SHARP

The SHARP history is in fact the WILCOX history! As with most of these Londoners living in rented properties and moving around very frequently this family is very difficult to trace back. We start with John Wilcox, a jobbing gardener, born in 1776 in Fulham, son of Charles and Martha Wilcox. He had a son, also John and also a jobbing gardener, who had married Hannah Cordell in 1834 and had several children before the marriage broke up. He later spent the rest of his life at 47 Cork Street, Camberwell with Jane (Pile) who was probably a common law wife. My great-grandfather Charles Wilcox whose mother was Hannah Cordell gave no name of the father on his marriage certificate but by then his parents' marriage had ended, presumably with a certain amount of acrimony. Around this time Charles started using the surname Sharp instead of Wilcox. It was not necessary to change his name by deed poll. Despite this, all of Charles' and Cecilia's children were registered under the name Wilcox although they never used that name any more. On the 1871 census we find Charles' mother Hannah living with the family, entered as Hannah Sharp, a widow. I have now found the source of the name change. In 1861 Hannah Wilcox still described as married, was the housekeeper to George Sharp, cordwainer, also married (but not to each other). Hannah's three youngest children were living with them (including Charles) and were already using the name Sharp. George Sharp died in 1866 and then Hannah started describing herself as a widow. It seems that she was a common law wife. Charles was a bootmaker (closer) and most of his children started out in that trade although they later moved on to different fields. Two of his grandsons, Tom and Sid Sharp, emigrated to Australia in 1924 where the family has multiplied and prospered.