Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Robert Wright of Goole and Boston Massachusetts

I was contacted this week by an American lady whose ancestors had left Goole to make a new life in USA in the 1850s.

George Wright was a river pilot, originally from Selby but working in Goole from the 1830s. He and his wife Martha, nee Shipstone had a large family who as young adults in the 1850s  left Goole to  make new lives in Boston Massachusetts. Finally George and Martha themselves went to join them.
The first of the family to emigrate  was William "Edwin" Wright [born 1825] who along with his wife, Maria, and son, George William, arrived in Boston on the Rio Grande in April 1851.


Later the same year Edwin's brothers George [b 1823] and Henry [b 1829] with their families joined them. They left from Liverpool and arrived in Boston in October 1851 travelling aboard the ship Old England.


Two years later sister Martha Ann  and brother Samuel  and Samuel's wife Frances arrived in Boston aboard the Levi Woodbury in September 1853.


Finally the parents, George and Martha and their two youngest children, Robert and Rosanna arrived in Boston on  9th September 1854 aboard the  Guiding Star.


George snr died of a stroke in 1860 and Martha died in 1879.


However sons Robert and Samuel returned to England. Samuel and Frances lived in Leeds while Robert came back to Goole. There in 1863 he married Mary Jane Brown - although he had not been back for long as in the Goole and Marshland Gazette announcement he was described as being of Boston Massachusetts.


By 1871 Robert and Mary were living with a young family in Aire Street and Robert was dealing in china. They were still there in 1881 and 1891  but by now Robert was dealing in shoes.Robert died in October 1899.  His obituary refers to his part in the American Civil War.


'The death took place on  Sunday of one of the eldest inhabitants of Goole,  Mr Robert Wright, Asbury House. Mr Wright, who had occupied a premier position in public Iife, was 65 years of age, but during tho last few years had suffered from illnesses, which caused him to give up many of his public positions. For six years he  was vice chairman of the School Board, and also chairman. The deceased resided for some time in Boston US.A. and was among those who responded to Abraham Lincoln's famous call for 300.000 volunteers st the time of the American Civil War.  He leaves a widow and six children'. 


By 1901 Mary was still running the business  and by 1911 the family were living at number 159, Boothferry Road, which was then called Asbury House, not far from Goole's new secondary school. Members of the family continued to live there for several years. The family gravestone is in Goole cemetery.


It is an interesting story. Why did the family feel the need to emigrate? Did they keep in touch?

And it is a lesson not to rely on censuses as they simply showed Robert as being born and dying in Goole. Nothing about his sojourn in USA and his involvement in the Civil War there.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Howden show

I am writing this morning in the hope that later today the weather may improve from an annoying drizzle to bright sunshine so that I can cut the grass. That's what the weather man said - but he is not always right!

On Sunday we went to Howden show. I must admit I remember when the show was held on a Saturday in early August and ended with fireworks spelling out the motto 'Success to Howden show', after cycle races held in the gloaming. The commentator used a match to help him see the programme and the cyclists were invisible on the far side of the ring.

But Sunday's event was just as enjoyable, held in The Ashes on a fine day and with lots of people visiting and participating. Below was the scene in the 'community tent' where several  local groups were invited to entertain the show crowds.

Local professional musicians Steven Goulden and Amy Butler aka The Saltmarshe Duo [ www.saltmarsheduo.co.uk] in action. Looking on is Howden poet and performer Mike Smith who organised the community tent events.

I have recently too been to an interesting talk given by local historian Gilbert Tawn to the Marshland Local History group. He spoke about the history of the Empson family who lived in Goole Hall. Ousefleet Hall and Yokefleet Hall. They are a complicated family to untangle as on at least two occasions the male line died out and descendants of the female line changed their names in order to inherit.

One of the highlights of the evening was when the large audience was invited to join in with a song written for a First World War Land Girls party in Ousefleet Hall.  The house was used to billet girls who worked harvesting flax and potatoes and the words reflected this. As Gilbert said it must have been over 100 years since the song was last sung.

The impressive Ousefleet Hall built in late Victorian times and demolished possibly in the 1950s.

My raised bed is doing well and we are eating new potatoes and curly kale - although next year I  will maybe devote another bed just to potatoes as the straggly tops have fallen onto some of the other crops. The bees too are doing well - but we have given them some extra food as the weather has not been very good for them and now the rape has finished they have less to feed on.



Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The streets of Goole

I had a lovely  evening last night giving a talk to the Boothferry history group about the streets of Goole. There was a good audience and I think they enjoyed guessing the names of  some of the less well-known streets before I revealed them.

 Many of the pictures I showed were taken in 1966 by the then council to show the streets which they were considering demolishing. Not all were subsequently knocked down but most were and it was possible to see that some of the darker little terraces must have been very cramped. But as someone said some of the others, in different times, would have been renovated.

We are now busy preparing for a visit to our museum from the South Cave U3A on Thursday. I gave the group a talk earlier in the year and they are now combining a visit to Saltmarshe Hall with a visit to us.

I have been trying to finish a short history of Saltmarshe Hall, family and village that I am writing but keep being distracted. The garden is just under control but with the damp humid weather we have been having it is growing - weeds and vegetables, at a great rate. And there is my distraction.

On Saturday evening I am looking forward to attending  a Summer Serenade concert at Market Weighton  St John's Methodist church, performed by the Saltmarshe Duo  saltmarsheduo.co.uk

The chapel was built in 1868 to replace a much earlier one where John Wesley  preached in 1788. This chapel building, built in 1786 is still there.

An old picture of the traffic free main street of Market Weighton



Saturday, 28 May 2016

On hearing the first cuckoo

This morning I was awakened by the song [ is that the word?] of a cuckoo just outside my bedroom window. We used to hear them commonly in the surrounding woods but I did not hear one at all last year.

So I was delighted to hear his cry as he continued to fly around and I hope he finds a mate. As a child I chanted the rhyme

The cuckoo comes in April
And sings her song in May
In the middle of June
She changes her tune
And in July she flies away.

I suppose that then I did not know that it is the male who sings cuckoo while the female sings a bubbling song. But nevertheless we are in May, the sun was shining and the cuckoo was singing.

There are many songs and poems about cuckoos. Perhaps the oldest is the medieval "Summer is icumen in, Loudly sing cuckoo" while in 1912 Frederick Delius wrote On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, which is a tone poem based on  an old Norwegian folk song called ‘In Ola Valley’.

There are many traditions too about what to do when you hear your first cuckoo of the year. A friend told me today that  when you hear the first cuckoo you should turn any money in your pocket. This was new to me but on looking it up I found that he was right.

 In fact I read that it is very important that you have money in your pocket. On hearing the cuckoo you should then take the money, turn it over and spit on it and this ritual will bring you good fortune and riches in the forthcoming year. So now I know.

On the historical front I am working on a presentation entitled The Streets of Goole which I am giving to the Boothferry History group on June 13th. I am looking through my old pictures to find some of the less familiar streets and am aiming not to feature Aire Street, Boothferry Road and Pasture Road as I have so many pictures of these streets which I have shown previously.

A very early view of Boothferry Road, Goole

An early view of North St, Goole







Thursday, 26 May 2016

Richard Champney of Ellerker

At last it feels like summer and time for gardening and  barbecues.

Last week I went on an evening visit to Wressle Castle. And what a wonderful transformation. Instead of the head high Himalayen balsam and the dark interior of a previous visit we were greeted by new grass and a magnificent castle with sparkling stonework, information boards and a real feeling of how the castle must have looked in the time of the Percy family. I can thoroughly recommend a visit when the castle is open

Read more about it in this weekend's Yorkshire Post

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/our-region/east-yorkshire/farmer-ensures-centuries-old-wressle-castle-is-restored-1-7922229

or in the June edition of the Howdenshire Living magazine. This also includes my latest profile piece on local villages. I have written about Asselby and have already submitted an article on Ellerker for next month.

During the research for the history of Ellerker I was fascinated to come across references to the journals of Richard Champney. He lived with his wife and ten children in Ellerker Hall from around 1820 until the 1850s. Richard was born in London but as a child went with his family to America where his surgeon father had inherited 42000 acres. Richard returned with his mother and went to school in England. He later joined the army and served as an officer in the Peninsular Wars. After leaving the army he settled in Ellerker where he compiled his diaries into journals. These are in the university of Delaware library and I have written to the library about the possibility of obtaining copies.

Also last week we had a visit from the North Duffield history society to our small museum. This went very well and we were particularly pleased that the fire we lit in the main fireplace did not smoke. It has undergone repairs since we last had a group round and they found it almost impossible to linger upstairs  where we have a small toy collection.

The garden is doing well and I have planted spinach and carrot seeds in the raised bed. The chickens too are thriving although have taken to wandering onto the road. Not a good idea.


Friday, 29 April 2016

South Cave, Selby and Swinefleet

I have been busy over the last week giving talks and attending them. Last week I gave a talk at South Cave to the local history group of the U3A. It was held in the Town Hall where some two hundred years ago Robert Sharp was the schoolmaster. His fascinating diary of life in the  town and area was republished and I remember going to the launch of the new publication where we were all served Yorkshire curd cheesecakes.

On Monday evening I attended a talk at the Boothferry history group in Goole about suffragettes and on Tuesday morning gave a talk in Selby to the family history group there about local ferries and bridges. Tuesday evening I went to Swinefleet and listened to David Galloway, the knowledgeable local historian of Airmyn talk about his home village.

That just left me with an article to write for Howdenshire Living magazine about the history of Asselby and then the rest of the week was my own.

I intended to devote some time to gardening and planting up my new raised bed but the weather has been awful - cold, wet, frosty and quite unsuitable to gardening. But I have the plants ready and a new tyre on my grass cutter. And we did find time to clean out the chickens and spray their house and nest boxes with Poultry Shield which is a protection against red mite.

So I am hoping for a sunny bank holiday weekend.

The chickens helping smooth the raised bed. Molly  is not impressed with it.

South Cave main street with the Town Hall on the right

Friday, 22 April 2016

Skelton beacon lit to celebrate the Queen's birthday

Tonight, 21st April 2016 we went to Skelton near Howden and stood on the riverbank where the  beacon was lit to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday.  Most of the village were there, about 60 adults and children and it was a lovely fine evening. We sang the National Anthem, led by villager and professional singer Steven Goulden, listened to a message from Prince Charles read by Christine Wilburn, watched George Simister, the oldest resident, light the beacon and then, again led by Steven, sang Happy Birthday to Her Majesty.

As it was by then dark and chilly we all  adjourned to the Scholfield Memorial Hall and drank welcome cups of tea and ate scones and jam.  The small hall was beautifully decorated with bunting and ribbons. A 'reet good do' as we say in Yorkshire and congratulations to the parish council.




George lighting the beacon
Steven and members of the Skelton and Kilpin parish council leading the singing of  Happy Birthday.

After tea and scones we went back to the beacon and pictured the lovely sunset

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Thomas Eland and Mary Hall of Metham and Hive, Yorkshire

I have recently been contacted by descendants of the Hall family of Hive, near Eastrington and the Eland family of Metham near Blacktoft in East Yorkshire.

Since both families appear peripherally in my family tree I thought I would have a further look at them as my original work probably pre-dated the internet.

Thomas Eland [ born 1805 at Metham, possibly at the Hall] married Mary Hall [ born at Hive] in Eastrington church on 13th April 1831.

Mary was one of the seven children of Thomas Hall and the former Hannah Bisset who had married at Fishlake in 1809. Mary's parents and her six siblings [Thomas, Abraham, Robert, Henry, Susannah and Hannah who were all baptised at Eastrington and lived at Hive]  emigrated to Quebec, Canada in1830.

Thomas' uncle, Samuel Hall, had already emigrated to Canada ten years earlier. Samuel was then 57  and also emigrating with their parents were children Ann, Elizabeth and John. Jane was already there.  Eldest son William stayed in Yorkshire and several local families including Scruton, Carlton, Westoby and Sweeting families are descended from him.

But back to Mary, who never saw her parents and brothers and sisters again, although they wrote many letters to each other.

Her husband Thomas Eland was seemingly from a well off farming family. His father, also Thomas,
was born at Thornton House and baptised at nearby Blacktoft on 28 Jul 1768. He was the son of Abraham.

Thomas Eland senior died in 1817 and left his estate to his eldest son Thomas. But he left an annuity to his widow and bequests to his children, including one of £2000 to his second son Abraham. He also left legacies of £600 and £500 to his daughters. They were to inherit when they were 21.

Thomas mortgaged the estate and then when his siblings attained the age of 21 he could not pay them.  Nor could he pay the mortgagees. The whole case ended up in the chancery courts.

Eventually Thomas was forced  to sell the Metham estate and  moved to Withernwick with his wife Mary and eldest two children Abraham and Ann who were twins.  The rest of their family was born at Withernwick.

After Thomas died Mary moved back to her home village of Hive where she had a house built.

I am related to both families, the Halls through the Precious family of Sandholme [ my grandfather's mother was a Precious] and the Elands [ my grandmother was a Coultous and her mother was Nancy Williamson, descended from Thomas Eland.

I often look professionally at other people's families so it is nice to look at my own sometimes.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Bees and postcards

I keep thinking that spring is coming but after a lovely day yesterday when I cut the grass today is wet again. But the in-house beekeepers managed to look at our bees while the sun shone and are very pleased with what they found. The colony is strong and the bees are laying brood [which is good] and are bringing in pollen and nectar [also good]. We are not sure what flowers they are on as apparently they do not like daffodils but the snowdrops which are just finishing are attractive, as are hellebores and mahonia and the tree blossoms are just appearing.

Here is a picture I took - my new camera allows me to stand well back and zoom in on the action! I was not near enough therefore to see the queen but she was there, marked with a blue dot to show she was last year's  model [ new queens this year will have a white dot applied].


Is Her Majesty there?



On Friday we went to the postcard fair at York racecourse and I bought several cards of the area - including two showing the church at Howden after the fire in 1929, one of Harswell church and one very unusual one of the scene inside the  Howden hangar where airship ZR2  [also known as R38] was being visited by ladies and gentlemen in smart clothes. It was taken by local photographer Dora Davis.

As I write the weather is 'fairing up' so maybe a bit of gardening later.



Thursday, 24 March 2016

Plough Inn, Ellerker

Now it is almost Easter but it feels cold and grey. This week I pruned my raspberries and moved a loganberry but  I am a fair weather gardener and am not as enthusiastic when the sun is not shining.

This week the latest issue of the Howdenshire Living magazine appeared. I have contributed an article and some photographs of Wallingfen and Newport which have come out very well. I wrote about the witches of Wallingfen and my own family connection [ maybe!] with Rebecca Nurse who was one of the Salem witches.

But time does not stop and I have just written a piece for the next issue. I have written about Airmyn and the Smithson family. Hugh Smithson was given Airmyn by a relative when in 1740 he and his new bride visited  the elderly owner,  his great uncle who had no heir,  and who decided to leave it to the young couple.

Hugh and his wife Elizabeth soon afterwards became Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Meanwhile Airmyn developed as a small port where passengers could take a ship to London.

In between I have answered queries about who built the Marshlands Hotel in Old Goole and about the Plough Inn in Ellerker.   Here is a picture of the Plough which is now a private house on the corner of the road to South Cave.







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