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John BEST (12 December 1776 - before 7 June 1841)
So far, we can trace Neil's BEST ancestry back to his great great grandfather, John Best. According to entries in the family bible, he was born on 12 December 1776. Sadly the bible does not give his parentage or place of birth.
The family bible confirms other records that on 24 June 1804 John married Ann Kemp (Neil's great great grandmother) at Christchurch, Spitalfields, London. According to the parish records, he was a bachelor "of this parish" which probably meant that he was selling the produce of the family farm at the famous Spitalfields market. Ann was born on 10 July 1784 in Eynsford to John Kemp and his wife Elizabeth, formerly Elizabeth Bennett.
In 1810 John Best set up a butcher's shop in St Mary Cray, Orpington (Kent, England) called Best and Son, which was to remain in the Best family for four generations. Click for more photographs of the Orpington / Crockenhill location.
Baptismal records support the entries in the family bible which show that John and Ann had a large family - and they named their first son John. Baby John, died almost immediately, and their third son was again given the name of John. That John Best is not in Neil's direct ancestry. It seems that he or a cousin by the same name survived into adulthood as we have photos of three John Bests (see below). Sadly we do not know which Johns they refer to.
The entries in the family bible, with additions from other records, censuses and communications from various descendants, provide the known details of the children of "our John" and Ann:
- John Best, born 6 August 1805, died 12 August 1805.
- Thomas Best, born 27 October 1806, died 12 July 1851.
- John Best, born on 19 January 1808, died 7 February 1880.
- Jabez Best, born 17 June 1809, date of death unknown.
- Ruth Best (twin), born 28 October 1810, date of death unknown.
- Eliza Best (twin), born 28 October 1810, died 22 December 1882. She married Thomas Packman, a basket maker. Among their children was a son, Henry and a daughter Ellen who married James Cooper, a butcher from Addington, Surrey. Interestingly the Coopers had roots in West Wickham which features strongly in the Best and Barrington family trees. Ellen and James had a son Herbert Cooper who married Ivy Ellen Parmenter and had 6 children. Some of the Packmans appear to have gone by the name of Peckman. One branch moved to Australia where they were also basket makers, and another branch moved to New Zealand.
- George Best, born 29 October 1812, died 12 January 1894.
- William Best, born 8 July 1814, died 15 February 1851.
- Ann Best, born 1 September 1816, date of death unknown. Ann married Henry Moon
on 13 Dec 1837 at St Andrews Holborn. He was the nephew of Sir Francis Moon who was Lord Mayor of London 1854/1855 and was knighted by Queen Victoria. He was originally a printer and publisher and printed many of John Constable's
works. Ann and Henry had the following children:
- Annie Susannah Moon b1845 married George Francis Parker, a solicitor
- Francis William Moon b abt 1840
- Henry Cecil Moon b 1839
- Alice Caroline Moon b 1857. She married Frances Lockie Colliard, East India merchant and the photo on the right is believed to be of her.
- Mary Sophia Moon b1854
- Harry Graham Moon b1852, clerk in the silk trade
- Augustus Moon b1849, an accountant
Henry Moon's brother, Augustus Graham Moon, emigrated with his family to Australia:
MOON, Augustus Graham, Alexandra, a native of London, and a nephew of Sir F G MOON, Baronet, arrived in Victoria in 1855 as an employee of the general Steam Screw navigation Company, but the Crimean War breaking out the operations of the company were suspended, and he entered the correspondence branch of the post Office. in 1867 he left Melbourne for Wood's Point as legal manager of many of the principal mines there, and remained there, being a large shareholder, until their collapse. Mr MOON has since then been closely connected with the Alexandra shire council, to which he is secretary and treasurer. he is also secretary of the Cottage Hospital and holds other posts; and he has for some time conducted the local newspaper.'
From - 'Victoria and its Metropolis, Past & Present', Vol IIA,'The Colony and its People in 1888', Chapter XV, 'The Upper Goulburn District', p. 329.
Augustus Graham Moon's wife was Octavia Hamilton (Frances Octavia Scrivenor), an opera singer in Melbourne and quite a scandalous figure.
- Dan Best, born 9 July 1818, date of death unknown.
- Charlotte Best, born 3 April 1823, died as Charlotte Hatch, 30 April 1879.
- Henry Best, born 3 April 1823, died 1 July 1859.
- Helen Best, born 17 June 1825, date of death unknown.
- Caleb Best (Neil's great grandfather).
Strangely, in spite of the bible's wealth of additional genealogy information on John's wife and descendants, his own date of death is missing. He was certainly dead before the 7 June 1841 census, because his wife was listed as a widow. The bible entries do state that he was interred in Crockenhill Old Burial Ground but sadly the monumental inscriptions there are now unreadable. What has been transcribed - see the research page - is ambiguous.
There was another John Best in the same area around the same time, and the two are all too easily confused. The line which is not ours comes from a John Best, born 1750, who married Ann Stevens Turner (or Ann Stephens Turner) in 1774 and died in 1826.