Newspapers – Missing Persons

Newspaper advertisements asking for information about missing people have been helpful in our research. They have told us of people’s occupations, whom they married, or given detailed descriptions.

Post Boy ~ 28th April 1713

John Pitman, Sergeant in Her Majesty’s First Regiment of Foot-Guards, born at Stow in the Hole in Gloucestershire, and bred a Blacksmith, about 40 Years of Age, middle-siz’d, 5 Foot 8 Inches, of a fair Complexion, wearing Black Cloaths and a fair Tye-Wigg, and wanting two of his Fore-Teeth, being deserted with Eighty Pounds of the Regiment Money; he is suppos’d to be at Oxford. Whoever brings him, or gives Notice (so as he may be secured) to Mr. France at the Tilt-yard Coffee-house at Whitehall; or to Mr. Parsons, at his Office at the Horse-Guard, shall have 10 l. Reward, paid by the Officer from whom he deserted; or if he’ll will return within 14 Days, he shall be forgiven.

The unusual ‘Stow in the Hole’ is presumably a mis-hearing of John’s birthplace when he enlisted. We believe that John is the son of John Pitman and his wife Elizabeth, baptised at Stow-on-the Wold on 3 February 1672/3. Unfortunately we have not discovered what became of him after this: we cannot imagine he would have been forgiven as suggested here after absconding with £80 (which would have been a considerable sum, worth a minimum of £7,000 today, and by some calculations many times this amount).

London Gazette ~ 11th December 1744

The following Persons being Fugitives for Debt and beyond the Seas on or before the first of January 1742, and having surrendered themselves to the Keeper of the King’s Bench Prison in the County of Surry, hereby give Notice, that they intend to take the Benefit of the late Act of Parliament, made in the Sixteenth Year of the Reign of his present Majesty, for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, at the next General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held in and for the County of Surry, or at the Adjournment thereof, which shall happen next after Thirty Days from the Publication hereof, viz. William Christopher, late of St Ann Limehouse, in the County of Middlesex; ……………; Lawrence Pitman, late of Tewkesbury in the County of Gloucester, Baker and Maltster.

Lawrence was the son of Thomas and Grace Pitman, baptised in Stow in 1693. He is thought to have been living in Tewkesbury by 1721 and was buried there in 1756.

Jacksons Oxford Journal ~ 11th October 1794

On Wednesday, October 8, 1794, Joseph Pitman, and Samuel Hopkins, both Apprentices, eloped from their Master, W. Wheatley, Shoe-Maker, of Weston Subedge, near Campden, without any Provocation; Therefore this Notice is hereby given, That whoever harbours or employs either or both of them, will be prosecuted with the utmost Rigour of the Law.
J. Pitman, aged 14 years, is stout built, comely, and has light brown Hair. – S. Hopkins, aged 16 years, is tall and thin, pale Face, with black Eyes and straight Hair.
Whoever will give Information of them to their Master as aforesaid, so as they may be apprehended, shall receive One Guinea Reward for their trouble.

Joseph here is almost certainly the son of William Pitman and his wife Ann (née Bloxham), baptised at Buckland on 27 May 1781. In 1841 this Joseph was a shoe maker living in Broadway, Worcestershire, so it seems he resumed his training.

Hereford Journal ~ 19 July 1820

City of Hereford. Absconded, and left his Wife and Four Children Chargeable to the Parish of St. Nicholas, James Pittman, by trade a Gingerbread Baker. – He usually attends the Country Feasts with Cakes, &c. He is about Five Feet Two Inches in height, Thick Made. He is supposed to be in the Town or Neighbourhood of Abergavenny. – Whoever will apprehend the said James Pittman, and deliver him to the Custody of one of the Police Officers of the City of Hereford, shall receive a Reward of One Guinea, and all reasonable Expenses paid, by applying to Mr. Deen, Churchwarden, or to Mr. Thomas Adderley, Overseer. – July 19, 1820.

We have not been able to establish whether James belonged to one of the families we are researching or not, but perhaps he was the son of William and Mary Pitman who was baptised at Corse on 17 December 1786.

Hereford Journal ~ 5 August 1835
Next of Kin Wanted

Wanted the Next of Kin of Samuel Bourn, Esq. late of Castle-street, Oxford-stret, London, deceased. The late Mr. Bourn was a Son of Daniel and Ann Bourn (whose maiden name was Pitman), who resided in Leominster, Herefordshire, many years ago. Mrs. Ann Bourn had a brother called Richard, and four sisters, viz.- Betty, who married William Burrow, and died at Leominster; Mary, who married one Winter, and afterwards one John Berryman, and resided at Cirencester, many years ago; Sarah, and Hannah, who married one Dennis Burrow, and had several children. If any Children or Grandchildren of the above named, or any other brother or sister of the said Ann Bourn are now living and will apply to Messrs. Dunn and Dobie, 2, Raymond Buildings, Gray’s Inn, London, they will hear of something to their advantage.

Kentish Gazette ~ 21 February 1837

Pursuant to a Decree of His Majesty’s Court of Exchequer, at Westminster, made in a cause intituled “Bakewell v. Tagart”, the person or persons claiming to be next of kin of Samuel Bourn, late of Castle-street, Oxford-street, in the County of Middlesex, esquire, deceased, (who died in the month of September, 1834,) ………

One Dennis Burrows, of Cirencester, in the County of Gloucester, married Hannah Pitman, of the same place, in the year 1726, and had a son called William, who left several children, of whom the following were living in 1810  – viz: Edward Tilling Burrows, Dennis Burrows, Mary Ann Catherine, the wife of Henry Humphreys, Europa Perry Burrows, Ann Perry, the wife of Edward Miller, and William Perry Burrows, and of these the three former are supposed to have resided about that time at or near Canterbury, and the three latter in the County of Oxford. ……

These two adverts helped us link the correct Cirencester family to marriages we had found. Although the father of Ann Bourn (née Pitman) is not named, the names of her siblings establish that these are the children of Richard Pitman, a yarn maker, by first wife Mary (née Perry), second wife also Mary (née Millington), and third wife Ann (née Jones). Hannah was from Richard’s first marriage, Mary, Betty, Sarah and Richard from his second, and Ann was almost certainly from his third marriage although we have not found her baptism to confirm this.