Visit my main HOME PAGE
HELP ?Email me

Post -1857

In 1857 in Coventry in the heart of England, it was the time of the weaving depression and many weavers were out of work and destitute. One of them, recently married, decided there was only one thing to do. Robert Cakebread, only 19 and a weaver of plush material, said goodbye to his family and emigrated to USA with his young wife Martha. After many years of hard work in the California mines they flourished and had a large family so establishing many of the present CAKEBREAD community there.

1838 - 1911

12 May 1838... Bloxham, Oxfordshire, England.
Parents: Robert and Ann (nee Hawtin) (note that this link will move you to another section ... click on 'The Name Cakebread' to return)
Marriage: He married Martha SMITH on 2 March 1857 (after Banns) at St. Laurence's Church, Foleshill, Coventry, England. Witnesses: William Payne and Ann Payne.
Death: 12 Sep 1911 in Antioch, California.
Occupation: Plush Weaver as a young man. After his marriage and emigration he was a Gold Miner, Coal Miner, Sheep Farmer, and in 1880 called himself an Engineer.


Early Life: Although he was born in the Oxfordshire village of Bloxham, Robert's parents moved to Coventry when he was a baby. By the time he was 12 he was living in the semi rural area of Hall Green, Foleshill (see Bell Green below) and no doubt passed many pleasant hours playing along the banks of the (usually) shallow brook, the River Sowe, and maybe collecting milk and eggs from the old Manor House Farm (now sadly demolished). He would certainly have climbed in the branches of the "old oak", a very ancient tree possibly dating from many centuries ago. ( I also grew up here 100 years later, and this hollow tree with its enormous girth was a mecca for the local children who had picnics inside !). Young Robert became a Plush Weaver like his father, but by the time of his marriage the Coventry weaving trade was in big trouble, and many weavers were out of work.

Siblings: Robert had 8 sisters and 1 brother, John. John married Sarah Isabella Hawtin ( Hawtin was also Robert's mother's maiden name !) and became a Publican in Foleshill, Coventry. He had 2 daughters and 1 son Henry William who in turn had only daughters and so there were no more CAKEBREADs from that line.

His wife Martha (nee SMITH) was born in 1839 in Longford, north of Coventry. Longford is the neighbouring district to Hall Green where Robert lived.
Her parents were James SMITH, a Coal Dealer, and Caroline. Her mother died before 1851 so did not live to see her daughter married. Martha was a Ribbon Weaver.

Martha died in 1914 and was buried at Antioch, California.


Robert and Martha, both aged about 18, were married in the old local Church of England church of St.Laurence in Church Lane, Foleshill, Coventry on 2 March 1857. The church was, and still is, known locally 'Old Church' resulting in the present name of the road which is Old Church Road.

St.Laurence Church


Emigration to California, USA

(The following information was given to me by Descendants of Robert and Martha )
In their late teens, in May 1857, only 2 months after their marriage, 19 year old Robert and 18 year old Martha said goodbye to their families and sailed for a new life in the United States. From San Francisco they made their way to Stockton, where they both worked for a few months. Then they headed for Tuolomne County and spent 9 years mining for gold. Not having much luck they moved to Contra Costa County where Robert obtained work in the Somersville coal mines near Antioch. Here he found most of the miners were Welsh ! He worked there for 9 years until the mines began to close down.

Then with a partner he purchased 480 acres of land for a $5000 gold coin at Judsonville, south of Antioch. For some years they raised sheep, battling through years of drought and then torrential rains. The pair took lots and Robert's share was bought out by his partner. With the proceeds Robert purchased 320 acres of hill land near Marsh Creek in 1879. Over the next few years he made further purchases of land.

He then moved to Antioch and lived there until he died on 12 Sep 1911 and was buried at Oak View Memorial Park , Antioch.

In California Robert and Martha had 15 children but unfortunately 7 died as children, (4 in infancy).
The survivors were:

Mary Ann 1861-1935

Married William Chick in 1888

Children: at least Mattie L. 1891; Lilian B. 1892 but believed to be 2 more. Mary died January 14, 1935 in Los Angeles.

John H. (Born at Sonora, California Oct 23, 1862. Died at San Francisco, Calif. Jan 6, 1927)

Married Lena Guest in 1888

Child: Theodore 1891-1976

Elizabeth 1865

Married Frederick Wickham

Children : Esther abt.1896; Frances abt 1898; Adelyne L. abt 1903

William 1866

Married Henrietta Schwendel in 1890

Children : Edith; William Arthur 1892-1985; Vernon Robert 1896-1987; and Aarian Sydney 1903-1986.

James Ellis 1868

Married Anna Smith

Children: Anna M. 1891; Winifred J. 1893; Alma J. 1894; Violet H. 1897; James Ellis Jr. 1899; Elliott B. 1912

Charles Archie

1871 - 1948

Married Zenith Odle Powell in 1898

Children: Charles Lloyd 1900-1983; Lester Mertyn 1902-1968; Carolyn Melba 1910-1985

Sarah 1873 - 85


Sarah died aged 12

Robert 1875 - 1911

Married Alfaretta Lincoln in 1901

Robert died 8 Nov 1911 at Antioch, California.
Children : Althea Jeanette 1902; Robert Eldred Dewitt 1906; Ruth Erma 1910; Winifred Naomi 1912.

Martha 1878

(Mattie) married Sam Morgan in 1904

Children: Mildred A. 1906; Beulah N. 1910; Paul S. 1911. After Sam's death (or divorce) Mattie had a son Benjamin in 1917 ( named Benjamin Loosen or Lossen)

I am always pleased to hear from my USA "cousins", descendants of Robert and Martha.


Back to Top of Page