“CORTSHIP” OF SECOND WIFE
Who is Cort’s second wife?
She is Elizabeth Haysham, daughter of lawyer Thomas Haysham and his wife Anne (née Attwick).
The name is spelt “Heysham” by some sources. But in all the documents I’ve seen, Thomas and all members of his family spell it “Haysham”. It’s possible that he deliberately changed the spelling of his name (just as Richard Crawshay started with the surname Crawshaw).
Some sources say Thomas hails from Staffordshire, but no confirmation has been found. He is steward for some or all of the Hampshire estates of the Duke or Portland, probably including the Titchfield estate before its sale to the Delmé family in 1741. A lucrative post. But, judging from records of his burial and the baptism of his children, he lives in Gosport.
He and Anne have six children. It appears that all but two die young. Ann, the eldest of the six, who marries John Becher, lives to the age of 88, and gets to know her great-grandson William Makepeace Thackeray quite well. Elizabeth, the youngest, makes it to 81.
“Cortship” of Elizabeth Haysham
The story is apparent from a chancery lawsuit at the PRO.
Jeremiah's financial affairs are managed by his Portsmouth-based brother-in-law Samuel Dawson, and Dawson's London agent Eustace Kentish. Dawson is named as executor in the will.
In 1770 John and Ann Becher, Henry and Elizabeth Cort will launch an action against Dawson and Kentish.
Their complaint is that Dawson and Kentish have grabbed a slice of Jeremiah's estate for themselves by exaggerating Jeremiah's debt to them.
Among Jeremiah's heirs are his sisters Elizabeth Attwick and Ann Haysham. They both die in 1766, leaving most of their estates to Ann's daughters.
At this point Elizabeth Haysham is 21 years old. Her sister Ann Becher is living in Staffordshire with husband John and three children.
Elizabeth wins administration of her mother's and aunt's estates. Can she trust her uncle's executors?
Kentish is a near-neighbour of Henry Cort, and in the same line of business.
We can conjecture that John seeks Cort's help.
"My sister-in-law needs to know, is this man Kentish reliable?"
So Becher's sister-in-law meets Cort. She is impressed. Doubtless feels sorry for him, after what happened to his first wife.
The wedding of Henry Cort (widower) to Elizabeth Haysham (spinster) on 16 March 1768 is recorded in the register of St Thomas The Apostle, London.
A Haysham connection
Information discovered recently (March 2009) on the Web suggests that Thomas Haysham has a sister Elizabeth, who marries “John Ward, born in 1690, the elder son of Captain William Ward, of Crabborn (should this be Crabthorn?), Titchfield, Hants.” They have a son “John Ward, born in 1735, who married Elizabeth Young and left descendants”.
Do we find one of these descendants in 1799, when Henry Bell Cort, eldest son of Henry and Elizabeth, is confined to a mental hospital in Calcutta? He is visited by one Rev Dr James Ward, who claims to be a distant relation. James turns out to be the son of “John Ward, of Newport, Hants” (i.e. Isle of Wight), who seems to have held the post of Deputy Comptroller at the Custom House in nearby Cowes, and could easily have been born in 1735.