The will of Elizabeth Catherine Backler

Elizabeth Catherine Backler’s will was signed on 3rd April 1844, whilst she was living in Camera Square, Chelsea in the parish of St Luke’s.  It was witnessed by Martin James Litoff and Hannah James Litoff of 53 Camera Square.  The will was found in a search on the Ancestry website.

The joint executors were her brother Michael Christian Backler and her sister Sarah Backler.  In the event that Michael Christian had died, her second brother Henry Backler was to step in as executor.  The will was proven on 1st November 1855 under oath from her sister Sarah, who was appointed sole executor, because both Michael Christian and Henry were no longer living.

This will is important, because it is the first time that I have been able to link “Henry Backler the Tailor of Bristol and London”, “Sugar Refining Backlers in Bristol and London” and the “South Australian Backlers” (see separate blog pages for each of these stories).

Elizabeth was a spinster and so she made bequests to a number of family members.  She left her clothing, jewellery, plate, linen and books to her sister Sarah, who was also noted as being a spinster of St George’s Place, Knightsbridge, when she proved the will.

Elizabeth gave £21 to her niece Mary Ann Noakes, daughter of Michael Christian of Prior Place, Old Kent Road, £15 to Harriett Backler (probably her niece) of Dover Place, New Kent Road, £21 to her Godson, Charles Michael Backler (son of Henry) of Bateman’s Buildings and £10 to her God-daughter Mary Elizabeth Stockfish of St James parish, Bristol.  She intriguingly left what looks like ‘wand and seals’ to Henry’s wife Elizabeth of Bateman’s Buildings.  The remainder of her estate she left divided equally between Michael Christian, Henry and Sarah.

These bequests confirm that Christian Backler is the father and Ann is the mother of both Michael Christian and of Henry as they were Elizabeth Catherine’s parents.   Since Christian and Michael Christian were sugar refiners, this completes the link between them and the tailor.

This will also shows that Elizabeth made bequests to the family of Henry the tailor who was the father of Thomas Christian Backler, thereby linking him and the sugar refiners to South Australia.

What is not yet fully understood is the German connection.  It is unlikely that Elizabeth Catherine’s brother Michael Christian was the same Michael Christian Backler mentioned in the German Lutheran church as being the husband of Anna Fanert and the father of Johan Christoff and Marya Anna.  UPDATE: See the blog page “The family of Michael Christian Backler and Ann Mary Fahnert”, where I have connected them as Michael Christian Junior’s parents, through a further entry at The Savoy German Lutheran Church.

When this page was originally written, I had not located any further mention of Sarah Backler.  I have now found in the 1851 census that she was a 55 year old servant, born in Bristol, living at 9 St George’s Place, Hanover Square, London and I have also found from probate records that she died on 13th January 1869 leaving effects of under £1500 that were proved on 4th February by Elizabeth Backler (widow and sister in law) and Francis Walter Horsman (compositor and nephew in law), her executors, both of 13 Bateman’s Buildings, Soho Square, London.  Sarah was living at 44 Markham Square, Kings Road, Chelsea at the time of her death.