Well House Letters by Year

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  • Thanks to the family records kept by Gillian N B Thompson, who died in September 2019 aged 79 years, it is possible to provide some background information to the early part of the Jones/Ruston marriage and her connections to them.

    John William Jones was born in Bletchley in 1835. Little is known of his early life but he became a soldier and was stationed in Portsea, Portsmouth in 1861.

    Eliza Ann Ruston was born in Portsea in 1837. Her parents were George Augustus Ruston and Sarah Ruston (nee Habgood) but she was raised by her grandparents Roger and Louisa Ruston following the death of her mother when Eliza was two years old. Roger died in 1849 aged 75 when Eliza Ann was twelve years old. Louisa lived until the age of 88yrs. and died in March 1867. Eliza Ann’s father George Augustus Ruston had continued to live in Portsea but was ‘struck by paralysis’ on the 13th Aug.1855 and had been committed to the Union Workhouse for the infirm in Portsea in July 1860. and died there in May 1867 only two months after his mother had died.

    Meanwhile in March 1961 John and Eliza Ann had married in the Church at Kingston, Portsea and a few months after the marriage John was sent to Ireland with his Regiment and Eliza Ann followed her husband, sailing there on the 24th June 1861. John and Eliza’s first child, Augustus John Jones, was born in Limerick in 1864. Soon afterwards John was discharged from the Regiment following an injury and the family returned to John’s home town, Bletchley, were they took-up residence as tenants of Well House (c 1865).

    John and Eliza who lived in Well House for the remainder of their lives, subsequently raised seven more children. Three of the children did not survive infancy, Augustus John, Eliza Ann, and Alice, so the letter correspondence in the Living Archive involved the parents and the remaining five offspring, George Alfred, Louisa Hannah (Lou), Sarah Jane (Sadie), Selina (Lean) and William Henry (Bill).

    The eldest daughter Louisa Hannah continued to live in Well House after after her marriage to John Garner in 1903 bringing up three children, William John R Garner, Louisa(e) Garner (who was Gillian Thompson’s mother) and Nora Emily Garner. As recorded in the letters John William Jones died in Well House in 1897 and Eliza Ann continued to live there until her death in 1927, aged 89 years.

    By David Lacey (01/04/2020)

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