Further Details of James Thomson and Ellen Scott and their family.

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Further Details of James Thomson and Ellen Scott and their family.

James, enlisted in the Royal Engineers 20th Company (formerly Royal Sappers & Miners), on 14 December 1854 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire. He was described as 5 ft. 7 ins. tall, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. After seeing service in Bermuda for 3 years 189 days and Gibraltar, for 2 years 89 days, on 23 September 1857 he sailed on board the "Nile" for Australia, arriving in Freemantle just over 3 months later on 1 January 1858, where he served as an "Instructing Warder".

It was whilst in Australia that he married his wife Ellen Scott on 25 October 1861. From later census records it would appear Ellen was born about 1842 in Dublin, Ireland. The year following their marriage the couple sailed for the UK on board the "Lincelles", departing from Fremantle on 27 April 1862 bound for London via the Cape of Good Hope.

James and Ellen had the following known children:

A couple of years after the regiment's return to England, on 1 February 1864, James received promotion from Sapper to 2nd Corporal, followed a couple of years later on 1 April 1866 with promotion to full Corporal. It would seem he blotted his copy book as there is a record of a Regimental Court Martial 6 April to 9 April 1867 where James was tried for drunkenness but this was remitted on the 10 April. On 2 May 1867 James re-engaged for a further period of 9 years and whilst at Weymouth, on 1 February 1875 he received his final promotion to Sergeant. Much of this detail is from the Sappers website which includes details and an image of the couple plus James's headstone in Fort George at https://sappers-minerswa.com/sappers-index/sappers-n-z/thomson-james/

For the census of 1881 James was recorded at Fort George, Ardersier, along with his wife and three daughters. He was recorded as a Barrack Sergeant - Clerk.

1881 Census (4 April) Fort George, Ardersier (91) Book 4 Page 48

Fort George, Ardersier, Inverness-shire

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
James Thomson Head 42 Barrack Sergeant - Clerk Stirling, Stirlingshire
Ellen Thomson Wife 39 Domestic Duties Dublin, Ireland
Ellen Thomson Daughter 18 Scholar W. Meath, Ballymore, Ireland
Grace Thomson Daughter 14 Scholar Weymouth, Dorset
Clara Thomson Daughter 12 Scholar Portsmouth, Hampshire

James Thomson died on 17 February 1888 in Fort George, Ardersier, Moray and was commemorated on a headstone in the graveyard at Fort George, Ardersier, along with his eldest daughter, Ellen Louise Cooke, nee Thomson, who had died a couple of years before him.

For the 1891 census the widowed Ellen was recorded at 55 Prince Albert Street, Bordesley, Warwickshire in the household of her similarly widowed son in law, Frederick J. Cooke. Also included in the household were Frederick's two daughters, Nellie and Louisa, and a Violet Thomson, born in Scotland, aged 5 and identified as Frederick's niece. This was in fact Violet Chadwick, born in 1886 in Ardersier, the daughter of Frederick's sister in law, Amelia Grace Thomson, and her husband Arthur Frederick Chadwick, a Colour Sergeant with the Seaforth Highlanders. Therefore all three girls were Ellen's granddaughters.

1891 Census (6 April) Aston Warwickshire RG12/2415 Folio: 126 Page: 33

55 Prince Albert Street, Bordesley, Warwickshire

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Frederick J Cooke Head - Widower 38 Bank Messenger England
Nellie Cooke Daughter 7 Scholar Scotland
Louisa Cooke Daughter 6 Scholar Scotland
Ellen Thomson Mother in Law 48   Bridgwater, Somerset
Violet Thomson Niece 5 Scholar Scotland

For the census of 1901 Ellen was recorded at 22 Nevern Mansions, Kensington, London, in the household of her daughter, Millicent Keith, aka Amelia Grace Thomson. As already stated Amelia was originally married to Arthur Frederick Chadwick back in Fort George in 1884, but what had become of him and who Mr. Keith may have been is a bit of a mystery. It would certainly seem that Ellen was living in accommodation way beyond what she would have experienced whilst she followed her husband James and the regiment from Australia and elsewhere.

1901 Census (1 April) Kensington RG 13 \ 37 Schedule Type: 23 Page 4

22 Nevern Mansions, Kensington, London, Middlesex

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Millicent Keith Head - Married 34 Living on Own Means Weymouth, Devonshire
Ellen Thomson Mother 56   Dublin Ireland
Dorothy Keith Daughter 9   Natal S Africa
Gladys Keith Daughter 8   Natal S Africa
Neville Keith Son 2   Cape Town S Africa
Eliza Roberts Servant 21 Nurse Port Elizabeth Cape Colony
Kate Murphy Servant 42 Cook Cork, Ireland

I believe Ellen died sometime after 1901 probably in England. (Possibly Ellen Thomson aged 61 whose death was recorded in the BMD index for Fulham registration district in the April-June quarter of 1904)