A Few Notes of Interest From Letters From England

These letters were found among others long treasured by Mollie Woods, after her death.  They have been priceless in helping us find the necessary information we have needed on Grandfather Woods’ family in England.  It is to be noted, that of the 14 children of Edmond Woods, Francis Charles Woods was the only one who joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as far as my research has been able to determine, was the only one who had more than two children (he was the father of 13) and is the only one with any descendants living today.  –Mary Lambert Taggart


The following are excerpts from letters whose author and date will be stated:

January 25, 1920
From Blendon, W Bexley, Kent, England

This letter was written to mother (Mollie Woods Lambert) by “Teddy” or Edmond James Ogden Woods, the son of Edmond “Ted” John Woods and Emily Foote.

“I have been looking for a situation and of course you know I am a cripple and have not much use in my legs though I get about very well considering and carry things about that anyone to look at me would think I could not do so, but still I must be thankful to have the use of my hands, but still it makes it hard for me to get work when there is so many able bodied ones about…I have got the names together for the family tree as near as possible, father (Edmond John Woods) wrote them for me but I have a job to get him to do anything for me now as he is never well for many hours together.  Since I received your letter, his nose has been bleeding again.  Early one morning I thought he was nearly gone it bled so long and fast.  We have to plug his nose when it comes on with wool the doctor gives us.  I have not got Aunt Annie’s nor Aunt Lizzie’s dates but will try to get them for you.  Aunt Annie’s I know is 23rd of February and Aunt Lizzie the 2nd September but I don’t know the years….My father has a lot of the birth and marriage certificates also the Indentures of John Woods who was apprenticed to the trade of Weaver at the age of 14 in the year 1789.  We have also Grandfather’s Birth and Marriage certificate of his first wife.  My father was very much amused about Uncle Charles’ little girl (“Eva”—Her name was Evelyn Woods and she married a Rhoads and was last heard from at Chiwawa, Oregon.) asking the President if he could get her papa a situation.  I have not heard from his yet.”  (This Uncle Charles was F. C. Woods’ brother who came to the United States and worked on the railroad in Idaho and Montana, but who never joined the Church.  He only had the one child, mentioned above.)

“I see by the invite that you are going to get married….Milly was married last Wednesday and it was a very pretty little wedding.  (Milly was his sister, Emily Mary Ann Woods—these two children were the only children of Edmond John Woods.)  “She had 4 bridesmaids, 2 dark, dressed alike, and 2 fair dressed alike, 2 in a kind of pink and 2 in a kind of pale blue, bride in white and orange blossoms.”

On the back of the last page of “Teddy’s” letters, was found the following, written by his father, Edmond John Woods:

“John, Son of William Woods & Mary Woods
Sudbury Suffork, Eng.   born Dec. 2, 1776 (Weaver)

John Thomas Wood born May 4th, 1805
At 123 Qt Portland Street, Marylebone, London, Middlesex, England.

Francis Frederick Woods, son of John and Martha Woods
born July 11th, 1807

Edmond Woods, son of John and Martha Woods
Born Aug. 28th, 1811.  Died Oct. 21st, 1881, age 70.
(However I have in my possession a printed card that was given at the time of Edmond’s death, which states: “In loving memory of Edmond Woods, who died 22nd October, 1881.”)
Interred Hampstead Cemetery, Middlesex England
Married Feb. 29th, 1836 to Mary Ann Grimsdell

Mary Ann Agusta Woods born 1837
married Isaac Simpson
Died Jan. 25th, 1879

Martha Elizabeth Woods born 1839, Still living 1902

Edmond Christopher Woods born 1841 died 1841
(This proved to be a mistake.)

Edmond John Woods born March 11th 1842
Age 60 Still living 1902
Married Emily Foot April 10th, 1868, died in 1874

Edmond James Ogden Woods
born Aug. 26th 1870, Still living 1902

Emily Mary Ann Woods born Dec. 29th, 1872
Married Sydney King at St. Johns Church, Bexley, Kent, England, June 18th, 1902

Francis Charles Woods born January 12th, 1844
emigrated to Salt Lake City Aug. 26th, 1869

Aunt Louie died Dec. 19th on her Birthday in the 1890 aged 40.

(Note: Some of these dates proved to be incorrect—and were no doubt written from memory by Edmond John Woods.)


This one from “Annie and Edward Evans”, 103 Cambridge Road, Kilburn, N.W. dated the 29th of December, 1903.  Written to Eva Pratt Woods.

“Dear Eva;

It is years since I wrote to you or heard from you, but I did not know your address until Teddy sent me the printed invitation to Molly’s wedding for me to read (which was just a week after Teddy’s sister, Milly, was married) so I took down the address before I returned it to him…I must first tell you who I am.

I am Frank’s youngest sister, Annie, and I am writing from my own home as I have been married 6 years next March 21st.  My married name is Evans.  I dare say Frank remembers the name of E. Evans, Printer, as he has been in Kilburn nearly 40 years which was before Frank left England.

I have not heard from Charley since the year 1890, which was the year that my mother and sister Louey died.  If you know where they are, do not forget to send me their address, dear, when you write…

Someone was saying that they would like to have the family pedigree.  Well, I have Father’s family Bible which shows his birth and death, and Frank’s mother also.  I will write you a full list of all the family if you would like it, next time I write you…

Lizzie has been married 20 years, January 12th which is Frank’s Birthday, and I am sorry to say that she lost her only daughter, Rosina, two years ago.  She seems hardly to have got over the blow yet.

Dear Ted at Bexley has very bad health now.  He often has fits and has not been able to work for some time.

I think I told you that we have a printing office.  Edward has learnt me to compose the type so I can help a little with his work.”


Another from Annie Rosina Woods Evans – this is a very important letter – which has a note at the top – “I enclose copy of Family registrar.”  Perhaps some of you may have in your possession that “registrar” among old papers or letters—if we could but find it!  This also was addressed to “My Dear Sister Eva;” dated 23rd February, 1904, same address as above.

“We received your dear letter on the 2nd of February and the photos on the 8th.  I cannot tell you how pleased we were with them.  The children are just little darlings and little Harold at the side of you is just like his Grandpa Woods, Edward quite fell in love with yours and Franks photo, he says there is such a kind expression.

It have just been reading the last letter I had from Frank and it is dated 8th of September, 1878, so you see, dear what I long time it is since we heard from him.  Sometimes I think perhaps Georgie or Charley gave him a wrong idea about the House property, as I think they were jealous because I was Executer to Father’s Will, but they need not have been so, as it was only hard work for me, and not a penny benefit to any of us, as you will see, dear, when I explain it all.

Dear Father’s House Property in Powis Place (which I dare say Frank remembers) was bought up to enlarge a Hospital close by and with the money Father bought 3 Freehold Houses and 2 plots of land in Netherwood Street, Kilburn, being a Builder and Architect by trade, he soon wanted to build houses on these 2 plots, which he did, and Edmond and Charley helped to build them.  All would have been well, had he stopped there, but he was anxious to keep Edmond and Charley at work, so he mortgaged all the houses and bought more land in Iverson Road, near by where we are now living, and built four more Houses and a Coach House, these were unfinished at the time of his death and the Lawyers who advanced the money were taking all the rents to pay the Interest on the Mortgages.  They advanced more money to finish them but directly they were all let, they called the money in and the Property was all sold to pay the Mortgages.

I would not have minded it so much if there had been anything for Mother and they also sold our grocery business to pay the building debts.  After that our poor dear mother never seemed to hold her head up, what with that and the loss of Father, she went into a decline.  Lizzie’s husband, Joseph Dubbin, was very kind to her and she lived with them until her death, also little Louey who kept to her bed the last two years of her life and suffered very much at times, but was always so good and patient and was such a bright little Christian.

I took a situation in the post office at Hampstead until my health failed with standing so much and going home at night to nurse poor mother.  So after her death I left the Post Office and set up Dressmaking which I kept to until I was married, but I do not get much time for it now as I think I told you before, I set up the type for Printing.

I have not got the date of Martha’s marriage so I could not put it in the registrar, but she was married about 1878 in September to Layton Wood at Marylebone Church.  She has been a widow for about 14 years, and I am sorry to say when she lost him she took to drink.  She always had such good health and was so much liked by kind ladies who gave her work but she seemed to take dislike to them and at last she sold up her little home and without telling us, she went into the Workhouse.

We did feel it very keenly that any one of us should go there, but perhaps it is all for the best as she seems very happy there and quite cured of the love of drink.  So we do what we can for her when she comes to see us.  Her address is:

Mrs. M. E. Wood
Middlsex Infirmary
Acton Lane.

You were asking about Edmond and if his wife is living.  Yes, dear, his 2nd wife, Alice, is living, and she is able to manage a laundry on the Blendon Estate, so she earns enough for their living, if he is not able to work, and they have a nice little cottage with 5 rooms which is allowed to all the workers on the Estate.

I do not know if Teddy would like to go Abroad.  I think they are glad to have him home for awhile as Milly and her husband have left Blendon.  Her address is:

Mrs. S. (Syndey) King
Kimpton Orange Stables
Welvyn, Herts.

You are quite right dear, my mother and Frank’s mother were half sisters.  Grandfather Grimsdell had been married 3 times.  My mother was a daughter by the third wife, and I think Frank’s mother was by the first and William Grimsdell by the second.  He and his daughter came to see her not long before she was taken so ill and he seemed much older than mother.  Well, dear, I think I have answered all questions except to what Church do I belong?  I belong to the Church of England and have been confirmed in the Faith of Christ and so were Lizzie and Louey at the same time.

You will see by the date that I am writing this on my Birthday.  I am 47 years old today.  Nearly the same age as you are.

I am a Second wife and have 2 stepdaughters Rachel and Lizzie who is married so they are not at home with us.

I must now close with fondest Love to all from your ever loving
Brother and Sister

Edward and Annie Evans.

Ask Frank to write a line.


I shall write to Charley and explain all.”


This one from “Charley” to Frank (as they always called Francis C. Woods).  Dated August 185h, 1904 from 57 Stafford Road, Ellburn N.W.  He and his wife were on a return visit to England from the States.

“…we are going down to Bexley to see Ted once more before we start home, the 31st of this month on the Majestic.  We have had a great time, we was in Bedfordshire last week and was in Hertfordshire at Millies’ and had a good time visiting the old Country places.  I found poor old Ted in poor health but he was wonderfully improved when I left him.  They did think I should not find him alive as he had a bad attack just as I arrived in England.  I found Alice as lively as usual very little altered, but poor Teddy is indeed a poor cripple, and thin but he says well.  They appear very comfortable and as regards him coming to America that cannot be for various reasons, his father and mother could not do without him for one thing, as his mother works at Blendon Hall and is the mainstay of the family and if anything should happen to Ted they have a little sum laid by that will help out.  And as regards our sister, Lizzie, I understand she has wrote to you explaining their situation, and Annie and her husband is eking out an existence as printer in a small way but all these things I can tell you when I arrive.”


Then from Elizabeth Dubbin, at 60 Canterbury Road, West Kilburn, postmarked October 19, 1908.

“….Last April, dear Annie lost her poor dear husband and was so ill herself for some time after, I thought I should have lost her, but I did nurse her up and helped her all I could with the printing, and thank God she got well again and then she had to move as they would not allow business to be carried on at that house was only to be let as a dwellinghouse but as there was a ground floor to let next door to me, belonging to my landladie she was only too pleased for her to have it; so she moved into it; and we are very glad as I went in to help her and be together while dear Joseph was out.  Well dear, on the 26th of August, he went out to his shops as usual.  Quite well as I thought so bright and loving, saying how soon he would be back, but he got as far as Oxford Circus and there laid down and died of heart disease.  My darling Sister, I do not know how to write this I am so broken hearted, it seems too much for me to bear.  But I do try to be as brave as I can for dear Annie’s sake, as she is very good and we keep together and she helps me all she can.

Now dear, I hope this will find you and my dear Brother Frank and all my darling nephews and nieces quite well and happy.  Dear Milly came to see us about three weeks ago with her darling little daughter, Winnie.  She is a little sweet thing and Milly is a dear, kind niece.  She was very upset about dear Joe as she was very fond of him, and says she will come and see us as often as she can.”


From the same address on Canterbury Road, July, 1909; Annie writes:

“We are grieved to hear about our dear brothers, Frank, and to think of him going under that dreadful operation, but hope by now he is out of all danger and getting well again.  We often hear of people suffering from it and some say it’s caused from eating fruit and other things with seeds in them.

We are both of us fairly well and Lizzie expects soon to be busy with the lovely white Heather which lasts on to the end of October.  I get on very well with the Printing and Lizzie rolls the ink on for me.  I have also added Confectionary which will take better when the fruit is over.

You were asking about the Gibbs family.  Well, dear, you will see by this old picture we are sending you of Francis Gibbs that he was Grandma Wood’s Father and that she was their only child who was married to John Woods.  [If we could just locate this precious picture among some of our parents papers and pictures, it would be most valuable. –Mary]  We do not know of any other Gibbs.

…We often see dear Martha, she was 69 last May 11th.  She keeps very well, but we cannot get her to write to anyone although she likes to hear the news when she comes.”


Then on the 18th of January, 1912 a note from Annie on Canterbury Road:

“…We hope you had a Happy Christmas if not quite so lively as others. (Grandfather is ill).  We all three of us spent the day with Mr. and Mrs. Simons (my daughter in law).  They are all very kind to us and have always asked us to come since we have lost our husbands (Martha, Lizzie, and Annie); Dear Patty also enjoyed herself very much.”

[Teddy speaks of Aunt Patty occasionally and I have come to the conclusion that Martha was called Patty.]


On the 30th of September, 1912, is the last letter that we have found, it is from 127 Cambridge Road, a new address, and again from Annie:

“My Dear Sister Eva;

I feel I must write you a few lines as we are always thinking of you and can feel so deeply for you in your first year of widowhood.  How strange and lonely everything seems without that dear one with us.

Having passed through it ourselves we can feel for others, although you are not so lonely as we were.  You have all your dear sons and daughters to love you, and I hope they are all very kind to you just now when you need it so much.

You will see by the above address that we have removed from our old quarters and are all together in one house.  I think it will be better for us as it is not quite so much rent as the other two places and this is more business-like.  Lizzie is still carrying on her little branch of work; heather and fancy things for the shops.  I am glad to say we are all well and looking forward to better times, although we are at times rather pushed for money to buy fresh stocks.

Patty seems better since she has been here and claims the little kitchen for her special room.  She also does the cooking.  I had a nice letter from Teddy.  He is quite a farmer.  He tells all about his crops and chickens, rabbits, etc., and sometimes sends us one of his own raising.  He seems a little better in his health just now, also dear Alice.

We also heard from Cousin Emily [Mrs. Jessie B. Higgs]—of Salt Lake.  She has five dear children.”

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Jan. 2007]

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