John George Caldecott was born in Chorlton, Cheshire on 23 June 1843, the firstborn of John Caldecott and Mary Dinah Brookes. His father, John Caldecott was, at this point working as a retail hatter. John George is the eldest brother of famous artist and children’s illustrator, Randolph Caldecott.
Sadly, on the 21st August 1852, John George’s mother, Mary Dinah Brookes passed away, aged just 31. John George was just 11 years old when he lost his mother.
John remarried two years later on 7th December 1854 to Maria Guest.
However, the records are unclear what John George did with his life for some time. He was with his family in Crook Street, Great Boughton in the 1851 Census and was listed then as a scholar. We can only presume that John George went travelling due to next records that he eventually shows up on.
He then disappears from records for several years until his marriage on 14 April 1879 at St John’s Church, Cape Town. Even the identity of his bride is sketchy. The South Africa Marriage Index gives her name as Ann Maria Bruyns but the Cheshire Observer reported his wife as Annie Maria Rogers.
Tragically, the marriage was to last just under 3 months as, like his mother, John George, too was to die young. He passed away on 19th June 1879 in South Africa.
A memorial to John George Caldecott was inscribed on his family’s gravestone in Overleigh Cemetery, Chester, on which a memorial to his famous brother, Randolph was also inscribed after his death seven years later.