Mary Dodds

Family tradition has Mary Dodds being born in Dalkeith, a town about 10 miles South-East of Edinburgh, in the county of Midlothian.  She was reputed to be strongly Presbyterian but there is no record of her baptism in the area in the Presbyterian Church registers.   At the time parents had to pay a fee of about 3d for each baptism, so many did not bother to get the births recorded.  She was probably born in around 1780, and her marriage is referred to in the Haddington, East Lothian, parish register by an entry on 4th December 1799.  This says that William Ferrow, a soldier in the Windsor Foresters F. C. and Mary Dodds gave their names to be proclaimed on 8th December.  This indicated an intention to marry but the register makes no mention of an actual marriage ceremony taking place.  Apparently this was not unusual in the Scottish records at this time and there are other examples on the register page which mentions William and Mary.  Haddington is about 10 miles East of Dalkeith.

The Windsor Foresters Fencible Cavalry was raised in Berkshire in 1794 from members of the farming community and was intended purely for defence purposes in Great Britain during the French Revolutionary Wars.  They consisted of 6 troops of cavalry initially and served most of their time in Scotland before being disbanded in 1800.   The Muster Rolls of this unit, under the name 5th Fencible Regiment of Cavalry, for 1798-1800 show William 'Farrer' as being in Capt. William Colliers' troop in April 1799 and in Capt. D. Ximenis' troop in May 1800.  There are only a few trooper left on 30th May roll, as the regiment was being disbanded at this time.  The payroll information shows that troopers were paid a little under £2 per month. After this time William Ferrow must have joined the 84th Foot and the couple next appear in the record in India in 1805.  Dodds (also spelled Dods) is a common name in the Lothians and it has been possible to piece together Mary Dodd’s origins.

On 19th May 1775, Robert Dodds of the parish of Crichton in Midlothian married Jennet Craise of Humbie – both parishes being a few miles away from Dalkeith.   These are the most likely parents of Mary Dodds, who was born in around 1780.  Mary’s grandson visited a cousin on a farm in Gladsmuir (between Dalkeith and Haddington) in 1851 and other cousins worked at Oxenford Castle, near Dalkeith, at that time.  These cousins were the children of James Dodds and his wife Mary, nee Dunning, and it seems as if James was Mary’s brother.

After Mary’s marriage to William Ferrow in 1799 she went to Bombay with her husband’s regiment, the 84th Foot.  There she had three daughters - Elizabeth, born on 5th February and baptised 17th February 1805; Mary, born 13th December and baptised 25th December 1807 and another Elizabeth, born 9th May and baptised 3rd June 1810.  It is not known if the couple had any earlier children between 1800 and 1805, but the first Elizabeth must have died as a youngster for the name to be reused.   Private William Farrow, as it is then spelled, took part in the Ile de France expedition of 1810 with the 84th Foot.  The ship-borne expedition concentrated at the recently occupied Rodrigues Island and then sailed for Ile de France (Mauritius), arriving there on 28th November.  He appears on the Regimental Muster Roll in September 1810 as being aboard the frigate 'Doris'. The British ships anchored in Grand Bay, about 12 miles from the capital St Louis, and the troops landed without opposition.  The 10,000 men split into six brigades and in the face of the British advance, after some skirmishes in which the British lost 26 men killed and about 150 missing and wounded, the French surrendered on 3rd December. The French garrison had consisted of 1,300 regular troops plus 10,000 mainly useless militiamen.  It is not known if he was wounded or succumbed to disease but William Farrow died there on 22nd December 1810.  According to the Muster Roll after his death, the £3/7/0d he was due as prize money was paid to his widow.

Marriage register entry for William Ferrow and Mary Dodds at Haddington in December 1799

After her short marriage to Sergeant William Price, described earlier, she married Sergeant Major Noah Locke of the 65th  Foot.  In the Muster Roll entry recording the death of William Price, it refers to ‘his wife and a child’, so another of Marys' daughters by William Farrow must have died by that time - this would have been the second Elizabeth.  The remaining daughter was Mary Farrow, survived until 1818 and was buried on 24 February at Cormer, Bombay. Her father was recorded at that time as Noah Locke.

Noah Locke had been serving with the 65th Foot for many years, having enlisted on 2 July 1799, and previously had service with the 81st Foot.  At his original enlistment he would have been only about 15 years old. His service took him to India via South Africa, which the British had taken from the Dutch in 1801.  He remained a Private for many years but was eventually promoted to Sergeant in William Mansell’s Company in July 1811.  Shortly before he married Mary, on 3rd May 1812, he was promoted to Sergeant Major, on 7th January, so she was improving her status with each marriage.

 The Ancestry of Noah Locke

Noah Locke was probably baptised on 20th October 1784 at Tydd St Giles, Cambridgeshire, (a village right on the Lincs/Cambs. border), the son of Samuel and Sarah Locke nee Weymont. They had been married in the town of Chatteris on 20th April 1781, she coming from nearby village of Wimblington.  Samuel and Sarah had a daughter baptised in the neighbouring village of Tydd St Mary, Lincolnshire on 6th  December 1789 – Mary Ann ‘Lock’ - and Sarah’s maiden name was spelt ‘Waymant’ on this occasion.

Noah became a private in the 65th Foot, joining in Cape Colony, South Africa in 1801 by transferring from the 81st Foot.  This latter Regiment was raised in Lincolnshire in 1793 and Noah Locke enlisted in it on 2nd July 1799, aged a little under 15 years old.  He would have been shipped to the Cape as a replacement, as the 81st had been there since 1798 and had suffered casualties.

Mary and Noah had a child in November 1813, but it was still-born and buried in Bombay on the 7th of that month. The couple remained married for a little over nine years until Noah died in Bombay and was buried on 3rd August 1821, aged 37 years.  There is no record of any other children from this union.

Mary still had a young son to look after and again, no pension, so she married for a fourth time on 20th August 1822, after a year of widowhood.  She was now over 40 and possibly not such a good catch as before and this time was wed to a Sergeant in the Bombay European Regiment, Richard Vine, who was only aged about 24 years old.   This Regiment belonged to the East India Company and was raised locally, rather than being a British Regiment of the Line.   It originated in 1662 when four companies were raised in England to garrison the newly acquired Bombay. It became The Bombay (European) Regiment in 1688.

Richard Vine had originally served in the same British Regiment (65th Foot) as Mary’s earlier husbands, William Price and Noah Locke. He had enlisted in the Bombay European Regiment for 5 years on 25th July 1822, re-enlisting for two further 5-year terms in July 1827 and 1832. Richard died in Poona, at the age of 35 years on 15th March 1833. He was intestate, but left Mary 35 rupees, 0 annas, 53 pies, which was paid on 6th April.  The records show that he enlisted in the 65th in Kent.  The marriage had lasted for over ten years and in the Burial Register he is referred to as a Private in the Bombay European Regiment, so had been demoted at some point.  He was buried in Poona on 17th March 1833. 

Within about 6 months Mary remarried yet again, for the last time.  Despite being strongly Presbyterian she married Private James Cattrall, also of the Bombay European Regiment, in the “Scotch Church” in Poona on 7th October 1833.  She declared herself a member of the Church of Scotland, which must have been untrue but the only way to secure the marriage.  Interestingly, she did not sign her name in the register but made her mark with a ‘X’.  Family tradition states that she spent some of the latter part of her life as a Matron in Poona Hospital, which might have required some literacy, but perhaps not?  

Mary eventually died and was buried on 4th December 1838 at Colabah, Bombay.   Her name is spelled ‘Catterill’ in the Burial Register and she is described as the wife of James Catterill, private, Bombay European Regiment.  She was 58 years old.   The fate of James Catterill is unknown, so we now turn to the details of the life of Mary’s only son, William Samuel Price


Comments