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John Caleb ADKINS
(1809 - 1871)
Temperance TOMES
(1808 - 1890)

Married: 13 March 1874; Cheltenham, Gloucestershire UK
Thomas 'China Tom' ADKINS
(1836 - 1912)
Agnes Margaret SOWDON
(~1849 - 1911)
 bd.  13 June 1836; Milcote, Gloucestershire UK
 dd.  21 Dec 1912, age 76; Long Hyde, South Littleton [41]
 brd.  24 Dec 1912; South Littleton parish church
 edu.  King's College, London [41]
 occ.  Chinese Consular Service 'China Tom'
 res.  UK
 src.   [8],[32]
 bd.  About 1849; Weston on Avon, Gloucestershire UK [85]
 dd.   Sept 1911, age about 62 [41],[131]
 brd.  South Littleton parish church
 occ.  April 1880-1884: Chinese maritime customs service, 4th Assistant [131]
 res.  UK
 src.   [8]

Thomas 'China Tom' ADKINS b.1836

No issue

Notes for Thomas 'China Tom' ADKINS

Evelyn Goodman has him working for the China Consular Service for the period 1855- 1879. However David Oakley says that Consular records show that he worked there only in the month of January 1868. Author P.D Coates, 'China Consuls', has him in Takow (as Kaohsiung was then known) for three months.

1881 Census: visiting cousin George Caleb ADKINS.

The 1901 Census tends to suggest that there were no children, but that he was comfortably off. Funeral report confirms - no children.

Picture courtesy of the late Theo Christophers. [95]

Notes for Agnes Margaret SOWDON

Sister of a Chinese Customs commissioner.

1881 Census: visiting husband's cousin George Caleb ADKINS.

A.M. Sowdon joined the Customs in April 1880 & started as a 4th Ant at Canton. Letter from Hart to Campbell, 12 March 1880 (268) ‘I am glad Sowdon has passed: he is Adkins’ b-in-law & Adkins as Consul has always been fair to the Customs’. However, it didn’t turn out well- letter from Hart, 24 Oct. 1883 (441). ‘Sowden[sic] has collapsed – melancholia.’ [130]

The newspaper report of Thomas Adkins's funeral clearly indicates that his wife died in 1911. However, in the China Families record it states that she withdrew from the service due to being deceased on 01/04/1884. There is no evidence of him being married more than once. [131]

Is it possible there is some confusion, because Agnes Margaret SOWDON is clearly a woman, but in Hart's letter he says '... he is Adkins’ b-in-law ...', referring to SOWDON twice as male. [95]

Lots of confusion above! It rather belatedly occurs to me that Hart is referring to Agnes Margaret's brother who was a Chinese Customs commissioner, ie. working for the British customs department attending to Chinese customs. It is he who died on 01/04/1884. Now it all makes sense. [95]


8.  Document, Evelyn GOODMAN research
32.  Email, David Oakley, 30 October 2004
41.  Newspaper, Saturday December 28th 1912, Evesham and Four Shires Advertiser
85.  Email, David Oakley, 8 August 2011
95.  Personal information, Tim Boddington (STB, Webmaster)
130.  Email, Dr Andrew Hillier, 05 April 2022
131.  Website,

Family record last updated: 21 March 2023

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