Stephen Milsted (1791-)
Born in Tenterden in 1791, Stephen was named in the 1829 Crown Survey as resident in the [[America Ground]], where he owned four brick-and-timber houses and a slaughterhouse, worth over £75 in annual rent[a]
According to Brett, Milsted built the Horse and Groom in 1829, when it was the principal tavern in the new town of St Leonards. Milsted was a plumber, painter and glazier, and was listed as such in the 1832 trade directory, operating at Priory as well as St Leonards. Until 1837 he was in partnership with Charles Neve, whose sister Jane he married at St Clements in 1827. The approximate dates of their various residences can be extrapolated from their births of their children. The first three were born in 1828 and 1831 on the America Ground, the next in 1837 in St Leonards and the last in 1840 and 1843 in Tenterden.[a].
When the ‘Americans’ were evicted they dismantled their home (located where Holy Trinity Church now stands) and moved it to St Leonards, where it was re-erected in North Street (later numbered 11). He seems to have prospered, since it was noted by Brett that he also owned other houses in St Mary Magdalen: what are now 33/35 Norman Road and 6/7 Shepherd Street and some land between Norman Road and Shepherd Street. He was certainly a man of both substance and respectability: in 1832 he was one of only seven men in St Mary Magdalen parish to possess the Parliamentary vote, and in 1836 he was appointed a town assessor for the West Ward[a].
However, in 1837 he was declared bankrupt, and he gave all his property to Robert Deudney and James Breeds. By 1840 he was keeper of the Woolpack Inn, Tenterden, a prominent and important inn, where in 1841 he put on a banquet for 350 people. Once again, despite appearing to have a lucrative business and social standing, he went bankrupt in 1855 and handed over all his property to his creditors, including his brother Charles, a blacksmith[a].
Clearly he felt that he would have more luck in business in (the real) America: in 1857 he, Jane and the younger five children emigrated to Philadelphia[a].
References & Notes
- Courtesy of: Helena Wojtczak