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THE KIMBELLS OF KNOWLE
some notes by P John Partington
In the first decade of the nineteenth century a certain Mary Deavol had a series of illegitimate children baptized in Knowle – all of whom subsequently changed their surname to ‘Kimbell’, usually retaining Deavol as a second Christian name. It is clear from a variety of sources that their father was the village doctor, Jonathan Kimbell. One of these children was my great-great-great-grandmother Esther Deavoll Kimbell. Family memory has her father as indeed being “Dr Kimbell of Knowle”, though documentary proof of this is missing. Alone of the ‘Deavoll Kimbells’ I’ve been unable so far to trace her baptism, which seems not to have been in Knowle. The result is a rather tangled web of names.
JONATHAN KIMBELL OF KNOWLE (bef. 1737 - 1795)
My earliest identified Kimbell ancestor, Jonathan, married Esther Arnold on 24 January 1754 at St Martin’s Birmingham. They had four children: John Arnold, born in about 1757, Jonathan in about 1762, Mary in 1764 and Elizabeth in 1767. Jonathan died in 1795, having made a will in which he referred to property in Solihull, Beaudesert, Tanworth and Yardley (Worcs). He was buried at Knowle on 13 July; Esther died in 1803 and was buried there on 18 March.
THE CHILDREN OF JONATHAN (bef. 1737 - 1795)
Jonathan’s older son, John Arnold, was baptized in Solihull on 15 March 1758. He married Elizabeth Adams on 8 November 1814 at Knowle. Nearly six years earlier, however, a daughter, Hannah Adams had been born. John & Elizabeth had a daughter, Maria, born in 1815 and baptized in the village on 9 November. (Details of both children are below.) Her baptism register entry describes John as a “shop-keeper”. John Arnold made a will on 26 September 1819, in which he refers to “my deceased wife”, and died in 1823, being buried “aged sixty-five” at Knowle on 15 September. Elizabeth had probably died in 1816.
The elder Jonathan’s younger son was another Jonathan, born in about 1762. He married Ann (surname unknown, born probably in 1764) in 1783, and they had two children, Hester and Jonathan. Following this, and with Ann still alive (she died in 1828), Jonathan had a long-standing relationship with the Mary Deavol mentioned at the start of these notes, with whom he had a further seven children: William, John, Esther, Charles, Edward, Harriet and Henry. (Details of all the children are below.) Jonathan died in 1813: his tombstone is still in Knowle churchyard, but with almost illegible dates. After his death, and under the terms of his will, Mary was apparently paid £20 a year by their son Charles until her own demise in the late 1840s.
Jonathan’s third child was apparently Mary, born in 1764. She married John Tandy in 1789, by whom she had a daughter, Sarah, in 1800.
Jonathan’s fourth child was apparently Elizabeth, born in 1767. She married John Jones in 1792 and died in 1816, without issue.
THE CHILDREN OF JOHN ARNOLD (c. 1757 - 1823)
John Arnold’s first child, Hannah Adams, was born in Knowle on 16 January 1809 and baptized in Solihull. She married John Allday at Knowle on 12 July 1832, and they had five children: John Arnold born in about 1836, Francis in 1837/8, Frederick John in 1840, Catherine Harriet in 1843 and Arnold in 1845. In 1851 John & Hannah and the younger children were living in Warwick Road, Solihull: John was a “farmer of 310 acres employing eight labourers”. By the 1870s they had moved to London: John died in Stoke Newington on 2 August 1879. The 1881 census records Hannah as an “annuitant” at 9 Clephane Road in Islington; she died in Canonbury on 23 July the following year.
John Arnold’s second child, Maria, was born in Knowle on 24 October 1815 and baptized in the village on 9 November. In 1851 she was staying as a visitor with her sister Hannah and family. In 1881 she was still living, unmarried, with her sister – now in Islington.
THE CHILDREN OF JONATHAN (c. 1762 - 1813)
Jonathan and his wife Ann had two children – Hester and Jonathan. Subsequently (and with Ann still alive), Jonathan fathered seven more children (William, John, Esther, Charles, Edward, Harriet and Henry) with a certain Mary Deavol. Hester, Jonathan and William apparently styled themselves simply as “Kimbell” throughout their lives, while the next son, John, seems to have been baptized “Kimbell” but to have been known as “Deavoll Kimbell” by the time of his wedding. The youngest four children were all baptized as illegitimate children of Mary Deavol, but by adulthood were known as “Deavoll Kimbell” – except for Henry who generally appears in later life as “Kimbell, alias Deavoll”. Esther Deavoll’s baptism has not yet been found.
Jonathan & Ann Kimbell had a daughter, Hester, baptized in Knowle on 3 October 1784. She died at the age of nine, being buried at Knowle on 8 July 1794.
Jonathan & Ann’s second child was another Jonathan, born in about 1787. (He is referred to as the son of Ann at her death in 1828). It is just possible that he had a son, Henry, in 1815/6 since the 1841 census records the two of them living together in Town Street – but this is more likely a reference to his younger brother Henry, with a misrecorded date of birth. Jonathan, as his father’s only surviving legitimate child, seems to have been left more or less all the older Jonathan’s money and property; and it is clear from his will that he lent significant sums of money out of this to his various half-brothers. He set up in business as a coal-dealer, the business being based at a wharf on the local (now Grand Union) canal. He died in 1846, after making a will the previous year, and is recorded on his father’s tombstone. On his death the coal business passed to his brother Edward.
William was born in Knowle in about 1794 – apparently the son of Jonathan and Mary Deavol. On 19 November 1816 he married Mary Jeffcoat at St Martin’s, Birmingham. The couple had four children: William Henry born in about 1818, John James in 1820, Catharine Jane in about 1823 and Fanny Mary Jeffcoat in 1835 (details below). In 1851 William, Mary and Catherine Jane were living in Tanworth: William is described as “Surgeon MRCS London General Practitioner”. Like his siblings, William seems to have been left nothing in his father’s will, and to have been lent money by his half-brother Jonathan – a debt which was cancelled on the latter’s death in 1846, and a bequest made of £133. He himself died in 1871, still in Tanworth.
John was born in Solihull in 1797/8. He appears to be the John baptized on 11 June 1797 at St. John’s, Deritend & Bordesley, to parents Jonathan and Mary (Deavol?). He married Catherine Jeffcoat on 14 October 1819 at Milverton, where he was entered in the register as “John Deavoll Kimbell”, and the couple had four children: Jonathan Henry born in about 1820, John Jeffcoat, in about 1822, Louisa Catherine in about 1824, and Frederick John in 1827 (details below). The baptism registers describe John as a “surgeon”. On his half-brother Jonathan’s death in 1846 John inherited £500. In 1851 John, Catherine and Frederick were living in Knowle, John being described as a “General Practitioner in Medicine, MD & LAC”. He died on 7 February 1860, being buried at Knowle. His will (proved 14 March that same year) refers to property at Clarendon Crescent, Leamington Priors. Catherine died on 29 May the following year, and was buried at Knowle on 3 June.
Esther Deavoll was born in 1800, apparently at Knowle, though there is no reference to a baptism (“Kimbell” or “Deavoll”) there. On 1 September 1825 she married William Mason at Edgbaston. They had four children: Emily, born in Birmingham in 1826, William in about 1829, Alfred in about 1831 and Louisa Catherine in about 1843 – the last three all born in Kingsbury, where William was schoolmaster. In 1841 Esther & William were living in Kingsbury; and seventy-three year old “Mary Kimbell” was with them – presumably Esther’s mother Mary née Deavol. William died in January 1845, being buried on the 30th. The following year Esther inherited £100 from her half-brother Jonathan. The 1851 census records her as still schoolmistress in Kingsbury, while ten years later she was living with her daughter Emily (Kimberlin) and family in Nether Whitacre. She died on 4 May 1870, being buried at Kingsbury.Charles Deavoll was born in Knowle in 1804 and baptized there on 23 September. He married Charlotte Houghton on 13 October 1829 at Edgbaston. She died in 1837 at the age of twenty-five, being buried at Knowle on 21 February, and on 1 November that same year Charles married Emma Avery at Solihull. They had five children: Jonathan born in 1840, Elizabeth in about 1842, Emma in about 1844, Charles in 1847/8 and Fanny in about 1851 (details below). In the 1830s and early 1840s Charles was apparently a grocer, and is recorded in Pigot’s Directory of 1835 & 1841, and in Jonathan’s will of 1845, as a “tallow chandler”. On Jonathan’s death in 1846, not only was Charles’ debt to him of “£270 and interest” forgiven, but he also inherited Beaufoy’s House and about eight acres of land. In 1851 the family were still living in Knowle; Charles was working as a castrator. He died on 6 March 1865, being buried at Knowle four days later. In 1881 sixty-four year old Emma was living at Chester House in Knowle with unmarried children Jonathan and Fanny – she was described as a farmer. She died in 1890.
Edward Deavoll was baptized (as “Edward, son of Mary Deavol”) in Knowle on 26 Jan 1806. On 15 December 1830 he married Sarah Smith at St Phillip’s, Birmingham, and they had a son, Edwin Deavol, in 1831 (details below). In his marriage register, and at Edwin’s baptism, Edward was recorded as “Edward Kimbell, alias Deavol”: his occupation was “coal-dealer”, as confirmed by the 1841 census, when the family were living at the Wharf in Knowle. On his brother Jonathan’s death in 1846 he apparently sold the coal-dealing business. He and Sarah bought a house in the High Street, where the 1851 census finds them: Edward was a “Relieving Officer”. Sarah died in 1859, being buried on 12 November, and Edward died on 13 May 1865.Harriet Deavoll was baptized in Knowle on 15 Jun 1808. She married William Arnold Burford at St Mary’s Handsworth, Staffs, on 25 April 1832. They apparently had a daughter, also called Harriet. Nothing else is known at present.
Henry Deavoll was born in Knowle in 1811 and baptized there on 25 Dec 1811: like his elder brothers & sister he is recorded simply as the son “of Mary Deavol”, but unlike them he is described explicitly as “base-born”. Like his brothers, he borrowed money from Charles, the sole beneficiary of his father’s will, and on the former’s death in 1846 not only were these debts forgiven, but he was bequeathed “the household goods and furniture, wines, spirits, horses, carriages, chattels and effects (but not money or securities for money) which [were] in the dwelling house in which [Charles was living] at the time of [his] death”, as well as a couple of residential properties. On 18 October 1848 Henry married Mary Ann Bates at Hampton in Arden, and they had at least one child, Walter Frederick, born in 1849/50 (details below). In 1851 the family were living in Knowle: Henry was working as a chemist. Mary Ann died in 1870, being buried at Knowle on 29 April. The following year Henry was living in Knowle Street. In 1873 he married again: a widow, Ann Maria Hickin. Between 1875 and 1881 the couple had the paid guardianship of a pair of unmarried adult sisters, Jane & Ellen Williams. The precise reason for this arrangement is unclear, but it may be that the ladies were unwell – one died during her time with the Kimbells – and that Henry’s profession as a chemist (he was still recorded as such in 1881) was of use. Ann died on 22 July 1888, and Henry on 4 March 1889 – his tombstone, now almost illegible, is still in Knowle churchyard.
THE CHILDREN OF WILLIAM (1793/4 - 1871)
William’s first child, William Henry, was baptized in Tanworth on 4 April 1818. In 1851 he was still unmarried, and working as a banker’s clerk. In 1871 he was living in Tanworth, working as a “carver in wood”. He died on 3 August 1880.
William’s second child, John James, was born in Tanworth in 1820 and baptized there on 5 October. In 1851 he was still unmarried, living in Knowle and working as a grocer; a will of 1873 names him as a grocer in Knowle. He married Sarah Webb who died on 29 October 1857 and was buried in Knowle churchyard on 3 November. She was presumably a widow, Mrs Webb, since in 1881 he was living at Crown Cottage, Common Road in Knowle with his step-daughter Matilda Webb. Ten years later he was living “on his own means” in Crown Cottage. He died on 24 November 1894, and was buried with Sarah in the village churchyard.
William’s third child, Catharine Jane, was born in Tanworth in 1823 and baptized there on 20 May of that same year. In 1851 she was living with her parents in Tanworth. In 1881 she was still unmarried, living alone at Oak Cottage in Station Road, Knowle.
William’s fourth child, Fanny Mary Jeffcoat, was baptized at Tanworth on 29 April 1835. Her death was recorded at Solihull in 1873.
THE CHILDREN OF JOHN (1797/8 - 1860)
John’s first child, Jonathan Henry, was born in Knowle in 1820 and baptized there on 30 July. He married Elizabeth Jeffcoat on 8 April 1845 at Kenilworth, and they had at least one child, Louisa, born in 1849/50 in Knowle. In 1851 the three of them were living in Knowle: Jonathan was described as “MRCS England Lac Gen Practitnr”. He apparently had a high reputation as an obstetrician: in a published history of the village it is stated that he “was much sought after for maternity work, and women had great confidence in him”. In July 1868 his appointment was recorded as “Medical Officer to the Midland Counties Idiot Asylum” at Knowle; he was then an FRCS. In 1881 & 1891 Jonathan & Elizabeth were living at the Manor House in Knowle: Jonathan was described as “JP for the county of Warwickshire, FRCS”. He died on 2 April 1894.
John’s second child, John Jeffcoat, was baptized in Knowle on 31 March 1822. He died later that year, being buried on 26 October.
John’s third child, Louisa Catherine, was baptized in Knowle on 3 February 1824. She died in 1841, aged just seventeen, and was buried on 2 April.
John’s fourth child, Frederick John, was born in Knowle in 1827 and baptized there on 25 June of that year. In 1847 he is referred to in the diary of Caroline Clive, wife of the Rector of Solihull: her entry for 12 September that year describes having seven guests to stay, and “we took them ... to see Oliver Cromwell’s sword which Mr Kimbell of Knowle has in his possession”. In 1851 he was living with his parents in Knowle: he had no recorded occupation; sometime after that he qualified as a doctor. In 1863 he married Sophia Boutflower. The following year he gave his brother Jonathan Henry power of attorney, because of his own imminent departure overseas, and shortly afterwards Frederick and Sophia moved to New Zealand, where their first son, Frederick George, was born in 1865. Two other sons and three daughters were born there (Herbert Boutflower, Catherine Maud, Charles Douglas, Edith Evelyn and Mabel Lilian), but Frederick didn’t prosper, and in the 1890s they returned to Knowle. (Details of all the children are below.) In 1900 Kelly’s Directory records him living at the Manor House, but family memory has him as living in Westbourne Terrace, London. He died in 1905 and his wife four years later.
THE CHILDREN OF FREDERICK JOHN (1827 - 1905)
Frederick John’s first child, Frederic George, was born in 1865. He joined the Bank of Australasia, and was the manager of various banks in the Taranaki and Wellington areas. He 1893 he married Lenore May Gurr, with whom he had four children, Frederic Leslie, born in 1894, Marjorie Lilian in 1896, Eileen Maud in 1899 and Beatrice May in 1902.
Frederick John’s second child, Herbert Boutflower, was born in New Zealand in 1867. He died at the age of just twenty, in 1887.
Frederick John’s third child, Catherine Maud, was born in New Zealand in 1868. She returned to England for a visit in 1891, where she met, and in 1892 married, a Liverpudlian shipping agent, James Fortune. They had twin daughters, Minna Ranken Forrester and Brenda Clephane Forrester, in 1894, and a further daughter, Rona Katherine Forrester, in 1903.
Frederick John’s fourth child, Charles Douglas, was born in New Zealand in 1870. He married a widow, Emma Foster (née Birch), in 1898; but died without issue in 1903.
Frederick John’s fifth child, Edith Evelyn, was born in New Zealand in 1872, and died the following year.
Frederick John’s sixth child, Mabel Lilian, was born in New Zealand in 1874. She married a Mr Sweet in 1897 and had a daughter, Gwendoline May.
THE CHILDREN OF CHARLES DEAVOLL (1804 - 1865)
Charles Deavoll’s first child, Jonathan, was born in Knowle and baptized there on 9 March 1840. In 1851 he was living with his family in Hampton in Arden, recorded as a “scholar”. In 1881 he was still unmarried, living with his mother and sister Fanny at Chester House, Knowle; he was working as a castrator. Ten years later her was living there, an “operator and farmer” with his sister Emma. In 1901 he was recorded as a “farmer”, living with unmarried sisters Emma and Fanny. At Christmas 1903 he was among the subscribers to a retirement present for the local postmistress. He died on 2 August 1909.
Charles Deavoll’s second child, Elizabeth, was born in Knowle and baptized there on 16 February 1842. In 1851 she was living with her family in Hampton in Arden, recorded as a “scholar”. She married Samuel Brierley at Knowle on 9 September 1868. In 1881 she and Samuel were living at The Priory in Knowle with two children: eleven year old Mary Wynn and nine year old Elizabeth Penn. Samuel’s occupation was “postmaster etc (CS)”.
Charles Deavoll’s third child, Emma, was born in Knowle in 1844/5. In 1851 she was living with her family in Knowle, recorded as a “scholar”. In 1881 she was living in Clifton Cottage, Station Road in Knowle, a “companion” to her aunt Caroline E Demaid; ten years later she was at Chester House with her brother Charles, and in 1901 she was living in the village, still unmarried, with her brother Jonathan and sister Fanny. She died in 1909.
Charles Deavoll’s fourth child, another Charles, was born in Knowle in 1847/8 and baptized there on 25 January 1848. In 1851 he was living with his family in Hampton in Arden. He married Emma Williams at St Thomas’ Birmingham on 25 December 1875, and they had three children: Charles Henry born in 1877, Fanny Edith in 1881 and Helen Catherine in 1884 (details below). In 1881 the family were living in Knowle, next to Chester House: Charles was a grocer. In 1891 & 1901 all five were still at home in the grocer’s shop; an advertisement from about that time in the parish magazine describes him as a “Family Grocer & Provision Merchant, Hay, Straw & Corn Dealer, Ironmonger & Hardware Merchant”. He and Emma are named in a list of subscribers to a retirement presentation to the local postmistress at Christmas 1903.
Charles Deavoll’s fifth child, Fanny, was baptized at Knowle on 21 September 1851. In 1881 she was living with her mother and brother Jonathan at Chester House, Knowle; ten years later she was in Station Road with her aunt Caroline; and in 1901 she was still living in the village, still unmarried, with her brother Jonathan and sister Emma.
THE CHILDREN OF CHARLES (c. 1847 - aft. 1902)
Charles’ first child, Charles Henry, was born in Birmingham in 1877 and baptized in Knowle on 3 June – his abode being given as “Edgbaston”. In 1881 he was living in Knowle with his parents, a “scholar”. In 1891 & 1901 he was living at home with his family, in the latter year recorded as a “grocer’s assistant”. In 1909 he was still in the village, the foreman for the local fire brigade.
Charles’ second child, Fanny Edith, known apparently by her second name, was born in 1881 and baptized at Knowle on 3 July. In 1891 & 1901 she was living at home with her family, a ‘scholar’ and “mother’s help”. On 28 July 1910, still in the village, she married Joseph Bertram Lea, a twenty-five year old bank cashier.
Charles’ third child, Helen Catherine, was born in 1884 and baptized at Knowle on 20 July. In 1891 & 1901 she was living at home with her family, latterly working apparently as a “booking clerk”. Nothing else is known of her at present.
THE CHILDREN OF EDWARD DEAVOLL (1805 - 1865)
Edward Deavoll’s son, Edwin Deavol, was baptized in Knowle on 22 September 1831. Ten years later he was living with his parents at the Wharf in Knowle. He married Barbara Mabel Hinks on 17 July 1854 at St Martin’s Birmingham, and they had five children: Florence Ada in 1854, Samuel Austin in 1856, Howard and Lavinia in about 1858, and William Henry in about 1866 (details below). At Fanny’s baptism Edwin is described as a ‘clerk’, thereafter as a ‘gentleman’, but at William’s as an ‘agent’. By 1871 Barbara was living without Edwin at Knowle Hall Road, and in 1881 she was living with Samuel and William in Knowle: she is described as an ‘annuitant’ and married rather than widowed. She died two years later.
Edwin meanwhile had left the country and moved to the United States of America, where he changed his surname to ‘Duval’ and married again, bigamously. A descendant of his takes up the story: “My great-great-grandfather was (in Connecticut, USA) Edwin Duval; family lore had it that his original name was Kimbell ... and that he died aged eighty-two in 1912. In the one family photograph we have from his home town (apparently later 19th century), a legible poster refers to Warwickshire. ... This Edwin Duval, again according to family tradition (in this case a grandson of his), was a bigamist, having left a wife behind in England and married another in Connecticut without obtaining a divorce. He allegedly took American citizenship (in New Jersey) in 1865; I can remember his daughter, my great-grandmother (b. 1880), telling me in her extreme old age that he spent time before that in Australia.”
Edwin Deavol’s first child, Florence Ada, was baptized at Knowle on 21 September 1854. In 1861 she was living, or staying, with her grandfather Edward in Knowle. Ten years later the census recorded her with her mother and brothers Samuel & William in Knowle Hall Road. She married Frederick William Glover in Knowle on 30 September 1877, and four years later they were living in the village with sons Edward (aged 3) and Thomas H (1): Frederick was a ‘farmer’.Edwin Deavol’s second child, Samuel Austin, was born in Lapworth on 29 August 1856 and baptized in Knowle on 2 August 1858. In 1871 he was living with his mother, Florence & William at Knowle Hall Road, a ‘scholar’, and ten years later he was living with his mother and brother William in Knowle, and working as a carpenter. He married twice: first, on 16 June 1885 at Knowle, Elizabeth Moore, who died on 27 June 1888; and then, on 6 May 1889 at Knowle, Amelia Anne Clarke, with whom he had at least two children: Edward Austin, baptized on 5 April 1891, and Daisy Mabel, baptized on 19 May 1895. The 1891 census recorded Samuel & Amelia, with little Edward and Amelia’s father Michael, living in Lodge Road, Knowle; Samuel was working as a carpenter. He died on 2 November 1894: his tombstone is still to be seen in Knowle churchyard.
Edwin Deavol’s third & fourth children, Howard and Lavinia, were baptized at Knowle on 13 July 1858. Nothing further is known of them at present.
Edwin Deavol’s fifth child, William Henry, was born in Birmingham in 1866/7 and baptized in Knowle on 3 October 1869. Two years later he was living with his mother, Florence & Samuel in Knowle Hall Road. In 1881 he was living with his mother and Samuel in Knowle.
THE CHILDREN OF HENRY DEAVOLL (1811 - 1889)
Henry Deavoll had at least one child: Walter Frederick, born in 1849/50, recorded by the 1851 census as living with his parents in Knowle. In 1872 Walter’s marriage is recorded in Birmingham, to Alice Elizabeth (surname unknown); and a child, Walter, is recorded as born there the following quarter – presumably theirs? There were apparently two further children: William Henry, born in 1875, and Annie, in 1878/9 (details below).
THE CHILDREN OF WALTER FREDERICK (c. 1849 - )
Not counting the uncertain Walter, referred to above, Walter Frederick’s first child was William Henry, born in 1875. William married Margaret (surname unknown) in about 1900, and they had two sons: Cyril William, born in 1902, and Roy in 1904.
Walter Frederick’s second child was Annie, born in 1878/9. She married Walter Bradenoch, and they had a son, Frederick. Nothing further is known at present.
APPENDIX – EARLIER GENERATIONS
It seems likely (though it is not yet certain) that the father of Jonathan was Richard, who died on 18 January 1774. This Richard was married in 1726 to a Rebecca Cockbill, with Jonathan probably born the following year. It also seems quite likely that Richard was the son (or grandson?) of either Thomas (born 1645) or Richard (born 1646), two of the three children (there was an elder sister, Isabelle) of Edmund & Elizabeth (née Perkins) who married in 1642. This Edmund (baptized in 1611) was one of six children born to Thomas & Elizabeth (née Hacocke) who married in 1606. Their other children were Judith, Richard, Isabelle, John and Thomas, baptized in Avon Dassett between 1607 and 1622.
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