Broad Street Wrington ARCHIVE
Personal Quest - Josephine Smedley
William Henry Woolf - page 1

These pages come from Josephine Smedley née Richards, who has spent years researching her family history, especially the Woolf [variously spelled] line which, in the person of William Henry Woolf, gives her strong links with Wrington. Jo takes up the story:

"Jane Wolf(e) Woolf was the mother of my grandfather George Walter Stagg, she was also the daughter of George Walter Woolf, Wrington and the grandaughter of William Henry Woolf, Wrington.

History has always been my passion and I have been overwhelmed as the story unfolded.

I will continue researching the Woolf family, but at the moment I am concentrating on Anna-Maria Smart, her mother, the first wife of John Smart, who eloped with the artist William Par and died in Rome of consumption (sounds interesting).

Anna-Maria Woolf (née Smart) daughter of John Smart. Mother of William Henry
William Henry Woolf - my ancestor

The 1851 census told me that William Henry was a British Citizen born in the East Indies, it took me 10 years to prove that he was.

William Henry Wolf, Sexton of Wrington Church 1838-1851 - was baptized 14th February 1800, at St Mary's Church, Fort St. George, Madras, India. He was the seventh of the nine children born to Robert Woolf and Anna Maria Smart.

Robert Woolf, father of William Henry
William Henry married Marianne Langhorn sometime around 1819/20. I'm not sure when or where, but several of their children were also christened at Butcombe. Later the family seems to have moved into Wrington, and indeed, Marianne Langhorne was baptised at Wrington 19th April, 1801, her parents being William and Rose Langhorn.

The children of William Henry and Marianne (sometimes Mary or Mary Ann) are as follows:
Robert 1820 Butcombe
Mary Ann 1825 Butcombe Died young
William 1826 Poss. Butcombe 
George Walter  1827 Butcombe George Walter is my 4 times grandfather
Marian 1830 Wrington Died 1844
Joseph 1833 Wrington Died 1834
Sophia Ann 1835 Wrington
Joseph 1838 Wrington Died 1839
Charlotte 1841 Wrington
John 1844  Wrington
According to an old diary kept by Robert Woolf (William Henry's father), and at one time in the possession of one of his descendants, the Woolf family were left in straitened circumstances when his father David died (David was a London merchant). This was due to Mrs Woolf (Robert’s mother) being defrauded by her husband's partner.

Robert Woolf was placed in a merchant's counting house with Sir G. Wombell, where he worked until 1775. Then, as a boy of only 19, he was sent to Boston with £4,000 or £5,000 in dollars to pay some of the King's Troop stationed there, arriving before the battle of Bunker Hill.

Two years later Woolf returned to England, and in 1779 entered the East India Company's Madras Civil Service, as a Writer. He became successively Auditor of Civil Accounts and Deputy Auditor in 1791, and Accountant-General in 1795.

Robert's wife and William Henry's mother Anna Maria (née Smart) was the daughter of John Smart 1741/3-1811 the Georgian miniaturist. Her step-brother John Smart, junior, (1776-1809) was also a miniaturist, and both painted members of the Woolf family. A few are illustrated here.

John Smart self-portrait. Father of Anna Maria Woolf (née Smart) and grandfather of William Henry
Mrs Charles Smart (née Sarah Ann Barlow - daughter of John Barlow and Sarah Woolf, sister of Robert Woolf) married Capt. Charles Smart, brother of the artist John Smart, in Madras
Robert Woolf, brother of William Henry. Artist John Smart, his grandfather