Needham Family

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News Article

Article - Mary Frances Needham and the Hunter Family

Brian Hunter Beesley is part of the Hunter line, specifically, the part descending from Mary Frances Needham who married Edmund Southam Hunter in 1868 in Manchester, see Needham Chelmorton Family Tree
So, Edmund Hunter and Mary Frances Needham had some children and I'm wondering if anyone down that Hunter line may have done a DNA test? Edmund Hunter had at least one brother William Leyland Hunter (supposedly Brian's GGF ) and a sister Amelia Florence Hunter. 
Brian's ancestry is very convoluted as his GGF, William Leyland Hunter, went off to Foochow, China in 1865. 
Needless to say the waters of the Min River are murky at best, but he did leave a few traces while he was there; four to be exact; one of whom is my grandfather, Tobias Hunter ( there are no birth certificates for any of the four children born in China )
WLH originally went out to China as a tea inspector for WR Adamson. The company operated as Adamson, Bell Co. which later became Dodwells. After some years with Adamson, and likely with the hiring of young Dodwell from the UK, WLH decided to go it alone. 
Sometime about 1879 he opened up as "W L Hunter" in Foochow. By this time he'd produced his China family, the last of whom was May Hunter, born in 1879 and the only one who, its' been said, had "Foochow" listed as the place of birth on her passport.
William Leyland Hunter ( WLH ) made several trips home to Manchester in the ensuing years, once steamboats became commonplace and the Suez Canal shaved the transit time down to around 6 weeks. 
The family somehow ended up in Hong Kong, some 500 miles to the south and of course that was a Crown Colony so would have better facilities that those available in the Treaty ports like Foochow. It seems the four children remained in Hong Kong with their mother. 
After a downturn in the tea trade about 1887, WLH seems to have lost interest in China and presumably, his family there as well. He returned to his homeland permanently, where he married a Ellen Johnston in London and had two more children, a daughter in 1887 and son in 1891. WLH died in London in 1894 at the age of 49. He's buried at Tooting Cemetery. His wife passed away 30 years later and was added to the grave at St Nicholas Graveyard. Oddly. it was my grandfather Tobias Hunter who purchased the gravestone. He took my mother and her sister to see it when they were sent to school in England in 1924. I found it odd that he would erect a stone to honour the father who abandoned them! Anyway, he did.
BTW, I believe his China family eventually got to know his London family. Ironically, the son born in England went to work for HKSB and was posted in Hankow, and later close to Shanghai which was where my grandfather eventually lived. 

An interesting story. If anyone knows a Hunter, Brian would be interested in contacting them particularly if they have had their DNA tested. His email address is: seemax09@aol.com


Brian lives in Vancouver, Canada

 

 

 

 

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