KEELING - Barbados

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KEELING - Barbados

Postby Brooklyn Born » Tue May 07, 2013 8:12 pm

I am descended from Joseph Keeling Valverde (no dates, but guess he was born in the late 1700's). His mother was Jane Keeling (no dates). His father was Joseph Valverde, who's father was Isaac Valverde, 1756-1853, who in turn was married to Mary Keeling, died 1862. Both of them were buried in St Michael. Would like any information on the Keelings.
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Re: KEELING - Barbados

Postby bxbajan » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:08 pm

I have a record of a Joseph Keeling Valverde who married Caroline Keysar Ashby 14 June 1842 in Christ Church Bdos.(Source: LDS film 1157933 marriages;1643-1848)

Also a baptism of Wilhelmena Lindsay Ashby 22 Nov. 1855 Christ Church Bdos. father William Armstrong Ashby & mother Rebecca Keeling Valverde ( LDS film 1157968 baptisms-1855)

Their other children are Estelle Geraldine Ashby 1857, Alexander Andrew Thomas Ashby 1862, Julia Eliza Ashby 1864

I am researching the Ashby line.

Andrea
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Re: KEELING - Barbados

Postby Brooklyn Born » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:29 am

Joseph Keeling Valverde was a much married man: Maria Holder 1829 (Rebecca's mother), Jane Cutting 1838, Caroline Ashby 1842, Elizabeth Mary Ashby (some time after Caroline's death as she is mentioned as a Valverde in George Ashby's will of 30 August 1855), and Fanny Fraser 1870.

I gather Joseph was a Keeling twice over. I have not been able to trace back either his mother's or his grandmother's family. I assume they are the black ancestry Andrea Stuart mentions in Sugar in the Blood.

William Ashby and Rebecca also had a daughter Anne Maria, who married a Bentham. They are my great-grandparents. (They had ten children. There are a lot of Ashby's to research.)
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Re: KEELING - Barbados

Postby bxbajan » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:36 am

My ancestors are the manumitted slave "Sukey Ann," and Charlotte Ashby who married WETS Nurse mentioned in "Sugar In the Blood" The oldest record I found for Valverde is for a Rebecca born abt. 1680 the daughter of Abraham & Jael. I have a photo of Rebecca Keeling Valverde who appears to be very fair. Are you related to Annie Beatrice Bentham Ashby? My great-grandmother Charlotte Ashby Nurse listed her as her aunt and closest relative in Barbados when she immigrated to the US in 1909. I have several photos of Annie Beatrice that I copied from the originals in the collection of her descendants in Barbados.
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Re: KEELING - Barbados

Postby Brooklyn Born » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:29 pm

Annie Beatrice Bentham is my first cousin twice removed.Her husband, Alexander, is my great-great-uncle. I have had no contact with any of my Ashby-Bentham relatives before starting family research last year.

I should have noted in my previous post that I have not seen documentation that the Valverde to whom Elizabeth was married was Joseph Keeling Valverde, although it seems to be taken as a given, so evidence must exist.

A warning - or a challenge: Wilfred Samuel wrote in 1924, "The Valverdes an extraordinarily prolific family, and in later years the the numerous descendants of Abraham and Jael Valverde were to puzzle the geneologist by reason of the recurring duplication of names. They had, for instance, three grandsons named Abraham Valverde."
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Re: KEELING - Barbados

Postby Scots Connection » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:53 pm

I own the original tin types and photographs of the following:

• Rebecca Keeling Valverde (later Ashby)

• William Armstrong Ashby (husband of Rebecca Keiling Valverde)

• Alexander Andrew Thomas Ashby (known as “Andrew” but referred to in error as Andrew A. Ashby) and his elder brother William Robert Cooper Ashby circa about 1867/68 as minors

• Robert Thomas Bentham and his wife Charlotte Elizabeth Bentham (nee Medford). The last photograph of Charlotte Bentham was taken in 1922, two years before her death.

• Anne Beatrice Bentham (sometimes referred to as “Annie Beatrice Bentham”) later the wife of Alexander Andrew Thomas Ashby. I have quite a few photographs and tin types of Annie Ashby, as a child, a young woman and in her 70s, 80s and 90s.

• Many photos of relatives (by blood and by marriage) such as John Lewis Bentham, the “Bentham Girls”, Carrie Knight etc.

For those of you following the Keeling and Valverde lines, I noted with interest that when she died, it was revealed that the late school teacher, Dorothy Lewis, had the full name of “Dorothy Keeling Lewis. Her maiden name was Pemberton. So that, presumably, is a possible lead.

A visit to the synagogue in Barbados will reveal several interments there of persons named Valverde – and also Keeling and also Kaiser/Keyser etc. My imperfect recollection is that they were all related and had intermarried. There were many repeats of names, as is pointed out, and it makes it difficult to track them.

There is much speculation as to the fate of Andrew Ashby, the son of Rebecca Keeling Valverde. Family legend has it that he had to leave Barbados because his well-off wife, Annie, was understandably irate at his efforts to personally sire the population of the parish of Christ Church and had threatened him with extreme violence (of which, I can certainly attest having known her extremely well, she was most definitely capable). The fate of Andrew was therefore shrouded in a certain rakish mystery – it was said that he went to Panama to work on the construction of the Panama Canal and there he fell ill and died of dysentary. My own research, however, tends to show a far simpler fate.

The Will of William Armstrong Ashby devised and bequeathed everything to his widow, Rebecca Keeling Valverde Ashby. In the fullness of time (herself being in her own right, an heiress) she went to live in Trinidad. And when Annie booted Andrew out, Andrew went to live with his mother in Trinidad and there, predictably, sired a completely new crop. There is certainly no record that I can find of Andrew ever having gone to Panama and worked on the Canal or of his having died there. The bits of evidence that he went to live with his mother in Trinidad would seem to be lent colour by the fact that all Rebecca’s children would appear to have left Barbados and gone to live in Trinidad. However, I have done no research at all in Trinidad, so if anyone has, I would be interested to hear of it. We do know that William Robert Cooper Ashby (Willie) married a woman named Gertrude and that he lived for a time in Bridgetown. Rebecca owned a substantial property in Bridgetown, where she was raised and it seems likely Willie may have been looking after his mother’s assets in Barbados. It is noted that Rebecca’s marriage to William Armstrong Ashby did not take place at the Ashby’s traditional church of Christ Church, but at St Mary’s Church in Bridgetown.

Finally, I want to address the research of the author of Sugar In The Blood on the matter of the burial and burial vault of Robert Cooper Ashby, known as the “Ashby Vault”.

The Ashby Vault is a freehold vault situated as accurately described in Sugar In The Blood. I know that because I own it.

It actually consists of two vaults, both constructed at the same time. This was not a rushed construction at all, but, Egyptian-like, had obviously been pre-planned for some time and what is, from the outside, a fairly basic concrete structure, from the inside is artistic and quite magnificent. There are photos of the interior – some gruesome and some showing the intricate and artistic ceiling. I have not seen these photos myself, as I have no taste for the morbid, unlike one of my much-loved siblings who took them, but I can certainly arrange that they be sent to any interested parties.

The reason for two vaults is unclear. It is variously suggested that: (a) one vault might have to be sealed because of someone being put in there who was the victim of yellow fever; (b) the need for an alternative so as to avoid the unpleasant side effects of a recent previous interment; (c) it was a large family and there was every possibility that the vault would be filled and additional space needed rapidly. All those explanations are plausible, so it may have been a combination.

Contrary to the claims of the author of Sugar In The Blood that there are battles amongst the descendants of Robert Cooper Ashby to this day to be interred with him in the Ashby Vault, I can state that I have owned the vault since 1982 and I have never refused any application from any of the descendents of Robert Cooper Ashby to be interred in the Ashby Vault. Therefore, I am not aware of this bickering to which this author refers. Indeed, at one time (some 20 years ago) I consulted with the undertakers, who recommended that they could go into both vaults and crush and compact the coffins and this would leave the two vaults almost empty and able to receive more bodies and this I fully intended to do, should there be any bickering, which there was not. There have been long periods of time when the vault has remained untended and crumbling into disrepair, so I am delighted that the author visited at such a convenient moment when some money had been spent on what is, after all, hardly an asset. Rather, it is a repository of old bones requiring constant and expensive upkeep as all old buildings do. And I should know. Therefore, I and my family found the comments of the author to be ill-informed/willed.

I am told, but have not confirmed, that the remains of Joseph Keiling (Keeling) Valverde and his wife, Arabella Anne Valverde (nee Ashby) are in the Ashby Vault.

Having discussed the matter of compacting the vault’s contents with my heirs, we have since concluded (in 2011) that it would be disrespectful to the deceased interred there to crush them along with their coffins so as to create more room. Therefore, I can state categorically that, with the interment of John Vere Evelyn Deane (the great, great grandson of Robert Cooper Ashby and great grandson of Rebecca Keeling Valverde) in 2011, the Ashby Vault is now full and will not be receiving any more tenants, including myself. I myself intend to be “baked and shaked” in Barbados, possibly shaked (after a thorough baking of course) over the vault (being dead, I shall not care if I am shaked into a landfill, frankly). I invite any and all of the descendents of Robert Cooper Ashby to make similar arrangements if they so wish, including the author of Sugar In The Blood. BUT, inside the actual vault, there is no more room – they are packed in like sardines in a can, except rather less appetisingly.

And NO, I do NOT know exactly who is in there. The coffins had deteriorated considerably when only one side of the vault was last opened in 2011 and there was no time to go trolling around through bones and shreds of clothing and other debris to uncover name plates. But there are a LOT of coffins in there and I do not feel that I will have been in any way deprived if I go to my baked and shaked rest without knowing whose remains are in them.

The partial list that is confirmed is: Robert Cooper Ashby, Mary Burke Ashby, Mary Anne Ashby, William Armstrong Ashby, Thomas Cooper Ashby, Joseph Keiling Valverde, Arabella Anne Valverde, Mary Elizabeth Ashby, Anne Beatrice Bentham Ashby, Ilma Kathleen Ashby Deane, Clementina Deane (nee Whyte), Colin Ian Estwick Deane, Whitehead (infant girl), Ebeneezer Estwick Deane, John Vere Evelyn Deane.


I have noted with interest that William Armstrong Ashby, the husband of Rebecca Keiling Valverde, was appointed the first keeper of the South Point Lighthouse by his father Robert Cooper Ashby. It has not gone un-noticed that this falls right into the time of Sam Lord and his acts of piracy. Sam Lord was himself a man of colour – one only has to look at the portraits of him to see that. It is interesting to note, therefore, that Sam Lord’s elder brother, with the unfortunate name of John Thomas Lord, was a member of the House of Assembly back in 1806, long before the Abolition of Slavery......and the questionable claims of Samuel Jackman Prescod, as well, of course, as the publication of Lady Chatterly's Lover.

Given the coastline of Barbados, it has always seemed curious to me that Sam Lord’s criminal activities could have thrived, had it not been for a large degree of cooperation between the operators of lighthouses in St Philip and the South Point lighthouse in Christ Church. As well as the full cooperation of every single fisherman and fishing fleet on the South Coast. Not to mention the tacit approval and cooperation of the Christ Church Militia and its commanding officer, whose son just happened to be the keeper of the lighthouse.

One also has to speculate whether or not it was entirely coincidental that Sam Lord’s activities ceased at about the same time as the death of Robert Cooper Ashby. Thereafter, Sam Lord moved to London where he died at 91 Jermyn Street on Guy Fawkes Day 1844.

I am happy to scan and send any photos that anyone might like to have copies of.
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Re: KEELING - Barbados

Postby Brooklyn Born » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:56 pm

Great post. Thank you.
And thank you for your caring trusteeship of the vault.
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Re: KEELING - Barbados

Postby bxbajan » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:40 pm

Thanks and it's wonderful to know you are alive, well and not lost your passion for family history!
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