1. His childhood
John Green V was born ca 1771 (≈ 17 September 1771, East Malling, Kent, England), the son of John Green IV (1728 – 1791) and Jane Jones (ca 1730 – 1784). He lived during the reign of King George III from 1760 to 1820, King George IV from 1820 to 1830, King William IV from 1830 to 1837, followed by Queen Victoria who ascended the throne in 1837. He saw the formal merger of the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 1 January 1801.1 During the 1800s, many people immigrated to North America, Australia and even South Africa to escape poverty. The British Settlers, who were mostly skilled craftsmen and artisans, arrived in British Cape Colony (South Africa) between 1816 and 1821 with hope for a better future. Most of them were allocated farms on the Eastern Frontier in the Albany District only to discover that they were to be the buffer between the Colony and the hostile Xhosa natives. Although the settlers received food and farming equipment, the infrastructure was almost non-existing, support from the local British government was insubstantial and their own inexperience regarding agricultural farming caused them to gradually move to towns in the surrounding districts where they could practice their trades. It seems as if the British immigrants to South Africa succeeded to exchange one set of problems characteristic to their native country for another set of challenges; roughing it out in a new ‘miserable’ country. Maybe Britain was not so bad after all? (Many of these courageous men and women, however, became the forbearers of a large portion of the English-speaking population of present-day South Africa.) 2,3
2. His wife
At the age of about 29 years in February 1800, John married Ann Turner (1773 – 2 July 1859, Knutsford, Cheshire, England) at the Parish of Christ Church St Leonard Foster, London, England. Ann was the sister of his employer, William Turner, at that time.
3. His career
Even if John V also considered leaving Britain in search for better opportunities, he didn’t pursue it. He found a job as papermaker and worked for William Turner at Chafford Mill at Fordcombe, a village 8 km west of Tunbridge Wells. It was during this time that he married William’s sister, Ann. John continued to work for his brother-in-law, but was also leasing Otham Mill by 1811 and Hayle Mill by 1814, both near Maidstone, Kent. In 1817, he became the proud owner of Hayle Paper Mill that produced handmade paper, when he purchased it from John Pine. The family then moved into Mill House. Through hard work and strategic investments, John Green V was able to improve his family’s social standing from the poorer working class to the lower or mid-middle class. The Greens were members of the Earl Street Unitarian Chapel in Maidstone. During May to October 1824, their son Henry were taking services at their church.4,5
John’s two sons, Charles and John VI joined his business until 1838, when they were to face bankruptcy. John VI had clever and promising ideas towards better ways of making paper but these experiments were carried out at the expense of the old, tested ways, and consequently regular profitable work and on-time product delivery were interrupted. To save the family, John V’s well-off brother, Samuel agreed to purchase the Mill and pay all the debts. This was done on condition that John Green (V) continued working as manager at Haley Mill, as Samuel knew little about papermaking, and that John Barcham Green, Samuel’s son, was taken in as an apprentice to learn and in time take over the Mill, which he eventually did in ca 1852.4-7
4. His death
John Green V died on 11 March 1854 and was buried in the churchyard at the Brook Street Unitarian Church in Knutsford, Cheshire, England where his eldest son, Henry, served as the local vicar. John’s wife died on 2 July 1859 and buried in the same churchyard.4,6 It is uncertain when John and/or his parents converted from Anglican religious principles to Unitarian beliefs.
5. His children
Together John and Ann Green had seven children: Henry (*1801), John VI (*1803), Ann (*1806), Emily Jane (*1808), Charles William (*1811), Maria Louisa (*1812) and Elizabeth (*1814).4
Henry was born in 1801 at Penshurst, Kent. He became a minister and served for many years as Reverend in the Unitarian Church, and specifically at Brook Street Church in Knutsford from 1827 to 1872.4,6,8 READ MORE on Henry Green.
5.2 John (VI)
John married Ann Love and together they had three children; Frank (1836 – 1902), Henry and Samuel Love. After the Hayle Mill business disaster, both John VI and Charles moved their families away from Kent. John became a successful paper agent traveling the country. He later founded the business John Green & Co Paper Agents in London with his son, Frank in the 1860s which later on became Frank Green & Co. Much trading and correspondence were occurring between the two family businesses, with many orders directed to Hayle Mill. John Green VI died in 1880 and was buried in the churchyard at Brussels Green Chapel in Sevenoaks. Frank Green became the Lord Mayor of London in 1900 for two years until his death in 1902.4
The 22-year old Ann, who was born in 1806, married Unitarian Reverend Benjamin Mardon4 (27 May 1792 – 15 April 1866), the sixth child of Elizabeth Newman Richards (≈27 August 1761 – September 1832) and Benjamin Mardon sr. (1757 – 30 October 1814), a mercer and woollen draper from Exeter, Devonshire (now Devon), England. Benjamin Mardon jr. graduated in 1821 with a Master of Arts degree at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. The young Benjamin married Isabella Cairns on 19 June 1821, while he was the Unitarian vicar of the Union Chapel in Glasgow. It is uncertain when his wife died (or were they divorced?), but by 1825 he moved to Maidstone, Kent. Ann Green was to become his second wife.9
Their matrimonial ceremony took place on 14 February 1828 at Loose Parish Church in the small village of Loose, which lies 3 km south of Maidstone. At that time, Rev Benjamin Mardon was the minister at Earl Street Presbyterian Chapel in Maidstone. Soon thereafter they moved to London where Benjamin took up the position of Minister of the Baptist Chapel at Worship Street. The pastoral couple remained there for almost 28 years, before they moved in 1855 to Sidmouth, Devonshire (now Devon) in southern England where Benjamin continued to minister at the Old Dissenting Meeting House until his health collapsed. Benjamin and Ann Mardon was much loved in their community and by the members of their congregation. In the last few years of his ministry, Benjamin simultaneously also served a congregation at Pinhoe, a small village approximately 23 km from Sidmouth.4,9
In 1864, at the age of 73 years, however, Rev Benjamin Mardon was admitted to Bowhill House, St Thomas’s Hospital for Lunatics in Exeter. By then he was already feeble and frail, and had exhibited symptoms of ‘mania’ during the previous two years.9 His deteriorating physical and mental condition accompanied with disturbing, erratic behaviour – as recorded during his hospitalisation – strongly suggests moderate to severe Alzheimer’s Disease as we know it today.13 Benjamin Mardon died on 15 April 1866 and was buried in the small, peaceful Dissenters’ Cemetery at Gulliford, Exeter.9 After her husband’s death, Ann moved back to Maidstone where she died 22 years later at 7 Tonbridge Road on 29 January 1889 at the age of 84 years. The probate date was 5 March 1889, with her personal estate worth 630 pounds. The sole executor of the estate was Ann’s nephew Henry Powell, a barrister-in-law. Benjamin and Ann Mardon had no children.4,95.4 Emily Jane
Emily married Dr Henry Powell (1806 – 1855) in 1836. He was a medical doctor from Whitechapel, London. They had seven children. Henry died of pneumonia at the age of 48 years in 1855. Emily survived her husband with almost 40 years and died in Maidstone in 1892.4
5.5 Charles William
Charles Green married Jemima Young from Llandago, Monmouthshire, south east Wales in 1843. He had a rather chequered career. He moved between jobs often, working either as a papermaster, an accountant or a foreman at various paper mills in England and Scotland. The two year stint from 1854 to 1856 in Canada – leaving his family behind in the United Kingdom – also didn’t work out. His siblings tried to help out by finding him jobs or lend him money, which he delayed to repay. The most stable time in his life was from 1844 to 1854 when he worked as foreman at Valleyfield Paper Mill in Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland. His three children Charles Edward, Catherine Maria and John Henry were born there. He introduced cricket to the town, established the Penicuik Cricket Club in 1844 and as a good batsman and round-arm bowler, captained the team through many prosperous seasons. He passed away in ca 1885 at the age of 74.4
5.6 Maria Louisa
Louisa never married. She started a school for girls in Maidstone together with her sister Elizabeth around 1838 as a means of elevating the financial pressure on their father due to the poor performance of his business, the Hayle Mill. The school ran for about eight years before both sisters retired in 1861. Louisa died at Plymouth, Devonshire, England in 1902 and was buried at the Old Cemetery at Teignmouth, Devonshire, England.4
Soon after their school for girls in Maidstone closed, Elizabeth – at the age of 46 – married Charles Ellis, a widower and longstanding friend of the family. The couple lived in Maidstone, although their matrimonial ceremony was conducted in Sidmouth by Elizabeth’s brother-in-law Rev Benjamin Mardon. Elizabeth died at Lustleigh, Devonshire in 1901 and was buried at the Old Cemetery at Teignmouth, Devonshire, England.4
REFERENCE 4: Susan Tanner, wife of one of Emily Jane Green’s descendants five generation later, has done a considerable amount of research as well as hard work in transcribing documentation pertaining to the Green family kept at the John Rylands University Library and making it available on the web. It has been an invaluable resource to my own research, allowing me to capture the family history of the Jamisons intertwined with the Green family, and thus preserving its essence for my two sons, Simeon and Conrad Jamison, and for upcoming generations. External access to British archival material has been extremely limiting. Without Susan’s work, this information and knowledge would have been lost to South African descendants of the Green family living here at the southern tip of Africa. Thank you, Susan!
REFERENCE 6: An extensive collection of letters, memoirs, diaries, journals, deeds, inventories, legal papers, family pedigrees, photos, lecture notes and sermons, books and manuscript poems, all related to various Jamison and Green family members and their friends, are kept at the John Rylands University Library, Special Collections, at the University of Manchester. These documents are an invaluable treasure of information on the lives of individuals – their social and political circumstances and views, their joys, their heartaches and their challenges – spanning over 140 years from 1830 to 1971. This collection was sold to the university in 2008 on behalf of the Jamison family by Jean Alison Jamison (1942-2015), a great-granddaughter of Dr Arthur Jamison and Isabella Green, and my husband’s aunt. Many of these documents have been transcribed by Sarah Tanner. Thank you, Aunt Jean, for preserving our family history!
REFERENCE 9: A special thank you is due to Yvonne Hensman, Trustee of the Exeter Dissenters’ Graveyard Trust and Chair of the Research Group (www.edgt.org.uk) in Devon, England, who established contact with me and made available photos and extensive and corrective information related to the Mardon family.
- List of British monarchs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_British_monarchs
- 1820 Settlers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1820_Settlers
- Goldswain, R. 2016. Roughing it: 1820 Settlers in their own words. Tafelberg Publishers Ltd:South Africa
- Tanner, S. 2014. Green Letters Introduction. http://www.stanner.net/Family Letters/Green letters intro
- Kent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent
- Papers of the Jamison Family (1830-1971), Box 1/2 (etc.), John Rylands University Library, University of Manchester. https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/search/archives/5c8d8d63-e857-3002-b880-f6e317346acf
- Hayle Mill, Maidstone. https://catalogue.millsarchive.org/hayle-mill-maidstone
- Henry Green. England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FWXH-2MG : 11 December 2014), Henry Green, 23 Jun 1801, Birth; citing p. 131, Chelford, Penshurst, Kent, record group RG5, Public Record Office, London.
- Information (with references) received in June 2018 and January 2019 from Yvonne Hensman, Trustee of the Exeter Dissenters’ Graveyard Trust and Chair of the Research Group (www.edgt.org.uk)
- Clements, H.G.J. 1908 A local Antiquary. Being some reminiscences of the late Peter Orlando Hutchinson, Esq., of Sidmouth. Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art. Vol 35. W. Brendon and Son Printers: Plymouth. https://archive.org/stream/reportandtransa14artgoog#page/n346/mode/2up
- Oliver Cromwell. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Cromwell
- Oliver Cromwell sword by John Barnett – S5771. Movie & Historical Replicas & Collectables. Battle Orders Ltd. https://www.battleorders.co.uk/products/oliver-cromwell-sword-by-john-barnett-s5771
- Alzheimer’s disease fact sheet. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet