52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #5 John Baldwin Chelsea Pensioner

Posted: February 8, 2014 in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

John Baldwin is my 3x Great Grandfather. John was born 27th March 1805 and baptised 21 April 1805 (source: Suffolk Baptisms East Sudbury Deanery 1754-1812)

John’s parents were Samuel Baldwin and Mary Warren.

In 1825, John at the age of 18, enlisted in the 40th Foot Regiment at Colchester on the 15th November 1825 and spent 20 years and 284 days in service, during which period, he spent:

  • 11 years and 11 months in the East Indies
  • 1 year and 11 months in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land.

Unfortunately John’s military records do not show when he was in NSW and VDL, so it is hard to establish a true timeline, but my guess is probably during the late 1820’s.

John married Sarah Reason on the 26 Nov 1826. They had one son John Baldwin, born Jan 1827 at Bures St Mary Suffolk but died in June 1827. He was buried on the 27th June at St Bartholomew, Groton Suffolk. As I type this, it’s the first time that I realised John Junior was born just a couple of months after they were married.

Was Sarah alone when her baby son died? Sarah was born in Groton so maybe she went back to her family whilst John was away.

I have not found any record of the birth of John and Sarah’s two daughters Susan & Mary. The family are not in the 1841 census but do appear in the 1851, 61 and 71 census. My guess John and Sarah were in India during the 1841 census.

John was discharged on the 24th August 1846 due to medical reasons. His Chelsea pensioner medical report shows ‘Chronic Rheumatism, chronic affection of the chest combined with general debility caused by service in a tropical climate’.

On his discharge also, his character is listed as ‘it appears that his general character and conduct has been very good and that he is in possession of two (2) good conduct medals”. I have today just found a reference to Good Conduct awards at the National Archives Series WO 102/10 (Long Service and Good Conduct Awards, Registers. Royal Artillery. C10065 Armed Forces (General);C10092 Army). I downloaded the document but could not find anything conclusive for John though there are a couple of John Baldwin’s listed but not sure if they refer to my John or not.

John is in the 1851 census living at Matting Lane, Lamarsh, Essex, with this wife Sarah and two daughters, Mary and Susan,

John is listed in the 1861 census living at Sudbury Road, Bures St Mary, Suffolk, with his daughter Susan (age 17).

John is listed in the 1871 census living at Assington, Suffolk with his daughter Mary and her husband James Rice.

John died of stomach cancer on the 28th June 1871

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