The Whitton Brothers of Low Fields Farm, Bedale, Yorkshire
Frederick Robert Whitton and William Edwin Whitton were the only two children of George Whitton and Phillis Woodward Milner. The Whitton boys were both born at the Low Fields Farm in Bedale near Kirkby Fleetham. Frederick was born in March 1861, being only 1 month old in the 1861 census, and William was born on 10 March 1864.
The family of four were still on the Low Fields farm in 1871 where Frederick was a scholar, possibly at the St Gregory's local church schoolyard in Bedale.
By 1881 the family had moved apart. Frederick and William did not follow their father's farming role although William many years in the future would find himself on the land in a far away country. Frederick was a draper's apprentice and was living in the drapers shop in High Row Richmond. William was boarding at the Church Crescent Grove House School in London. Meanwhile George and Phillis Whitton continued to farm North Low Fields with up to six hired servants. It would appear that the family was reasonably well off.
It was not long before William followed his brother's trade as in 1891 he was boarding in Bold Street Liverpool with a large number of other drapers apprentices. Frederick had now become a draper and was carrying out his trade while a living with a retired draper in Pottergate Street Richmond. By 1891 George and Phillis Whitton had moved farms to Hunwick, Ripon, West Riding, Yorkshire. At that time the census shows Low Fields farmhouse is shown as vacant.
The family obviously still kept in contact as by 1901 William had returned to live with his parents who had now acquired their own green-grocers shop in Prescot Street, Lowhill, Liverpool, West Derby. Quite an achievement for a 78 and 70 year old couple. William was a draper's assistant possibly with work in the local Liverpool area. Frederick seemed to be going well and was running his own drapers business in Markes Place, Richmond employing a number of assistants. The boys must have been focused on their business as neither had yet married with Frederick now 40 and William 37 years old.
Frederick Robert Whitton's Family
No doubt the elderly George and Phillis would have been pleased when in August 1903, Frederick, aged 42, married Jane Anderson, aged 33 at Rothbury, Northumberland. Jane was the daughter of the deceased George Anderson. Frederick had become a travelling draper or salesman and met "Jeannie" on one of his trips. William Edwin Whitton and Robert Anderson were the witnesses to the wedding. Robert is most likely Jane's brother.
Within a year George and Phillis would have been again pleased to have their first grandchild, Phyllis born on 5 July 1904 in Frenchgate Richmond. It is interesting that all subsequent Phyllis' in the Whitton line are spelt with a "y", while all official records of Phillis Woodward Milner are spelt with an "i".
In December 1904 George and Phillis Whitton both passed away within two weeks of each other. George was 84 and died first of "old age" and Phillis was 78. What a nice way to go! Frederick R Whitton, the first son, was the informant for George's death and Alice Milner, Phillis' sister, was the informant for Phillis.
Frederick and his wife Jane then had identical twin boys. Frederick Milner Whitton and George Anderson Whitton on 23 September 1906. Their naming clearly reflecting their ancestors.
Not long after this the two brothers of Low Fields Farm Bedale went different ways, possibly never knowing of the families they subsequently raised, William in the outback of New South Wales Australia, and Frederick in Richmond Yorkshire. A hundred years later a pair of grandchildren of these two brothers eventually made contact.
Unfortunately Frederick died in 1916 in Richmond when his children were still young, and left an estate of 123 pounds to Jane Whitton. After his death, Jane and her three children moved to Rothbury to be close by her brother. Frederick Milner Whitton, one of the sons eventually took over Jane's brother's farm.
The 39 year old son, Frederick, married Jeannie Baxter Crockart (nee Hulley) in 1946 and a year later had their only child Sally Ann Whitton. Phyllis Whitton never married and George Anderson Whitton had no children of his own leaving Sally Ann Whitton, as Frederick Robert Whitton's only grandchild.
William Edwin Whitton's Family
William's health was not coping with the cool damp winters of northern England - his pipe smoking might not have helped. On his doctor's advice, in order to survive another winter with his chronic chest condition (Pneumonia and Pleurisy), he sought a hot dry climate in country New South Wales, Australia.
Departing Liverpool in 1907 he arrived in Sydney, on 9 September 1907 aboard the "Everton Grange". He obviously took his doctor's advice seriously as he is next found in the in 1909 NSW electoral role for Goodooga with an occupation of a barman. Goodooga in north western NSW would certainly conform to a hot dry climate.
William is understood to have met Grace Ethel Bailey on a country NSW property. Grace Bailey, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was at that time the children's nurse to the wealthy Richmond family, that is Major George Richmond and Griselda Richmond, who had four children and owned a large property called "Mogila" near Goodooga, near the NSW-Queensland boarder.
William Whitton and Grace Bailey married on 29 December 1924 in Neutral Bay, Sydney. They did not stay long in Sydney and returned to country NSW, living on the Walhollow Cattle Station at Caroona near Quirindi, NSW from about 1925 to 1933. Walhollow Station covered some 1,300 square km. While at Walhollow, William and Grace had two children: Phyllis born in 1926; and Norman born in 1929. For both births Grace travelled to Sydney to have the children in a major Sydney hospital. Phyllis and Norman loved their childhood in country NSW. Their home was on the opposite side of the Mooki River to Walhollow Station. William was a station hand and Grace cooked for the station jackaroos who lived in a room at the back of their house.
It is not known why but in 1934 the family moved to Sydney in Annandale and lived above a general store that was run by William and Grace. Not long after moving into the shop Grace died at the young age of 43.
William, then aged 71, with a 9 year old daughter and a 7 year old son then married the 35 year old Queenie Jenkins who was a family friend. Queenie had previously agreed with her friend Grace that she would look after the children if anything happened to Grace. In 1937 William also died leaving Phyllis and Norman to be looked after by their stepmother. He left all his estate of 493 pounds to Queenie Whitton.
Phyllis Whitton married Douglas Spalding in 1945 and had three sons. Norman Whitton married Minnie Mason in 1952 and had two sons. Those five grandsons of William Edwin Whitton all have had children of their own.
On coming to Australia, William obviously tried to hide his age as is evidenced on his, UK departure record, his marriage certificates and on his childrens' birth certificates. His daughter, Phyllis, always thought he was an old man. He was! On all these records his recorded age was 10 to 15 years less than his actual age.
He died on 19 March 1937 when he was 73 but with his family thinking he was only 62.