Apr 282018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Janice Cooper.

William Young Sing was one of the original town businessmen in my place, Alpha-Jericho. He was one of several publicans who moved west as the central western Queensland railway line was constructed during the 1880s.

William Young Sing 1827-1855

William Yung Sing
Source: personal collection

His death certificate indicates that William Young Sing was born in Canton, China in about 1827. It is believed he arrived in Sydney, New South Wales in about 1856 and operated there as the merchant Yung Sing. He married Emma Mann in Sydney on the 10 February 18621. By 1867 with two daughters, the couple had moved to Queensland.

W Young Sing publican's licence

Notice of application for publican's licence
Peak Downs Telegram, 7 December 1883

My story of William Young Sing’s contribution to the Alpha-Jericho district begins about 28 August 1883 when he purchased a town allotment at the railway terminus at Pine Hill. He paid £48 for an allotment facing the railway line. On 20 November, he gave notice of his intention to apply for a Country Publican’s License [sic], indicating that he intended in keeping a ‘house and appurtenances’ as an inn or public-house.

The family became involved in social activities in Pine Hill with the older daughters dressing beautifully for a fancy dress ball in July 18842. However movement along the railway line continued, and the family moved on to Jericho in mid-1885, possibly about the time the new terminus opened there on 9 June.

William purchased an allotment in Jericho’s main street, which runs parallel to the railway line. The sale was held in Pine Hill on 26 May 1885, so he may not have yet visited his new home town. On 13 October he was granted a publican’s licence for his public house in Jericho, retaining the name ‘The Travellers’ Rest Hotel’, a name he had used for the 15 years he had already held a licence.

The hotel soon became a social centre for the population of railway construction workers and small business owners supporting them, as William Young Sing was granted permission to hold music and dancing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in November and December 18853. The marriage of his eldest daughter Adeline Young Sing took place at her father’s residence on the Thursday 31 December 1885, no doubt an evening of family celebration.

William’s connections with his countrymen were strong and expressed in the local setting. Along with other Jericho residents, he signed a petition in support of Sing Noy’s request to retain the vegetable garden he had established at the next terminus for the line, Barcaldine. Many of those signing the petition would be aware that they may move to Barcaldine when it was established, and that fresh vegetables were important to their families.

Tragically, William Young Sing died on 6 June 1886 in Jericho and was buried in the Jericho Cemetery the same day. Four and a half years later, his body was exhumed under permit and according to cultural custom his bones returned to his ancestral homeland where he could lie in peace4.

Receipt for exhumation licence for the body of W Young Sing

Receipt for exhumation licence for the body of W Young Sing

Emma Young Sing applied for the Travellers’ Rest licence for the remainder of 1886 but soon after changed her business to a general store. The family business continued under the management of daughter Mabel, with associated saddlery and billiards room businesses operated by family members for many years.

Despite such a short time spent in my place, William Young Sing’s personal contribution was significant in several respects: as a founding business man, a family man whose descendants remained in the district and as a representative of the early Chinese diaspora in western Queensland. Details of his broader contributions as a Chinese-Australian lie beyond the scope of this mini biography.

1 Details of the life of William Young Sing have been researched and published in Conquest an inside story, 2013 by Claire Faulkner, ISBN 978-0646-58875-9. The date of his photograph is unknown; it is included in Conquest, p.33.
2 Western Champion, 11 July 1884, p.2.
3 Register depositions, Jericho 1885-1888, Item ID 296283, Series 9365, Queensland State Archives.
4 Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, Letters 90.11717 and 90.12944, Item ID 847371, Queensland State Archives.

Apr 272018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Janet Few.

This will be rather different to the other April posts, which commemorate a particular person from the author’s place. Having a coastal place, Bucks Mills in North Devon, means that the burial registers record unidentified men, who have been found drowned on the shore. So, although I may not know his name, I would like to pay tribute to Mr X, a 35 year old unknown man, whose body was washed up on the beach near my place on 16th October 1821.

He was a victim of the severe storm that took place in Bideford Bay on 4th October. The sixty boat herring fleet put out from neighbouring Clovelly (also a registered one-place) and forty boats were unable to regain the harbour. Boats and nets were lost, an incredible financial burden for the families. Fortunately a fund set up to assist the families raised a considerable sum. It is believed that thirty one fishermen lost their lives, leaving nineteen women widowed and sixty one children fatherless. We will never know the name of the man who was buried in my place and undoubtedly the age is an estimate but he was someone’s family member. In total, the coastal parishes near Bucks Mills record the burials of twenty five of the victims, four of whom were unidentified. Presumably the remaining six victims were either never recovered or came ashore in a more distant place, perhaps across the Bristol Channel in South Wales.

Tragically, seventeen years later, there was a similar disaster in the bay. This time, eleven boats and twenty one boats were lost. Some of the victims were related to those who had perished in 1821. The bodies of eleven of these fishermen were either never recovered or never identified. Therefore they have no burial record or death certificate, unless of course, they are buried in your place.

Bucks Mill's memorial to the lost seamen of 1838

Apr 262018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Andrew Coles.

In November 1886, Christopher Wright, innkeeper of Bearstone in Shropshire, was found guilty of assault and fined 40s plus costs. He had been trying out a colt in a field with another man named Butler but the field was not theirs. They were asked to move on and after a heated argument, blows were exchanged. Although the Chairman of the court stated that the case was not as bad as first believed, it was clear a wrong had been committed. Now whether this had a long-term effect on relationships in Bearstone is unclear, but somehow four years later Wright ended up in Edgmond as landlord of The Lamb Inn and remained there until he died.

The Lamb Inn Edgmond Shropshire

Christopher Wright was born in 1853 in the small coal mining community of Talk o’ th’ Hill, sometimes more simply known as Talke, within the parish of Audley in Staffordshire. The village is 5 miles NNE of Newcastle-Under-Lyme and part of the Staffordshire coalfield. His father was a miner (and also a grocer in the 1861 census), as were most of his brothers. Quite why Christopher ended up being the grocer in his early life, rather than going down the pit is unclear, although his father obviously had the shop as a second job and maybe it needed someone to carry this on.

In the summer of 1873 aged 20, Wright married Lavinia Lowe when she was just 17 years old. She was from Wolstanton just 4.5 miles away, and was the daughter of a grocer, so it was through the trade that they probably met. In 1881 they were still living in Audley with two children and he was still listed as a grocer and baker. But at some point in the next few years they must have decided to move into the innkeeping trade as shown by the newspaper reports from the incident in Bearstone already recited. In The Wellington Journal of 26 April 1890 at the Petty and Brewster Sessions, Wright is approved of the licence for the Lamb Inn to be transferred to him from the previous landlord. The inn is a fairly large one attached to a farm in Edgmond which you can clearly see in the aerial photograph. The building (sometimes known as the New Lamb Inn) had been altered and enhanced in 1872 by the owner, a certain Burton Borough Esq., who was one of the principal landowners in the area.

The Lamb Inn Bearstone aerial 1947

Wright and his wife Lavinia remained in Edgmond for the rest of their lives, bringing up 8 children (although sadly another 7 did not survive). The Lamb was well known throughout their tenancy as a site for auctions of farming equipment and stock, as well as a stop-off for the carrier business. In 1896 Wright’s love of horses, or at least gambling, was shown by his organisation of an equestrian event called the ‘Edgmond Pony and Galloway Races’. After WW1 the Inn was commonly referred to in local papers as the Lamb Hotel and is perhaps evidence of lofty ambitions. Wright was referred to as a farmer and Innkeeper in each census and the farm was clearly an important part of the business.

At some point (probably the late 1920’s judging by the architecture) Wright had a house built right next door to the inn called ‘Beulah’, and it was here that he died on 09 September 1930. Probate was granted the following year for nearly £7000, which is an amount of over £300,000 after adjustment for inflation to today’s money. His wife Lavinia died four years later. After humble upbringings in a mining community his financial legacy was impressive and is testament to the Victorian and Edwardian dream of self-fulfilment.

Apr 252018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Suzie Morley.

Vaughan Cornish was born on 22nd December 1862 in Debenham, Suffolk, England and was baptized on 30th January 1863 in St. Mary Magdalene in Debenham. He was the son of the Rev. Charles John Cornish M. A. and Anne Charlotte Western. His birth was registered in the Mar 1863 quarter in the Bosmere registration district.

At the time of the 1871 Census, Vaughan was living at home, in the Vicarage in Debenham, with his parents and his two older brothers Charles John Cornish and James George Cornish.

By the time of the 1881 Census, Vaughan was a Scholar, boarding in East Wickham in Kent, before going on to study Chemistry at University of Manchester.

At the time of the 1891 Census, Vaughan was in Stretford in Lancashire, visiting in the household of William Welsh. A few months later on 17th August 1891, he and his future wife, Ellen Agnes Provis, were granted a Marriage Licence. Vaughan gave his place of residence at that time as the Parish of St. Thomas in Winchester, in the County of Southampton. His bride’s address was in the Parish of St. Matthew Bayswater, which is where they married on 19th August 1891. Ellen Agnes Provis was the daughter of Alfred Provis and Ellen Andrews, who lived in Kingston Lisle in Berkshire. Witnesses to the marriage were Rev. Charles John Cornish M. A. (his father), a further witness was Agnes Dorothy Andrews. At this time Vaughan was Director of Technical Science at Hampshire County Council. After his marriage Vaughan continued his work, travelling and researching. The Royal Geographical Society gave him the Gill Memorial Award in 1900 for his work on surface waves (water, sand and snow). Earthquake waves were being studied in Jamaica when the earthquake truck in 1907, and both Vaughan and Ellen were injured. His experiences were later published in the Geographical Journal in 1912.

Ellen died on 24th March 1911, aged 53, in the Continental Hotel in Bournemouth, and was buried in the Churchyard in Salcombe Regis in Devon. Vaughan was the executor of his wife’s estate on 20th April 1911 in London, where her effects were valued at £5306 7s. 8d.

A couple of years later, Vaughan married the widow of his second cousin, the explorer, Ernest Ayscoghe Floyer. His marriage to Mary Louisa Floyer (nee Watson) was registered in the Mar 1913 quarter in the St. George Hanover Square registration district. They married on 27th March 1913 in Holy Trinity, Kensington Gore, London.

Vaughan Cornish died on 1 May 1948 in Willersley Nursing Home, Park Road, Camberley, Surrey, England, at age 85. He was buried on 2 May 1948 in the Churchyard, Salcombe Regis, Devon, England.

Obituary - Death of Dr. Vaughan Cornish (from The Times, 3rd May 1948)

We regret to record the death of Dr. Vaughan Cornish, which occurred at Camberley on Saturday at the age of 85 years. Dr. Cornish was a member of a well-known local family whose association with the district began in 1792. He was a great traveller and geographer and was particularly proud of his connection with Salcombe Regis. When the Sidmouth Council purchased the greater part of the land on the eastern side of Salcombe valley to prevent the establishment of a holiday camp there, Dr. Cornish gave a good deal of his land on the western side of the valley to the National Trust in order that its natural beauty should be preserved for all time.

He was a great lover of natural beauty and in spite of his wanderings it was always to Salcombe Regis he returned for refreshment and he never tired of singing its praises. With his first wife he was in Jamaica at the time of the great earthquake there and has broadcast about his experiences at the time.

During recent years Dr. Cornish has published many books, chief among them being "The Scenery of Sidmouth" which is a classic in the description of the local land- and seascape. His most recent book "Kestell, Clapp and Cornish," was lately reviewed in these columns, and as a great deal of it is autobiographical we commend it to our readers at this time.

Dr. Vaughan Cornish was buried at Salcombe Regis yesterday afternoon.

A second obituary was also published.

Obituary - Death of Dr. Vaughan Cornish (from The Sidmouth Observer, 5th May 1948)

One of Britain's best-known geographers, Dr. Vaughan Cornish, D.Sc., F.R.G.S, of "Inglewood," Gordon-road, Camberley, died on Saturday at the age of 85, in a Camberley nursing home. Dr. Cornish, who is survived by his widow, was famous among geographers for his studies of land and water waves. In later years he gave much of his time to the appreciation and preservation of the natural beauties of Britain. He had lived in Camberley since 1913.

He was a student of geography in all its aspects, and he was an author of ability who illustrated his works with his own sketches and photographs.

Dr. Cornish was born at Debenham Vicarage, Suffolk and was educated at St. Paul's School and at Victoria University, Manchester. He graduated with honours in chemistry in 1888 and later took the degree of D.Sc. He became Director of Technical Education to the Hampshire County Council, but after his marriage he entered the field of geographical scientific research. In 1900 the Royal Geographical Society presented him with the Gill Memorial for his research work into all types of waves, both on land and sea, on snow and sand and natural materials.

A world tour by Mr. and Mrs. Cornish in 1903 was the occasion for a great deal of important scientific work, and was followed by visits to many parts of the world. They were injured at Kingston, Jamaica, in January, 1907, when an earthquake wrecked the city and killed many of its inhabitants. A few months later they returned to Kingston to study earthquake effects. During the first world war Dr. Cornish lectured to naval and military officers on strategic geography and subsequently published a number of books. He remained an active author until recently.

The funeral took place on Tuesday at Salcombe, Devon.

Apr 242018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Ann Preston.

U is for the surname Underwood. The Underwood family has a brief residence at my One Place Study village of Little Coxwell.

The Underwoods arrived in Little Coxwell in the autumn of 1893; that is Adam Underwood with his wife Mary Ann and their children. Adam Underwood is typical of the era when many labourers changed their place of work every few years or so, typically in the autumn at Michaelmas, coinciding with the old hiring or ‘mop’ fairs.

Adam was a gardener; it is likely that he was employed at one of the three ‘gentry’ houses that the village boasted, all of which had extensive gardens and would have employed a number of gardeners. Adam was born in 1847 in Brixton, London. However his mother, Ann, had been born at Watchfield, a village only a few miles away from Little Coxwell; widowed, Adam’s mother had returned to her native village with her children, so that Adam had had grown up in Watchfield and had attended the village school. In his early career as a gardener he had combined that occupation with that of a groom, quite a common combination of roles in our area. He did however have a spell as a farm bailiff and as an inn-keeper. Adam Underwood married Mary Ann Wyatt, a girl who was also from Watchfield, at the parish church in Fernham in 1875. Adam and Mary Ann Underwood lived at Fernham for about ten years, they moved with their family of children to Lechlade in Gloucestershire for a couple of years then to Shrivenham for a few years. Their next move was to Little Coxwell, where they stayed for about six years from 1893.

While Adam and Mary Ann Underwood were living at Little Coxwell, they had two more children. Their son Frederick Ernest was born at Little Coxwell on the 14th December 1893 just after his parents and siblings came to live here. However he was baptised at St. Andrew’s Church at Shrivenham on the 4th March 1894. The Shrivenham register recorded his birth date and that his parents Adam and Maryann Underwood were living at Little Coxwell. The information that Frederick Ernest was born at Little Coxwell comes from the census forms for 1901 and 1911. Their second son born at Little Coxwell was named Cecil Frank; he was born on the 22nd June 1896 and baptised at St Mary's Church in Little Coxwell on the 26th July later that year.

St. Mary’s Church at Little Coxwell photographed in 1964 by Ann Preston

St. Mary’s Church at Little Coxwell photographed in 1964 by Ann Preston

Naturally whilst living at Little Coxwell some of Adam and Mary Ann Underwood’s children attended the school in the village:

Little Coxwell School built in 1846 and photographed in 1963, a year before it closed, by Ann Preston.

Little Coxwell School built in 1846 and photographed in 1963, a year before it closed, by Ann Preston.

Albert Edward Bertram Underwood became a pupil at Little Coxwell school on the 23rd November 1893, his brother George Adam started the following day and two of his sisters, Violet and May Caroline became scholars there later that year in December; all four children had previously attended Shrivenham school. Frederick Ernest who had been born at Little Coxwell became a pupil at Little Coxwell school, on the 24th November 1897, just a few weeks before his 4th birthday.

The three boys Frederick, Cecil and Albert are representative of those associated with Little Coxwell who served in the Great War:

Frederick Ernest Underwood enlisted with the Coldstream Guards on the 20th September 1913; he was discharged on the 23rd October 1918 due to a gunshot wound to the left leg. He was awarded the Silver War Badge and the usual three WW1 medals which included the 1914 Star.

Cecil Frank Underwood enlisted in August 1916 and served until 1919. He served with the Worcestershire Regiment and the Machine Gun Corps.

Albert Edward Bertram Underwood served with the Hampshire Regiment attached to the 4th Bedford Regiment, Royal Naval Division i.e. part of the 190th Brigade of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. It would appear that Albert Underwood enlisted on the 28th December 1914, and was discharged, due to wounds, on the 17th January 1919 aged 33. He was granted a Silver War Badge and the usual three WW1 medals which included the 1915 Star.

After the family’s departure from Little Coxwell it would appear that Adam and Mary Ann returned to Shrivenham where they settled for the remainder of their lives. Adam died in 1928. A brief report regarding Adam was published in the local press in 1922:

Shrivenham: A Good Record
It is worthy of note that Mr Adam Underwood, an old and respected inhabitant of this village, has sung in the Parish Church Choir for the long period of 63 years, and is still a member of it. As caretaker of the Churchyard, a post he is now relinquishing, he has served the Vicar and Churchwardens for 29 years, and has been responsible for the well-kept condition for which the Shrivenham Churchyard has always been noted. For the last five years he has been sexton of the parish, a position he still holds. Mr Underwood was a 72 years of age in June last year. [Extract from The Faringdon Advertiser dated Saturday 19th August 1922]

There looks to be a discrepancy in Adam’s age as reported here, I would have expected 75. One wonders if the 63 years of singing in the choir was not interrupted by his residence away from the village; however he probably did start singing in the church choir as a boy about twelve years old and continued to do so when he was living in Shrivenham. It’s good to find a brief biography in the newspaper of an ordinary working man acknowledging his dedication and local involvement.

N.B. All the villages referred to here, Little Coxwell, Fernham, Shrivenham and Watchfield, cluster in the north-west corner of the traditional county of Berkshire; it was in 1974 that our part of Berkshire was re-christened Oxfordshire.