The Mystery of John Bellamy and Mary Anne Thorne.


John Bellamy was born in 1839 in Old Cleeve, Washford, Somerset, UK - son of James Bellamy and Elizabeth (nee Stevens).

Mary Anne Thorne was born 25th June, 1839 at Kingswood Stogumber, Somerset, daughter of James Thorne and Jane Thorne (nee Wood).
Her brother, James was born 8th Nov.1844 at Kingswood Stogumber.

John Bellamy married Mary Anne Thorne on the 18th April 1866 at the Baptist Chapel, Stogumber Johns address was Newhouse, South Brent, Devon, he was the manager of a slate quarry at South Brent - it may have been called Webber & Co.
Mary Annes' address was Yard Farm, Stogumber.

Their daughter, Ada Jane Bellamy, was born at Newhouse, Ugborough, registration district of Totnes, Devon, on 13th October 1867.
On her birth certificate her father is shown as the Manager of a slate quarry in South Brent. Ugborough is 5mins from South Brent.

South Brent is 10 mins from Diptford where William and Ann Palmer were living in 1871 census. William is listed as a Smith in this census.
William Palmer married Anne Bellamy (Johns older sister) in 1863 in Williton, Somerset. She was born 24th August 1834. In the 1881 census Ada Jane Bellamy is with William and Norah Annie Bellamy is living in St.Pauls, Bristol, William is a Miller.

Sometime after the registration of Ada's birth (7th November, 1867) the small family left for America.- possibly Plymouth to Boston MA, or Bristol to Boston or even Liverpool to Boston? - but so far we have not found them mentioned on any ships passenger list. John and Mary must have first resided in Bangor as their son, James Thorne Bellamy was born 10th Jan 1869 in Bangor, Northampton Co. Pennsylvania. So they would have had to have travelled sometime in 1868 ( the same year as the Masters family who arrived in Boston 22nd April 1868 - see below)

The tax records show that in 1869 John Bellamy is working as a slater in Chapmans quarrys Moore Twp. Northampton Co.PA and his tax assessment was $100

The American 1870 census (taken 4th August 1870) shows that Marys brother, James Thorne is also there. He may have traveled with
John and his family.

They were living together in 1870 in Moore twp. and as Thomas Masters is listed in the tax assessment of that year as owning a house & lot + a cow, tax value $440, they may all be living in his house.
This is the information from the 1870 ( taken 4th August 1870 census:-

John Bellamy age 30 married, occupation Slate maker. Born Stogumber, Somerset, England
Mary Ann Bellamy age 30 wife of above, at home. Born Stogumber, Somerset, England
Ada Jane Bellamy age 2, born Totnes, Devon, England
James Thorne Bellamy age 1, born Pennsylvania
James Thorne, age 24, unmarried, occupation Slate maker. Born Stogumber, Somerset, England
Henry Williams age 26, unmarried, occupation, Slate maker. Born Cornwall, England.
Thomas Masters age 20, unmarried, occupation Slate maker. Born Tintagel, Cornwall,England

We have found information on two of their friends who were with them in the 1870 census in Moore Twp. Northampton Co. Pennsylvania. They were:-
Thomas Masters, who emigrated, Liverpool-Boston MA arriving 28/4/1868. Listed age 29 and intended to reside in Bangor, Northampton Co. PA - from his immigration papers.
Henry Williams emigrated, Liverpool-Boston MA arriving 21/10/1869 and according to his filed declaration of intent, intended to reside in Lower Mount Bethal, Northampton Co. PA. This was filed on 18/8/1873.
He and Thomas both filed their Naturalization Petitions to the court in Easton on the same day, 14th June 1880
1870 tax assessments show John as a slater at Chapmans value $100
. Ditto for Henry Williams.
Thomas Masters and James Thorne are both listed as Labourers at Chapmans with a value of $50 each.

In the first quarter of 1871 Nora Annie Bellamy is born in Chapmans Borough - apparently there were no records or certificates available for births or deaths in PA at this time.
1871 John still works at Chapmans and has a horse, total value $140.
nb:The first thing a slater bought was a cow (for the milk) then a horse, then a house.
Thomas Masters is not there but James Thorne and Henry Williams are valued the same as 1870.
In 1872 John is still there as a slater with 1 horse and 4 cows. Total Value $310. The other 3 men are not there.
1873 – John Bellamy, slater ($100), 1 horse ($70), 1 mule ($40), 2 cows ($50/ea.), 2 cows, ($35/ea.), Total valuation: $380, County Tax: $1.74
(James Thorne and Thomas Masters are missing but Henry Williams appears in Washington Twp).
The 1873 Triannial tax shows John as a Butcher with a carriage + the animals, total value $665
1874 John is listed as a Butcher $400 + 1 horse $30, 1 horse $75, 1 carriage $130, 1 cow $25, 1 cow $30, Total value $765, county tax $1.18.

1874 James Thorne is also listed as a Butcher $400. Total value $400, tax $0.60.
Henry Williams was still in Washington twp. Occ. Slater. Value $400

  We assume this is the time that Mary Anne Bellamy died. (1874/5) Her son, James Thorne Bellamy remembered riding with the driver of the hearse that was pulled by 2 plumed black horses. The driver gave him a few coins as he felt sorry for the little boy riding beside him.. James kept these coins on his bedside table till the day he died.  

On 29th May 1875 Thomas Master marries Minerva Albert and Henry Williams marries Caroline Wideman at the Methodist church, Bangor. This is a double wedding, but John and family or James Thorne were not among the guests. Also there is no tax listing for either of them in 1875.

John returned to England with the children. So far we have not found them on any passenger lists.The tax assessment was done by 30/4/1874 with any appeal to be lodged by 22/5/1874 - so John and the children would have left America for England after 30/4/1874, and may have been away on 29th May1875 when his friends were married.. John left the children with relatives and said he was going back to get business afairs sorted out and then he would be back. They never heard from him again although there was a Bellamy family bible that had newspaper cuttings in from either Easton or Bangor PA newspapers. This unfortunately went missing around 1956 and no-one remembers what the papers said. It could be it was reports of the deaths of Mary Anne and John ??? ...

1876 (tax date 30/4/1876) John Bellamy is back in Bangor. The tax assessment says ‘Gent’ 1 horse, Total value $500 tax $0.75 .

Thomas Masters is living in Bangor and Henry Williams is living in Upper Mount Bethal. Maybe John is staying with, or visiting his friend Thomas Masters? No sign of James Thorne.

After this there is no further sign of John Bellamy or James Thorne..... see update below re James Thorne

Chapmans Company Building
Chapmans quaries workmens houses
Chapmans church


  Obituary of Henry Williams:
Word was received in Easton of the death of Rev.Henry Williams, formerly of East Bangor. He died yesterday at the home of his daughter, Mrs.J.L.Rider of Cleveland Ohio, he was 83 yrs old. He was born at St.Teath, nr. Tavistock  in Cornwall UK in 1844. He came to this country 60yrs ago settling in E.Bangor where he followed the occupation of slater. For 35yrs before his retirement he was a Justice of the Peace. His wife (Caroline O.Wideman whom he married 29/5/1875) died 6yrs ago. He was a member of the Embury local preachers and exhorters association. Prosperity Lodge. I.O.O.F. (thats the odd fellows - http://www.ioof.org ) of E.Bangor and Stone Church Encampment.I.O.O.F.
He is survived by the following sons and daughters. Mrs.J.L.Rider. Mrs.Edwin Rider, and Ray Williams of Cleveland; Oscar of Plainfield; Charles of 141 South Fourteenth St. Easton;  Arlington and William of E.Bangor. The body will be taken to E.Bangor for Interment.

Also I have the obituary of the other member of the original group that went over together - as shown on the 1870 census- Thomas Masters.
Obituary of Thomas Masters:
Thomas died 13th Nov.1926 at his home 255 Market St. Bangor. He had been a resident of Bangor for the past 50yrs and died aged 77. At the time of his death he was serving his 8th term as a member of the board of health. He was one of the organizers and a director of the Merchants National Bank, Bangor
Thomas Masters was one of the organizers of the Star Slate Company and the Bangor Vein Slate Company and for a number of years was  superintendent of the last named company.

He was a member of Prosperity Lodge, No.661, I.O.O.F. of Bangor. His widow (Minerva Albert) survives with 3 daughters, Mrs. William G.Pritchard (Mary Catherine Masters married William G.Pritchard). Mrs Walter L.Miller of Bangor (Anna Mariah Masters married Walter L Miller); Mrs.John Tinney Simmons of E.Stroudburg (Stella Masters married John Tinney Simmons). He also leaves one brother, James Masters of Pen Argyl and four grandchildren; Vincent and Earl Miller of Bangor; Katherine and Reynold Simons of E.Stroudburg. Interment in the mausoleum at St.Johns Reformed cemetery.

Minerva Masters died in 1936 in Bangor, Stella Masters Simmons died in 1966 in Trenton N.Y.

In the 1881 UK census Ada Jane Bellamy is aged 13 living with William Palmer (aged 46 born Luxborough) and his wife Annie Palmer (age 45 born Old Cleeve, Washford. Ada is listed as their ‘Niece’.
They are all living at Flour Mills, Seveir St. St James & St.Paul Out, Bristol. William Palmer is a Miller.

Norah Annie Bellamy is aged 10 living with James Dyer age 50 a carpenter and his wife Elizabeth Thorne aged 49(older sister of Mary Anne) and their 2 sons at 35 Alfred St. St. Pauls, Bristol. Norah is listed as ‘Niece’.

Norah Annie Bellamy
Norah aged about 52 with her husband Rev.Corp

1881 census: James Thorne Bellamy is aged 11 Living in Washford, Somerset UK, at the Post office with his Uncle, James Bellamy age 38 and his wife Jane Thorne aged 38 (sister of Mary Anne who married James’s brother John Bellamy) James T. Bellamy is listed as ‘nephew’.

On 4th June 1886 Ada Jane Bellamy dies at York Villa, Sussex Place Bristol aged 18 of Phthisis pulmonalis (TB) which can be complicated and exacerbated by stone/slate dust. On her death certificate her father occupation is ‘slate trimmer’ (deceased).

The 1891 census shows that Norah Annie has moved out of the Dyers ( his wife Elizabeth died 6th Aug. 1887) only James and his son James plus his other son John, his wife and 4 children are living together. In 1901 she is working as a cook in Croydon for Mr. Marchant a lacemaker. In 1911 Norah is with her Uncle and Aunt, William and Annie Palmer at 14 Shaftesbury Avenue, Ashley Road Bristol. She marries a Rev. James Edward Corp (listed as a farmer in the census records)on 1st Oct. 1919 at the United Methodist Church, Eastville Park Bristol. Her cousin, Julia Isaacs was a witness. Her fathers occupation is listed as 'merchant'.
Norah died on the 4th July 1935 at Barton St.David. (church demonination ANGLICAN) She had no children.

Headstone: James Edward CORP, died 26 March 1942, aged 74. And his wife, Nora Annie, died 4 July 1935, aged 64. Church of England. He was not a Rev. he was a farmer.

In 1891 James Thorne Bellamy is at 22, High Street, Taunton St Mary, Taunton, visiting his fiancé Alice Dorse, a school teacher. James is listed as a railway signal porter age 22. Alice is 23, but later that year Alice marries David Lock in Taunton Dec.1891 (5c 618) and moves to Cardiff.
James married Mary Jane Chapman on 13/10/1897
at Old Cleeve Church. They had 3 children, James Herbert William Bellamy (28/3/1898 – 23/9/1976) Norah Annie Bellamy (20/8/1899 – 1992) pictured below. Cynthia was stillborn.

On James' marriage certificate, his fathers occupation is listed as ‘Butcher’ and that he is deceased.



Jame Thorne Bellamy born Bangor PA 1869
died Washford Somerset 1911
Norah Ada Thorne Bellamy and brother
James Herbert William Thorne Bellamy


1901 census shows James Thorne Bellamy age 32 married and living in Washford. He married Mary Jane Chapman in 1897

He died on 24th January 1911 aged 41 - the verdict was suicide. He could never understand why his father never came back for them. He always craved to go off to America and look for him and find out what happened to him, but his wife didnt want to leave her mother, so he was unable to immigrate and he didnt have the money to just go off and also support his family.

John evidently died in America, after the 1876 tax assesment and before the 1877 tax assesment
If anyone reading this can help find where John and Mary died and are buried, or any other information to add please email me..


Thanks to www.genesreunited.co.uk we have located James Thorne in Christchurch New Zealand
arriving in 1876
James Thorne married Lily Grace Leathorn on 9 February 1874 in Cuyahoga,Cleveland, Ohio

They had 2 children, born in America. Amy Blanche Thorne born in Kalamazoo Michigan in 1873, and Winfield William James Thorne born 8th Feb. 1875 somewhere in Pennsylvania - date from his service records which don't state, where in PA he was born.
Pennsylvania did not require any official birth registration until 1893. However, after his birth the family returned to the UK - they may have accompanied John Bellamy and his children.

James Thorne and family next sailed from Gravesend, London on the Camperdown as assisted immigrants to Nelson in New Zealand.
They left Gravesend on 14th April 1876 and arrived at Nelson NZ 4th July 1876.

James had a Butchers shop in Sydenham, Christchurch. He seems to have had a few problems in NZ from articles found in the newspapers. He died 16th Nov.1917 in Tuarangi House Netherby NZ. (an old mens home). He was buried in a paupers grave on 17th Nov. 1817 in Ashburton cemetery.


Timeline of the life of James Thorne:

Born  8th Nov. 1844 Stogumber
1851 age 6 living in Stogumber
1861 age 16 in 2 places at same time: Both census sheets say born 1844 stogumber but one is definitely him.
1870 In Chapmans PA James Thorne, age 24, unmarried, occupation Slate maker. Born Stogumber, Somerset, England tax value $50
1871 James Thorne valued $50 the same as 1870.
1872 not in chapmans - dont know where he was.
1873 In Kalamazoo Minnesota - or at least Grace is.  Amy born
1874 9th feb. married in Cuyahoga cleveland ohio
1874 30th April tax info: butcher total value $400 (John Bellamy tax value $795)
1875 James and John are both missing- not at their friends wedding 29th May 1975 - They may have all come back to the UK together.
1876 April 14th James and family left Gravesend for NZ (John in Bangor (tax date 30/4/1876)tax assessment stated 'Gent' 1 horse, total value $500)    
1876 July 4th, James and family arrived Nelson NZ
1880 2nd sept. advert in paper for missing sheep - apply James Thorne, butcher, Manchester St. South.
1881 on NZ electoral roll as a butcher
1886 departed from Lyttelton NZ for Melbourne Australia. Arrived 30th Dec. 18months deed of separation granted to his wife.
1890 - 10th sept. newspaper report: He had come back from Australia and was threatening to strike his wife & threatening to shoot her on the second day. Evidence taken showing the couple had been married about 17yrs
and that they had been separated by deed in 1886. James had to give a surety of £20 and his own surety to keep the peace for 6mts and pay court fees.
1891 July 11th admitted to Christchurch hospital.
1896 - 24th Sept. newspaper report: Charge of assault. James Thorne arrested on warrant, charged with assaulting his wife, and a Mrs Simmonds on Sept18th and threatening to kill his wife on sept.23rd
Sentenced to 2months imprisonment with hard labour.
1897 Grace died of pnemonia at Christchurch hospital on 23rd June 1897 and was buried at Papanui cemetery Christchurch.
1905 4th April - admitted to Ashburtons home for old men. He left on 16th May.
1917 died 16th November at Tuarangi house Netherby (an old mens home). Buried in paupers grave the next day.
The Will of Lily Grace Thorne:
This is the last Will and Testament of me Lily Grace Thorne, wife of James Thorne, butcher, unemployed, of Kilbride Cottage, Windmill Road, Sydenham, Nr. Christchurch, in the colony of New Zealand. After payment of all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, I demise and bequeath all my real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever situate to be divided equally between my two children, Amy Blanche Willey, wife of Josiah Alfred Willey at present residing in Cox's road, and to Winfield William James Thorne residing at present in Montreal street south Sydenham. I hereby appoint Josiah Alfred Willey executor of this my Will etc.etc. This Will was written 3rd March 1896. It went to probate after she died. She had everything in her name and left nothing to her husband. Probate was granted to Josiah, the executor, on the 30th June 1897. The estate value was just under £1200.


Amy Blanche Thorne married Josiah Alfred Willey on 19th April 1992 in Christchurch. They had three children. Laura Grace, Geoffrey Lisle and Jack Arthur. Amy died in 1905 in Timaru and is buried in Timaru cemetery. She was only 32. Winfield married Elizabeth Jane Johnson on 12th Feb 1896 in Christchurch. He was a printer and died 11Nov.1948 in Aukland. They divorced by mutual separation 5th Nov.1821 as reported in the Evening post on 19th NO.1921. Winfield proved his wife had given birth to an illegitimate child. granted decree nisi. Winfield and Elizabeths children were Albert Winfield, Leslie Seymore, William Henry Robert, and Lily Grace who sadly died in 1908 aged 3. She was a twin of Leslie.
Its still a mystery about what happened to John Bellamy after he returned to America. The 1876 tax assessment entry for John indicates he was a resident through the assessment date of that year in Bangor, which was in April . The $500 assessment value referred to the value of his profession and taxable assets. The term "gentleman" usually applied to someone of means who was not required to work for a living.
As this tax assessment shows, his only assets at that time were $500 and one horse.


UPDATE2 - FEB 26TH 2007
  Contact by a direct descendant of Thomas Masters who sent me this picture of Thomas and Minerva Masters and told me that her mothers family all once lived in the double house that Thomas built, now 522/524 Market Street, Bangor, they still have papers and photos which they will go through in an effort to shed any light on this mystery.

In 1910,1920,1930 censuses WalterMiller and his wife Anna Maria Masters were living at 524 Market St. and in 1910,1920, William Pritchard and his wife Mary Catherine Masters were living next door at 522 Market St. In 1930 they were at 525 Market St. and Minerva Masters was living at 522 Market St.
October 2008
The picture below was kindly sent by another direct descendent of Thomas Masters. It shows Thomas and his wife Minerva and
their 4 daughters, Anna, Stella, Clara and Mary. Sadly Clara died of diptheria when she was only 18.



Great news!
John Bellamy's Will has been located online so we now know his date and place of death as well as where his grave should be!

He died in Bangor on Aug.3rd 1877, 6 days after writing his Will. He requested to be buried in the local churchyard of the Evangelical Methodist Church, Bangor, (which may have been St. Johns burial ground in Bangor) but is not on any of the church records. Rev.J.Salmon conducted the funeral on the Sabbath, the 5th August 1877.


This is part of the Will

Firstly - I direct that my body be decently interred in the burying ground of the Evangelical Methodist Church in the Borough of Bangor County, as near as can be by the side of my departed wife and that my funeral be conducted in a manor corresponding with my estate and situation in life, and as to such worldly estate as it haste pleased God to entrust me with, I dispose of the same as follows:
First - I direct that all my debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my decease as possible, out of the first monies that shall come into the hands of my executor from any portion of my estate, real or personal.
Second -  I direct that my large family bible  and gold studs be given to my daughter Ada Jane Bellamy.
Third - I direct that my watch and chain and pocket bible be given to my son James Thorne Bellamy.
Fourth - I direct that the locket attached to my watch chain as it  now is and a book entitled 'The Memory of Sarah B Judson" and a tidy entitled 'Elijah fed by the Ravens' wrought by my dear deceased wife, be given to my younger daughter, Norah Annie Bellamy. (this item is still in the possession of the family, but they didnt know its significance until the Will came to light)
Fifth - I direct that my heavy overcoat and all the hats I have be given to my Landlord George W Ellis
Sixth - I direct that all my shirts and under clothing be given to my landlady, Mrs. George W Ellis.
Seventh - I direct that such books as are found marked with her name, together with my satchel, shall be given to my friend, Miss Addie S Ellis.
Eighth - I direct that for kind services rendered me by my friend, Mrs Emaline S Lutz, that a sufficient sum  be taken from my effects to reward her for the said services, and as a mark of my appreciation of the same, a sum sufficient in addition to the above be given her to purchase a silk dress, not to exceed forty dollars.
Ninth - I direct that my friend Ephriam P Lutz shall have from my effects a suit of mourning, at whatever it may cost or money to the value of the same.
Tenth - I direct that my writing desk be given to my friend John Gulick, as a mark of respect and a token of remembrance.
Eleventh - I direct that whatever else I may have by way of clothing, trunk and other articles not otherwise disposed of be given to Charles Horace Lutz.
The people John knew and named in his Will:

George William Ellis and his wife Alice and daughter Sadie were living in minersville ScKuylkill all the time. George was born in 1849 in Pennsylvania and was a drug clerk in the census.
Ephraim P Lutz and wife Emaline S Lutz and son Charles Horace Lutz were living in Bangor and owned a drug store in Bangor. Ephraim was born in Pennsylvania in 1820
John Gulick - a farmer with a wife called Susan living in Lower Mount Bethel, next door to his son-in-law Philip Labar, in 1860/70 and in Bangor in 1880. John was born in 1820 in Pennsylvania.


This is a wonderful entry found in the newspaper kindly written by Rev.James Salmon, who must have had deep regard of our John.
In memoriam (Communicated)
After a lingering illness of many weeks, in connection with much suffering at intervals, from the commencement, and near its close almost constant, John Bellamy, formerly of Devonshire England, breathed his last at Bangor at 9o'clock a.m. of the 3rd inst.
Mr Bellamy, immediately after uniting in matrimony (actually married Mary Anne Thorne on 18th April 1866 at the Baptist Chapel Stogumber) with a most worthy Christian lady, about ten years ago came to this country (actual 1868/9) and settle at Chapmanville where he engaged in business. He met with losses, from which, in that place, it seemed impossible for him to recover. Just at this time, Bangor, by its rising prosperity, seemed to hold out good inducements for him and he turned his attention in this direction. He came here a little more than three years ago (1874) with his family consisting of a wife and three small children, which bid fair to form a very good addition to the society of this place. Soon after his arrival here he saw the importance of establishing a stage-line between Bangor and Easton. To this he at once turned his attention and the line he established is now a very great accommodation to the citizens of this place and to others having a desire to visit their friends here. He did not continue at this long till he was bereft of  his wife, and his children of a kind and loving Christian mother.

Having promised her before her departure to the better world to take these children to her own people and his, in England, he did so. During the short time of his sojourn there he inaugurated a most extensive shipment of slate from this country to England.  All this seemed to have taken place at a time, when, to all human appearances, the slate must either continue to be piled upon the banks of the quarries, without any demand for them, or the quarries to be closed and the men compelled to seek employment elsewhere. It seems to me that no one aware of all this can fail to see the good resulting from this sad bereavement of Mr Bellamy to this whole community. We cannot, therefore, be too grateful to God for what he has done for us in the midst of our great financial embarrassment, through the agency of his sorely afflicted servant.
 But it would seem that the servant, through whom so much was accomplished, should have received for the benefit, at least of his now orphan children, a reward commensurate with the sales brought about through his instrumentality.
At one time he felt satisfied that this would be all right, but he was sadly doomed to disappointment. In him was therefore illustrated the Scriptural truth, "One soweth and another reapeth," not in a spiritual but in a secular sense. Yes others have been reaping much from what was the result of his bereavement and sorrowful voyage to England with his three motherless children.
Mr Bellamy, though not by any means faultless, was nevertheless highly esteemed and much respected for his sterling integrity and genuine Christian character. On the 21st of January 1876 he was received by letter from the Baptist church of Devonshire, England, into the communion and fellowship of the Presbyterian church of Bangor, and ever showed by his counsels, exhortations, prayers and general Christian deportment, a deep interest in the cause of Christ. And the very good attention he received during his sickness, and also the very large number of sympathizing friends and citizens attending his funeral on Sabbath, the 5th inst. fully attest the high appreciation of his character and services, by even the strangers, among whom he sojourned, far away from all relatives and early associations. In him was verified the Lords promise: "So I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"

Rev. James M. Salmon Bangor August 6th 1877


NB: Sadly nothing can be found regarding the stage-line established by John, despite seaching online and by contacting the relevent historical research services, or anything about his involvement with the slate quarries. John and Marys graves are yet to be found.

If anyone can help solve this mystery please email me at merlin7835@aol.com with subject Bellamy.
thank you