Tag Archives: James Elmy

John and James Elmy

John and James Elmy subscribed to Kirby’s Historical Account. The Elmy family has a long history in East Anglia. John and James were from the Beccles branch, sons of William Elmy, a tanner. William’s father, and his father before him had also been tanners. However, William’s brother John was a woolen draper and married into the Folkard family. John the woolen draper took one Thomas Rede as an apprentice and Rede then married his daughter Martha. They had a son Tomas, who in turn married Theophilia, the daughter and heiress of William Leman.

Of the two sons, John {1705-1756}, the eldest, was a surgeon in Beccles. He was one of the people signing the notices whenever a smallpox outbreak occurred in Beccles. James followed his father into the tanning business and married, around 1747 or 1748, Sarah Tovell of Parham, where Kirby was born. When James and Sarah were engaged, William Leman was one of the people noting his receiving a dowry.

James Elmy’s business ended in bankruptcy in 1758 and all his property was sold at auction to recover his debts. He went out to the West Indies and is supposed to have gone to Guadeloupe and died there, although there is some evidence that he worked at Roseau in Dominica through the 1760s at least. Fortunately for his wife, her son, and three young daughters, the Tovells had money and they moved to Parham near the rest of the family. There Sarah (1751—1813) became friends with Alethea Brereton. Alethea’s fiancé, William Levett, introduced her to his good friend George Crabbe (the poet) and they married in 1783.