Mary Harris and George Roots
my 3 x gt grandparents



Mary was the daughter of George and Elisabeth Harris, and was baptized at Cranbrook in 1805.

On 17th May 1824 she had an illegitimate child George Roots, fathered by George Roots a carpenter of Biddenden.

The Bastardy Order issued by the JPs of Cranbrook on 1st July 1824 is pretty standard on a printed form with spaces to insert names and dates. Mary said upon oath that George Roots, carpenter of Biddenden, begat on her body the male bastard child delivered on 17th day of May 1824. George Roots, who was then present before the Justices, could not shew any sufficient cause why he should not be adjudged the reputed father of the child.

George was ordered to pay two pounds and four shillings towards Mary's lying-in and ten shillings and six pence for the costs of apprehending him and securing the order. he was also ordered to pay two shillings per week for so long as the child was cargeable to the Parish. Mary was also ordered to pay six pence per week should the child be chargeable to the Parish and she was not nursing and caring for him herself. I do not know if any of the maintenance payments were made.

Mary subsequently married John Bowles at Frittenden in January 1825 and had a further six sons before her death in 1839 from "Fever".

George, the youngest son of Thomas and Lucy Roots of Framfield Sussex was baptised there 17th February 1800. His brother William became a blacksmith at Biddenden, maybe that's why George too went to Frittenden. Following the liaison with Mary Harris the next sighting of George is his marriage to Elizabeth Wickings at St Giles, Camberwell SRY on 18 July 1825 followed by baptisms of three more children at Biddenden.

The Biddenden Overseers accounts show payment of £4-15-00 to 'Roots' for C cost in October 1830 (confinement costs when the 3rd child was born?) but also two or three shillings per week to Mrs Roots 'in distress' from July 1830 until April 1831 when they paid £2-19-06 for a J Card and £2-00-00 for a carriage. Elizabeth Root together with children Katherine Root, George Root and Elizabeth Root, sailed from Rye in Sussex and arrived in New York in June 1831 heading for New Jersey. Although the name of the eldest child varies from the baptismal entry it's quite feasable that the clerk mis-heard Caroline as Katherine. George's brother William and family also emigrated to America a couple of years later.

In 1834 George Roots was married (as a bachelor!) to Harriot Beagle at Paddington though they subsequently lived in Tonbridge and his occupations were variously game-keeper, farmer and inn-keeper. By 1881 George was a widower living in Chelsea with a neice and nephew. No further children with Harriet though there was neice Harriet Beagle (Harriot's niece) living with them in 1851 and 1861. Have not yet found the death of either George or Harriet.



Child of George Roots and Mary Harris:

Children of George and Elizabeth Roots:
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