Three Agnes Ellwoods: Tombstone Tuesday

Anout four years ago someone sent us a descendant chart showing the descendants of Edmund Ellwood (1700-1789) and his wife Elizabeth Robinson (1700-?) of Dufton, Westmorland, England. It actually went back a few generations to an earlier Edmund, but the main descendants shown were those of Edmund and Elizabeth. It is mainly a list of names, with a few dates, but no places indicated.

Unfortunately we don’t seem to have kept a record of who sent it to us, but we were told that it originated with a Peter Ellwood, whom we haven’t managed to make contact with.

Since retiring last March, Val has been working her way through it, trying to flesh out the outline with dates, names and places, and trying to prove the various links. In the course of doing this she has discovered several errors and omissions in the list, and also several errors and omissions in various online family trees.

She has mainly been working on the descendants of Edmund and Elizabeth’s eldest son Samuel Ellwood (1726-1796), who married Hannah Barrow at Cartmel in Lancashire in 1752. Samuel was a shoemaker, as were some of his descendants. Samuel & Hannah’s eldest son John seems to have gone back to Wesmorland for a wife, and married Jane Coulthred at Underbarrow in Westmorland, and they then had four children at Cartmell in Lancashire, but we have only been able to trace the descendants of one of them, Timothy Ellwood (1769-1867), who married Mary Withers in 1801. We are not absolutely sure of these links, but on a balance of probabilities they seem to be correct. If anyone has any better information about any of them, please let us know.

Timothy and Mary had 12 children, and it is mainly their descendants that we have been trying to follow.

The two eldest sons, John and Thomas, each had a daughter Agnes Ellwood, and each Agnes married in the 1850s, and emigrated to the USA soon afterwards.

Gravestone of John Turner and Agnes Ellwood in Towanda, Kansas, USA

Gravestone of John Turner and Agnes Ellwood in Towanda, Kansas, USA

We’ve been able to find out what happened to these descendants mainly through the very useful Find-a-Grave web site. Agnes Ellwood (1831-1908), daughter of Thomas Ellwood and Elizabeth Taylor, married John Turner in 1852, and emigrated to the USA in about 1857, living first in Illonois, and then in Towanda, Kansas. You can find their details on the Find-a-Grave site here. They seem to have several children, some of whom are also buried in the same cemetery, and they can also be found on the Find-a-Grave site.

Agnes Turner had a cousin, 15 months younger, Agnes Ellwood (1833-1896), the daughter of John Ellwood and Agnes Harrison, who married John Jackson Tallon in 1855, and almost immediately afterwards emigrated to Illinois in the USA. Unlike the Turner family, the Tallons seem to have stayed in Illinois a while longer, at least long enough for Agnes to be buried there. And again, Find-a-Grave comes up with the most useful information.

It was at this point that we discovered a lot of online family trees for Agnes Ellwood Tallon, on the soon-to-be-closed Mundia site (no links, as they won’t work after September). And every one that we looked at linked to the wrong Agnes!

They all linked to a third, unrelated Agnes, the daughter of John Ellwood and Mary Shepherd, who was born about 1835 in Oddendale, Westmorland, England. The “real” Agnes Ellwood married John Tallon in 1855, and was living in Illinois in 1860. In the 1861 English census the “false” Agnes Ellwood was still unmarried, still living with her parents, working as a dairymaid. In 1868 she married James Coulthwaite in Casterton, Westmorland, and they had a son John Henry Coulthwaite, who had a large family, and his mother Agnes was still living with them on the farm in Westmorland in 1911.

The Ellwood family seems to be a good one for showing the danger of online family trees, and of copying them without checking. We gave another example of this in our blog post on Jane Ellwood and the perils of online family trees.

Gravestone of Agnes Ellwood who married John Jackson Tallon. Hieronymus Cemetery, Armington, Illinois, USA

Gravestone of Agnes Ellwood who married John Jackson Tallon. Hieronymus Cemetery, Armington, Illinois, USA

But the truth about the “real” Agnes Ellwood who married John Jackson Tallon was there on her gravestone all along. She was born in 1833, not 1835, and so is much more likely to be the Agnes Ellwood, daughter of John Ellwood and Agnes Harrison, who was baptised in Colton, Lancashire on 10 February 1833 than she is to be the Agnes Ellwood who was born in Oddendale and baptised on 14 June 1835 in Crosby Ravensworth, Westmorland, daughter of John Ellwood and Mary Shepherd.

We have gathered quite a lot of information on this branch of the Ellwood family, and would gladly share it with other researchers, as a lot of other researchers have helped us. If you would like to have more information please ask, letting us know how you are linked to this family. Unfortunately, while there are many helpful family historians out there who are willing to exchange information, there are also a few “data leeches” who take whatever they can get and give nothing, so we will only give full information to those who can demonstrate their own link to the family. You can ask either in the comments, or on the Ellwood family forum here, or by using the form below:

 

Growden family in Lancashire

When we began researching our family history 40 years ago, we fairly soon discovered that there were Growden families in Lancashire. I wrote to a Joseph Growden in Bolton, Lancashire, and he said trhere was a family tradition that the family had originated in Cornwall, but when they cjecked it out, the earliest member of the family they knew of turned out to have been born in Rishton, Lancashire.

Now many more records are more easily available, and I’ve been able to piece together something of  the story.

To put it in a nutshell:

Joseph Growden, a blacksmith, was born in Bodmin in 1830. He married Mary Ann Knight of Roche in 1855 and worked in various places in Cornwall. In the 1871 Census they were at Kea, where their younger children were born, and in 1875 their daughter Catherine died there, aged about 14. In 1877 the eldest son, Thomas, married a local girl, and within the next couple of years the family moved to Caterall in Lancashire, where they seem to have stayed, with the exception of Thomas, who returned to Cornwall. Some lived at Rishton, and others at Radcliffe.

This Joseph Growden was my 1st cousin three times removed — in other words, he was the first cousin of my great grandfather William Matthew Growden, though being the son of an older brother, he was some 20 years older. That generation of Growdens seem to have got wanderlust, because in the late 1870s they scattered from Cornwall in different directions. My great grandfather came south to the Cape Colony, and his cousin Joseph went north to Lancashire. Another cousin, James Growden, had gone west to Canada some ten years earlier, and yet another cousin, Henry Growden, ended up in New Zealand, with some of his descendants living in the USA, in places as far apart as New Orleans and Alaska. So in that period, 1850 to 1880, Cornwall seems to have acted as a giant centrifuge, spitting out Growdens in all directions.

But back to the Lancashire ones.

Joseph Growden (1830-1887) and Mary Ann Knight (1836-1902) had eight children:

  1. Lavinia Growden (1855-1938)
  2. Thomas Henry Growden (1857-1919)
  3. William Henry Growden (1839-1954)
  4. Catherine Growden (1860-1875)
  5. Joseph Growden (1863-1928)
  6. John Growden (1865-1904)
  7. George Growden (1856-1940)
  8. Emily Growden (1867-?) married Richard Dilworth

Lavinia never married and Catherine died young, but all the others married and had children

First World War medals for George Growden of Rishton, Lancashire. Click the link to the Rishton page for the full story, and lots more on Rishton people

First World War medals for George Growden of Rishton, Lancashire. Click the link to the Rishton page for the full story, and lots more on Rishton people

In the course of searching for members of this family I came across a marvellous web site devoted to Rishton in Lancashire, which I still haven’t fully explored yet. It has a full page devoted to the military service and medals of George Growden, son of Joseph (1863-1928), who served in the first World War. It is well worth looking at if you have any ancestors who lived in or around Rishton.

A lot of the Lancashire Growdens seem to have had son’s called George, which makes it a bit difficult to work out which ones married which spouses, but at any rate, there are now probably more Growdens in Lancashire than there are in Cornwall.

 

 

 

We’ve been busy

We haven’t reported much here for a while, but it’s not for lack of research. We’ve actually been busier on family history research in the last couple of months than we have for a long time.

Val has been going through a family tree on the Ellwood family that someone sent us a while back, trying to verify and extend the descendant lines, mainly from Samuel Ellwood, son of Edmund Ellwood and Elizabeth Robinson of Westmorland, England. Samuels descendants seemed to live mainly in the Cartmel area of Lancashire, and spread out from there.

I’ve been chasing up some loose ends on the Cottam and Bagot families of Lancashire and will write more when I’ve checked some of the them.

Growden siblings

Brad Growden of New Orleans just discovered that today (or was it yesterday?) was world sibling day. He’d never heard of it, and neither had I, but it was a good excuse for posting this photo of himself and his siblings on Facebook. Trouble is, stuff posted on Facebook is often impossible to find after yesterday, and this one was too good not to share, so to all Growden and Growdon cousins out there, here are your New Orleans cousins.

Arthur Bruce Joseph Growden, Vicki Growden and Lori Growden Murphy at Southern Yacht Club, 2 June 2013

Arthur Bruce Joseph Growden, Vicki Growden, Lori Growden Murphy and Thomas Bradley Growden at Southern Yacht Club, 2 June 2013

For those who want to know the details, Thomas Bradley GROWDEN (& siblings) and Stephen HAYES are 4th cousins 2 times removed.  Their common ancestors are William GROWDEN and Elizabeth Couch SAUNDERCOCK, who were married at St Meubred’s Church, Cardinham, Cornwall, England on 26 November 1792.

Brad is descended from William, the eldest son of William Growden and Elizabeth Saundercock (or Sandercock), who, with his son Henry, emigrated from Cornwall to Australia. Henry Growden later moved to New Zealand, and his son, the Revd Arthur Matthew Growden was a missionary who travelled all over and eventually settled in Tennessee, USA. One branch of his descendants moved to the New Orleans area of Louisiana, while another went to Alaska. Brad’s great-aunt, Monica Louise Deragowski, who collected much of this family history, said someone had once told her that in Cornwall the Growden families were so close that they traded roosters. That certainly isn’t the case today, where the different branches are widely scattered.

My own branch are not so widely scattered. Matthew Growden, the fourth son of William Growden and Elizabeth Saundercock, seems to have stayed in Cornwall all his life, and died in the Bodmin Workhouse at the age of 83. His son William Matthew Growden (my great grandfather) emigrated to the Cape Colony in about 1876, where he became a platelayer on the Cape Government Railways, eventually rising to the rank of permanent way inspector.

So, does anyone know if there is a world cousins day?

 

Turning our ruin into a garden

About 12 years ago we thought it would be nice to add a couple of rooms on to our house, but unfortunately the builder we employed (fellow by the name of Lukas Neethling, ID 590713 5146 08 3) was a crook, and scarpered with the money without finishing the job, leaving us with a ruin in the back garden.

Inspired by my second cousin-in-law, Toni Badcock-Walters, Val decided that now she has retired it might be nice to turn the ruin, or at least part of it, into a raised kitchen garden, so today we made a start on it.

Val & Simon preparing to turn the ruin into a kitchen garden

Val & Simon preparing to turn the ruin into a kitchen garden

Toni explains many of the advantages of a raised garden in her blog, but one of the main ones we envisage is that the dogs are less likely to charge through it on the way to bark at the neighbours’ dogs, or to decide that it would be nice to dig up.

Laying the first bricks for the raised kitchen garden.

Laying the first bricks for the raised kitchen garden.

Not being professional bricklayers, it won’t be a model for bricklaying, but it’s for a garden, not a house. It’ll probably take a while before the first bed is finished, and then we’ll see what we can grow in it.

Back to the Dark Ages, or the heat death of the universe?

Val retired on 28th February, but the first couple of weeks of her retirement have not gone too well. We have gradually regressed to the 18th century, or to the Dark Ages, On Sunday 2nd March, which was Cheesefare Sunday it rained solidly for most of the day, and it has rained every day since then.

At first the rain was welcome, The garden needed it, and the country needed it — fill the dams to last through the winter. But it never stopped. Every day was overcast. Solar power is fine but in these conditions there was enough hot water to wash the dishes, but not enough for everyone to have a bath.

The drains were blocked, and I kept putting off going to clean them until the rain stopped, but it never did. I was reminded of Noah’s advice to the Lord: Make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights, and wait for the sewers to back up.

Our back garden has been one big puddle for a week

Our back garden has been one big puddle for a week

On Tuesday 4th March the phone died, and with it our Internet connection. For the previous three weeks it had been giving problems, and we had reported it to Telkom. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. But now it was completely dead.

As the song goes, you don’t miss your water till your well runs dry. You don’t realise how dependent you become on the Internet. Information you want to look up, which 25 years ago would have entailed a trip to the library, and a search for the books in which one could possibly search for the information has been instantly available on the Internet, through Wikipedia and other resources. Want to check the spelling of a name, or the date of an event, or when is the best time to plant clivias in Gauteng? It’s there at your fingertips. But suddenly it wasn’t.

So we regressed to the 20th century, pre-Internet.

Through cell phones we still had partial access to services like Twitter and Facebook. It was possible to warn friends not to expect prompt replies to e-mail messages, except that some friends apparently did not see, or did not heed the messages, and began sending messages asking why we did not reply promptly. But typing anything on a minuscule phone keyboard was a pain. People gave links to interesting articles that it wasn’t possible to read, and graphics with trite sentiments urging you to “Like this if you love your sister” became even more annoying. One needs three hands – one to hold the phone, one to type with, and one to hold the magnifying glass so one can read the screen.

While the phone service was intermittent, outgoing e-mail piled up. For urgent business it was easier to print out the e-mail, scrawl a reply on it with a pen, and send it by snail mail. Oh, how dependent we are on technology.

But we were soon to become more aware of how dependent we are on technology.

At about 5 am on Tuesday 11th March the electric power went off. At first we thought that it was Eskom’s load shedding. Because of the rain, the coal for the coal-powered power stations was delivered wet. The slurry blocked the conveyors to the furnaces, and generating capacity dropped. So there were rolling blackouts all around the country to try to reduce the load. These usually lasted a few hours, and the power came back on again. It caused some major problems, such as the Gautrain service being interrupted.

But this power outage lasted all day, and into the night.

Now we were regressing from the 20th century (pre-Internet) to the 18th (pre-electricity). No electricity means no coffee. Val went out to buy some from a takeaway joint. With the rain, the washing wouldn’t dry, so we had to resort to an electric clothes drier, but now that didn’t work either.

After a while, the food in the fridge and freezer begins to go off, so you have to eat it quickly. But there’s nowhere to cook it. Just the thing we need in the first month of Val’s retirement, when we have to learn to live on a fifth of our previous monthly income!

We do have a pile of wood in the garden, and we could perhaps have cooked stuff in some cast-iron pots we have, but it’s still raining and the wood is all wet. In the 18th century they could have handled it — they would have had wood-burning stoves, and a place indoors to keep the wood dry. But you can’t make a wood fire in an electric oven.

We had to find some way of making coffee

We had to find some way of making coffee

So we ate takeaway food, and listened to the radio by candlelight. One by one, the cell phones died as the batteries went flat.
Yesterday we decided that as we couldn’t do anything at home, perhaps we could go and do some research in the archives — provided their electricity wasn’t off too. It wasn’t, so we were also able to recharge our laptop computers and cellphones while we were there, and be in communication with the world for another day, at least enough to say that we couldn’t communicate.

When we left the archives at 2:00 pm the sun was shining for the first time in 10 days. When we got home I took advantage of the break to clean the drains, and a huge puddle vanished down the inspection hole. I hoped no municipal inspectors were watching. A few years ago one came to our house to ensure that our drains were constructed in such a way that no storm water could enter the sewer system. Cleaning drains is a dirty job, so afterwards I had a bath — my first hot bath for 10 days — the sun had warmed the water.

But then the water stopped.

No phones, no electricity, no water. Yesterday we couldn’t flush the loo because the drains were full of water; today we can’t flush the loo because there’s no water in the pipes. We were back to the Dark Ages. Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. It is running down both sides of the street, but there’s no way of getting it into the pipes. The vacant land over the road, next to the railway line, turns into a marsh after heavy rain, and the water flows down the street for days afterwards. Perhaps if we caught it in buckets at least we could use it for washing, and it might be safe for making coffee, on the gas plate Val went out to buy. Telkom tell us our phone will be working again on 18th March, but they told us it would be fixed on 4 March (the day it died for good), then the following Sunday, then Thursday…

There's plenty of water, running away down the street. If only there were a way of getting it into the pipes!

There’s plenty of water, running away down the street. If only there were a way of getting it into the pipes!

Though we have suffered a few minor inconveniences, others have suffered a lot more. Some have had their homes washed away. People have been drowned trying to cross swollen rivers.

But the rain has made us aware of how dependent we are on technology, and how ill-equipped we are to live in conditions that people in the 18th century considered normal, and for many people living in rural areas those conditions are still normal. One of the things we heard while listening to the radio by candlelight was a broadcast on different ways in which people see water — access to water is a human right in our constitution, yet increasingly government and business are seeing it as a commodity. After 1994 Kader Asmal did a great deal to see that rural communities had access to clean water, but that seems to have stalled now.

So we have has a small taste of life in the Dark Ages, before the 18th century. Or is it perhaps a taste of the future — climate change, fossil fuels running out, and the heat death of the universe? But for the moment we still have an edge over the Dark Ages — an Internet Cafe, where I’m posting this.

Val Hayes retires

Today my wife Val retired from her job as accountant with the South African Medical Association (SAMA), after a long and varied career. She probably won’t write about it, but I think it’s worth recording as part of our family history, and she can add to it or correct it later.

Val Hayes when I first knew her in 1972/73, and she was working for Stafford Mayer in Durban

Val Hayes when I first knew her in 1972/73, and she was working for Stafford Mayer in Durban

When I first met Val in 1972 she was working as a bookkeeper for the Stafford Mayer company in Durban, mainly looking after their pension fund, so my knowledge of her career before then was hearsay only. She attended high school at Pinetown Convent, and when she left the nuns wanted her to do maths, but she was only interested in accounting (she has the calculating mind in the family) and she went to the Natal Technical College for a year, and then started work. I know she worked for Clover Dairies, and for the distributors of Mercedes Benz cars, but I’m not sure for how long.

After we were married she continued to work at Stafford Mayer, which was taken over by a big company, and then she worked for another subsidiary, SA Board Mills, for a few months, and resigned when we went to live in Utrecht in September 1976.

Val Hayes in 1978, when we were living in Melmoth, Zululand, and she was running the Diocese of Zululand book store.

Val Hayes in 1978, when we were living in Melmoth, Zululand, and she was running the Diocese of Zululand book store.

In 1977 we went to Melmoth, were I was to be Director of Training for Ministries for the Anglican Diocese of Zululand. There was a part-time bookkeeper-secretary, Edna Cooke, looking after the the books of the Christian Education and Training for Ministries departments, and when Edna moved to Johannesburg Val took over, and developed the diocesan book agency, selling books at most events that took place at the diocesan conference centre at KwaNzimela, 10km away. Most of the clergy bought quite a lot of books, and we hoped to encourage the habit of reading. Val used the profits to buy more stock, so we were able to offer a larger variety of books as time went on.

At the end of 1982 we moved again, this time to Verwoerdburg, which is now Centurion and part of the City of Tshwane. I was to be Director of Mission and Evangelism for the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria. Our children were ready to start school, and were offered places in the local Anglican church schools, where Val drove them to school each day. She was offered a job as assistant to the bookkeeper at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls, where our daughter had just started Grade I. It didn’t pay very much, but not having to travel twice a day to tke the children and fetch them again was a saving in itself. The idea was that when the bookkeeper retired Val would take over.

But then a new headmaster appeared on the scene, darkly muttering the then-fashionable mantra “excellence”, and it seemed that our family did not fit his criteria for “excellence”, and Val left at the end of 1987, and began looking for a full-time job, not sure that it would be too easy to find one after not having worked full time for 12 years, and also with computerised bookkeeping beginning to make its appearance, which Val had no experience of.

But Val got a job with Galvadip, a galvanising firm in Waltloo — a much better-paid and more responsible job than the DSG one. She bought a computer and taught herself to use spreadsheets, and began to computerise the books of the company. After a year, however, there were some ethical problems, and she began to look for another job.

On 2 May 1989 Val started working for Wormald, the fire protection engineers. It was an international company, based in Australia. They used the Accpac accounting system, which Val learned, and became something of a fundi in. But that was also the time when overseas firms were disinvesting in South Africa, and the South African branch of Wormald decided to go it alone, and became Republic Automatic Sprinklers (Rasco), and did not prosper as much as they had hoped. After working there for five years, Val left at the end of September 1994.

Val also used the experience she had gained of running a church book store in Zululand to run an Orthodox book store in Johannesburg for the Orthodox Society of St Nicholas of Japan. She took over the running of it with  R600.00 worth of stock, and by the time we had to close it in 1999 the stock was worth more than R40000.oo.

Her next job was with Levenstein’s, which were an accounting firm, and her job was to travel around to the various clients with a laptop computer, troubleshooting their accounting problems. That entailed buying a new car, and after comparing fuel consumption figures, and testing how well our growing children fitted into the back seat of various models, we bought a Mazda 323 Sting, because Val had to travel to the office in Johannesburg every day. But that proved to be a problem. The new democratic South Africa had nine provinces instead of the old four, and the capital of Gauteng (then called PWV) was moved to Johannesburg. That meant that civil servants who had previously worked at the Transvaal Provincial Administration in Pretoria were now also on the road to Johannesburg at the same time, and the newly enlarged freeway was unable to cope. It was stop-go traffic all the way, 70 km each day, five days a week.

Then a bloke at Applico, who were agents for Accpac software, offered Val a job as a teacher/troubleshooter for Accpac users, and she worked there for a few months, but found it a bit frustrating. She preferred to be in control of her own set of books, and in June 1995 she started working at Echo Prestress Concrete at Cloorkop. It was only half the distance she had had to travel to Levenstein’s in Berea, Johannesburg, but it was still a long drive in heavy traffic, so she began looking for a job closer to home again.

She got a job as a kind of assistant to the financial manager of a security firm, Astron-Bexforce. They installed and monitored burglar alarms and provided security guards and things like that. It seemed that with the coming of the democratic South Africa there was no need for a large standing army, and so lots of ex-soldiers and their dogs set up security firms, which worked fine until they had more clients than they could handle and the administration got too much for them. So they began to amalgamate, and Val’s job was to integrate the books and accounting systems of the smaller firms that were taken over. Then Astron-Bexforce was itself taken over by Sentry Security (which had itself started as a small neighbourhood security operation called Sandton Sentry). The financial manager of the Pretoria branch left, and Val applied for, and got, his job. That meant working long hours, and running the whole Pretoria accounting office, and it continued growing.

Then Sentry Security was itself taken over by an overseas firm, Tyco, which was the British arm of an American company, ADT. The work load increased even more, because the American headquarters wanted timely reporting, which meant that the British branch had a deadline, and the South Africans had an even tighter deadline  to meet the British deadline. But they were reluctant to employ new staff to meet these requirements. Eventually they decided to centralise things at the head office in Johannesburg, and Val had to move there, and travel 50km each way again — the very thing that she had hoped to avoid by taking the job in the first place.

Val Hayes, on her 65th birthday (25 Nov 2013). She planned to retire at the end of the month, but SAMA asked her to stay on until the financial year end.

Val Hayes, on her 65th birthday (25 Nov 2013). She planned to retire at the end of the month, but SAMA asked her to stay on until the financial year end.

So Val left ADT at the end of July 2006 and found another job, closer to home, with a start-up company called Telezero. It was at much lower pay, but Val reckoned that if she carried on with ADT until she retired she would have spent a year of her life sitting in traffic jams. Telezero sold international telephone cards, and it had grown so rapidly that the guy who ran it had lost track of who owed him money, and wanted Val to set up the books for him properly. She did, but she not only gave him the welcome news of how much money people owed him, but also the unwelcome news of how much he owed to the tax people, in VAT, employees tax and more. So she left after barely six months, as did most of the rest of the staff.

And so in April 2007 she started working at the South African Medical Association, as her last full-time job, and retires from there today. We’re looking forward to having more time together.

Val Hayes in her office at the South African Medical Association (SAMA)

Val Hayes in her office at the South African Medical Association (SAMA)

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