Back to Genealogy homepage
>return to family tree for this person

Phoebe Fry [f.2.6.2]

Phoebe Fry was the second child of Samuel Fry & Sarah Smeed christened July 7th, 1844 at Cowden, Kent.

At the time of the 1851 census Phoebe was visiting her grandparents Caroline & William Smeeds, a farmer of 78 acres at Brooklands Farm, East Grinstead.

In 1861 Phoebe was the oldest child living with her parents, 3 brothers & 3 sisters at Wiggs Farm, Withyham, Sussex.

Phoebe married William Heasman on June 7th, 1865 at St Michael’s parish church, Withyham. William was born Jan-March 1838 at Ardingley, Sussex, the son of Samuel Heasman, a farmer. Phoebe was given a gift from her grandmother as a wedding present. This was a Victorian writing slope that was passed down to Rose Marion Barnett who had married Phoebe's nephew, Albert Edward Fry [f.], & subsequently to their daughter, Stella Kathleen Fry.

In 1871 Phoebe & William (Haisman in index) were living at Coltsford Mill, Oxted, Surrey where William was a miller & farmer. They had 4 children by this time – Emily (5), Nancy (3), William (2) & Harriet (1). William’s widowed father Samuel, aged 76, was living with them, as was Ann Heasman (36), William’s sister. Also at the farm were 2 millers & a general servant.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of December 15th, 1876 gives a report of the annual ‘Westerham Fat Stock & Root Show’.  One of the prizes awarded was a piece of plate, value £3, donated by William to the owner of the best animal in the show which had been fed regularly on Heasman’s cattle food.

In 1881 Phoebe & William were still living at Coltsford Mill, & William was now miller employing 17 men & 1 boy in the mill & farm. Children at home were Nancy, William, Harriet, Frank F (8), Caroline (7), Florence (6), Hilton (3) & Harold S (2). William’s father Samuel was still living with them. Daughter Emily was visiting her uncles Arthur John & Albert Edward Fry & aunt Harriett Annie Fry at Brookshill Farm, Hartfield, Sussex at the time of the census. Emily was to be the informant of the death of aunt Harriett in 1893.

William (Hessman in index) was listed as just a miller in 1891 & he & Phoebe were still living in Oxted, at Mill House. At home with them were Emily, Harriet, Frank F, a miller, Caroline P, Florence E, Hilton S & Harold S. There was another daughter, Mabel S, aged 9, who was a scholar boarding at Corseley House school, Withyham at the time of the census.

William was nominated to be elected as a Guardian of the Poor for his parish in April 1883 (Surrey Mirror, April 14th, 1883).

Son William Samuel married Grace Fitt on October 7th, 1897 at the Parish Church of St.Michael at Bowes, Enfield, Middlesex. In 1911 William, a farmer,  and Grace along with their 4 sons were living at Chartwell Farm, Westerham, Kent.

1900 saw a spate of weddings in the Heasman household!  Son Frank Fry married Sophie Louisa Young on April 18th, 1900 at the Parish Church of Oxted. Sophie was a sister of Richard Dartnall Young, who was to marry Frank’s older sister Emily later that year. Frank followed in his father’s footsteps and became a miller, living at Coltsford Mill, Oxted in 1911 with Sophie and their 5 children

Daughter Harriet  married Charles Wilder Heasman at the Parish Church of St.Marylebone, London on June 16th, 1900. In 1911 Harriet and Charles, a ship owner’s clerk, were living at Chimney Cottege, Coulsdon, Surrey.

Daughter Emily married Richard Dartnall Young on October 9th, 1900 at Oxted Parish Church & her sisters Mabel Sarah & Caroline were witnesses at the wedding, along with William Heasman. The wedding reception was held at The Mill and the couple honeymooned on the Isle of Wight. Richard was a farmer & by 1911 he & Emily were still living in Oxted, at ‘Hamlyn’, High St.  Emily’s cousin Mary May Fry [f.] was with them at the time of the census. 

In 1901 Phoebe & William were still living at Oxted Mill & William was described as a flour miller & farmer. At home were Caroline P, Hilton, a flour miller, & Mabel S (19). Also with them at the time of the census was William’s sister Ann Heasman, aged 70. Daughter Florence had married Percy Lawless Saunders (a traveler in tin box trade) in 1898 & at the time of the census they were living at Leyton, Essex with their 1 year old son Donald. Son Harold was lodging in Preston, Brighton, Sussex & was a mechanical engineer.

Son Hilton Saxby married Laura Mary Farmer on June 1st, 1903 at St. Mary Magdalene, Wandsworth Common. Hilton also worked as a miller and in 1911 was living at Quay Mill, Fareham, Hants with Laura and  son Hilton Stanley.

Photo taken at Oxted Mill in 1905 - possibly Phoebe & William's 40th wedding anniversary (Many thanks to Sue Owen, 2x great granddaughter of Phoebe, for photo & identification of family)

Bottom row children from left to right: Brian, Donald (sons of Florence Emma Heasman & Percy Lawless Saunders), Ruth (daughter of Sophia Louisa Young & Frank Fry Heasman), Cecil Redvers, Hylton William (sons of Grace Pitt & William Samuel Heasman), Geoffrey (son of Sophia Louisa & Frank Fry Heasman)

Second row left to right: Sophia Louisa Heasman holding Wilfred Heasman, Ann? sister of William Heasman, William Heasman, Phoebe Heasman (nee Fry), Grace Heasman holding Roy Stewart Heasman, Caroline Phoebe Heasman (Carrie), Emily Young (nee Heasman)

Third row left to right: Harold Heasman, ?, ?, Hilton Saxby Heasman, Mabel Sarah Smeed (nee Heasman), William Samuel Heasman, Laura May Heasman (nee Farmer), Percy Lawless Saunders, Florence (Florrie) Emma Saunders (nee Heasman)

Back Row: Frank Fry Heasman, Richard Dartnall Young


Phoebe died on August 30th, 1909. The following notice from the Surrey Mirror of September 3rd, 1909 records Phoebe’s death.  ‘We regret to record the death of Mrs Phoebe Heasman, wife of William Heasman, of the Oxted Mill, who died on Monday last at the age of 65 years.  Mr & Mrs Heasman, who came to Oxted over 35 years ago were very highly respected and esteemed in the neighbourhood and Mrs Heasman who has not identified herself much with local affairs during the last few years was at one time one of the foremost figures in the parochial work of Oxted.  She was of a singularly happy and endearing disposition and her demise will be mourned by a very large circle of friends. We understand the funeral will take place at the Parish Church on Saturday.’  Phoebe was aged 65 on her death.

In 1911 widowed William was still living at Oxted Mill & continued to be a flour miller & farmer. He was assisted in the business by son Harold who had returned home, & daughter Mabel was their housekeeper.

In 1914 daughter Mabel married George Edward Smeed [sm.3.7] at Godstone, Surrey. George was born in 1861 at Islington, Middlesex, the son of Thomas Smeed & Sarah Dray. Mabel's mother Phoebe was George's cousin.

Applications for temporary exemption from military service by son Harold Smeed were granted in both 1916 & 1917.  Harold was described at the time as of Mill House, Oxted, the secretary, manager & buyer for the firm of Wm. Heasman & sons Ltd.  (Surrey Mirror 1916/17)  Harold had a run in with the law in 1916 when he was fined for riding his motorcycle at night without lights.  His excuse was that he was later home than expected due to having taken a wrong turn, having 2 punctures & the gas supply tube was damaged & therefore could not use the lamps.  He was fined £1 for no front light & 5s for no rear red light. (Surrey Mirror July 14th, 1916)

William died on January 9th, 1921, aged 83, at Oxted Mill. The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 14th, 1921 reported the following:  ‘Mr William Heasman head of the well known firm of William Heasman and sons, millers and corn factors, Oxted Mills, died suddenly on Sunday just after he had been for a stroll in his garden. He was eighty three years of age.’ An obituary in the Kent & Sussex Courier of January 14th, 1921 stated that William was highly esteemed & took a keen interest in local government & sport.  It goes on to state that he brought the Oxted milling up to a high standard of efficiency & his special ‘Oxted-Ho’ flour was known for many miles around.

At William's inquest son Harold Smeed Heasman stated that William had retired from business but had still carried on a farm at the Old House, Crowhurst. Apart from a little rheumatism he had not seen a doctor for 20 years. His funeral, which was held at Oxted Parish Church, was attended by a large assembly of farmers and other residents. (Information from the Surrey Mirror, January 21st, 1921.) Probate was granted on April 19th, 1921 to son William Samuel Heasman, farmer.  His effects amounted to £20,216.9s.1d. A couple of strange events occurred around the time of William’s death.  On the day before William’s funeral one of his executors, Mr C Holmden a miller of Forest Row, died.  Another executor, his son Hilton Saxby, fell ill on the day of the funeral & died shortly afterwards of meningitis.

Son Harold Smeed married Dorothy Jessie Pettifer in July-September 1924 at Godstone, Surrey.

The children of Phoebe Fry & William Heasman were:

f. Emily Heasman christened August 5th, 1866 at West Hoathly, Sussex; died July 13th, 1960 at Oxted & Limpsfield  Hospital, Oxted
f. Nancy Heasman christened February 9th, 1868 at Oxted, Surrey; buried March 8th, 1883 at St Mary, Oxted
f. William Samuel Heasman born April 30th, 1869 and christened June 20th, 1869 at Oxted, Surrey; died November 3rd, 1945 at Oxted & Limpsfield  Hospital, Oxted, Surrey
f. Harriet Heasman born October 28th, 1870 and christened December 2nd, 1870 at Oxted, Surrey; died June 9th, 1932 at Chicksands, Menin Way, Farnham, Surrey
f. Frank Fry Heasman born May 4th, 1872 & christened June 4th, 1872 at Oxted Surrey; died April 23rd, 1954 at 2 Coltsford Mill Lane, Oxted.
f. Caroline Phoebe Heasman born December 2nd, 1873 & christened January 9th, 1874 at Oxted, Surrey; died June 21st, 1962 at Mayday Hospital, Thornton Heath, Surrey
f. Florence Emma Heasman born March 30th, 1875 and christened October 22nd, 1875 at Oxted, Surrey; died May 15th, 1931 at Horne Park, Surrey
f. Hilton Saxby Heasman born August 14th, 1877 & christened October 20th, 1877 at Oxted, Surrey; died January 24th, 1921 at the London Fever Hospital, Islington
f. Harold Smeed Heasman born March 31st, 1879 & christened May 14th 1879 at Oxted, Surrey; died January-March 1967 at Bromley, Greater London.
f. Mabel Sarah Heasman born July-September 1881 at Oxted, Surrey; died November 26th, 1951 at Oxted & Limpsfield Hospital, Oxted, Surrey


content copyright unless otherwise stated | terminology detail | acknowledgements & data sources