Friday, June 24, 2011

Thomas Cotton Nye

Thomas Cotton Nye, the son of John Nye and Anne Randall, was christened or baptized on 4 August 1811 in the Penshurst Church. Thomas probably grew up as an agricultural laborer with limited formal education, and we know little of his life until his marriage to Mary Ann Goldsmith in Wateringbury Kent.

As found in the Parish register of Wateringbury "Thomas Nye, bachelor of this parish and Mary Ann Goldsmith, spinster of this parish were married in this church by banns this 21st day of June 1835 by Mr. Robert Earle. Witnesses were William Burden and Sophia Nye". Sophia was a sister of Thomas.

There was some confusion in some of the Nye family about Mary Ann's birth name. It has been reported as being Mary Ann Summers but the marriage has her correct name. The 1851 census has Mary Ann as being born in Tudely Kent and the 1871 census has her born in Tonbridge. In October 2011 I finally located Mary Ann Goldsmith's christening date as 27 Dec 1816 in Tonbridge Wells, Kent, England.

The 1841 census notes that Thomas and Mary Ann were living in Springfield, Essex County with Thomas Nye listed as a railway worker.

  • Their son William Henry Nye was born while they were in Essex and his christening was found to be 2 May 1849 at Springfield. William later married Mary Ann Willett.

In 1851 the family had moved to West Ashford Kent and were living at #131 Churchyard. Thomas was working as a rose laborer.

  • Their second son George Thomas was christened on 19 October 1845 at West Ashford. He later married Amanda Amelia Mercer.
George Nye birth - son of George Nye & Amanda A Mercer
George Nye birth - son of George Nye & Amanda A Mercer

  • Their daughter Eliza Ann was born 21 April 1851 at West Ashford. She later married William McKeough.

Eliza Ann Nye birth record
Eliza Ann Nye birth record.

  • Their third son Frederick John was born on 19 December 1855 at Thornhills, East Maidstone. No marriage has been found for Frederick.

Birth record of Frederick John Nye
Birth record of Frederick John Nye

They were again listed in Ashford in 1861 with Thomas working as a railway laborer. William was working as a cabinet maker and George was listed as a railway laborer.

The 1871 census states that the Nye's had moved to #36 Fisher Street in Maidstone. Thomas is listed as a laborer. The only two children living with their parents were Eliza Ann and Frederick.

Thomas Cotton Nye died on 25 December 1875 at his home. His certificate of death has his occupation as a platelayer and his age as 64. Cause of death was paralysis for six weeks and he was in a coma the last two days of his life. Eliza Ann Nye is listed as the informant, so Eliza was not using her married name McKeough at that time.
Thomas Cotton Nye record of death
Record of death of Thomas Cotton Nye
As previously stated Thomas was buried next to his parents at Borough Green, Kent.

Mary Ann and her daughter Eliza Ann along with Eliza's husband and child continued to live at #36 Fisher Street. Both women were listed as dress makers. William Mc Keough disappeared at some point.

An interesting side note on Mary Ann was found on as follows: England and Wales Criminal Registers 1791-1892 - 16 Mar 1835 larceny by servant, Mary Ann Summers alias Goldsmith, sentenced to three months. I currently don't have information on why Mary Ann used both names.

Mary Ann lived until 1895 and died at Maidstone.


  1. Thomas Cotton Nye sounds like he died of some kind of poisoning. What is a platelayer? Does that involve lead?

  2. Thank you so much for posting all this great information. I have updated his profile at He is my 7th cousin four times removed. - John H. Nye

  3. A plate layer worked for the railroad and was either involved in laying track or maintaining the tracks.

  4. Thanks John for the posting!