Early One Morning


Only one more week left at work … one good thing is that I will be able to spend more time writing and catching up with Friday Fictioneers. ¬†I haven’t done much ‘visiting’ recently and I want to say thank you for putting up with me and still visiting and commenting on my posts. ūüôā

Thanks as always to Rochelle for making time in her very hectic schedule to continue to lead us- sympathies with the dental work, I’ve been in the same boat recently, painful. Thanks to to Ted Strutz for the intriguing photo this week.

25 March

Copyright Ted Strutz

Genre: Family history

Word Count: 100

Early One Morning

May woke her brothers. The room was dark and cold. Condensation collected in puddles on the windowsill. Ernest pulled the blanket tighter.

‚ÄėErnest, Walter, wake up. There‚Äôs water for a quick swill, your clothes are on the chair. Hurry up, don‚Äôt wake the others.‚Äô

They walked together alongside the canal, huddled against the cold, breathing out clouds into the morning.

‚ÄėBoys, hurry up! ¬†If we‚Äôre late and refused work today, Joe Stamford will dock our pay for the week. Think of ma and the bairns, come on!‚Äô

Joe Stamford watched them running across the yard and started to close the door.

                                  *******

A little bit of history… May in the story is my grandmother. She left school aged 12 and went to work in a cotton mill in Colne, Lancashire, with her two older brothers. They left home around 5.30am to walk the two miles to work every day. Conditions in the mills were very hard, if they were late one day, they were refused entry and could lose their pay for the whole week. They worked hard to support their mother and six other siblings as by now, their father was quite ill and without work for long periods of time.

This is a photo of her, much much later, with my grandfather on a rare day out to Blackpool. (Apologies for the quality.)

2016-01-30 13.10.11

Copyright D. Lovering

 

 

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John, ‘The Immigrant’


It was a lovely surprise to see that our intrepid leader¬†Rochelle had used my photo as the prompt for Friday Fictioneers this week. It was taken in Barcelona, walking from Port Vell towards the Monument to Columbus. ¬†I love the feel of Barcelona, the bustle and atmosphere, we had a very enjoyable time there, though as you can see the weather could have been better…

Copyright - Dee Lovering

                                                   Copyright РDee Lovering

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

John, ‘The Immigrant’

‚ÄėShe‚Äôs with her family, leave her be.‚Äô

‚ÄėThey took her from me, but I‚Äôll find her.‚Äô

‚ÄėJohn, it‚Äôs been a year, she could be married.¬† Please, we need you. ‚Äė

‚ÄėNo! I need her!‚Äô

The pursuit of religious freedom led many Puritans to the shores of New England. It wasn’t religion that sent John westwards, though the long journey afforded him time to reflect on it and the argument with his parents.  He had defied them and left them to struggle.  But the moment he had laid eyes on Dorcas Coleman, he wanted her; nothing would stand in his way.

 

¬†…Click to read more stories

 

A brief note on my story. One of my ancestors sailed to New England in 1625 to join the colony of English Puritans who had settled there. ¬†He was one of the first settlers of Rowley Mass. and did marry Dorcas Coleman in 1648. ¬†I have used some poetic licence with their meeting, but I feel it goes someway to explain why he made the journey alone. Although another ancestor, also called John, settled in Virginia, ¬†in all the research the man in my story is called ‘John, The Immigrant’ hence my title.

Tracking down ‘my convict’


2015 is the year I intend to devote to completing the story of the life of my ancestor, Richard Boothman. I thought it may be good to recap on how I started this journey and where I am so far, for those of you who may not have seen the earlier posts.

Convict in my tree – part 1

I started researching my family tree almost ten years ago and today, like thousands of other people across the world, I am still trying to find my story; where I came from and what shaped me.  I started where all good ancestry researchers should, with my living relatives.  From them I got a lot of basic, necessary information like dates and places of birth and names of spouses etc which was a great place to start.

As I built my family tree, with more and more information gleaned from¬†various sources, not¬†least of which was¬†ancestry.co.uk¬†a story from my childhood kept coming back and niggling at the back¬†of my mind.¬† My paternal grandmother was a great storyteller; I¬†used to¬†sit at her feet enthralled,¬†listening to stories ranging from fairies at the bottom of my grandfather’s allotment to the tale of the man who, being¬†wrongfully accused of a very, very bad crime, was sent far, far away from his family and friends to a desolate place across the sea, never to return.¬† I remember my sister and I having very bad dreams about him and my mother telling us not to fret as it was only a story and not true.

Over the years my research dragged on.¬† Then one day,¬†I got a letter from my aunt, in response to¬†a plea for help with the seemingly endless list of children borne to my great grandparents.¬† She listed all the children that she knew of and then, at the bottom of the last page, mentioned just how bad life had been for some people¬†in those days¬†and gave as an example, ¬†the visits made¬†to Lancaster Castle by female members of my great great grandmother’s family.¬† She had been told the stories as a little girl, about women walking miles to visit a male relative imprisoned in the jail there.

This must be the man in my grandmother’s story.¬†¬†He was real!¬† I knew then that I wouldn’t rest until I had found out all I could, I just had to know who this man was and if indeed he was one of my ancestors…………….(to be continued)

Convict in my tree – part 2

The story of the convict stayed with me and I spent many nights on the computer, searching the family history sites trying to find out anything I could.  I decided to write to the librarian in Colne, explain what information I had and see if they had any documents that could throw some light on the story my aunt had told me.

I eventually had a reply, telling me there was only one man from the town who seemed to fit the bill.  His name was Richard Boothman and, at a riot in Colne on 10 August 1840 he killed a policeman.

I went onto the Lancaster prison website and typed his name into the database, nothing. There were long lists of prisoners who had stolen bread, horses, murdered their neighbours, husbands and wives, but no mention of Richard Boothman. Then one morning, whilst trying to sort out all the papers and folders I had on my family tree, I came across a package at the bottom of the box.  It contained an old book, all about the history of Colne, that had belonged to my great grandmother and had been given to me when my grandmother died.  It was written by a local historian in 1878.  I had scanned it briefly when I received it, but the writing style was very staid and after a while, just plain boring, so I had not got very far and had stopped not long after the bit about a supposed Roman settlement!

I picked it up again, wondering if there could possibly be anything in it about this case. ¬†I sat on the floor of the study, slowly¬†turning the thin, dry pages of small print until, towards the back of the book,¬†in a chapter entitled “Guilty or Not Guilty”¬†I¬†found the story of Richard Boothman, weaver and murderer.

Since then I have spent hours trying to piece together his story and I am still working on it.¬† I have transcripts of letters he wrote from prison to his father, who never got over the shock of what happened to his son. ¬†I read¬†of him¬†protesting his innocence and begging his father to find townspeople who would speak on his behalf at his trial and in one letter telling his father that ” the Assizes commence the 20th March” and could he please have a new pair of shoes.¬† Later, in February, he tells his father that he is” preparing to meet his fate with fortitude and courage”.¬† Some townspeople do make the long journey to speak for him at his trial, but he is found “guilty of¬† wilful murder”.

However, very strenuous efforts were made on his behalf for many believed in his innocence, and on 7 April 1841 there was¬†success of a kind as a reprieve was issued.¬† But any hope was dashed on 14 April¬†as he was served with an¬†order for transportation for life.¬† Shortly after that he was taken from Lancaster prison to the prison hulks at Woolwich.¬†He and the other¬†prisoners were kept in squalid conditions and sent¬†ashore to work¬†across the river, unloading cargoes at the docks. ¬†He worked there until he was transferred in shackles¬†to the Barossa¬†which set sail for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and arrived in Hobart on 13 January 1842.

The National Archive in Hobart¬† were very helpful and I obtained a lot of information from them, including reports that he served his sentence at Impression Bay, Westbury, Quamby, Peth¬†and Launceston;¬†that he was considered a good worker; that in January 1844 his original¬†term of probation expired and on 5 February 1850 he was granted his “Ticket of Leave”. Finally on 7 June 1853 his conditional pardon was approved.¬† He married another prisoner, Mary Brown who had left London¬†on the convict ship¬†St Vincent and it seems he settled in Launceston where he farmed until his death in 1877.¬† He is buried just outside Launceston.

The times he lived in were incredibly hard, he was a weaver at the time of the Chartist riots, a period of great unrest and yes, he probably did fight to defend his livelihood. I am glad that he survived transportation when so many convicts perished; I believe in his innocence and feel sad that the punishment he received was so harsh and that he never saw his family again.

I have helped others find a place in their family tree for Richard Boothman¬†and also fill in a few gaps in the lists of the convict ships, but as much as I would dearly love to find a place for him in my family tree, I can’t yet . ¬†I know that some of my great great¬†grandmother’s family lived in the same street as the Boothmans, could it be that the story that has¬†come down to me,¬†is one of¬† the women of the street coming together to support the family in a time of great need?¬† Could it be that the women who walked those long, long miles to Lancaster prison with food and clothing for Richard were his sisters and their close friends from the street?¬† Perhaps I’ll never know, perhaps we are not related, but I know I will go on looking

Extract from ‘Chartist Ancestors’

Richard Boothman: A Lancashire weaver, Boothman was convicted of killing a policeman (named Joseph Halstead) in a riot at Colne on 10 August 1840. George Rude argues that Boothman’s Chartist credentials are not necessarily clear, but that the circumstances of the incident suggest a “better than even” chance of a political motive. Boothman maintained his innocence, but after his original sentence of death was commuted to transportation for life, sailed for Tasmania on the Barossa, arriving in Hobart on 13 January 1842. After two years at Impression Bay, Boothman went to work at in the north of the island. He continued to deny responsibility for the crime and to ask relatives to petition for his return in letters home, but was to die in Launceston, Tasmania, in 1877.

 

We’ll Meet Again


I have been AWOL for a few weeks, I hope some of you have missed me…..

I have been busy working on a tender document which has proved much more difficult than I ever imagined when agreeing to do it. I mean, three weeks of my life is too much to spend on writing something that I didn’t enjoy. It has been submitted now, at 11.45 am to be precise so I’m free now to write something I do enjoy enormously…

Thank you to Rochelle for everything, loved your post and photographs about the Friday Fictioneers get together, so lovely to see you all in the flesh, so to speak!  Thanks also this week to Kelly Sands for the photograph.

11 July

 

Genre: Family History

Word Count: 100

We’ll Meet Again

Eight year-old Sheila skipped alongside her mother, so excited to be going on this adventure. They met other families on their way to the station. Some mothers were crying, Sheila idly wondered why.

Her mother, never one for showing much emotion, kissed her as she opened the door to the special carriage on the train.  She checked the gas mask was in its box and Sheila’s name tag was securely fastened to her coat.

‚ÄėBe a good girl. Say your prayers and do as you‚Äôre told.¬† I‚Äôll see you soon.‚Äô

It would be four eventful years before they met again.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Notes:

Sheila is my aunt.  At the outbreak of WWII almost all the children of the city of Hull were evacuated to safety. Everyone knows how badly London and other cities were bombed, but for reasons explained below, the bombing of Hull was kept off the newsreels and out of the papers.

http://www.mylearning.org/the-hull-blitz/p-3047/

 

 

 

The Convict


This week’s photo prompt comes courtesy of Randy Maizie.¬†¬†Your mission, should you choose to accept it,¬†is to write 100 words on whatever the photo suggests to you. All submissions are¬†scutinised by our leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields aka Mrs Phelps and enjoyed by all the other Friday Fictioneers.¬†¬† Good luck!

 

goats_and_graves_3_randy_mazie

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

The Convict

After eight gruelling months, the Barossa reached Hobart.

Released from their shackles, the prisoners staggered on deck for the muster.  Richard stood quietly. There was no escaping the unyielding heat of the southern sun.  Briefly he envied those who had died in their chains.

The charge was murder; lacking evidence the gallows were exchanged for penal servitude.  He was innocent; friends and family knew it and it pained him to accept that he would never see them again.

He laboured hard, eventually receiving his ticket. His homeland forbidden him, Richard settled in Van Diemen’s Land and died there aged 56.

 

 

This is based on the research I have been doing on my family tree.¬† I have an ancestor who was transported to Van Diemen’s¬†Land – present day Tasmania – accused of murdering a special constable who was trying to quieten a mob during a Chartist riot. Richard was found guilty, based on the evidence of someone who remembered ‘a tall lad in a brightly woven cap’. He escaped the gallows only to¬†endure¬†transportation for life. He was 21. Forbidden ever to return home, he made a life in Hobart.

For more information on Convicts in Australia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Convict in my tree – Part 1


I started researching my family tree almost ten years ago and today, like thousands of other people across the world, I am still trying to find my story; where I came from and what shaped me.  I started where all good ancestry researchers should, with my living relatives.  From them I got a lot of basic, necessary information like dates and places of birth and names of spouses etc which was a great place to start.

As I built my family tree, with more and more information gleaned from¬†various sources, not¬†least of which was¬†ancestry.co.uk¬†a story from my childhood kept coming back and niggling at the back¬†of my mind.¬† My paternal grandmother was a great storyteller; I¬†used to¬†sit at her feet enthralled,¬†listening to stories ranging from fairies at the bottom of my grandfather’s allotment to the tale of the man who, being¬†wrongfully accused of a very, very bad crime, was sent far, far away from his family and friends to a desolate place across the sea, never to return.¬† I remember my sister and I having very bad dreams about him and my mother telling us not to fret as it was only a story and not true.

Over the years my research dragged on.¬† Then one day,¬†I got a letter from my aunt, in response to¬†a plea for help with the seemingly endless list of children borne to my great grandparents.¬† She listed all the children that she knew of and then, at the bottom of the last page, mentioned just how bad life had been for some people¬†in those days¬†and gave as an example, ¬†the visits made¬†to Lancaster Castle by female members of my great great grandmother’s family.¬† She had been told the stories as a little girl, about women walking miles to vist a male relative imprisoned in the jail there.¬†

¬†This must be the man in my grandmother’s story.¬†¬†He was real!¬† I knew then that I wouldn’t rest until I had found out all Icould, I just had to know who this man was and if indeed he was one of my ancestors…………….(to be continued)