by Annette Edwards.
William Henry Vernon was born on 23 October 1856, his parents were John Vernon and Sarah Ann Knowles, John was a Sergeant in the Militia and they were living at the Militia barracks in Preston when their son was born. It was inevitable with that background that he would be a soldier and by the age of 14 he was in Newport Barracks in Woollos, Monmouthshire. Where he was after that isn`t sure but 2nd August 1879 he married Elizabeth Sweeney in St John’s, Chester, he was a Colour Sergeant living in Wrexham. His father is named as John Vernon, a clerk.
Elizabeth was 17 and living on Foregate Street, Chester. Her father was Patrick Sweeney a surveyor.
2 years later and the couple are at the 23rd Brigade Depot in Wrexham, they already have a son Arthur aged just 1. William is still a Colour Sergeant but in 1884 he received his warrant as Sergeant Major in the R.W.F. after 14 years in the service.
In 1891 they are in the Barracks and as all the children were born in Wrexham it would seem William didn`t go far.
In 1895 notification was received that Sergeant-Major William Henry Vernon, 23rd Regimental District, Wrexham, has been selected for a commission as Quartermaster, with the honorary rank of lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, stationed at Salford Barracks, Manchester.
By the end of 1900 William Henry is back in Wrexham, as Quarter Master, Honorary Lieutenant with 3rd Battalion, Denbigh and Flint Militia.
The next year 1891, William Henry is down in St Budeaux, Devon, he is a Quarter master, Sergeant but there seem to be no connection with the family he is lodging with.
Meanwhile Elizabeth is still in the Barracks in Hightown with 4 of her sons.
Her father Patrick is visiting them, he is now 79 and a widower. In 1902 Elizabeth gave birth to twin girls, Violet Mary and Winifred Elizabeth, but they both died very soon after aged just 6 and 7 weeks and were buried just 8 days apart. There were the only daughters they had.
Sometime after 1906 they moved to Rochdale and out of 9 children born alive, 6 are still living. William Henry died in Rusholme, he was brought back to Wrexham and buried on 1st September 1911. Elizabeth died in Manchester and was buried in the same grave on 5 February 1920, they are buried with their baby girls.
Elizabeth Sweeney was born in County Cavan, Ireland about 1864; her parents were Patrick and Mary Sweeney. In 1871 the family with 4 children are living on High Street, Overton but it`s not known when they moved here as they were all born in Ireland. Patrick was a surveyor who was born in Antrim. When she was only 17 she married William Henry Vernon in Chester. After her marriage nothing has been found on her family until Patrick is with her in 1901.
Transcript: “IN LOVING MEMORY OF WILLIAM HENRY VERNON CAPTAIN. R.W.F. 1856-1911”.
Researched by Annette Edwards. August 2018. Photographs by Graham Lloyd.
Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery C-01055