susanah’s journal – weymouth 1836

From the journal of Miss Susanah Wellington (1819-1838) of Yeovil, Somersetshire.

SW_DIARY_p2b

The summer of 1836 we all went to Weymouth. Papa took Mr Welsfords house on Green Hill. I enjoyed myself pretty well considering I could not walk out but was obliged to submit to be drawn in a wheel chair.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Susanah fell very ill in May of 1836 [read about it here] and, to aid her recovery, her father George WELLINGTON took the family to the seaside in Dorset for the summer.

Map of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis (c1830) by R. Creighton.

Map of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis (c1830) R. Creighton.

The harbour towns of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis became popular after 1789 when King George III was advised to “take the waters” to help with his medical conditions. George III visited the area regularly over the next fifteen years, even taking a dip in the sea in one of the first bathing machines. With his patronage, the King changed the fortune of Weymouth, and many of the buildings along the seafront were built during his reign. When the King went on vacation the court came as well, and of course the newspapers reported the event. Weymouth became ‘the place to be’ in the summer.

Weymouth print circa 1870 [www.dorsetshire.com]

Weymouth print circa 1870 [www.dorsetshire.com]

By 1836 royal patronage of Weymouth had wained and the town become a holiday destination the middle class could afford. The Wellington family rented a house at the east end of Weymouth Bay on Green Hill. I’m sure Susanah and her sisters enjoyed social events and shopping with friends, as well as taking strolls along the esplanade and meeting new acquaintances.

Invalid wheelchairs from the 1800s. [image reblogged from www.biomedicalephemera.tumblr.com]

Invalid wheelchairs from the 1800s. [image reblogged from http://www.biomedicalephemera.tumblr.com]

Poor Susanah was still too weak to walk distances and had to submit to travelling about in a wheelchair. I hope the fresh air and good company improved her health. The English summer lasts four months in theory, but that doesn’t reflect the true number of clear and sunny days to be had in that season. I wonder how long the family stayed in Weymouth? Maybe just for the month of June?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: Susanah Wellington’s Journal, BUCK family collection. You can read more about it here: susanah’s journal – somerset to sydneywww.dorsetshire.comwww.biomedicalephemera.tumblr.com

Advertisements

WYONG – the passenger ferry

I found a better quality image of the passenger ferry Wyong which was built, owned and operated by my great-grandfather Thomas GASCOIGNE (1856-1923). You can read more about the Gascoigne family in my post The Gascoignes of Wyong Shire.

The Wyong_Gascoigne

The passenger ferry ‘Wyong’ was built, owned and operated on Tuggerah Lakes by Thomas Gascoigne. [Photo circa 1915: Miss Dorothy Garratt, Epping]

The picture shows the pleasure boat, the ‘Wyong‘, moored on the bank of Tuggerah Lake and loaded with passengers and holiday-makers from Sydney. The ‘Wyong‘ was one of several launches that could be hired by picnicking parties for transport down the Wyong River and across the water to The Entrance and other parts of the lake.

The ‘Wyong’ was designed to carry about fifty passengers and had a draught shallow enough to negotiate the sand bar at the mouth of the Wyong River and the sea grass beds of the lake. At first it was fitted with a single cylinder, long stroke 8 horse-power petrol motor which was not powerful enough to give a good performance when fully-loaded. About 1915 a much more powerful six cylinder Hercules engine was fitted.

About 1918 it was sold and taken north and used on the Myall Lakes and in the Tea Gardens–Port Stephens area. It was last seen as derelict – lying in the mud bank at Tea Gardens about 1936 – a most undignified end to the beautiful craft that had given great pleasure to many happy picnickers.

The ‘Wyong’ was usually moored inside the breakwater at Pipeclay Point, Gorokan near Thomas GASCOIGNE’s home. The old rusting anchor chain could still be seen moored to the big rocks during the 1980s.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: Gascoigne: an English-Australian Family History by Robert Mortimer GASCOIGNE; A Pictorial History of Wyong Shire, Vol I by Edward STINSON.

letters in jane austen’s novels

I hope my ancestors, Susanah and Jane WELLINGTON, were as fond of the novels of Jane AUSTEN as I am. Letters and letter writing play a vital role in the plots of all of Jane Austen’s works. Letters are keystones in the plots of EmmaNorthanger Abbey as well as Mansfield Park.

Mr Darcy writes a letter to his sister on a small portable desk. Still from Pride and Prejudice (2005) starring Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley.

Mr Darcy writes a letter to his sister on a small portable desk. Still from Pride and Prejudice (2005) starring Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley.

Pride and Prejudice includes a letter from Darcy to his sister Georgiana; the pivotal letter from Darcy to Elizabeth; the pompous letters from Mr Collins; and of course the poorly addressed letters from Jane to Elizabeth informing her Lydia has gone off with Mr Wickham.

Catherine Moorland writes a letter to Eleanor Tilney. Northanger Abbey (2007) starring Felicity Jones.

Catherine Moorland writes a difficult letter to Eleanor Tilney. Northanger Abbey (2007) starring Felicity Jones.

In Sense and Sensibility the lovelorn Marianne Dashwood sends letters to the fickle Mr Willoughby without a reply. When he finally does write to her, his manner is cold and hurtful as he delivers the news of his engagement to Miss Gray. Colonel Brandon also receives an important letter as the group of friends is setting out on an excursion and he leaves immediately without an explanation.

I think my favourite letter of all is from Persuasion, where Captain Wentworth writes to Anne Eliot while she is in the same room speaking with his friend Captain Harville on the constancy of hearts and natures of women and men who have truly loved.

"I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago." Captain Frederick Wentworth writes his love letter to Anne Eliot in a scene from the BBC teleseries of Jane Austen's Persuasion.

“I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.” Captain Frederick Wentworth writes his love letter to Anne Eliot in a scene from the BBC teleseries of Persuasion (1995) starring Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root.

These sorts of letters definitely need a suitable writing desk complete with paper, quill and ink-well. This post at Jane Austen Today gives a good account on how letters were written, sealed and delivered. If you would like a more detailed account of the importance of letters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, you can read the Jane Austen’s World blog.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: Susanah Wellington’s Journal, BUCK family collection. You can read more about it here: susanah’s journal – somerset to sydney. Jane Austen TodayJane Austen’s World.

oxalic acid poisoning – 1835

While searching the British Newspaper Archive, I found an interesting bit of WELLINGTON family history linked to the sad death of a 46 year old shoemaker called Edward PINKARD, as reported in The Western Flying Post and Sherborne Mercury, 1 June 1835.

YEOVIL. – Last week an inquest was held by Mr. Caines at Lymington, on the body of Edward Pinkard, and from the evidence it appeared that the deceased having felt unwell the previous night, desired his wife to get some salts in the morning; and she taking what she considered to be a paper of salts from the cupboard, mixed it with water, and gave it to him, the greater part of which he swallowed, and complained of a burning in his throat. He then exclaimed he had taken poison, on which the wife immediately sent for a surgeon, but before he could arrive he was a corpse. The man, who was a shoemaker, had been in the habit of keeping oxalic acid for the purpose of his business, and which was given him by his wife in mistake. Not the slightest blame could be attached to any one, as it is probable that the paper in which the acid had been kept must have been changed, which led to the sad catastrophe. A very malicious report was circulated of the salts having been purchased, without a label, of Mr. Wellington; but the wife fully proved that the acid had been in the house a long time, and was not bought in Yeovil at all. – Verdict, “Accidental Death.” – An Advertisement of Mr. Wellington’s refuting this malevolent rumour will be found in our first page.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Public notices and statutory declarations by George Wellington, Mary Pinkard and George Edwards Wellington stating that the late Edward Pinkard “didn't buy it from us!” . [The Western Flying Post and Sherborne Mercury, 1 June 1835]

Statutory declarations by George Wellington, Mary Pinkard and George Edwards Wellington stating that the late Edward Pinkard “didn’t buy it from us!” . [The Western Flying Post and Sherborne Mercury, 1 June 1835]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

TO THE PUBLIC

A Report having been industriously circulated, that Edward Pinkard, who died at Lymington, on the 19th instant, from taking Oxalic Acid, had purchased such Acid at my Shop for Epsom Salts, the Saturday previous, I beg to state that the said Edward Pinkard did not purchase at my Shop any Salts or Oxalic Acid at the time stated, and that no mistake can possibly arise from the purchase of either of those articles at my Shop, because Epsom Salts are invariably weighed up in large quantities at a time, in white paper, bearing the following copper-plate label: – “Purified Epsom Salts, from G. Wellington, Chemist and Druggist, Yeovil;” whilst Oxalic Acid is invariably sold in blue paper, and a plain label: – “Oxalic Acid Poison” affixed to it. In order to remove all unpleasant impressions that such a wilfully malicious report might have occasioned, I beg to call the attention of my Friends and the Public to the Certificates underneath, which must at once convince all reasonable and unprejudiced persons that the mistake, so much to be deplored, did not in any way originate with me or at my Shop. The Original Certificates may be seen at my Shop.
GEO. WELLINGTON. Yeovil, 25th May, 1835.

_________

This is to certify, – That my late husband, Edward Pinkard, who died on the 19th instant, from taking Oxalic Acid, or some other Poison, by mistake, did not purchase the same at the Shop of Mr. George Wellington, Druggist, Yeovil, when he was there in the Saturday previous, as has been reported; nor did he say, nor do I know, that he bought it at Mr. Wellington’s Shop at any other time, the same having been in the house several weeks previous to my husband’s death, and he being in the habit of buying drugs at several shops. That the paper containing the poison taken by my husband has no label on it; that I have frequently seen Salts in the house which my husband purchased at Mr. Wellington’s Shop, and that the same was always labelled with a printed label.
Dated this 25th day of May, 1835. MARY PINKARD.
Witness JAMES MILLS, Lymington.

__________

This is to certify – That Edward Pinkard, late of Lymington, who died on the 19th instant, came to the Shop of Mr. George Wellington, Druggist, Yeovil, on the 16th instant; that I then served him with the articles he wanted, and that the only goods he purchased were some Hair Oil, for the use of his daughter, who had lost her hair, and some Garden Seeds.
Dated this 25th day of May, 1835. G. E. WELLINGTON.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Oxalic Acid in solid form is a fine white crystal that dissolves in water to a colourless solution. It is mainly used as a cleaning agent, especially for the removal of rust. It is also used as a bleach and dyeing agent for leather and cloth, and is most likely what the shoemaker used it for. Oral consumption, inhalation or prolonged skin contact of Oxalic Acid causes burns, coughing, wheezing and inflammation and oedema of the larynx and stomach. A lethal oral dose can be as low as 15 to 30 grams.

Oxalic-Acid-comparison-Epsom-Salts

Oxalic Acid has a similar crystal form to Epson Salts (Magnesium Sulphate).

Magnesium Sulphate, commonly known as Epsom Salts, can be safely used externally and internally. A 1% solution of Epsom Salts is a safe and easy way to increase sulphate and magnesium levels in the body as it aids in the treatment of aches and pains.

As the images above show, it would be quite easy for Mary PINKARD to mistake a packet of Oxalic Acid for Epson Salts if it were not clearly labelled as “Poison”. The poor man must have suffered an agonising death.

Speculation and rumour would have been rampant upon the news of the poisoning of Edward PINKARD. A malicious rumour was circulated in the district that the poison was bought from my great-great-great-grandfather George WELLINGTON’s chemist shop; and that he or one of his staff had supplied the wrong product, or had failed to label the packet correctly.

We all know how quickly rumours spread and I can imagine someone jumped at the chance to tarnish the reputation of a successful business rival with malicious gossip. George WELLINGTON must have felt the damage to his reputation and business keenly in the two weeks following Edward PINKARD’s death. He wrote and had published statutory declarations from himself, his son George Edwards WELLINGTON and from the shoemaker’s widow Mary PINKARD repudiating the malevolent rumours.

There is one other person mentioned in this tragic affair who you have to feel very sorry for. What of the reputation of Edward PINKARD’s unfortunate daughter?

…the only goods he purchased were some Hair Oil, for the use of his daughter, who had lost her hair, …

Was it absolutely necessary for George Edwards WELLINGTON to go into so much detail in his declaration? The poor girl had just lost her father and now the whole of Yeovil knew she is bald under her bonnet. It was very inconsiderate of George to include that fact in his statement as he knew first-hand how damaging rumours and gossip could be.

You may also like to read:

two penny worth of arsenic

diseases and remedies of the 1800s

the chemist shop that time forgot

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: British Newspaper Archive; Wikipedia Magnesium Sulphate, Oxalic Acid.

lasca – a cowboy love poem

When I began researching the life of my grandfather Ernest Clive BUCK (1895-1974), I asked my dad Tom and my uncles Ron and Mick if they could tell me some of the things they remembered about their dad. They recalled that “BUCK” as he was known, was a hard-working bloke, he was a builder by trade and also worked as a fisherman on Tuggerah Lakes. He would often sit on his verandah in the afternoon with his friends who dropped by and they would tell tall tales.

Grandad Ern Buck and Buttons the dog on the veranah.

Grandad Ern Buck on his verandah, circa 1965.

Uncle Mick remembered the lines of a poem BUCK knew by heart and would often recite when friends and family were gathered:

It’s all very well to write reviews, and carry umbrellas, and keep dry shoes, and say what everyone’s saying here, and wear what everyone else must wear; but tonight I’m sick of the whole affair. I want free life, and I want fresh air;
And ’Laska!

From the words above I thought the poem was about Alaska, the great white north, but when I started to research the lines I found it was a poem by an Englishman called Frank DESPREZ (1853-1916). Desprez’ ballad-like poem, Lasca, is about a fiery Mexican girl and her cowboy sweetheart caught in a cattle stampede in “Texas down by the Rio Grande.” The next few stanzas in the poem confirm the cowboy theme:

I want free life and I want fresh air;
And I long for the gallop after the cattle,
In their frantic flight, like the roar of battle,
The mêlée of horns, and hoofs, and heads
That wars and wrangles and scatters and spreads —
The green beneath and the blue above,
And dash and danger, and life and love —
And Lasca!

tumblr_loxefn3kQG1qg889vo1_500

This vintage postcard paints the scene beautifully. [http://secretosdemimemoria.tumblr.com/post/8075419196]

Lasca used to ride,
On a mouse-gray mustang close by my side,
With blue serape and bright-belled spur;
I laughed with joy as I looked at her!
Little knew she of books or of creeds;
An Ave Maria sufficed her needs;
Little she cared, save to be by my side,
To ride with me, and ever to ride,
From San Saba’s shore to LaVaca’s tide.
She was as bold as the billows that beat,
She was as wild as the breezes that blow;
From her little head to her little feet
She was swayed in her suppleness to and fro
By each gust of passion; a sapling pine
That grows on the edge of a Kansas bluff
And wars with the wind when the weather is rough
Is like this Lasca, this love of mine.

The full poem is about 12 stanzas long and full of passion, excitement and danger. You can read the epic ballad of Lasca by clicking here Cowboy Poetry at the Bar-D Ranch.

Lasca was first published in a London magazine in 1882, it was very popular in many parts of the English-speaking world including Australia. It was reprinted often during the next 50 years, sometimes in an abridged format to fit a magazine column or with a publisher’s deletions and changes. In 1919 an American newspaper claimed that ‘there is scarcely an American who has not read the poem, recited it, or committed it to memory’.

A 1919 silent film, Lasca, starred Edith Roberts and Frank Mayo. [The Newark Advocate, December 5, 1919]

An Ohio newspaper published this advert to promote the 1919 silent film, Lasca, starred Edith Roberts and Frank Mayo. [The Newark Advocate, December 5, 1919]

The 1919 silent film called Lasca made by Universal Pictures appeared in theatres in Australia in mid-1920. Granddad would have been 25 years-old, two years back from the war, and may have taken a girlfriend to the cinema to see the well-known story of Lasca played out on the big-screen. I wonder if the movie was as exciting as the poem?

The promotional blurb for the film billed it as “A Dramatic Tale for Lovers”:

A beautiful story within a story. A tale so rich with romance and so wonderfully told as to challenge the admiration of all photo play lovers. The narrative of a Spanish girl whose wondrous character enriches the memory of all heroic souls. As beautiful as the fairest flower, As fragrant as the scented dew of a June morning. Story by Percy Heath—adapted from the poem by Mr. F. Desprez. A picture you’ll love. SEE IT with your family.

Universal Pictures reprised the storyline in 1931 for their film Lasca of the Rio Grande which starred Johnnie Mack Brown as Miles Kincaid a Texas Ranger, and Dorothy Burgess as the dance hall singer Lasca. In this version all characters survive the cattle stampede but Lasca loses her life then she steps in to save the man she loves from being killed by his rival, the bandit Santa Cruz, played by Leo Carillo.

Universal Pictures, Lasca of the Rio Grande, 1931

Universal Pictures, Lasca of the Rio Grande, 1931 was based on the Frank Desprez poem.

A search of Australian newspaper archives reveals Frank Desprez’ Lasca was a stand-out favourite in this country. It evokes the spirit of the frontier and outback much like our great Australian bush-ballads such as Banjo Patterson’s The Man From Snowy River and Clancy of The Overflow, and also Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country. Granddad BUCK would have learnt the poem while he was at school. Lasca was often recited with passion at school poetry competitions, at distinguished literary evenings, as well as on less formal occasions such as a gathering of friends on the BUCK family’s verandah.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources:  A comprehensive history of the poem and its author Frank Desprez at Cowboy Poetry at the Bar-D Ranch; Kirkpatrick, Peter. Life and Love and ‘Lasca’ [online]. Sydney Studies in English, Vol. 36, 2010: 127-149. ISSN: 0156-5419. [cited 16 Aug 13]; Australian Poetry Archive; official Dorothea Mackellar website.

susanah’s journal – eclipse of the sun

From the journal of Miss Susanah Wellington (1819-1838) of Yeovil, Somersetshire. Her diary includes copies of letters and a record of the last few years of her life.

SW_DIARY_p1b

On the 4th of May 1836 I walked to Brympton and walked back the next morning all in the wet. I was very ill & my Mamma sent for Mr Wm Shorland on the 15th of May I was bled which was the Sunday the eclipse of the sun. I was very ill the whole of the day. Mary and her children, Sophia, Mrs Groves & her family were at Weymouth.

SW_DIARY_p2a

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Susanah was a healthy sixteen year old in the Spring of 1836, and had a fairly active social life. She and her sister Jane visited with friends and also taught music to children of families within their acquaintance.

I don’t suppose that the WELLINGTON family were friends with the Countess of Westmorland and her daughter Lady Georgiana FANE who lived at Brympton d’Evercy near Yeovil. Although, it is said that Lady Georgiana FANE had an affair with the Duke of Wellington (who was no relation to our family).

Brympton manor was on a very grand estate and Susanah may have been friends with many of the families employed there. She probably stayed overnight with a school friend in the household and then walked back to Yeovil the next day in the rain.

Brympton d’Evercy manor house circa 1860 [Wikipedia – scan of a photo of c.1860 in an album put together by William/Emily Fane de Salis of Teffont].

Brympton d’Evercy manor house circa 1868 [Wikipedia, scan of a photo in an album put together by William/Emily Fane de Salis of Teffont].

Susanah came down with a cold which developed into influenza and a fever. Her father George WELLINGTON was a chemist. He would have recommended various tonics to ease her cough and maybe a mustard plaster or poultice to help relieve her congestion and fever.

With no improvement after ten days her mother called for Mr William SHORLAND, a physician in Yeovil. Unfortunately for Susanah the most common treatment for illnesses such as fevers and phlegm congestion was bleeding a sick person or applying hot cups to a patient to “balance the humors”.

Humorism, the now discredited theory of the makeup of the human body, was adopted by the Ancient Greeks and Romans and sadly it was still the most widely-held view of the human anatomy among European physicians in the early 19th century. Essentially, the theory held that the human body was filled with four basic substances called “humors” (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood) which are in balance when a person was healthy. All diseases and disabilities resulted from a deficiency or imbalance of these fluids.

Methods of treatment like bloodletting, emetics and purgatives were aimed at expelling a harmful surplus of a humor. In Susanah’s case, with chest congestion and fever, Dr SHORLAND would have recommended bloodletting, by either scarification or lancing a vein in her arm, or by applying five or six leeches on her chest. Each leech might ingest 5ml to 10ml blood in an application leaving the patient weaker than they were before the treatment and with open wounds that were susceptible to further infection.

A good 18th century pewter bleeding bowl with graduated markings from 2 to 16 fl oz on the inside so as to measure the amount of blood taken. [photograph courtesy of www.phisick.com

An 18th century pewter bleeding bowl with graduated markings from 2 to 16 fl oz on the inside so as to measure the amount of blood taken. Photograph courtesy of http://www.phisick.com

You can read more about the various treatments for influenza, typhus and cholera in my post diseases and remedies of the 1800s. The www.phisick.com website has a great collection of antique medical instruments and historical information.

In October and November of 1835 Halley’s Comet appeared in the sky for the first time in 75 years. It was visible to the naked eye for about two weeks in October. With the renewed interest in astronomy it was reported in the newspapers there would be four eclipses in 1836 – two of the Sun and two of the Moon. As only two would be visible in the northern hemisphere, the partial eclipse of the Moon on 1 May and the annular eclipse of the Sun on 15 May 1836 were widely anticipated events in Great Britain. I doubt if Susanah was well enough to go out into the garden and view the eclipse.

Eclipse drawing from "Fourteen Weeks in Descriptive Astronomy" by J. Dorman Steele, 1873 (Barnes and Co., NY).

The Great Eclipse of the Sun 1836. Francis Baily noticed beads of light around the rim of the moon just before and after the maximum stage of the eclipse, later named ‘Baily’s Beads’ in his honor, they are caused by sunlight shining through lunar valleys. Photograph courtesy of http://www.sunearthday.nasa.gov

Susanah also writes “Mary and her children, Sophia, Mrs Groves & her family were at Weymouth”. These ladies are all Susanah’s older half-sisters, who were enjoying a holiday at the seaside in May 1836:

  • Mary Webb WELLINGTON (1808-1832) was married to solicitor James Tally VINING. Their two sons were James Wellington VINING and baby George Charles VINING.
  • Sophia WELLINGTON (1810-1839) was unmarried and aged 26.
  • Elizabeth Blackaller WELLINGTON (1805-1885) was married to chemist Simon GROVES of Blandford Forum in Dorset. Their three children were Elizabeth Wellington GROVES, Wellington Edwards GROVES and Frances GROVES.

You can read more about the VINING and GROVES families in my article George Wellington’s Letters.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: Susanah Wellington’s Journal, BUCK family collection. You can read more about it here: susanah’s journal – somerset to sydneyWikipedia – Brympton d’Evercy; Medical antiques and historical information courtesy of www.phisick.comThe National Archiveswww.bcmj.org/premise/history-bloodletting.

susanah’s journal – yeovil 1835

From the journal of Miss Susanah Wellington (1819-1838) of Yeovil, Somersetshire. Her diary includes copies of letters and a record of the last few years of her life.

Susanah's beautifully neat copperplate writing is still readable after 180 years.

Susanah’s beautifully neat copperplate writing is still readable after 180 years.

We left the house at the shop early in September 1835 which was the same summer as I left school and commenced teaching.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Susanah turned sixteen in the summer of 1835, she had finished her schooling and began teaching music lessons in Yeovil with her sister Jane. They taught the pianoforte and most likely music composition, harmony and voice accompaniment.

1835_paris_couture

The latest fashions for young ladies in 1835.

Pigot’s Trade Directory of Somerset 1830 lists George WELLINGTON, – Chymist and Druggist, Borough, Yeovil. Susanah’s father had a chemist shop in the Borough, which was in the centre of the market town. The family must have lived in the second and third storeys above the shop.

A pencil sketch from about 1810 of the Borough, Yeovil showing the Market House and Shambles. The artist is standing roughly where King George Street meets High Street today. Above the sign of the Greyhound Inn on the right can be seen a sign for a Grocer, Chemist, Druggist.

A pencil sketch from about 1810 of the Borough, Yeovil by G E Madeley, shows the Shambles on the left and the Market House to the right. George Wellington’s ‘Chymist and Druggist’ shop was situated in the Medical Hall visible behind the old Market House and the sign of the Greyhound Inn on the far right.

Susanah doesn’t tell us where in Yeovil the family moved to in 1835. They probably relocated to a larger house to accommodate their growing family.

Between 1835 and 1845 George WELLINGTON was expanding his business. He was in partnership with his eldest son, George Edwards WELLINGTON, and they opened a second shop in Glastonbury in about 1838. The General Directory for the County of Somerset 1840 lists George WELLINGTON & Son, Chemists & Druggists and also Grocers & Dealers in Sundries, with businesses in High Street, Glastonbury and the Borough, Yeovil.

High Street,Yeovil, Somerset - showing the Mermaid Inn and Fleur-de-Lys Hotels - 1839 by Henry Burn. On the far right is a Chemist, Grocer, Druggist shop.

This 1839 painting of High Street, Yeovil by Henry Burn (1807–1884) shows the Mermaid Inn archway and large overhanging sign on the left. The building on the other side of the street is Granger’s chemist and druggist shop.

The Wellington family relocated to Glastonbury for a few years in the late 1830s. Susanah developed consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis) and died there in June 1838.

The 1841 UK Census records the Wellington family living back in High Street, Yeovil. The household listed George WELLINGTON with six of his children – Jane, Fanny, Rosa, Lucy, Rebecca and Ellen. His wife Elizabeth was vacationing in Weymouth with her ladies maid, and his youngest son Frederick was away at boarding school. Also listed in the household were staff and servants – a druggist’s apprentice, three young shop hands and a ten year old female servant.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: Susanah Wellington’s Journal, BUCK family collection. You can read more about it here: susanah’s journal – somerset to sydney. Pigot’s Directory – Somersetshire 1830; General Directory for the County of Somerset 1840; UK Census OnlineThe History of Yeovil’s Pubs by Bob Osborn.

up in flames – 1897

I found an interesting bit of BUCK family history reported in The Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday 18 May 1897. I have transcribed the full news article below:

Extract from a report on a blaze at the home of Robert Hart BUCK. The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 18 May 1897.

Extract from a report on a blaze at the home of Robert Hart BUCK. [The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 18 May 1897]

TWO COTTAGES BURNT AT LEICHHARDT.
THE WATER SUPPLY.

Shortly after 7 o’clock last night considerable consternation was caused amongst the residents of Orange Grove, Leichhardt, by a fire which was discovered in a weatherboard cottage in the boulevard, owned and occupied by Mr Robert Hart BUCK. It is shown from the official report that a little fellow, aged three years, a son of the owner, went with another brother to procure some music, and knocked over a kerosene lamp, which almost instantly set the house in a blaze.

Kerosene-oil-lamps

The Marrickville No 7 Branch of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, in charge of Mr LANGE, received the call first, and arrived on the scene simultaneously with the Balmain Volunteer Fire Company, followed by Leichhardt Metropolitan No 5 (with their steamer), Ashfield, and Newtown. Seeing that there was not the slightest hope in saving BUCK’s house, attention was directed to the weatherboard dwelling adjoining, occupied by Mr Henry DRYDEN, who, with the assistance of a number of neighbours, had removed his furniture into the street. The residence of Mr BUCK, which consisted of five rooms and a kitchen, was totally destroyed, and DRYDEN’s house, which is, owned by Mr Thomas SMITH, was partially destroyed.

This image shows the museum’s horse-drawn steam pump fire engine racing to the scene of a fire in Broken Hill, c 1905. This horse drawn fire engine spent all it’s working life at Broken Hill Central Fire Station in Blende Street, Broken Hill, from about 1897 until September 1921, when it was replaced by two motorised fire engines. Apparently Broken Hill Fire Brigade was called out more frequently to fires than any other single station in the State. When the alarm was raised, bells were set off all over the station, including the stables. This alerted the horses and the doors to their stalls automatically opened to let them out. They lined up under their hanging collars, which the firemen lowered and clasped in place before attaching the reins. Contemporary newspaper accounts advise that the two horses which pulled the steamer were called Prince and Kate. Prince worked with the steamer for about 10 years. It was said that Prince attended about 500 fires.

A steam pump fire engine racing to the scene of a fire, c 1905. This horse-drawn fire engine spent it’s working life at Broken Hill Central Fire Station, from about 1897 until September 1921, when it was replaced by two motorised fire engines. [Photo courtesy of the Powerhouse Museum online photo collection]

BUCK’s house was insured in the Commercial Union Insurance Company, but the amount is not stated. DRYDEN’s house was insured in the Mercantile Mutual for £100. The residence of Mr J. S. BAGGS had a very narrow escape from destruction, the windows being smashed in many places from the excessive heat, and it was only saved by continuous flows of water being thrown upon it.

An advert for the Commercial Union Insurance Company printed in The Catholic Press, Sat 222 December 1900.

It pays to be insured. An advertorial in a Sydney newspaper for the Commercial Union Insurance Company.  [The Catholic Press, Saturday 22 December 1900]

Last night in the Leichhardt Council, Alderman ANDERSON called attention to the fire he had witnessed that evening at which several cottages were burnt, and he regretted to say that difficulty was experienced in procuring a suitable supply of water. The matter was a serious one in a thickly populated area, and he hoped the Mayor would at once cause a letter to be written to the Water and Sewerage Board directing their attention to this matter. Alderman O’TOOLE also asked the Mayor to again emphasise the request of this council on the subject of fire alarms in the locality. There had also been serious difficulty experienced in giving an alarm at the fire, and it was hoped that prompt action would now be taken. The Mayor promised to have prompt representations made to the authorities on the subject.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Below is an explanation on how these BUCKs are related.

  • Robert Hart BUCK (1868-1954), known as ‘Hart’, was the eldest son of Robert BUCK (1822-1895) and his first wife Sarah Ann COLLIER (1844-1876).
  • Robert Hart BUCK married Hannah Maria MONTGOMERY (1867-1953) in 1890.
  • In May 1897, at the time of the fire, they had three children: Phyllis Emily (1892-1964) was 5 years old. The little fellow who knocked over the kerosine lamp was 3 year old George Robert (1893-1943), known as ‘Robert’. Reginald Collier (1896-1957) was just 6 months old, and it is very fortunate that all the family managed to escape the inferno without loss of life or serious injury.
  • Robert Hart was a half brother to my grandfather Ernest Clive BUCK (1895-1974), whose mother was Honor SUTTON (1853-1926), the second wife of Robert BUCK (1822-1895). Honor was 31 years younger than her husband. She was only 15 years older than her step-son Robert Hart, and he was 27 years older than his youngest brother Ernest.
  • I’m not sure what Robert Hart did for a living, he may have been an engineer with the railways. I have found that he worked in munitions manufacturing during WWI.
  • The family relocated to the inner-city suburb of Waterloo for a few years then moved to the neighbouring suburbs of Marrickville and St Peters.
  • They finally settled in Lillian Street, Campsie. A notice of the death of Robert Hart BUCK appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 23 March 1954:
    BUCK Robert Hart. – March 22, 1954 of 34 Lillian Street Campsie, relict of Anna Marie Buck and loved father of Phyllis, Robert (deceased), Reginald, Dorothy, Henry and Hazel, and fond father-in-law of Perc, Grace, Adelaide, Jack, Myra and Norm aged 86 years. At rest.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: TROVE; NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages; Powerhouse Museum online collection.

susanah’s journal – letter to mrs eason

From the journal of Miss Susanah Wellington (1819-1838) of Yeovil, Somersetshire. Her diary includes copies of letters and a record of the last few years of her life.

Letter to Mrs Eason, April 1835

Letter to Mrs Eason, April 1835

The copy of the letter the young ladies of Mrs Eason’s School wrote
to Mrs Eason when they presented her with a desk.

Yeovil April 1835

Dear Mrs Eason,

You undoubtedly feel very surprised at your presence being requested at this time. Need we tell you that your increasing kindness to us has long ’ere now made an indellible impression on our minds and we have frequently wished to testify how highly we appreciate it, by some memento of our affection.

We have found some little difficulty in deciding on something that would be as useful as ornamental, and we trust that we have at last selected an article which will be agreeable to your own taste. Allow us then to present you this desk as a small token of our united love and respect.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1835 was the year Susanah WELLINGTON turned fifteen and the last year of her schooling. The graduating class gave a gift to Mrs Eason, the principal and benefactor of the school in the spring of 1835.

The desk may have been a portable table-top writing slope similar to one used by Jane Austen to write her manuscripts and letters.

Jane at her writing desk in a scene from the movie Miss Austen Regrets, starring Olivia Williams.

Jane at her sloped writing desk in a scene from the movie Miss Austen Regrets, starring Olivia Williams.

Small table-top writing desk from the Jane Austen Society of North America Photo Courtesy of the British Library [www.jasna.org/persuasions/announceP30.html]

Small table-top writing desk from the Jane Austen Society of North America. [Photo Courtesy of the British Library]

Or it’s possible it was a small ladies writing desk called a cheveret, which stood on dainty legs and had several drawers to hold paper and correspondence. They were often topped with a detachable book carrier. The lower drawer was fitted with compartments for pens and ink-wells.

George III satinwood cheveret, with a removable book carrier with fitted drawers. Estimated price today of £1500-£2000. [www.liveauctioneers.com/item/3026266].

George III satinwood cheveret, with a removable book carrier with fitted drawers. This beautifully-made piece is worth between £1500-£2000 today.

Everyone of good standing needed a handy writing desk. Letter writing was a daily ritual and an art form. Letters were the social media of the 1800s. It appears to me that Susanah’s transcriptions of letters were her study of correspondence suitable for any occasion. She was learning what to say, and also how to say it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: Susanah Wellington’s Journal, BUCK family collection. You can read more about it here: susanah’s journal – somerset to sydneyJournal transcription by Terry HASTINGS. The British Museum website. Jane Austen Society of North America.

susanah’s journal – samson and sampson

From the journal of Miss Susanah WELLINGTON (1819-1838) of Yeovil, Somersetshire. Her diary includes school lessons, letters and a record of the last few years of her life.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

SW_BMD2_p48&49

In 1835-36 Susanah recorded details of some of her mother’s family. Her mum was Elizabeth WELLINGTON [née SAMSON] (1794-1865), the second wife of George WELLINGTON (1781-1847), Chemist and Druggist of Yeovil, Somerset.

I have found baptisms and marriages for this family recorded in parish registers as SAMSON and also SAMPSON. It often depended on which spelling the minister or parish clerk thought was correct. There are also a variety of spellings for first names. Susanah, Susannah and Susanna; Elizabeth and Elisabeth; Gerard and Gerrard.

Records show later generations of SAMSONs adopted the ‘P’ to become SAMPSON. Susanah spells the name SAMSON, I know from her journal she is quite literate and would have received the information ‘first-hand’ from her mother, so that’s the spelling I am using.

Elizabeth Samson died November 15th 1833, aged 69 years*
Gerard Samson died January 8th 1835, aged 78 years*
*Proverbs 14th 26 verse.  * I Corinthians 15 chap. 58 verse.

Elizabeth SAMSON [née GROVES] (1764-1833) and Gerard SAMSON (1757-1835) were Susanah WELLINGTON’s maternal grandmother and grandfather. They lived in Wayford, about 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) south-west of Yeovil in Somerset.

The Bible references may be the sermons delivered at their funerals, but more than likely they are inscriptions on their tombstones:

In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
I Corinthians 15:58

Levi Samson died August 17th 1835.

Levi SAMSON (1789-1835) was Susanah’s uncle, her mother Elizabeth’s older brother. Levi was 46-years-old when he died and was buried at Wayford, Somerset.

St Michael & All Angels Church at Wayford, Somerset

St Michael & All Angels Church at Wayford, Somerset

My Uncle Tom was married the 31st December 1835 and
My Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom left Wayford April the 1st 1836.

Thomas SAMSON (1806-1879) was another uncle. There is a record of a marriage licence being granted to Thomas SAMSON of Wayford, Somerset and Anne WARREN of Monkwood in the chapelry of Marshwood, Dorset on 28 December 1835.

If Tom’s wife was Anne, then who was Aunt Mary? Why did Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom leave Wayford three months later? An entry in Susanah’s Journal dated 16 January 1837 may help clear up this puzzle:

My Papa, Mamma, Aunt Mary, Uncle Smith & Tom went to Ludney to settle the Wayford business.

Aunt Mary is likely to be Mary SAMSON (a sister to Levi, Elizabeth and Tom). Upon the death of their father Gerard SAMSON in January 1835 the family estate would have been willed to the eldest son William SAMSON (1784-1851) or divided between the many children.

When Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom left Wayford in April 1836 they may have received a share of money after probate was granted on their father’s estate. It appears that they all returned in December that year to finally settle the division of the assets. I think this warrants further investigation, I might be able to find a record of the will or probate.

Sarah was married January 9th 1836.

Sarah was Susanah’s half-sister and the daughter of George WELLINGTON and his first wife Elizabeth EDWARDS. Sarah WELLINGTON married James DAVIS at the parish Church of St John the Baptist in Yeovil on the above date. Witnesses to the marriage were her brother George and sister Sophia WELLINGTON and James’s sister Ann DAVIS. Sarah was born in 1812 and died in 1902 in Hampshire at the age of 90.

Parish Church of St John, Yeovil. Its large arched windows let in so much light it was called ‘The Lantern of the West’.

Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Yeovil. Its large arched windows let in so much light it was called ‘The Lantern of the West’.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources: Susanah Wellington’s Journal, BUCK family collection. You can read more about it here: susanah’s journal – somerset to sydneyYou can read other posts on members of the WELLINGTON family here: george wellington’s letters; susanah’s journal – births, deaths and marriages. The National Archives http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk