By George (1813-1857), he punched her right in the face! – Revisited

Information has come to light that has made me readdress this article about George Babb. It’s significant enough that a re-write was in order. Key elements of the story regarding the perpetrators have changed.

It’s time to move on to the other George Babb I mentioned recently When discussion George Babb of the Winchester Arms in Taunton who is discussed in these two articles.

3 Generations of George Babb – Babb Unabridged
George Babb was no Gentleman! – Babb Unabridged

A Whole new George! Or possibly more?

The George Babb we are going to talk about now was a scoundrel. I first came across his records in the Taunton Newspaper while researching George of the Winchester Arms. But it became apparent that I was looking at more than one George. I was able to separate the two by the locations mentioned in the articles.

Moving to Wilton found another trio of George’s who appeared in The Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser, for Somerset, Wilts, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall (Taunton, Somerset, England). For the record, that is just a single newspaper, with an extremely long name.


Our story starts here in 1846 when George Babb is sentenced to 6 weeks in Gaol (Jail) for assault. This record belongs to George Babb (1813-1857). No further information about this case appears in the newspaper, so we don’t know anything more. Let’s call him George #1.

13 May 1846

However, this article in 1860 paints a much more vivid picture.

A Double Assault

12 Dec 1860

This is the egregious offence that I referred to in the Title. A card game turns into a fight and George Babb strikes Selina Merrick, presumably about the face as her bonnet was torn. The fight moves outside, and George’s brother John gets into the action and punch Selina directly in the face and then kicks her about while she is on the ground.

Chivalry was thrown out the window and Selina was lucky not to have gone through the window with it. Their actions speak for themselves and are likely indefensible.

At first glance, this appears to be George #1, who had a brother John (1809-1871). But George #1 died in 1857, so this could not be him in 1862. It could however, be his sons George #2 (1836-1870) and his brother who is also named John (1842-aft 1870).

That was all to the story until I found this article detailing the rap sheet for George #1’s brother John (1809-1871). Take a look at the 9th entry, which details at least three crimes:

1861 January 14 – Assault 7 days Imprisoned at Taunton
1863 June 03 – Ditto (Found Sureties (a form of bond payment))
1864 Feb 09 – Vagrancy 1 week Imprisoned at Taunton

These were John (1809-1871) previous crimes at the time of the item covered in the larger print:
1869 Sep 29th – Want of Sureties, 6 months imprisoned

We don’t know what happened after John served his 6 months in prison, but it would have been approximately 1870 April 1st by the time he was released. Roughly 16 months later he was to die in Jul 1871. What is clear is that he was no role model for his nephews.

Which John Babb is this?

Speaking of John Babb, be it nephew or uncle, they have their own interesting sub-plot. On or about 21 May 1862 he was brought into custody while breaking John Manly out of Gaol (Jail). Along the way he assaulted a constable.

The story continues the following week and on 28 May 1862 the story unfolds that he brought a crown of 100 rioters to break Manley [sic] out of custody.

About 5 days later the trial is set on 02 Jun 1862.

The results of the trial are reported in the newspaper on 09 Jul 1862. It seems a clear-cut case of the good old boy network at work. Today we would almost certainly call it white privilege.

The article starts near the bottom of column 3 (Look for the red dot) and continues at the top of column 4.

We can only know that this article belongs to this particular John Babb because of the connection to the Militia. There appears to be about 4 John Babbs in Wilton in the same timeframe as our John. One was quite colorful in his drunkenness, but I haven’t matched him with an individual in our tree just yet.

We are able to make this connection due to the following article which lists brothers George and John at it again. This time they are serving in the First Regiment of the Somerset Militia. Together they serve as non-commissioned officers.

27 Apr 1870

George Babb – Epilogue

There was an unexpected twist to this story. George Babb #1 was buried on 11 Sep 1870. So, just 4.5 months after this article he was dead. I am unable to determine if his death was in the line of duty with the information available to me at this time. It would seem that the two are connected, but I’m uncertain of how to access English Military Records to unlock the exact story.

The two were certainly rabble rousers and intrigue followed them throughout their lives. This seems to be one of those times where you just hope the good outweighed the bad.

Just how many Georges & Johns are we talking about?

George (1813-1857) had a son George (1836-1870). The Junior George went on to have 3 sons with the name George (Walter George, George and Henry George). He was clearly proud of the name and carried it forward in a big way!

Don’t get me started on the Johns. We are already at half the Beatles and I’ve worked on this for what seems like 8 days a Week. While this story may never Come Together the whole family clearly knew how to Twist and Shout. It’s been a Long and Winding Road. I should Get Back where I belong and research some other people. Perhaps I should just Let it Be?

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