Charles Mays was the second child of Thomas May & Mary Hart christened October 26th, 1834 at Mid Lavant, Sussex.
In 1841 Charles, his parents & 2 brothers were living at Holt Lane, Madehurst, Sussex & his father was a gamekeeper.
The family were still living at Madehurst in 1851 at Holt House & Charles was now an underkeeper & his father still a gamekeeper. His brother George was still at home & working as an excise officer.
By 1871 Charles had moved north with his father & step-mother Esther (nee Julien). They were living at Lambton Kennels, Bournmoor, Chester-le-Street, Co Durham & Charles was now a gamekeeper, his father being head gamekeeper. They had a 17 year old general servant.
Charles married Elizabeth Sutheron (Southren in BMD index) on April 29th, 1874 at Sacriston, Co Durham. Elizabeth was born at Consett, Co Durham & christened July 12th, 1846 at St Mary Magdalene, Medomsley, Co Durham, the illegitimate daughter of Margery Sutheron.
In 1881 Charles & Elizabeth were living at Lambton Kennels, next to Charles’ father & step mother. Charles was an assistant gamekeeper & they had a 1 year old son Charles T.
An article in the Sunderland Daily Echo & Shipping Gazette of September 20th, 1883 reports on a gun accident just outside of Chester-le-Street. While Charles & his father were out shooting rabbits, a gun carried by Mr Charles Mays accidentally went off & struck a man named Charles Rice in the neck, chest & face, as well as part of the charge lodging in Charles’ shoulder. Mr Rice was badly hurt but Charles’ injuries were not as serious although he was suffering from shock.
By 1891 Charles & Elizabeth had moved to Gardeners Cottages, Harraton, Fatfield, Chester-le-Street & Charles had now become a colliery store keeper. They now had 3 children – Charles, Mary E (7) & Margery H (5). They also had a 17 year old domestic servant, Sarah Nelson.
In 1901 their address was Lambton Park, Harraton & Charles, aged 64, was now living on his own means. Their 3 children were still at home – Charles was a mechanical engineer & Mary was a school teacher.
Elizabeth died in Oct-December 1908, aged 62, at Harraton.
In 1911 widowed Charles & his 3 children were living at 6 Harraton Terrace, Lambton Park, Fence Houses & Charles was described as a retired gamekeeper. Son Charles was still a mechanical engineer & Mary was a school teacher for Durham County Council. No occupation was was given for Margery who was presumably looking after the home. It was noted on the census that Charles & Elizabeth had had 4 children, only 3 of whom were still alive.
Charles died on January 1st, 1913, aged 77, at Garden Cottages, Fatfield Park, Fence Houses, Co Durham. He was buried at Fatfield Church on January 4th, 1913. Probate was granted in London on April 3rd, 1913 to son Charles Thomas Mays, engineer & to nephew Arthur Thomas Mays [m.3.3.2], hospital secretary. Charles’ effects were £3,358.0s.3d.
Sadly son Charles Thomas died, aged 61, whilst serving with the Merchant Navy during WW2. He was serving as Chief Engineer Officer on the S.S. Turakina (Plymouth) when he died on August 20th, 1940. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial. The S.S. Turakina was a New Zealand cargo steamer which was sunk in the Tasman Sea on August 20th by a German raider, Orion, after a running fight lasting 2 & a half hours while bound for Sydney & Wellington (ref. www.wrecksite.eu).
The children of Charles Mays & Elizabeth Sutheron were:
m.3.2.1 Charles Thomas Mays christened February 4th, 1880 at Bournmoor, Co Durham; died August 20th, 1940 on the Tasman Sea
m.3.2.2 Mary Elizabeth Mays born November 13th, 1883 & christened December 19th, 1883 at Bournmoor, Co Durham; died Oct-December 1975 at Haringey, London
m.3.2.3 Margery Hannah Mays born February 25th, 1886 at Fatfield, Co Durham; died July-September 1974 at Enfield, London
m.3.2.4 George Southren Mays christened November 18th, 1888 at Fatfield, Co Durham; died Jan-March 1890 at Chester-le-Street