The search for Lieut. Mark Ecken R.N.
Research by David J. Radcliffe M.A. of Ballaugh,
with assistance from Jillian Ryder in Australia
‘what a wonderful tool the internet can be’
Ed: I’ve included this article in its unedited state as an excellent example of the complexity of research and how the story can unfold. The Internet has meant that research that would have been very difficult or impossible in the past can now be followed through. Although the emails show how immediate responses can be, the footwork still has to be tackled.
Sometime during the summer of 2009 I happened to photograph a gravestone that caught my eye in the graveyard at Ballaugh Old Church. The stone was inscribed with the name Lieut. Mark Ecken R.N. In October 2009 I chose to put that photograph onto a website called Flickr URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ballaugh/4061695284/. This was listed with a ‘tag’ for the surname on the gravestone.
In February 2010, as a result of an internet search on the surname Ecken, I was contacted by e-mail by Jillian Ryder in Australia. She was researching the Pinkerton family for a friend, and had come across a Mark Ecken, as the husband of an Elizabeth Pinkerton. Mark Ecken and Elizabeth Pinkerton had married in Glasgow, Scotland in 1819. Elizabeth Pinkerton had emigrated to Australia from Glasgow in 1839. Jillian had not known what had happened to Mark Ecken, and was not aware of a connection to the Isle of Man.
MEMORIAL INSCRIPTION AND CHURCH RECORDS
‘In memory of / Lieut. MARK ECKEN R.N. / who departed this mortal life / on the 13th day of September / 1826 aged 41 years. / Also CATHARINE GEORGINA his daughter who departed this life / on the 21st day of January / 1827 aged 18 months’
This adds a daughter to the family tree. I looked for her baptism, and also any possible siblings. I found Catharine Georgina as might be expected in the summer of 1825:-
‘Catharine Georgiana daughter of Mark & Elizabeth Ickan privately bapt 22nd July.’
Note the spelling of Georgina, was this an error? Also note the variant spelling of the surname. The clerk was presumably unfamiliar with the ‘alien’ surname.
The Ballaugh burial records show:
1826 Mark Ecken Lieut R N Sep 21st
1827 An Infant Daughter of Mrs Aiken Jan 26th
So far that has given us Ecken, Ickan and Aiken as variant spellings!
Luckily Mark Ecken left a will:
ECKEN, Mark Warcup 1826 Bal E 2 0106426
On Microfilm GL743 (damaged) at the Manx Museum Library, Douglas, Isle of Man
In the name of God Amen I Mark Warcup Ecken more commonly known by the name of Mark Eiken, a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy at present residing in the Parish of Ballaugh in the Isle of Mann [this is the old spelling] being weak in body but of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding do make publick & declare this my last will & testament in manner and form [the?] following Item [or is it Heir?] – I leave and bequeath unto my beloved wife Elizabeth Ecken after the payment of all just debts the whole of my estate real & personal of every denomination or kind whatsoever and lastly I nominate constitute & appoint my sd [said] Wife whole & sole Executrix of all the rest residue & remaining of my Power Chattles & effects and Guardian of my three children Margaret Pinkerton – Mary Harriet & Catharine Georgiana Ecken [the capital E has been gone over again and looks like an I perhaps] In witness whereof I have herewith subscribed my name this 7th Septr 1826.
Signed Published & declared / Mark W. Ecken /
before us who have herewith subscribed our names as witnesses in the judence[?] of the Testation & of each other, Wm. Mitford/J C Bluett/Advocate Jurate}/[etc.] hath given pledges – Thomas Kewish and John Frowd both of Ballaugh…
Notes: I’ve not come across any Mitford’s on the Island before.
J C Bluett was, or later became, the High Bailiff.
Thomas Kewish is listed as ‘Gentry’ in Slater’s Directory of 1846.
The name Frowd has popped up before in my research, but I haven’t as yet tracked down who that family was – it is not a Manx name.
‘Froud’s Road runs from Ballaugh Old Church to Froud’s Croft in the Ballaugh Curragh.’ http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/fulltext/scrap1/ch03.htm
Who was Mark Warcup Ecken?
The name that kept coming up on internet searches was the unlikely sounding Dodo Ecken. He had links to the Royal Navy and Woolwich, and was a surgeon. Could there be a connection?
Who was Elizabeth Pinkerton?
She married Mark Ecken in Glasgow in 1819. They had three daughters. One died in the Isle of Man aged 18 months. The other two emigrated to Australia from Greenock, Glasgow with their mother, and their Uncle and Aunt etc in 1839. She had a brother James Pinkerton. James Pinkerton was married to Margaret Unknown. Their daughter married a Kissack. There were four other children. They all emigrated from Greenock, Glasgow to Port Philip, Australia in 1839. Two of James Pinkerton’s sisters also emigrated together with three nieces (of James and Margaret) and one sister-in-law (of James and Margaret).
Children: Margaret Ecken.
Catharine Georgina Ecken (1825-1827) Buried Ballaugh.
FURTHER RESEARCH THROUGH CORRESPONDENCE VIA FACEBOOK
Jillian Ryder 04 February at 08:10
Hi David…I’m researching the Ecken/Pinkerton families for a friend. There was a wife and two daughters of Mark Ecken RN came to Australia in 1839 on the ”Superb” from Glasgow, they settled in Victoria with Mrs Ecken’s brother James Pinkerton and family. I believe your headstone photo may be her husband’s. This is the second time the Isle of Man has come up in this research, in 1841 Census 3 girls named Chmil (Chmel) from Liverpool were staying there. Two of these girls and their Aunt all married Pinkertons. Still haven’t worked out what the connection to your Island is….thanks for the photo, a fabulous find.
Best wishes, Jillian Ryder, Australia
Jillian Ryder 04 February at 09:10
The Chmel girls’ mother was named Kitchen…is that a local name for you? Adelbert Chmel was a wine and spirits merchant in Liverpool, we think he may have been from Prague. Also the Aunt Chmel married Mark Ecken Pinkerton. Do you have the full transcription for the stone as part of it is hidden by a bush? Thanks for the Cannel suggestion, I’ll have a look at that.
Jillian Ryder 04 February at 22:06
Hi David, that would be wonderful. I may have another connection….James Pinkerton of Victoria died at the home of his son in law, a Mr KISSACK. Now I know you have a few of those, are any local to the town where Mark Ecken is buried?
Jillian Ryder 04 February at 22:10
James was the brother in law of Mark Ecken RN in case this is getting confusing…
Jillian Ryder 04 February at 22:42
James’s wife is Margaret but Mark Ecken’s wife was James’s sister (a Pinkerton) and I don’t have her name yet. One of Mark’s daughters who came was Margaret Ecken.
James and Margaret Pinkerton & Family left Glasgow, Scotland on 8 July 1839 – sailing from Greenock on the Barque ”Superb”. They arrived at Port Phillip on 4 December 1839. In …
Jillian Ryder 04 February at 23:21
The Pinkertons – James, Margaret and their five surviving children, two sisters, three nieces and sister-in-law – are believed to be the first unassisted immigrants from Glasgow to Australia.
Louise Silberberg Cook 05 February at 06:30
Hi David, Jillian Ryder has helped me in finding ancestors in Liverpool which led also to the Isle of Man. She said I would be very interested in the photos etc. on your facebook page and I would welcome the chance to learn more about the community you live in. Jillian has sent me the information on Lt.Ecken’s grave site and the other messages you sent her and I would like to view the photos she says you have posted.
We are both quite excited about this – what a wonderful tool the internet can be; I am a novice who wants to learn more
Jillian Ryder 05 February at 08:17
Mark Ecken married Elizabeth Pinkerton 18 Jan 1819 Glasgow. James Pinkerton married Margaret Gardiner 24 Dec 1816 Glasgow. Louise Silberberg Cook is the lady I’m researching for. We love dead people, too.
Jillian Ryder 07 February at 03:23
Yes I did get your email and sent a reply, let me know if it’s gone astray. Mark’s daughters here were Margaret who died a spinster at age 55, and Mary Harriet who married her first cousin William Pinkerton. Were there such things as rates/tithes books or post office directories or anything like that in your parish?
Dodo Ecken (Research by Jillian and David)
Dodo Ecken married Mary Loney 25 Apr 1772 at St Mary Magdalene, Woolwich, witnesses Jam Carter, T Barker, ? Barker, Thomas Sparshott, Mary MacPherson.
Mark Warclap Echen born 30 Oct 1784 Baptised 12 Dec 1784 St Mary Magdalene Woolwich , of Dodo and Mary.
Dodo was a surgeon with the Royal Artillery, and Mark Warcup (see below), was Commissary of stores to the Royal Engineer. At that time the Artillery and the Engineers were housed together at Woolwich so the men were connected through the army.
Where does the name Warcup come from? (Jillian’s research)
Mark Warcup married Frances Loney (the sister of Dodo’s wife?) on 24 Jan 1766 St Mary Magdalene Woolwich, Frances listed as a minor, witnesses Mary Loney and Mulford Young. This would suggest that Mary and Frances were sisters, which would mean Mark Warcup and Dodo Ecken were brothers in law, and Mark Warcup an Uncle to Lieut. Mark Warcup Ecken..
SUMMARY MARK WARCUP ECKEN
Born 30 Oct 1784
Baptised 12 Dec 1784 St Mary Magdalene, Woolwich
c1810 Glasgow Mark Ecken was a Lieutenant with the Impress Service.
1819 Glasgow Mark Ecken married Elizabeth Pinkerton.
Children: Margaret Ecken.
c1824 Mary Harriet, m.Wm Pinkerton, Melbourne 1848, d.1900
1825 Catharine Georgina Ecken (1825-1827) Buried Ballaugh.
Death: 1826 Died: Ballaugh, aged 41. Buried Ballaugh.
WHAT DID HE DIE OF?
Manx Newspapers search re September 1826: The Manx Sun 16.09.1826
‘We regret to note the extent and fatality which dysenteries and cholera morhus are making among the poor of this island. As they are complaints very readily checked by the early adoption of medicine we consider it as a strong inducement to some public measure, by which the poor should be provided with medical advice and medicine, gratis.’ ‘Dreadful Storm: During the past week the weather has been in a very unsettled state.’ Many ships were wrecked with considerable loss of life. No Ecken obituary.
FINALLY: WHAT WAS HIS CONNECTION WITH THE ISLE OF MAN?
Had Mark been pensioned off? Did he retire to the Isle of Man, because of the cheaper cost of living? Was there a family connection? There is no obvious connection with the Island. The surname Loney (his Mother’s maiden name) resembles Looney, which is a well known surname, but that seems to be a coincidence.
Loney family: (research by Jillian and David)
A John F. Loney (John on birth records) with the Royal Navy, Master of the Trincomalee (North America and West Indies 17.09.1747, could be the girls’ father. If so, this is Mark Ecken’s grandfather, and might be worth a look as it would give him a link to the Navy.
From the records at the National Archives, mostly from the Navy Board, I was able to determine that the Shipwright known as John Loney Junior is Mary’s father. Captain John F Loney RN is probably a relative. John Senior was a Shipwright in Portsmouth, John Junior was a Shipwright’s assistant for a time. They were building ships for the Navy. John Junior was appointed Master Boatbuilder at Woolwich in 1764. And, if you’re interested, his will is online dated 14th November 1778. Would certainly help to verify the story.
Conclusions (by David): It isn’t clear why Mark Ecken and his family were on the Isle of Man. There is no indication that they were living permanently on the Island, no address mentioned in the Will, in the burial records, or on the headstone. If it is true that a Pinkerton (his wife’s family name) married a Kissack, and I have not been able to find this marriage in Ballaugh or Jurby – or further afield via the internet, then perhaps they had simply been simply visiting their Kissack relatives, when Mark, and in due course, his infant daughter were struck down by some illness. So if there are any ‘Kissack’ experts out there who know the answer please let me know!