BiograPhyle Ada Josephine Drew
Ada Josephine Drew
Born c.1864 - Married 1890 Frank Tompson Smythe - Died after 1947

Ada Josephine Drew was born in London - registered at Hanover Square, in about 1864. Her father was James Drew, hosier of the Burlington Arcade - a son of Yeoman farmer, James Drew, of Radnorshire. Her mother was Sarah Ann Nias, a daughter of the long-established Nias family of Newbury, Berkshire. At the time of the 1881 census they lived at Gore House, Hatton Road, Harlington in Middlesex. Ada J. Drew had three sisters and two brothers - one of whom, the eldest, Nias James Drew, ended up in Australia and was, apparently, a "Remittance Man" (see main site pages) while little is known of the second brother, William Somerset Drew.

Ada Drew married Frank Tompson Smythe, the newly-appointed Baptist Minister, at Harlington in 1890. She was reputed to be a gentle and artistic person and was the mother of three children, all of whom were born in Northampton where Frank T. Smythe was given a living after their marriage. Whilst her children found their father somewhat aloof and austere, she was adored. In the 1901 UK census, she is noted as being deaf.

The name Drew was added as the third name of each of her children - a son and two daughters - and, indeed, family "anecdote" recalls that there was no Drew male left to continue the name of this particular Drew line. This has since been proven to be a myth - but the circumstances surrounding the situations of both male children seem to be the stuff of 'scandal' and 'disinheritance'! Whatever may be the case, her son hyphenated the Drew name to Smythe at about the time of his marriage in 1914 - again, purportedly to keep alive the name of that particular branch of the Drew family. In the following generation the first born son also carried the extra forename 'Somerset' - a name that appears in both Drew and Smythe lines - in a three-name string, Richard David Somerset (Drew-Smythe).Cefnllys Church  - St. Michael's - photo courtesy of Peter and Jackie Longley

Whilst the name, Drew, derives from the Norman Drogo or Dreux - of Devon - her father's branch of the Drew family came from Radnorshire in Wales. James Drew was born in about 1825 at Cefnllys near Llandrindod Wells in Radnorshire. Cefnllys was once a small town, clustered round the base of a hill on which stood a Norman castle built by the Mortimers; but when the castle itself was abandoned as a ruin, in the 16th century, the town gradually disappeared and now only the picturesque 13th century church remains. The family name spelling varies between Drew, Drue, Dru and Drewe depending upon which generation and which area was settled - often with variations within a county.