John USHER (1828/9–1880)
His wife Mrs Betsy USHER, née Tims (1832–1860)
Their only son George Henry USHER (1855–1875)
and their only daughter Miss Mary Ann USHER (1857–1886)
Row 23, Grave E20 [St Paul ref R.20]

John Usher


[Rear of headstone, shown here]


DIED APRIL 24, 1880



[The front of the headstone, not shown, must have inscriptions as follows]

[DIED OCTOBER 20, 1875]
[AGED 20]

[DIED AUGUST 13, 1886]
[AGED 29 ]


The front of the headstone faces east but the inscriptions are virtually illegible and the footstone also blocks off some of the text, so the back (facing west) is shown here. The inscription to Betsey was not made until after her husband's death in 1880, and in the meantime their son had died and his inscription was presumably placed on the front. There are gaps each side of this grave, and it is likely to be a double plot

John Usher was born in Elstree, Hertfordshire (although John himself wrongly thought it was in Middlesex) in 1828/9 and baptised there on 11 January 1829. He was the son of the baker William Usher and his wife Sarah. Presumably his parents both died when he was very young, as in 1841 John (12) was living at a refuge for the destitute in Shoreditch. By the time of the 1851 census John (22) was a master carpenter, living on his own in part of a house in Bevenden Street, Shoreditch.

Betsy Tims was born in Hornton in 1832 and baptised there on 21 February. She was the daughter of the carpenter William Tims and Susannah Greenaway, who were married at Hornton, Oxfordshire on 28 December 1820.
For more about her seven siblings, see the separate grave of her brothers Richard and William Tims.
At the time of the 1841 census Betsey (10) was living in Hornton with her parents and her brothers William (7) and George (5). Her father died in Hornton at the age of 56 and was buried there on 11 September 1845. Her mother Susannah moved to Oxford, and in 1851 was living in Back Cottage 1, near Bath Place, Holywell Street, and Betsey (18, but recorded as 20) was a house servant in Banbury. By 1853 her mother had moved to Observatory Street in St Paul's parish.

On 26 July 1853 at St Paul's Church, Oxford, John Usher, described as a cabinet maker of Hoxton (Shoreditch) in London, married Betsy Tims of Observatory Street. They had the following children:

  • George Henry Usher (born at 24 Frederick Street, St Pancras, London on 1 July 1855 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone Road on 22 July)
  • Mary Ann Usher (born at 19 Grafton Street East, St Pancras London on 7 January 1857 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone Road on 12 April)

After their marriage John and Betsey evidently lived in London, but at some point between January 1857 and January 1860 the family moved from London to Oxford and settled in the part of Observatory Street that fell in the St Giles's section of the St Paul's district chapelry (probably No, 43, the address given in 1861). Betsey's mother continued to live nearby at 2 Observatory Street.

Betsey died there in 1860:

† Mrs Betsy Tims née Usher died at Observatory Street at the age of 28 in January 1860 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 26 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

At the time of the 1861 census John, a widower of 32, was still working as a cabinet maker and living at 43 Observatory Street with his son George (5) and daughter Mary Ann (4).

His son George was a chorister at New College from 1866 to 1871.

At the time of the 1871 census John (42), who was still a widower, was living at 29 Cranham Street in Jericho with his children George (15) and Mary Ann (14), and his unmarried sister Mary (47) had come to look after them.

On 18 January 1875 at the age of 19, his son George was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Merton College: he described his father as a gentleman of London in the matriculation register, rather than a cabinet make of Oxford. George died later the same year, probably in college, although his address in Cranham Street was given in the burial register:

† George Henry Usher died in Oxford at the age of 20 on 20 October 1875 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 26 October (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

Presumably the headstone was set up at this point, and George's name is probably inscribed at the top of the front side. The St Paul grave reference (R.20) is the same as that for his mother.

The following year, on 22 May 1876 at St Andrew's Church, Haverstock Hill, Camden, John Usher (47) of Cranham Street, Oxford married his second wife, the widow Elizabeth Webb (44) of 128 Malden Road, St Pancras, who was born in Manchester, the daughter of the wheelwright John Jordan.

They remained in Oxford, but moved to 5 Museum Terrace (now 9 Museum Road) in St Giles's parish. They were only married for just under four years, as John died there in 1880:

† John Usher died at the present 9 Museum Road at the age of 51 on 24 April 1880 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 27 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

His death notice in Jackson's Oxford Journal read simply: “April 24, at No. 5 Museum-terrace, Oxford, Mr. John Usher, aged 51.”

His effects came to under £300, and his executors were his second wife Elizabeth and the brewery clerk Charles Gardiner of 1 Cherwell Street, St Clement's.

It must have been at this point that the inscription to John and his first wife was made on the back of the headstone.

At the time of the 1881 census his only surviving child Mary Ann Usher (24) was living with her stepmother Mrs Elizabeth Usher (48) at the present 9 Museum Road, where they ran a lodging house.

Mary Ann died in 1886:

† Mary Ann Usher died at the present 9 Museum Road at the age of 29 on 13 August 1886 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

Her death notice in Jackson's Oxford Journal read: “Aug. 13, at 5, Museum-terrace [9 Museum Road], Oxford, after a long and painful illness, Mary Ann, only surviving child of the late John Usher, aged 29.” Again, although she was living in St Giles's parish at the time of her death, she was buried in the family grave in the St Paul's section of the cemetery.

Betsey's mother Mrs Susannah Tims outlived her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren: she died at 2 Observatory Street at the age of 88 and her burial on 5 March 1890 was recorded in the St Giles parish register, as that part of Observatory Street was not in St Paul's district chapelry. She is probably buried in the St Giles's area of St Sepulchre's Cemetery.



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