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This chart goes back six generations to 1856. We can now see the earliest photographs of our ancestors! This page is devoted to Thomas Cooker (b 1856) , his wife Fanny, and their nine children.

Thomas

Fanny

Thomas was born the 19th August 1856 at Saint Peter Street, Maidstone. He married Fanny AVENELL, the daughter of John AVENELL at Saint Peter's Church, Maidstone on the 28th May 1877.

The following children were born to Thomas and Fanny:-

Thomas COOKER - Born 19th August 1856 at Saint Peter St., Maidstone

In 1881 he was working as a lamplighter's assistant. Later he went into the grocery business and had a shop in Saint Peter Street, which has since been demolished.


Fanny and her youngest son Joseph outside the shop

He was also the town carter and had a stable of horses, which involved a lot of hard work. His daughter Ellen (known to the family as Aunt Jum) said he would be working from four in the morning until six in the evening. The hard work and a young boisterous family did nothing for his temper it would appear. Aunt Jum said that later in life when they were at The Milebush Inn, Marden they ran short of firewood. Great grandad said he would go upstairs and chop up the old table.When he had been gone a long time they went up to see what was keeping him. They found him with tears streaming down his face and asked him what was up. "I was just thinking of all you kids sitting around the table here and Mum dishing out the food". "Huh!" said Aunt Jum, "all I can remember him is telling us to shut up, and belting us round the head - I don't know what he was getting sentimental about"

Thomas even had a short spell in the army. In 1914 his sons joined up, and the army requisitioned his horses. "They've taken my sons", he said "they've taken my horses, they can take me!". He and his cousin Alfred Webster joined up together but another daughter of his (Aunt Fanny) said that he got thrown out probably when they found out his age !

Later in life he became the landlord of the Milebush Inn, Marden which had a small shop attached. Unfortunately because great grandmother was soft hearted it never made much of a profit. When the people had money they'd shop in Marden or elsewhere, when they had none they would go to Fanny with a hard luck story which she could not resist and she would give them what they wanted. Thomas told her off about it but he couldn't change her. Great grandmother died 22 June 1931, and Great Grndfather died at the Milebush on the 7 Feb 1938. They are both buried in Maidstone cemetry.

The Mile Bush with Thomas at the Window and his son John at the door

At the outbreak of WW1

Notes on the Children of Thomas & Fanny COOKER

Thomas COOKER (1877-1930)

We are directly descended from Thomas, you can read about him on the next chart.

William George COOKER (1879-1945)

He married Elizabeth, the sister of Alice MANNERINGS who was married to his elder brother Thomas, there were no children. These are their photographs.

Albert COOKER (1881-1945)

He married Emily Ring, and they had two daughters:

  1. Dorothy Ethel COOKER, who married Frederick PIKE
  2. Yvonne Emily COOKER, who married Richard PEARCE

Fanny COOKER (born 1883)

She married William DAY, and I know they had three sons. The eldest, William, married a German girl and had a son born around 1950. I don't think the two youngest boys married. The family lived at Finchley, North London

Caroline COOKER (born 1885)

She married Ernest Leonard BISHOP, and they had three children:

  1. Ernest Leonard BISHOP
  2. George William BISHOP
  3. Florrie Victoria BISHOP, who married George Percy BASHFORD, they lived at Otford. There were no children.

Ellen Victoria COOKER (Aunt Jum) (Born 1887)

She married Harry FINCH, and they had a little boy who unfortunately died young.

John COOKER (Born 1889)

John served in the Great War. He went into no-mans land on one occasion to bring back a wounded man. He was himself injured and everybody thought he would get a decoration but nothing came of it. At another time he was standing in a group of men and horses when a shell landed nearby - it killed the rest of the group, men and horses, but he was left alive although he had a mark down one side of his body for the rest of his life. He took over running the Milebush after great grandfather's death, until his own death in 1948.

Jane COOKER (Born 1891)

She married Frederick MERRICKS and had a daughter - Rita. Rita married Sargent James Henry VANNS and had four children:

  1. Stephen Frederick James VANNS
  2. Clifford Tony VANNS
  3. Sally Jane Nancy VANNS
  4. Jeffrey Robin VANNS

Joseph COOKER (Born 1902)

Joe married Emily Brown at Swanscombe on the 21st June 1941, and they continued to live there. Joe worked in the Paper Mill. He was a keen sportsman in his younger days playing both cricket and soccer. He told me that when they played soccer at Headcorn and won they had to run for their lives back to Marden !

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