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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Taphophile Tragics - Josiah Wheeler - Jack of all trades

(c) Nicola Carpenter 2012

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

Monument to Josiah and Jane Wheeler, All Saints Maidenhead Cemetery, All Saintsw Avenue, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

"In loveing memory of Josiah Wheeler, Born October 4th 1849, Died January 2nd 1910.

'Not my will, but thine be done.'


Jane beloved wife of Josiah Wheeler, Born October 4th 1845, Died Sept 27th 1916

'Till . The . Eternal . Morrow.' "

Josiah Wheeler was born on 4th October 1848 in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire to Josiah Wheeler, a bargeman and Mary Ann Russell.

In 1871 the year Josiah married his wife Jane Martin, he is listed as living with his parents at 'The Victoria Beer House' in Henley.  Josiah's occupation is listed as a boatman.  In 1881 however Josiah, incorrectly listed as Joseph, is now a publican and 'dealer' running and un-named public house in Bix Oxfordshire.

1891 sees Josiah and his family living in Maidenhead at 7 Denmark Terrace, Denmark Street, Maidenhead.  Now a dairyman and butcher.  Sadly nothing remains of Denmark Terrace as it was demolished to make way for industrial units.  1901 and the family have now moved to 1 East Street (now East Road), Maidenhead.  Josiah is now a lighterman as is his son Frank.  Lightermen were workers who transferred goods from large ships to the quay on flat bottomed barges called lighters.  It was dangerous and highly skilled work.

Josiah died on 2nd January 1910 aged 61.

Jane Wheeler was born Jane Martin on 4th October 1845 in Windermere, Westmorland to Nicholas Martin a shoemaker and later a railway porter and Harriet Hodgson.  Between 1851 and her marriage to Josiah in 1871, it is impossible to seperate Jane for all the other Jane Martin's born around 1845 in Westmorland.  Seems it was a popular name.

For more Taphophile Tragics, please click here.


  1. I come up against that issue all the time. I am forever astounded at how many people with identical names are born in the same year in about the same location. Maybe that is one of the reasons why family names are dying out.

    He certainly was a Jack of all Trades, our Josiah. I guess he had to do whatever it took to put a meal on the table. The name 'Frank' seems a very bold and upfront name for someone like Josiah and Jane to have chosen.

    I learnt a lot about lightermen from a book by Kate Grenville called 'The Secret River' which was about the early years of the Colony of NSW.

  2. yes, i have that too! too many people with the same name, so how on earth could i ever....
    i keep being amazed that you always figure out so much about the grave you post!

  3. Interesting post! Well-researched info as usual :-)

  4. I didn't know anything about lightermen till I recently read and did a review of "The Secret River" by Kate Grenville. Apparently the job involved long hours and heavy work, but there was a "pecking order" too! It seems to be a job specific to London and the Thames River in the 19th century! Strange that I have just read the book and now you find a headstone for a lighterman!

  5. this family seems to have covered quite a few trades in their time!

  6. the first thing I noticed was their shared birthday - though Jane was 4 yrs older.
    Windermere is such a lovely place to be brought up in (when the tourists aren't there!)


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