|The John Pope Mystery
THE JOHN POPE MYSTERY
My quest to
link all the Pope families in
1858 John Pope aged 29 years, from Durness, Sutherland in
through the Sutherland records proved fruitless but a John
Pope in Wick seemed worth following. This
John along with his wife, Ann Sutherland, had a child, Janet,
in Wick on 31 March 1856. Searches
for their marriage eventually identified their marriage in
Both John and
Ann were living at the same address in
checking of the
Examination of the OPR entry for Wick revealed a quite ambiguous situation. It is as follows:
OPR entry, shown above, added confusion to the disentangling
of this mystery. Was this Robert born in Wick or
However, one of those questions was answered by an announcement in the marriage column in the John O’ Groat Journal:
John O' Groat Journal 20 Jan 1854
A letter to
the Liverpool Family History Society enquiring about the Rev
Whyte brought an encouraging response. It
appears that in the 1853 Gores directory there is no listing
under Whyte but a Rev Verner Moor White minister of the
of which minister was the one named on the Wick OPR entry
remains but the fact that Robert was given in the newspaper
announcement as being born in Liverpool made the probability
of a Liverpool baptism more likely. The
entry might have been precipitated by information given to the
Clerk of the
record in Wick was not confirmed by an equivalent record of
any kind in
The trail had gone cold but searching continued for Robert, even though it thought he might be dead, a Robert Pope aged 8 years in the 1861 census was found with Robert and Lillias Sutherland his grandparents and, of course, the parents of Ann Sutherland and wife of John Pope. Suddenly it became clear that John Pope had almost certainly placed a child with each side of the family. One with Ann’s parents and one with what appeared to be a Pope relative in Durness. Could the latter also be grandparents or some other close family connection? After all Janet McKay, ms Pope, did have a son John around the time of her marriage to George McKay. Maybe this John was actually illegitimate and known as John Pope in everything except the official records where he had been given George McKay’s name. He might even have been George’s child but born or conceived at any rate before the marriage to Janet Pope. When the enumerator listed the family in Durness in 1851 he included a child John aged 10 years and though given as McKay this is not surprising as to all intent and purpose this child was a McKay in a McKay household.
information came to the fore with the finding of Peter McLean and Catherine
Pope living in
But what of
young Jess Pope? Further
searches of later census returns, marriages and deaths at
first did not find her. She had
that arose was ‘Did our John Pope travel to Australia and was
he the John Pope who arrived in September 1858 from Durness,
Sutherland and given as cousin to Hector Melville? It would
account for his disappearance and the young Jess left in
nowhere in Caithness or Sutherland could be found a John Pope
of anything like the correct age despite searches of the
official records and examination of a very comprehensive
investigation of the Pope families by George Sutherland
Taylor, a Writer (Solicitor/Lawyer) in Golspie who was
carrying out work for the Lords of the Treasury with regard to
an inheritance claim. The Durness, Sutherland connection
became quite clear with the finding of a ‘second’ John Pope in
There had seemed no resolving this question until the discovery on the internet of a website with information on this ‘second’ John Pope who married in Queensland in September 1862 and died in a remote part of Queensland in 1863 leaving a widow, a son John and a large number of Australian descendants. John Pope gave his occupation as Blacksmith at his marriage to Dorothea Gruber. He said he was a bachelor. This would not be a surprising claim if he was, in fact, a widower from the other side of the world with hardly much likelihood of his new wife finding out his true status if indeed she did not know of the previous marriage.
untimely death in December 1863 of consumption was reported by
his widow, Dorothea Pope (ms Gruber) who indicated that he was
a Blacksmith and from
The advertisement for John Pope’s Blacksmith Business in the Gayndah and Central Queensland Advertiser.
The search in
equally baffling, as we have seen, had been the disappearance
of young Jess (Janet) Pope of Durness after 1861 and what
relationship she had to Janet McKay (Pope) as surely there
must have been quite a close family connection. The
trail went cold with no sight of Jess until the finding of a
marriage record in
Above the 1881 census showing Jessie Pope as single and living at Mickley Vicarage.
Jessie Pope’s marriage certificate showing she married some months before the above census.
finding of Robert on the marriage certificate the hunt for him
before and after 1881 once again became a priority. The 1871
census search being unsuccessful in the
of Jess/Jessie Pope and Robert was not the only interesting
development in the north of
information of possible significance quickly appeared after
the finding of Jessie Pope in
As often happens in family research a trail goes cold for a time and then an unexpected breakthrough occurs. In the case of the Perry connection this breakthrough came by way of my family website and the spotting of the ‘John Pope Mystery Page’ by a Perry family member Mandy Perry (married name Mandy Elhashash). Mandy’s work on her Perry ancestors, whose lifestyle seems to have been as irregular as the Popes, added much new and interesting, indeed intriguing, information to this already complicated story.
confirmed that George Arthur, or Arthur as he sometimes
preferred to be called, was living in Marylebone in 1891 with his son John
Arthur Perry and various domestic staff and a sick nurse
called Edith Youell. The
entry gives a birth date of about 1853/54 while indicating the
place of birth to be
The birth information for John A tracked down by Mandy Perry was as follows:
John Arthur Perry, born 20 November 1882
Place; Lambeth, Surrey, sub-district or
Father; George Arthur Perry, Auctioneer and Estate Agent
Mother; Jessie Perry formally Pope
The address; Oak House, Carson House,
Registration signed by Jessie Perry on 29 December 1882
The marriage information for Arthur George (or George Arthur) Perry’s second or more likely third marriage was as follows:
The Wesleyan Chapel,
District; Tendring, Essex
Date; 14 September 1891
Occupation; Sanitary Inspector
Father; George Perry, Surgeon
Wife; Edith Youell, Spinster
Father; Edward Youell
Witnesses; George and Elizabeth Manning
Mandy Perry’s direct interest in this puzzle becomes clear when she states that Edith Youell, whom George Arthur married in Clacton registration district of Tendring on 14 September 1891, is most likely her great, grandmother through her grandfather Maurice Perry, the third son of George Arthur from his second marriage or his third marriage if he was indeed a widower when he married Jessie Pope. The family was residing in the 1901 census in Fingringhoe, Essex but John Arthur, the son to Jessie Pope, was still residing at the Marylebone address with the occupation of Sanitary Inspector’s Assistant/Apprentice thus giving the impression he is probably working with his father.
official reference to John Arthur Perry in
Mandy Perry gives some further background on her complicated ancestors in her description, in the footnotes, of her great grandfather’s background and that of her grandfather. Some of this information has been omitted from this report due to the newness of the detail but anyone with a right and good reason to know may contact myself or Mandy regarding this.
As has tended to be the pattern with this
research the trail went cold for some month until, out of the
blue, I was contacted by a John Perry from Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia, a direct
descendant of John and Florence Perry who went to Australia
early in the 20th century. John
sent me much information regarding his Perry family in
Who would have thought at the start of this research into the identity of ‘little Jesse Pope in Durness’ that pictures of her, her husband and her son would come to light.
Left picture: George Arthur Perry and son John Perry
Centre picture: John Perry, Jessie/Janet Perry (Pope) and George Arthur Perry
Right picture: Jessie/Janet Perry (Pope)
Throughout this report of the John Pope Mystery many questions have been posed and answered and others have appeared but without resolution at this time. There were many questions associated with the Perrys both connected to the Pope marriage era and in later times. Those unresolved questions relating to the first and third marriages of George Arthur Perry were of indirect interest and taxed my enquiring mind but of greatest interest was the background to the marriage to Jessie Pope and later movements of their son, John Arthur Perry.
outstanding is the question of who exactly the Perry family
was and what their history was before George Arthur Perry. They
arrival in the North of England and working in a Vicarage
similarly puzzles me. She
might have followed a relative south, could have gone through
her undoubted religious affiliations which are outlined in the
memory in the appendix or she might have followed the fishing
workers and fishermen from
to Robert Pope after 1871 took some time to resolve. But this
was one of the puzzles in the story that is at least was
partly resolved. Information
from Perry descendant John Perry, mentioned above, indicates
that Robert was reported by John Arthur Perry, the son of
Janet Pope and George Arthur Perry, to have become a seaman
though at what rank unknown. This
would account for Robert’s not appearing in the British census
and his ability to turn up at his sister Janet’s marriage and
disappear just as quickly. More
crucially in memories written by John Arthur Perry he makes
reference to the death of his mother’s brother, Rob, at about
the same time as her death. It notes
this as in The Seaman’s Hospital,
Most importantly, was John Pope, as suspected, the illegitimate son of Janet Pope, the wife of George Mackay of Durness? This now seems likely not least because Jessie/Janet Pope journeyed all the way from the London to Wick and then onwards to Durness to visit ‘relatives’. Relatives who had to be very close for such an excursion to be undertaken while accompanied by her own son and without her husband for the latter part of the journey. This information is contained in the memories of John Arthur Perry reproduced as an appendix to this report. The memory also contains valuable information on the life and character of ‘little Jess Pope’ from Durness.
This story has still more time to run but as it stands it is incredibly interesting!
I have search long and hard for answers and been more than ably assisted in the task by Sam Higgins from Glasgow, a young and enthusiastic family history researcher and member of the Pope family. Without her assistance, that of Richard Snedden, a member of the Pope Melville families in Australia, Caithness Family History Society member Robert Morrison in the North East of England and Mandy Perry and John Perry, the direct descendants of George Arthur Perry we would have not progressed as far so successfully in the search for John, Robert and Jess Pope and their fascinating connected families.
Melville (1833 – 1900) was
the son of John Melville and Roberta Pope. (Roberta’s
parents were Hector Melville and Isabella Matheson). Hector
born 1833 went to
Sutherland, son of Roderick and Mary Sutherland, sometimes
given the middle name of McKay, married Emma Want in
Grafton New South
Morrison, born 18 September 1832, was the son of Robert
and Ann Morrison and was from Eddrachillis, Sutherland. According
on information on arrival in
 Robert Sutherland, born c1801, was a school teacher in Wick. His wife was Lillias Malcolm, born c1803, and they were married 20 October 1820. Indications are that they had at least five children – Jean, David, Robert, Ann and Alexander.
 George McKay and his wife Janet McKay ms Pope and their family had along with them Jess Pope, a 4 year old boarder in 1861 census.
 Janet McKay (ms Pope) details according to census:
1841 census Age 30 Estimated Birth Year 1813 Place of Birth: Sutherland
1851 census Age 43 Estimated Birth Year 1808 Place of Birth: Durness, Sutherland
1861 census Age 48 Estimated Birth Year 1813 Place of Birth: Brora, Sutherland
At Marriage Age From : Loth, Sutherland
At Death Age 58 Estimated Birth Year 1810 Parents: Hector Pope and Isabella MacPherson
Those details are at variance and cause considerable problem not least because no Hector apart from the one married to Isabella Matheson can be found. Since the MacPherson surname is given on a death certificate it could well be wrong. All other Pope evidence suggests that this is Janet born to Hector Pope and Isabella Matheson in 1805 In Doll of Brora, Clyne.
George S Taylor Manuscript on the Pope families prepared
in early1830 by the Golspie Writer/Solicitor notes Peter
and Catherine McLean in
(Maria) Dorothea (Bertha) Gruber b: 5 JUN 1846
Scott, born 4th March 1847
and married 16 March 1864, had two children to McKay Pope
– Sarah born c1867, died 1882 and Hannah born c1869, died
and children born in
 1891 Census; Arthur Perry, 45 Townsend Road, St John’s Wood, Marylebone, married, head aged 37 years, Sanitary Inspector born St Tago. Also at address; John A Perry, son aged 6 years, born West Dulwich, Kent and Ernest Youell (name error), unmarried Servant aged 25 years, Sick Nurse, born Camberwell. Beatrice Golding, Servant residing there also. (Is St Tiago actually Santiago as 1901 census gives birthplace as South America or is it St Tiago one of the Cape Verde Islands of the African Coast?).
 1901 Census; Arthur Perry, 49 Laurel House, Fingrinhoe, Essex, married, head of household aged 47 years, Sanitary Inspector, born South America, British Subject. Others in household: Edith Perry, wife, 35 years, born London; Dorothy Perry, Unmarried daughter aged 9 years born Ipswich, Suffolk; Edward Perry unmarried son aged 7 years born London; Percival Perry unmarried son aged 4 years born London; Alice Youell unmarried sister of wife Edith aged 29 years.
 Mandy Perry says ;- George Arthur was said to be a charismatic man, with numerous stories many of a grandiose nature. He wore a velvet smoking jacket and a smoking cap…a hat with a tassle. Edith was a bit of an amateur artist, and there was a bohemian feel to the family.
I have established details for the children identified in the census, but I believe there to be 5 more children. One Uncle I remember is Uncle Les, he was interested in photography…he was younger than my Grandad, but I have not been able to find him yet….
Family history indicates Maurice Frederick Perry ( George Arthur Perry’s son and Mandy’s grandfather), born 1901 in Lexden, Essex, joined the Royal Flying Corps in WW1...underage. My Mum believes that he received a War pension, but I have not been able to find this, although I believe his no. to be SEF10 or SF10 (Used in his later name change)
Throughout his life he used various alias’ including Paul Parry/ Paul Perry until changing his name by deed poll in the 1970’s to Paul Parry Sefton. He died in approx 1978 in Richmond/Twickenham area.
married my grandmother Alice Esther Emma Pitts in 1925
at Sissinghurst in
Maurice/Paul then had various failed business ventures, but also was a test driver for Ford.
My grandfather, had a long term relationship with a cousin Margaret Cecile, although they never married, my mother believes her to be related to Lord Hatton, but I have not established a link.
SOME FACTS CONCERNING MY MOTHER’S RELATIONS
(Received from John Perry, Australia)
John Arthur Perry
written from Liverpool (
have no direct evidence, it seems that the writers of this
letter may have been my Mother’s parents her maiden name
being Jessie Janet Pope and she had a brother Robert. If
this is so then the parents to whom this letter was
addressed would have been her grandparents. My Mother was
born at Wick in the extreme north of
was very reticent about my Mother’s and his own relatives
and it seems that there had been great objection to the
marriage and it was many years before some sort of
reconciliation took place. My sister Dorothy told me about
this and said that some cousin was the wife of the Mayor
of Derby and had entertained King George V and Queen Mary
when they visited that city. I remember an Aunt Rose and
Uncle Tom who had remained loyal to him and also visiting
them on one occasion with my parents. I also remember
going on one occasion to a Salvation Army Festival at the
These impressions, are of course, somewhat hazy but my future Father-in-law, Mr Daniel James Andrews, told me that he was there and spoke about the soda case which my Mother had made, disagreeing with him. I also understand that my future wife and her sister Lily were also there.
my Father, who was an Inspector of Nuisances for the St.
Marylebone Vestry, was instructed to reside in the
district, removed to
informed me that my paternal Grandfather, who was a doctor
of medicine, was also a great traveler, visiting
(From notes by her nurse)
Mrs Perry was born at Wick in 1857 and war left an orphan at the age of six years, and at a very early age both herself and an only brother whom she much loved were thrown Out into the world to gain their own livelihood, the brother on the high seas and his sister in humble life upon the land; but they have both been protected in the storms of this life by our Father who has promises to be a Father to the fatherless. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Saviour in Scotland some 22 years ago, and from that time the love of Jesus has constrained her to go forward in a spirit of humiliation and love, scatter seeds of kindness in many parts of England and Scotland which praise God, from hundreds of living testimonies has brought forth fruit for the extension of God’s Kingdom and glory. Mrs Perry was the means in God’s hands of the salvation of her dear husband and her brother, for which they now both rejoice and praise God. Alleluia.
and work for the Master, were, was she of ten said until
the date of her death, that she preferred to be a “feet
washer”. Within the last five years Mrs Perry sometimes
with her husband has been on board ship sailing from
London to Aberdeen and other parts of Scotland; out in the
open air; in the hop gardens; slums of London, at midnight
with fallen sisters and with the drunkards, delivering the
glad tidings and winning souls for Jesus Christ. Until
about six years ago our dear Sister with her husband were
members of the Methodist Chapel Charlotte Street, King’s
Cross when they became soldiers of the Holloway Ii Corps
and was promoted Sergeant and Convert Sergeant Major. They
were greatly blessed in winning souls. Captain David Leib,
of Macclesfield, God used in bringing them to higher
heights of God’s love, Christmas 1889. Mr Perry received
instructions from the local Authorities to remove from
Holloway to Marylebone and on his removal was persuaded to
take the superintendency of the Sunday School at the
Congregational Church where he was much loved by the
Pastor, congregation and the children of the school, but
owing to his wife’s illness and being unable to cope with
the necessary obligations of the Church he felt after
earnest prayer and guidance that he must resign that
position, and although misunderstood both himself and our
dear sister felt it was their duty to again join the ranks
of the Army where God had so wonderfully used them for the
salvation of souls. During the last two weeks of the
closing journey of our dear Sister (as will he seen by her
nurse’s testimony) she was continually praying God morning
and noon and night and many precious souls won for Jesus
by God’s guidance of the message delivered by her. Both
our dear Sister and her husband are well known to Colonel
The Rev H B Stone of the Abbey Rd Baptist Chapel, St John’s Wood, who is filled with Spirit and winning many souls for Jesus Christ and was in attendance and was much loved by our dear Sister and received much comfort by the deliverance of God’s message though him. Our dear Sister was aware that her journey was near at an end having made a request that her apparel should be given to the slums and other institutions after her promotion to glory. During the night she would at intervals be singing praises to the Lord and making request to her faithful attendant Edith and her husband to read God’s promises and offering up praises to the Lord and on the following day March 12th she was fully resigned to her Father’s will and rejoicing that she was safe underneath His Everlasting wings. There were several present including the sister of her husband whom she had prayed for for many years and whom we believe God’s Spirit is striving with for the salvation of her soul.
She desired to lay upon the couch and with her dear husband’s hand in her own and by her conversation made it known to him that she was near the gates of heaven as follows:- 1 — 1, 2 — 2, 3 — 3, 4 — 4, which was repeated by her and immediately answering 4, she said “Open the door. Let me in” and with a sigh said “Arthur, Satan tempts you to the last”, but then with a smile she said, “I enter in the name of Jesus, through the blood, I see, It is the blood”. She afterwards for a few minutes appeared in a slumber and opening her eyes uplifted to heaven, said “It is finished, Praise the Lord” when the spirit of our dear Sister took its departure into the Haven of Rest to be forever with the Lord.
Her dear husband found at once God’s grace was sufficient and was enabled by God’s help to rise and say “Then let us praise the Lord”, and all present in the stillness of those few moments and in the presence of His Heavenly Father and the angels He was enabled to offer up praises to the Lamb of Calvary which he has continued to do so until the present time.
Our dear Sister was honored by God in the discernment of the Spirit and knowing she had the victory through Christ Jesus attacked Satan and his influences at work for which both her and her husband have been misunderstood and have been persecuted and evil spoken of, particularly by lukewarm Christians this however gave her greater encouragement to go forward for the realization of her soul was that there was no other great comfort to a child of God than to be like unto their dear Saviour, Who suffered patiently the persecutions, adversities, trouble and sickness and the denial of even His own disciples and Who did not go up to joy before suffering pain and not into His glory before He was crucified.
The previous day to her death she desired to have the Communion and that a few should gather together including the Captain and Lieutenant of St John’s Wood corps in order that they might be brought in remembrance of the sufferings of her dear Saviour, her request was complied with and she was enable to partake of the ordinance and sing praises to the Lord and all present derived a great blessing. Although it was a desire she should enter into the ordinance and also Baptism she did not consider it was essential to salvation, but only a time of remembrance and thought that the reason our beloved General did not introduce it into the Army was the danger of many weak ones relying on a formality and building their hopes on a wrong foundation. “Jesus was the only foundation she rested on and proved the Author and Finisher of her faith”.
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