"He had been the husband of three wives, all long since dead; the father of twenty children, most of whom, at every age of childhood or maturity, had likewise returned to dust"

A large group of children follow their sibling's funeral procession
Public DomainA large group of children follow their sibling's funeral procession - Credit: August Gaul
Though prodigious, William Lee’s fecundity hadn’t quite stretched to serving him with twenty children. Of the fourteen he did have, at least nine were very much alive at this point and five were still living with him. Four had died at a young age, whilst the status of another was unknown: he had absconded to the West Indies and was never heard from again. 

Effigy of a dead child
Public DomainEffigy of a dead child - Credit: William Scoular; photo by James Calford