Tag Archives: thomas kinghorn

My Family History Week: Sunday 13th May 2012

13 May

It was another productive week, although once again I didn’t do what I had intended to do. Most of my family history time was spent re-visiting past research projects, mostly inspired by my brief foray into British Newspaper Archive.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

For the second week in a row I have failed to do anything about sorting out all the information I have about Patrick Vaughan. I think this is probably because organising and sorting is just not as interesting as doing new research.

I already know all the information I have for Patrick Vaughan and whilst I know I need to have this all in order before I do any more research, it is just not as exciting as doing the new research.

I think I should try to make an effort next week to actually get it sorted. If I leave it another week I suspect it will never get done.

Luther Trower, Henrietta King and Joseph Brinton

These three individuals are the main characters for one of the most interesting stories lurking in my family tree. It is a story that I haven’t fully researched yet and I am hoping this year I will get around to telling that story.

I was reminded once again of this unfinished story by several newspaper articles, sadly the articles didn’t provide any new information, but they did spark an interest again.

I have done a bit of work this week on tracing what happened to some of the supporting cast and updated my database. I think the story is probably worthy of a book, not a big book, but a book nonetheless.

For that I know I will need some more background material, old photos and new photos, but before I get too carried away I ought to sit down and put together an outline for the book.

Thomas Kinghorn – the mail guard

Another newspaper inspired piece of work, which lead to his Ancestral Profile blog post this week. It also lead me to re-visiting the life of my 4x great-grandfather and his connections with Carlisle.

There wasn’t really any new research, just looking over what I already have and dreaming about the time when I get chance to spend some time at the Carlisle Record Office and what I would like to try to find out.

It occurred to me that unless I actually make plans to visit the record office it is never going to happen. No-one else is going to make those plans for me, I could wait for records to be digitised, but even then it might not be the records that I need.

I need to make some plans and do some research:

  1. How and when do I go there? and how much will it cost?
  2. What records do I want to check when I am there?
  3. Is it likely to be worth going?
  4. Would I be better off at the SoG Library or London Family History Centre?

I might try to work this out this week, the sooner I do it the sooner I might be walking through the doors of Carlisle Record Office.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Ancestral Profile: Thomas Kinghorn (c1781-1833)

12 May

Thomas Kinghorn was my 4x great-grandfather and although I have written much about him in the past, mainly about his experiences as a guard on the mail coaches, I know very few hard facts about his life.

Based on his age in his death announcement and his entry in the burial register it seems that he was born about 1781 but I have no clues about where he was born or who his parents were.

Thomas married Margaret Sewell on the 5th May 1803 at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle, Cumberland. Their marriage licence bond gives Thomas’ location as Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland or North Britain as it was refered to at time. However, I have been unable to find any records for a Thomas Kinghorn originating north of the border.

Thomas and his wife had six children, it seems that all six were born in Moffat, but were baptised at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle south of the Scottish border.

  1. John Kinghorn (baptised 30th October 1803)
  2. Mary Kinghorn (baptised 3rd August 1806)
  3. Thomas Kinghorn (baptised 13th March 1808) [my 3x great-grandfather]
  4. Abraham Kinghorn (baptised 10th June 1810)
  5. Elizabeth Kinghorn (baptised 19th March 1815)
  6. George Kinghorn (baptised 11th May 1817)

I am still not sure what happened to their two daughters Mary and Elizabeth, but only one of their sons (George) appears to have remained in Carlisle, the others making their way south to London, presumably through Thomas’ connection with the coaching trade.

The earliest record I have for Thomas’ employment as a mail guard is the marriage licence bond dated 4th May 1803 and the occupation is consistent across all the subsequent baptisms of his children.

The most notable occurrence during his time as a mail guard is his involvement in an accident on the 25th October 1808, which I have written about before, during which he was injured, but seemingly recovered quickly and returned to work.

It has been suggested that because they were armed many mail guards had served in the army previously, but I have found no record of this in Thomas’ case yet.

Thomas died on the 30th April 1833 (as recently discovered in a newspaper announcement) and was living in Crosby Street, Carlisle at the time. He was buried in St Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle on the 4th May 1833. I don’t know whether a headstone was ever erected or if it still survives if it was.

Clearly there are many gaps in my knowledge of Thomas Kinghorn and his ancestors and descendants, the most obvious of which is who were his parents and where was he born/baptised. I am pretty certain it was south of the Scottish border, maybe even as far south as London (as that is where most of his children ended up).

Unfortunately because of my distance from Carlisle I don’t see the opportunity for doing much more research in the near future, however where there is a will there is a way and maybe the opportunity will present itself. I certainly need to re-visit the main online resources and see if anything more can be discovered at this time.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
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Making the News: Death announcement of Thomas Kinghorn

10 May

It was only one sentence, but finding the death announcement for my 4x great-grandfather Thomas Kinghorn in the Carlisle Journal (for Saturday 11th May 1833) adds a few more useful snippets of information.

Here, on Tuesday week, Mr. Thomas Kinghorne, Crosby Street, aged 52.

“Here” presumably means Carlisle and Crosby Street is a new address for Thomas, although his son George and family were living in Crosby Street in the 1841 census. There might be some rate books or such like that would tell me more about the residents of Crosby Street.

The “on Tuesday week” part is a little vague. It is not particularly clear to me which Tuesday it refers to, does it mean a week before the next Tuesday (the 14th May) or a week before the previous Tuesday (the 7th)?

Knowing from the parish register for St Cuthbert’s Carlisle that Thomas was buried on the 4th May helps to clarify what was meant. It has to be the week before the previous Tuesday, which gives a date of death of the 30th April 1833.

Obviously this is four years before the start of civil registration so I am not going to be able to get a death certificate for Thomas. The only other possible place where his date of death might be recorded is on a gravestone if one has survived or if there was one in the first place.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
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Finding the Broken Bridge: Part One

13 Sep

One of the key sources in finding the location of the bridge where the accident that nearly cost Thomas KINGHORN his life took place has been a book called The Manchester and Glasgow Road: Vol 2 by Charles George Harper. Published by Chapman & Hall Ltd, London in 1907 it is now available for download on Internet Archive.

Chapter 34 of the book describes the road leading up to the bridge, albeit from the opposite direction from which the mail coach was travelling on that fateful night:

The old Glasgow road, that goes up from Moffat past Meikleholmside, and so across Ericstane Muir, is everything a road should not be. It is steep, narrow, exposed, and rugged, and, except as an object-lesson in what our ancestors had to put up with, is a very undesirable route and one in which no one would wish to find himself. It has not even the merit of being picturesque.

Further along the road things did improve, apparently due to the efforts of Thomas Telford:

The road that Telford made continues onward from Beattock in more suave fashion. It follows the glen of Evan Water for nine miles, and the three of them-road, river, and Caledonian Railway-go amicably side by side under the hills, to Beattock Summit and down to Elvanfoot, where the Elvanfoot Inn of other days now stands as a shooting-lodge.

Finally the author describes the bridge where the accident happened:

Elvanfoot Bridge, that carries the road over the Evan (i.e. Avon) Water, looks down upon a pretty scene of rushing stream, boulders, and ferns, or "furruns," as a Scotsman would enunciate the word.

It all sound quite picturesque and the author even includes a sketch of the scene:

The Broken Bridge

Of course if you have read my earlier blog posts (like this one) you will know that on the night of the 25th October 1808 the bridge gave way and sent the mail coach, passengers, driver, guard and horses plummeting into the swollen river below.

The author describes the incident in some detail, although it is not clear where he got his information from, or whether it can be relied on, although the facts do pretty much tie-up with the newspaper reports. This uncertainty is a shame because the book provides an excellent piece of evidence for the exact location of the bridge:

For many years the bridge was not properly mended, funds being scarce on these roads; and the mail, slowing for it, lost five minutes on every journey. The part that fell may still be traced by the shorter lime stalactites hanging from the repaired arch. It is still known as "Broken Bridge," in addition to "Milestone Brig," from the milestone on it, marking the midway distance between Carlisle and Glasgow: "Carlisle 47 1/2 miles. Glasgow 47 miles."

That milestone would be the key to finding the location of the bridge, in the days before detailed Ordnance Survey maps and long before GPS it is a fixed point on a certain route (the road between Glasgow and Carlisle) and even if it wasn’t there now it would probably be shown on earlier maps. If all else failed I could resort to tracing the route on a map and measuring the distance.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 37

12 Sep

I was totally distracted last week, fortunately it was a genealogical distraction. I am sometimes amazed at the direction my research takes, I had no real intention of re-visiting the story of Thomas KINGHORN and his mail coach accident in any detail at the moment, but that is where I have ended up this week.

Lots of newspapers mention the accident but they are all largely based on the same report, also there are several books that mention the accident, so I have been making a start on gathering together all the pieces of "evidence". Also I have been thinking about where else I am going to find details.

Then my attention shifted to maps, trying to locate the exact spot where the accident happened. As a lover of maps this has been such a joy for me, forcing me to explore more online map sites, including the wonderful Maps of Scotland at the National Library of Scotland. I am pretty certain I have located the spot where the bridge was, I just need to bring together all the information.

This week I will carry on looking at mail coaches and maps, trying to pull together all the information into some sort of logical framework which will act as a basis for future research and a visit to the site. The icing on the cake this week was being contacted by a descendant of one of the passengers on the mail coach, who sadly died as a result of the accident. Don’t you just love the power of blogging?

More about Thomas KINGHORN’s “dreadful accident”

9 Sep

Long time readers of my blog might remember me writing about my 4x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN and the accident he was involved in whilst working as a guard on the mail coaches.

I haven’t given up on the idea of finding out more about Thomas KINGHORN and the accident. Ideally I would like to be able to find out where the accident occurred so that one day I will be able to go and visit the spot where my 4x great-grandfather nearly lost his life.

Having recently joined the Surrey library service I have been able to take advantage of free access to the 19th Century British Library Newspaper Collection. I had previously found a brief mention of the “dreadful accident” in The Times newspaper and it seems the story was widely reported across the country.

The source of the various different articles appears to have been a report from Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland which was possibly first published in the Carlisle Journal, which is not part of the collection, but it does appear to have been reprinted, possibly in full, in the Caledonian Mercury.

The report in the Caledonian Mercury (published in Edinburgh, Scotland) on the 29th October 1808 contains much useful additional information, naming several of the key figures involved in the rescue who are not mentioned in any of the other reports as far I am aware.

MOFFAT, Oct. 26.-We had yesterday a most dreadful storm of wind and rain, and the rivers in the neighbourhood came down in torrents, such as have never been seen by the oldest people here. Among other damage occasioned by it, we are sorry to state that a shocking accident has happened to the mail coach from Glasgow to Carlisle. At the bridge over the river Avon, about nine miles from this, at Howcleuch, betwixt nine and ten o’clock last night, the coach had just got about half way over, when the bridge gave way in the middle of the arch, and the coach, passengers, horses, &c. were instantly precipitated in the river, a fall of about 30 feet. There were four inside and two outside passengers. The two outside passengers, and two of the horses were killed upon the spot, and the other passengers made a miraculous escape with their lives; though we are sorry to say they were all very considerably hurt. The coachman and guard were also much hurt; the former had his arm broken, and was otherwise much bruised, and the guard received a severe contusion on the head.

The other coach from Carlisle to Glasgow, was narrowly prevented from falling into the same precipice. It was coming up just about the time the accident happened, and, from the darkness of the night, and the rate the coach necessarily goes at, must inevitably have gone into the river, at the same breach in the arch, had not one of the passengers who escaped given the alarm.
"By the exertion of the coachman and guard of the other coach, the passengers who survived (a lady and three gentlemen) with the coachman and guard, who had fallen into the precipice, were enabled to extricate themselves from the dreadful situation into which they were thrown, and conducted to a place of safety till other assistance was afforded them.

Much praise is due to Mr Rae, the postmaster here, one of the proprietors of the coach, for his exertions and assistance on the occasion. Immediately, on hearing of the accident, he set out, in the middle of the night, with several of his servants and others, in two post chaises, and gave every possible assistance to the passengers, &c. and, by this means, we are happy to say, the London mail and other valuable articles in the coach have been saved.

Mr Clapperton, surgeon, is also entitled to much praise for his ready assistance upon this occasion; and the exertions of John Giddes, one of Mr Rae’s servants, are particularly deserving of notice, who, at the risk of his life, went down into the river with a rope fastened to his body, and saved the life of the lady (one of the passengers) and some of the mail bags, which must otherwise have been carried down the stream.

The coach and harness are completely destroyed. Mr Rae has loft two valuable horses by the accident, and the other two are severely hurt and bruised.

The bodies of the two passengers who were killed, have been found, and have been brought here this morning; they are Mr William Brand, merchant in Ecclefechan, and Mr Lund, of the house of Lund & Toulmin, of Bond-street, London."

As you can see there is much information contained in this report that I need to follow up. Did Mr Rae (the postmaster) or Mr Clapperton (the surgeon) keep a diary? Were any of the rescuers recognised for their bravery?Where were the two victims buried? Were their deaths reported elsewhere?

Then of course there are further questions, such as what were the names of the four passengers that survived? When was the bridge rebuilt and was it’s re-opening reported? and most importantly where exactly was the bridge?

Re-activate your ScotlandsPeople credits (for a limited time)

4 Jun

For a limited time (until 1pm on the 17th June 2010) ScotlandsPeople are giving users of their website the chance to re-activate any unused credits that have expired.

As explained on their website, you can bring life back to your expired credits by the use of a special voucher code. These revived credits will then be active for another 90 days. Normally you would need to buy further credits to make use of any expired credits.

This is great news for me, because I have expired credits on the site and I have at least one census image to look up and need to have a look and see if Thomas KINGHORN (my 4x great-grandfather) did actually come from Scotland.

So far I haven’t found any records for my ancestors on the ScotlandsPeople website, even though Thomas KINGHORN (my 3x great-grandfather) was born in Scotland, he was baptised south of the border. Maybe this time it will be different.

Either way it will be good to make use of my currently inaccessible credits, without having to pay for more.

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