Phat Boy Twins

 

Thomas Westcott married Mary Pedrick in Bow in 1810. They went on to have four children, all born in Bow.


Two of them, John and Fanny, would later emigrate to the USA.

 

John Wescott (b 1811) was the first to venture to North America, in 1834. He settled in Orleans County on the US side of Lake Ontario. He later asked his sister Fanny (b 1813) to join him to “attend to his household” and she arrived in June 1837 on board the “Ebenezer” which sailed from Bideford, the journey to New York taking 52 days. Also on that voyage was their sister-in-law, Sarah Westcott née Cook (30) -  with her three children John (10), Richard (8) and Charlotte (5), all born in Coldridge. It seems likely that she had been deserted by her husband William.

 

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Other passengers included John and William Babbage aged 23 and 26 whose father had died in 1830 in High Bickington, and Sarah Wescott’s unmarried sister Mary Cook aged 28. Sarah and Mary were the daughters of John Cook of Nymet Rowland. (He served as a private in the 4th Regiment of Foot and lost his left arm in the Siege of Flushing in 1809. Thereafter he left his family in Devon and became a Chelsea Pensioner in London until his death in 1868, although Mary’s obituary notice claimed that “Captain John Cook” had been killed in the famous Battle of Waterloo.)

 

Within a year of their arrival John Westcott had married Mary Cook, and John Babbage and Fanny Westcott – whose romance probably started on the Ebenezer - were married in Ontario, Canada, later settling in in Rochester, New York County. William Babbage continued West to Hicksville, Ohio; the two brothers then lost contact for almost 60 years.

The two younger Babbage brothers, Richard and Simon, joined their elder brothers in the 1850’s.

 

John and Fanny Babbage had four sons, including one set of twins, and two daughters.

For many years John was the Sexton of the Brick Church in Rochester, NY.

 

The Babbage Twins: Edward and Edwin, born New York 1841:

 

After several different careers, including being a hotel porter and a glass blower, Edward F Babbage became a successful tourist guide on the St Lawrence River boats. He wrote a guidebook that ran to several editions. He took on the nickname “Phat Boy” because of his size: he boasted that he weighed 333lbs – 23 stone 11lbs or 151Kg.


Edwin Babbage - of slightly smaller proportions - qualified as a doctor in New York. There is no evidence that either of them married; they died within a few months of each other in 1891/2.

 

 

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Likenesses of the "Phat Boy" Edward Babbage, left, from the cover of his guide book, and of his brother Dr Edwin Babbage. Their mother was born in Bow.

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