I would love to know what became of George BARKER if anyone can help.

He was the eldest of the seven children of William Sayers BARKER and his wife Jane, William a well-to-do farmer of Upton Farm, Sompting, George born there 9 February 1857.

19 March 1881, his occupation as corn factor, George married Ellen BERRY at St Mary, Broadwater, by licence, Ellen being sister to my paternal great-grandmother Lucy DINSDALE née BERRY. The witnesses were two more of Ellen’s siblings, John and Alice BERRY (no BARKER, note!). George gave his age as 25 against Ellen’s 36; in truth he was 24 years, 1 month, 3 days, whereas she 36 years, 7 months 1 day, thus an age-gap of 12½ years!

Just 15 days following the wedding, the 1881 census (Piece 1117, fol 87, p43) shows the couple at St Albans, Christchurch Rd, Worthing, with a general servant. Interestingly, Ellen has shed 6 yrs and George aged 1, thus narrowing the gap considerably!

4 February 1882 were born George and Ellen’s twins (reg East Preston), Nellie and George BARKER.

1883 January 6 and 13, May 19 and 26, June 2: George placed advertisements in the Hastings and St Leonard’s Advertiser, this of 2 June being the last sighting of him. His true age was 26.

1891 census (Piece 837, fol 79, p11) shows Ellen a widow living in Brunswick Rd, Heene, Worthing; similarly in 1901, widow (Piece 960, fol 31, p3) living Westdean, Heene, Worthing.

1901 census (Piece 960, fol 31, p3) ‘Westdene’, Queens Rd, Heene, Worthing, Ellen, widowed 54, described as a Lodging house keeper, with her 19 year old dau Nellie as a pupil teacher in a school, a general domestic servant and a 37 year old Irish lady living on her own means. (Nellie’s twin, William, is in Egypt, a Private in the Seaforth Highlanders).

1911 census (PN5198, RD80 Steyning, SD2, ED24, SN210) widow, living alone at “Llassa”, Bolsova Road, Hove, Brighton. Ellen writes that her marriage lasted 3½ years, which equates to George having died circa 19 Sept 1884 aged 27.

Ellen died 17 March 1918, the certificate describing her as ‘Widow of George Barker, a Farmer’, the informant being her sister who was present at the death and wherein whose house she died. I visited her with flowers and rosemary for remembrance in Brighton’s Extra Mural Cemetery, in dense woodland and mature trees not far from the well-known Rastrick monument. There is no headstone but an inscription on the south side of the kerb.

George’s father, in his Will written 1 Jan 1894, wrote, “I think it right to say I have provided for my Sons William and George in my lifetime which is the reason their names are not mentioned in my Will as Beneficiaries.” Research showed me that William Junr was at that date very much alive. I suspect that George was as well, meaning Ellen was not telling the truth in 1891 and 1901.

I eventually made contact with a very elderly descendant of George’s brother William. He had done some research many years previously, and towards the end of May 2015 wrote to tell me: “George went to Australia where he died. He had abandoned his wife and twins in England. But what happened to him I do not know.” Most unfortunately, my very elderly correspondent developed dementia and ‘lost’ the paperwork he had accumulated. Sadly, that’s my brickwall as no one else I have traced downwards knows anything.

Thank you for reading. Joan Dexter Membership #17925