Sue's great great grandfather Thomas Tomlinson had emigrated from Saltmarshe near Howden in 1826, sailing from Hull like so many other young men and making a new life for himself in Ontario. They were hoping to find a record of Thomas' birth and although the date was not exactly right I think we found his baptism in the Howden parish records in 1803.
Sue is lucky as her great grandfather, Richard Tomlinson, wrote out an account of his ancestry which gave her some clues - and maybe a few red herrings - to follow up. She has given me permission to reproduce a little of the information here.
Richard H. Tomlinson, a history of his life
I believe it to be the duty of every head of a family, no matter what his station in life may be, to leave behind him some sort of a history of his life and doings not necessarily for publication but for the purpose of saving trouble and perhaps expense. Altho I have no diary or record of my own life and so far as I am aware none of the family have kept any I am the more desirous that my children shall have all the facts before them imperfect as those facts may be and (was?) able as I am at this time to place them on record.
My father was an English immigrant coming to this country about the year 1826. I am unable to give the name of the vessel but I have heard him say it was by a sailer and that it took them about 13 weeks to cross from Hull to Montreal.
There being no canals at that time the journey from Montreal had to be made in Durham Boats, a sort of scow, in which the goods were placed and the passengers were obliged to assist in propelling up the rapids. However, they reached their destination – Port Hope – Smiths Creek as it was then called – in due time and they at once proceeded to transfer their luggage to row boats in waiting, to the shore.
My father came from a place called Saltmarsh near Howden in the East Riding of York. The estate belonged I believe to Sir Titus Salt. At all events my father was born and brought up as a farmer upon the estate and until he migrated to America was not off it.
Coming as he did at that early date he brought little with him and so far as I am aware there is but little left of what he did bring. A few books, amongst them a Prayer Book of the Episcopal church to which to which he belongs and some other books all of which have disappeared or are in possession of my sister Lizzie now Mrs. Albert Webster of Oshawa except a box which he brought with him now in our farm at Howden Holm. I would like very much that this box be preserved it must be nearly 100 years old and the only article in our possession that Father brought with him from England.
Saltmarsh is beautifully situated on the right hand or west side of the river Ouse a tributary or branch of the Humber about 4 miles from Howden and about 8 or 10 miles from Goole, the head of navigation in a beautiful farming or agricultural country. There is also a church and grave yard, in which latter many of my ancestors lie.
Soon after landing at Port Hope or Smiths Creek as it was called, my father proceeded to Bletchers Corners, a considerable town in those days, where he got employment and met my mother Miss Gitty Gosling (daughter?) of John Gosling who came from Dutchess Co., who was a seamstress and worked for a Mr. Walton a tailor in Port Hope.
From here they were married and went to Rochester NY by a sailing vessel. Upon their return, they went to live on the Ashford farm about 2 miles east of Bletchers Corners. I think it must have been Mr. Olney Ashford’s father, he of Hawaiian notoriety, be that as it may here on this farm, me and my oldest brother were born, I understand, and we lived there for a year or two, perhaps longer I cannot say just how long.
The Ashford farm was in the Township of Hamilton but Port Hope and Cobourg were the principal market towns. Bletchers Corners however continued to be quite a busy place. I have often heard my father speak of Esq. Sowden(?) and I am inclined to think that he must have worked for the Squire when he came to this country or soon after it.
I found it fascinating to talk to John and Sue as my own relative, Robert Nurse from Eastrington, emigrated to Port Hope, as did other Eastrington families including the Bletchers and the Ainleys. I am sure they must all have known each other.