Monday, April 05, 2010

Amy Dora Reynolds [Mrs. Fred Reynolds]

A friend of mine noted the appearance of some information on the internet relating to Mrs. Fred Reynolds, poet and author of crime and romance novels in the late 19th and early 20th century. According to something called Public Domain Works, Mrs Fred Reynolds was nee Torckler, which led me on a merry chase as it's not true.

But that's maybe not surprising as Mrs Fred Reynolds wasn't actually married to anyone called Fred. Nor was she born with the name she married under.

Amy Dora Reynolds appears in the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census returns and it's a relatively easy task to discover that Amy D. P. Reynolds (as she is listed in 1891) is an authoress, supposedly born in Wimbledon in c. 1860/61. Her death, on 11 June 1957 at the age of 96, was registered in Ulverston, Lancashire.

She was married to Richard Freshfield Reynolds on 15 September 1886 at St Michael and All Angels Church, Bedford Park, Chiswick. Richard, the son of Richard Reynolds, followed in his father's footsteps and worked as a pharmaceutical chemist. They lived in Headingley, Yorkshire, and had three children, Richard Frederic Reynolds (b. 1887), Dora Eldrid Reynolds (b. 1889) and Kenneth (b. 1892). Richard, born in 1860, died in 1907.

Amy was listed as Amy Dora Percy on her marriage certificate, the daughter of Sidney Richard Percy, a painter. But a search for her birth turns up nothing. However, a little research into her father explains why: Sidney Richard Percy was the working name of Sidney Richard Percy Williams, the son of painter Edward Williams. Edward and his wife Ann (nee Hildebrant) had six sons, all of whom became landscape painters, and to differentiate their work, three of the children adopted pen-names under which to work: two of them worked under their last Christian names (S. R. Percy, Arthur Gilbert) and Henry John Boddington adopted his wife's surname.

So Amy Dora Percy was actually born Amy Dora Percy Williams, and her birth registered in Wandsworth can be found under that name can be found in 4Q 1860.

But that leaves one question unanswered... where does the information that Mrs Fred was born Amy Dora Torckler comes from? Well, here's my theory. Someone has done a search and discovered a woman called Louisa Lydia Amy Dora Torckler. Louisa, the daughter of William Toney Torckler and his wife Susannah, was baptized in 1863 at St. Jude, Chelsea, but was born on 4 August 1860, which ties in with the known information that Amy Dora Reynolds was born in London.

However, Louisa Lydia was married in 1877 in Bath, Somerset, to John Arthur Brookman, an agent for Prudential Assurance. They lived in Twerton, Somerset, and had two children, William Stephen A. Brookman (b. Bath, 1878; married 1900) and Frances Dora M. Brookman (born Bath, 1891). In the 1901 census, John Brookman's occupation was given as inspector for SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and his wife's as "Missionary for Friendless girls".

John Arthur Brookman died Wells, Somerset, 1905 aged 57 and his wife died in Bath in 1942 aged 81.

Amy Dora Reynolds and Louisa L. A. D. Brookman (nee Torckler) are definitely two different people.


Little Prince Frisco. A fairy story, illus. by the author. Leeds, McCorquodale & Co., 1889.
Llanartro. A Welsh idyll. London, Gay & Bird, 1895.
A Tangled Garden. London, Hutchinson & Co., 1896.
An Idyll of the Dawn. London, J. Bowden, 1898.
In the Years That Came After. London, Hutchinson & Co., 1899.
The Hut on the Island. The story of a week's holiday. London & Edinburgh, Gall & Inglis, 1902.
The Man with the Wooden Face. London, Hutchinson & Co., 1903; New York, Fox, 1903.
The Book of Angelus Drayton. London, John Long, 1904.
The Making of Michael. London, George Allen, 1905.
A Quaker Wooing. London, Hutchinson & Co., 1905.
Hazel of Hazeldean. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1906.
In Silence. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1906.
The House of Rest. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1907.
These Three. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1907.
Love's Magic. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1908.
St. David of the Dust. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1908.
The Lady in Grey. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1909.
The Forsythe Way. London, Chapman & Hall, 1910.
The Idyll of an Idler. Being some adventures of a caravan in Cornwall. London, Everett & Co., 1910.
As Flows the River. London, Chapman & Hall, 1911.
The Horseshoe. London, Chapman & Hall, 1911.
The Gifted Name. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1912.
The Grey Terrace. London, Chapman & Hall, 1912.
Letters to a Prison. London, Chapman & Hall, 1912.
The Granite Cross. London, Chapman & Hall, 1913.
The Woman Flinches. London, Chapman & Hall, 1913.
An Absent Hero. London, Mills & Boon, 1914.
Long Furrows. London, Mills & Boon, 1915.
Fetters on the Feet. London, Edward Arnold, 1917.
The Man Who Could Not See. London, John Lane, 1922.
Trefoil. London, John Lane, 1923.
It Might Have Been Otherwise. London, John Lane, 1925.
Miss Anne Tankerton. London, John Lane, 1926.
Love's Echo. London, John Lane, 1927.
Players in the Dark. London, John Lane, 1928.
Anna Marplott. London, John Lane, 1929.
Coin of Life. London, John Lane, 1929.
The Loram Picture. London, John Lane, 1930.
Ashes on the Hearth. London, John Lane, 1931.
Green Stockings. London, John Lane, 1933.
A Victorian Bacchante. London, John Lane, 1935.
The Woman Drives. London, John Lane, 1936.

Sons and Poems. Leeds, McCorquodale & Co., 1890.


  1. Very interesting... I am quite certain my Aunty Nan (Annie Margaret Bellamy 1900-1977) would have mentioned her famous mother-in-law, to her fammily and
    friends, - that her husband, William Stephen Arthur* Brookman (1878-1951)was the son of a famous English author... She never did.. because her mother-in-law was Louisa Lydia Amy Dora Torckler. My Great Aunt (my Grandmother Barbara Bellamy's sister) was Arthur Brookman's third wife. They owned "Craigflower Store" in Victoria, British Columbia and has a son "Junior" born in Ontario.

  2. Which, I think, backs up my theory that there are two people whose details have somehow become conflated.



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