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Rosa was born on 28 June 1857, the ninth of her father's 11 children, the seventh by his second wife Sarah, and named after her father's eldest sister, Honor Davis, who had died 3 months prior. In 1861, 3 months subsequent to the birth of her youngest brother, Henry Dutton Lewis in 1860, their mother passed away suddenly. Her father, Adam, was left with 6 children to look after.

In January 1866 her father died and it is likely that the youngest of the children went to live with family or with their elder brothers and sisters. In 1871 the Census shows Rosa to be at The Orphan Asylum at Marylebone. Her elder sister Louisa (now married to William Birt and with family) was also living in Paddington having 'adopted' Henry Dutton Lewis and living just south of the asylum although they all later emigrated to America.

By 1881 the Census shows Rosa resident at the Harrow Road Workhouse in Paddington aged 23 and described only as an 'inmate' and in 1891 Rosa was with her sister, Mary A Lewis and her 2 daughters, Mary being widowed and living on the Harrow Road, Paddington. For the first time Rosa is shown as having an occupation, that of a seamstress/shirt-maker.

By the time of the 1901 Census she is now resident at The Colony, Chalfont St Peters, and for the first time epilepsy is recorded. From family history records it is clear that Rosa's immediate family did whatever they could to care for her and was never forgotten by her siblings or their families. Her keep at the Colony would most certainly have been paid for by them. In 1925, when Rosa was suffering from cancer, Henry, her youngest brother's family wrote from Alachua County, Florida over concerns for Rosa's health and sent money for her comforts which were taken to Chalfont by Rosa's niece, Polly Stone. Rosa died that year.

Information provided by Adrian Lewis. (
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© Dean Evans 2007
January 7, 2007