The Children of George Burgess (1829-1905)
And his second wife Eliza Knight (1844-1878)
Third Child - GERTRUDE ROSA BURGESS (1874-1958) born 23rd May 1874 at Hillborough House, 106 Egerton Road. Horfield, Bristol.
Below is the story of Gran Pratt's Youth (Gertrude Rosa Burgess) as told by Grace Russ (Grace Enid Baglin)©
“When she was young she lived in the farmhouse at Latteridge, Iron Acton, with her three sisters and Eddie (their elder half brother) who was left in charge of them while their father was at work. Their father worked (during the week) as a Phrenologist in the Arcade, Bristol. Gran always said Eddie had a cruel streak in him (towards animals) but he seemed all right with the girls (his half sisters). At the weekends their father would come home to see them all and check on things. In the summer months he would walk to and from Bristol, but during the winter and wet weather he would take a train from Yate.
When Gran was young she found it difficult to form all her words properly and for a long time said "Tu afternoon" for 'this afternoon'. Apparently Eddie tried very hard to teach her to speak properly and often lost his temper with her. At such time's she would run into the orchard, climb a tree and shout down at him from the top branches "Tu afternoon", over and over again; while he would stand below shaking his fists at her and getting into a rage.
They were supposed to go to a country school, but it was quite a while before the authorities caught up with them because they were so isolated in those days. However, when they did go to school, they had to travel (on foot of course) some distance, over fields, down lanes and along country footpaths to get there.
Several attempts were made by their father to provide them with a Governess, but no one would stay. This was partly due to the general isolation of the farm at Latteridge (photo opposite), but mainly due to the four girls - who did not want someone in authority living in and spoiling their fun. I remember Gran telling me the last one only stayed one night. The youngest girl was about 9 or 10 with the oldest being in her early teens, so they considered that they were old enough to look after themselves. Therefore they were determined to scare this one away, especially as she seemed the nervous type. Their plan was to undermine her confidence the day she arrived with tales of ghosts and hauntings. Then, when she had settled down for the night they draped a sheet over a broom and with much ghostly wailing, tapped the broom on the transom window of the Governess' bedroom and waved it about. When they got up the next morning the Governess had already gone, leaving a note for their father. Gran said he was puzzled to hear of the house being haunted and asked if they had heard or seen anything of this nature. As he seemed to have such faith in his children he put it down to another 'nervous townie'. In fact he was a bit of a softie with his girls - On one occasion he allowed them to tie his beard in rags, in the way girls used to do their hair at night to curl it. However, in the morning they were unable to get all the rags out. They were tied so tightly and so tangled up with his beard that he had to travel all the way to work with them in. It was a good few days before he could get them all out.
One of the pastimes of the girls, during the summer was to spread treacle/honey along the top of the stile. Then watch from the safety of the bedroom windows as people, particularly ladies with long dresses, got all 'sticky' as they climbed the stile. Gran said they must have known the Burgess children were the culprits, as theirs was the nearest house for some distance; but as children, they didn't think of that.
It probably helps to explain why they had quite a reputation in the nearest village for 'being wild', Gran told me that sometimes they would fix the trap to the pony and go into Iron Acton to collect friends. This was not always successful as the parents were not keen on allowing their daughters to go with the 'little wild Burgess's' but on the odd occasion they were able to 'kidnap' the odd willing victim, The irate parents were soon knocking on the door to rescue them.
When they were older they started to make their own clothes. According to Gran they were told they could choose whatever material in whichever colour made them happy. I'm not sure where the material came from for all the purchases, but do know that on at least occasion the girls made a special trip into Bristol to buy their requirements in a Drapers shop in the Arcade. I suspect this to have been one of their early 'material buying' days because Gran told me they chose the most unsuitable materials on that occasion. Her choice was curtain material that was too heavy for a day dress, but she liked the colour and texture and so was allowed to order a length 'because it pleased her'. Back in Latteridge of course the girls quickly realised their mistake when it came to the cutting out. None of them had actually been taught dressmaking so it was 'trial and error', laying the length of material on the table; the person whose dress it was to be, laying prone on top with one or other of the sisters cutting around her shape. Then, each one would help to sew the garment together. The end results were rather peculiar so Gran told me, but over a period of time they became quite proficient and as she said 'got an eye' for it, cutting out, sewing up, adding the odd dart here and there to give the garment shape.
They kept pigs and chickens and each week would have one or the other for their Sunday dinner, alternately. Eddie always did the slaughtering and as they grew older, the girls were taught how to pluck and clean, or singe and prepare the carcasses. There was a gun kept over the fireplace, which on occasion Eddie used, when he went hunting, the girls being banned from ever touching it. However one day, as Gran was the mischievous one, she decided to try it out. She took it into the Orchard and tried to do the same as she'd seen her half-brother do. When she pulled the trigger, the butt rebounded and smacked her so hard across the cheek she thought all the hones in her face were broken - She had a black eye and a badly bruised swollen face for days, and a hiding from Eddie for touching it in the first place.
George Burgess was quite deaf - one night (after the girls had gone to bed) they were woken by a cat screaming. They rushed downstairs to find their father fast asleep in his rocking chair with the cat's tail pinned under one of the rockers!”
When Gran first started work, she worked in a Drapery shop in Bristol, somewhere at the back of Castle Street, where she lived in. Later, before she married, she had her own dressmaking business.
When she was in her 20's she was in love with Eddie Moore. She would have married him but he developed a TB arm, and died. So Gran said she would never marry: until she met William Edward Baglin (a Widower, aged 65). Prior to her marriage she was living in Downend, Bristol, and when married she moved to 7 & 8 Agnes Terrace (later renumbered 58 and 60 Soundwell Road. Kingswood, Bristol - number 60 Soundwell Road being a shop).
On the 17th March 1906 she gave birth to her son Edward William Burgess Baglin. She was already quite deaf by then, and she told me that when my dad was about three months old he must have moved about in his cot (a wicker basket rocker cradle) and somehow tipped it over onto the floor with the cradle on top of him. As she was deaf she couldn't hear him crying and when she found him had no idea how long he'd been trapped there. As he grew up he 'came and went' as he chose and was often away all day, wandering off to Rodway Hill or Snuff Mills or wherever, Gran said people used to say she should 'look after him', but she told them 'he'll come home when he's hungry' - and he always did of course. She would often walk into town for shopping taking her pet dog Sam with her.
Her husband died on 23rd August 1908. She was eleven years a widow, and then on 13th December 1919 married a widower (Charles Water Pratt). He was the same age as her, and had two children by his previous marriage. She was from then on known as Gran Pratt. She went deaf in middle age; was eccentric; possessive over her son; and had a profound influence on her granddaughter (Grace Enid Baglin). In spite of all this, her family moved in with her several times (at 14 Sweets Road, Kingswood. Bristol). She use to grow gladioli every year and would cut several bunches and walk to the Florist's in Broad Street, Staple Hill to sell them.
In old age, Gran was looked after by her daughter-in-law (Florence Evelyn Jenner, known as Eva) until her death at the age of 84 from Myocarilitis. During the last few years of her life she would send notes to the neighbours accusing her daughter-in-law of poisoning her - they knew she was eccentric and brought the notes back, giving them to Eva."
Fourth Child - MAUD LILLEY BURGESS (1875-1962). The fourth daughter of George Burgess and Eliza Knight was born on 11th December 1875. Maud Lilley Burgess married Albert Thomas Arthur Stickler (grandson of Thomas Arthur VC) on 4th February 1906 in Bristol. She emigrated to Australia with her husband Albert Thomas Arthur Stickler and son Harold Thomas Arthur Stickler on the SS Rippingham-Grange on 28th August 1909. Her second son Donald Arthur Stickler was born on 22nd June 1911. Albert Stickler was killed by a Crocodile while washing (bathing) himself after helping the Station Butcher.
After her husbands death she stayed at Einsley sheep and cattle station with her children and took the position of 'House Keeper', and had a Black Nanny to look after the children.
She met Arthur Darlington Bryer while working at the Station and married him on 24th March 1913. They left the West and went to Gladstone, Bundaberg, on the Queensland Coast to let the boys go to school. Gradually they settled in Brisbane. By 1958, because her second husband (Arthur Bryer) was often in and out of hospital with a bad leg, Maud was often on her own, and couldn't look after herself. Therefore by September of that year she was permanently living with her son's family at Roghan Road, Fillmere, Australia.
Also see the Australian Stickler Family History for related documents for Maud Lilley Burgess.