Albert Samuel Seume

1846 - 1915

A brief account of his life

Albert was the first son of Frederick Albert Seume and Joanna (née Henley) and, as such, named after his father and his maternal grandfather. He was born on 12th May 1846 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and baptised 5 months later on 28th November at Kingston City, Ontario, Canada (just north of Lake Ontario on the border between USA and Canada). If this is correct the couple must have made a very long journey with a tiny baby, and maybe a family story about them travelling around in a covered wagon stems from this.

At the time of the 1861 census, Albert (described as a scholar) was living with his parents and younger brother at The Lord Campbell public house in Alexandra Road in Aldershot; this was just yards outside the camp boundary wall (still in existence). His father was, at this time and despite being a civilian, the Bandmaster of the 9th Lancers. Albert's own obituary states that at some time in his life he too was trained as a bandmaster, but he abandoned this career in favour of a more relaxed lifestyle. By October 1866 he was living/working in Reading and, in one of her letters to him, his future wife Emma said she felt that their prospects were brightening.

Albert and Emma were married on the 20th August the following year at Saint Saviours Church, Upper Chelsea. Both gave their addresses as 10 Walton Place, Upper Chelsea (nowadays a very fashionable area just behind Harrod's). Emma’s widowed mother was housekeeper there and, although Albert may have been living in the same house, it is likely that he gave the same address to avoid paying for two sets of banns.

Albert inherited his father’s musical talents describing himself variously as a pianoforte tuner, a pianist, a teacher of music, and a musician. His obituary states that he was a clever pianist and organist, and was well known in practically every canteen and mess in Aldershot. It is said that he became the organist at Saint Mary’s Church in Ash Vale.

Emma and Albert had a total of nine children: 7 sons and 2 daughters:-

  • Albert Ernest born Chelsea 1868 - died same year
  • Herbert Thomas born Chelsea 1869 - 1916
  • Eleanor Annie (Ella) born Chelsea 1872 - ?1963
  • Lizzie Emma Florence (Flo) born Fulham 1873 - 1955
  • Frederick Albert born Kensington 1875 - c 1917
  • Sidney Archibald born Fulham 1876 - 1917
  • Horace Victor born Fulham 1879 - 1958
  • Frank Bernard born Ash 1883 - 1909
  • Phillip Godfrey born Ash 1886 - 1972

Albert and Emma’s first 2 children were born at 29, Oakley Square, Chelsea, although this may not have been where they were actually living, and Ella was born at 250, Kings Road, Chelsea . (By chance this is directly opposite the shop in which, 130 years later, great-great-grand-daughter Bryony worked for a time). During the next year and a half the growing family moved to 10, Bective Road in Fulham, which was where their fourth child Florence was born.

The 1881 census shows the family living at 93 May Street Fulham but during 1880/1 Albert and his father purchased plots of land at Ash Vale, and built a house (villa!) called ‘The Woodlands’ there. Albert and Emma moved in with their six surviving children and remained there until the ends of their lives. The children went to local schools and were involved in village activities such as cricket matches. Emma helped with fund raising for the new church. In his obituary Albert is described as an itinerant musician and as someone with a very Bohemian nature (Read it in full...).

For some reason as yet unexplained, Albert was in Aberdeen at the time of the 1901 census, but he returned and eventually died in Ash Vale on the 9th August 1915 aged 69. He was buried in the cemetery of Saint Peter’s Church, Ash although no headstone survives. Emma outlived him and died in 1922.

Several questions about Albert's life remain unanswered:

  1. Addresses in Chelsea, Kensington, Fulham etc.
  2. Are there records of his musical activities within the camp?
  3. What was he doing in Aberdeen ?
  4. Did he import pianos as has been suggested?
  5. Address for 1871 census?