Frederick Albert Seume

Frederick is thought to be the first member of the family to live in England, (although there is a reference to Simon Seume in Plymouth in 1789) He was a musician variously described as a Professor of Music, a bandmaster and a Musical Director.

Frederick was born in Prussia (possibly, but not certainly, in the Leipzig area) in 1810/1 (after end March) and his father was Christian Seume. Frederick arrived at the Port of London on the 12th December 1834. (Some family members have said that he came as a bandmaster imported by Prince Albert, but this seems rather unlikely because he was already in England when Queen Victoria married.) In fact there are a number of reasons why Frederick may have decided to leave Prussia, and Michael Radke describes conditions in Prussia at the time as being quite unsettled. It is also possible that Frederick came as part of one of the many travelling German bands that tried their luck in England at the time. Perhaps we shall never know!

On 25th January 1845 Frederick married Joanna Henley by licence at Stoke Damerel church in Devonport. Joanna was the daughter of Samuel Henley, an auctioneer and appraiser living at 7 George Street, Plymouth, and she was considerably younger than her husband.

On 12th May 1846 their first son was born in New Orleans and then in the next four and a half months they travelled hundreds of miles northwards to Kingston City, Ontario, where Albert Samuel was baptised in the Wesleyan Chapel on the 28th October. In November 1847 the family were in Barrack Road Dublin and appear on Griffiths Valuation living next door to the Methodist Chapel and very close to the Cavalry Barracks. A second child, Anna was born in March 1848 but sadly she died in Christian Street, Everton, Liverpool on 10th May 1849.

The family were often on the move. It is likely that Frederick lived in Somerstown at some point in his life (possibly around 1834/5) because all four of the witnesses to his naturalisation application came from a small part of that area and said in 1854 that they had known him for upwards of nineteen years. In 1851 Albert (as he was usually known), Anna (aged 25) and Albert junior were living at 83 Holborne Road?? Sutton, Kingston upon Hull, along with a servant and Anna’s sister Maria, who was a singer and visiting on the night of the census. In 1854 the family were at Shakespeare Road, Stoke Newington.

Frederick applied for Naturalisation in 1854, declaring that he was married to an English Woman and had two children. He described himself as a bandmaster and said that he had served in her majesty’s service for 18 years – i.e. since 1836. His reason for wishing to be naturalised was that he wanted to possess landed property, although we do not know of him doing this until much later, in 1881.

A second son, Frederick William, was born in Dublin around 1854 (before 7th April)

On the night of April 7th 1861 Albert, now aged 50, together with his wife Joanna (33), and their two children Albert Samuel (14) and Frederick William, were living at the Lord Campbell Public House at West End just outside Aldershot. This ‘hostelry’ appears to have been a small one, recently built facing the garrison wall just south of the Cavalry Barracks, and, from the upstairs windows, Albert senior would probably have had an excellent view of his place of work. In the census he is described as a musician and his two sons as scholars. The West End schools did not open for another decade, so perhaps the two boys had lessons from the regimental schoolteacher. (There were a number of camp schools at this time.)

Joanna disappears after 1861 and so far we have found no record of her death. However it seems likely that the family were in Ireland until 1866 and that she died over there. Maybe that was his reason for seeking a testimonial from Colonel Drysdale in that year. Albert Samuel was married to Emma Spedding in August 1867 and one wonders if his mother was there to see it. Certainly Frederick was back in Aldershot by 1871 living with his younger son (aged 17 and a scholar) at Bank Street, and describing himself as a music master. (He does say that he is married at this point and not a widower)

Five years later Albert senior was in Stonehaven, Scotland directing a newly formed local band (Urie Band, named after the local ‘Big House’). There are a few accounts of performances that the band made in the local newspaper, including an account of how they welcomed in the New Year with a selection of tunes, culminating with the National Anthem. In June, the members of the band presented Frederick with a ‘very handsome silver-mounted cane’ as a mark of their appreciation of his labours and inscribed with the words ‘from the members of the Urie Band June 1876.

By April 1881 son Albert was living at May Cottage, May Street in Fulham, with a growing family and his widowed father, and he was looking to buy land on which to build a house, so in October 1881 Frederick bought four plots of land in Ash Vale from H.E. Brake for £40 pounds and then sold them to Albert.

John Seume believes that Frederick imported pianos into this country from Germany and that he died in Frankfurt (although which Frankfurt is not known). No will has been found in England nor has a record of his death.

There are other family stories about Frederick that have yet to be proved/disproved.

Questions to be answered:-

  1. Where was Frederick born?
  2. Where and when did he die?
  3. Did Frederick serve in any regiments other than the 9th Lancers?
  4. What was happening in Frederick’s life between 1834 and 1845?
  5. Any records for the ‘Ashland’ leaving Liverpool early in 1846?