Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Oakshette & Company


Peggy and I have run across a reference to buttons made by Oakshette & Co. of London. We've suspected that this is our family and we have found some solid evidence of it.

Dr. O's father, Thomas, was a master tailor. From as far back as 1851, he's listed on the census as such. Thomas's brother, Henry, was an ironmonger. Later, in 1881, he's listed as a button and trim seller. At that time, Oakshette & Company was in business, owned by Henry Oakshette.

According to Roger Revell, a button collector/seller in England, "There is some information on the Oakshette firm in the London Trade Directories of 1800-1899. These show that Henry Oakshette was trading at 14 Mill Street, off Conduit Street in London, between 1873 to 1883. Then, in 1884, the firm was located for just a year at 15 Mill Street and in 1885 was based again at 14 Mill Street. The two buttons can therefore be dated fairly precisely to 1884. The directories show that the firm were trading mainly as Army & Navy tailors, as well as having a trimming warehouse." With little doubt, this is our Henry--Dr. O's uncle. Dr. O's father was most likely the tailor's foreman at Oakshette & Co.

This is doubly exciting for Peggy and I, since Mr. Revell had two buttons by Oakshette & Co. for sale. I quickly purchased them and they should be winging their way across the pond this week. But for those who are interested in seeing buttons from our family dating back to 1884, here's a picture.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Dr. O


This picture of Dr. Oakshette was contributed by Peggy, Dr. O's granddaughter. There is no other information available on this photo.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Movie of the Week

Something to think about: If we made Dr. O's story into a movie of the week, who would you cast as Dr. O?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What Exactly is an Oakshette?

Whenever I tell someone that I'm researching the Oakshette line, they generally do a double take. Oh, what? Oakshette. One idea had been that Oakshette meant "little oak." Turns out Oakshette is a derivative of Oxshott, which is a town in Surrey.

What's more, Dr. O doesn't appear to use the final e until around 1890. Apparently, though, it's fluid. His uncle Henry does use the final "e". Other spellings include Oakshott and Ockshott, but they are all from the same area in England.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Alice, Militant Church, and The Dead Physician Card

This week I've uncovered a lot of data for the time line. I'll post the information here first, and update the timeline later.

First, I revisited a previous source and discovered that Dr. O was in both Dwight, IL and Chicago in 1894. That put him there before his marriage to Mary Hale, not after as we had thought. I found a researcher who does lookups on cemetery records in Livingston Co, IL. She provided me with the transcription of Dr. O's first wife's grave. She is Alice Oakshette b. 1857 d. 1891. The transcription says daughter of J C Oakshette, but it's obviously a transcription error. We now have a time frame that Dr. O was in Dwight--from 1891 to 1894. In 1894 he moved back to Chicago and attended the Univ. of IL.

A piece of information that might be interesting to remember is that the big draw in Dwight was the Keeley Institute, where alcoholism was first treated as an illness, not a flaw of character. There is nothing to connect Dr. O with Keeley at this time, but it's something to remember as we research. There also was a Keeley franchise that opened up in Atlanta after Dr. O arrived, just a few blocks from the house where Charles was born.

Second, newspapers have been a friend in researching Dr. O. The Chicago Tribune gave up two articles from 1896. One is a lawsuit that was dismissed. A nurse was suing for wages. The second was the news of a new hospital being started on Wabash called the Militant Church Hospital. According to the city directory for 1896, Dr. O was the director. The hospital would take in patients suffering from DTs from the Harrison Police station. This is a possible connection to the Keeley Institute, at least in the treatment of alcoholism.

The Militant Church was called a club in the Chicago Tribune. They also had R. G. Ingersoll speak on the topic of Reforming Man at the Columbia Theatre. Ingersoll was a popular speaker at the time and a well-known secular humanist.

The last bit of information comes from Dr. O's Dead Physician Card from the AMA, via the National Genealogical Society. I'm very excited to finally have location for Dr. O in 1900. He hasn't shown up in the census, so we've had a blank spot between 1896, when he last appears in the Chicago directory, and 1908, when he shows up in Toronto. There is mention of him in the Baha'i notes as replacing Dr. Thatcher in 1907. We also know that Mary Hale Oakshette died in Atlanta in 1908 and that Grammy had to have been in Atlanta at least by the fall of 1907 to have gone on her first date with Roundy. But where was Dr. O in the meantime? One location is Jackson, MI where he is listed as a physician in the Polk Medical and Surgical Register for 1900.

Another important point learned from the dead physician card. There are only two degrees listed: one from Hahnemann and one from the University of Illinois. That would mean that any other degrees he earned were not medical. Most likely, they were religious or philosophical.

I think we finally are to the point where we have filled in most of the blanks of time where we didn't know where the good doctor was. There are still some holes to fill; we know he was a roamer. But we've gotten a lot covered.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Education Time-Line

Dr. O was an avid student, completing courses of study his entire life. These are the ones we know about at this time.

1881? East London Missionary Institute (Harley House) [source 1881 UK census]
1890- MD from Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago. [source History of Homeopathy and it's Institutions in America by William Harvey King, MD, LL., D]
July 15, 1890 received medical license [source, Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Illinois in 1894.
1894 - Graduated University of Illinois. [source U of Ill. 1921 Alumni Record Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry]
1910 - University of the Potomac, PhD [source U of Ill. 1921 Alumni Record]
???? - STD or Doctor of Sacred Theology
???? - FRC (unknown)

We know that in order to have become a Liberal Catholic Priest, he would have had to complete personal study with a bishop. Letters from him to his son Charles let us know that he completed more courses of study right up to the end.

Also, in the note from Marie Livingstone Oakshette Lewis (Dr. O's third wife) she mentions a Fellowship Badge that was lost in the Atlanta fires in 1917. "He was very proud of that badge," she writes. It is possible that this Fellowship badge is the FRC in his signature. This badge is said to have come from Washington University. We have not located the University of the Potomac; it is possible that it's the same as what Marie called Washington University. But further information on either school is not known at this time.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Aunties, Ashes, and Undies

There could be more logical places to start with Dr. O's history, but since the family has been discussing this topic this weekend, I thought we'd start here.

Dr. O had a couple of aunts who came to the states prior to his arrival in 1884: Aunt Mary Ann and Aunt Ellen. Now the family story goes that Aunt Mary Ann died in the San Francisco earthquake, her ashes were sent to Grammy, and Grammy kept them in a trunk along with numerous items, including a pair of split-crotch pantaloons that Grammy said belonged to Aunt Mary Ann.

Jo writes, "Then near the bottom, we came across a large, satin brocade bag with a large, firm clasp that was obviously not empty. When we described it, Gram almost giggled-because she knew how we were going to react to her answer, 'Oh, those are Aunt Mary Ann's ashes. She died in San Francisco as a result of the earthquake, and since they couldn't bury people, they cremated her and sent the ashes to family.'" After going through records from the UK, San Francisco and Chicago, we've discovered what some might call the rest of the story.

There is no record of Aunt Ellen in the christening records of the William and Lucy Oakshott family--Dr O's grandparents. The first record of Aunt Ellen Oakshett is the 1870 census in Multnomah, Portland, Oregon. She then shows up ten years later in San Francisco, where she is a dressmaker. She lives at 339 Sixth, and she is listed as a widow.

Peggy's grandmother's notes show that one of the aunties was a widow of a military man. She is most likely referring to Aunt Ellen. Since she's not in the christening record, she's probably an Oakshette by marriage. The one fact that seems to dispute this idea is her obituary, where she is referred to as "the beloved and only sister of Mary Ann Oakshett". Aunt Ellen died August 29, 1895 in San Francisco. Her body was cremated in the IOOF crematorium.

Aunt Mary Ann Oakshett, on the other hand, does show up in the christening records of the William and Lucy Oakshott family. She is the only daughter of 5 children listed. She's on the 1871 UK Census as a visitor of her brother Henry. In the 1880 US Census, she's living with Aunt Ellen and is listed as having emmigrated in 1872. She's still in San Francisco in 1900, but her death certificate is filed September 30, 1907 in Chicago, where she is buried in Oakridge Cemetery. Most likely, Aunt Mary Ann brought Aunt Ellen's ashes with her to Chicago after the earthquake, then died the following year. After her death, they were forwarded to Atlanta where Dr. O's family was living.

There is no reason not to assume the undies belong to Aunt Mary Ann, but the ashes are those of Aunt Ellen. My favorite part of the story is that Aunt Ellen's ashes ended up in Grammy's flowerbed. Jo recalls the day that they dug through the trunk as one of her favorite "Grammie" days.