Thomas and Betsy Hillyer Home
Thomas & Betsy Hillyer lived for many years at Plank Houses, Towcester. They had 6 children, born 1880 – 1895 – all born before their parent’s marriage in 1899.
Betsy was born Betsy Salmon in Slapton in about 1855, the daughter of farm labourer, Francis. When she was 20, she had a daughter, Emma Salmon. Three years later, she married Henry Smith, thought to be from Stoke Bruerne, and about 9 months later had a son called James. By 1881, Henry had disappeared, and Betsy was living at Plank Houses with Thomas Hillyer, and a 7 month old baby called Selina. Selina was registered, as were the subsequent children, as “Smith”, but several of them appear to bear “Hillyer” as a second, or even third, Christian name. The fourth child, Samuel, is baptised as Sam son of Betsy Smith, with Hillyer crossed out.
Henry Smith had re-appeared by 1891, living in two rooms in Jubilee Row, while Betsy continued to live with Thomas Hillyer, ostensibly as his housekeeper. Henry died during the first quarter of 1899, and Betsy finally became Mrs Thomas Hillyer on 24 Apr 1899.