Born February 16th 1809 at Ware.
Baptised May 5th 1809 at Ware.
Lived at 9 Upper Bedford Place and 35 Russell Square (1855-68).
First marriage September 30th.1833 at Croydon
to Elizabeth Stenning of Godstone.
Second marriage in 1862
to Elizabeth MargaretGross at Ayr.
Elizabeth(1st) died February 4th.1858. Elizabeth (2nd) born October 20th 1822.
Elizabeth (2nd.) died July 1918 (?).
Major died May 7th.1868.
All are buried Highgate Cemetery.
Major continued to run the family firm of Thomas Usborne and son on the
death of his father in 1836. The entry in the London Post Office
Directory for 1839 describes their activities as Malt & Corn Factors
and Insurance Agents at 5 New London St.
The Corn Laws were designed to protect the interests of British
agriculture and thereby the interests of the landed gentry and
merchants. Its by-product was the high price of bread.
Frightened by the failure of the potato harvest in Ireland and
expected famine, the corn laws were repealed in 1846. Corn markets
across the world opened up. The summer of 1847 brought bumper harvests
from Europe leading to a devastating drop of prices. Corn
Exchange prices dropped from 115s a quarter in May to 49s.6d in
September. A tightening of credit led to panic on the money
markets. 117 firms failed including eleven banks. Usborne &
Son went down with debts of
£33,627 (£1.7m.today). Major owed his brother Thomas in Ireland
£18,346. The liquidators paid out 11s.3d. in the pound. The
Times reported "The present position has arisen entirely
from the dis-honour of claims the company holds on Leslie
Alexander and other suspended firms. The circumstances of the stoppage are such
as will maintain rather than diminish the honourable character
which Mr. Usborne has hitherto borne". How he re-started his
career is not recorded. By 1854 trade was firmly re-established.
Major continued to buy ship-loads of grain from his brother
He became a director of the National Bank.
He is listed in the Court Directory (upper
crust) in 1863.
The family bible was bought in 1833 for Major's
wedding to Elizabeth Stenning. Family births, deaths and marriages are recorded
on the fly leaves. W.H.Havergill, rector of Astley, Worcestershire, made the
first entry in celebration of the union at Croydon: "May they be heirs together of the Grace of
Life. May they mark, learn and inwardly digest the Word of Life; and at the last
Great Day may they be found written in the Book of Life."
In 1843 there was a devastating fire in St Olave's church, Hart
St., close to Major's office in the City. Major must have been
one of the local prosperous merchants who contributed to it's
repair. He was rewarded by having his coat of arms (borrowed
from his cousins) incorporate in in the right hand light of the north
Coat of Arms page)
Peter (b.1937) peers out from the
jungle of Highgate cemetery where he discovered Major's memorial