William Somerset Drew - second son of James (Hosier) Drew and Sarah Ann Merewether Nias

November 2002
This information comes from collateral cousin, May Scharf, in England via cousin Carol (Drew) McGlasson in America

It can now be established that James, the Hosier, Drew died on the 7th of September 1890 and that his second son, William Somerset Drew, was an Executor to the Will.

The full text of the Wills Index fragment above reads as follows: "1890.  The will of James Drew late of 1, 2 and 3 Burlington Arcade in the Parish of St James, Westminster and of No.1 Stanbrook Court Piccadilly and of Harlington Grove near Hounslow all in the County of Middlesex who died 7 Sept 1890 at Harlington Grove, was proved at the Principal Registry by Sarah Ann Merewe(inserted letter a)ther Drew widow, the relict, and Rosa Mary Drew, spinster the daughter, and William Somerset Drew, Hosier the son all of Harlington Gore, the Executors. Personal Estate: 11,390, 0s .. 2d. Resworn March 1892 11,767.. 6s.. 3d."

In his mother's Will , William Somerset Drew is specifically excluded from every aspect of her Estate except for a one-off payment of just 20. She died in 1913. William probably inherited the whole business from his father - as he too is noted as being a "Hosier" - which is possibly why he was mentioned as the beneficiary to only twenty pounds from his mother. Perhaps William Somerset Drew ran a branch of the family hosiery business at No. 1 Stanbrook Court, Piccadilly - with the property owned by his father. An inspection of James Drew's Will is pending. It has to be said that James Drew must have been a successful Hosier, trading - as he seems to have done - from three frontages at the Burlington Arcade!

This index fragment comes from the Birmingham City Library in England and it may be wondered how the original Will document and probate papers (presumed) found their way to this English midlands city when James Drew was essentially a London man - originally from Radnorshire in Wales. It could have come about in this way. His daughter, Ada Josephine Drew, married Frank Tompson Smythe whose father, (Benjamin) James Francis Smythe retired and died in Birmingham on 19th October 1902. It may be supposed, therefore, that a number of family papers were stored and kept by the Smythe family in Birmingham - Drew papers amongst them - and that they were eventually lodged with the Birmingham City Library.

Rosa Mary Drew - the other (offspring) Executor remained a spinster and gave a gift at the wedding of her nephew, Henry James Drew Smythe, when he married Enid Audrey Cloutman at St. Mary Redcliff, Bristol, in 1914.

The elder brother of William Somerset Drew ...

Nias James Drew - the eldest child of the Drew/Nias marriage - was he, in fact, sent away to Australia - as is suspected by descendant Australian family - "in disgrace"? Perhaps not, in the light of this recent information. Perhaps he was left nothing in his mother's Will because he had already received his inheritance, or an equivalent amount, before his father died in 1890. Nias James Drew, the "Remittance Man" - may simply have preferred not to take on any aspect of the family business whereas William Somerset Drew was prepared to do so. He may have engineered a "deal" with his father and left to seek his fortune overseas. He was in Australia by the end of 1881.

In his mother's will, William Somerset Drew is as often excluded as Nias James Drew is excluded - and yet the former son seems to have been living "at home" at the time of his father's death and was trusted enough to be written in as an Executor to his father's Will.

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