The mound-unmarked and common graves.
Photograph by Leslee Barron-digital artist

Life story retold by Jan Clark

John Salmon was born in London in about 1838. He was two years old at the time of the 1841 Census and living with his parents, James, a coachman aged 30, his mother, Mary Ann 25 and his brother also James, 8 and sister also Mary Ann, 6. They lived in Cumberland Terrace Mews in St Pancras. 

According to the 1851 Census  the family had grown and moved to Queen Anne Place in Marylebone. John was now one of five brothers, the eldest, James, 17, was a groom and John who was then 12 had three younger brothers, Thomas, 8, Samuel,6 and Arthur four months old. The only daughter, the eldest child, Mary Ann now worked as a servant. The modern development on the site of their home is called Queen Anne Mews indicating that there were horses and coaches kept there as in Cumberland Terrace Mews.

Thereafter piecing together John’s story became difficult. Several possible links seemed too tenuous and it was not until he married Sarah Ellen in 1901 that facts about his life could be more clearly verified through tracing his wife’s story. Sarah was born in Watlington at Church Meadows/Mead in 1867. She was taken to be baptised at St Leonard’s Church on 30 June by her mother Louise, described in the register as ‘a single woman’. By the time of the 1871 Census she was three years old and living with her grandparents in Church Mead. We might assume that her mother was working while her parents cared for their granddaughter. By 1891 Sarah was working as a servant in Pishill near Henley in the household of James Lovegrove, a farmer and brick maker. Nine years later she was living at The Chequers in Hogg Lane in Watlington and had given birth to a son, Walter,  who was baptised on 29 March 1900. No father’s name appears in the register. 

In the following year Sarah married John Salmon, who was now 60 and a widower, described as an umbrella mender and son of James, a coachman (deceased). Sarah was 33 and a spinster. They married at St Leonard’s where Sarah had been baptised.

Buried in Section 25, mound