Wills: three Turner button makers, two Hammonds, also button makers, and ‘Miss Hammond’, plus John and Rebecca Dickinson and two George Braggs and some unrelated button makers etc
The first group of wills were written by people who are definitely related to me.
Samuel Hammond Turner (my 2xgreat grandfather) proved 1841
William Hammond Turner (brother of the above and partner in the business, my 3xgreat uncle) 1851
John Turner (father of Samuel and William Turner, my 3xgreat grandfather) 1840
Samuel Hammond (names John Turner (above) as his nephew; John Turner likewise names Samuel Hammond as his uncle; my 5xgreat uncle) 1825
Bonham Hammond (also named as a nephew by Samuel Hammond, my 4xgreat uncle) 1808
Mary Greenhill Hammond (spinster sister of Bonham Hammond, my 4xgreat aunt) 1822
John Dickinson (business partner of John Turner and Samuel Hammond) 1822: his obituary is here: Obituary of John Dickinson of Birmingham, 1822
Rebecca Dickinson (widow of John Dickinson) 1845 (edited highlights of a hard-to-read document)
These last two wills both refer to a family called Brunton: apparently, in 1810 William Brunton (a Scottish-born engineer and inventor who, attracted by Boulton and Watt’s Soho Foundry, moved to Birmingham in 1796) married the Dickinson’s adopted daughter Ann Elizabeth. There is a lot in John’s will about the lack of children in his marriage to Rebecca. Rebecca’s will also refers to an engineer called William Henry Buckland of Maesteg Iron Works, Glamorgan, through which he had an association with William Brunton. John’s will was witnessed by Charles Glover of Birmingham, gentleman, his late partner John Turner of Birmingham, button maker, Thomas Lowe of Great Charles Street in Birmingham, coach spring maker, and Rice Harris of Birmingham, glass maker. Rice Harris was a noted Victorian whose Islington Glassworks (in Birmingham) produced excellent ‘Bohemian wares’.
George Bragg 1852 (my great great great grandfather, father in law of Samuel Hammond Turner) proved 1852
George Davey Bragg (son of the above and my great great uncle) 1900
I contributed an obituary of George Davey Bragg to this website because it mentions the Theatre Royal in New Street, a place of interest to the website’s owner. The obit mentions Samuel Hammond Turner, almost 60 years after his death.
William Kempson (button maker of Birmingham) proved 1769
Susannah/Susanna Kempson (widow of the above) 1781 [to follow]
William Brunton(married to John and Rebecca Dickinson’s adopted daughter) 1852
John Chatwin (button maker of Birmingham) 1855
Thomas Aston (button maker of Birmingham) 1811 [to follow]
William Elliot (button maker of Birmingham) 1831
Charles Glover (gentleman of Birmingham and executor of John Dickinson’s will) 1822
Like all wills of the period, they were written by solicitors who appear to have charged by the syllable 😉 Naturally, I think they are fascinating but there is a lot of stuff like the ‘shall be held in trust until they my daughters hereinbefore named severally reach the age of twenty one years’ to wade through to get to any button-related items… There is also a quite mind-numbing lack of punctuation: I have tried to make the documents more readable by breaking them into meaningful paragraphs.
There are some gaps – just when Michael and I think we are getting better at reading secretary hand along comes a shining example of poor penmanship which defeats us – but it was fun transcribing them: no, honestly, it was!