For the descendents of Richard Dearie and his son John Russell

Elizabeth/ Eliz /Bessie McCastline nee Dearie. (Married secondly Robinson.)

Born ?1843/45 Pennsylvania, America.




Bessie Dearie was the daughter of Richard Dearie and Elizabeth Hogg.  Her parents married in London but she was born in Pennsylvania in 1843/5. Her mother Elizabeth Hogg was her father Richard’s second wife and Bessie had five half brothers living in New Orleans, three of whom died young.

Bessie had four siblings:  Maria, born in 1838, a brother called George, born in 1841, possibly in Philadelphia, Annie born in 1842 in New York , and Mary also born in New York in 1845. She also had an older half sister Jessie:  her mother, Elizabeth Hogg’s daughter, who was 5 years old at the time of her mother’s marriage. Her mother had 3 more children born in the UK who all died as babies.

Her father was a wine merchant, customs house agent, and innkeeper, although occasionally called himself a "gentleman" We know very little about her childhood.

In 1846 the family were in London. Between 21 June and 19 November 1846, when her brother Archibald was born the family lived at 60 Warren St, London, and from at least December 1850 to March 1851 they lived at Guildhall Chambers in the City of London. During 1851 and 1852 the family lived at 10 King Square in Islington, and from 1852 to 1855 at Nichols Square in Hackney.

On the 1851 census Bessie, aged 11, which would make her birth date 1840, can be found at a boarding school in Croydon with her sister Mary. A widow called Mary Smith at 8 Westow Street, Westow Terrace, runs the school. There were 5 other children there, aged between 4 and 11.

Bessie's half brother Jack was born at 115, Nichols Square a result of a relationship between her father and her half sister Jessie. Unlike their sister Annie, Bessie and Mary were not removed from the family at this point, or if they were we don’t know where they went.  They may have accompanied the family to Glasgow where her father ran three pubs. In March of 1856 her oldest sister Maria married Henry Bury at St. Mary’s Church in Glasgow.  In May of that year her father was fined a huge sum for running an illicit still and by March 1857 he was in debtors prison.

It is not known where she was living at this time.

Eventually released from prison her father Richard left for America with Bessie and Mary to return to New York on 15 August 1859. Neither George, Maria and Henry or Elizabeth her mother, are on this ship's passenger list.

Her brothers all fought for the confederate side in the civil war.
She may have stayed in New York with her father who can be found paying taxes there in 1865 and 1866.  In 1867 Bessie married Andrew McCastline a grocer in New York. They can be found on the 1870 U.S. census living at Old Row, New York. Andrew McCastline is 30, born in New York and she is called Eliz aged 25 and born in Pennsylvania. This would make her birth date 1845.

On the 1880 US census, she can be found widowed, aged 37, living at 118, West 49th Street, New York, with her sister Mary Cluff, also a widow, and her father Richard Dearie widower aged 80. In this census her age makes her birth date 1843. Her father died in 1883.

In the 1889 street directory of Wilkes Barre she can be found living with her brother George at Dearie's Hotel. George died in 1903, and his funeral notice indicates that he had one sister living in New York, ( which must be Mary Cluff) and one in Philadelphia. This may be where Bessie was living. A record of her death has not yet been found.

A family tree annotated in John Dennis Russell's hand writing, after a conversation with Hilda Russell in the 1960s, suggests Bessie married a second time to a man called Robinson. Below Bessie's name on the tree is written (squint) in brackets. This being sadly the only personal information that has been handed down.


A search through unnamed portraits of the right date for a woman with a squint found this picture in the back of an album belonging to May Fox; Annie Fox's daughter. The family resemblance is strong.
A comparison of the two photographs shows similar facial features but we shall probably never know if this is Bessie Dearie.
Above: Part of a photograph of George and Madeleine Russell's wedding in 1909. Making the assumption that those closely related stand near each other in groups and that we know that Annie Fox nee Dearie is on the left and Mary Cluff nee Dearie is on the right, is it possible that the middle woman is Bessie McCastline, nee Dearie, their sister?