The Bertrams of Massachusetts visit their Perchard, Touzel and Guiton relatives in Jersey

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Capt Bertram

This article is based on a longer piece written by Selina Little for the journal of the Channel Island Family History Society in 2013

Jean Bertram, a master carpenter, his wife Marie Perchard, both of St Saviour, and their family of three sons and three daughters, sailed from Jersey to the USA in 1807 in search of a better life. They settled in Salem, Massachusetts (on the Atlantic coast of New England, 18 miles north of Boston).

Cabin boy to master

In order to help support the family John, the oldest son, went to sea and climbed the ladder of success from cabin boy to master, earning his title of Captain John Bertram. Home from the sea, he became a ship owner and established his own shipping firm in Salem.

He was principally involved in trade with South America (hides, rubber), Zanzibar (cloves, gum copal for varnish) and the 1849 California Gold Rush (he was among the first to send supplies to the miners and pan-handlers by ship).

His last venture was investing in US railroads, building new lines in Iowa to connect with others running to the West Coast. He profited greatly from all of these.

Captain Bertram was a philanthropist on a grand scale - he founded homes for old ladies, aged men and working women, and after his death his widow and family presented his home at 370 Essex Street to the city to be the Salem Public Library, which remains there to this day.

While Captain Bertram was fortunate in trade, he was unlucky in his personal life. Two wives died in childbirth: both his sons died in infancy and even his adopted son died relatively young, without providing a male heir.

Back to the Old Country

Captain Bertram's first visit to his homeland was in 1841. He wrote in his memoir:

”Found in the Island still living my mother's two brothers and one sister (Jacques and Philippe Perchard and Rachel Perchard, married to Jean Gregg, all of St Saviour ) Of my father's relatives, none nearer than second and third cousins, whom I never knew were living.

On his second visit to Jersey in 1857 he was accompanied by his daughters and adopted daughter, a governess and his third wife. The cousins turned out to be the Perchards and Greggs as before, but also the Guiton family in St Helier. Captain Bertram was a first cousin of Catherine Perchard, who married Francis Guiton. Catherine's father, Philip Perchard, was a brother of Marie Perchard, Captain Bertram's mother.

The next Bertram family visit to Jersey was in 1869, by Captain Bertram, his third wife, his daughter Clara Bertram (Mrs David P Kimball), and his granddaughter Clara (Rosie) Bertram Kimball, aged 9. They again visited the Guiton family in St Helier. Rosie enjoyed meeting Touzel cousins of her own age - the grandchildren of Francis Guiton and Catherine Perchard (their daughter Jane Catherine had married Charles Touzel). On leaving they took Anne Elizabeth Guiton with them while touring England and Scotland. Forenames are used in diaries of the trip, but no surnames except that of cousin Anne.

Captain Bertram invited Anne to visit the Bertram family in the USA, which she did in the summer of 1873. She first spent some time with them at the Glen House Hotel at the base of Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She then travelled to Plymouth and the east coast of Massachusetts followed by New York (Niagara Falls, Saratoga Springs) and Vermont (Lake George and Lake Champlain) - all of this by horse and carriage or train.

Last visit

The last 19th century trip to Jersey took place in the summer of 1883. Members of the family visited Jersey together in honour of their father and grandfather, Captain Bertram, who had died on 22 March 1882. Ever generous, Captain Bertram remembered his Jersey cousins in his will written in 1877. He left money to ‘J B Guiton’, James Guiton’s son John Bertram Guiton, ‘Mrs Toozle’, Jane Catherine Guiton who married Charles Touzel, ‘Philip Guiton’, Philip Perchard Guiton, brother of Jane Catherine, ‘Harriet Guiton’ and ‘Anne E Guiton’.

Although the Salem Bertrams were regular visitors, there was very little contact with Bertram relatives. Almost all the people they met were descendants of John Bertram's mother's family, the Perchards.

Marie Perchard, the wife of Captain John Bertram, was born early in 1773 and was the eldest of five children of Jacques Perchard and Elizabeth Vaudin. The second child and eldest son, also Jacques, married Jeanne Valpy in 1796 at St Saviour, and his children included Jeanne, who married John Guiton. The third child, Philippe, married Catherine Noel and their daughter Catherine Perchard married Francis Guiton. His younger sister Rachel went on to marry Jean Gregg and produced seven children. As far as can be established the remaining daughter Elizabeth died very young.

The fact that we are dealing in the age before civil registration means that it becomes necessary to look at legal contracts. In doing so, a contract dated 18 July 1807 was found, whereby Jean Bertram sold Philippe Perchard an annual rente of 3 quartiers, 4 cabots of wheat in return for a sum of money. It would seem reasonable to assume that the sale of rente to his brother-in-law was how the emigration to Salem was funded.

Francis Guiton line

Catherine Perchard was baptised on 4 June 1800 in St Helier, the second child and elder daughter of Philippe Perchard and Catherine Noel. She married Francis Guiton on 24 September 1821 at St Saviour.

Francis, who was six years Catherine's senior, was the eldest son of Francis Guiton, and Anne Pequin. His grandparents, Jean Guiton and Marie Simoneaux, were described in the St Helier marriage records as refugees, and given that the name is most common in the departements to the south of Nantes (Vendee and Deux-Sevres), it is likely that they were Huguenots fleeing religious persecution.

Francis Guiton was recorded in the 1841 Census as a draper, living with his wife and six children in premises at the back of 30 King Street. In 1851 he was still living in the same premises but describing himself as an accountant. By 1861 he and Catherine had retired to Grove Place (next to the Methodist church). Francis died in December 1863 and was buried at Green Street Cemetery, as were his daughters Harriet and Anne. Catherine was also buried in this plot in June 1875.

They had eight children, two of whom - Catherine, the first born, and the last child Catherine Esther - died young and were buried with them.

The Guiton girls

Two of Francis Guiton's surviving daughters - Harriet and Anne Elizabeth - never married. Anne Elizabeth was from the first interested in the business of education, describing herself as a governess in the 1851 Census and as a teacher in 1861. She established and ran a private school, first in Craig Street, then at 16 Vauxhall Street, and finally during the 1880s at 14 Clarendon Road, and taught French. In due course her younger sister Harriet Guiton, who began her working life as a milliner's apprentice, also joined the school as a teacher, and they continued in this enterprise up until about 1889. Their nephew Emile Frederick Guiton referred to them as the Guiton girls who ran a school. Both sisters died in 1901.

In the 1860s schooling was not compulsory in Jersey (it did not become so until 1884), and the majority of private schools were run by one or two teachers for no more than a dozen pupils. Some were day schools; others took boarders.

Almanacs of the time list the Guiton sisters as proprietors of a school for young ladies. There were 35 such establishments in St Helier in 1881, but the rise of professional establishments, the 1883 bank crash and compulsory education saw the number fall to 20 by 1890.

The travelling brothers

Francis Guiton was the eldest surviving child of the marriage. He went to sea, and died at the age of 26 in Para, Brazil on 10 July 1850. His death is commemorated on the Green Street tombstone.

His younger brother James started work as a draper in his father's business: however, after his marriage to Marie Judith Le Hardy of St Lawrence, Captain John Bertram invited him to work for him as a commission merchant (agent) in connection with his Iowa railroad enterprises in the USA.

According to the US Census five of James and Marie's children were born in Iowa between about 1851 and 1860. However, James did not spend all of this time in the USA. In 1857 Captain Bertram made a visit to Europe with members of the family, the youngest of whom, Grace Guiton Bertram - Captain Bertram's adopted daughter of his third marriage - was only nine years old.

Thinking that the rigours of travel would be too much, Grace was left in St Helier with her Guiton cousins. She died there and it was James Guiton who notified the authorities of her death.

Philip Perchard Guiton, Francis and Catherine's youngest son, was listed as a draper's apprentice in the 1851 Census. He went on to spend time in Australia before returning to Jersey and marrying Elvina Amelie Soupre (born 1839 in Bordeaux) on 9 April 1872. They lived at 31 Bath Street, where he ran a corn merchant's shop and had three children. It was his youngest son, Emile Frederick Guiton (born in 1879) who was associated with the Societe jersiaise for forty years as secretary, curator and amateur photographer.

Philip Perchard Guiton, and his son Emile were both significantly involved with the Scotch Presbyterian Church (now the Church of Scotland) in Midvale Road. The original group of trustees appointed in 1879 to own the land and building dwindled from seven to two, and in 1903 permission was sought to swear in a new group of trustees, which included Philip and Emile.

The Touzel connection

Jane Catherine Guiton, Francis and Catherine's eldest daughter, married Charles Touzel, a corn and flour merchant whose father Thomas was a public weigher of goods. The Touzels lived at 23 Pier Road in St Helier in 1861, and had moved to Grove Place by 1871.

By this time there were four children: the eldest, Charles, was about 14 years old, and he was followed by Alice Jane, Francis Guiton and Grace Rachel.

None of the children was to live long. In 1883 Francis Guiton was involved in a partage of the estate of his uncle Francois Touzel. He is listed as the principal heir by collateral succession, which means that his elder brother must by this point have been dead. He died in the spring of 1875.

The partage was a large one, in which Francis Guiton received 21 Pier Road, while his uncle George gained 23 Pier Road and his cousin John Filleul received 22 Colomberie; Francis Guiton's four Touzel aunts all received endowments of rente. But Francis Clifton Touzel died the following year, aged 24. His sister Grace Rachel died in 1888 at the age of 25, and Alice Jane Touzel died in May 1871. Charles Touzel snr died barely six months after his son in the autumn of 1875, leaving Jane Catherine to take over his corn merchant business at 7 Burrard Street, which she was running with Francis Guiton Touzel in 1881. Jane Catherine died in 1891, the last of the family to do so.

The other Guiton line

Francis Guiton snr, the son of Jean and Marie Simoneaux, had a brother, Jean Jacques, commonly known as Jacques. His son Jean by his marriage to Marie Romeril, married Jeanne Perchard. We thus have two pairs of cousins marrying.

This was Jean's second marriage. He was first married to Henriette Guillaume, until her death in 1830. Two children survived from this first marriage, Harriet and John Marett Guiton, and the latter was the father of Walter Guiton, founder of the Jersey Evening Post.

Jean Guiton and Jeanne Perchard seem to have spent much time moving between St Helier and St Saviour. They married in the Town Church in 1830 and the eldest of their three daughters, Jane, was baptised there in 1832. However, by 1835 they had moved into St Saviour where their second daughter Anne was baptised and her elder sister was buried in February 1836.

The family appear in the 1841 Census at or near Grand Val mill (about where the Grands Vaux reservoir now is) and the third daughter, Esther, was baptised in St Saviour in January 1842. By 1851 the family were on the other side of the parish at Wesley Villa in Georgetown.

By 1861 the two sisters had lost both parents and were living together in Patier Road, near St Saviour's parish church, in the same house as their great-aunt Rachel Gregg. Esther went on to marry insurance agent Philip Barbier and died in 1897. Anne Guiton then moved the short distance to Oakfield, Bon Air Lane, to live with her uncle James Perchard. She remained there after his death until she died during the 1890s.

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