Cecil Oonagh LOWE (née EVANS) [1896-1964] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Cecil Oonagh LOWE (née EVANS) [1896-1964]

Cecil Oonagh

Cecil Oonagh Lowe and Arthur Rylands Lowe, Chief Accountant of Lowe Bingham Matthews were married at St John's Cathedral on 4th January 1913, according to St John's Cathedral Records. Cecil was widowed when her husband suddenly died of typhoid, aged 50 on 31st May 1924.



Carl Smith Card 98307 gives her parents' names as Mr and Mrs Payne de Turbeville Evans of Shanghai and it seems unusual that they called their daughter Cecil.

1897 Payn de Turbeville Evans draughtsman Union Iron Works  living at Fair Oaks San Francisco (US City Directory)

Public Ancestry Tree gives her year of birth as 1896 in San Francisco USA

1911 Census Buckland Rectory Dover Kent UK

Turberville Evans Head of household 72 clerk in holy orders born Kensington London British subject by parentage.Married under one year. No children of the marraige

Frances Adelaide Maria Evans Wife  55 born New York USA British subject by parentage. Married under one year. No children of the marriage

Mary Curtis sister-in-law British born Charing Cross London

Cecile Oonagh Evans granddaughter  15 single born San Francisco USA British subject by parentage

Marriage to Arthur Rylands Lowe 5 January 1913 in Hong Kong

Death of her father Payn de Turbeville Evans 17  February 1913 in Shanghai

Birth of her son 10 December 1913 in Hong Kong John Rylands Lowe

Marriage to John Alexander Geary widower 1 October 1930 in Surrey

Marriage to Unsworth ?

Death Index UK 1964

Cecil O Unsworth died in Tonbridge Kent

Probate Calendar 1964

Geary or Unsworth Cecil Oonagh of Woodlands Middleton Freshwater Isle of Wight died 19th September 1964 at Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital Tunbridge. Adminstration to John Alexander Geary D.S.O. retired Lieutenent Colonel HM Army 

Death Index UK

John Alexander Geary died 26 September 1967 in the Isle of Wight 

If I understand the results of annpake's searches correctly, Cecil Oonagh Evans was only 17 when she married the 40 year old Arthur Rylands Lowe in January 1913. Perhaps the marriage was reported in newspapers. Cecil's father died only one month later. Her name is familiar to me as signatory to the indenture appointing a new Trustee for the estate of my grandfather, Charles Warren, who had died on 9 June 1923. Arthur Rylands Lowe had been one of his executors and had proved the will on 6th July 1923, but the second executor had renounced and everything seems to have come to a standstill. Cecil Lowe had to perform this legal duty on 17th June 1924, hardly more than a fortnight after her husband's death. It must have been one of many. I too wondered if her name had been misspelt in the document, but it is correct. In the photo of her on her husband's yacht "Niobe" reproduced in the Hong Kong Land's 125th anniversary publication recently mentioned, her name is given as "Cecily Oonagh Lowe".

I can't see a christening for the Lowes' son recorded in the St John's Cathedral records for December 1913 when he was born, so perhaps it took place the following year. There is no St John's record for 1914.

I had another look at the 1911 census. She is 15 and at school. So far I have not found a record of birth circa 1896 in  USA.

Payne de T Evans (sic) age 22 engineer  arrived in New York 22 January 1890

Payn de Turberville Evans (sic) born 1868 Witham Essex UK

1939 Census UK. (AKA "the Ration Book Census") This gives exact dates of births of those registered but not in the case of Cecil Oonah Geary and children which is odd. There is another odd comment on the right of the names of the children. Address The Pound, Malling, Kent. 

John A Geary born  16 October 1877 Retired Lt. Col.

Cecil O Geary     born ?  ?  1899 (which would make her aged 14 at first marriage !!!)

Henry A Geary     born  ?  ?  1914 Musician              Army applied

Nadine M Geary  born   ?  Sep 1918                           for

Corinne B Geary born 4 October 1920                  Red Cross Nurse                                                    

Further investigation Ancestry Public Tree shows a son John Rylands Lowe born 10 Dec 1913 from1939 Register on Findmypast. John Rylands Lowe is not on the Find My Past List with his mother but Corinne B Geary born 4 October 1920 is listed

Cecil did not marry Geary until 1930. 

John Rylands Lowe was living in Epsom in 1938

Death Index John Rylands  9 born 10 Dcember 1913 died 23 September  2001 in Maidstone Kent and was buried 1 October 2001 in Kent.

Andrews Cards

Marriage 20 January 1945 in Burma Captain Eric Packenham-Walsh K.A.R. to Nadine Mary Edeline Geary daughter of Lt. Col. J A Geary D.S.O. R.A.retired and the late Mrs Geary

Marriage 14 August at St Pauls Church Camberley between Kenneth Rylands second son of the late Arthur Lowe of Hong Kong and Shanghai and Corinne Barbara Geary second daughter of Lt. Col. J A Geary and the late Mrs Geary

Marriage 4 December 1948 at Nyeri Kenya  John Algernon Niblock-Stuart of Nairobi to Jacqueline Margaret youngest daughter of Lt.Col. J A Geary and the late Mrs Geary

Death Edeline Geary  of Mount House, Hythe, Hampshire, wife of John Alexander Geary  died 30th January British Military Hospital Murree Punjab India. John Alexander Geary married Cecil Oonah Lowe  in 1930 and so she became step-mother to his children.

Turberville Rowley Evans born 25 December 1896  (brother of Cecil) married Mary Agnes Campbell at St Saviour's Upper Chelsea 27 July 1932. On 7 September 1933 he died in Bengal. He was a Captain in the Indian Army. Probate Calendar his was probated in  1934 and  named Katherine Lloyd Butterworth and Cecile Geary ( wife of John Alexander Geary) as administrators of the will.




A lot to sort out here. Thank you for doing so much work on these rather tangled family records. If I'm reading them correctly, Cecil and Turbeville Evans were Christmas twins, born 25 December 1896. Arthur Rylands Lowe was already a prominent figure in Hong Kong society in 1913. His wedding in St John's Cathedral is likely to have been well attended. I can't imagine that he would have married a 14 year old in that context. It will be interesting to read the report of the wedding. Cecil's second husband, John Geary, was nearly 20 years older than her, yet survived her. Meanwhile Cecil's younger son by her first marriage, Kenneth Evans, married her step-daughter by her second marriage, Corinne Geary. It further seems that Cecil's second marriage was not a happy one if she finally became Mrs Unsworth. I think I need to reread all the details tomorrow morning to be sure that I have them straight! 

The wedding was reported on page 5 of The Hong Kong Telegraph, 1913-01-04.

It was a very low-key event, held at a time of day when few people would be about, and with only Cecil's mother and brother attending:


Mr. A. R Lowe and Miss C. O. Evans.

A marriage took place at 8 o’clock this morning, at St. John's Cathedral, between Mr. Arthur Rylands Lowe (of Messrs. Lowe, Bingham and Matthews) and Miss Cecil Oonagh Evans, daughter of Mr. Payn de Turberville Evans of Shanghai. The ceremony, which was strictly private, was performed by the Rev. H. Copley Moyle, the witnesses being Mrs. Evans and Mr. Turberville Rowley Evans, the mother and the brother of the bride. No other persons were present. The happy pair have gone to Taipo.

Very odd. She would have needed her father's approval for an under age marriage but he was presumable too ill to attend. Her father appears in a US trade directory in San Francisco in 1897 and 1898. I still have not located any birth record for her. I will try to track Frances Adelaide Maria Evans nee Curtis born in USA. Turberville EVANS married Frances Adelaide Maria CURTIS in June 1910.

If I were writing a novel on the basis of the scant details available, I would deduce that Cecil's father knew he didn't have long to live and wanted to secure his daughter's future. Her real mother may have died if he himself had only recently remarried. Arthur Lowe was a prominent figure in Shanghai as well as Hong Kong and may have been a friend of Payne de Turbeville Evans. He was probably rattling round a large house on the Peak and needed a hostess in order to entertain as he wanted. It is possible that Cecil knocked 3 years off her real age in later life. As it was, her marriage seems to have taken place within days of her 17th birthday and she had her first child before her 18th. It would have certainly been more normal for her to get married in Shanghai itself. However private the marriage in Hong Kong, it wouldn't have taken long for the Hong Kong gossip machine to get going. Lowe no doubt protected her as much as possible. She looks tall from the Hong Kong Land photo. There would have been no need to admit her real age to the curious.

Where can I see the photo?

Ancestry Public Trees show

Payne Turberville Evans married to Kathleen Lloyd Carden( born circa 1869 Malta died 1940 Paddington London)and their children Cecil Oonah, Turberville Rowley  who died in 1933 in India and Athel  born 24 November 1910

Payne Turberville Evans died 1913 and his widow Kathleen Lloyd Evans nee Carden married Harold Thornton Butterworth a publisher on 31 March 1915 at Trinity Church Marylebone London.

If you click on the link to Hong Kong Land & Investment Company in my Broadwood Road post, David gives the link to the e-book "Hong Kong Land 125" in his "Comment". I found the photo in the first chapters. Let me know if you don't find it and I'll look for the page number. 

If I've got this right, Cecil's father, Payne Turberville Evans remarried while his first wife, Cecil's mother, was pregnant with their third child.

No. He died 1913 and his widow re-married in 1915 see above. Thanks for the 'photo link.

Ah - now I've got it. Turberville Evans was Cecil's grandfather, who married aged 71 according to the 1911 census. Easy to confuse the three generations of Turberville Evanses.