Dudley Charles Wall was the youngest son of Charles Robert Wall and Emma Spry Stephens, born in Greenwich in 1875. The family, originally from central London had moved to Greenwich between 1850 and 1860. Charles & Emma (originally from Portsmouth) married in Lewisham in January 1862. They had 7 sons, and Dudley Charles was the youngest, born in 1875. The family names Denham and Dudley originate from the surnames of Charles’ mother and grandmother (Sophia Denham & Deborah Dudley). These names have now been passed down the family for at least 6 generations.
The censuses of 1881 and 1891 record Dudley Charles Wall living in Greenwich. In the 1901 census, he is is with his mother in Essex, just across the Thames, with his occupation recorded as a Wharfingers Clerk. This is the last record of him in England.
We next see Dudley Charles Wall in the 1911 census of Canada. He is recorded as immigrating to Canada in 1902, and is married to Mabel and has a 5 year old son, Frederick and one year old daughter, Evelyn. His birth year recorded in the census also aligned with what we knew from the British census records.
The information of the 1911 Canada Census allowed us to track down a marriage certificate, where we learned the name of his wife, Mabel Louisa Shepherd, married in Gilbert Plains, Manitoba in 1903, as well as a birth record for his son Frederick Denham Wall, born in 1906. Again, we see the re-appearance of the name ‘Denham’.
This is however the last record we have been able to find of Dudley Charles Wall in Canada.
His son, Frederick Denham Wall married Nida Nan Trego in 1927, and had a daughter born in 1927, and a son in 1930. He died in 1982, and was buried in Hay Lakes, Alberta, Canada.
The Columbia Record, a local newspaper in South Carolina has a number of news stories about Dudley Charles Wall, which make connections to the family in England. Whist the stories mention his parents, brothers and children, and the dates allow for him to have left Canada for the USA, there is no mention of any family left behind in Canada in an of the newspaper stories.
Whilst the records found in Canada appear to be consistent with a scenario where Dudley Charles Wall, born in England in 1874/75 emigrated to Canada in 1902, and started a family there and later moved to the USA and married again, it is curious that the extensive coverage of his subsequent life in Columbia, South Carolina, USA has absolutely no mention of any time or family in Canada, whereas there are many reports of his other travels, and family back in England, all of which are consistent with the known family history of other branches of the Wall family.
The Columbia Record includes stories about the deaths of 2 of Charles Dudley’s bothers in England, Robert Frederick Wall in 1940 and William Denham Wall in 1947. In his obituary, there is no mention of a Canadian family.
We can also track Dudley Charles Wall in the 1930 and 1940 US census, with details of his wife Clara D Penton and 2 daughters and son who served in the US Navy, as well as his grandchildren and great grandchildren in the US. What is interesting in the 1930 and 1940 censuses is the birth year stated as 1885. This is ten years later than his actual birth year of 1875, as confirmed by the English census records. The 1930 census also records age at first marriage, which is recorded as 34, which translates to 1919/20. This is also references in the newspaper report on his work as a landscape gardener in 1948, where it mentions he had been married to Clara Penton for 27 years, making the date of marriage approximately 1921. The headstone at his grave in St Peter’s cemetery, Columbia however has the correct birth year, 1875!
A 'Curious' inconsistency
This ‘curious’ inconsistency inspired me to write this post for the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge, and will probably only be resolved by contact with living relatives of both the Canadian and American descendants of Dudley Charles Wall, or by DNA matches, and this will be one of my future projects. I first noticed this story when researching the Wall family history as a gift for my brother, Reginald Dudley Wall’s 80th birthday – Wall’s of London.