Tuesday, June 24, 2008

William Langstaff Gladden (1841-1925) Census Records

The parents of William Langstaff Gladden were Edward Mansfield Gladden and Henrietta Robson (her maiden name is likely, but unconfirmed at the time of this writing). William Langstaff Gladden was born on 26 December 1841. There was an English census taken that year, but he didn't arrive in time. The first census record he appears in is the 1851 English census record for Saint Giles Parish, Borough of Reading, Town of Reading. He appears as a 9-year-old "scholar". His father's profession is listed as "Painter and Glazier" and many of his siblings are shown on the two pages. The address is listed as 25 London Street.

[1851 census record cropped 1]

[1851 census record cropped 2]

Ten years later, he appears in the 1861 English census for the same location, but with an address of 16 London St. Here, he is listed as a "Painter". Clearly, it seems he was following his father's profession and even more siblings are discovered herein.

[1861 census record cropped]

At this point, he seems to disappear. Family folklore, unconfirmed, is that William Langstaff Gladden was conscripted into the British Navy, made landfall in The United States, and deserted. Family information lists his marriage to Zula Ann Neighbors, a girl from the very large Neighbors family in the hills in Virginia. The marriage date is listed as 3 July 1872, but I have no source for this date (but it is unchallenged).

After this time, he shows up in the U.S. Census records in Virginia, first in the 1880 census of Cave Spring District, Roanoke County, Virginia, taken on the 24th of June, 1880. Here, he is listed with a profession of "Painter" and already has four children, including my own great-grandfather.

[1880 census record cropped]

The 1890 census record for Virginia was lost, but the 1900 record is intact. Herein, he is shown with an age that is off by about 5 years (maybe he lied to keep his identity secret?) Clearly, though, judging by the names of his wife and children, this is the same William. His profession is still listed as "Painter" but adds in parenthesis "House". All of his surviving children are listed on this one record. Here, again, he appears to lie about his age.

[1900 census record cropped]

I can't seem to find a census record for 1910, but in 1920, I find him in the Cave Spring District in Virginia. He is renting a home there and appears to live alone with his wife. Note that here he actually lists his more approximate age (78).

[1920 census record cropped]

From here, it is known that he passed away on 5 March 1925 in Roanoke, Virginia. A few questions remain:

-- What exactly were the circumstances of William's coming to America -- did he really jump ship or is that just family folklore? (Is there conscription paperwork from England somewhere out there?)
-- Why can't I find him in 1910?

Anybody out there know?!

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