Monday, May 8, 2017

Elizabeth “Bessie” Cooper Pearson (1857-1938) Part 1

The Old Cooper Bible 
Bessie Cooper Pearson in New York City 1921

Aunt Bessie was our family historian of the nineteenth century. 

She was the sixth child, second daughter of Austin COOPER and Elizabeth GIBSON. I have a mystery about where she was actually born. 

She came to the U.S. in 1921, with the intention to visit several of her siblings to present them family heirlooms.

"New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital image, ( : accessed 7 May 2017), Image 835 of 1107, Line 3, Bessie Pearson entry; citing List Number 14 of National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, Roll 2930; Ship Carmania out of Liverpool, Geo. W. Melson master, arrived New York on 28 February 1921.
I found her on the New York Passenger Lists departing on 19 February 1921, on the S.S. Carmania sailing from Liverpool, England, to New York, arriving on 28 February. She is typed on Line 3 of List 14. She was a 59 year old Widow. She was a Housekeeper who could read & write. She was living in Dublin, Ireland with her niece, Mrs. Barlow of  “12, Davenmore Rd, Withington.” Her final destination is typed in as Sedalia, Miss[ouri]. This is handwritten over with “NY New York.” On the second page, it states that Bessie does not have a final ticket for Missouri. She did self pay for her passage. She had at least $50 in her possession. This was her first trip to the United States. She was planning to visit her “Sister, Mrs. [Francis Cooper] Gearhard [Gearhart] of 509 N. Quincey Ave. Sedalia, Mo.”  Written over is her brother, my great grandfather, “Alexander Cooper on 413 488[th St.] Brooklyn, NY.” Bessie was in good health. She was 5’4” tall. Fresh complexion. Grey hair. Blue eyes. The most important statement is that Bessie stated she was born in Aldershot, England.

1901 Census of Ireland, County of Dublin, South Dublin, District Electoral Division (DED) Rathmines, unpaginated, Winston Avenue, household no. 560, John David Pearson; digital image, National Archives of Ireland, Census of Ireland 1901/1911 ( : accessed 7 May 2017).

In the 1901 Ireland census with her husband, John David PEARSON; they are both listed as Baptist, and Bessie is listed as born in the city of London, Middlesex. The 1911 Ireland census also states that Bessie as born in Middlesex county. This information was provided by her husband, David.

1911 Census of Ireland, County of Dublin, South Dublin, District Electoral Division (DED) Rathmines & Rathgar East, unpaginated, Charleston Road, household no. 37, John D. Pearson; digital image, National Archives of Ireland, Census of Ireland 1901/1911 ( : accessed 7 May 2017).
Referring to her father’s blog entry, Austin Cooper (1825-1883) was working as a booking clerk at Faringdon Station in April 1857 (70 miles east of London), at Maidenhead Station in June 1857 and Taplow Station in November 1857 (both 20 miles east of London). At the time of Elizabeth’s birth on 31 May 1857, her father is working in Faringdon!

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Collection: Great Western Railway Company: Staff Records; Class: RAIL264; Piece: 1. Book Title : 1835-1910 Clerks Vol·1. : accessed 9 March 2017.
According to the family Bible, Elizabeth Cooper was born on Tuesday the 31st May1857 at Faringdon Rail??? baptized by her grandfather July 185[?].” Could be a 7.

Cooper, Austin and Elizabeth. Family Bible Records. 1848-1868. The Holy Bible. [Cover page torn out.] Privately held by Mary R. Cooper. San Diego, California. 2005.
Aldershot, Faringdon, London (all within a 25 mile range)….geesh, where was Bessie born?

Her maternal grandfather, Rev. Alexander Gibson, must have baptized her in July 1857, as he resigned his religious position the following February 1858. Austin and Elizabeth, must have made a special trip home to Mullingar for her baptism knowing of the  conflicting circumstances for the Rev. Gibson. See future post on Rev. Alexander Gibson (1790-1863) Westmeath, Mullingar, Ireland - Part 1.

I also need  to find & order her birth record from BMD website.  I cannot find a Bessie, Eliza nor Elizabeth Cooper born around May 1857 in Faringdon in the index. 

Looking at the last two sources, written at the time of Bessie's birth, I conclude that she was born in Faringdon, Berkshire, UK. Her father with his family returned to Ireland by 1860.

Elizabeth was married to John David Pearson, on 4 June 1878, in Ballentemple, Co. Caven, Ireland.
Ireland Marriage Records. John David Pearson and Elizabeth Cooper. 4 June 1878. Quarter 2. Volume 3. Page 57. No. 83. Civil Registration Office, Roscommon, Ireland. Accessed 13 November 2008. 
To be continued...

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