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Walton Street Methodist Chapel: George Arthur TURTLE (1877–1917)

George Arthur Turtle was born in Oxford in 1877. He was the son of the shoemaker Edward Turtle (born in Combe, Oxfordshire in 1834/5 and baptised at Combe on 1 February 1835, the son of the shoemaker James Turtle) and Sarah Ann Ryman (born in Woodstock in 1839 and baptised there on 10 July, the daughter of the leather grounder/glover Richard Ryman).

His parents were married in Woodstock on 26 December 1859 and had the following children. Those described as baptised in Oxford were baptised at the original Methodist Church in New Inn Hall Street. Built in 1818, this stood behind the present building, opened in 1878:

  • Ellen Turtle (born in Woodstock on 17 February 1861 and baptised in Oxford on 26 March)
  • Ernest Rogers Turtle (born in Woodstock on 1 December 1863 and baptised in Oxford on 27 December)
  • Sarah Ann Turtle (born in Woodstock on 28 September 1866 and baptised in Oxford on 18 November)
  • Emily Turtle (born in Woodstock on 29 November 1868 and baptised in Oxford on 10 January 1869)
  • Sarah Ann Turtle (born in Woodstock (born in Woodstock in 1866, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Emily Turtle (born in Woodstock in 1868/9)
  • Edward Ryman Turtle (born in Oxford on 3 May 1872 and baptised in Oxford on 30 June)
  • Alfred Turtle (born in St Giles' parish, Oxford on 9 May 1875 and baptised in Oxford on 7 October)
  • George Arthur Turtle (born in Oxford in 1877, reg. Headington district fourth quarter).

George's parents began their married life in Woodstock, and the 1871 census shows them at Oxford Street there. His father Edward (36) was a shoemaker, living with his wife Sarah Ann (31) and their first four children Ellen (10), Ernest (7), Sarah Ann (4), and Emily (2), plus a lodger. By May the following year the family had moved to Oxford, where George was born in 1877.

At the time of the 1881 census George (3) was living at 69 Cranham Street in Jericho with his father Edward (46), who was now an assurance agent, his mother Sarah (41), and his siblings Ernest (17), who was an upholsterer, Sarah (14). who was a domestic servant, and Emily (12), Edward (8), and Alfred (5).

George's mother Sarah Ann Turtle died at Cranham Street the following year at the age of 42 when George was only four years old. She was buried in St Sepulchre's Cemetery on 18 May (St Paul ref. M37, grave no longer identifiable).

At the time of the 1891 census George (13) was at school and living at 69 Cranham Street with his widower father Edward (56), who was now an insurance agent, and his sisters Sarah Ann (24), who probably kept house, and Emily (22), who was a dressmaker, and his brother Alfred (16), who was a saddler's apprentice.

George's brother Alfred Turtle died at 69 Cranham Street in 1893 at the age of 18 and he too was buried in the St Paul's section of St Sepulchre's cemetery (almost certainly with his mother), with the service taken at the cemetery by a Wesleyan minister.

By the time of the 1901 census George (19) had joined the army and was living in barracks at Fort Gomer, Alverstoke, Hampshire.

On 30 August 1903 at Cowley St John Church, George Arthur Turtle (25), who described himself as an upholsterer currently living in St James's parish, Birkenhead (probably at the army barracks), married Nellie Annie Mazey (20) of 47 James Street in east Oxford, the daughter of the cab proprietor James Mazey. They had five children:

  • Dorothy Elizabeth A. Turtle (born in Birkenhead, Cheshire in 1903/4)
  • Ethel Gretia Turtle (born at 39 Albert Street, St Ebbe's, Oxford on 20 December 1905 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, St Ebbe's on 25 March)
  • Reginald Arthur Turtle (born at 39 Albert Street, St Ebbe's, Oxford in 1908 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, St Ebbe's on 10 June)
  • Elsie Winifred Turtle (born at 17 King Street, Oxford on 19 November 1911 and baptised at Walton Street Methodist Chapel on 13 December); died aged two and buried on 9 January 1914 (probably in the St Paul's section of St Sepulchre's Cemetery
  • George Ernest Turtle (born at 17 King Street, Oxford on 5 December 1914 and baptised at St Paul's Church on 14 February 1915, with his father's occupation given as a soldier).

Initially after their wedding they continued to live in Birkenhead, but they had moved back to Oxford by the end of 1905 and at first lived at 39 Albert Street in St Ebbe's.

George's brother Edward Ryman Turtle died near the end of 1908 in the Bicester district at the age of 36, and his father father Edward Turtle died at 60 Cranham Street at the age of 75 in early 1910. The latter was buried in St Sepulchre's Cemetery on 15 January 1910, probably with his wife and son Alfred.

George and his family moved to the Jericho area of Oxford at some point between 1908 and 1911, and started to attend Walton Street Methodist Chapel.

At the time of the 1911 census George (33) was working as an upholsterer and living at 83 Cranham Street, Jericho with his wife Nellie (28) and their children Dorothy (7), Ethel (5), and Reginald (3), plus his brother-in-law John Mazey (16).

By November 1911 the family had moved to 17 King Street in Jericho.

Poppy In the First World War George Arthur Turtle served as a Private in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 9405) and then in the 7th Regiment (“D” Company) of the Wiltshire Regiment (Service No. 14512). He was killed in action in Macedonia (Salonika) at the age of 44 on 24 April 1917. He was listed in the Heroes of the War section of the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 21 August 1918 (p. 6, POX0053113). His effects came to £6 13s. 8d. and were passed on to his widow with a war gratuity of £12.

He is remembered on the Doiran Memorial. As well as being listed on the Walton Street Methodist Chapel memorial, he is also listed on the St Paul's Church war memorial.

After the war

George's widow Nellie Annie Turtle née Mazey was listed at 69 Cranham Street in Kelly's Directory for 1915/16 and 1916/17. She remarried in Oxford in the third quarter of 1920. She and her second husband Charles H. Kitchen lived at 17 King Street, Jericho and had one child, Charles H. Kitchen, born in Oxford in 1921.

See also

© Stephanie Jenkins

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