Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sepia Saturday: Coaches, Cart Horses and Carters


Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories  through photographs. 


I chose the obvious for this week's prompt  with photographs of horses,  carts, carters, wagonettes,  lots of caps and even some stage-coaches. 








We were on holiday in Warsaw when this stage-coach drove into a square  - we never found out what it was all about. 


One of the many beautiful wall paintings you see on the outside of buildings in Austria



How many of us have "carter" ancestors?  This was the occupation of my great great grandfather Robert Rawcliffe (1821-1904) who lived in   Hambleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashir.   

In these photographs from the Scottish Borders  Auld Earlston Collection we not only have carts but also luggage, wheels and caps. 


A horse and cart beside the old Pump Well in Earlston's Market Square.  The Well was demolished  in 1920 to make way for the War Memorial. 

Cattle Sales took place here until a sales ring was set up next to the railway station in the mid19th century. Three times a year, farm servants gathered hoping to secure employment at the  Hiring Fairs which did not die out until the 1940's.

The distinctive large building on the left was the Corn Exchange, built in 1868.  The   clock and the belfry tower were built with money donated by John Redpath  who had emigrated to Canada made his fortune. and remembered his home town in this way.  

 
 
From the collection of the Heritage Hub in Hawick  - home of the Scottish Borders Archives,Local & Family History Service.  

On to something bigger -  Cart-Horses 

Here is My third cousin, Gloria a top of this carthorse.   Her Oldham family were carters and coal merchants for three generations - Joseph Prince Oldham (1855-1921), his son John William Oldham (1880-1939) and his granddaughter Elsie Smith, nee Oldham (1906-1989) - Gloria's mother.

The business was founded around 1890, steadily became prosperous and in 1905 moved to near North Station, Blackpool in a house with a large yard, hay loft, tack room. and stabling for around 7 horses.

In the 1901 census Joseph  was described as a self-employed carter and coal merchant with his son John a coal wagon driver. An accident at the coal sidings in the railway station resulted in Joseph being blinded and he died in 1921, with his will, signed with his "mark.  

Wagonettes in tow 
Not a very good photograph, but the man on the left in the peak cap  standing at the back of  the open topped bus  is my great uncle Bob Danson,  a postman in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire,  I don't know if I would feel all that safe on the top of this vehicle, ready to take passengers into Blackpool.

Another crowded wagonette outside the Red Lion Hotel, Earlston. The sign above the hotel door names Robert Smart as Proprietor.  He was there in the 1901 census with hs wife isabella, son John (a groom) and other members of the household  a cook, housemaid and waitress. 

 
 A winter photograph  of the Red Lion Hotel  in the Square at Earlston.  The driver of this unusual sledge seems to be dressed very formally in a top hat and is not particularly well  wrapped up against the elements.  And who was he waiting for?  There does not seem to be any path cleared through the snow from  the hotel.  Or was it a promotional photograph?   From the collection of the Heritage Hub, Hawick.

Where there are horses, there are blacksmiths.  
In Earlston, the Brotherstone family fulfilled this role down several  generations.  

Photo


From the Auld Earlston collection

And finally a little horse and cart  which brings back memories of my mother - a talented stitcher who made this soft toy.



Ride on to HERE  
for other bloggers' tales fof coaches, horses, roof-racks, wheels luggage, and caps. 


Saturday, 4 October 2014

One Lovely Blog Award


 

I am delighted to say that Shelley of A Sense of Family" has nominated for this award.

Although we enjoy writing,  recognition from others is a great motivator, and I am very grateful  that other bloggers have regarded my blog in this respect.  




The terms of the award are:
1. Thank the person(s) who nominated you.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Name bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of).
4. Contact those bloggers to let them know you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award.

Here are seven facts about me:
  1. I have one daughter and a 5 year old granddaughter who has enhanced our lives to much.
  2. I have just finished a patchwork throw for my granddaughter - hand sewn hexagons in the appropriately named "granny's flower garden" pattern.  
  3. I also knit/crochet squares for a brilliant  charity KAS (Knit a Square) which helps Aids orphans in Africa. - take a look at their website.
  4. I am a member of a local "Walk It" group who meet every Thursday all year round for a 3-4 mile walk, always ending in a cafe for coffee, scones and more chat - great for health & happiness.  It helps that I live in a beautiful part of the country,  the Scottish Borders.
  5. Classical music is my love and I am an  avid listener to Classic FM - on as I type.  My favourites - opera, operetta, ballet, musicals and 19th century romantic  composers.
  6. My favourite TV programmes are anything historical plus quizzes -  I am a member of a local quiz team.  Who says retirement is boring!
  7. I still have the handwritten family tree that I compiled at the age of 12 - it went back to my great grandmother who has been at the heart of my family history activity. 
    I have been asked to nominate further blogs for the award.   This is such an invidious task to select a few from my reading list, as the genaabloggers community has  meant so much to me since I started blogging in August 2010.  I must admit to difficulty in keeping up with fellow blogger's activities.

    Many  I follow have already been nominated so I’ll try to avoid some repetition Here are my nominations, in alphabetical order:
    Do take a look, too at my Page My blog Favourites. where I am list the sites I aim to read and to comment on on a regular basis.   This isn't set in stone and I am sure I will add to it as time goes by.   

    You may discover some new blogs that will provide interest, knowledge, stimulus, inspiration, humour and pathos to your reading and writing.  

    All part of being in such a supportive blogging community.  Thank You.

    Susan (ScotSue) 

    Thursday, 2 October 2014

    Sepia Saturday - Comrades in Arms


    Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories  through photographs. 

    I have featured  berets before, have nothing on food parcels or magazine covers, so my choice here is to illustrate  something of the camaraderie  of war.

    I must admit I know nothing at all about this first photograph which was in my Great Aunt Jennie's collection.  She was usually good at labeling the photos on the reverse, but there was nothing here to indicate who it was or where it was taken.   I am presuming they are First World War soldiers and Jennie had five brothers who served - William Danson  (my grandfather), John, Tom, Frank and George. from Poulton-le-Fylde, near Blackpool, Lancashire. I could possibly say Tom or Frank are among the soldiers here.  

    Was it a group of new recruits?  How many, I wonder survived the conflict.  The background looks very like the many terraced rows of houses and bed & breakfasts you find in Blackpool.  Does anyone have any ideas? 

    The photographs below show Frank Danson who was injured and sent to a hospital in Malta. 

    This seems  to be some kind of celebration.  Frank (front left)  is dressed formally in his cap, but what about those two colleagues on the back row dressed in what looks like pyjamas and beanie hats


    This photograph was again unfortunately unidentified, but I think Frank could be on the right on the front row.  In hospital, wounded soldiers, fit enough to go out, wore a distinctive uniform of blue flannel suits with white revers and a red tie - as shown here.

    A photograph I have shown before, but it is such a  good illustration of the camaraderie that could exist amongst soldiers.    The photo  intrigued me when I first saw it as a child. There was no Scottish connection that I knew of on my mother's side, so why was Granddad wearing a kilt and a tammie?   The story was that he became friendly with some Scottish soldiers, and as a laugh he had dressed up in one of their uniform and had his picture taken to send home.  It must have been taken in France as the reverse of the photograph  indicates it is a "Carte Postale" with space for "Correspondance" and "Addresse".  

    Onto stories of the Second World War:

    This signed menu of December 25th 1939, written in French and typed on flimsy paper, was found amongst  the papers of my Uncle Harry (Danson) who died in 2001.He was in France with the British Expeditionary Force, 9/17th Field Battery.  

    In the Sergeant's Mess,  breakfast was cold ham with piccalilli, eggs, coffee and roll and butter;  for dinner  - turkey with chestnuts, pork with apple sauce, potatoes, and cauliflower followed by Christmas pudding, apples, oranges, and nuts, with cognac, rum and beer.  


    Five months later, Harry was one of the many men evacuated from Dunkirk, saved by the flotilla of small ships.  Sadly many of the men who were at this meal may not have survived or been taken prisoner.   

    Harry later served in north Africa and here he is on the left)  enjoying a donkey ride with a fellow solider.  



    My Aunt Peggy (1922-1989),   christened Margaret Olwyn, was the youngest daughter of William and Alice Danson, of Ppulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  She was born after the First World War, so very much the baby of the family to her much older brothers and sisters.

    In World War Two she served in the WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force), with a note In the family photograph album that she was  in a Barrage Balloon Squadron in Hull, on the east coast of Yorkshire.  

    Aunt Peggy (left) with a WAAF friend
     The barrage balloon was simply a bag of lighter-than-air gas attached to a steel cable anchored to the ground. The balloon could be raised or lowered to the desired altitude by a winch.  It was a passive form of defence designed to force enemy raiders to fly higher, and thus bomb much less accurately.
    You Are My Sunshine 
    I recently read a novel ("You are My Sunshine" by Katie Flynn)  set against the  background of girls serving in a barrage balloon team.  It gave a graphic picture of the spartan living conditions,  and hard physical, and at times dangerous work, but also the friendship  that could develop during times of war.  

    And my aunt Peggy was part of this.  For it was at Hull that she met her husband - Harry Constable, known as Con.



    Click HERE to march across to other blogger contributions on this week's theme.
     

    Monday, 29 September 2014

    The Book of Me: I am a "Joiner".

    Julie at Anglers Rest   has introduced bloggers to "The Book of Me, Written by You"  as an opportunity to remember, explore and rediscovermemories of our own.   Ultimately, this is the creation of a legacy for the future. 



    The latest theme - Clubs and Societies  - is a natural  choice for me, as I have my mother to  thank for encouraging me to be a "Joiner".  


    Because of my father's work, we moved around a lot, and Mum (left)  joined whatever women's group was there as a way of getting involved in the local community and making friends whether it was a choir, Mother's Union, Townswoman's Guild, Church Work Group, Parent-Teachers Association, Women's Rural Institute (WRI) etc.  

    Whenever there was a coffee morning, bring & buy sale, spring fete, summer fete, Christmas fete, Mum was part of the activity, with her contributions for the sales tables - aprons, cushion covers, doll's clothes, soft toys and of course cake and candy. 

    As a dressmaker she was often called upon to help with costumes for Gala Days and concerts.  



    Costumes my mother made for for Staining Gala Day - in apple green satin
    I am the little girl on the front row left.

    My life as a "joiner" began, I suppose with Sunday School - though I did not have much choice in that.  The next step I was far more enthusiastic about - joining the  Brownies in the Leprechaun Six.   Here I made my first stage performance  at a Brownie concert when, clutching our teddies,  we sang "The Teddy Bear's Picnic".

    I graduated to the Girl Guides and joined the Scarlet Pipmpernel patrol, sporting the red tabs on my uniform and collecting badges to sew on my sleeves.  but I never took to camping!   

     , We were not a musical family in terms of playing instruments, but music played an important part in our lives. My mother  joined local community choirs and  my father, with his brother, had sung in a  church choir from the age of seven.  

    So it was not surprising that singing in a choir (school, church, community)  has been a key activity throughout my life from primary school days onwards, whether it was folk songs from round the world, spirituals, carols, sacred music, opera and operetta choruses,   or songs from the shows - musical tastes that still mean a lot to me today.

     I was very happy to be a chorus girl, with no pretensions to be a soloist - I knew my limitations!  It is a marvelous form of music making, whatever your age, a great creator of the "feel good factor",  and there is nothing to beat singing with the full blooded accompaniment of an an orchestra or  organ.   


     High school introduced me to Gilbert & Sullivan  and I was hooked, singing in most of the operas over the years.  At University, I joined the  Savoy Opera Group and the annual G & S performances were the highlight of my years there - I loved taking part in them - the dressing up (the girls made their own costumes), the singing and some dancing. 

    In "Yeoman of the Guard"
    My other main interest of history, meant I naturally  gravitated to local history groups and family history societies,  where I not only met like-minded enthusiasts but was given the opportunity to develop my research and writing skills through the production of booklets and articles for magazines. 

    And yes, I have sat on more committees and written more minutes  than I care to remember. But  I always steered clear of becoming President or Treasurer - not a role I relished.

    My last house move was two years ago to small village - and who says there is nothing to do in retirement?  My life seems busier than ever as I have joined the local  history group, a Gilbert & Sullivan concert group ( I know I am well past past the age to dress up as  a young maiden in a stage production!), and the WRI (Women's Rural Institute).  

    I have never joined a sports club, but  in the cause of a healthier lifestyle, I am now a member of a  Walking Group (one of a network in my region of the Scottish Borders)  where we do a 3-4 mile walk every week - always finishing  at a local cafe  for scones and further chat.    Highly recommended!  
    So Mum's example has stayed with me, and left me an important message on how to make friends and become involved in a new community.    She was an inspiration!  



    Saturday, 27 September 2014

    On Your Bike! Sepia Saturday

    Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.




     There was just one photograph in my collection that fitted this week's  theme.  Here  is my husband as a little boy on the back of his  father's motor bike, which I am told was a  pre-war 500cc Rudge Spurts Special.

    Nowadays there is a Rudge Enthusiasts Club, dedicated to the Rudge-Whitworth Motorcycles. 



    No concerns in those days about health and safety and wearing crash helmets and leathers, with Neil in his school cap and coat and his Dad in a beret.  

    They rode all over the North of England  together, including journeys  from South Shields to Catterick Camp  where brother Ian (below)  was doing his National Service - a 120 mile round trip - so there is the  army link with the prompt photo. 



     Click HERE to find other bloggers' tales of tents and bikes. 

    Friday, 26 September 2014

    Sibling Saturday - Five Smedley Brothers of Pennsylvania

    Civil War combatants, a Yosemite traveller, a news agent and a cigar & tobacco dealer -  all activities of the  Smedley brothers shown  here in this striking collage. 

    The brothers along with siblings Lydia, Amy, Abiah T., Catherine Ann, and Anna Mary were fifth generation Americans of English Quaker descent, born to Jeffrey Smedley and Catherine Denny of Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.  

    The Ancestry website includes among its American records those of the Pennsylvania Quakers  and the surname  of the extended Smedley family  features prominently.  

    The brothers' parents Jeffrey (below)  and Catherine married 18th December 1834.  









    The 1850 census showed the Smedley family  of eight children  with only second son John Kinsey not at home on census night.  Jeffrey, aged 39 was described as a Farmer, with his wife, Catherine, eight years older at  47,   What must her life have been like with nine children under the age of 14 and with her three youngest children born when she was in her 40's ? 

    Ten years on in the 1860 census, 49 year old Jeffrey was still described as a farmer, as was his eldest son Isaac, with daughter Amy a teacher.  Of his children, only John Kinsey again  was away from home, traced to Philadelphia where he was also farming.

    Within a year, Jeffrey senior was dead, as recorded in the "Obituaries of the Members of the Society of Friends in America for the year 1861".  I had hoped for an obituary giving some insight into Jeffrey's life, but unfortunately  only the bare name and date was given in the entry.  

    By the time of the 1870 census, his widow Catherine was living a very different life - instead of being surrounded by her family, she was living on her own.  She died in 1877 at Leopard, Pennsylvania, with the Quaker Journal giving a simple entry, with no reference to other family members, and noting she was buried in Williston Friends Ground.  

    But what of their sons, with Isaac, John Kinsey and Abiah  serving their country  in the American Civil War, as told in a previous post. 


    Elder brother ISAAC was born 1 March 1838 at Chester, Pennsylvania and named after his paternal grandfather. 

    The USA Civil War Draft Registration Records   show that 23 year old Isaac enlisted in  the 97th Pennsylvania  Volunteer  Infantry.  He rose to the rank of 2nd  Lieut. but was honorably discharged on a surgeon's certificate at Seabrook Island, South Carolina.  

    Unmarried, he sadly died of consumption om 12 February  1867 at the young age of 28, buried in Willistown Friends Cemetery, Chester, Delaware Co.  

     Second son, JOHN KINSEY  was born 10 July 1839 in Williston,
     Pennsylvania.  So far the origin of his distinctive middle name has not been traced.  It was not a name from either his parents or grandparents,  though his uncle was a Kersey Smedley.  

    The young John was not with his family on census night in 1850 and ten years on aged 21, he was  a farmer in Philadelphia.

    In September 1862 at the age of 23, John  enlisted in the Union Navy as a naval engineer. He  participated in blockade duties and attacks on the Confederate forts in Charleston Harbor including  Fort Sumter,  and served aboard vessels Nantucket, Wabash, Mohican and Tullahoma.

    Unlike his brothers, John's life was to move far beyond Pennsylvania to Utah and California, working as an engineer, inventor and traveller.  In 1874, he  wrote an account of his journey into the Yosemite Valley in a journal still in the family safe keeping. John died in California in 1905.

    John's eventful life will feature in the next posting on the Smedley family.

    Brother JEFFREY, named after his father, was born in 25th May 1845 and was in the family  home in the 1850 and 1860 censuses. By the 1880 census, Jeffrey was married, his wife Sallie, with a 6 year old daughter Florence. His occupation was given as News Agent, The 1900 census again llisted his wife Sarah and  daughter Florence,but Jeffrey this time  described as a Cigar and Tobacco Dealer - an occupation which somehow fits in with his suave appearance in  this photograph. 

    Records show that he died  on 12th March 1917 at Bala, Montgomery, Pennsylvania.  The  US Find a Grave Index  noted his burial at Arlington Cemetery on Drexel Hill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. 


                                         
     

    Youngest brother CHARLES D.  was born 6th January 1847 - the youngest of Jeffrey and Catherine's nine children. 

    In 1880 Charles was  living on his own at Eastown, Pennsylvania, described as a Dealer in Dried Goods and Groceries.  A year later, he  married Alta J. Epwright, - at 17 years old, half his age.

    The 1900 census showed the  family, living at Newtown, Pennsyslvania  with five daughters (Martha, Anna, Jessie,  Helen and Ella), and  one son Jeffrey.. Like his father, Charles occupation was given as Farmer. By the time of the 1910 census, another daughter had been born - Olive,  and Charles was still farming. 

    The 1920 census was much more informative than earlier ones,  and showed that the family was living in rented accommodation at Haddinton Street, Philadephia Ward 34 and  that all the family could read and write.   Charles aged 73 had had a change of occupation to that of a Watchman in the River Fuel Industry.  Three daughters were still living at home - 27 year old Helen was a nurse, 20 year old Ella a typist in a printing office, with no occupation indicated for 18 year old Olive. 

    Charles died two years later in 1922, with his wife Alta living a further 32 years, dying in 1956 at the grand age of 93 -  both buried in Willistown Meeting House Cemetery, Delaware Co., Pennsylvania. 

    Charles death marked the demise of the four Smedley brothers - Isaac, John Kinsey, Jeffrey and Charles.  

    However there was a fifth brother  ABIAH, born in 1840, the fifth child of Jeffrey (Senior) and Catherine - his name is of Hebrew origin meaning " God is my Father".  An entry in the US Find a Grave Index brought to light that Abiah served in the  Civil War.  His record   showed that he enlisted in Company B, Pennsylvania 6th Cavalry Regiment on 30 Aug 1861 a few months after the outbreak fo war.    In 1865 was promoted to First Lieutenant.  

    Abiah sadly died in 1867, aged 27,  leaving a young widow Mary and a daughter Mary Emma  born two months after his death.  Abiah was buried in
    Willistown Friends Cemetery, where his eldest brother Isaac, had been laid to rest just three months earlier.    

    ************ 
    SOURCES
    • Family notes and photographs, with special thanks to Gail - John Kinsey Smedley's great granddaughter.
    • US Civil War Draft Registration Records 1863-1865
    • US Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles 1861-1865 
    • Officers of the Continental & US Navy & Marine Corps 1795-1900. 
    • US Navy Pension Records
    • US Veterans Grave-sites
    • US Federal Census Returns 1850-1920
    • US Quaker Meeting Records 
    • Obituaries of the Members of the Society of Friends in America,  1861.
    • Quaker Journal, 1877
    • California Death Index 
    • US City Directories  
    • Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chester County, Pennsylvania 

      Sibling Saturday is one of many daily blog prompts from Geneabloggers, 
      that encourages writers to record aspects of their family history.











    Friday, 12 September 2014

    Family Recipe Friday - Wartime Recipes


    What were your ancestors eating in Britain during the Second World War?  How do these dishes appeal? 
    • Economy Omelet - made with dried egg. 
    • Herring Sandwich 
    • Savoury Bread Pudding - made with bread, suet and oatmeal 
    • Savoury oatmeal pancakes - made with thick cold porridge. 
    • Sago Jelly 
    • Semolina Cake 

    These dishes are among recipes that feature in a little booklet published during the Second World War  by the Women's Guild in the village  of Earlston in the Scottish Borders.  (Ercildoune in the title was the old name for the village).

    Treats were not forgotten, with many biscuit recipes - ginger and oatmeal were favoruites  and a "Wartime Shortie"


    "Work 1 dessertspoonful of sugar into 4 ounces of margarine.  Add 1 cupful of flour and work in half a cupful of custard powder.  Roll our thinly and cut into rounds.  Bake in a slow over!


    Puddings seemed to require 3-4 hours of boiling/steaming and the prospect of a "Flourless Plum Pudding" was less appealing when I saw it was made with 3 tablespoons of tapioca.  

    One recommended tip for prunes advised   "No cooking or sugar required if they are soaked in water with a clove for two days."  


    http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/b0/47/02/b0470242c016eea37b5298d8b579ebf5.jpgOne ingredient predominated in the recipes - dried egg.  Imported from the USA, it was  the  government response  to a wartime shortage of fresh eggs. which were rationed in June 1942.   Dried eggs were  easily transported and were "non perishable". But they were universally hated, mainly due to not being reconstituted correctly.
     

    Sample 1943 rations of basics for a week for 1 person:
    3 pints of milk
    3 1/4Ib - 1Ib meat
    1 egg a week or 1 packet of dried eggs (equal to 12) every 2 months
    3 to 4 oz cheese
    4 oz combined of bacon or ham
    2 oz tea, loose leaf
    8 oz sugar
    2 oz butter
    2 oz cooking fat

    The Earlston booklet had an introduction by the BBC "Radio Doctor"  - Dr. Charles Hill who during the Second World War gave advice in a daily broadcast  from the Ministry of Food called "Kitchen Front".  His distinctive voice with his frankness & down to earth approach made him hugely popular.

    Chapters also featured  on diet, child welfare, first aid, fresh air, care of the teeth, feet and hair. 

    In the  First Aid section, along  with the standard ailments of burns & scalds, shock, stings, bleeding nose, was something that perhaps reflected the rural life of the readers; 


    For  "Lime in the Eye" - bathe the eye with a weak solution of vinegar and water  (eight parts water to one vinegar),  Try to remove the lime with the corner of a handkerchief. 
    Put a drop  or two of caster oil into the eye.


    A Handy Hint advised  " Keep potato peelings, for after being  dried in the oven, they are useful for lighting fires instead of wood."

    And not forgetting livestock - there was a recipe for  making "wet mash for domestic poultry".

    The booklet is in the  collection of "Auld Earlston" - the local historical society and is an example of the fascinating little local publications which can can be unearthed and add so much colour to writing about the lives of our ancestors. 

    Family Recipe Friday is one of many daily prompts from Geneabloggers that encourage bloggers to write about their ancestors and their lives.