As a young man William moved from Kerry to London where he worked as a policeman. Although family lore has it that William was born in the Dingle area of Co. Kerry, we now know from his police discharge papers that he was born in Castleisland, Co. Kerry, about 40 miles from Dingle. The discharge papers also tell us that he joined the Metropolitan Police on 19 May 1831 (this was only three years after its formation), and left the force (Kensington division, also known as 'T' division) on 29 April 1852 "on account of infirmity of body"; we are also told that he was 5ft 9inches tall with brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion, and that he had "a bad leg". The papers also provide the names of his parents.
In the 1861 census William is listed as a "police pensioner" in the household of his daughter Mary Wright at 26 Newland St., St. Mary Abbots, Kensington. William's wife, Ellen, was still alive at this time but she is not listed in the census return. William died in 1870 at the home of his son Thomas. The cause of death was "paraplegia, 6 years; effusion (secondary), 7 days", "effusion" meaning an abnormal build-up of fluid. On his death certificate William's occupation is given as "assistant to a builder", presumably to his son Thomas who was a builder.
Regarding William's police work, there was a court case at the Old Bailey in London in January 1832 in which a policeman named William Hussey appeared as a witness in a case involving a theft of a gown from a washing line in Kensington the previous month. This William Hussey could well be our William. On trial was twenty-year-old Charles Affleck who was charged with stealing the gown, worth three shillings, belonging to Ann Hawkins. A transcript of the case follows:
Ann Hawkins: I am single, and live servant to Mr. Marks, in Gore-lane, Kensington. On the 13th of December about three o'clock, I hung a gown to dry in the garden at the back of the house; I missed it about six - this is it; the prisoner lives within two doors of us.
William Hussey: I am a Police-constable. I took the prisoner in Gore-lane on the 13th of December, between seven and eight o'clock; I saw he had something under his jacket - I asked him to let me see what it was, and he would not; we had a scuffle, and this gown fell in the road.
Charles Affleck: I went home at twenty-five minutes before eight o'clock; I went into the yard - I saw this gown between our premises and the master's premises; I took it up, went out with it, and was taken - I did not prevent the officer seeing it, but I said if he would go to a fit place, I would let him see it.
William Hussey: He said if I would go to his father's he would let me see what it was, but I told him he must go to the watch-house; he would neither do one thing nor the other, and I knocked him down.
Charles Affleck was found guilty and transported to Australia for seven years.
Only one record of a marriage between a William Hussey and an Ellen Foley around this time was found in the Westminster Archives. This marriage took place on 12 May 1828 in the parish of St. James in Westminster (now St. James's, Piccadilly). The date fits in nicely in that William and Ellen's eldest child - or the child we believe to have been their eldest - was born in February 1829. However, St. James's in Westminster was an Anglican parish which doesn't tie in with the Catholic beliefs of our William and Ellen. If the St. James's record does indeed relate to our William and Ellen, their Anglican marriage can be explained by Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753 which, in an attempt to regularise English marriages, had made marriages outside the Anglican Church illegal (although Quakers and Jews were exempt). From 1753 until 1837, when Civil Registration was introduced, many Catholics complied with Hardwicke’s Marriage Act and married in Anglican churches to ensure that their marriage was valid under English law, although it was common practice for Catholic couples to also have a marriage ceremony in their local Catholic church. It was not until the introduction of Civil Registration in 1837 that all "non-conformist" churches could be licensed for marriages.
Assuming the above record relates to our William and Ellen, witnesses to their marriage were [name illegible but one possibility is Michael] Foley and Mary(?) Foley. Both Ellen and Mary(?) signed with an 'X'. Note that before Civil Registration was introduced, information on age, occupation, address or fathers' names did not appear on marriage records.