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The Fanny Bray, Charles Smith and Mary Hughes story

 

This story has been put together with the help of Karen Anne Lamaro (nee Smith),

 the great granddaughter of Charles and Fanny

 

Updated 10 Sep 2019 with 1884 newspaper reports

 

Charles Smith married Mary Hughes and they had 3 children
Mary Elizabeth
Charles Henry
Alice Emily
Mary left Charles to live with John Copeland, taking Alice Emily with her 
 
Fanny Bray a single woman had an illegitimate child
Ethel Maud
 
Charles Smith emigrated to Australia, taking with him his 2 other  children
Mary Elizabeth and
Charles Henry
along with
Fanny Bray, and her child
Ethel Maud
 
In England, Charles' wife Mary had two children with John Copeland, before marrying him and having a third child
 
In Australia, Charles had three children with Fanny Bray before marrying her and having a fourth child
 
This all appears very simple, but it has been very difficult to unravel as Charles, Mary and Fanny all gave misleading information on official documents. 
The information that has caused the major problem is the ship passenger list which gives Charles, wife Mary and their three children Mary, Charles and Emily.
It is believed, although unsubstantiated that Mary was Fanny, and Emily was Ethel Maud (both being about the same age)
 
The following research provides all the available facts.

False information and mistakes are annotated in red.

 

31 Jul 1850 Charles Smith baptised at Clerkenwell, London, England. Son of Isaac Smith & Elizabeth Smith (married 1847 Clerkenwell)

 

23 Aug 1857 Fanny Bray baptised at Plympton St.Mary, Devon, England (born 26 Jul 1857). Daughter of Jeremiah Bray & Jane Dean (married 1849 Plympton)

 

13 Sep 1857 Mary Hughes baptised at St.Mary, Staines, Middlesex, England. Daughter of Henry Hughes & Mary Wright (married 1856 Staines)

 

7 Apr 1861 census St.Pancras, Middlesex.  Charles Smith is age 10, a Scholar living with his family at 35 Frederick Street,

 

7 Apr 1861 census Plympton, Devon. Fanny Bray is age 3 living with her family at 5 North Side of Underwood

 

7 Apr 1861 census Staines, Middlesex. Mary Hughes is age 3 living with her family in London Road,

 

2 Apr 1871 census Acton, Middlesex.  Charles Smith is age 21, an assistant postman living with his family at Avenue Cottage,

 

2 Apr 1871 census Plympton, Devon. Fanny Bray is age 13, a domestic servant living with Jane Fletcher, a licensed victualler at the Lyneham Inn

 

2 Apr 1871 census Staines, Middlesex. Mary Hughes is age 13, living with her family in Knowle Green,

 

1 Dec 1874 Charles Smith  married Mary Hughes at the Register Office in  Lambeth, Surrey
 
2 Jul 1876 Mary Elizabeth Smith baptised at St.Mary, Staines, Middlesex, England. Daughter of Charles Smith a jeweller, & Mary Hughes

 

21 Apr 1878 Charles Henry Smith baptised at St.Mary, Staines, Middlesex, England. Son of Charles Smith a watchmaker, & Mary Hughes (born 26 Jan 1878)

 

16 May 1880 Alice Emily Smith baptised at St.Mary, Staines, Middlesex, England. Daughter of Charles Smith a jeweller, & Mary Hughes (born 25 Mar 1880)

 

28 Feb 1881 Ethel Maud Scammel Bray born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Marylebone, Middlesex, England. Daughter of Fanny Bray, a cook. No father given.

 
3 Apr 1881 On the same day as the 1881 census. Ethel Maud Scammel Bray baptised at St.Marylebone, Middlesex.
Baptised as Ethel Maud Bray Scammell, daughter of George Scammell,  a bricklayer & Fanny Bray. George Scammell has not yet been identified.

 

3 Apr 1881 census Marylebone, Middlesex. Fanny Bray is age 25, a laundress living with her daughter at 10 Duke Street
The family is listed as Scammell and Fanny as married but she is not with George Scammell who is given as Ethel Maud's father at the baptism 
on the same day. We can find no evidence of her marriage to George Scammell

 

3 Apr 1881 census Acton, Middlesex. Charles Smith is age 30, a bill poster living with his wife Mary (nee Hughes) and their 3 children at Grove Place
Note the name of the boarder James Gibson Pinkerton age 27, a watchmaker

 

20 Sep 1882 James Pinkerton age 28, a watchmaker arrived in Sydney, NSW, Australia aboard the ship 'Peterborough'
 
This is the NSW, Australia, Immigration deposit journal. The journal record moneys deposited in the Colony by persons wishing to sponsor the immigration 
of a nominated person or group of persons, frequently members of their own family or persons they wished to employ.
16 Nov 1883 James Pinkerton deposited £6 to sponsor Charles Smith a plumber, his wife Mary and their 3 children.

  

3 May 1884 The Acton, Chiswick & Turnham Green Gazette:

Elopement of a Wife – At Hammersmith Police Court on Saturday, John Copeland, a painter, living in Biscay road, Fulham, was charged with stealing a quantity of wearing apparel, the property of Charles Smith, decorator. The prosecutor said at the time of the robbery he was residing in Prospect Place, Acton. He valued the property produced, consisting of dresses and clothes at £5. The prisoner was a lodger and boarded with him. Mr Paget called up the wife, who said the prisoner did not take the things. They belonged to her and she thought she was justified in taking them. She went off with the prisoner on the 24th March. The things consisted of her own wearing apparel and child’s clothes. She took the young child with her. Police constable Obors said on Friday night he was in Warwick road when the prosecutor gave the prisoner charge. Sergeant Thompson said after the prisoner was charged he went to Oxley Villa, Biscay road, where he saw the prosecutors wife. He told her that John Copeland was in custody for stealing a quantity of wearing apparel belonging to her husband but she made no reply. He searched the house and found the things in the drawers. He also found some duplicates, some relating to a watch. The prisoner asserted his innocence. The prosecutor was recalled and said he missed a gold watch. His wife wore the watch but it was bought with his money. In reply to the magistrate Sergeant Thompson said the prosecutor’s wife was living with the prisoner. The prosecutor was questioned and said the watch was left hanging in the room. He called witnesses to prove that the prisoner carried away the box. Mr Paget: Helped your wife to carry off the things. The prisoner was remanded for inquiries to be made about the watch, his own recognisance being accepted for his appearance. The prosecutor then asked the magistrate to grant him protection as he had been threatened by the accused. Mr Pagent not taking any notice, the prosecutor left with his friends.

 

10 May 1884 The West London Observer:

The Case Of Elopement – John Copeland, a painter living in Biscay Road, Fulham was re-examined on the charge of stealing wearing apparel, the property of Charles Smith, a decorator of Belgrave Villas, Avenue Road, Acton. – Mr Hayes now appeared for the prosecutor and proceeded with the case of the watch, mentioned last week. – The prosecutor was recalled and said in addition to the wearing apparel, spoons and forks were taken and a lady’s gold watch. The prisoner gave him the ticket of the watch in lieu of payment for his kindness while he was lodging with him. – Mr Pagent: Then it was his watch? – The prosecutor: No, he gave me the ticket and I redeemed the watch. He was out of work and without lodging and I took pity upon him. I found my wife living with him in Biscay Road as Mrs Copeland. – The prisoner said he worked for the prosecutor and gave the watch to his wife. Mr Hayes said the wife ought to be placed in the dock with the prisoner. – Mr Paget said she could not be charged with stealing her own clothes. – The watch was produced by an assistant to Mr Boaber in the Fulham Place Road, who said it was pledged by a man, but he did not know him. The wife was recalled and confirmed the prisoners statement. She said it was her watch. The prisoner gave it to her as a present. The prosecutor was questioned by Mr Pagent and he declared the prisoner was a stranger before he came to him for a lodging. The wife, however, stated that the prisoner was not a stranger to her husband, as his wife died in the same house. Mr Pagent said it was a most disgraceful state of things to all parties concerned. He discharged the prisoner, as there was no case to warrant a conviction.

 

10 May 1884 Middlesex County Times:

The Elopement Of A Wife. – On Saturday, at Hammersmith Police Court, John Copland, a painter, surrendered to his recognisance to further answer the charge o f stealing wearing apparel, the property of Charles Smith, decorator of Avenue road, Acton. The prisoner had been remanded for inquires in reference to a gold watch, which the prosecutor alleged had been taken away with the other property. The watch was now produced by a pawnbroker’s assistant, and the prosecutor stated that it originally belonged to the prisoner, who gave him the ticket of it in lieu of payment for his kindness to him. Witness redeemed the watch. The prisoner had been lodging with him some six months, not paying any rent, as he was out of work. The prisoner came to him crying, and he took pity on him. He did not know him before that time. – The wife was again called, and said the prisoner gave her the watch as a present. He worked for her husband, and his money was used in the house. His wife died in the house, so that he was not a stranger to her husband. – Mr Paget said it was a most disgraceful state of things to all parties concerned, but there was no evidence to warrant a conviction. Mr Hayes, who appeared for the prosecutor, said the wife ought to be placed in the dock with the prisoner – Mr Paget replied that she could not be charged with stealing her own things. – Mr Hayes thought she could be charged under the Married Women’s Property Act. Mr Paget discharged the prisoner.

 

24 Aug 1884 John Harold Copeland born in Fulham, Middlesex. Son of John Jarman Copeland, a painter & Mary Smith (nee Hughes)
Mary has taken the name Copeland although still Mary Smith

 

29 Oct 1884 Charles Smith, Fanny Bray & their families leave London, England aboard the ship 'Abergeldie'
23 Dec 1884 Charles Smith, Fanny Bray & their families arrive in Australia
The actual people on the ship are believed to be:
Charles Smith
Fanny Bray (not Mary Smith)
Mary Elizabeth Smith
Charles Henry Smith
Ethel Maud Scammel Bray (not Emily Smith)

 

It is not known whether James Pinkerton colluded with Charles to bring Fanny Bray and her daughter instead of Charles' wife and youngest daughter, or whether
he was deceived by Charles.

 

31 Jan 1885 Frances Harriet Smith born in North Shore, St.Leonards, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Daughter of Charles Smith, a painter & Fanny Bray.
Mother was Fanny Bray born Plympton, not Fanny Huse born Staines. Details are those of Charles's wife, Mary
The previous issue, 1 male & 3 females are both Charles & Fanny's children, so Charles is acknowledging the child he left in England, Alice Emily

 

18 Dec 1885 Frances Harriet Smith died at Waterloo, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Mother given as Mary Hughes and witness as Fanny Smith. It is believed they are both Fanny Bray

 

25 Mar 1886 Mary Elizabeth Smith died in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Daughter of Charles Smith & Mary Hughes
Mother is Mary Hughes not Fanny Bray

 
21 Jan 1887 Janet Smith born in St.Leonards, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Daughter of Charles Smith & Fanny Bray.
Marriage information is for Charles and Mary Hughes.
Previous issue are son of Charles & daughter of Fanny. 2 girls dead are Charles & Mary’s’ daughter (Mary Elizabeth)
And Charles and Fanny’s daughter (Frances Harriet). Alice Emily is still alive in England but not acknowledged.
 

 

25 Jan 1890 Albert Edward Smith born in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Son of Charles Smith, a painter & Fanny Bray.
Marriage information is for Charles and Mary Hughes.
Previous issue, Alice Emily is now acknowledged. 2 girls have died, Mary Elizabeth and Frances Harriet. 
The 1 boy and the other 2 girls are not identified.

 

22 May 1890 John Harold & Alfred Frederick Copeland baptised at Twickenham, Middlesex. Sons of John Jarman Copeland, a painter and Mary Smith (nee Hughes)
Mary has taken the name Copeland although still Mary Smith

 

5 Apr 1891 census Sydney, NSW.  Charles Smith living with 3 Males and 3 females.
The males are Charles, Charles Henry & Albert Edward. Females Fanny, Ethel Maud & Janet

 

5 Apr 1891 census Twickenham. Mary Smith nee Hughes living with John Copeland & their 2 children
Mary has taken the name Copeland although still Mary Smith

 

8 Dec 1891 Charles Smith married Fanny Bray in Sydney NSW, Australia
Charles was not a bachelor

 

25 Dec 1891 Agnes Amelia Smith born in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Daughter  of Charles Smith & Fanny Bray
Marriage information is still for Charles and Mary Hughes even though he is now married to Fanny. 
Previous issue, dead boy not identified, now only 3 girls dead!! One not identified

 

13 Apr 1897 Charles Henry Smith died in Subiaco, Western Australia.
Age should be 19, probably a transcription error. Mother is Mary Hughes not Fanny Bray

 

24 Jul 1897 Mary Smith nee Hughes married John Jarman Copeland in Brentford, Middlesex
Mary is not a widow. Her father is a witness, he must have known
PART TRANSCRIPT OF A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE:
On 24 JUL 1897 At THE REGISTER OFFICE  In the district of BRENTFORD, MIDDLESEX
Names . . . . . . . .JOHN COPELAND                 MARY SMITH
Ages. . . . . . . . .
Condition . . . . . .WIDOWER                       WIDOW
Professions . . . . .
Residence . . . . . .10 BELL LANE, TWICKENHAM      10 BELL LANE, TWICKENHAM
Fathers names & prof.JOHN THORPE COPELAND          HENRY J. HUSE-LABOURER
MASTER MARINER (DECEASED)
Witnesses:HENRY J. HUSE & M.J.HALL

 

23 May 1900 Alice Emily Smith married William Charles Hammerton in Brentford, Middlesex
PART TRANSCRIPT OF A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE:
On 23 MAY 1900 At THE REGISTER OFFICE  In the district of BRENTFORD, MIDDLESEX
Names . . . . . . . .WILLIAM CHARLES HAMMERTON     ALICE EMILY SMITH
Ages. . . . . . . . .21                            21
Condition . . . . . .
Professions . . . . . 
Residence . . . . . .38 HAGGARD ROAD, TWICKENHAM   37 LION ROAD, TWICKENHAM
Fathers names & prof.HENRY ISAAC HAMMERTON         CHARLES SMITH- JOINER JEWELLER
Witnesses:MARY COPELAND & CHARLES HAMMERTON

 

21 Mar 1901 census Twickenham, Middlesex. Mary Copeland nee Hughes is living with her husband and 2 sons

 

1901 Queenie Miriam Copeland born in Twickenham, Middlesex. Daughter of John Jarman Copeland & Mary Hughes (married 1897)

 

1 Jul 1901 Ethel Maud Scammell Bray married Francis Henry Bucknall. in Sydney, NSW, Australia
Charles Smith is not her father

 

2 Apr 1911 census Twickenham, Middlesex. Mary Copeland nee Hughes is living with her husband and daughter

 

13 Dec 1915 John Jarman Copeland buried in Twickenham, Middlesex

 

22 Jan 1931 Fanny Smith nee Bray died in Sydney, NSW, Australia
Parents names are totally wrong, but son-in-law Francis Bucknall was the informant so probably didn't know. 
Marriage information still that of Mary Hughes

 

24 Oct 1935 Charles Smith died in Sydney, NSW, Australia
Marriage information still that of Mary Hughes.

 

6 Aug 1938 Mary Copeland nee Hughes died in Twickenham, Middlesex.

 

 

A big thank you to Karen Lamaro who supplied all the certificates and information from Australia and wrote
the following postscript.  (Other information from Ancestry.com)

 

I felt some disquiet after first reading through the story.   A statement of facts unfortunately makes Charles & Fanny, and indeed Mary, seem very

duplicitous and of questionable character.

 

As I gradually uncovered their “story” I found that I became very fond of my great grandparents.  I even felt sympathy for Mary and was pleased to

discover that Alice and Mary had lived only a block apart when Alice was a mother of many children.  It suggested to me that the mother/daughter

relationship had survived and I was happy for of them.

 

Whilst I am fairly sure that the details we have uncovered are correct, we are not really able to substantiate all of our claims.  I have discussed this

with my sister and she feels very strongly that we cannot be certain beyond any doubt that Ethel Maud was illegitimate.  Neither can we verify that

it was Fanny and Ethel on the ship in place of Mary and Emily.

 

Most importantly I have researched marriage and desertion in 1800s UK and I think there was no bigamy committed.  My understanding is that seven

years after desertion by a spouse a wife/husband was free to remarry legally.  If the deserting party was known to be overseas, even though the

wife/husband knew where they were, they were still free to remarry legally.  The only condition was that should the deserting party return to the

UK then the second marriage would no longer be recognised.  Seems a strange law now, but the British colonies were so far flung that I think the

situation probably occurred frequently.  As the deserted party was often a wife, it is understandable that she would be anxious to remarry with

little social welfare to help support herself and children. 

 

I suspect this law influenced the timing of Charles & Fanny marriage and also the baptism of Mary and John Copeland’s sons.

 

I believe that Fanny was haunted all her life by the fact that she was an “illegal immigrant” and all the efforts to portray herself as Mary, and the

children as hers, were simply to cover this fact and to protect the children from the label “illegitimate”.    We cannot know what circumstances

resulted in the birth of Ethel.  Fanny could well have been a victim being a young woman in service.  Nor can we know what occurred between

Charles and Mary to cause the split.  Maybe Charles felt he must get his two older children away from a scandal only to lose both of them to typhoid.

 

I would like to give Charles, Fanny and Mary as much benefit of doubt as possible.  In the end Charles and Fanny stayed together and raised their

surviving three children.  Charles took Fanny’s daughter Ethel as his own and Ethel’s son Charles worked with him.   All of them lived within two

streets of each other.  Likewise Mary stayed with John Copeland and their three children.  She lived around the corner from her daughter Alice and

her family.

 

The discovery of their story has been a very personal journey for me.   My sister and I did not know them personally but we loved some of their

descendants very much and as a result feel a responsibility to protect their memory.

 

My thanks to Liz Williams for her freely given assistance.  Without her help and research skills I could not have discovered Charles’ and Fanny’s story

 

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