Thomas Sargent – Helen Kegie’s Great-Grandfather
Thomas Sargent was baptised on 7th March 1824 in Chepstow, the son of Joseph Sargent and Alice Waters. They were living in Buckle’s Yard, Chepstow at the time where Joseph was a shipwright.
In the 1841 census Thomas was living with the family of George Waters, his uncle, who was a blacksmith in Bridge Street, Chepstow. Thomas was working as a clerk in the business.
Thomas married Sarah Ely Fryer in Bristol on February 7th 1847 and by 1851 his occupation was an accountant. He was living with his wife Sarah, daughters Alice and Sarah, his sister Sarah and a servant, Patience Grey, in St. Ann’s Lane in Chepstow.
Thomas went on to have a number of business interests in the town. He had entered the timber business with his uncle, George Waters in 1837, and according to A Chepstow Notebook by Ivor Waters, Thomas took over his uncle’s business as a brick and tile maker at Guy Wharf in Bridge Street. In 1895-6 Thomas Sargent & Son were manufacturers of bricks, tiles, pantiles, flooring squares and pipes at The Back, Chepstow.
In an advertisement from Hillman’s Directory of Chepstow 1893, Thomas Sargent’s business is listed as ‘Baker and Grocer, Coal, Timber, Slate and Salt Merchant’ of Bridge Street, Chepstow which also sold bricks, tiles, chimney tops, sewage pipes etc. In addition, he was an agent for the Standard Life Assurance Company.
Thomas also took over the business previously owned by George Fryer - Steam Saw Mills - which included a blacksmith’s shop. This business was situated in a large stone-built warehouse called the Barkhouse, next to the Bridge Inn outbuildings.
Another major business interest was Thomas’s ship ownership and in 1847 he was co-owner of the ship ‘Minerva’ with George Fryer, a master mariner. In 1852 he owned the ship ‘Milford’ and her masters were George and Richard Fryer. In 1868 he was the owner of the ship ‘Alice and also in 1868 he bought shares in the ‘W.Y.E.’, a ship owned by George Fryer.
Thomas played a full part in the affairs of the town and was one of the members of the first Local Board for 12 years and was also a member of Chepstow’s first School Board. For many years he was chairman of the Chepstow Water Board. Thomas was a deacon of the Baptist Church in Chepstow for 40 years and an active supporter of the Temperance Cause.
Thomas died on 5th December 1899 (aged 75) at 26 Bridge Street. Probate was granted to his executors: George Waters Sargent, his son, a timber merchant; Edward Dutson, his son-in-law, an outfitter; and Joseph Child, also a son-in-law, a commercial traveller. He left effects of £3128.8s.6d
Following his death, the business ‘Thomas Sargent & Son Timber Merchants’ was taken over solely by his son, George Waters Sargent.
His wife Sarah died in 1905. They had 9 children and one of these – Mary – was Helen Kegie’s grandmother Mary Child. Another daughter married the professional photographer Edmund Ballard.