The following was taken at 34, Elden Street, Newcastle on Tyne on the 21st November 1905 from the original belonging to Miss Augusta Anne Mills. A copy taken in 1810 was also produced but appears to have been really a copy of a similar document as altho' in the main identical it contained some additional information which has been incorporated below. F.R.B.
I, Francis Christopher Augustus Berg, was born in the year 1748 on the 21st December about 11 o'c in the forenoon at the beautiful little town of Friedrichstadt in the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein. In 1778 I was married for the first time at London with Miss Mary A'Bear (the proper family name having been de la Bear) descended from an ancient family of Normandy, whose original sire was come over to England with King William the Conqueror of whom he is said to have been a favourite. This is as far as I have been informed of it.
She was born at Gibstrud in Berkshire near Henley-upon-Thames in the year 1746 November 6th. Some of the A'Bear relations must no doubt be still alive at a village near it called as I recollect Hare-Hatch, lying about 32 miles from London on the High Road to Reading in Berkshire. N.B. The ceremony was performed at St George's Hanover Square.
With this my good wife I had the following children viz:
1st. My eldest son Augustus was born at London in the year 1778 on the 16th October about half an hour past two in the afternoon.
2nd. In the year following on the 19th October 1779 my beloved wife had a miscarriage being delivered of two dead boys about 7 months old being occasioned by some sudden fright.
In the next year 1780 Oct 20th a son named John William. In this lying in my wife, being neglected either by her nurse or she not having taken proper care of herself, fell into a lingering consumption which after a series of trouble anxiety and very great expenses terminated with her life in the year 1781 on the 22nd of August about 3 o'c in the morning. This son also again (sic) died in the year 1783 February 20th after having just obtained (sic) the age of 2 years and 4 months.
Thereupon I left London about the latter end of March with my only son Augustus and went to Hamburgh where after a voyage of 9 days we safely arrived and in good health.
Here I soon again became married for the 2nd time with a widow called Catharina Susanna Jiesche viz: the very same year 1783 on the 9th of July.
With her I had the following children:-
1st. 1784 May 3rd three quarters past three in the morning I had a son who received the names of John Matthias who however died in 1785 July 16th having only lived 1 year 2 months and 13 days.
1785 December 2nd I had a daughter who was named Maria Carolina Dorothea who is yet alive and well who is my only nurse at present and may the Almighty preserve and bless her. This is my ardent wish.
1788 June 24th about half an hour past 5 in the morning I had another daughter who was named Catharina Henriette and who also died in 1790 May 11th after having lived 1 year 10 months and 17 days.
1790 August 20th about half an hour past 2 in the morning my youngest son Francis was born. May he also be an honour to me and a comfort in my old age, this I most ardently entreat.
From this time my good wife having frequent attacks of the rheumatism and the gout which in spite of all physical aid was increasing from year to year and at last the dropsy too, which mounting to her stomach she became a sacrifice to a complication of disorders. My wife's life terminated on the 14th of August 1796 at an age of 44 years 6 months and 25 days much too early for me to whom she was a good natured tender and affectionate wife and to her children a most kind indulgent and tender mother. You my son who have known her will be able to judge whether I have said more than the truth or not.
The following notes in the handwriting of Augustus Berg (son of the above) are written, Number 1 at the foot of the original and Number 2 and 3 at the foot of the copy. F.R.B.
Copyright © Anthony Hickson