Jo's Family

Beck and Moxon History

from Jo's Diary

Home | Photos | Genealogy | About us

Becks and Moxons - In Australia - Next: Jo's Childhood

Notes on the Family History

So many things are lost, so many things we wish we had asked or could know that I thought I would write down little things that are remembered or come to mind even if not quite in their proper order.
Firstly I will deal with my own parents, William Henry Beck and Susan Grace (née Moxon).

Becks and Moxons

In 1862, there were living in Hastings, Sussex, England, a miller William Coker Beck and his wife Jane. They had (by the way) fourteen children to actually live and eleven to reach adulthood. Their third child was a son, William Henry Beck. He was threatened with blindness as a young man but was apprenticed to a chemist and eventually had his own business in Brixton in Derbyshire and in 1895 married Susan Grace, the 4th living daughter of Thomas and Ellen Moxon of London. The family tree of the Beck family is in England (spelled originally Bec) and dates back to William the Conqueror. Susan Grace was born in Baker Street in London on June 7th 1863. Her father was a chemist but did not have a business I think. Her mother was Ellen Jane Baker, a beautiful woman. I was told she was of the family of the Duke of Wellington. She must have been outstanding for when I visited England many years after her death many people spoke to me of her and said people turned their heads to look at her in the streets. My youngest Uncle by marriage said ‘I stood in awe of her but none of her daughters could hold a candle to her for looks’.

The Becks
Clockwise from top left.
1. Amy's younger brother, Geoffrey Beck, who died relatively young of a heart attack.
2. Amy's father and mother, William Henry Beck and Susan Moxon.
3. William and Susan beck with their first child, Neville, who died of measles.
4. WIlliam Henry Beck.
5. William Henry Beck as a child.
6. William Henry Beck.


Ellen Baker & Susan Beck
Top: various of Ellen Jane Baker.
Bottom left: Kate Gertrude Moxon (Gautrey).
Bottom right: pictures of Susan Moxon Beck

My mother told me that after she became engaged she fell deeply in love with someone else and asked for release from her engagement, but my grandfather refused so she kept her pledged word. She had eight children and lost two boys and a girl. When her five daughters were growing up her husband fell and broke both his kneecaps. As far as I judge, he was incapacitated from then on. She also had her parents living with her. She was not a dressmaker but she had a flair for clothes and she opened an exclusive frock salon and with the help of her daughters as they grew older she kept her home going and educated her family. Her eldest daughter married a wealthy ne’er-do-well and all her other daughters married in order of age.

When William Henry Beck and Susan Grace Moxon, the second youngest daughter were married they went to live together in Brixton in Derbyshire where he had his business. Here she seemed to be happy but for two disappointments, a miscarriage and a still born baby girl. Then when she was expecting her third child the course of their lives changed. Her second sister, Lucy Jane Vercoe, 9 years to the day her senior, was leaving for Australia with her husband and family of four and persuaded William Henry that it was a land of opportunity. I think Susan Grace must have taken some persuading as she was deeply devoted to her mother but that difficulty was overcome by a promise that all being well her mother would later join them. The two families plus Rose Catchpole, the Vercoe’s nurse, sailed on the Ophir for Australia. The enticing job which William Henry anticipated did not eventuate but after a time he secured one as a Chemists assistant in Collins Street. The two families lived together in St. Kilda for a time.

In Australia

Then the third child, a boy (Neville) was born to the Becks. When he was about 7 months old the Vercoe children contracted measles. It ran its course and they all recovered, but then the baby got it and within a very short time William and Susan had lost their third baby. While they followed the pitiful little funeral, Martha Northeast put away all the little baby things and altered the room around. The families moved from St. Kilda and William bought a small business of his own but something had gone out of Susan’s life that never came back. All her life she retained her ready wit but her life was ‘muted’. Music, which had played a big part in her life became almost unbearable to her. She found herself bearing her fourth child, a girl myself. The Vercoes found a nice house nearby and life settled into a pattern. Then I developed pneumonia and following that meningitis. Poor Susan, she stood in the yard with her head turned to the sky and said ‘Won’t I ever have one to live?’ Then she said desperately to the doctor ‘Is there any hope at all?’ He was that almost extinct dear family doctor and what he said was ‘while a baby is alive there is hope of it living’. He rang for a nurse ‘who must, as well as being a good nurse, be fond of children’ and then the fight was on. If there was any change, Dr. Sutherland slept on the couch and after some days the crisis was passed and here I must quote the Rev. W. McKie: ‘While they fought for you there I prayed for you in church’.

Next: Jo's Childhood


Home | Photos | Genealogy | About us