25 January 2010

Smiths & Basketmakers

A cold January day, particularly where I was in the county, so snuggle up to your nice warm computer . . . .

And let me introduce you to my first cousin four times removed Jane Smith. The daughter of Canham (Can to his friends) and Mary, Jane was born today in 1829 in the small Fen town of Chatteris and christened on 22 February the same year. In the 1841 census she is, inexplicably, staying with (or possibly living with - who can tell) the Stocks family in Slade End, Chatteris . . . . and that's all I know about her. I've tried to find her again but, let me tell you, there are quite a few Jane Smiths in the area! I'll put her on the infamous "To Do" list.

I know slightly more about the next couple, John Bullard and Maria Robb, who married today at the Baptist Chapel in St Ives in 1854. John, who had previously been married to Susan Wignall (she died in 1851), was one of the basket-making Bullards and he & Maria went on to produce six children in the next eleven years. They stayed in St Ives; in 1871 John was a "basket maker & fancy repository, employing 4 men and 18 boys" and he continued in the trade until his death on the last day of 1893.

Maria lived on in Crown Street in St Ives until at least 1901; and I found her in the 1911 census with her daughter Emily & family. She died in May 1914 and, like her husband, is buried in Broadleas Cemetery in St Ives.

John & Maria's two sons, John & Charles, emigrated together, arriving at Ellis Island in 1885. John stayed there and was last seen in the 1900 US census in Montana, a dealer in musical instruments; Charles appears to have returned by 1896 and was back in St Ives, in Campions Yard, in 1901, listed as as osier grower & basket manufacturer - sucked back into the family trade!!!

More soon.

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