Church Ministers – Rev. Charles Hessel ToddNovember 23, 2015
The fourth Minister of our Church (1890-1895) was The Rev. Charles Hessel Todd, who was born in Kinross on 18th June 1853, the 2nd son of John Todd and Elizabeth Hessel. In 1857 the family moved to Alva, in Stirlingshire, where John set up a wool manufacturing business, which by 1861 employed 33 people.
In 1881 Charles is living in St Ninians, Stirlingshire, with his brothers John and Thomas, John is a wool agent, working for the family business, and Thomas is an arts student aged 27, studying in Edinburgh.
By 1886 Charles had completed his studies for the ministry and been ordained in Ratho Free Church. On 6th November 1890 he was inducted to Maxwelltown, where he was to stay for only four years. During his time in Dumfries, Charles’s personal life went through a very traumatic series of events. On 17th April, aged 36, he married Martha Owen Simpson (30) in Newington, Edinburgh. Martha was the daughter of Patrick and Emma Simpson from Victoria Australia (where Patrick was a minister of the Presbyterian Church of Australia) and had come to Scotland with her sister, who was married to James Prophit, Minister of St Mungo Parish, Dumfriesshire, and at the time of her marriage she was living with relations in Edinburgh. On 1st February 1891 Martha Simpson Todd was born in Maxwelltown manse. On 2nd March 1891 Martha Owen Todd, aged 31, died in Maxwelltown manse.
The 1891 Census taken in May shows Charles with his daughter, Martha’s brother Patrick Carnegie Simpson (a Divinity student) Victoria Hughes (a visitor from England) and two servants, living in the manse. Patrick Simpson had signed his sister’s death certificate and his niece’s birth certificate.
In 1885 Martha’s sister’s son Archibald Leigh Prophit died, aged 4, from scarlet fever, and her husband James Prophit, aged 56, died in 1889. Martha moved to Newcastle on Tyne to stay with relations.
Towards the end of 1894 Charles Todd accepted a call from East Aberdeen Church and was inducted to his new charge on 12th February 1895. At the end of 1895, aged 42, Charles Todd married Sarah Prophit, aged 29, his sister in law.
The 1901 Census shows Charles, and Sarah living with two servants in the Free Church Manse, 5 Carden Street, Aberdeen. Martha Simpson Todd, aged 10, is staying with friends in the Free Church Manse in Strichen, Aberdeenshire.
The 1911 Census shows Charles, Sarah, and Martha, aged 20, living with two servants in the Free Church Manse, 5 Carden Street Aberdeen. The family lived at 5 Carden Street until at least 1920 after which they moved to Edinburgh.
In 1925 Charles Hassel Todd died, aged 71, at St Raphael’s Home, Edinburgh. Sarah lived at 24 St Albans Road in property owned by Martha until she died, aged 77, in 1933. Martha qualified as a teacher working as English Mistress in Preston, Bath and Edinburgh until she moved to Bristol after her stepmother’s death. Martha died in 1974. BW