McDowell, James

I was really struggling with this soldier as I couldn’t find him in Deeside, so thanks to Benny and his friend John, from the R.W.F. Comrades, in Queensferry, who suggested James McDowell in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, this soldier’s birthplace was given as “Kiston, Cheshire” and from that I was able to ascertain that James was born in “Neston, Cheshire!”

James McDowell was the son of William & Elizabeth McDowell (nee Jones) who, I believe, married in 1884 at St. Oswald’s Church, Chester (Cheshire West    CE15/8/393) and by the 1891 census they were living at Liverpool Road, Gt. Neston, Chesire (Parkgate), William was head of the household, 35 and a Publican, born in Killashaudra, Ireland, Elizabeth, was 31 and unfortunately there was no place or birth given for her and their children, who were William S., 6, Margaret E., 5, Lily, 3 and James 1.

Tragically William was to die in 1899, aged 44 years his death is registered in Neston (Wirral NES/14/24) and Elizabeth was to marry again in Chester in a Civil Ceremony in 1900 (Cheshire West ROC/41/11).  Her Bridegroom was Samuel Evans and on the 1901 census they are living at 333 & 335 High Street, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, taking up 2 buildings.   Samuel Evans, 33 was a General Labourer, who had been born in Connah’s Quay, his Wife Elizabeth Evans, 39 states she was born in Whitchurch, Salop.   Her children were Willie, 16, an Ironworker’s Labourer, Maggie, 15, Lily, 13 and James 11 and Norah 9, all with the surname McDowell and all born in Neston, Cheshire. 

Meantime, James is in London, a Police Constable in the City of London, as the 1911 shows us, he was age 21, single and born in Neston, Cheshire.   This explains why his widow Emma’s address was given as 14, Narborough St., Fulham, London.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission additional information: Husband of Emma Letitia McDowell, of 14, Narborough St., Fulham, London.

By 1911, tragedy had struck again as Samuel Evans, as the census shows him in Lluesty Workhouse, Holywell, but he could have been in the Infirmary part, with any luck, although he is described as an “Inmate”, age 42, formerly a General Labourer, born in Connha’s Quay, Flintshire.

The 1911 census shows his mother Elizabeth Evans, who was a visitor at her daughter Lily’s house Nr. Welshpool, the address was Warren Cottages, Park Llwydiaith, in the Civil Parish of Llanfihangel yn Ngwynfa.

James’s sister Lily had married William Davies in a Civil Ceremony at Chester in 1907, (Cheshire West  ROC/51/133).   William Davies, 32 was Head of the household and a Sawyer ands like Lily’s mother Elizabeth Evans, had been born in Whitchurch.   His wife Lily, 23 states they had been married 4 years, but no children had been born and she had been born in Neston, Cheshire.  Elizabeth Evans, now 49 tells us she had been born 11 years and 1 child had been born, but sadly died, she was a Dressmaker.   There was another Visitor there as well, little Lily Owen McDowell, who had been born in Connah’s Quay.

There is a possibility that James’s brother William was, on the 1911 census, living at 3, Tobies Row, Nine Houses, Shotton, in the household of John Llew. Williams and his wife Sarah Jane and 2 sons, Joseph B and Josh Llew..   A Boarder was Wm. McDowell 27, single, a “Pryler?” at the Steel Works* and also James McClure, a Boarder, 30, who was a Labourer, there is no place of birth for either of these gentlemen.

I believe that James Married Emma L. Wagner in Fulham (Vol. 1a, Page 697 in the June quarter of 1915).

James McDowell in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 tells us his place of birth was Kiston, Cheshire, but as stated above, it was Neston, Cheshire, probably a transcribing error, as there is no village, town as Kiston, Cheshire.  It also confirms his regimental information above.

James McDowell in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 tells us that his qualifying date was 13th August 1914, so he was in the war early.

James McDowell in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was his widow Emma who was paid £1. 17s 10d on the 6th November 1917 and his War Gratuity of £18 on the 6th December 1919 

There is no Flintshire WW1 Index Card, neither “Living” nor “Fallen.”

Perhaps James’s brother, William, was still in Deeside to put James’s name forward to be put on the memorial, perhaps Elizabeth was back home by then, anyway, someone put his name on the memorial to make sure he was remembered.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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