The Life and Times of Thomas Elisha Day

This is the second of my series of blogs on the mammoth challenge of documenting the lives of my 2 x Great Grandparents, next up is Thomas Elisha Day, and what a very interesting and enterprising Ancestor he was!

Thomas was born on 1st February 1836, at St.Pancras, London, the youngest child born to Thomas Frederick Day and Louisa Archer. He was baptised at St. Pancras Old Church on 29th February 1836.

Thomas Elisha Day Baptism




The next record we find Thomas Elisha Day on, is the 1841 Census for Gravesend in Kent. So at some point between Thomas’s birth in 1836 and the 1841 Census, the family moved from their home in St. Pancras, London, to Gravesend in Kent. We can assume it was for work for Thomas Elisha Day’s Father, Thomas Frederick Day, who was a Paperhanger (Decorator), by trade. Another reason and just as likely, is that they moved to be near Thomas Elisha’s Mother, Louisa Day (nee Archer). The Archer family were living in Gravesend at the time of the 1841 Census and the two families were living together.

1841 Census

By 1851 Thomas Elisha and the family are well established in Gravesend and are living at 90, Milton Road, Milton, Gravesend, Kent. Thomas Elisha Day and his Brother William Day are both listed as Paper Hangers and their Father, Thomas Frederick Day is listed as a House Decorator, employing one man and the family have also listed living with them at their residence, a House Servant. This shows the status of the family at the time, having a servant was seen to show a Families wealth and respectability. Although they would have been in the lower middle class bracket, it shows that the wealth from the big City was spreading out into the Countryside as well. (Thomas was the first of my humble Ancestor’s to actually employ a House Servant!). Around this time, 1st May 1851, The Great Exhibition opened in Crystal Palace and although I cannot say for certain, I would have imagined, that this would have been something that Thomas Elisha Day and his Father would have really enjoyed visiting.

1851 Census

On 23rd June 1859 Thomas Elisha Day Marries Louisa Hallsey at St.Andrew’s Church, Holborn, London, at the time Thomas is listed as a House Decorator and his place of residence is listed as Holborn, London. His Wife Louisa Hallsey is listed as living at Hatton Garden, London at the time of their Marriage. Witnesses to the Marriage were Henry James Day and Matilda George Day who were both Cousins to Thomas Elisha Day and both living in London at the time. Witnesses to marriages are really important when investigating the extended families of your direct line Ancestors.

Thomas Elisha Day Marriage

The next record we find that mentions Thomas Elisha Day is the baptism of his first Child, Louisa Harriet Day who was baptised on 30th March 1860, at the time the family are living at 11, Cambrian Grove, Gravesend, Kent and Thomas Elisha is listed as being a House Decorator.

By the time of the 1861 Census the family home is 68, Wrotham Road, Milton, Gravesend, Kent and Thomas Elisha’s occupation is still a House Decorator and he is living at home with his wife and one year old Daughter.

1861 Census

The next mention we find, is an interesting Newspaper article and shows the growth of the Day business empire in the Gravesend area, Thomas Elisha Day’s Father, Thomas Frederick Day had numerous business interests also in the Gravesend area at the time.

Taken from the Gravesend Reporter dated 11th January 1862

Thomas E Day

Fruiterer and Greengrocer,

15, Milton Road, Gravesend.

Respectfully informs his friends and the public generally that he has taken the above well known Business and begs to state that he is now prepared to supply them with every article in the above Business  and hopes by strict attention to all orders interested to him to deserve their support.


A fine assortment of English and Foreign Fruits, Nuts direct from the nearest Market.

Families regularly supplied with all kinds of vegetables.

Thomas E Day Fruiterer

Between 1862 and 1871 Thomas and Louisa have another five children, Annie Alexandra Day born 1863, Frederick Archer Day born 1865, Henrietta Sophia Day born 1866, Harry Archer Day born 1868 and Jessie Day Born 1871.

By the time of the 1871 Census, the family had moved to 11, Peacock Street, Gravesend, Kent and Thomas Elisha was listed as a Painter and he was living at home with his Wife Louisa and two of their Children, Louisa and Annie, sadly Frederick, Henrietta and Harry had all died in their infancy.

1871 Census

We will never know what happened to the Fruit and Veg Business venture that Thomas Elisha Day had taken over, did he sell it again? Some further research required here.

One more child is born to Thomas Elisha Day and Louisa Day, on 28th January 1878 my Great-Grandfather Frank Day is born at 11, Peacock Street, Gravesend, Kent, at the time Thomas Elisha Day’s occupation is listed as Master Painter.

Frank Day as a Young Man

(Frank Day in Sydney, Australia)

Thomas Elish Day and Frank Day and Frank Day Junior

(Three generations of Day’s, seated we have Thomas Elisha Day, standing is his Son Frank Day and the small child is Frank’s son, Frank Day Junior)

The next record we find is the 1881 census and Thomas Elisha Day is still living at 11, Peacock Street, Gravesend, Kent and is living at home with his wife Louisa and three surviving children Louisa Day, Annie Day and Frank Day, also at the residence is a lodger, Samuel Bayle. Thomas’s occupation is still a House Decorator.

1881 Census

11, Peacock Street, Gravesend

(11, Peacock Street, Gravesend, Kent)

1881 and 1882 Also finds Thomas Elisa Day listed in the Kelly’s Trade Directory as a Painter and House Decorator, residing at 11, Peacock Street, Gravesend.

1882 Kelly’s Directory

1882 Kelly’s Directory

Thomas Elisha Day is also listed in The Gravesend Reporter in a trade advertisement;

Taken from the Gravesend Reporter dated 1st August 1885

Thomas E Day,

Writer, Grainer, & Paperhanger,

11, Peacock Street, Gravesend.

Work done for the Trade.

Thomas E Day Trade Advert

1891 Census

By the time of the 1891 Census Thomas and Louisa have moved again to 41, Wingfield Road, Gravesend, Kent. Thomas is listed as a House Decorator and also living at home are children, Louisa and Frank.

41, Wingfield Road, Gravesend

(41, Wingfield Street)

The next entry we find for Thomas Elisha Day surrounds the sad death of his Wife Louisa Day in May 1899;

Day – In sorrowful and loving remembrance of our dear Mother, the beloved wife of Thomas Elisha Day, who departed this life on May 19th 1899 at 41, Wingfield Road, Gravesend.

How sudden was her death to us,

And a great surprise to us all,

When God did say, you must away,

Could she refuse His call.

“Tis sad to see the empty chair,

And miss the face we loved so well.

Her loss seems very hard to bear,

Yes, harder than our tongues can tell.

Time has passed and friends around us,

Think the wound has almost healed;

But they little know the sorrow,

That lies within our hearts concealed.

Inserted by her sorrowing husband and children, Louie, Annie and Frank.

Louisa Day in Memory

Very sad to read, of a very much loved Wife and Mother.

The next record we find for Thomas Elisha Day is the 1901 Census and Thomas is living at 41, Wingfield Road, Gravesend, Kent, he is listed as a House Decorator and is living at home with his Daughter, Louisa Day.

1901 Census

41, Wingfield Road, Gravesend

(41, Wingfield Road, Gravesend, Kent)

By 1911 Thomas Elisha Day is still living at 41, Wingfield Road, Gravesend, again he is there with his Daughter Louisa Day, but this time they are taking in two Lodger’s, John West, another House Painter and possible work colleague of Thomas and John is there listed as a widower with his own Son, Frank West. So possibly Thomas was reaching out and helping a friend who had fallen on hard times or quite possibly as he was now 75, he was renting out rooms as an additional source of income.

1911 Census

Sadly not long after this, Thomas’s daughter, Louisa Harriet Day, who was still living at home with him, died. She died in April 1914 at the Union Workhouse Infirmary, in Gravesend in Kent. Thomas would have been 78 now and probably suffering with ill health himself, so it’s no surprise that he moved in with his Daughter Annie Alexandra Titley (nee Day), in Sheerness in Kent. He died on 24th January 1922 from Senile Decay and Cardiac Failure and present at his death at 133A Alexandra Road, Sheerness, Kent was his Granddaughter L.Titley.

133A Alexandra Road, Sheerness 2

(133A Alexandra Road, Sheerness, Kent)


Thomas Elisha Day was buried on 30th January 1922 in Grave Number 3720 Section A27, Gravesend Cemetery, Old Road West, Gravesend, Kent.


My lasting impression of Thomas Elisha Day was that he was an astute businessman, able to grasp opportunities and take chances to try and better himself. I also believe that he was very much a family orientated man and a man of solid values and morals, one of those Ancestor’s that its been a privilege to research and be connected to.

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