A general carman and the eldest of 4 children of John Cowell (a police constable) and Emma Mills, John Cowell, the third cousin twice-removed on the mother's side of Nigel Horne, was born in Chatham, Kent, England on 16 Sep 18811, was baptised there at St Paul's Church on 5 Oct 1881 and married Ethel Kilsby (with whom he had 3 children: John F Albert, Bertram S and Lillian Ethel) in Daventry, Northamptonshire, England on 28 Mar 19143.
During his life, he was living at 71 Victoria Road, Willesden, London, England on 5 Apr 1891; at 28 Claremont Road, Willesden on 31 Mar 1901; and in Africa on 2 Apr 1911.
He died on 26 Sep 1928 in Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire2. He served in the military on 15 Aug 1914 (12th Lancers (The Prince of Wales's Royal), Corps of Lancers Also recorded as the same regiment in the 1911 census).
This is a story of how John Francis Cowell (b. 1881) and Ethel Blanche Kilsby (b. 1891) met. There is some conjecture, but due the fact that she was housebound as a result of contracting childhood polio, this is more likely than not. The Metropolitan Police were recruiting in the 1880s, and two of the recruits were John Charles Cowell (b. 1862 from Ramsgate, joined May 1885) and William Wills (b. 1864 from Everdon, Northamptonshire, joined May 1886. Their reasons for joining were probably that the Met policed the Royal Dockyards at the time, so the Cowell family would have been aware of them, and William Wills had been an agricultural labourer, but had lost both his parents, so was probably looking for afresh start. Both of them completed 25 years service in the same division of the Met. At around the same time they both retired (1910 / 1911), John Francis Cowell, b. 1881 Chatham, son of John Charles Cowell, was stationed at Weedon Barracks, Northamptonshire, with the 12th Lancers. You can throw a stone from Everdon to Weedon, indeed, William Wills's mother, Sarah Loveday (b,. 1827), was born in Weedon. Sarah had a much older sister, Elizabeth Loveday (B. 1809). Elizabeth married Thomas Kilsby. Their son George (b.1831) married Rosanna Cooper. Their daughter Rosina (b. 1870) was the mother of Ethel Blanche Kilsby (b. 1891). So the assumption is that John Francis had either previously met, or used the opportunity to meet up with the family of his father's fellow Constable. Another possibility for that first meeting is that at the time of the 1911 Census, Ethel Blanche was living with her uncle John Fenwick and her aunt, Sarah Maria at Woolwich, where John Fenwick was an Acting Sergeant Major. Woolwich Arsenal was at that time policed by the Met. John Francis and Ethel Blanche were married in March 1914. Their son, John Albert Cowell, was born in November 1914.
St Pauls Church, Chatham, Kent, England isn't found
Location for the event on 15 Aug 1914 is empty
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