Anthony Sidney Cheeper (1867-1901)

This directory contains information about the 6th of the 10 children of Catherine Spilsbury-Cheeper (c.1836-1906) and Anthony (Jacques) Clarke/Cheeper (1837-1918).

Early Years in England (1867-1883, aged 0-16)

Anthony Sidney Cheeper was born on 9 Jul 1867 in Aston (birth certificate). He was the second attempt to continue the sequence of Anthonies (but not the last). His father was shown as a Commercial Traveller. The family's address was shown as Main Street, Aston. (Aston has since been absorbed by Birmingham. But I can't find a Main Street in Aston). He was baptised on 18 May 1868 .

In the 1871 census, aged 3, he is with the family at 44 Annaken’s Court, Blake Street, St Wilfred, York.

The family was in Yarmouth some time between 1874 and the end of 1878, when he was aged 7-11.

But the cluds were gathering, because., sometime during this period, his father abandoned the family in favour of his growing second family in London.

Anne found this entry for Anthony's school attendance in 1877, with the family address shown as 83 Trafalgar Terrace. (There are two streets called Trafalgar in Gt Yarmouth in 2017, but neither appears to be a Terrace and neither appears to have a no.83. But then such oddities are not unusual with his father). On the earlier entry for his younger brother, Arthur Patrick, the address was 28 Crown Rd (which is parallel with one of the Trafalgars).

Sidney gained admittance to Great Yarmouth Grammar School in 1878 (courtesy of the National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914). That would have offered a chance to get a better life than he and his siblings had; but such breaks in the cloud were few and short, and he was somewhere else by Christmas-time.

But we don't know where, because we haven't found him in the 1881 census, when he would have been 13. (In fact, we haven't found any of the children in the 1881 Census, except for the youngest survivor, Alice, with her mother in London. It seems terribly likely that they were out on the streets, or, in elder borther Charles' case, on a ship outside British waters).

In 1883, at the age of 16, Anthony migrated to Canada on the ship 'The Polynesian', ex Liverpool on 25 July 1883, arriving in Quebec on 4 August 1883. There's evidence that he travelled as part of the Home Children Emigration Scheme, which ran 1868-1924, and transported 100,000 poor children from the awful conditions in urban Britain to less awful conditions in Canada – although in some cases conditions of near-bondage.

Montreal (1883-1901, aged 16-34)

Anthony moved to Montreal, either immediately or within a few years, and spent the remaining 19 years of his life there.

He appears to have called himself Sidney, consistently in all entries from the birth of his first child in 1886. (Does the avoidance of his first given name indicate animosity against his father? It appears to have been entirely justifiable!).

He was in a relationship with Annie Brown from at least the birth of their first child in July 1886 (and presumably from c. October 1885). He was still 18 and she was 21. But Anne has so far been unable to find a marriage entry.

Annie was an Englishwoman, b. Jan 1864, who migrated to Canada in 1874. But Anthony, Annie and all of their children were registered as Canadians.

Anne found an entry for Sydney CHEEPER in each of the years 1886-89 as a voluntary Militia in Montreal, Quebec. He was paid 50cents a day and was there from 1 to 12 days. In 1889 he was paid 60cents a day as a Corporal.

In the 1891 Census (6 Apr 1891) – copy of entry:

In the 1900-01 and 1901 Lovell's Montreal Directories, he's listed as Sidney, waiter, at 390 Selgeuers. One of his children's death entries also shows him as a waiter.

A 1901 Census entry (31 Mar 1901) has been found that may be relevant, but the head of household is shown as John Sidney, b. London (cf. Aston) 9 Jul 1864 (the right birthdate, but our Sidney was b. 1867), and the mother is Annie Sydney, b. Quebec (not England) 24 Apr 1862 (cf. Jan 1864). Children Florence, Mary and Ernest are shown (with surname Sidney), but with birthdates consistent with our Sidney's children. However, three further children are also shown, who were at that stage otherwise unknown to us. In the copy, the entry is at the bottom of p. 872 and the top of p. 875.

Sidney and Annie had 8 children (numbers 2-9), 2 of whom died very young. We've now consolidated a great deal of detail about the children:

  1. Ethel Marie (Maud) Brown/Cheeper/Mercier (1883/34-1922), 5 children
  2. Albert Sidney Cheeper (1886-1892), no children
  3. Catherine Ann/(i)e Cheeper/Clare/Normoyle/Duffy (1888->1929), 4-6 children
  4. Arthur John Cheeper (1890->1891), no known children
  5. Sarah Florence Cheeper/McMenamen (1892->1913), 2 children
  6. Ellen Elizabeth Cheeper (1893-1894), no children
  7. Annie Emily (Mary) Cheeper/Hitchinson (1895-1978), 11 chn, 20 gchn, >30 ggchn
  8. Ernest James Spillsbury Cheeper (1897-1974), 6 chn, ?3 gchn, ?4 ggchn, ?3 gggchn
  9. Daisy Lillian Cheeper (1901-1972), 7 chn, ?5 gchn, ?5 ggchn, ?10 gggchn

(Anthony) Sidney died 29 Nov 1901. The entry gives his occupation as waiter, and his age as 38, although he was actually 34. The error was presumably to avoid embarrassment for Annie, who was 37 at the time. We've yet to find an entry that provides any information about the cause of death.

Annie's Life After Sidney (1901-1930)

Annie appears to have been left with five children, aged 2 months (child 9), 4 (child 8), 6 (child 7), 9 (child 5) and 18 (child 1), and perhaps also 13 (child 3), and – if he survived childhood – 11 (child 4). Annie Cheeper is shown as a widow in the Lovell's Montreal Directory for 1901-02, 1902-03 and 1903-04, at 44 Anderson.

Annie remarried 3 years later, in 1904, to Jas (James) McManus. James was a Scot, b. Feb 1873 (so 9 years younger). He was a barber, at 141 Wellington. His parents were Luke McManus and Rebecca Ravenna. McManus was a Catholic, and the step-children generally appear to have switched from the Anglican to the Catholic persuasion, the youngest, Daisy Lillian, at age 9, in 1911. In the 1911 Census (1 Jun 1911) they are in Hochelaga Quebec, at (15 St Gabriel?), with 4 of the 6 surviving Cheeper children aged 9 to 19, and 2 of their own:

  1. Rose Ann Mary (Rosie) McManus b. 31 May 1904 (7)
  2. Allice Margaret McManus b. 10 Oct 1906 (5).

In 1911-12 the Directory shows them at 219 Island, when Annie would have been 47-48. In April 1916, (according to their son's enlistment papers) they were at 35 Payette St, when Annie would have been 52.

Annie d. 31 Jan 1930, shown as aged 67 (or maybe 66).

James McManus d. 7 Sept 1939, shown as aged 69 (but maybe 66).

Are There Any Cheepers Left??

The Canadian White Pages contains no Cheepers in the whole of Canada. That service is extraordinarily privacy-invasive, so it's likely that, as in the UK, only 40-60% of subscribers are publicly visible; so there may be one or more unlisted Cheepers somewhere. Alternatively, the sources of Cheepers (i.e. any all-male lines from the only surviving son 5. Ernest, plus any children born to a female Cheeper out of wedlock, while the mother's name was still Cheeper) may have all dried up, leaving only non-Cheeper descendants. There's a suspicion that Anthony's mother may have carried the gene for haemophilia, in which case male offspring would be likely to be few.

The US White Pages,in September 2009, showed only 2 Cheepers in the whole of the USA. That service is even more privacy-invasive than that in Canada, so coverage is also likely to be no better than 50% of subscribers. They were a Chris Cheeper, 11 N Jefferson Ave, Wenonah, NJ (near Philadelphia), (856) 415-1023, with a household including Christopher C Cheeper and Lisa Cheeper; and C Cheeper, address unavailable, Jasper, AR, (870) 446-2458.

[But note that there is scope for confusion with the names Creeper and Scheeper.]

We're missing a lot of information; and we'd love to know more!

Most of the information on this page came from Anne's research, with a little from Albert's grand-daughter Ruth. A breakthrough lead on Anthony Sidney in Montreal came from George, an unrelated researcher who contacted Anne via the Genesreunited site and drew her attention to Anthony Cheeper's migration to Quebec on 'The Polynesian' in 1883. Other Canadian-based family researchers have provided further, valuable references

This a page within Roger Clarke's Family Web-Site
Contact: Roger Clarke and/or Anne Kratzmann
Created: 14 Oct 2005; Last Amended: 25 Nov 2009, 28 Feb 2017 (his 1877 school entry)