Collection date: Apr 1907
William Cornelius of South Petherton (1843-1919): age 63, 3 songs (FT1345/7) on 10 Apr 1907: William was a younger brother of Joseph Cornelius, who sang 3 songs to Sharp in Aug 1904.
William was baptised at Shepton Beauchamp church on 20/12/1843, 5th child of Joseph Cornelius (Snr), a shepherd & his wife Hannah, a glover. On 12/12/1863 William (age 20, a minor) married Mary Vile (spinster, of age) in South Petherton church. Mary was the daughter of George Vile, carpenter. William & Mary had 5 children (all born in Shepton Beauchamp) and they are found in that village in 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses but Mary’s home village was South Petherton just 3 miles away and this may explain why Sharp met him there.
It’s a bit more complex than this, however, because in 1901 census (RG13/1262 f71 p27) William & Mary Cornelius were living in Edmonton, London with their daughter Mary (Jr). Ages and birthplaces all tally. Mary Jr was an enterprising person who had initially gone into service at Speen, nr Newbury but by 1901 was running an Italian grocery store in Edmonton (‘own account’). She was single and remained in London for the 1911 census – aged 40, a confectioner in Kennington Park Rd, Lambeth. Her father William was with her, widower aged 68 - Mary Snr had been buried in South Petherton church on 15/9/1909.
What may thus have happened is that William & Mary moved to be with their daughter in London and came back from time to time to South Petherton where Mary still had family. There were still lots of Viles in that village in 1901 census. William died in London Jan qr 1919 aged 76.