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Julia Seebohm Rowntree

Julia Elizabeth Seebohm (1841-1863), daughter of Benjamin Seebohm (1798-1871), of German descent, and Esther Seebohm (born Wheeler, 1798-1864) from Hitchin. Both her parents were Quakers. She had two older brothers, Frederic and Henry. Frederic grew up to become a banker and much of his spare time was spent writing on economic history. Henry went into iron and steel, but he too had a side interest, as a naturalist.

The Rowntrees and the Seebohms were family friends. Julia had spent three years at the York Quaker Girls school in Castlegate (later the Mount) so she and Joseph might have known one another already then. In the spring of 1857, Joseph and Julia met in Hitchin at the home of Julia’s brother Frederic. They were married in 1862, in the Friends’ Meeting House in Hitchin. Esther Seebohm wrote in her memorandum book:

‘Julia left the parental home with her best-beloved J.R… Her little bark is not laden with silver or gold but richly freighted with the love and kindness of her friends. She goes out possessed of a husband worthy of her, and into the bosom of a dear Christian family.’

The couple lived in Penn (Top) House after their marriage, which had been conveniently divided into two sections – Joseph’s widowed mother Sarah lived in the main section. Sadly the marriage was not to last long, as Julia died in September 1863, probably of meningitis, a few months after the birth of their daughter, Julia (‘Lilley’) on May 30th 1863; she died in infancy, probably of scarlet fever.

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