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Thomas and Rose Lee.

Eric Trudgill    -    3 November 2013

TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS

SIX: Thomas and Rose Lee

Last month I ended my account of a family of 18th century Kent Lees by saying how frustrating it is, trying to solve genealogical crossword puzzles with so many pieces missing. My account this month of another family of 18th century Kent Lees shows finding missing pieces can lead to new frustrations. All locations are in Kent unless specified otherwise..

Some years ago I published a Family Tree of Thomas and Rose Lee’s descendants, and included some guesses about Thomas’ cousins and siblings. I suggested a William Lee, husband of Mary, was brother of a Samuel Lee (who christened a child in Goudhurst in 1796, the year before William did) and of a Celia Lee (wife of Samson Scamp, baptised in 1777 son of William and Mary Scamp), who christened a child jointly with him in Eyethorn in 1802. And I suggested Thomas Lee, husband of Rose, who christened an Amos in Chartham in 1801, paupers of (nearby) Selling, was brother of Arthur Lee, husband of Ann, and Abel Lee, husband of Mary, who christened three children between them in Chartham 1797-1804, with Arthur christening his first known son Thomas in 1791, and Abel giving a daughter in marriage to John Scamp son of Samson & Celia.

Soon after publishing these guesses I discovered two baptisms in Thanington, very close to Chartham, which made me radically revise them. I had thought the Thomas junior Thomas and Rose christened in Badlesmere, close to Chartham, in 1786, and the Amos christened in 1801, were possibly the first and last of their children (7 or 8 children in 15 years seemed a good-sized family). But now I knew they’d christened a William in 1777 and a Louisa in 1803, which meant I had gaps to fill. And I had thought the only early Lee/Scamp connections in the family involved firstly Celia Lee and Samson Scamp, secondly the John Scamp (possibly Samson’s brother) who witnessed the wedding in 1810 of Thomas and Rose’s son, Ambrose Lee, to a widow, Elizabeth Cheeseman (perhaps the same John Scamp who married a Lucy Lee I’d thought might be a sister of Thomas), and thirdly Joanna, wife of Thomas and Rose’s son, Joshua, who revealed herself to be a Scamp at the burial of one of their children. But now I knew Louisa Lee’s parents in 1803 were recorded as Thomas Lee and Rose Kemp, an alternate for Scamp, which meant I had a lot of new Lee/Scamp possibilities to consider.

I now think, till I find more missing pieces, that the William and Celia I’d seen as Thomas Lee’s cousins, and the Abel I’d seen as his brother, were actually his children (Samuel was more probably his brother like Arthur). I now think the roster of Thomas and Rose’s children went something like this: William, baptised in 1777, married Mary, christening children in 1797 and 1802; Celia, born about 1779, married Samson Scamp, christened 5 children 1802-12, and was buried in 1813 aged 34; Abel, born probably about 1781, married Mary christening children in 1801 and 1804; Ambrose, born perhaps about 1783, married, as a bachelor, the widowed Elizabeth Cheeseman in 1810, christening 7 children 1813-24; Thomas, baptised in 1786, married Mary, christening 3 children 1817-25, the first named Celia after his sister, the second Elizabeth perhaps after his sister-in-law; Isaac, born perhaps about 1790, married Lydia Thatcher, baptised in 1804, christening 7 children 1822-44; Alexander, born perhaps about 1793, christened a child jointly with Isaac in 1828; Joshua, born about 1795, married Joanna Scamp, christening 7 children 1814-31; possibly, Susanna or her husband, James, born perhaps about 1797,christened a child in 1833; Lucy, born about 1799, married Christopher Lee and christened 6 children 1819-28, the first an Amos; Amos, baptised in 1801, married Mary Ann, christening children 1821-40; and Louisa, baptised in 1803.

And I now wonder, till I find more missing pieces, whether Rose Scamp, mother of these children, was a sister of her son-in-law’s father, William Scamp, who was baptised in 1742, parents unnamed, in Upchurch, where he, his wife, and his sons, John and Samson, were all buried. I wonder whether Rose was a sister of her daughter Lucy’s mother-in-law, another Lucy: the only Lee family connection I’ve found between Rose’s daughter and her husband, Christopher Lee (baptised in 1801 son of Christopher and Lucy and with a brother baptised in 1789) is the imprisonment in Petworth, Sussex of Stephen Lee, probable son of Christopher, with Elizabeth Cheeseman future wife of Ambrose Lee son of Rose, but tantalizingly there’s a marriage in 1786 (in Harpesden, Oxf, an odd venue for these Gypsies) of a Christopher Lee and Lucy Kemp. And I wonder if John and Samson Scamp had two sisters who married two of their aunt Rose’s sons: the Elizabeth travelling with Stephen Lee (and Floriana Scamp) who married a Cheeseman and then Ambrose Lee, the wedding witnessed by John Scamp; and the Joanna Scamp who married Joshua Lee; Elizabeth and Joanna would have to been born after 1785, which would make them late, but not impossibly late, children for a man christened in 1742.

After publishing my Family Tree of Thomas and Rose I discovered three more tantalizing baptisms: in Chartham in 1752 Abel Lee son of Orsin and Sarah, travellers, who was buried in Godmersham, close to Chartham in 1755 (could these be the parents of Thomas?); and in Wye, close to Chartham, in 1757 Elizabeth Lee daughter of Dives and Mary gypsies; and in 1761 Senementer Lee daughter of Thomas and Mary gypsies (could either of these couples be Thomas’ parents?). More missing pieces to find.

Copyright © 2013 Eric Trudgill