Phoebe was born in Kexby, Lincolnshire (also known as Upton-cum-Kexby) in the registration district of Gainsborough. She was the youngest daughter of John and Kezia Leachman and possibly their only surviving child. Their first child Sarah Anne died in infancy, and after Phoebe’s birth I have found no further records of her parents.
Sadly we would have to assume that they had both died when Phoebe was very young. Whatever happened to Phoebe’s parents, she herself was living with her Leachman grandparents in 1851 when she was six years old. Phoebe’s grandmother died in 1853 and a year later her grandfather married a widow from York, Ann Drinkald. Presumably the new Mrs Leachman took charge of nine-year-old Phoebe.
In the 1861 census, 16-year-old Phoebe has been given a job with Ann’s family in York. The journey is about 90 km – nearly 60 miles in the terms of those days. Phoebe probably would be in a third-class carriage of the Great Northern Railway trains which connected Gainsborough and York. What an adventure!
Perhaps a bit too much of an adventure for young Phoebe – six years later she was back in Gainsborough where her son John was born. History now repeats itself as John is placed with relatives. At the 1871 census, Phoebe is a domestic servant in Gainsborough. John is with his great-aunt Mary and her husband in Stow, not far away.
Happily they were able to be re-united after Phoebe’s marriage to Edward Kent. By the time of the 1881 census, thirteen-year-old John is described as “son” to Edward and is even using the name Kent. Because the 1911 census asked about child mortality, we can find out more. We know Phoebe had no more children. The census records that there was only one child of the marriage, and that child had survived. I am 99% sure it was John Leachman!
Born in Kexby and baptised on 24 August 1845 in Upton, Lincolnshire.
Single parent, married Edward Kent in 1871
Died June 1924