A note on the descendents of Richard Elliott Birks

Richard had a number of children; all stayed in the USA although they maintained contact with their English cousins.

Florence Elliott Birks was born in Chichester on June 12, 1883. She died on February 15, 1978 at 95 years old in Deland, Volusia County, Florida.  She never married. Her father notes that she worked with the Allen sisters, two elderly photographers who were based in Deerfield and travelled to Britain with them on a tour.  She appears to have authored an unpublished memoir of the two sisters.  She became a private secretary and in 1920 in the US Census she is living in Redlands, San Bernardino, California in the household of Olivia B. Stocks, an American philanthropist from a  very wealthy family who were involved in a range of causes including temperance, minority education and the YMCA.   In the US Census of 1930 Florence was living in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts.  She was probably working as a librarian. In 1934 she travelled to England and certainly was in contact with a number of relations including Frank Elliott Birks.

Ellen Sinclair Birks was born in Tamworth in 1881.  The name Sinclair almost certainly related to her mother’s Scottish family.   She trained as a craft potter late in the first decade of the 20th century under  Chaucey Thomas.  Thomas ran a pottery in Deerfield, employing Ellen and another woman.  Small pieces of her work survive in the collection of The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association Museum.   In the US Census for 1930 she is still living in Bernardston, Franklin, Massachusetts.  She died unmarried in 1951 and is buried in the family plot at Bernardston cemetery.

Mary Christine Birks born 1869 in Meadville, United States, she died in 1955 and is buried beside her family and husband in Bernardston cemetery.  She married in 1892, in Lancashire to Stanley R Clague, originally from the Isle of Man,  and the couple followed her parents back to the USA.  Stanley is described as ‘an advertising manager’ on the birth registration of his son in 1896 and became prominent in the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).   They are recorded as living in Trier, Cook, Illinois in the 1920 US Census.  Stanley died in 1927.  The couple had a number of children, Stanley R Clague jnr., Alice M Clague, Colman E Clague, and Elsie B Clague.     Stanley Clague jnr. appears to have lived most of his life in Illinois, was married and died in 1986.  Colman Clague also appears to have stayed in Illinois and died in 1975.  Elsie (Beatrice) Clague married Daniel Gale in 1917.  In 1930 they are living in Huntington, Suffolk, New York with one son, Daniel K Gale; their household includes a  live-in servant suggesting they are a moderately well-off family.  Elsie died in August 1970 and is buried in Huntingdon Rural Cemetery.

Alfred W Birks was Richard’s only surviving son and followed his father into the Minister.  He was born 1876 in Northamptonshire.  Alfred married twice; first, in September 1904, to Irene Dexter McManus, an American.  She appears to have died early (possibly in 1913), and is certainly not alive when Alfred went to France to work with the troops through the YMCA during the First World War.  In France he met Yvonne Josephine Vittu, a pen friend of one of his sisters and after the War returned to marry her in France.  He served as a Minister mainly in Natick for his whole working life, retired in 1940, died in 1954 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  He appears to have had no children.  His wife, who was much younger than him, certainly outlived him and probably died in 1985.

Matilda Birks was born in 1873 in Topsham in Devon.  She married John Langdon Mansir in September 1899 in Bernardston.  John Mansir appears to have come from a longstanding Massachusetts family and was born in Great Barrington, Pittsfield where Richard Birks had worked for a period.  The Mansirs had three children, Allen R. born in 1903, died in 1958, Gertrude Louise born in 1901 and Gladys born in 1900; all were born in their father’s hometown.  Gladys, who never married, was a notable teacher and community activist; she lived and worked for much of her long life in Westport, Connecticut.  In 1943 she published a book, Life in America.  In retirement she took an interest in the rights of senior citizens. She had  an interest in family history and had at least some contact with her scattered Birks cousins.  She travelled to Britain on a number of occasions, including a flight by way of Bermuda in 1952.  She died in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1989.


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