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                                                                  VARIOUS NEWS ARTICLES

In Salisbury Journal an Article reads :

It appears from this confession that they had carried out their depredations with very little interruption for these last seven years which during this time they had stole 72 horses, 19 sheep, 52 flocks of Bees and 72 Asses...... Cloth to the amount of £200 at Shroton fair and acknowledge to have robbed 22 different shops beside their smaller thefts.

This was in connection with confession of 2 Gypsies LUKE STANLEY & JOHN PATRICK made before leaving Winchester Prison for execution in  July 1790


2 burials : Mary Stanley b 1797 died aged 60  in 1857  " Queen of the tribe " buried in St Andwew Church  Lanford  Wiltshire.

 Written on headstone : born 1732

" In memory of Peter Stanley king of Gypsies who died  23rd Nov 1802 aged 70"  he was buried in St Mary's Church Puddletown Dorset


 Hannah Ross Boswell Queen of the gypsies died in Lincoln Union work house on December 1849 aged 99 she entered the workhouse in 1844.

1834 July Merrily Buckley aged 102 died at Gainsborough. She was a well known gypsy.

 Henry Boswell is buried in Ickleford Church St Katherines Hereford “King of The Gypsies” he boasted he lived through the reign of 3 George's and knew every road in the land.


 175 years in North Devon Journal 1824-1999 (Thanks to Sandy)

1852*  Matilda Boswell, who claimed to be the daughter of the 'King of the Gypsies' dies in a tent by the roadside at Lilford in Abbotsharn. She is apparently buried on the site. George Boswell, who claimed to be the 'King', dies and is buried in Swimbridge churchyard.

1853*·The death of 'the last witch in Bideford' is reported when Martha Lee dies aged 105 in the town's workhouse

1855 *James Smith of Green Lane, Barnstaple is gaoled for one month after exhibiting an obscene image at Barnstaple Fair

 1862*Eliza and Ellen Lee, aged 10 and 2, are found dead from exposure in West Wood, Clovelly - although there is a suspicion the 'babes in the wood' were murdered.

 1901*At the proclamation of King Edward VII a ceremonial gun explodes killing Thomas Lee, Barnstaple's Foreman of Works.

Also from Sandy**


John Lee (1866-?) A murderer who now in history was famous as the man they could not hang. Three times he stood on the newly built scaffold at Exeter jail on February 23, 1885 and three times the trap-door failed to open. Each time Lee age 19 was taken back to his cell while the trap door was checked and tested. Unable to hang him his death sentence was changed to life imprisonment. He was released after 22 years and later he emigrated to America, where he died. The theory behind this mans escape of being hung is that there was a warped board underneath where the chaplain stood by the prisoner. The chaplain's weight would press out the board at the end and prevent the trap-door from opening. A foolish blunder not having someone standing in for the chaplain when they retested the trap door.

I myself (Siteowner)have the quite rare book "Babicombe Lee" The man they coulden't hang if anyone wants further info just email me.**


AUGUST 1841 14 Jul     Bideford Christmas SMITH

DECEMBER 1841 30 Oct Honiton Widow of T BUCKLAND

JUNE 1842 11 May Torquay Henry Gould JAMES

JULY 1842 06 Jun Torquay Henrietta Sophia EARLE


A Gypsy Funeral - History  by Kenneth McCutchan.


The burial of Elizabeth Harrison on April 1, 1896, brought out one of largest funeral gatherings ever seen in Evansville .

She was the was the queen of a tribe of Romany Gypsies that had emigrated from England in the mid-19th century. Mrs. Harrison died in November 1895, in Corinth, Miss., and her body was shipped to Evansville to be placed in the holding vault in Oak Hill Cemetery until her tribe could assemble from distant parts of the United States to attend the last rites.


As about 50 Gypsies began to arrive in their colorful wagons, they pitched their camp at Lake Park. A sort of picnic grove just off Harmony Way on Evansville’s West Side.

Early on the day of the funeral curious crowds began to gather to watch the caravan pass along the route from the campgrounds to the cemetery.

A newspaper reported that inside Oak Hill Cemetery more than 6,000 people awaiting the arrival of a procession.


Strange stories had been circulating throughout the city concerning how the funeral would be conducted. One rumor persisted that there would be a ritual burning of her wagon at her gravesite. This did not happen. Actually the ceremony was quiet and dignified, probably much to the disappointment of the assembled sensation seekers.


Four and a half years later, on Christmas Eve, 1900, the body of Isaac Harrison, the Gypsy King, was buried beside his wife. Today , those graves are marked by a tall, impressive granite obelisk.

Harrison had been tragically killed at Martin Station Ala. by a misdirected bullet while trying to break up a fight between his two sons, Harry and Richard.

People have asked , "Why did the Gypsies come to Evansville to bury their dead?"

At one time, Isaac Harrison and his bother-in-law owned a substantial piece of real estate north of Diamond Avenue on Evansville’s North Side, in the vicinity of Pigeon Creek and Stringtown Road. For a brief period the Harrisons lived in a large Victorian-style that once stood on the 500 block of Olmstead Avenue.

When that area was plotted off for a subdivision call the Stanley-Burbank Addition in the late 1920s. Stanley Avenue was named for the Gypsy Adam Stanley. He, too, lies buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Othe members of the tribe have been buried here as recently as September 1967. The present generation no longer roams the country, as they did in the old days. Now they are all settled permanently in various parts of the South and longer call themselves Gypsies.


RYE, N.Y., June 25. -- Arthur Stanley, a member of the Stanley tribe of gypsies, to-day eloped with Miss A. Wells. She is sixteen years old and a daughter of William Wells, the head of another tribe. Stanley is a leader of the Stanley tribe. There has been bitter feeling between the two tribes for some time and as their courses appeared to conflict they were continually having differences.

STANLEY STOLE HIS RIVAL S DAUGHTER A Gypsy Elopement from Rye -- Old Wells Pursues His Child. RYE, N.Y., June 25. -- Arthur Stanley, a member of the Stanley tribe of gypsies, to-day eloped with Miss A. Wells. She is sixteen years old and a daughter of William Wells, the head of another tribe. Stanley is a leader of the Stanley tribe. There has been bitter feeling between the two tribes for some time and as their courses appeared to conflict they were continually having differences. Stanley and,the daughter of Chief Wells appa/ently took no part llt the differences. They.left here sonic time t0-day on /, steam . They Were taken .to Bridgeport Cbnh. Chief .V/'ells ( ered t}{e } of his d/i{ bef0re she was long gone, and hid the aid of the authorities to arrest her'


Levi Stanley (1818? — 3 December 1908) and Matilda Joles Stanley (1821? — 15 January 1878) were accorded the honorific titles of King and Queen of the Gypsies. Levi explained that the title was merely an indication of his people's love and trust and not more.

Levi was the son of Richard (Owen) Stanley (1794–21 February 1860) and Harriet Worden (1793–30 August 1857), who preceded as King and Queen. Matilda was the daughter of Ephraim Joles. Levi had a brother named Benjamin who had decided to settle down in New England. Benjamin was disowned by their father and a curse was put on him an the next three generations to follow. When Levi became infirm in old age, their son Levi Jr. "Sugar" Stanley (1835–5 March 1916) succeeded as King.

Born in Reading, Berkshire, England, Levi and Matilda and their families came to the United States in 1856—"when Buchanan was king," as they put it—along with others of their people and soon settled near Troy, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, they selected Dayton, Ohio as their headquarters for the summer months, and it became the center for the Gypsies of the country. Each year as they departed Dayton for warmer climes, their caravans would go in procession down Main Street.

In the federal censuses from 1860 to 1900, ages were enumerated that indicated various birth years, so the accuracy is in doubt; those given above are from their graves. In 1900, Levi gave his birth as November 1808. In his obituary, his age was given as 96 (implying 1812).

Enumerated originally as “wanderers,” in later years they gave their occupations as horse traders. After Matilda’s death, Levi stated that "our children are all learning fast, and soon our people will not go a-roaming any more." The children of Levi’s extended family revealed the extent of their wandering by their birthplaces in the censuses: New York, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ohio, Michigan and others.

Contrary to common perception, they were reverent church people, and the reigning King and his son and heir, known as Sugar Stanley, were members in good standing of the International Order of Odd Fellows.

Matilda was said to have a wonderful faculty of telling fortunes, when she pleased, and remarkable powers as a mesmerist, both qualities being explained by the assertion that they were handed down to her as the eldest daughter in the Stanley family, and were secrets possessed by her alone. She was described in the press as a "plain, hardy-looking woman, with a touch of Meg Merrilies in her appearance, and a manner indicative of a strong and pronounced character." Meg Merrilies was a gypsy queen in the Sir Walter Scott novel, Guy Mannering, made famous on the American stage by Charlotte Saunders Cushman.


It was the tradition of their people on the occasion of a funeral of the Stanley family, to travel to Dayton to bear tribute from across the United States, as well as England and Canada. On Palm Sunday 1877, one of Levi and Matilda's daughters and her husband were buried in the family plot after a nine-mile long procession of colorful wagons and carriages through the rain. Newspaper stories of the time noted the "rather bright colors of apparel and the expressive features of these people standing in the rain without umbrellas." When the minister stood at the head of the wide grave, the only umbrella upraised was over his head.

The Gypsy Queen, Matilda Stanley, died in Vicksburg, Mississippi in January 1878 after an illness of two years, and her body was embalmed so that it was said to "retain the natural aspect of life." It was placed in a vault in the cemetery in Dayton, and every day members of late Queen's family came with fresh flowers to strew over her. Eight months later her funeral was held, giving time for word to spread and her people to travel to Dayton. Twenty-thousand paid their last tribute to the dead Queen, including a dozen chiefs and their tribes from different sections of the United States, Canada and England.

Popular expectation that the funeral would consist of some extraordinary rites was not warranted. Rev. Dr. Daniel Berger, of the United Brethren Church of Dayton officiated, the quartet choir of the First United Brethren Church sang hymns, and the transfer of the casket from the vault to the family mausoleum was a brief ceremony.

Her funeral attracted press coverage by the major newspapers of the country and was front page news. Four years later, two more children were interred, and the Dayton Democrat reported that the "attendance was quite large, tent-dwellers having come from all parts of the country — from New York to Mississippi — to be present at the funeral." The story was picked up by the New York Times as well.

Yet, by the time King Levi Stanley died in Marshall, Texas thirty years later, the national press did not even mention his passing. In the article on the arrival of his remains in Dayton by train, it was noted that the aggregate wealth of his family was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, made equally from horse trading and fortune telling. By then, the family owned substantial tracts of real estate, mainly in the north Dayton area. In the tradition of the family, the burial was made the following spring, and was attended by only thirty members of the family from around the country.

More than fifty members of the extended Stanley clan—including members of the Harrison, Jeffry, Young, Broadway and Joles families—are interred in the family plot at Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio. Thus, Woodland has three Kings and two Queens of the Gypsies buried there. The vault of Levi and Matilda is a box made of stone slabs, 2 feet deep and 10 by 4 feet in dimension. Over the grave is a 20-foot column surmounted by an angel in white marble.

Queen of the Gypsies

In 1856, Owen Stanley, king of gypsy tribes in England, came to the U.S. with many of his group because England was so thickly populated. He wanted to make Dayton his permanent home. He bought land in the City of Dayton as well as Harrison, Wayne, Mad River, and Butler townships so they could raise horses and winter there, renting out their farms while they took to the road as soon as the weather became warm.

Gypsies were a group of nomadic people whose ancestors are said to have originated in Eastern Europe. Within their groups they have rulers, sometimes women, who decide what is best for their tribe. British gypsies had so many kings and queens – from King John Bucelle in 1657 down to the Gypsy Queen of the U.S., Matilda Stanley, royally buried at Woodland Cemetery in 1878. It is rare that such royalty would be buried here, or that an American clergy would preach at the funeral of a queen, but that happened.

Queen Matilda had died of cancer in February. Her husband, Levi Stanley, son of Owen Stanley, sent her body to Woodland to be kept in a vault for burial in September. Newspapers here and in many large American cities sent special reporters who printed long columns of accounts before and after the funeral. The Sunday of the event, thousands of people came in from surrounding places by special trains. An estimated crowd of 25,000 swarmed over the avenues and grounds of the cemetery. Police were needed to make way for the funeral procession. The newspaper said a procession of 1000 carriages began downtown and was so long it had to be refused admission at the cemetery gates. Around the gravesite there were so many people that the minister had to deliver his sermon while standing on a wooden plank laid across the open grave under an umbrella in the rain. The king and his tribe, being heartbroken, stayed around the Queen’s still open grave as the great crowd left. Her younger daughters were so upset that they jumped down into the grave onto the marble slab to be closer to their mother and sobbed tenderly.

A granite monument marks the grave of King Levi and Queen Matilda Stanley. Funerals of the Stanley gypsies were quite elaborate. They spared no expense to give their loved ones dignity and show their regard for the dead. The funeral coaches, the undertaker’s hearse, a long procession, a rich casket, and a great profusion of flowers were all a part of the event. The women came dressed in their best silks, satins, or velvets. Their fingers were adorned with much gold. The gypsy woman who possesses money does not hesitate to buy expensive things when she has set her heart on them. When you visit the Stanley graves, look for the messages and verses carved on their slabs, called ledgers.