Tag Archives: thomas kinghorn

Thinking about KINGHORN migration

28 May

I said in yesterday’s post that I needed to find some new avenues to explore on my research projects, so in an attempt to breathe new life into my floundering Thomas KINGHORN research (my 3x great grandfather), I have turned my thoughts to migration.

Thomas KINGHORN (4x great grandfather) and his wife Margaret had (to my knowledge) six children. It appears that at least half of these moved to London (including my 3x great grandfather) in the first half of the nineteenth century. This raises lots questions which I would like to explore further.

  • Which of the six children actually migrated and which stayed in Carlisle?
  • When did they migrate? Did they all move at the same time?
  • Where did they settle in London? What influenced that choice?
  • What was the reason they left Carlisle? Was it to find work? To live with other family members? Was it for better living conditions?
  • How would they have travelled down south? Did they use the mail coach?
  • Why did they chose London? Why not Glasgow, Edinburgh or any other northern city?

Some of these are obviously going to be easier to answer than others (the who, when and where), but hopefully once I have established these facts I can see if any patterns emerge and if any conclusions can be drawn from the data.

Even if I can’t answer all the questions, it is going to help me build up a picture of the family as a whole, which will ultimately help my understanding of the lives of both of my Thomas KINGHORNs.

The problem with Thomas KINGHORN

30 Apr

Despite discovering more about Thomas KINGHORNs occupation as mail guard, I still have very little hard information about the man himself.

Thomas KINGHORN married Margaret SEWELL on the 5th May 1803 in St Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle, Cumberland. They had six children, all baptised in St Cuthbert’s:

1. John KINGHORN (baptised 30 Oct 1803)
2. Mary KINGHORN (baptised 03 Aug 1806)
3. Thomas KINGHORN (baptised 13 Mar 1808)
4. Abraham KINGHORN (baptised 10 Jun 1810)
5. Elizabeth KINGHORN (baptised 19 Mar 1815)
6. George KINGHORN (baptised 11 May 1817)

In all the entries Thomas is shown as a mail guard. The entries for John, Mary and Thomas don’t show a residence, but the entries for Abraham, Elizabeth and George have the residence as Moffat (of North Britain) and Abraham’s entry states the parents are late of Carlisle.

On the 25th October 1808, Thomas was involved in a mail coach accident in which he was injured, “severely cut about the head”.

Thomas had died by the time his son Thomas was married (for the second time) in London in June 1850, as he is shown as deceased on the certificate. I have been unable to find him in the 1841 census and there doesn’t appear to be a death entry for him in the civil registration indexes, so he probably died before July 1837.

So not really a lot to go on, he was alive definitely alive between 1803 and 1817, he worked as a guard on the mail coach and had six children with his wife Margaret.

The key fact I would like to establish is where and when he died. This will hopefully give me a clue to his age and year of birth. Given his occupation, his death could have occurred almost anywhere in the country, and his place of birth may not have even been in the north but he may just have been working there and meet a local girl.

To try and find the man himself, I am going to have to make my next step to try and establish what happened to the rest of the family, I think I have found his wife in the 1841 census (back in Carlisle), which is a good start as I should be able to find her death certificate which may provide some clues, such as where to look for a burial record for both of them.

Why I am proud to say that Thomas KINGHORN was a mail guard

29 Apr

I appear to have been neglecting my Thomas KINGHORN research recently, I think the problem is that I have very little information to go on, there is very little I can do online and it is almost completely new territory to me.

I have however not been completely idle, I am in the middle of reading The Mail-Coach Men of the late Eighteenth Century1 which I have borrowed from my local library, although I think I am going to have to buy a copy for my own bookshelf.

There is some wonderful detail on the origins of the mail coach service, and the people involved in setting it up and running it. There is also some great general information on mail guards such as:

… the key-men were the mail-guards. Everything depended on their integrity, their loyalty, their tireless zeal in the discharge of their arduous duties, their hardihood of body as well as of mind.

There was also something else which might give me another place to search in the records:

The pay was 10s. 6d. a week; in addition, there were regular tips, seldom withheld by the public and not discouraged by the Post Office. There was provision for sick-benefit and retirement pension and a contribution of two guineas towards the funeral expenses of a guard.

I don’t think Thomas lived long enough to gain a retirement pension, but maybe his widow received some form of pension, and probably the two guineas towards his funeral.

It appears that the mail guard was not just responsible for the safety of the mail, but was in charge of pretty much every aspect of the operation:

He was responsible for giving the word to go, for the maintenance of speed, the conduct and sobriety of the coachman, and for taking action when breakdowns and other mishaps occurred.

On this final point the author also notes that:

It was part of his training to go through the shops of the factory at Millbank and carried a considerable kit of tools and spares to effect roadside repairs.

What I am seeing is a picture of a man who had to be resourceful, honest, reliable, strong, intelligent, courageous and loyal (amongst other things). It makes me proud to say that my 4x great grandfather was a mail guard.

1 Vale, Edmund. The Mail-Coach Men of the late Eighteenth Century. Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles (Publishers) Ltd, 1967

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