John Kelland, surgeon "of London", 1805-1886

A short introduction by Ed Grimsdale

John Kelland became an assistant to John Cowley, the Winslow surgeon, in or before 1828 when Kelland is recorded giving damning evidence in the trial of Joe Walker of Oving at the Bucks Assizes. Joe Walker was convicted of murdering his wife using 6d of “arsenic” [i.e. white arsenic (III) oxide] bought at a “chemist’s in Winslow”.  John Kelland, who had previous experience of the toxicity of arsenic compounds, averred that the suspension found in a teapot at the Walkers’ home did contain arsenic trioxide and that the symptoms suffered by poor Mrs Walker before death were consistent with her having ingested the substance.

John Kelland was on hand at Stowe on race-day in June 1830 and came to the unavailing succour of Mr. Merry, the victim of an accident. Let the Oxford Journal describe the situation:

After the races at Stowe-park, the yeomanry dined at several inns in Buckingham at the expence [sic] of the Marquis of Chandos, who allowed each man a bottle of wine to recruit him from the fatigues of the campaign. We regret to add that Mr Merry, of Adstock, a member of the troop, was, near the close of day thrown from his horse, in consequence of a person striking it on the head; the horse reared up-right, and fell backwards with its weight upon him. Mr Merry, was promptly attended by Mr Kelland, of Winslow, who happened to be on the ground; but, after lingering in great agony till 11 o’clock on Thursday morning, he died leaving four children and a wife enfamille to lament their irreparable loss.

Curiously, John Kelland, Esq. was still described as “surgeon of London” when he married Charlotte-Eliza, John Cowley’s second daughter, in Winslow in 1835.

John Kelland subscribed  £2 (as did John Cowley) to the successful Thomas Henry Walpole collection of 1841, set up when the sudden death of Winslow’s vicar plunged his family into penury.

Additional notes from the censuses

John and Charlotte Kelland turn out to have had an eventful married life.

In the 1841 census, Charlotte Eliza and her two sons Charles Theophilus Kelland and Christopher John Cowley Kelland were living in Winslow with her father.  Someone called John Kelland, a sawyer aged 37, was recorded in Stepney; this appears to have been the same man as Stepney was his younger children’s place of birth, and in view of his later career change. The London Gazette of 2 Feb 1838 recorded the dissolution of the partnership of John Kelland and William Samuel Slinn of City Saw Mills, Wentworth Street, Whitechapel.

In 1851 the family was in West Ham: John Kelland (aged 46, born Sandford, Devon, described as surgeon not in practice), Charlotte, their sons Charles, Thomas and George, and Charlotte’s nephew Henry Cowley, an architect.

George Kelland was the godson and co-heir of his uncle George Cowley (d.1855). John Kelland was one of the executorsof his father-in-law John Cowley in 1856.

In 1861, John was at Cumberland House, West Ham, with his sons Thomas and George, both students, but he was now listed as saw mill proprietor.  Charlotte was at Winslow with her brother-in-law David Willis the solicitor in Horn Street (his wife Maria was her sister), describing herself as “surgeon’s wife”. The London Gazette of 14 Jan 1862 recorded the bankruptcy of John Kelland of Wentworth Street, Whitechapel and Cumberland House, Plaistow, saw mill proprietor. The bankruptcy was annulled on 3 May 1862.

In 1871, Charlotte, an annuitant and still listed as married, was lodging with a lithographic artist and his wife in Lewisham.  It has not been possible to trace John, but he was an elector in the City of London in 1868 with an address of 29 Pier-terrace, Cubitt-town, Poplar.
In 1881, John was a medical practitioner in Manchester Road, Poplar, aged 77, described as married, but living alone. He died there in 1886. Charlotte, aged 74, was lodging with a shipwright in Greenwich, where she died on 12 Dec 1887. Her death was recorded in the Morning Post of 21 Dec 1887, where she was described as widow of John Kelland MRCS of Cubitt-town.

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Copyright 5 April, 2018