One of the cool things I’ve found in my research is that people lived in areas I had never considered possible. One branch of my family generally thinks of itself as poor farmers and while we have many of those, we also come from a line of landed or aristocracy adjacent Brits. This includes younger sons who chose or were slotted for military service like Hugh Massy, or military families who through their standing and acquaintances were able to get children on the track for foreign service like Charles Alison. And if you do have people in those middle to high echelons of British Society, then you have to consider the previous global reach of the British Empire and consider all the possibilities. For example, Charles, noted above, was probably born in the West Indies, married a  resident of Constantinople at the British Embassy in Paris, and died in Tehran, Persia. And even having researched Charles, I still was surprised to find my 2nd Cousin, 4 times removed, Maud Mary (Rothwell) Mardon traveling the world.

Maud was born 12 Apr 1881 in Brantford, Ontario the daughter of Burrows Rothwell and Mary Merryweather. However, while Mary, older brother Percy, and her next two siblings (were born in Canada, Burrows had actually emigrated to Michigan as early as 1856. He married Mary in 1867 in Oakland, Michigan and their first four children (Horatio, Fanny, Arthur, and Charles) were born in Eastern Michigan. But by the time of the 1900 Census he was firmly established as a major player in Detroit and Western Ontario real estate. All of this left Maud well placed in Detroit Society during her formative years including participating in multiple charity theatrical events on the Lyceum and Detroit Opera House stages as a teenager.

In 1901 Maud was invited to stay with her aunt and uncle Julia Hill (Rothwell) and James Digges La Touche—a noted Irish civil servant in British India. Maud first joined the family in Dublin then traveled with them to India when La Touche took up his appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces and Chief Commissioner of Oudh. Two years into her stay with the family her engagement to Evelyn John Mardon, also of the British civil service, was announced in the Detroit Free Press on 27 September 1903.

Detroit Free Press Wedding Announcement for Mr . and Mrs. Evelyn John Mardon.

Wedding Announcement for Mr . and Mrs. Evelyn John Mardon. Detroit Free Press, 06 December 1903, p. 28

The couple married 5 October 1903 at Naini Tal, Bengal, India, with the La Touche family standing in for her parents. John and Maude’s first children, John Kenric La Touche and Eveline Mary, were born in Bengal in 1905 and 1908. By 1911 the family had been recalled to England and the remaining children, Victor Rothwell, Julia Alison, Maude Elizabeth, Geoffrey Burrows, and Cedric Hall, were born in Devon. The family appears to have retired to Halsway Manor in Somerset in 1938 where members of the family lived until Mardon’s death in 1958.


It appears that Mardon is best known for his work in India and traveling the world as a big game hunter. Ah… colonizers and big game hunting. Really not my thing, but fascinating research, nonetheless.  The family remained an international one—you can find them on passenger lists in and out of the Americas including Brazil, Canada, and the United States. It appears that Victor even took up farming in the Kenya Colony until the Kenya Colony and Protectorate came to an end and Kenya became independent in 1963. This might explain the fact that Maud died 13 February 1950 at the War Memorial Hospital in Nakura, Kenya. Her headstone is noted in the Nakuru North Cemetery at East African Cemeteries and Memorials.

Will entry for Maud Mardon, England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995,

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995,

I’d never imagined I’d find all these relatives so far away.

Happy hunting,