Secret of 19th-century choirboy, who hid ‘remember me’ plea in church pew, is…

29 April 2022, 16:20 | Up to date: 29 April 2022, 16:25

A 125-calendar year aged letter, published by a 13-12 months-old Sunderland choirboy.

Seventeen Nineteen / Alamy

A relatives history researcher has tracked down the chorister by means of prepared files and census records.

A 125-12 months-previous letter penned by a Sunderland choirboy was learned hidden in a pew during church renovations, in March 2022.

Scribbled in pencil on the again of a chorister’s sermon, the concept had been stashed absent driving a steel plate in the choir stalls, where by it remained undisturbed for nicely above a century.

Its writer was 13-year-previous William Elliott from the close by Sunderland Orphan Asylum, who was the ‘leading boy’ of the parish choir. Figuring out he would quickly be leaving the orphanage, he had jotted down his anxious feelings on the nearest out there piece of paper.

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William Elliott’s letter was identified during restoration is effective to just one of the choir stall pews in 2020 by Stevie Hardy,…

Posted by 17Nineteen on Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Counting down to his 14th birthday, when he would be discharged from the orphanage, the letter browse:

“Dear close friend, whoever finds this paper imagine of William Elliott who experienced two months and two weeks and four times on the 11 of August 1897. Whoever you are that finds this paper don’t tear it up or throw it away…

“Keep it in remembrance of me, W Elliott… I was the top boy of this choir…

“I really like you if you really like me.”

Heeding his wishes, the letter was framed and now hangs previously mentioned the pew in which it was found. At the time of its discovery, centre manager Tracey Mienie claimed, “His letter has touched us all. He was plainly very aware that his time at the orphanage, and in the choir, was ending and I believe apprehension at what his future may possibly keep will come across in his phrases.”

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Centre manager Tracey Mienie sits in the pew where the letter was found.
Centre supervisor Tracey Mienie sits in the pew the place the letter was observed.

Seventeen Nineteen / Alamy

Now, in a new progress in Elliott’s tale, exploration expert Jen Baldwin has found what took place immediately after Elliott remaining the orphanage in 1897, aged just 14.

Baldwin, who performs for family members background site Findmypast, uncovered files from March 1903 that shown Elliott’s departure from Glasgow at the age of 19, placing sail for New York with $25 in income – really worth about £650 now.

It is considered that Elliott travelled to Newport, Rhode Island, to stay with his sister. He grew to become a Yeoman in the U.S. Navy that year, and was honourably discharged in 1916 as Chief Yeoman.

That same year, Elliott was naturalised as a U.S. citizen on a petition that also features data on his wife, Dora, who he married in 1908, and daughter, Edith, who was born on 26 March 1910.

William Elliott's retirement notice in the San Diego Union, 2 August 1945.
William Elliott’s retirement observe in the San Diego Union, 2 August 1945.


The specifics of his Navy profession are obscure, but a retirement announcement in the San Diego Union exhibits that he progressed to the purpose of Commander prior to retiring in August 1945 immediately after over 40 years’ company.

When the 2nd Entire world War broke out, Elliott returned to services as assistant source officer, right before retiring the moment once again in 1945.

William Elliott’s headstone in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia
William Elliott’s headstone in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

Arlington Nationwide Ceremony, via the ANC Explorer app.

William Elliott died on 27 April 1968. He was survived by his next spouse, Florence, as very well as his daughter Edith, a son, his sister, and 8 grandchildren. He was cremated and interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, together with his initially spouse Dora.