James Edgar was born in Dumfries, Scotland c 1845. On 29 October 1868 James married Ellen Hill in St Barnabus, Kensington, his occupation on the certificate was a gentleman and his father was Thomas Edgar a master mariner. Ellen’s father was a gentleman.
In the newspaper announcement, James` occupation was the General Postmaster at Liverpool, Ellen was described as the only daughter of the late Robert Hill, Esq., of No. 20, Holland Villas-road, Kensington, London, and Stanwix, Cumberland. Ellen had been born in Surrey about 1848.
In 1861 Ellen is with her mother Hannah, they are visiting Charles Ferguson a surgeon living in the same address.
They moved back to West Derby, Liverpool where he still worked at the G.P.O. and they soon had a family of 3 daughters, Ellen Gertrude b 1869, Bertha b 1870 and Beatrice b 1872 in Liverpool. All the children were baptised at St Clement in Toxteth, and in each entry James` occupation is a “gentleman”. James and Ellen were living in 333 Upper Parliament St, where a Francis Ferguson was living with them, they moved to 24 Beaumont St by the time that Beatrice was baptised.
There was an Inquest in the Liverpool Daily Post 7th July 1869. (Edited)
Francis Ferguson was 87 years of age and resided in the house of James Edgar, 333 Upper Parliament Street He was a retired surgeon with an annuity of £100 to live upon and was a distant relative of Mr James Edgar, a clerk at the General Post Office. He was in a very feeble state and his sight was imperfect, he fell over a couch and injured his thigh, he was taken to the Royal Infirmary where he died. Verdict accidental death.
Francis Ferguson made a will and James Edgar was one of the people named in the probate.
By 1873 the family were in Wrexham and had 5 more children – Stanley Vincent b 1873,
Lucy Adeline b 1875, Ethel Hilda b 1876, James Victor b 1877 and Percy Hill who was born early in 1879, sadly Ellen died on 15 February 1879 shortly after his birth. She wasn`t buried in Wrexham, instead she was taken back to Liverpool and buried in Toxteth cemetery in Smithdown Road with Francis Ferguson who was related to James.
The gravestone in Toxteth not only has Ellen`s name, but also Ethel Hilda her daughter who died in 1884 and is buried in Wrexham.
“In memory of Francis Ferguson Esq. M.D. late of Kensington London W. who died at Liverpool on the 4th July 1869 aged 86 years. Also Ellen the beloved wife of James Edgar Postmaster Wrexham, who died 15th February 1879, aged 31 years. Also Mary, the beloved wife of Thomas Edgar, Master Mariner Liverpool, who died 5th July 1880, aged 57 years. Also, Ethel Hilda, youngest daughter of James Edgar, who died 5th October 1884, aged 8 years.”
The Post Office in Wrexham was on Regent Street, in 1881 James was the Postmaster and living in 1 Carlton Villas on Sontley Road, his sister Margaret Jane Edgar aged 33 and was born in Carlisle is his housekeeper and there was also a servant helping to look after his 7 children.
Life didn`t go well for James in the next few years, Ethel Hilda died 5 October 1884 aged 8, and then Percy Hill died on 27 August 1885, he was only 6.
A couple of months later James is mentioned in an article about the opening of the new Post Office on Egerton Street.
Wrexham Advertiser 19 December 1885
“One element of regret, however, in connection with the new post-office, is the unfortunate circumstance that the post master Mr J. Edgar is unable to inaugurate its opening, owing to his very serious illness, although a most courteous and efficient substitute has been found in the gentleman placed in control, Mr G. Harris, from the Manchester headquarters.”
It`s likely that after losing 2 children in less than a year James was suffering badly.
James and his six children moved to Milton Villa on Grosvenor Road by 1891 when he was still the Post master, and his sister Margaret Jane was still helping him out, but he soon left the G.P.O. as an article reveals.
Wrexham Advertiser. 12 March 1892.
In correspondence about paying cheque`s into the post office rather than a bank, James replied, and by now it clear he had left the Post office and taken up a new career.
I am, J. EDGAR, Late Postmaster of Wrexham. Associate Member Institute Electrical Engineers.
He lost another child when his eldest daughter Ellen Gertude died on 26 April 1896, she was 26. He moved to 10 Maesgwyn Road by 1901, and was now an electrical engineer; he must have had his own business as he was an “employer”. Only his sister Margaret Jane, and Bertha, Beatrice and Lucy are still with him. In November 1902 James had conducted some experiments on the railway owned by the Llay Hall Colliery, whether the outcome was successful, and his invention was used isn`t known.
James Edgar died 17 December 1907, he was 64.
His sister Margaret Jane and Bertha and Beatrice stayed in 10 Maesgwyn Road, the house was called “Nithsdale” in 1911, none of them were married.
Lucy Adeline is missing because on 3 February 1902 she was admitted to Denbigh Mental Hospital when she was 26, her admittance entry states she was a domestic servant. She is in the Paupers Index, so wasn`t a private patient.
She has been found there in 1911 and it`s sad to say she was classed as a lunatic.
Margaret Jane, their Aunt stayed at 10 Maesgwyn Road until her death in May 1917.
Poor Lucy Adeline remained in Denbigh, in 1911, and died there on 27 October 1932; she had been there 30 years.
Just a few weeks before Beatrice had died on 19 September 1932.
James and Ellen`s eldest son Stanley Vincent had gone to America, but he also died at the young age of 37 in Portland, Oregan in 1932.
Bertha Edgar died aged 68; she was living at 31 Beechley Road and was buried on 11 February 1939 with her Aunt Margaret Jane Edgar.
James Victor Edgar went to Canada, he is listed on many Canadian passenger lists, they show he first went in 1895 and his occupation was (mining). His nearest relative given on the list is Mr Edgar of Blackburn, his cousin. On his last journey found in 1930 he was still single. James Victor died on 11 June 1955 in Vernon, North Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada and is buried in Vernon Cemetery.
None of the daughters had married and it`s not known if the remaining two sons had any descendants, it would be nice to think James and Ellen did have some family somewhere out there.
Researched by Annette Edwards. November 2018. Gravestone photographs by Graham Lloyd.
The image of Francis Ferguson`s headstone in Toxteth was kindly supplied by Robert and Rose Anderson.
Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery J-02391