Charles Courtneidge was a coachman from Leatherhead, Surrey. He fell from the box of his fly and died on the Upper Road to Richmond in Putney in 1860, leaving his widow Sarah Watson and six living children. Charles was born in 1807 to John Courtnadge and Hanna Clifton. Courtneidge (also Courtnadge, Courtnage) is a rare surname that originated near the hundred of Godalming in southwest Surrey.
Sarah Watson was born on 1 Aug 1818 in the parish of St. Luke, Chelsea, then in the county of Middlesex. She was the first child of James Watson, a shoemaker, and Ann Copperthite. In 1842, the Watson family’s fortune took a turn for the worse. Ann Watson died of consumption at age 50 on 29 Sep 1842. James Watson died the next year from chronic bronchitis, followed by their youngest child, 6 year-old James. The other unmarried Watson children became inmates of the Workhouse.
Thomas James Ward was born on 9 Jan 1843 at Strand-on-the-Green in Chiswick. His father Thomas was an agricultural labourer at Edward Dean’s market gardens. Thomas married Sarah Hannah Lucy Courtneidge on 5 Aug 1867 at St. Paul’s Church, Hammersmith. Sarah was born in 1844 in Wimbledon to Charles Courtneidge, a coachman, and Sarah Watson, a shoemaker’s daughter from Chelsea. Thomas and Sarah had 12 children from 1863-1889. The family lived in Battersea, Wandsworth, Earlsfield, and finally Tooting.
George Ward was the son of James Ward and Maria Willoughby of Aston and Cote in Oxfordshire. George moved to Mortlake in Surrey, where he married his Irish-born wife Bridget McCann. George and Bridget left for America in 1863, after their leaving-shop was investigated in a sting at the Woolwich Police Court. The Ward Family settled on a 40 acre farm in Mundy, Genesee County, Michigan. **Updated with new images and references**
The history of the caddies at Walton Heath in these early days includes strikes, riots, murder, illegal gambling and organized theft. In response came significant labor reform and important contributions to the British war effort in WWI. Both are a testament to the integrity of the club and its employees.
Two years ago, I made a spectacular find related to my family’s history. A simple Google search let me to an eBay listing for a putter stamped with “Alf. J. Ward, Special”…They were definitely my great-grandfather’s clubs, family heirlooms that found their way back home after 90 years.
In April of 1923, a “slender Englishman” named Alf Ward walked into the office of Indianapolis mayor Lew Shank. He introduced himself as the new golf professional for city’s municipal club. The mayor sent Alfred out to Irvington with shovels, horses, and a few men. He was to build Pleasant Run, the “finest municipal golf course in the country.”
Alfred was the eighth of twelve children born in 1883 to Thomas James Ward, a Battersea distillery worker and builder’s labourer, and Sarah Courtneidge, a coachman’s daughter from Wimbledon. Alfred got his start in golf working as an assistant to James Braid at Walton Heath Golf Club in Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey.
Tom Hancock was an English golf professional with a long and active career in the United States. Born in Richmond, Surrey in 1885, Tom began training in his hometown with J. H. Taylor at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club. He then worked as an assistant to James Braid at Walton Heath, where he knew my great-grandfather Alf Ward.
Francis Walters was from Epsom, Surrey. He stood at 5 feet 4 inches tall, with pale skin and grey eyes. At age 18 he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 12th Foot, serving in England and Ireland from 1812-1819. He he returned to Epsom where his oldest child Mary Ann Maria Walters, my 3rd great grandmother, was born in 1820.
Thomas and Mary’s youngest son William Ward remained unmarried and joined the British Army in 1879. He frequently found himself in trouble by creating disturbances while drunk, drawing his bayonet on the escorts that removed him, threatening and offering violence to his superior officers, assaulting police constables and escaping confinement.