The Family of James Panton, Town Crier(1805-1849)

As is often the case with genealogical research, the task of researching John Panton born 1804 in Lincoln, has taken many twists and turns.My newspaper archive research, revealed early on that there was a James Panton, who was town crier in the Bail. Initially I had believed that John’s father James Panton(1786-1857) had been the town crier.

However further research has proved to my satisfaction that John’s brother James Panton, was the town crier. James Panton the town crier, is described as having expired suddenly, having been cleaning out his pig sty. He had complained of feeling unwell and had died lying next to his wife in bed, aged only forty four.The death of James Panton, crier of the Bail would have made him born in 1805(from the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 16th November, 1849.)

As he was born  in 1805, this indicated that he was the brother of John Panton born 1804. Today I have been researching James Panton(1805-1849)from Lincoln, son of James Panton(1786-1857) and his family.

Investigating each of his children in turn  has proven particularly fruitful and yielded yet another interesting court case. Rebecca Frances Panton(1843-1915), daughter of James Panton, the town crier had an eventful life.By 1881 Rebecca Frances Panton(referred to as Fanny) who is the second youngest daughter of James Panton, town crier, is living with her sister Sarah Panton and has clearly married somebody with the surname of Parks. Further research disclosed that Rebecca Frances(Fanny) Panton had married a young man, named Martin Luther Parks. This unusual name aroused my curiosity. A quick search of the newspaper archives revealed that Martin Luther Parks had been put on trial in September 1867, for having abandoned his wife and two children.Documents were produced to prove the marriage, however Martin Luther Parks had claimed he did not believe the marriage was valid, as he had been underage and had not had the permission of his parents. As revealed by later investigation, Martin Luther Parks’ father was a methodist minister called Robert Parks. Currently I have not discovered the final outcome of the trial, however I do know he was remanded in custody, as bail had not been paid.

*The Nottingham and Stamford Mercury reported on September  13th 1862 that the case was discharged, as he(Martin Luther Parks) paid all expenses due and undertook to “take his family off the books of the union.”

Interestingly a Martin Luther Parks of the right age can be found in California in 1896, working as an engineer. Records note that he comes from England. I am now fairly certain this is the former husband of Rebecca Frances Panton.

By 1881 Rebecca Frances Panton and her children are living with her sister, Sarah Panton. Ten years later in 1891 Rebecca Frances Panton is described as the head of the household-by this time she has four children Robert, Eleanor(sadly Eleanor died in 1893, aged only eleven),  Florence and Lucy and her sister Sarah is now living with her. Unsure how she has managed to acquire two more children, although all the children bear the surname Parks.

Rebecca made straw bonnets and is living at 33 Bailgate according to the 1892 Kelly’s Directory.

Rebecca lived until she was ninety years old, despite the hardships she must have endured as a lone parent, dying and being buried in Lincoln in 1915.