[13] William Henry Price (1854-1920)

Known as ‘Harry’, William Henry accompanied his mother to England and was recorded in the 1861 census, aged 6, as a visitor to the Indies School that Julia attended at that time. At the 1871 census he was not at his parent’s house in Greenwich and cannot be located elsewhere in England.

He married Annie Cook on 1st September 1878, at Holy Trinity Church, Greenwich, and they had a son, Frederick Scott Price, who was born in the middle of 1880 at 106 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich and named after William’s younger brother. His grandmother, Ann Cook, who was illiterate and made her mark, ‘X’, on the registration form, was the informant of the birth. The infant died shortly afterwards in 1880. Annie’s father, as recorded at her wedding, was Samuel George Cook, a steward.

The Cook Ancestory

This family lived south of the Thames in the Southwark and Bermondsey areas of London for a number of generations.

Samuel George Cook was baptised on 28th June 1837 at St Peter’s Church, Walworth, Southwark. He was the son of Samuel and Ann Cook who lived in the district of St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey. Samuel was a tanner by trade and he and his family appear in the censuses of 1841, 1851 and 1861. These show that he had eight children – Robert (ca 1826), Amelia (ca 1831), Samuel (1837), James (1838), Sophia (1840), William Alfred (1844), Ann Elizabeth (1847) and John (1850). All of the family were born in Bermondsey, Samuel senior in 1797 and his wife, Ann nee Bagshaw, in about 1806. They had been married at Christ Church, Spitalfields, Stepney on 20th March 1826.

Samuel was the son of John Cook and Susannah Dicey and was baptised at St Olave’s Church, Southwark on 23rd July 1797, having been born on the 3rd July. His parents had married in the same church on 26th February 1792. John himself was baptised in St Olave’s on 3rd January 1773, the son of John and Elizabeth Cook. He had been born on 16th December 1772 and signed as a witness at his son’s marriage in 1826.

Samuel George Cook’s marriage has not been found nor the birth registration of Annie Cook. A possible explanation for this is that Annie may have been the child of an earlier marriage of her mother, who was then widowed and subsequently married Samuel George Cook.

An inquest was held in 1882, following the sudden death of William Samuel Price and William Henry was called as a witness. According to a newspaper report, at that time he lived at 28 Egerton Road, Greenwich.

Another son, James Leslie Price was born on 23rd July 1887. For the 1891 census, Henry, a bank clerk, and Annie, were living at 4 Melita Villas, Victoria Road, Plumstead, Kent. Also at home were their 3-year-old son, James L. and one servant. Henry and Annie were living at 1 Westcombe Park Road, Greenwich at the 1901 census, with one servant, and his occupation had then risen to a bank accountant. Their son, James, was not at home, so was probably away at a boarding school or may even have already joined the Merchant Navy. Henry William Price was later a manager at Smith’s Bank in Argyll Street, London.

By 1911 William, 56, and Annie, 51, were living alone at 91 Coleraine Road, Blackheath, a sizable property with 8 main rooms. He was by then a Bank Manager and the census details show that the couple had had four children in total, of whom only one was still alive. This means that apart from the short-lived Frederick Scott, they had two further children, as yet unidentified, who did not reach adulthood.

William Henry Price died on 9th April 1920, whilst visiting the Isle of Wight. He was staying at the Marine Boarding House, Ventnor, according to his Probate Record, and he left his widow, Annie, £1,214 11s 9d. Their address at the time of his death was 250 Regent Street, London. This would have been accommodation above a shop in this main London shopping street. It was within a few minutes walking distance from his bank in Argyll Street.

James Leslie Price in the Merchant Navy

James Leslie Price married Gertrude Mary Smedley in Fulham in the Summer of 1914, but his family disapproved of the match. She was a nurse and his family more or less cut off all contact with him and his family. Gertrude’s father, Samuel Smedley, worked for Gilbert and Sullivan in their operatic productions as a lighting engineer. Gertrude later recalled only one visit from her mother-in-law, Annie Price, when she appeared in an expensive car and talked to her son outside of the car !

He played for Blackheath Rugby Club as an amateur, was due to move to the USA to take up employment with the Ford Motor Company. Up until that time he had been a ship’s engineer in the Merchant Navy. He died suddenly, in 1919, before he could make the journey. He was an engineering officer on a merchant ship and fell overboard into the River Thames. He died at home a few days later, the cause of death given as spinal paralysis. Family information is that he came home by bus after the accident and his physical condition deteriorated rapidly. It is possible that he caught polio, which can be water-borne, and died in a short time from this disease. At the time of his death he was living at 334 Well Hall Road, Eltham, Kent and he was buried on 9th December at the Church of St John the Baptist, Eltham. He had raised three children by this time – Dorrien Gertrude (b. 1915), Joan Marjorie (b. 1917) and Peter James Leslie (b. 1919). The Price family still had nothing to do with Gertrude, or her children, after her husband's death. (One mourner at James' funeral did approach his young daughter, Dorrien, and tell her that her father was a fine man and highly regarded.)

Gertrude Mary Price later remarried, in 1926, to a widower, William John Robert Davies, by whom she had two more children. One of these was Howard Davies, whose web-based request for information on William Samuel Price was instrumental in bringing together various members of different branches of the Price family.

The Descendants of William Henry and Annie Price

James Leslie Price’s son, Peter James Leslie Price, joined the Royal Marines and during World War II served in North Africa. He then went to Burma and volunteered to participate in a foray against the Japanese up the Irrawaddy river, called Operation Viper. Only a handful of the 125 officers and men involved in this operation survived. He was reported missing in action in Burma in 1942 and he lies in an unmarked grave. His daughter, Joan Marjorie Price never married and died in 2003. His third child, Dorrien Gertrude Price married Thomas Timothy Evans and they had two children, Howard Christopher Evans and Linda Mary Evans. Dorrien Evans died in 1999 and Thomas Evans in 1998.

Dorrien Gertrude Price