Untold lives blog

Sharing stories from the past, worldwide

12 January 2023

From India to destitution in Glasgow Part 2

Our last post told the story of  Helen/Ellen Maria Phillips, a pauper in Glasgow.  We searched for more information about her in the India Office Records and this is what we found.

The first thing we discovered was that her name in all other records was Ellen Maria.  She was born on 6 January 1847, the daughter of George and Mary Phillips.  She was baptised at Belgaum aged 16 on 15 April 1863.  George and Mary had a number of other children – we have found Caroline Henrietta (born 1835); Mary Eliza (born 1838); Annie (born 1841); Jane (born 1842); Henry (born 1849); and William (born 1851).  All were baptised in their teens or early twenties.  George is described as an agent for Messrs Treacher & Co in one record and as a merchant and a pensioner in others.

Baptismal record for Ellen Maria and Annie Phillips at Belgaum April 1863Baptismal record for Ellen Maria and Annie Phillips at Belgaum April 1863 IOR/N/3/37 f.88 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Ellen Maria’s mother Mary died of consumption in January 1862 aged 41.  Her father George died in December of the same year, also of consumption, at the age of 47. Both were buried at Belgaum.

The baptismal entry for Ellen Maria is misleading because she was already married by that time.  Her marriage to John Peden Cochrane had taken place on 18 August 1862 at Belgaum Mission Chapel.  John was born in Barony near Glasgow and had enlisted in the East India Company army in August 1856.  He served in the Corps of Sappers and Miners and then in the Department of Public Works.  In 1865 John re-engaged as a corporal in HM 45th Regiment.  He was reduced to private in 1867 for disobedience and insubordination.

Mission Chapel at BelgaumMission Chapel at Belgaum from The Juvenile Missionary Magazine and Annual for 1877Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

We have found the birth of three sons: Arnold John born at Belgaum on 15 September 1863; Malcolm Kenneth born on 18 February 1866 and baptised at Camp Deesa in April 1866; and John Alexander born at Madras on 5 April 1870.  Malcolm died of hydrocephalus on 2 February 1868 at Poona. Only John is mentioned in the Glasgow poor law papers so it seems that Arnold had also died.

In January 1872 John Cochrane was discharged from the British Army as unfit for further service, suffering from the effects of chronic dysentery.  He gave his intended place of residence as 14 Gloucester Street Glasgow, a multi-occupancy tenement.  From the Scottish death register index, it appears that John died in Glasgow in 1873.  So this explains Ellen Maria’s presence in the city.

Ellen Maria did return to India.  On 23 January 1875 at Bombay she married Charles Pauly, a sergeant in the Quarter Master General’s Department.  Charles was the son of a German-born clerk George Emil Pauly and he had enlisted in the British Army in 1864.

Marriage of Ellen Maria Cochrane to Charles Pauly January 1875 at BombayMarriage of Ellen Maria Cochrane to Charles Pauly January 1875 at Bombay IOR/N/11/4 f.563  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

For the moment, Ellen Maria’s story ends here.  Charles Pauly was discharged from the 83rd Regiment in March 1879 with a disease of the heart valves.  At the time of the 1881 census Charles was living with his parents in Islington, London, and working as a commercial clerk.  He is described as a widower.  We think that he was remarried in 1883 to Ellen Berry and then died in 1885.

So where and when did Ellen Maria die?  And what happened to her son John Alexander?  Can any of our readers help us to complete the story?

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
Records of baptisms, marriages and burials from the India Office Records are available via Findmypast -
IOR/N/3/33 f.191 Baptisms of Caroline Henrietta Phillips and Mary Eliza Phillips 13 July 1859.
IOR/N/3/36 p.49 Burial of Mary Phillips 27 January 1862.
IOR/N/11/2 no.488 Marriage of Ellen Maria Phillips to John Peden Cochrane 18 August 1862.
IOR/N/3/36 p.307 Burial of George Phillips 13 December 1862.
IOR/N/3/37 f.88 Baptisms of Ellen Maria Phillips and Annie Phillips 15 April 1863.
IOR/N/3/37 f.259 Baptism of Arnold John Cochrane 22 October 1863.
IOR/N/3/29 f.5 Baptisms of Henry Phillips and William Phillips 10 February 1865.
IOR/N/3/40 f.37 Baptism of Malcolm Kenneth Cochrane 5 April 1866.
IOR/N/3/42 p.240 Burial of Malcolm Cockrane [sic] 3 February 1868.
IOR/N/2/51 f.143 Baptism of John Alexander Cochrane at Madras 6 July 1870.
IOR/N/11/4 no. 563 Marriage of Ellen Maria Phillips to Charles Pauly 23 January 1875.

British Army discharge papers for John Cochrane - The National Archives WO 97/1918/76, available via Findmypast. 
British Army discharge papers for Charles Pauly - The National Archives WO 97/2074/76, available via Findmypast.


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