Todays post continues with the research on the newly confirmed branch of my tree. That of the Secombe family. You will remember from previous posts, based on DNA connections we have finally confirmed that my 2x G Grandfather William McClellan was in fact William McClellan Secombe. He came from a family rich with Coastguard and Navy history.
In a letter of application for the youngest son Lewis, Thomas’ wife Isabella states that she wishes nothing but a life for Lewis on the sea as it was the life of his father and all his brothers. While I have yet to find records for all the sons, most indeed appear to have spent a good part of their life with the British Coastguard or Navy.
William McClelland Secombe
William appears to be the first child of Thomas and Isabella and was born on the Isle of Whithorn on 17 March 1833 and was baptised a month later. His first maritime record appears to be entering Naval Service when he signed up for 10 years service, on the 1st November 1860. He was posted to the HMS Ajax. Little more is known of the next 10 years except that he was involved in a disasterous storm which took place in Kingstown harbour during which the Captain of the Ajax drowned. Later records find him as crew on coastal traders in Australia, one of which was the Fairy Queen, which in 1873 wrecked in Timaru harbour. It is at this time it appears William gave up his life on the sea and it was probably at this point he changed his name to William McClellan. He settled first in Pleasant
Point,and later in Woodville and married Elizabeth Brodie and had one son, William McClellan.
There has been no record of Alexanders birth, His parentage and place of birth comes from his later records. Alexander states he was born in 1840 on the Isle of Whithorn Scotland, like his elder brother William. The first we officially know of him is in Australia. His arrival date and method of arrival in Austrlia is unknown but members of the family suspect he jumped ship from a Naval vessel. By 1860 though, aged just 20 he is the proprieter of the Miners Arms Hotel in Georgetown, Queensland Australia, so it can be certain he didnt complete his naval service if he did in fact sign up. In 1864 Alexander married Melvina Rachel Vincent and they had 9 children . He died not long after the birth of his last daughter Georgeana, the cause of which was apparently suicide aged only 45.
The Naval records of Mark Secombe are more complete than those of his older brothers .Also born on the Isle of Whithorn, he signed on as a boy, 1st Class on 15 Dec 1859 when he joined the Ajax. Initially volunteering for a term of 10 years he re engaged in 1870 in order to serve long enough to obtain a pension. He served on many ships including the HMS Ajax, HMS Edgar, HMS Blenheim and Excellent, HMS Pearl and Duke of Wellington and HMS Penelope, which appears to be his last posting before retiring from the Navy. Mark married Elizabeth Mulholland in 1875 and they went on to have 11 children in the next 14 years, before Mark died in 1889, the same year his youngest daugther was born. In 1881 Mark is listed as a Naval Pensioner and hsi wife Lizzie as a GreenGrocer. They are living in Walton Suffolk. Mark died aged only 47 in Aug 1889.
The records for Andrew Secombe state he was born in Portaferry, County Down, Ireland. This ties in with his fathers posting to Ireland after he joined the Coastguard. Andrew volunteered as a Boy 2nd Class in June 1861 for a period of 10 years ( from the age of 18)and then like is elder brother Mark, he also extended for a further 10 years from October 1874.
Like William and Mark, Andrew started his service on the HMS Ajax and also served on the HMS Defense, Excellent, Victory,HMS Terrible, Duke of Wellington, Euphrates, Lord Warden and HMS Favourite.
Andrew married Emma Chaston in Duffus Scotland in 1875 and they had 2 children, Edgar and Daisy .
In the 1881 Scotland census he is living in Aberdour, Aberdeenshire and is listed as a Coastguard and he dies in Suffolk in 1884 aged just 38.
Lewis Secombe was the youngest child of Thomas and Isabella. He was only a child when his father died in 1864 and Isabella was instrumental in his life on the sea. In support of his application as a Boy 2nd Class ( aged just 15) Isabella wrote “ Newtonwards, Ireland, 9th October 1867. I am writing, Sir, that my son is joining the Navy, as it is the only life I wish for him. His father and all his brothers were in the same too, and as I am alone, Sir, I trust the Lord will teach him his way and make him a good boy. Your humbled servant, Isabella Seacombe. Lewis was born in Ballywater County Down, Ireland and served on many ships including HMS Scout, Chameleon, Pembroke, Fox and Royal Adelaide .The last record for him I have confirmed is as an inmate in HMS Wakefield Prison where he is serving 7 days hard labour for drunkenness and states he has also been in Bodman prison. It is not know if he married.