Sotherton Backler and Frances Harris

Sotherton Backler (born 3rd August 1746 at St Giles, Cripplegate, London) was the seventh child of Sotherton Backler and Ann Ashley.  His first marriage was to Frances Harris on 11th February 1777 at St Mary’s Stoke Newington and they had four children together:  Frances Backler (1779 – 1833) about whom nothing further is known, Sotherton Backler (1778 – 1786), plus almost certainly the twins Hannah Backler (1780 – 1870) and John Backler (1780 – 1846), as both were christened at St. Ann’s, Surrey on the same day.  Hannah spent her twilight years as a resident along with her half sister Sarah Ann in Sir Robert Geffrye’s Almshouses.  See the blog page.  One of the witnesses to the wedding of Sotherton and Ann was John Freeman, who married Sotherton’s sister Ann Backler (born 1741) in 1770.

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John Backler, another apothecary, was forced to flee to Paris, where he eventually died, after a financial scandal when he let down his business partner, which is fully detailed on  He married Susannah Maria McLauchlan (born 1790 in Essex) on 2nd December 1820 in Dover, probably on his way to Paris, and they had four children.  In the 1851 census, Susannah was living at 12 Pilgrim Street, Lambeth, London and she was described as an annuitant, that is in receipt of a private pension.

Their daughter Sophie Matilda Backler, about whom little is known, had William Beaumont as a partner and they had a daughter Eleanor Backler.

Another daughter of John and Susannah was Sarah Backler, (1824 – 1905) and she became the wife of William Knowles, a Vicar in Shoreham, Sussex.  After the death of the Vicar, she married Christopher Knowles, a schoolmaster, at the age of 50.  The oldest daughter of John and Susannah, thrice married, was Susan Maria Backler, born in 1822.  She became wealthy through these marriages, firstly to Monsieur Raoux in Paris in 1841, then William Gott on 2nd July 1851 and again on 9th April 1853 and finally William Huxtable in 1875.  Susan Maria ended her days in 1883 in St Leonards.  Her marriages are more fully detailed on

John’ and Susannah’s only son, Henry McLauchlan Backler, was born in Paris on 12th February 1824.  The year his father died, 1846, he married Eliza Cole (died 1903), back in London on 2nd January.  They had two daughters:  Florence Sophia McLauchlan Backler (1847) and Laura Louise McLauchlan Backler (1849).  Florence married William Griffin Davis, an engineer from Tipton, on 16th August 1866, but married life was cut short early, when she tragically died on 11th June 1869.  Laura, who remained a spinster, also died tragically on 8th September 1909.  The demise of both sisters is given in more detail on  Henry built a profitable career, mostly in the gas industry, and by the time he died on 30th November 1892, he was a wealthy man.  This branch of the Backlers has been very well researched by Barbara, as they are part of her direct line of descendants and it is written up very well with much more information on her blog.