Unravelling Yorkshire

The hamlet of Roydhouse in the West Riding of Yorkshire consists of a few farms and a pub.
A hamlet is defined as a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village, and strictly one without a church.
To start the investigation of the assorted Roydhouse families throughout Yorkshire, I first decided to follow the theory that the surname may have originated from that area of the West Riding.

Roydhouse Hamlet location

3 Acres Inn, Roydhouse, Shelley, Yorkshire.


The closest ancient church is All Hallows Parish Church in Kirkburton, about 2 miles away.

Kirkburton Church is dedicated to All Hallows. It was built in 1190, and is now classified as a Grade I listed building. Most of the structure is 13th century although parts have been rebuilt. The tower was added in the 15th century. Inside the church is a late-medieval nave ceiling, large wooden pulpit, stone font and Elizabethan and Jacobean pews. A small window in the chancel may have opened from the cell of a hermit. A restored 10th century stone crucifix can be found inside, supporting the belief that another church or Christian settlement may have existed on this site. The church has undergone extensive restoration.
The church records mostly show burials appear from the early 1800’s, though a few survive and are legible from the 1700’s. No Roydhouse (or other variant) burial is recorded, however this does not mean there were none. Over the centuries churchyards can become overgrown, run-down, stones become impossible to read and even broken, and old church records lost due to fire, flood, or war.

Meanings of the surname  discovered vary only slightly, dweller by the marsh or dweller by the clearing.

ROYD (Scand.) Dweller at a forest-clearing

ROYDHOUSE (Scand.) Dweller at the Clearing-House

The Domesday Book of 1086 showed that much of the woodland of Britain was still intact. It was a very detailed survey of land held throughout William the Conquerors Britain and designed to gather taxation revenue.
In the north, and Yorkshire in particular, the land clearance was the work of the Scandinavians who first settled from A.D 867 in the Danelaw region.

My DNA test kit revealed a 7% Scandinavian heritage. Probably related to Hagar and Helga!

Lydia and Sarah B Roydhouse

The first child to be born in America, and the eldest daughter of John Roydhouse and his wife Frances nee Parkinson, Lydia Ann Roydhouse was born in Burlington, New Jersey in 1819.

She married Aaron Wood about 1837, and the couple had 2 sons and two daughters.

1.Henrietta Wood was born on Christmas Eve, 1838 and married Benjamin F Lindsey in 1863
Nettie M 1868-1870; Frank Clinton 1872-1943 and Willam Tibbits 1875-1924. Henrietta died in 1909

2.Lydia A Wood born in 1845 married Joseph Steere
Amanda Steere 1864, Georgeanna 1866, Anna Mary Steere 1868

3.Jacob born in 1851 and died in 1867.

4.Alfred was born in 1856

Lydia died in 1889.

John’s second daughter Sarah B was born in 1820.

She married Thomas Parker Birkett on the 24th October 1839 in Mt Holly, Burlington Co. New Jersey.

1.Margaret F.Birkett was born on the 29th September 1840 in Kansas and married William Henry Pew.
Joanna Elizabeth Pew 1865-1920. Her father William died in 1869.She lived with her grandparents after her mother’s marriage to Thomas Atkinson Gaskill in 1871.
Margaret and Thomas had two sons John Coty Gaskill 1871-1933; Otto Gaskill 1881 Kansas-1900

2. John R Birkett 1842-1905

3. Sarah Birkett 1845-1874

4. James Birkett 1847-1887

5. Thomas Parker Birkett jr 1851-1933

6. Benjamin Franklin Birkett 1856-1935

7. Mary F Birkett 1858-1937 single 1900 census

8. Martha Watts Birkett 1861-married Reginald Thomas Whitcomb 1895
1. Arthur B Whitcomb was born in 1896

Sarah died on the 6th May 1914 in Burlington. She was 94.

Josephine Ann Roydhouse

Josephine Ann Roydhouse was born on the 29th of August ,1851 in Burlington New Jersey , the daughter of Joseph and Ann Roydhouse nee Pedrick.
By 1854 she was an orphan. Little is known of hers and sister Ellen’s life until their marriages.
Josephine married John M Connor on the 16th April 1877 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Hugh Seelye Conner and his twin brother Joseph Roydhouse Connor were born on the 3rd of April 1878. Hugh died aged 4 years on the 14th July 1882, 18 months after John Connor his father had died.
Catherine Connor was born on the 28th December in 1879. She died in Montgomery a spinster aged 33 on the 28th June 1913.
Josephine married Elisha Cyrus Stout ( 1851-1929) on the 17th January 1889 in Montgomery.
In 1898 her son Joseph died in Santiago de Cuba. The Spanish-American War had run for 10 weeks only but was quickly followed by the Philippine -American War. It is possible he was victim to Yellow Fever, a disease borne by female mosquitos. His tombstone reads U.S.V ( United States Volunteer)
Josephine and Elisha’s son Robert Pollak Stout was born in 1890 on the 17th July in Montgomery .
Robert married Flora Irene Cooper and 2 sons and 2 daughters were born.
Robert R.Stout 1924-2003, William Cooper Stout 1928-2997,Mary C. Stout 1926-2004 and
Flora Childress Stout 1931-
Robert died on the 22nd of June 1932 in Pensacola Florida. He was a 2nd lieutenant in the 59th Field Artillery.
Josephine died on the 15th May 1926 in Pensacola, Florida and Elisha 3 years later in 1929.

Ellen Pedrick Roydhouse

Ellen Pedrick Roydhouse was born on the 23rd June 1848 in Burlington Township,NJ.

Both her parents had died in her 6th year.

After one of her legal guardians passed away just after assuming responsibility for the two sisters , the next record is of her marriage on Christmas Day 1866 to Isaac Alloway King at age 18.

Christmas Day weddings usually occurred out of necessity as Christmas and Boxing Day were often the only days of the year that young working class couples were guaranteed to get off work.

The first few years the couple lived in Wrightstown,NJ where their first daughter Susanna Alloway King was born on the 13th Feb 1878.

By 1870 when Annie Roydhouse King was born on the 25th October they were living in Montgomery, Alabama, almost 1,610 kilometres away. Isaac was a carriage maker.

Joseph Grant King was born on the 6th May 1873, and Ella Pedrick King on the 14th May 1876.

Ellen died aged 30 years and 3 months on the 14th September 1878.

In the 1880 census, Ellen’s sister Josephine, 28, her husband John Connor, a carriage maker, their twin sons Hugh,2, and Joseph,2 and Catherine, aged 5 months were sharing the house with widower Isaac. Hugh has diabetes written in his Health column.

Joseph Roydhouse

Five of the eight children of John (died 1851 aged 66) and Frances nee Parkinson( died aged 54 in 1846) died in their late twenties/early thirties.
Matthew Roydhouse died in 1851 aged 37, his wife Elizabeth pre-deceased him in 1848.
John, his brother died in 1850 aged 34, and a sister Mary was 27 when she died in 1852. Thomas was 28 when he died in 1860.
Another son of John (d 1851 aged 66) and Frances nee Parkinson(died aged 54 in 1846) was Joseph Roydhouse.
Joseph was born in Burlington County, the 6th of 8 children in 1822.
He married Ann Pedrick on the 27th March,1845.
Their daughter Ellen Pedrick Roydhouse was born on the 23rd June, 1848 and her sister Josephine Ann on the 29th August 1851.
Joseph is recorded on the census of 1850 as a milkman.
Aged just 31, Joseph died intestate, in Washington, Burlington County on the 23rd September 1853.

His widow Ann was struggling with the process of proving her right to have any monies awarded to her when she passed away 4 months later on the 22nd January 1854.The document below was signed in a very shaky hand 5 days before her death.

The deaths of both parents left two orphans, Ellen aged 6 and Josephine aged 3.
The paperwork trail then included two brothers George and Matthew McHenry to pay a bond to ensure they would be legal guardians of the two girls until they at least attained the age of 14.

It appears that George died later that year. He was married with children of his own.

Howard McPherson Roydhouse (jnr) and sons.

Hold tight, this is a bit of a bumpy ride keeping up with all the goings on of Howard, his sons Howard the Third and Kenneth.

Howard jnr was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 19th August, 1915.

He married Mildred Rutter sometime between the US Census of 1940 and the birth of their first child, Howard McPherson the Third in 1943.

Kenneth was born in 1944, while his father was away at sea.

Howard jnr served on USS Bunker Hill as a Quartermaster.While covering the invasion of Okinawa, Bunker Hill was struck by two kamikazes in quick succession, setting the vessel on fire.346 confirmed dead and 43 missing, with over 200 injured. The ship returned to the U.S. mainland and was still under repair when the war ended. In October 1945 Howard was discharged off U.S.S. Monmouth after the commissioning of U.S.S.Midway.

( photo Wikipedia USS Bunker Hill on fire)

In November 1957 he divorced Mildred, and was married the next month to Ruth Kay Singleton.

Howard served as a Councillor for some time in the municipality of Kenneth City.


In 1960 he received $60 through Veteran Affairs for his 6 months at war.

Ruth and Howard divorced in January 1963, and two months later he married Carrie Elsie Gambrell. This marriage was to end in divorce in the March of 1969.

Marjorie S Power and Howard married in April 1970, divorcing in December 1974.

In May 1976 he married Mary Rose Ward, but divorced in February 1978.

His two sons attended the same High School, and the family resemblance is easily seen.

Kenthe Third

Ken had married and divorced an unknown lady prior to his marriage to Myra Faye Carter in 1980. He died in 2007.

Howard McPherson the Third married Penny Jane Fletcher in May 1964 and divorced in August 1966.

He married Julia M Shindel in February 1967 and this couple were at the same address through the 1990’s.

Howard the father does not appear to have married again, and he lived in Pinellas, Florida until his death in 1991.

A personal story- Less than 6 degrees of separation-Walcha murder

Until the age of 12, I lived in Armidale in New South Wales.
I was 8 when my baby brother was born, and my parents decided to christen the five of us in one ceremony when he was about 6 months old.
Mum selected the three girls a lovely short sleeve top and pleated skirt outfit – apricot for me, mauve for Maree and aqua for Michelle. Gloves and hats completed the outfits.

L-R Back
Dad holding Edwin, Mum
L-R Front
Self, age 8, Shell, age 4, Geoff, age 6 and Maree age 7

We also needed godparents, 5 sets to be found!

My godfather was John Dunbar, a farmer’s son from Walcha about 65 kms away from our home, my Dad was crop dusting around that way regularly and knew the Dunbar family well.
I remember staying with the family when Mum had our baby brother. At the time Alma and Alex seemed old, but their son John was about 20 so I guess they were in the 45-50 age range.
Their property was called Pandora, and I loved playing in the rooms out the side of the house, filled with treasures from other times- crocheted milk jug covers with beads, old tea-sets, doilies, velvet chaise lounge- fantastic play area!.

I noticed a few years ago my sister had connected with John’s adopted son Mathew on Facebook.
I had talked about Pandora and the Dunbars to Gordon and in 2017 he read me out the news that Mathew had probably been murdered by his girlfriend Natasha. It looks like the main trial is being set for June next year.
Some news stories, copy and paste the links- the bottom one is the most current.

Jan 2019: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/nutribullet-used-to-blend-cocktail-of-drugs-in-grazier-murder-court-20190117-p50ryh.html

Nov 2019: https://www.9news.com.au/national/natasha-beth-darcy-denies-in-court-killing-farmer-mathew-dunbar-in-walcha-nsw/cd9a6232-25bf-45c5-ba19-a137005e4a6c

Ellen Virginia Roydhouse


Ellen was born to Howard and Sadie on the 14th December 1910

At age 25 she married Charles Sherman Hubbard and in 1938 she gave birth to a son Leslie Hubbard.

In 1940 Charles, a clerk in radio industry , Ellen and 2 year old Leslie had her mother Essie, sister Elizabeth and brother Howard jnr living with them.

In 1951 she was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan with Walter as Ellen Floyd.

Her father Howard died in 1955.

In 1957 Ellen married Walter Carlyle Floyd, who died 7 years later.

Before her death in 1988, Ellen also lost her mother Sadie(1973) and her sister Elizabeth(1985)

Howard McPherson Roydhouse

The only son of George and Ida, Howard was born on the 22nd September 1884 in Philadelphia.

By 1906 he appears to be enrolled at West Point.



Class of 1906

Howard Roydhouse 1906


West Point Military Academy was established in 1802, and is one of the longest serving academies in the world.

In September 1908 he married Sadie Estelle {Essie} Timmons and three children were born:

Ellen Virginia 1910

Howard McPherson ii 1915

Elizabeth 1920

He died on September 26th 1955 of heart disease, and was buried at Laurel Hill.

Sadie died in 1973 aged 86.