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Making the News: Burglary of the residence of Mr William Trower

21 May

This is one of the most surprising articles I found in my recent trawl of the British Newspaper Archive. It comes from the 10th September 1850 edition Sussex Advertiser and concerns my 4x great-grandfather William Trower and the residence in question was almost certainly Harwoods Farm in Henfield, Sussex.

HENFIELD.

BURGLARY.-On the morning of Sunday, the 1st inst., the residence of Mr William Trower, near New Inn, was broken into by four men, disguised in masks and with muffled shoes. The most violent threats and imprecations were used by the villians against Mr Trower and his wife, whom they awoke for the purpose of demanding where their money was. They remained in the house nearly two hours, and after ransacking it in every part, regaled themselves with some home-made wine they found on the premises. On leaving they took many articles of clothing and provisions, and it is hoped that the property, most of which can be identified, may lead to the detection of the ruffians.

I detect a hint of sensationalism in this story and a touch of humour with the ruffians regaling themselves with some home-made wine, although of course there is a serious crime underlying the story, which I have not been able to follow-up on yet. I would love to find out if anyone was ever brought to justice for the crime.

What is particularly surprising to me is that my 4x great-grandparents had anything worth considering stealing. I have always envisaged them being a fairly poor family, albeit a family that had their own farm, but maybe I need to look again at that picture I have of them.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 20th May 2012

20 May

There is nothing much to report this week except for an almost complete lack of family history activity. Whilst time has been an issue, as always, the main cause of this in-activity has been a lack of motivation.

I just haven’t really been inspired to sit down and do any family history this week. About the only positive thing that happened this week was the addition of three or four new relatives to my tree.

I realised that with a very small amount of work I would be able to add a seventh cousin. There was no real benefit to gained from doing this but it seemed like a fun thing to do at the time and nice to be able to say that I have a seventh cousin.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

Given my current lack of motivation it seems unlikely that I am going get around to sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information. It would probably be better for me to find another more interesting project (more interesting than sorting out files) to get me back on track.

Kent parish registers on familysearch.org

I made several attempts to access images of Kent parish registers on familysearch.org, hoping that at last I might be able to go back a bit further with my Gasson ancestors.

Unfortunately I was unable to view a single image for any of the parishes I tried, I don’t know if it was me or the website, but I tried nearly everyday with the same result. Maybe next week I will be more successful.

There is another potential distraction coming up this week with a change in the weather coming at last. Hopefully it will be dry and warm enough for me to contemplate at least one decent evening walk this week.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Making the News: The four Hemsley brothers from Framfield, Sussex

15 May

Probably the most unusual article I discovered on my recent trawl of the British Newspaper Archive concerned four probable relatives from Framfield, Sussex.

SHOOTING.

To the Editor of the Sussex Advertiser and Surrey Gazette.

MR EDITOR,- Will you favor me with an odd corner in your paper for the following:-

  Four brothers, named Hemsley, living at Framfield, gave a challenge to shoot with any four brothers in the county, out and home. I accepted the challenge on behalf of four brothers, in Lewes, named Baker, and tossed with the Hemsleys’ backer for the choice of the first match, which I won; and it was arranged between us to come off in Lewes.

  Strange to say, the boasting challengers have shewn a white feather, and decline the trial of skill!

  Now, Sir, will you allow me space to say, that on behalf of the Bakers, I publicly challenge the Hemsleys to shoot a match (out and home) at six birds each man; or to make a match (out and home) with a larger number of men on each side if they prefer it.

  If they decline this, I recommend them to boast less for the future, and not give a challenge they do not intend to fulfil if accepted.

WM. EAGER.

Southover, Lewes,
7th March, 1851.

This letter was published in the Sussex Advertiser on the 11th March 1851. Unfortunately I couldn’t find out whether any match did take place or who the boasting Hemsley brothers actually were. It is quite likely that they were relatives, most of the Hemsleys in Framfield seem to have been related to me in one way or another.

Without any more information I am not going to be able to do much more with this article, but it is a lovely glimpse into life 160 years ago nonetheless, which admittedly doesn’t paint the Hemsleys in a very good light.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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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.
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