have two males below the age of five living with them, and fourteen slaves. William and James are both below thirty, their wives both below 20; William has no children, and James has three. I suppose either of their wives could be the heiress, but it seems to me that the younger couples must have been related to the older families, and probably not immigrants. (It has just occured to me, as I narrate this problem, that I can get their states of birth on the 1850 census.)
In 1840 Francis Withington shows up in Lincoln County. He is between 50 and 60. (In 1830 there were males between 40 and 50 living with both Thomas Jr. and John.) There is also a Nelson Withington in 1840 in Franklin County.
In 1860, a Lewis F. Withington lived in Cuivre township in St. Charles County. His wife, Margaret, 28, is listed as born in Ireland, and they have living with them a ten-year-old girl named Mary Macaboy, also born in Ireland (who could easily be a child by an earlier marriage of his wife, as all of their children are six and below).
In 1860 in Monroe township in Lincoln County is a Charles W. Martin, age 49. This is, so far, the best candidate I have for Thomas Martin's father. His wife is named Mahala, also age 49. Their children are Elizabeth E., 17, Chas., 15, and Sidney R., 13. They also have two farm hands living with them, one of whom is named Hamton Mackabe, age 24, born in Kentucky.
That's three coincidences: Monroe township (where Sidney James Martin was born in 1861), Sidney R. as a son's name (surely named after Dr. Ensor, indicating a close relationship between this Martin family and the Ensors), and even a potential Withington connection: Lewis Withington's wife's possible brother-in-law living with them as a farm hand.
I have been unable to find any record of a marriage between a Withington and a Martin. I am also unable to find any record that Thomas Martin ever existed; I only have inherited information on him. He is not in any cemetery list that I can find, or any obituary, marriage book, birth record book, or anything else. I think I have exhausted secondary sources and my next step is to visit county courthouses, newspaper archives, and church records (I'm fairly sure they were all Catholic, so that helps some).