Jane Wicks Family History

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                    Alfred Blanchard & Frances Wright

                      1826 - 1916

                      1823 - 1891

       Alfred Blanchard was born on 4th September 1826 in Hythe, New Forest, Hampshire, the eighth of ten known children born to Henry Groves Blanchard, a ship builder by trade, but at that time the publican of the Lord Nelson Inn, Hythe, and his wife Louisa, formerly Stovell. He appears to have been baptized twice, first in September 1826 shortly after his birth, and again in July 1827, the reason for this is not known but his elder sister, Emma, also appears to have been baptized twice. He grew up in Hythe where he was apprenticed to his father, who had returned to his former trade in 1835, and was trained in the craft of ship building. Alfred married Frances Wright on 17th June 1847 in Millbrook, Southampton, his occupation is recorded as "ship wright" on the marriage certificate, witnesses were his wife's sister Eliza Wright and Eliza's future husband George Bolton. Frances Wright was the daughter of Richard Wright and his wife Elizabeth, formerly Hobbs. She was baptized on 16th February 1823 in Southampton, and was the eldest of nine children.  Alfred and Frances had nine children, Alfred Henry, b. 1848, George William, b. 1849, Edward Richard, b. 1851, Eliza Ann, b. 1853, Fanny, b. 1855, Robert, b. 1857, William, b. 1858, Emma Blanche, b. 1860,  and Louisa Elizabeth, b. 1863. 
                  After their marriage, Alfred and Frances lived at various addresses in Southampton, where Alfred carried on his trade of ship building, until about 1860. Sadly two of his children died in infancy during this period, Fanny in 1856, aged 18 months and Robert in 1858, aged 11 months. By 1860 they had moved to Dibden in the New Forest, and by 1863 they had returned to Alfred's home village of Hythe. In 1864 Alfred went into partnership with his father, Henry, who had purchased the Ship Yard at Hythe. Sadly this partnership did not last long as Henry died a year later in 1865. In his will, Henry left one half share of the shipyard to Alfred and the other half share and the residue of his estate, in trust, to be sold and the proceeds to be shared equally between his other four surviving children. In order to purchase the other half share, Alfred took out a mortgage for £150

              The mortgage deed, an indenture dated 26th May 1866, was made between Alfred Blanchard of Hythe, shipbuilder, on the one part and Thomas Goater of Southampton, solicitor, on the other part. The document describes the terms of Henry Groves Blanchard's will, the location of the shipyard and the terms of the mortgage. The shipyard is described thus;

      "All that piece or parcel of ground now used and known as the Ship Yard, situate at Hyhte in the parish of Dibden in the county of Southampton and abutting on the road leading to Frost Lane, with a frontage thereto of seventy six feet or thereabouts and extending in depth to the foreshore of the Southampton Water, five hundred and seventy eight feet or thereabouts, bounded on the north west by premises formerly in the occupation of William Oak but now of Captain Brown RN, on the south west by the road leading to Frost Lane, on the north east by the Southampton Water and on the south east by land belonging to George Scovell. And also, of and in all that strip of land which forms a way of passage from the said piece of ground to the Southampton Water, commonly called or known by the name of The Hard"

                                                Site of the Shipyard, Hythe

 Besides the shipyard at Hythe, Alfred is known to have operated from at least two other yards, one at Cross House on the River Itchen, near what is now the Itchen Bridge, and also at Woolston on the opposite bank of the river. Alfred is recorded as being the owner and builder of a steam water boat called "Fanny" registration number 62239, registered in Southampton and built at Woolston. The boat is described as being "steam screw" registered tonnage, 18 net, 27 gross. He owned the boat from 1872, probably ferrying passangers and cargo across Southampton Water, untill 1886, when it was sold and used to carry coal to and around the Isle of Wight. Although a successful ship builder, in his long life, Alfred suffered a series of tragic events, besides the deaths in infancy of two of his children, by 1860 his wife, Frances had become a paraplegic, in 1877 he suffered the tragic loss of his eldest son, Alfred Henry and daughter in law, Clara in a boating accident, followed eight months later by the death of his eldest daughter, Eliza, from tuberculosis. Add to this the deaths of several of his grandchildren in infancy and the death of his daughter in law Jane, in 1888 which left Alfred to care for his widowed son's four children, whilst George was away at sea. Frances died in 1891 after 30 years as a paraplegic. In 1892 Alfred travelled to Detroit, USA where his son Edward was living. Here he married again to Almyra Keller nee Shaw on 24th June 1895. It is not known what happened to Almyra. Alfred had returned to England by 1901 and is described as a widower on the 1901 census. Alfred died on 15th July 1916, just a few weeks short of his 90th birthday, cause of death is given as (1) Senile decay (2) Diarrhoea, the informant was his daughter, Emma Blanche Blanchard who was present at the death, he was was buried in the churchyard of St Johns Church Hythe, with his wife, Frances. Although the head stone still exists, it no longer marks the grave site.


Alfred Henry Blanchard was born 13th March 1848 in Northam, Southampton and was baptized on 4th June 1848 in St Marys Church, Southampton. He became a mariner, sailing yachts and by 1877 had become the master of the yacht "Zephyr". He was said to be "a capital swimmer and a very clever sailor" and was popular and well respected by his community and beloved by his family. Alfred married Clara Maria Aldridge on 13th September 1874 in St Johns Church, Hythe, the witnesses were Clara's brother William Aldridge and her cousin Mary Jane Barnes. Alfred, Clara and Mary Jane, were all drowned in a boating accident in the early hours of the morning of Thursday 26th July 1877. An inquest was held the same day at the Sun Bar on the Town Quay, Southampton and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death. Two other members of the party, Edwin Barns and his sister Sarah (Clara's cousins) were rescued. (see the article Melancholy And Fatal Boat Accident) All three were buried together in St Johns churchyard, Hythe on 29th July 1877. (see article The Funeral of Mr Alfred Blanchard) The head stone still exists but no longer marks the grave. The inscription reads as follows;       

                "In affectionate remembrance of Alfred Henry Blanchard aged 29 years, Clara Maria his wife aged 28 years and their cousin Mary Jane Barnes aged 24 years, who were drowned early in the morning of Thursday 26th July 1877 through the upsetting of a boat in a sudden squall off the Town Quay Southampton. In the midst of life we are in death. Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring". 


George William Blanchard (1849 - 1925) married Jane Wood (1854 -1888) (direct ancestors, see separate profile)

Edward Richard Blanchard (known as Ted) was born 12th October 1851 in Mount Pleasant, Northam, Southampton and was baptized on 9th November 1851, in St Marys, Southampton. He became a shipwright, working with his father, and then a marine engineer. In 1873 he went to the United States where he married his second cousin Emily Jane Wright, the daughter of Charles Henry Wright (his mother's first cousin) on 12th December in Wyandott, Michigan, USA, at the home of Emily's sister Mary Ann Crassweller whose husband George Crassweller had a shipyard, and Edward may well have gone to America to work with him. Edward and Emily went back to England in 1875 but returned to the US in 1884. They had ten children, of which only three survived into adulthood. They lived in Jackson, Detroit, Michigan where Edward worked as a marine endineer and later moved to Florida, where they had a china shop. After Emily's death in 1826 from throat cancer, Edward returned to Detroit where he died in an Odd Fellows retirement home on 20th January 1937 aged 85. He had outlived all but but one of his ten children.

Eliza Ann Blanchard was born on 17th July 1853 in 1 Princes Street, Southampton, and was baptized on 14th August 1853 in St Marys Southampton. She died on 20th March 1878 aged 24 years, at 31 Clifford Crescent, Southampton. The cause of death is given as Phthisis (Tuberculosis) on the death certificate, after suffering for a year. The informant was her aunt Emma knights, who was present at the death. She was buried in the Southampton Cemetery (now Southampton Old Cemetery, on The Common) with this epitaph;

        In affectionate remembrance of Eliza Ann Blanchard the beloved daughter of Alfred and Fanny Blanchard, who died 20th March 1878 aged 24 years. Tis God who has taken our daughter away, from trouble and sickness and pain, then let us not sorrow as those without hope, our loss is her infinite gain. 

Fanny Blanchard was born on 5th January 1855 in 1 Princes Street, Southampton, and was baptized on 4th February 1855 in St Marys, Southampton. She died in July 1856 aged 18 months, at 64 1/2 James Street, Southampton, and was buried on 27th July 1856 in St Marys, Southampton.

Robert Blanchard was born on 12th February 1857 in 64 1/2 James Street, Southampton and was baptized on 10th May in St Marys Southampton. He died in January 1858 aged 11 months, at 64 1/2 James Street, Southampton, and was buried on 10th January 1858 in St Marys, Southampton.

William Blanchard was born on 26th September 1858 in 64 1/2 James Street, Southampton, and was baptized on 24th October 1858 in St Marys, Southampton. Unlike his  fahter and brothers he chose not into shipbuilding or sailing, but became a carpenter, builder, and master cabinet maker. He married Martha Lever on 17th December 1881 in Fisherton Anger, Wiltshire. They had seven children, two of whom died in infancy. In 1887 he followed his elder brother Edward to Detroit and then moved to Canada in 1894. He returned to England in 1898 and settled in Sherbourne, Dorset. Gradually his children began to the US and William and Martha returned to Canada in 1920, sailing from Southampton aboard the Adriatic on 7th April 1920 and arriving in New York on 16th April 1920. The ship's manifest describes him as being 5' 10", in good mental and physical health, of fresh complexion, with grey hair and grey eyes. The family finally settled back in Detroit and William died there on 3rd September 1926 aged 67.

Emma Blanche Blanchard was born in 186o Dibden, New Forest, Hampshire. She was a dress maker and house keeper. Emma never married, but likely cared for her disabled mother and elderly father. Emma died on 26th July 1948 aged 87 at 214 Drove Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, cause of death, Septicemia, bed sores and senility. The informant was her niece Mabel Ann Chapman who was present at the death. Emma left a will and probate was granted to her sister Louisa on 26th August 1948, value of effects, £393 14s 3d

Louisa Elizabeth Blanchard (known as Lou) was born on 21st December 1863 in Hythe, New Forest, Hampshire. She married Edward William Saxby in 1890. Edward (known as Ted) was a watch and clock maker, and Jeweller. They had one son Alfred Charles who died in infancy. There may well have been complications with, or after his birth, according to the census taken nine days later there was a nurse living with them, and Edward and Louisa had no other children. They moved to Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where Edward had a watch and clock shop in Weal Street. Some years later they moved to Swindon, Wiltshire where Edward died in 1948. He left a will and probate was granted to his wife and his nephew William Edward Blanchard, value of effects, £2147 13s 10d. Louisa died on 26th February 1957 at 3 Vincent Avenue, Shirley, Southampton, the home of her niece Mabel Ann Chapman. Cause of death, myocarditis, arterio-sclerosis and senility. The informant was George Burt, Mabel's son in law, who was organizing the funeral. Louisa left a will and probate was granted on 15th May 1957, value of effect, £628 9s 1d


                                           The Steam Water Tank Fanny

The Hampshire Advertiser Saturday 15th June 1872


Launch - On Wednesday a large steam water tank was very successfully launched from the building yard of Mr Alfred Blanchard, the ceremony of christening being performed by Miss Eliza Blanchard, eldest daughter of Mr Alfred Blanchard. The vessel, which was named the Fanny, was immediately taken to the Town Quay, where her boiler was placed on board, and she is now  very rapidly approaching completion. We have no doubt the Fanny will be found a great boon to yachtsmen and others, who have long felt the want of some better means of obtaining a  fresh supply of water.

The Hampshire Advertiser Wednesday 16th October 1872

The Steam Water Tank - Some few months since, Mr Alfred Blanchard, shipbuilder, of Crosshouse hard, Southampton, launched a water tank for supplying ships and yachts with water, and she has proved a great boon, especially while the American fleet were lying in our river, as was acknowledged by the commanders and officers of the vessels, and yachts and other craft have found her equally advantageous. The tank, which is named the Fanny, was built as a steamer and was fitted with engines, designed and made by Lane and Son, very simple in their construction, but combining all the latest improvements. Since she has been launched she has sailed nearly the whole of the time, but lately her machinery has been finished. She has been fitted with a new propeller, and on Saturday afternoon went for a trial trip with a large party on board, and when she fully answered all the expectations that had been formed respecting her, proving herself a good vessel, and obtaining a high rate of speed, especially when it is considered she had thirty tons of water in her tank - she will carry fifty. The pump she has on board is of a very powerful nature, and being worked by steam, the Fanny is well adapted for running alongside a vessel on fire and pouring water into her, while she will be found useful for towing, raising moorings, carrying cargo, &c, altogether a very useful addition to the appliances for shipping at the port.

The Hampshire Advertiser Wednesday 2nd July 1873

Fire On Board A Water Tank - On Sunday afternoon a fire was discovered on board the steam water tank Fanny, belonging to Mr Blanchard, and lying off the Town Quay. As the Hythe steamer was coming across from Hythe just after 3 o'clock the captain saw smoke issuing from the skylight of the tank and immediately suspected she was on fire. He landed the passengers at the Town Quay, quickly steamed off alongside the Fanny, and found she was on fire in the after part. With assistance he very soon extinguished the flames, but considerable damage was done. It is fortunate that the captain observed the smoke thus early, or the consequences might have been much more serious. There was no one board the tank at the time.


In November 1873, after having been repaired, the Fanny assisted another vessel, the Three Brothers, which was on fire in the Itchen, assissting the Fire Brigade to extinguish the flames. In 1881 the Fanny was once more herself damged by fire.

The Hampshire Advertiser Wednesday 14th December 1881

Fire At The Town Quay - On Saturday night, Francis Gregory, Customs Officer, discovered a fire in the deck house of the steam water tank Fanny, lying near the Town Quay, belonging to Alfred Blanchard of Lower Canal Walk, but with the assistance of Police constables Longman and Fielder, and other willing hands, it was extinguished before much damage was done.

                                                                                            1871 Map of Hythe

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