Henry Robert Huband
In addition to their own children, Sarah Ann Owen and John Shelby adopted Henry Robert Huband (aka Hubband or Hubard). Bert, as he became known, was born on 22 September 1878 at 33 Derby Road, Southport, Lancashire. His birth certificate states that his mother was Martha Jane Hubband, formerly Brighton, and his father was Henry Robert Hubband, a captain in the merchant service. I have found no evidence of the existence of a man with that name though there was a Henry Robert Huband, living with his wife, Elizabeth, and family in West Derby, Lancashire. He was a ship owner’s clerk and later a manager in a steam ship office. He died on 18 June 1900. Could he have been Henry's father? Martha Jane Brighton (née Toll) certainly existed. She was born and lived her whole life in Stoke Damerel, Devonport, Devon. She had married Samuel Brighton in 1858 and they had had three children: a son Samuel (born and died in 1859), George Henry (b 1860) and Annie Moseley M (b 1868). Martha’s husband, Samuel, died in 1870, aged 35, and in 1871 she was running “The Royal Albert Hotel” in Stoke Damerel. In 1881 she and the children were living with her brother in the town, by which time Sarah and John Shelby had adopted Henry Robert Hubband. In 1891, just after Martha had died, the two children were running the “Military Arms Inn” in Stoke Damerel. Devon and Lancashire are many miles apart but there is the shipping connection, Devonport being a large port. To add to the intrigue, though all previous records show Annie Moseley M Brighton resident in Devon I discovered that her marriage in 1892 was registered in West Derby, Lancashire. Whether or not Henry Robert Hubband was the son of this Henry Robert Huband and Martha Jane Brighton, there remains the mystery of why Sarah and John adopted him. I am told that Henry, son of Henry Robert (Civil Engineer) and Martha Jane, was baptised at Minera Parish Church on 25 April 1879 and that his parents were then living in Penygelli.
In the 1881 census Henry was living as an adopted son with the Shelby family at Pen Y Gelli, Bersham, Denbighshire. The only children not with the family in 1881 were Miriam and Louisa. Henry was deaf and dumb and members of the family spoke to him in sign language. He was awarded a bible for diligence at a school for the deaf. He later ived with his spinster stepsisters, Margaret and Sarah for whom he was a general factotum. In 1901 he was ‘a whitesmith’ (a tinsmith) living with Margaret and Sarah Shelby and their niece Miriam Labron at 2 End Spring Road, Wrexham. I believe Henry may have lived until 1965; the death of a Henry Hubband, aged 84 (Henry would have been about 86), was recorded in Flintshire [Hawarden 1965, 4th qt].