Reuben Crossman was born in Somerset, either in Doulting or Bristol, in c. 1837 (or possibly c. 1835 or c. 1843). He married Mary Ann Kay in 1870. He died on 24 October 1880 in Tynemouth.
The gap in his life history between the census of 1851 (when he was in Wells, Somerset, UK) and his marriage in 1870 (in Tynemouth, Northumberland, UK) must be explained by a career in the army. (His military records have been applied for by Alan J. White as of August 2019.) When he popped up in Tynemouth he was described as "soldier" (1870 marriage certificate) and "clerk at military store" (1871 census).
Reuben and his wife Mary Ann went on to have a son Ruben (different spelling from his father, d. 1872 aged two years) and four daughters: Sarah Ann (b. 1872), Henrietta Augusta (b. 1874), Eleanor Taylor (b. 1876), Aquariana Melinda (b. 1879).
He was employed as "aquarium custodian" in 1880 prior to his death. The aquarium must have been the Tynemouth Aquarium and Winter Garden. This impressive structure overlooking Tynemouth Long Sands was opened in 1878 and had a marine aquarium on the second floor. It was subsequently renamed "Tynemouth Palace" and later "Tynemouth Plaza". It finally burned down in 1996, having been dilapidated for many years.
Reuben Crossman died in 1880 of "inflammation of the lungs | cardiac syncope".
The Reuben Crossman who appears in Wells (Somerset, UK) in the 1841 and 1851 census records is the same as the one who appears in Tynemouth (Northumberland, UK) in the 1870 marriage index, the 1871 census and the 1880 death index. The place-of-birth data in the 1871 census record tends to confirm this, as does the tie-in over father's name in baptism and marriage records. The fact that his father is referred to as "Charles Crossman, gamekeeper" in both his marriage certificate and his mother's death certificate is the clincher.
Incidentally, Crossman is/was a rare surname in Northumberland – only three visible on 1871 census.
The spelling of his name varies widely. No birth certificate has been found so the spelling on his marriage certificate has been used, since he was a literate adult at the time and likely close at hand when the certificate was written.
No record of birth has been found. The records suggest he was born in 1834/5, 1836/7 or 1842/3. The latter, which comes from the 1871 census, appears, on the face of it, to be the most likely to be correct, as he was a living literate adult at the time and thus well placed to give his age correctly. However a “Rubin Cros(s)man", aged 4, is mentioned in the 1841 census, so either this is a different person or Reuben was born well before 1841.
According to IGI, a "Reuben Crosma..." was baptised on 5 May 1837 at Doulting (east of Wells), Somerset, England by parents "Charles Crosma..." and "Mary". This is consistent with the census records for 1841 and 1851.
With that in mind, 1837 seems the most likely birth year. He perhaps understated his age on the marriage certificate from 33 to 28 in order not to appear too much older than his bride, aged 19. The age of 45 on the death certificate may have been a guess, rounded to the nearest 5, by relatives who realised he had falsified his age earlier.
This is given as Doulting in the baptism record and Bristol in the 1871 census. They are both in the county of Somerset, UK. (The 1851 census gives Doulton, which is probably the same as Doulting.)
It almost looks as if Reuben was obscuring his date and place of birth, perhaps because he ran away from home and joined the army to avoid some trouble or other.
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