Monday, 6 July 2009

The elusive Norman Edward Fitz-Henry turns up in America

In April last year, I did a posting on the Winchester/Ashtead families of William Fitz-Henry and concluded that there were a few of William's children that I had not managed to trace once they had reached adulthood.

One of these was Norman Edward Fitz-Henry, born to William's first wife Barbara Morrison in Winchester in June 1865.

Neither he or his parents were found in the 1871 census, but I believe that this was because William was stationed with the regiment in the East Indies at the time (personal communication from Brian Bouchard). However the older children (Henrietta and William George) were being schooled in Winchester.

In the 1881 census, Norman himself was at school at the Churchill House School in Merton Surrey, near to Ashtead where his father and new wife Martha Eagles were living. And until recently, that was where we had lost Norman. Lesley had previously looked for him in Australia and New Zealand - she found a Norman, but not the one in question.

This was until we found William's will of 1885 in which he left "to my son Norman Edward presently residing in Texas Three hundred pounds."
(If you want to see the transcription of the rest of the will it is here on the FitzhenryDNA website)

In 1884 Norman had sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans on the British Paddle Steamer "Texan" of Liverpool. He travelled in steerage with no other members of his family.

In 1897 he was living in Portland Oregon - here is the extract from the Portland City Directory:
"Norman E FitzHenry (Portland Ptg Co) 204 Stark, bds 29 4th N."
If some-one would decipher the abbreviations for me I would be most grateful!

And on March 5th 1901 Norman died in the "FP Hospital" Tacoma of a brain abscess. He was noted to be 34 years old, single but no occupation was given. His burial was organised by Hook undertakers in Tacoma. The FP or Fannie Paddock Hospital later became the Tacoma General Hospital and there's more about its history here

Norman seems to have evaded both the 1890 and 1900 US censi, so any more details about that part of his life would be very gratefully received.

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  1. If this is William Fitz-Henry of
    Tacoma Washington, my grandfather
    may have been employed by him for some portion of theperiod from 1889 to Williams death in 1901. I have little info but William is mentioned in my grandfathers death
    notice in thenewspaper.

  2. Hello and thanks to the person who left a comment to this post.
    The William Fitz-Henry who was Norman Fitz-Henry's father did not travel out of England after he left the Army in about 1877.

    However, there was another Fitz-Henry family in Tacoma at this time and this may have been the William Fitz-Henry who was your grandfather's employer. He was born in Virginia in 1864 and was an auctioneer. He had 3 sons, the youngest of which was also named William born 1897.

    If you would be so kind as to send us a copy of your grandfather's death notice ( we would be very grateful and may be able to give you some new information.
    Best wishes
    Jo Fitz-Henry