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Elizabeth Freeth [fh.]

We are most grateful for the help of Robert Tonks in the construction of this page. Robert is the great grandson of Elizabeth Freeth & Reuben Tonks.

Elizabeth Freeth was the second child of Samuel Freeth & Jane Rebecca Lambert born January 24th, 1859 at Galton St, Smethwick, Staffs.

Elizabeth's birth certificate

In 1861 Elizabeth was living at Feeder St, Smethwick with her parents & 2 sisters.

In 1871 the family were still at Smethwick but now living at Causer St. Elizabeth now had 5 sisters.

The family had moved to Birmingham St, Oldbury by the time of Elizabeth’s marriage in 1877.

Elizabeth married Reuben Tonks on May 13th, 1877 at the parish church of Rowley Regis, Staffs. Reuben was a machine minder living at George St at the time of the wedding. Witnesses at the wedding were William Smith & Sarah Smith. Sarah was Elizabeth’s sister who had married William earlier that year. Reuben was born 1852 at Brierley Hill, Staffs, the son of Emma Beddall & John Tonks, a boatman. Interestingly both Elizabeth’s & Reuben’s ages were incorrect on the certificate.

Elizabeth & Reuben's marriage certificate

In 1881 Elizabeth & Reuben were living at 74 Pleasant St, West Bromwich where Reuben was a nail cutter. They had 2 children – Reuben (2) & Mary Jane (1).

By 1891 the family were at 6 Chapel St, Oldbury, Worcs & Reuben was now a stationary enginedriver. At home were Reuben, Mary Jane, Edwin (9), William Henry (6), Margaret (4), Samuel (3) & John (7 months).

In 1901 Reuben & son Reuben were both boarding at 58 Emlyn St, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancs. They were both working as mechanical engineers. Elizabeth was looking after the rest of the family at 138 Palace Rd, Aston, Birmingham. Children at home were Mary J, William, a stationary engine stoker, Sarah M(argaret), a trouser machinist, Samuel, a tailor’s errand boy, John, Percy (7) & Lily (4).

In 1911 Reuben was boarding with the Hotchkiss family at 1134 Hadley Lodge, Wellington, Shropshire where he was an engineer at the brickworks.  His wife Elizabeth & 6 of their children were living at 163 Herbert Rd, Small Heath, Birmingham.  With her were sons William Henry, a toolmaker at a brassfounders, Samuel, a warehouseman at a clothing manufacturers, John, a pressworker at a cycle manufacturers, Percy, a clerk at a bedstead manufacturers,  & daughters Margaret & Lilly.  Elizabeth & Reuben had had 11 children, only 9 of whom were still living.

Elizabeth died in Oct-December 1918 at Aston, Warks.

Son Percy married Nellie (Ellen) Richards in 1919 in Aston.  Percy became a successful business man & inventor, becoming a managing director of REVO electric company.    

We are grateful to Percy's grandson, Richard Tonks for information on Percy's life

Reuben died March 2nd, 1924, aged 71, in Wellington, nr Wolverhampton.

The children of Elizabeth Freeth & Reuben Tonks were:

fh. Reuben Tonks born Jan-March 1879 at West Bromwich, Staffs
fh. Mary Jane Tonks christened June 4th, 1880 at West Bromwich, Staffs
fh. Edwin Tonks born Oct-December 1881 at West Bromwich, Staffs
fh. Florence Louisa Tonks born April-June 1883 at West Bromwich; died July-September 1884 at Smethwick
fh.  William Henry Tonks born Oct-December 1884 at Smethwick, Staffs
fh.  Margaret Tonks born Jan-March 1887 at Cardiff, Wales
fh.  Samuel Tonks born Jan-March 1888 at Cardiff, Wales
fh.  John Tonks born July-September 1890 at Oldbury, Worcs
fh.  Ernest Tonks christened October 5th, 1892 at Oldbury; died Oct-December 1893 at Oldbury
fh.  Percy Tonks born April-June 1894 at Halesowen, Worcs; died in March 1954 & buried at St Peter’s,  Harborne
fh.  Lily Tonks born Jan-March 1897 at Aston, Birmingham


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