ENGLAND FAMILY: 1800-1900.
(Summarized by Art England; last updated 5-23-08)
This is the latest summary sent from Art England. I have added a couple of notes in italics. These notes do not mean that Art is wrong but only that our information is different on some points – my information could be wrong and his right for all I know.
This summary was prepared from research done by a genealogist and other distant relatives I have met through the wonders of the internet.
RATLEY, ALKERTON, BIRMINGHAM, ASTON.
1. Richard England (my great grandfather) and David England, seemed to pretty well stick together throughout life. They were both married in Alkerton, Oxford, England, both changed there surname from Hitchcox to England about 1870 , both lived in Birmingham about the same time; Ontario census records show both stated they were from Birmingham. Both lived in London Township, Ontario at the same time and they had adjacent homesteads in Chaffey (close to Huntsville), Ontario.
2. Richard and David were brothers and were raised in Alkerton in the county of Oxford.
Their parents William Hitchcox and Mary England were married in 1826 in Ratley, Warwickshire. The Hitchcox family goes back at least 3 generations in Ratley. They had several children, including Richard, 1831, and David, 1834. (William Hitchcox was born in the London area, Isleworth Middlesex 1807. There is every reason to believe that his father's family were from the Banbury area but I have not found a firm connection to any particular ancestor in Ratley.)
3. Richard married Mary Hannah Golby, his first marriage, in 1854 in the parish church in Alkerton (Church of England; the Church of St. Michael, a 13th century Norman church). I visited this small village stone church in the fall of 2004. Richard could sign his name and was a laborer. His wife's father was a Quarryman. (I believe that the Golby family owned a public house in the area and Mary was raised there. Mary England's father was a quarryman.)
4. Richard and Mary had several children: Carolyn in 1855, George in 1857, Walter in 1858, all born in Alkerton. Richard indicated he was a farm laborer when Walter was born. In the 1861 census, Richard indicated he was a "carter" (man who drives a cart). Alice was born in 1867 in Birmingham (13 Court Breasley Street, St. George); in 1867, Richard stated he was a Jobbing Labourer (undertaking a specific job for a fixed price). 1868 was a bad year; Carolyn died of typhoid fever and Richard's first wife, Mary Hanah, died about a month later, back in Alkerton; at the time Richard was noted as a farm laborer, suggesting he had also gone back to Alkerton with his family. Richard's surname through at least 1868 was Hitchcox.
5. In 1871, Richard appeared in the census of Aston County, Birmingham, with 3 children (George, Walter and Alice) plus a niece and his sister, Sarah, who was listed as Housekeeper. His occupation was listed as Railway Porter. Also, by this time he had changed his name to England.
6. In April 1874, Richard England married Emma Joyner, a widow, at St. Matthew's Church in the Parish of Aston in Warwickshire. She was born in 1840, so she was age 34 and Richard was age 43 when they married. He still worked as a Railway Porter. Emma's father was George Woodward, laborer from Warwickshire.
7. A great granddaughter of Emma Woodward has a photograph of Emma. Her granddaughter says the picture always hung in her grandmother Sophia's bedroom. On the back of the photo it states: - "Emma Woodward was the daughter of George Woodward and his Spanish war bride. George Woodward served in the British army in Spain during the Penninsular war". This granddaughter of Sophia said about the picture: "this hung in Gramma Barmby's (Sophia) house. Grampa would tease her about having a Spanish temper". (The note on the photo has some error as the dates for a Spanish was bride are virtually impossible – maybe Spanish but not Penninsular War bride, maybe Emma's grandmother rather than mother.)
8. David married Elizabeth Perkins in Banbury in 1858. Birth registration for their third child in 1872, Minnie Laura, indicates David's surname was England and he was a laborer. It also indicates he lived at 36 St. John St., West, St. George, Birmingham. Birth registrations for the two earlier children, Agnes and Owen, haven't been located.
9. Apparently it was common for the census to miss whole families in Birmingham in those days because they sometimes lived two or even four to a house. Sometimes there was an extra address or entrance in front and also in back.
10. Richard and David apparently changed their surname from Hitchcox to England, their mother's maiden name, between 1868 and 1871. This name change was a big problem in my early research, and the reason for the change was long a mystery. Then in 2007, I received some correspondence about the matter. Apparently, William and Mary's youngest daughter, Mercy, had an illegitimate son, also William. The younger William was brought up by William and Mary. Mercy apparently left the area and worked in Workhouses and had 3 marriages; it's possible she never returned to see her son, or maybe wasn't allowed to. Also, Mercy apparently lived with her brother Richard in Birmingham for a time. All William and Mary's children changed their name to England except the elder William and his illegitimate grandson, William. The name change may have happened because of the way the elder William treated his daughter.
IMMIGRATION TO ONTARIO
1. Richard England and family sailed on the Moravian from Liverpool, stopping in Londonderry and landed at Quebec on May 18, 1875. With him were Emma (wife), George (age 18), Walter (age 16), James (age 12), Mary (age 7) and Henry (age 5). Richard applied for and received assistance (from general research: probably loaves of bread, temporary shelter etc.) from the Toronto Immigration Agency on May 20, 1875. He indicated he was a laborer and his destination was Shelburne (northwest of the greater Toronto area). London, where Sophia was born, is further west and actually further from Huntsville than Shelburne. (I believe the children were Richard's from his first marriage – George, Walter and Mary; and Emma's from her first marriage- James, Henry. Their two children together- Sophia, Richard, were born in Canada.)
2 David England and family sailed on the Prussian from Liverpool, stopping in Londonderry and landed at Quebec (probably Montreal rather than Quebec City) on April 30, 1874. With him were Elizabeth (wife), Kate (age 14), Agnes (age 10), Owen (age 5), and Emma (infant). David applied for and received assistance from the Toronto Immigration Agency on May 18, 1874. Occupation indicated was hard to read but looks like farmer or joiner.
3. Both ships were owned by the Allan Line and ran a weekly schedule departing Liverpool, a stop in Londonderry and on to Quebec.
4. The Port of Montreal, Quebec is on the St. Laurence River. The St. Lawrence River connects with Lake Ontario and then Lake Erie where London is situated, roughly 300-400 miles. However, the river drops about 245 feet from Lake Ontario to Montreal and there were about 30 miles of rapids in the 1870s. The St Lawrence Seaway was not completed until the 1950's, although there was apparently a canal system that could accommodate smaller craft. So, it is not clear how they made the remainder of the journey on to London, Ontario.
LONDON TOWNSHIP, ONTARIO
1. Richard and David apparently settled right away in London Township, Ontario. David's records show he landed in Quebec in April 1874 and his son was born in London Township, Ontario in July 1874. Richard landed in May 1875; his and Emma's first child, Sophia, was born in London Township in December 1875.
2. London, Ontario became a city in 1855. By the 1870's it was a railway hub and probably connected with Montreal. London was the jumping off point for the new farming lands and forestlands. It seems clear that the Englands went there with the clear intent of finding their homestead land in Ontario. London was a manufacturing, railroading, etc. center and received much of the immigration at the time.
3. They apparently moved on quickly to Huntsville, since my grandfather was born in Huntsville, April 1877; this is almost a year earlier than his father, Richard, applied for his homestead, December 1877. Some information is available about how the journey from London to Huntsville may have been made. There was a train as far as Gravenhurst in 1875 (about 50 miles south of Huntsville). Roads were difficult. Boat travel was probably not practical because the area is full of non connecting lakes, although there was some steamship travel on a few lakes at the time. Chaffey Township was just north of Huntsville. There is also a description of stage coach travel between London and the Huntsville area in the book "The Night the Mice Danced the Quadrille".
HOMESTEAD IN CHAFFEY, NEAR HUNTSVILLE, ONTARIO
1. Richard's youngest child, Richard Alfred, my grandfather, was born in Huntsville in April 1877. Richard and David applied for homesteads in Chaffey (close to Huntsville) Richard in December 1877 and David in February 1878. Interestingly, a homestead map of the area shows Richard's and David's homestead of 200 acres and an additional adjacent homestead for Walter England of 100 acres (special rules applied for Walter's age group).
2. I was told some homesteaders close to the England homesteads were unable to farm the land .."..as it was and is very rocky and fields of stone!" General reading indicates that the area was heavily wooded, and in the late 1800's, the lumber companies had pretty well cut down all the timber.
3. The Free Land Grant and Homestead Act gave 200 acres of land with extra land granted for rocky sections in Muskoka to families that met certain conditions. The applicant had to be at lease 18 years of age and had to use the land for settlement and cultivation. The settler had to clear 15 acres of land, build a house at lease sixteen feet by twenty feet in size, and live on the property at lease 6 months of a year for a period of 5 years. If all the requirements were met he could then apply for a land patent and become the owner. This was to stop people from land speculation. The Province retained all mineral rights to the area, including pine trees and quarry stones.
4. Census figures indicate that the two families lived on the homesteads for 15-20 years... Richard died in 1878 when a tree he was cutting down fell on him; Emma stayed on the homestead and died in 1897 in Chaffey. David was still listed in the 1901 census, age 68. Presumably, his wife Elizabeth died between 1891 and 1901. The 1881 census indicates Emma as "Head of Household" and Walter (age 22) as "Farmer". In the 1891 census, Walter was shown as "Head of Household" and Emma shown as "Mother". The 1881 census shows two other people living on the homestead. They were "George", age 24, and "James", age 18, Shanty Man and Harness Maker, both born in Ontario.
5. The records are sometimes inconsistent regarding Richard's children. It's clear that he had at least the following children: Carolyn 1855, George 1857, Walter 1858, Alice 1867, Sophia 1875, and Richard Alfred 1877.
In addition, a James is cited twice: ship's log in 1875 (4 yrs younger than Walter) and in 1881 census (again 4 years older than Walter) as Shanty Man and Harness Maker living on the homestead. `I think he was a cousin, since he was never shown as a son in 1861, 1871, or 1881 census or in Richard's estate.
George (a year or two older than Walter) was a son since he was always shown as a son in the censuses and Richard's estate. However, Walter was the only son that had a homestead in his name and Walter was the one that was designated "Head of household" in 1891 census. George and James were not living on the homestead in the 1891 census. Finally, Lorna Bennett, granddaughter of Walter, referred to an uncle George who she believes immigrated to one of the southern states and she remembers that he sent a ball of cotton to her mother, when her mother was a girl. My conclusion is the George marched to his own drummer.
6. The various records tie together pretty well for the children of David and Elizabeth. They had 4 children: Agnes (18 in 1881), Owen (13 in 1881), Minnie Laura (9 in 1881) and Mark (7 in 1881).
7. The Land Records show Richard's property (owned by his children) was transferred to Chaffey for overdue taxes in 1916. The Land Records for David's property indicate that David borrowed on the property in 1883. They also seem to indicate that David lost the property in 1899 when the loan wasn't paid.
8. Alice Mary (Richard's daughter) married Adam Coulter in 1888. And a very eventful year took place at the David England homestead in 1893 when 3 of their children were married. Agnes married William Eagle, Owen married Amy Curtis, and Minnie Laura married William Gerhart.
9. A genealogist in the Muskoka area, recommended I read the book entitled "The Night the Mice Danced the Quadrille". It was written by Thomas Osborne, when he was 75, and recounts his story as a teenager in Muskoka between 1875 and 1880. His father bought a squatter's clearing and log cabin in an area called Portage, about 15 miles east of Huntsville, and sent for him and his younger brother Arthur. Many of Tom's adventures, described in the book, must have paralleled the life of my great grandfather and his oldest son, Walter. I prepared a summary of this book and the likely parallels.
10. It was difficult on the homestead. A great grandson of Alice Mary (Alice Mary was Richard's daughter who grew up on the homestead), says his sister recalls about 1952, when she was 5, being charged with the care of Alice Mary for a few minutes. Her instructions were, "whatever happens don't let her chop wood". Naturally being only about five, her attention wandered and so did Alice Mary; she wandered across the street to the neighbor's woodpile. Apparently Alice Mary (then about 84) had injured herself previously and wasn't allowed to chop wood anymore.