10 February 2010

A Smith-athon . . .

Once upon a time (well, this time last year) I briefly mentioned John Smith, my first cousin four times removed, and made the point that there are so many John Smiths that I hadn't been able to make much . . . . . any progress.

It's taken twelve months to get round to it, but I am pleased to report a bit of progress. The aforementioned John Smith was born in Chatteris today in 1813, son of Joseph & Elizabeth (nee Curtis), the fourth of fourteen children.

He married Elizabeth Dunn in Chatteris in 1842 and they begat three children (2 sons & a daughter), whilst at the same time maintaining a farm reported to be 445 acres (in 1861) - on which they employed 13 men, 4 women and 5 boys. Their children were all sent away to school - Hellen (sic) to Ramsgate & the boys to Huntingdon - and all three had returned by 1871.

I haven't worked out what happened to Hellen yet but elder son Hugh took over the farm, increasing it to 700 acres by 1881 when he is living in Yorke House, Chatteris, with his wife and first three children (they went on to have eight, in all).

Younger son Roland was an 18 year old medical student in 1871 and qualified as a doctor in 1879, becoming a General Practitioner in Clapton by 1881. He married Gertrude McMorran in 1877 in London and they appear to have spent the next thirty years in Clapton, with three daughters.

Hugh junior (he who took over the farm) was last seen, as it were, at Denver Hall, Downham Market, in 1911, with his wife Maria and four of their children; their son Ferdinand had ventured across to deepest Liverpool, and his brother Eustace braved the wilds of Mildenhall! Next brother down, Wilfred, was to be found in Leeds. That's accounted for all their surviving children - I just need to find one more!

Hopefully it won't take another year . . . . .

More soon.

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