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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.

The lives of Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne & Augustus Joseph Enever

A story of a broken marriage, power and Powers, aristocracy, misery, the exalted position of 'Once Master of British commerce' and some surprising connections in the family

The haunting image of Augustus Joseph Enever  Cleveland Plain Dealer Feb 1911 Image of Cleopatra, famed last Pharaoh of Egypt, an artist's conception published in World Noted Women, 1883.

This story is unique in that it follows the lives and loves of a few specific members of our family through time and across the world but it is certainly reminiscent of other Victorian relationships affected by unhappiness and the laws of the time which discriminated against females.  The information contained in this history is the result of collaborative research by some dedicated family historians with differing connections to the families concerned and brings together our combined findings.

The regal-sounding name of Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne has no obvious family sources, indeed her younger siblings were known as John Thomas and Maria Theresa Burgoyne and her father was only known as John but he was, as we will see, no stranger to exaggeration.

List of Passengers from Nassau to Baltimore 1853 showing the Burgoyne family

Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne was born in Plymouth, Devon in January 1844 and was, as far as we know, the eldest child of John Burgoyne and Susan Smith Giles, who had married in the Ebenezer Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Plymouth in 1840.  John was a builder as were his father and several other Burgoyne family members before him. By the time she was eight in 1852, Cleopatra was in the Bahamas travelling with her father and siblings but apparently without her mother.  The passenger list of the sailing to the Bahamas hasn't yet been found and it remains a possibility that Susan had travelled to the Bahamas with her family and died there, or en route, particularly as no later trace has been found of her in the UK.  John Burgoyne and his family were seemingly en route to Baltimore, Maryland in the USA on board the schooner 'Rover' and such a trip would have been unusual without the children's mother, although the purpose of their visit is not known.  Susan was almost certainly deceased by 1873 as her husband's will grants administration to his daughter, Maria Theresa.

Cleopatra then turns up in Dundalk, Ireland where she married William Taylor Power in 1867, the assumption being that this is where her father's work had taken the family and supporting the view that maybe the Bahamas/Baltimore trip may have been work-related despite the unusual presence of the very young children and John's occupation being recorded as a 'Gentleman', usually an indication that the man was of independent means and did not need to work.  

Cleopatra's marriage to William was short-lived as William had a deed of separation drawn up in 1872 and William petitioned for divorce in 1873 naming a Mr Bennett as co-respondent 1.  The couple had had three children, Susan Amelia in 1868, Frederick Joseph in 1869 and John Cecil in 1870 all of whom were born in Ireland.  More of John Cecil Power later.

Villa to Let in Dundalk, Ireland

John Burgoyne, Cleopatra's father, died in Kent in 1873 although he too had been living in Dundalk as late as 1869.  He appeared to be financially independent as he can be found offering to let a 'Villa, standing on Three and a-half Acres of Ground' and 'Containing every accommodation for a gentleman's residence'.  From his origins as a member of a family of builders in Plymouth John Burgoyne had sailed to the Bahamas and the USA with a young family, seen his daughter marry into the well-respected Power family, have property in Dundalk and be accorded various fictitious military ranks.  He grew in stature from from builder in 1840 to 'gentleman' in 1853 and in 1867, at the time of Cleopatra's first marriage, he was the Clerk of Works for the Dundalk Barracks of the Royal Engineers2.   This project appears to confirm that John Burgoyne was a Civil Engineer and not a military man as we have no evidence of him serving in the military although he clearly purports to have had a military background.  A (Field Marshall) Sir John Burgoyne was working in a similar capacity in Ireland at around the same time so it would be easy to confuse the two men and maybe John was attempting to use this confusion to his own advantage.

In his son's biography John Burgoyne was accorded the rank of Colonel but when Cleopatra re-married in 1878 he had been 'demoted' to Captain despite never having served at any rank in the army. 

In 1874 William Power's divorce petition names Mr Bennett, later identified as Samuel Bennett about whom very little is known as the Lloyds Weekly newspaper, 21 Jan 1877 edition, outlines a court affiliation action (seeking maintenance) by Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne against Samuel Bennett, otherwise known as John Burgoyne, for maintenance for a child.  It reports that Cleopatra had initially been Samuel's housekeeper but that after he had 'made certain propositions to her' the two had lived together as husband and wife for four years, and asserts that William Power, her husband, had abandoned her and moved to San Francisco.

Claim by Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne for support of a child. Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper 21/1/1877

The child for whom Cleopatra was claiming support was Samuel James Bennett who was born in Hertfordshire in September 1873 to her liaison with Samuel Bennett who was also known as John Burgoyne and rather unusually as 'Bishop & Company' according to the news article.  She appeared in the UK census of 1881 living as the wife of Augustus Joseph Enever although no marriage registration had been found.  Samuel, her son, was recorded as James S Bennett, a visitor to the family!  Samuel James Bennett later became known as James Samuel Bennett and then changed his name to that of his step-father becoming known as James Samuel Enever.  Augustus, James's step-father, was the son of Augustus William Enever, a seemingly successful businessman who later styled himself as 'gentleman' and who had had eight children with Hannah Bucknell, whom he had married in 1843.  Of the eight children, all of whom were boys, two had died in infancy and three had emigrated, one returning to the UK after arriving in New Zealand in about 1880.

Although Cleopatra is recorded as Augustus's wife in 1881 there was no UK marriage registration that matched the couple's unusual names and so it was assumed that no marriage had actually taken place. This was until Augustus Enever's obituary was found in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper dated February 19113.  It made a number of claims, some of which we know to be exaggerated or untrue, about Augustus and Cleopatra's lives including:

  • Augustus was the son of one of England's wealthiest corn merchants but lost his fortune through his association with a partner
  • He married a direct descendant of Sir John Burgoyne (who was (in)famous for his surrender of New York at Saratoga in 1777)
  • He and Cleopatra had been married by the father of Lily Langtry, the noted actress
  • He travelled with Cleopatra and his son James to Scotland to regain health
  • He became 'state accountant' for Equitable Life Assurance Co in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Cleopatra lost her sight in a street car accident
  • One of a number of items left to his son James was a smelling salts bottle held by King George III at the time of his death
Obituary of Augustus Joseph Enever The Cleveland Plain Dealer February 1911

The origins of the corn merchants' business is unclear although Augustus Joseph's father, Augustus William Enever, was a business man but not it appears a very successful one.  He was variously a commission agent, an accountant and a clerk to a wine merchant and would deal in wine and spirits himself and was also in a partnership with his aunt, Elizabeth Anquetil née Enever as grocers and tea dealers.  He was insolvent on two occasions in the 1850s and in 1859 a partnership with a James Mace was dissolved but neither the nature of this business nor the reason for the dissolution is known.  Despite these setbacks he is recorded as a 'gentleman' in the 1870s suggesting he may have had sufficient funds not to work.  In 1863 during a night out in Whitechapel he had been robbed of a gold watch, his chain and his purse and these were never recovered. There is currently no information linking him to the beginnings of the corn merchanting business.

Court for Relief of Insolvent Debtors Jan 1852 and also Sep 1855
Source: London Gazette

Augustus Joseph Enever became a clerk to a corn factor in his teens and by 1871, aged 26, was a corn merchant in his own right and this is the earliest record we have of a corn merchant's business.  In 1880, two years after his marriage to Cleopatra, he was appointed the Trustee of a bankrupt corn merchant, William Rathbone, suggesting that he was qualified in insolvency.  He was then in partnership with George Imson Goodhart as Corn and Seed Merchants and Wharfingers (the owner or manager of a wharf) at the New Corn Exchange, London and at the Phoenix Willow Wharves at Bankside, Surrey although this partnership was dissolved in June 1884.  Augustus's achievements in the corn business, although significant, fall some way short of the obituary's headline of 'Once Master of British Commerce', a sub-heading of 'Once Controlled Large Industries in England' and its content which incorrectly records him as 'The son of one of England's wealthiest corn merchants, a power in the London corn exchange, owner of a fleet of vessels'.

James, Cleopatra's son, wrote that after arriving in New York Augustrus became interested in investing his money in a South Carolina publishing firm and was awarded the New York agency for its monthly magazine for so doing. All went well for about eighteen months until an earthquake hit South Carolina and destroyed the company's building and his money was lost.

Augustus's brother, Frederick Francis (Frank) Enever, began his career as a clerk to a druggist and then became a brewer but like his father was an accountant and showed a similar lack of business acumen becoming insolvent in 1869 as a brewer in Southampton and again in 1873 when he was an accountant, corn and cattle food dealer and following in his brother's footsteps in the corn business. He was then a traveller (salesman) and a general agent before again being in the cattle food business as Enever's Cattle Food Company, which was operating in Oxford and later at Banbury, Gloucestershire.  The company's headed notepaper suggesting some success on this occasion as it carries a royal monogram and the legend "As Supplied To The Royal Farms".

Headed notepaper of 'Enever's Cattle Food Company' 1895

The obituary's second claim was that Cleopatra was a direct descendant of Sir John Burgoyne.  Her father was certainly a John Burgoyne but she was not descended from the Sir John Burgoyne who achieved fame for his military career and was commander at the British surrender at Saratoga in 1777.  The Battle of Saratoga 1777 was fought between British and Indian Forces and the American troops on the Hudson River in New York State, Burgoyne surrendering his army in October 1877.  As one family member noted 'this surrender directly affected my ancestors, as they had farms and businesses in New York, and remained loyal to the British.  So after the defeat, the Rebels confiscated all their property and my family had to start over again in Ontario'.  The confusion between the John Burgoynes also appears to have been seen in the family of Cleopatra's first husband, William Power.

Given the first two somewhat exaggerated or incorrect claims it seemed unlikely that Augustus and Cleopatra had been married by Lillie Langtry's father but further investigation proved the report to be entirely correct.   The couple had indeed been married in St Helier, Jersey in April 1878 by William Corbet Le Breton, the dean of Jersey.  Cleopatra recorded herself as the widow of William Power to ensure that they could be married in church and it is possible that they chose Jersey where they would not be known and no awkward questions could be asked (or possibly just as a wedding and honeymoon venue).

Lillie Langtry, depicted with a Jersey lily in her hair. Source: wikipedia

Lillie (née Emilie Charlotte Le Breton), actress, was born on 13 October 1853 at St Saviour's rectory, Jersey, the only daughter and sixth of the seven children of William Corbet Le Breton (1815–1888), dean of Jersey, and his wife, Emilie Davis Martin.  Educated at home, she developed into a socially ambitious and remarkably beautiful young woman. In 1874 she married Edward Langtry, son of a Belfast shipowner. Within three years the couple were established in London, where Lillie became celebrated, not only as a ‘professional beauty’—a society woman whose photographic likenesses were on sale to the public—but as the mistress of Albert Edward, prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. Between 1877 and 1880 she enjoyed a period of heady social success. Her portrait was painted by most leading artists of the day; the best-known is A Jersey Lily by John Everett Millais, in the possession of the Société Jersiaise in Jersey 4.  This story of a link to Lillie has been passed down in family folklore as an Enever having a romantic attachment to her but as is so often the case there is little truth behind the distortions that have occurred over the generations.

In a strange later coincidence a Hampshire house purchased by Cleo's second son, John Cecil Power, in about 1920 was purchased from the son of Mary 'Patsy' Cornwallis-West. Patsy Cornwallis-West's daughter, Daisy of Pless, was one of the mistresses of the future King George V but is also, probably wrongly, reported as one of his father Edward VII's mistresses. Colonel William West had died in 1917 and the property was disposed of by his son George, who had married Lady Randoph Churchill, after the death of Lord Randolph Churchill. In 1942 Barbara Enever, Augustus Joseph Enever's great niece, married Lionel Leslie nephew of Jeanette Jerome, who was none other than Lady Randolph Churchill! There is further detail on this relationship below.

Augustus Joseph Enever on board SS Critic from Dundee to New York Sept 1885 and Cleopatra with James on board SS Circassia Nov 1885

It is also true that Augustus had travelled to Scotland but this was prior to arriving in the USA and not a trip made from the USA to recover his health as his obituary suggests.  The obituary records that it was this trip back to the USA that was his emigration from the UK and was as a result of meeting with some young men who persuaded him to join them to travel to a land where 'money was plentiful'.  Augustus sailed from Scotland in September 1885, his wife and her son following on in the November.   These events are confirmed in a letter from James Enever, Cleopatra's son, to his cousin James Keen Enever dated 1911 in which James refers to Augustus as 'Father Gus'.  The family had moved to Corstophine in Scotland and lived there for about a year.  Augustus met with a group of men who had 'the craze to come to the States' and 'just insisted that Gus accompany them', which he did leaving Cleo and James in Scotland.  The group of Scotsmen went to Florida while Gus stayed in New York from where he planned to travel on to Rome.  James recalls that when Augustus had left for America that:

"Mother liked the glass unfortunately and she had a fine blow out during the Father's absence."

After Augustus had been gone for three months, Cleo had decided to join him in New York and she and James set sail on November 14th 1885.

In his 1912 letter James acknowledges his 'real' father but is scathing of him, writing:

'...that proper and real father, who is now somewhere in England. That devil that skipped and left mother when I was but a baby.'
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 Record for James Samuel Enever recording him as blind

We have no reason to doubt Augustus's appointment as state accountant for the Equitable Life Assurance Company of Cleveland, Ohio as the obituary was itself published in Cleveland.  James, himself, confirms the appointment in his letter to his cousin writing that after the collapse of the publishing business the family took in boarders and that then Augustus was offered the position with The Equitable Life Assurance Co. but adding that later 'his father had lost his position with the Equitable' but without elaborating on the reasons.

We know that James, Cleopatra's son by Samuel Bennett, was effectively blind from a young age and Augustus's obituary reports that Cleopatra herself was blinded in a street car accident in about 1906.  Cleopatra's son himself refers to the incident, which he recalls as being in about 1909 saying:

"Mother became entirely blind about two years ago.  She went to Market one Saturday night and while boarding a Street Car, or Tram as the Johnny Bulls call them, she was thrown to the pavement and must have struck her head.  This caused blood vessels to burst behind the eye and subsequently she became blind."

Cleopatra was badly affected by her blindness and her family feared for a while that she would take her own life but in time she settled to her fate and became more cheerful. Blindness was by then already a major feature of the family's life as not only was Cleo's son registered as blind, although did have limited vision, but his wife, Josephine née Scheuring, who he had married in 1905, was herself totally blind.  Josephine was a teacher of the blind and also helped out on the Cleveland Society of Blind switchboard.

James, however, was very positive about himself, his life and what many would see as a very difficult disability, telling his cousin:

"I have poor sight.  It is so poor that I cannot see what I am writing to you now....And doctors here say that in time I shall enjoy the blessings of perfect darkness.  But ...this does not worry me much.... I don't see what in the world I should feel sad about."
"In the year of 1905... I married one of the most charming girls of our school, who is entirely blind.' He describes her as 'a capable young woman and what an accomplished person she is. She can manage and does our home in a whole lot better way than 999 women can out of a thousand. I am just a little conceited over my selection of a wife."
Hands across the sea : reminiscences of an Anglo-American marriage by Henrietta L McCormick-Goodhart, 1921

The story that one of a number of items left by Augustus to his son James was a smelling salts bottle held by King George III at the time of his death seems so bizarre that maybe there is just an element of truth to it? In her book Hands Across the Sea,  by Henrietta McCormick-Goodhart (1921) writes about the family of Augustus Joseph Enever's partner, George Imson Goodhart:

"The Goodharts are descended from an ancient family of Hesse-Cassel. Emanuel Goodhart, son of John Henry, came to England in 1755 and married Charlotte Imson, whose parents came from Hanover with George I. There are now in the possession of their descendants a large silver inkstand, a table with an engraved silver top, a diamond cluster ring, and other gifts, presented to Miss Imson's mother by George II and Queen Caroline".

Cleopatra Cecilia Enever née Burgoyne died in Cleveland, Ohio on the 6th February 1911 aged 67 and Augustus, her husband, while attending her funeral 'took cold which soon developed into pneumonia'.  He died as a result just eight or nine days later, on the 14th or 15th February.

In a sad twist of fate more than thirty years later James Samuel Enever, previously known as Samuel James Bennett, died in Cleveland on February 11th 1943 at the age of 66 and his wife, Josephine, died just 2 days later.  The couple had no children as far as we know and the reasons for their deaths are not yet known.

Josephine Enever 'Blind Operator on Phone Board' The Salt Lake Tribune 23/12/1934

William Taylor Power, Cleopatra's first husband died in Surrey in 1916 but in contrast to the apparently largely exaggerated but reduced circumstances of Augustus, Cleopatra and James the son of William and Cleopatra, John Cecil Power, began an export business with his brother and became a wealthy man, an MP and was appointed a first baronet in 1924.

Real estate soon tempted John Cecil Power away from the family business; he had an unerring flair for property, together with considerable financial talent. His name is associated particularly with Kingsway, a London thoroughfare which opened up what had hitherto been slum property between Holborn and Aldwych. A number of its imposing buildings, such as Adastral House, were of Power's provenance.

Power's success in real estate made him a wealthy man and enabled him to become a generous benefactor. His first great gift was in 1920, an anonymous benefaction prompted by the historian A. F. Pollard of £20,000 towards the founding of an institute of historical research in London. Next, in 1923, came a gift of £10,000 to the British (later Royal) Institute of International Affairs, for the erection of a lecture hall at the rear of the mansion (given by Colonel and Mrs R. W. Leonard) in St James's Square, London, which became known as Chatham House. Power was honorary treasurer of the institute from 1921 to 1943 and during his long association made many other gifts to the organization which included, in 1938, the leasehold premises of his own house in Chesham Place. This house he had hitherto made available to the British Council (before it moved to larger premises) of which he was honorary treasurer from 1934 to 1950. On the outbreak of war in 1939 the house in Belgrave Square, in which he was then living, was lent to the government for use as offices.

Power was for many years associated with the League of Nations Union, serving on the executive committee from 1929 to 1936 and, at various times, on its appeals, finance, and parliamentary committees. In addition he was a member of the committee of the Royal Humane Society and, from 1934 to 1949, a director of the Royal Insurance Company.  Politics early claimed Power's attention and in 1924, the year in which he became a baronet, he was elected Conservative member for Wimbledon, a seat which he held until 1945 when, his health beginning to fail, he withdrew to his country home in Hampshire 4.

John Cecil Power's entry in Burke's Peerage & Gentry conveniently avoids the divorce of his parents and Cleopatra's later life by recording her death as occurring in 1874 and partially obscures her real identity by naming her as just Cecilia, daughter of John Burgoyne.  It also includes the previously mentioned elevation of Cleopatra's father to the rank of Colonel!5  His grandfather's will is particularly unusual in that, although written in 1873 and mentioning John Cecil's siblings and all other known grandchildren by name, John Cecil himself is omitted.  There is a possible clue to the reasoning behind the omission in the extraordinary text related to William Power and his relationship with his wife Cleopatra contained in the will.  William's father. William, Cleopatra's first husband, was to inherit the vast majority of the Power empire...

"...but subject to the following express conditions that is to say if my said son William Power shall at any time cohabit with his present wife Cleopatra Power otherwise Burgoyne or reside in any house where she may live or reside the payments of the annual produce of said residue and rents of my estate to my son William Power shall forthwith cease and be discontinued until he shall cease residence of cohabitation with his said wife and also from time to time in future if my said son should cohabit or reside with his wife the said annual payments shall forthwith cease and be discontinued during the time of such cohabitation it being my express will and desire that no part of my property whether freehold or chattel shall ever go for the support of the said Cleopatra Power otherwise Burgoyne or any of her family or any family that she may have with the exception of the oldest little girl Susan Amelia Power and the oldest boy Frederick Joseph Power either directly or indirectly.....".
Can a Divorced Wife Bastardize Her Children?' Reynolds's newspaper 1877

In the claim for support of her child in 1877 Cleopatra said that William had deserted her in about 1870 and had left her without adequate means for her support.  While we cannot know if this 1870 date is entirely accurate and it is not mentioned in the divorce petition, John Cecil was born in December 1870 and William it seems may already have left the family home for San Francisco.  This possibility is recorded in an article entitled 'Can a Divorced Wife Bastardize Her Children?' in Reynolds's newspaper in 1877 in its reporting of Cleopatra's claim for financial support of her child with Samuel Bennett while also reporting that William Power had visited his wife while she was living with Bennett and says that 'she had her two children by her husband taken to her'.  All of her three children were however living at the time and this is confirmed in the divorce petition in which the three children are all identified as 'issue of the marriage'.  This petition must carry some weight although without any means of confirming paternity the law imposed quite a burden of proof on a husband who might wish to overturn the strong presumption that a child conceived by his wife while married and living together would be his.  As proof to the contrary was so hard to establish,  accepting such a child would often be the path of least resistance - whether for reasons of altruism or otherwise.

Is it possible, though, that both William and his father, John Power, considered that John Cecil Power, later to become a Baronet, had been conceived by an unfaithful Cleopatra?

Cleopatra's younger brother, John or John Thomas Burgoyne, qualified as a doctor in Dublin and emigrated to Australia.

It is highly likely that Samuel James Bennett, or James Enever, was never aware of how rich or famous his half brother had become, assuming he even knew of his existence.  The colourful name of Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne was closely matched by her colourful life but genealogy is surprisingly full of such stories if we delve deep enough.

As mentioned briefly above, there is another family link to aristocracy and failed business ventures in that Augustus Joseph Enever's nephew's daughter, Barbara Yvonne Enever, married the son of a fourth Baronet in 1942 who was a cousin of Sir Winston Churchill while Augustus's nephew, Edwin Alexander Enever, was convicted of fraud related to several of his business ventures.  This story will hopefully be available in more detail shortly but meanwhile you can follow the links to the individual's pages.


1 The National Archives  Divorce petition
2 The National Archives  Dundalk Barracks Married Soldiers Quarters
3 Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper
4 Oxford Dictionary of National Biographies (login required)  Sir John Cecil Power & Lillie Langtry
RootsChat forum fizzybubble, jerseylily, hepburn, Michael Dixon, and particularly Rol and Moatville, all members of Cleo's online fan club. It would not have been possible without them.
7  Frankie Enever for piecing together the newspaper obituary and the headed notepaper and thus providing a major clue
8  Gill & Keith Enever who kindly provided a copy of James Bennett/Enever's letters to his cousin, James Keen Enever.


If anyone has any further information about Augustus Joseph Enever or Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne and their families, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Author:  Barry Ennever

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