Who Won the Cup Final in 1887?

Uhh, err… This is the sort of question a leering Monty Python quiz show host used to throw at some meek, quivering herpetologist who expected questions about newts. The thing is though, after today, I actually know the answer to this one!


Aston Villa F. C. beat West Bromwich Albion, 2 – 0. (And yes, that’s a photograph from the match!)


Thanks to some borderline obsessive-compulsive West Midlands research this past week, I have confirmed a DNA match – a cousin in England, Tim, who shares my Gilbert ancestors!

On my side, is Jane Gilbert. She was born in West Bromwich, and married John Hassell in Aston in 1795. They had several children – who have been discussed before: here, and here. Among those children was my 3rd great-grandmother Sarah Hassell Wood. The family emigrated to New York in 1832 – the most recent arrivals among my English ancestors.

On my match Tim’s side, his 3rd great-grandfather was Daniel Gilbert, Jane’s brother. Daniel married Mary Leeson and had several children – including Rosina, who married Thomas Vaughton.

Tim has posted (or shared) on Ancestry.com a couple really terrific Vaughton wedding photos from the heights of Aston-area Society in the 1890s – my favourite is from the 1899 wedding of their son Arthur, and features Thomas, Rosina, an odd St. Nick-ish man in a large knit tam, a water feature, and some of the best hats I’ve seen since the last touring company of My Fair Lady. But I have to restrain myself from posting the photos until I get permission. 

Anyway, among Thomas and Rosina’s several children was Oliver Howard Vaughton, called “Howard”, my 2nd Cousin, 4 times removed, AND a member of that very 1887 Aston Villa team that defeated West Bromwich. From Wikipedia:

Oliver Howard Vaughton (9 January 1861 – 6 January 1937) was an English international footballer who played as an inside left. Vaughton played for England on five occasions, scoring six goals. Five of his goals were scored in a 13-0 victory over Ireland in Belfast on 18 February 1882, with his Villa teammate Arthur Brown contributing four.

After his football career ended he ran a silversmith’s firm and was charged with making a new FA Cup after the original disappeared in mysterious circumstances in 1895. The peoples favourite, and one of Archie Hunter’s pet pupils. Adept at every form of indoor and outdoor sport, he dribbled like an angel, and shot like a demon. Not nearly so deadly as his comrade, Whateley, he scored his share of goals. Whatever he did he did well, and was neatness personified. Could scarcely be played in wrong position, and was saturated through and through with the Aston Villa spirit. Scored the only goal in the famous cup tie against Queens Park in Glasgow, in 1884. Made a famous wing in company with Eli Davis. A keen judge of most games, a thorough sportsman, he has enriched sport in many directions.

Also in the Wikipedia article was this photo.  Middle row, 2nd from right, is Howard Vaughton. The gent with his hand on Howard’s chair back, striking the sassy pose, is Fred Dawson, who married Howard’s sister Rosina.

Aston Villa FC-Cup Champs 1887


Every week we follow,
The boys in claret and blue.
We conquered all of Europe – in 1982.
The Villa boys from Aston, we travel near and far.
You will hear us singing
From the stands of Villa Park –
Allez Allez Allez Allez Allez Allez!


  1. Hi there. I recently started looking into my family tree (through Ancestry to start) and my research led me to your blog. My great great grandparents are John and Anna (Butzler) Flor so it appears we are related in some way. I’m finding that the further back I go, the more difficult it is to confirm who is related. I do have a copy of the St. Joseph Parish of Rice Lake book which has given me some good initial information and I’ve spoken with Bernadine (Flor) Skogland who is my 1st cousin once removed – she is amazing and has a good amount of info. If you’re interested in touching base, just send me an email. Thanks and I greatly enjoyed reading your blog! Cheryl

    • Hi Cheryl – Very nice to hear from you! I’m all wrapped up in the other side of my Anoka County family right now – the Kraus and Suess families. But if I need some help when I come back around to the Butzlers, I’ll give a yell. Thanks – and Happy Holidays! -Brad

  2. Hi Brad – that sounds awesome! Would it be ok if I reach out you if I’m having difficulty on the Flor/Butzler (and various surnames) side?
    Thanks and good luck!
    Oh and happy holidays to you as well!

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