For years the family have been told there was a secret. Something so intriguing that it was kept in a box. Never to be divulged or shared. This box was in the possession of Charles James Patterson Maffitt. Our missing grandfather’s son.
After CJPM (Charles James Patterson Maffitt) died, the box apparently went missing. No one in the entire family knows where it is or what mysterious piece of information was within it.
What could it have been that warranted such secrecy? What could have possibly been so important that it had to be kept in a box and hidden? Could this secret be the answer to this entire mystery?
Whatever this was, whoever protected it, did not want it divulging that’s for sure. We can only assume that it was something of substance. In the 1800’s things were done a lot differently. People married younger, had children a lot younger and had A LOT of children. Bigamy was also on the menu for some. It seems to have factored into a lot of family histories and this was one subject we wanted to delve into.
Did Charles Sherlock Maffitt leave because he had another family somewhere? I’m not sure. We have come to the conclusion that Mary Anna may have been pregnant when they got married and this may have been the reason for the request to have the marriage licence given to her immediately. Although, the marriage application is originally stamped in January 1866 which may indicate that she wasn’t pregnant when they applied to marry. So that doesn’t really shed anymore light on it does it!
If Charles did marry her out of duty because she was pregnant, why did he do it if he had something to hide? There is no record of his or even his father’s birth or death. They are not on any land census, they didn’t appear on any travel or immigration documents, they are listed as Master Mariners but we can’t find their certificates. We can only assume he married under a false name. Why would he create a false name? Where did this name originate from? Was it someone he worked with? A relative?
Charles and Mary Anna then went on to have another child, Elisabeth and then he left. On an 1871 census, the only one Charles is mentioned on, Mary Anna is listed as the Head of the household and in the section which describes the profession, it states “Husband at sea”.
The strange thing about this whole scenario is that Charles Sherlock Maffitt had disappeared by 1871. But so did Mary Anna’s brother Charles along with Francis Patten who was a witness to Charles and Mary’s wedding.
CSM (Charles Sherlock Maffitt) we know about so we don’t need to go there, Charles Parry (Mary Anna’s brother) disappeared in 1870 and wasn’t heard from again for 21 years. This is shown with an entry in the Liverpool Weekly Mercury as below:
Liverpool Weekly Mercury 4th April 1891
*** Many thanks for your kindness in inserting in the “Missing Friends column” the notice asking for information concerning Charles Parry who left Bootle 21 years ago. I am happy to say I have heard from him –
His sister Mary Anna Seddon, 3 Bennett Place, Derby Road, Bootle.
- Mary Anna Seddon formerly Maffitt – she re-married George Seddon after Charles Sherlock Maffitt’s disappearance
Where did he go? The family were told that he went to Peru. What for, we don’t know. There was also a photograph in the family of a man, wife and two children in full Spanish dress. We again were all led to believe this was “our little Spanish grandmother” The man in the photo was known as Carlos. This photo also subsequently disappeared. Could Carlos have been Charles Parry, Mary’s brother?
So that’s Charles Sherlock Maffitt, Francis Patten and Charles Parry all disappearing at around the same time and absolutely no record of John Sherlock Maffitt.
Did they all disappear together? Was it just a coincidence? What was in that box!