William Morse 1830 - 1899 - my Great-Grandfather and his wife, Selina Hook.

Third child and second son of Thomas and Ann (maiden name Priest) of Whitecroft, he was baptised at Parkend on 13 June 1830. In the census of 1841, he was 11 and living with his parents at Whitecroft.



The Census of 1851 shows him to be unmarried and living at home in Whitecroft with his parents, and his sister, Elizabeth. He was 20 and must have been working with his father as a coal haulier.  On 23 Dec 1854, when he was 24, he married a widow, Selina Rasbach (maiden name Hook) who had a son of 6. His father, Thomas, died on 18th Feb 1855 and in his will dated 6th April 1854, he left William the house in which he, Thomas, lived, and 'the house adjoining in the occupation of his son Thomas (William's brother), Cider Mill, Outhouses and appurtenances thereto belonging, Gardens, Orchard and Meadowland in his occupation situated at Whitecroft and on the death of his wife Ann, all his goods and chattells'. The Will was proved at Gloucester on 18th Aug 1855. William continued working as a coal haulier until about 1861. His 1st child was a daughter, baptised Corah at Parkend Church on 25th Nov 1855. His 2nd child was a son, baptised William at Parkend on 31st Jan 1858 who lived barely 10 months, for he was buried at Parkend on 25th Nov 1858. His 3rd child was a daughter, christened Mary Aminda at Parkend on 13th Nov 1859.


The Census of 1861 shows him still to be living at Whitecroft and his occupation is given as 'Stonemason'. At this time, his stepson, Thomas George Rasbach was aged 13 and was working as a coal miner. His daughters, Cora and Mary Aminda were aged 5 and 1 respectively, and his mother who was now 72, was living with them. His 4th child, a daughter was baptised Annie Laurie Morse at Parkend on 30th June 1861, and his 5th child, a daughter was baptised Eva at Parkend on 25th Mar 1863, but she must have died at birth or very soon afterwards, since she was buried at Parkend on 29th Mar 1863. 


Selina Hook 1825 - 1898 my Great Grandmother

Contributed by C.Frank R. Morse, my Cousin.

Comment by Ken Morse - A life of tragedy, her father, her husband and a son, all killed in separate mining accidents.

My Great Grandmother Selina was daughter of George and Charlotte Hook (maiden name Kear), she was the youngest child and second daughter of 3 children. She was baptised at Parkend Church on 24th May 1825. She never knew her father, who died in 1825, killed in a colliery accident, I believe. He was buried at Lydney Church on 30th October 1825, aged 29 years.


Her mother married again on 25th May 1828 at English Bicknor to John Whetson. Two children were born from that marriage. The first, a son, was baptised Enoch Whetson at Parkend Church on 26th October 1828, but he died and was buried at Bream Church on 19th March 1832, aged 3 years 6 months. the second child, a daughter, was baptised Theophila Whetson at Parkend Church on 13th May 1832. In the census of 1841, she was 15 years old, living with her Aunt & Uncle, Elizabeth and Jacob Hook and their children, at Whitecroft. 

Selina married Thomas Rasbach at Newlands Church on 25th October 1845. Her first child was baptised George Hook Rasbach at Parkend Church on 16th August 1846, but the child died in infancy and was buried at Parkend Church on 18th March 1848, aged 7 months. Her second child was baptised Thomas George Rasbach at Bream Church on 20th February 1848. Her husband, Thomas, was killed in a colliery accident and was buried at Parkend Church on 18th January 1849, aged 26 years.

In the census of 1851, she was a widow of 26 with a son, 3 , living with her mother and step-father, Charlotte & John Whetson, and her step-sister, Theophila Whetson, at Bream Eaves. She married again on 23rd December 1854 at Parkend Church to William Morse. Her husband's father, Thomas Morse, died and was buried at Parkend Church on 23rd February 1855, aged 65.


Selina's step-father, John Whetson, died and was buried at Bream on 10th July 1864, aged 63. On 19th June 1875 at Parkend her son, Thomas George Rasbach, married Alice Fox, a farmer's daughter from Whitecroft.


Selina's first grandchild was baptised Thomas Alfred Rasbach at Parkend Church on 17th October 1875, but this child died and was buried at Parkend on 11th May 1877, aged 19 months. Her second grandchild was baptised William Henry Rasbach at Parkend on 18th March 1877.


Her son, Thomas George Rasbach, was killed underground at the Princess Royal Colliery, early in the morning of 26th April 1877 and was buried at Parkend on 29th April 1877, he was 29 years of age. A report by Mr Cadman, H.M. Inspector of Mines for the South West District for 1877 states: "On the 26th April 1877, George Rasbach, a collier, was killed in the Princess Royal Colliery immediately on going into his work. Upon making enquiries I found that the place had not been examined in accordance with The Act and Special Rules, and by your directions, proceedings were instituted against Captain Ross the owner, and the fines paid to the widow of the man who was killed". This prosecution took place on 22nd May 1877, when Captain Ross of the Princess Royal Colliery was prosecuted under Section 26 of The Coal Mines Act and was convicted. He was fined 20 pounds with 2 pounds costs.


In the census of 1881, her family were living at the Nags Head Public House at Yorkley Slade, her Mother, Charlotte Whetson, now 82, was living with them.


Charlotte Whetson died on 8th June 1885, and was buried at Viney Hill on 11th June 1885, aged 86 years.


Selina died on 19th October 1898 at the Nag's Head public house. She was buried at Parkend on 23rd October 1898.


C F R Morse February 1990.

Towards the end of May 1865, his daughter, Annie Laurie died, nearly 4 years old and was buried at Parkend on 29th May 1865. His 6th child was a son, Howard Henry Morse who was born sometime in 1868, but I can find no record of his baptism. I assume that he was born with 'Downes Syndrome', as very little was known about him. When he was older he was known as 'Big Harry' and Cameron Riley Johnson in his "Notes on the Family" says 'he was crippled with rheumatism and always lived at the Nag and never went out as far as I know'. When William died he left provision in his Will for this son to be cared for by Mary Aminda Morse for as long as he lived. His 7th  child, and the last was a son, born on 24th Mar 1867 and baptised William Ernest at Parkend  on 21st April 1867. At this date William's  occupation was given as a mason but in the Census of 1871 he was an Iron Miner.


In the Census of 1871, his four surviving children were all living at home in Whitecroft and also his stepson who was also an Iron Miner at this date and still unmarried although 23 years old. He must have changed his name from Rasbach to Morse as he is recorded in the Census as George Robert Morse. His eldest daughter, Cora married William Walker a Wheelwright at Parkend on 9th Nov 1875. In the Census of 1881 he was Innkeeper of the Nag's Head Public House at Yorkley and his daughter, Mary Aminda Morse was a barmaid. Besides his wife and two youngest sons, his wife's mother, Charlotte Whetson, who was 82 at this time, lived with them. I have not yet located the marriage of Mary Aminda although I am aware that she married a Police Sergeant, named Morris, who was killed on duty.

Howard Henry never married, and William Ernest married Lucy James of Yorkley at Parkend on 17th Sept 1888.

William's wife, Selina, died and was buried at Parkend 23rd Oct 1898, her address given as Bream. William continued as licensee of the Nag's Head until his death in 1899. He left a Will dated 23 Oct 1899, which was proved at Gloucester 31st Jan 1900. At the time he made his Will, it had to be read to him and he signed with a cross. His eyesight may have been failing or he may not have been able to read or write.


C.Frank.R. Morse September 1986.

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