William Edward Hopwood (1843-1905) and Eliza Brasier Hopwood (1847-1924) nee Van Wyck
Beyond basic genealogical information, little is actually known about William and Eliza, hence telling their story as a married couple seems appropriate; mixing known facts and family anecdotes with careful speculation.
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William Edward (aka Edwin) Hopwood was born on February 23, 1843 at No. 11 Harrow’s Alley, Aldgate, London, UK. William is the second of the seven children of James Hopwood and Sophia Jeffryes Hibbs. Although he used a second Christian name of “Edwin” when signing his marriage papers and throughout his life, he is actually registered as "Edward" on his official birth record. Nothing is known of his early life. William followed the meat provisioning trade of his ancestors in the Tower Bridge Hamlets of London. We are told that his shop business was a success and that he also had a meat selling stall at Smithfield Market.
Eliza Brasier Van Wyck was born on May 23, 1847 at 2 Appletree Place, Walworth Common, Newington, Surrey, UK. Eliza is the sixth of the six children of Frederick Van Wyck and Elizabeth Brasier Bennett. She and her siblings were given the additional Christian name of “Brasier”. This name was apparently rooted in her mother’s family and passed along to future generations. Eliza’s father was of Dutch origin and worked on the London Docks, Lambeth, as a warehouse clerk. Nothing is known of Eliza’s early life. She married at the young age of 17.
William and Eliza were married on June 25, 1864 at the Parish Church of St. George, Camberwell, Surrey, UK. William and Eliza were blessed with eight children: James Frederick Brasier (1865-1939), Sophia Annie Brasier (1866-1925), William Edwin (1868) Frederick Van Wyck (1872), Thomas Henry (1873), Minnie Eliza (1875-1907), Henry Parker (1877), John (1879). William appeared to try his hand at farming in the late 1870's near Saindon Hills, Orsett, Essex, as the youngest son John's birth registration attests. Within a short period after the youngest son John was born, Eliza appears to have left William and the family.
Eliza’s absence from the family over a long period of time is somewhat of a mystery. The 1881 British Census registers William and the eight children, along with Eliza’s older sister Petronella Lindsey (nee Van Wyck), as living at 2 Perseverance Terrace, Goldsmith Road, Leyton, Essex, England. The Van Wyck’s lived close by. Further search’s of the 1881 census, death and other records for the period 1879 onward, plus the 1891 census, failed to uncover Eliza’s fate.
The 1901 census registers an Eliza B. Hopwood, born in Walworth, Surrey, and residing as housekeeper for a Mr. Dawney and his family in Hackney. The 1901 Census also records her sister Petronella as residing with William and lists her as "Mrs. Hopwood". It is not clear why Petronella chose to reside with William for these intervening 20 years. It is also not clear whether Eliza was periodically at home during the intervening years (1881 to 1901) or why she left her husband and family after the birth of her son John (b.1878) seemingly never to return.
THE SHOP AT 101 GROVE OVER THE YEARS
It is suggested by some of her descendants that Eliza left William because of a serious estrangement of the couple, and perhaps abuse. Family stories give us some insight. Daughter Sophia, who left home in ca1885, eventually married Richard Mann in Canada and settled in Montana. Sophia told her children that her father was a very cold man and that her mother was dead (even though Eliza lived until 1924). Descendants of son James, living in England, recall family comments stating that William was seen as somewhat harsh. Son Tom’s descendants in Canada also recall stories of conflicts with his father and his brothers. Tom’s son Jack and daughter Dorothy recall staying with Grandma Eliza at her lovely home, complete with servants, on several occasions around 1904-5, and never seeing Grandpa (they erroneously believed the Hopwoods owned the Dawney residence in Hackney). As with all stories of this nature, we must be fair and state that William’s views and story is missing. It will no doubt remain a mystery!
Son James operated a successful meat shop business at 101 Grove Road in Bow. As already mentioned, Sophia immigrated to Canada and along with her husband Richard Mann homesteaded on the great plains of eastern Montana owning and operating a horse and cattle ranch. Little is know of sons William, Frederick and Henry at this time. Son Thomas immigrated to western Canada in 1908 eventually settled his family in Nelson, British Columbia. Daughter Minnie was a District Nurse and was accidentally killed in a bicycle accident at Hurst Green in Surrey in 1907. Son John was a long service career NCO in the British Imperial Army. William and Eliza have many descendants living in Britain, Canada and the United States.
Williams’ death is recorded as taken place at the "Union Infirmary (Hospital)" in September 1905 from fatigue and a large carcinoma on his neck. His residence at the time of his death was recorded as "35 Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow".
Eliza died on September 11, 1924 at the “Butcher's Charitable Institution”, Staines Road, Hounslow, Middlesex. Son James appeared to be her mentor and guardian in her later years.
This photo is of an unknown Wedding (Hopwood??) - ca 1905-6. Dorothy Hopwood is the little girl standing front left.
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Submitted by their great-grandson John Farrell Hopwood - January 2004 - Revised December 2007