Joseph William Rutland

Joseph William Rutland was born at 3 George Street, Old Kent Road, Peckham, Camberwell, Surrey on September 30, 1851.

Birth certificate

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He married Eliza Fenton on February 1, 1869 at St. Giles parish church, Camberwell, Surrey. According to their marriage certificate both were minors. Joseph is known to have been 17 years of age, and Eliza, 16.  Joseph's address is given as Charles Street, Camberwell. Eliza's father's name was John William Fenton. Sources variously indicate Joseph's occupation(s) as a Bleacher's Labourer, Calico Glazier, and Labourer.

Marriage certificate

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Joseph and Eliza's son, also named 'Joseph William' (Rutland), was born June 1, 1869 at 11 Stockwell Street, Old Kent Road. It is not known whether the couple had other children, or whether they even lived together as a couple. The marriage itself may have been considered little more than a necessity to avoid the child being born out of wedlock; and at, and at some point, the couple separated.

Birth certificate

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Divorce would have been out of the question, but Eliza and Joseph appear to have used their own ingenuities to re-marry different partners.

It's believed that Joseph's brother, Charles, travelled to America sometime between 1871 and 1874. This is based on Charles' presence in both the UK 1871 and 1881* censuses. In the latter he is living with a wife, Caroline, and a 6 year old son 'Joseph' born in the 'United States'. Since no marriage record has been found, it's possible that Charles and Caroline travelled together, or met en route to the USA - and married there. The intention may have been to stay for good. However, Charles and his family were back in England by 1876 when their second son, Charles, was born (sometime between April & June.)

In view of Charles' voyage to the USA, the possibility that Joseph William Rutland accompanied him with the intention of absconding from his wife and son, must be considered. If true (and further research is needed) it might explain the events that transpired for both Joseph and Eliza.

*Note that the 1881 census transcript - provided by - of Charles Thomas Rutland's 1881 household is in error, stating that his age is 37 years. Careful examination of the original handwriting confirms that he was 27.

Eliza re-married on August 2, 1880, to James Edward Sartain (a plasterer, by occupation) - at All Saints Church, Newington, Surrey. Their marriage certificate reveals that Eliza used a pseudonym surname 'Ellacott', and claimed to be a widow. There is no doubt that this is 'our' Eliza Fenton as her father's name and occupation are verified with other sources as 'John William Fenton', 'Soap-maker'.

Marriage certificate
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In the 1881 census James and Eliza Sartain and son Joseph (Sartain) (12 years old) were living at 39 Grayland Road, Camberwell, London & Surrey.

Until evidence is uncovered that would confirm that Joseph William Rutland went to the USA with Charles, we know nothing of his movements between June 1, 1869 (his son's birth) and the early 1880's. Further research, particularly of USA records, ship passenger lists, etc., will hopefully shed more light.

But on January 19, 1884, Joseph William Rutland is found living in Weymouth, Dorset where he marries an Alice Elizabeth Burgess, at St. John's parish church. Their marriage certificate states that both Joseph and Alice were living in the local parish, and were 'bachelor' and 'spinster', respectively.

Marriage certificate
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Joseph and Alice Elizabeth (Burgess) settled in Weymouth, and had six children together: Mabel Jane Rutland (b. 1884), Frederick Joseph Rutland (b. 1886), Alice Caroline Rutland (b. 1889), Albert Charles Rutland (b. 1891), Clara Annie Rutland (b. 1893) and Florence Maud Rutland (b. 1896).

Joseph and Alice's deaths were in 1915 and 1939 respectively.

Deaths Mar 1915   (>99%)
Rutland  Joseph W  64  Portsmouth  2b 840

Deaths Sep 1939   (>99%)
Rutland  Alice E  81  Portsmouth  2b 861


Modern day technology and DNA matches between descendents of children from both of Joseph William Rutland's marriages has led to the discovery of much of the information on this page. A descendant of Joseph William Rutland and Eliza (Fenton) myself, I am naturally curious as to whether any of Joseph's descendents - from either marriage - were aware of their 'parallel' families (half-brothers/sisters & their descendents, etc.) Or was Joseph's secret kept for 130+ years?