Another lovely find from my one month Find My Past subscription. Back in 1997, when I spent a lot of time at Birmingham Archives, I found the following will for Thomas James.
This is the last will and testament of me Thomas James of Birmingham in the County of Warwick thereby direct all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses be paid and satisfied by my executrix hereinafter named soon as convenient maybe after my deceased. I thereby give, devise and bequeath all my household furniture, linen, books ??? and also all and every sum and sums of money which may be in my house, about my person or at my place of business. Also all stock and book debts owing to me the time my decease and all and everything of my effects whatsoever and wheresoever both real and personal to my dear wife Julia James to and for her sole use. I benefit absolutely and I nominate, constitute & approve my said wife to be my executrix to this my last will and thereby revoking all my former or other wills heretofore made by me. I declare this to be my last will and testament. In witness thereof I the said James Thomas have to this my last will and testament set my hand on this the twenty first day of January in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and eighty two.
Signed Jany 21st 1882 in the presence of us Thomas James
present at the same time who have hereunto
subscribed our names witnesses in the George Rowland
presence of the testator. Charles James
Proved at Birmingham 10th October 1884 by oath of Julia James widow
27 Pershore Road, Birmingham - Leather Merchant died 9th September 1884 at Alcester £1363:11:1
Wright & Marshall Solicitors, Birmingham
I knew that Thomas had been born c1822 in Manchester but I hadn't thought about how old he might have been when he died or the circumstances surrounding his death. Well that all changed when I decided to search for 'Thomas James' and the word 'leather' on Find My Past and found the following news article which adds more meat to the bones (and as usually happens it has left me with even more questions that before).
Birmingham Daily Post
Wednesday 10 September 1884
SUDDEN DEATH OF A BIRMINGHAM MERCHANT
Yesterday, about noon, Mr. Thomas James, leather merchant, of 27 Pershore Street. Birmingham, died very suddenly at the Alcester Railway Station. The deceased gentleman, together with Mrs James had been on a visit to Alcester for some days past, staying at the Lord Alcester private hotel. Yesterday morning Mr. and Mrs. James walked to Great Alne, and returned by train to Alcester, immediately on alighting Mr. James was seized with illness. He was taken to the waiting room, and a medical man was sent for, but before his arrival he expired. It seemed deceased had been a great sufferer from heart disease, and had been attended by Mr. Badger, surgeon, Bromsgrove Street. The deceased was 62 years of age. The body was removed to the Lord Nelson Inn to await the decision of the coroner as to the holding of an inquest.