I have recently finished transcribing a letter, dated 1850, and written by Robert Banks of Thixendale in Yorkshire (where my family comes from) addressed to a Jabez Banks, his brother, who emigrated to Canada in the middle of the 19th century. Bearing in mind that Jabez left for Canada in roughly 1846 - a time when the country was still pretty wild and sparsely populated, it makes interesting reading:
The letter was addressed to: Jabez Banks, Owen Sound, Garrisons Road, Wellington District, Berr[illegible]???? Post Office, CanadaDear Jabez
I received your very welcome letter written some time in January which gave me very great pleasure to hear that you were roughing it in the woods so successfully. 13 acres of land is a nice opening in the wild forest. I read your letter and sent it off the same day to Townthorpe and it was forwarded from thense (sic) to Thixendale. Your Wife’s Mother was very poorly at the time the letter reached her but I understand it gave her great pleasure to hear the comfortable home you have to look forward to if you keep your boast, though she had fair given up any hope of ever seeing her daughter again. That was about two months ago. To the best of my recollection, the complaint she was suffering under was dropsy – of which she kept getting worse and worse till it terminated in death, as brother John told me yesterday at Malton market, a little more than a week since he attended her funeral at Wharram Percy on Good Friday and I have losed (sic) no time in letting you know. It will be a very heavy shock to your wife, poor body. She appeared to be devotedly attached to her Mother. But as she could not have saved her had she been here and as the wise disposer of events has willed she should die it is better to avoid as much as possible excessive grief. We all know very well what an excessively painful thing it is to part with a dear parent, but no excessive grief of ours will in the slightest degree alter the decrees of providence. I have just written to Joseph to tell him that his Mother in Law and her husband are on their way to Quebec at last. They are at Hull at this time on board the ship “Prince Regent”. There is a Frank Holins of Warter [a village nearby] accompanying them but no one that I hear of from Warter. Brother John to going to Hull he tells me on Tuesday next to see them sail and look out for a ship to sail in himself with his children and mother and for Eliza, her husband and children, so you see what effect your letter had had upon their minds. They are not intending to sail of a month or 5 weeks yet, but when they do come they mean to brush a way through the bash to Owen Sound calling at Avonmouth on their way. They mean to see you all and to choose a destination amongst you which will mean that they like the look of the boat. It is not at all unlikely but that you may get them for neighbours if you are the most conveniently situated as regards market and crops. I fancy . . .
you are when I compare your account with Joseph’s but they have not got off & I think it possible after all they may not get off perhaps this summer. Still your poor Mother can talk of nothing else but the wild idea of coming to join you in the woods. She shall ever be most glad to hear of your welfare. I have just got a newspaper which I guess to be from you. Had you been still in England, if you could have had employment at all, it would not have been more than 1/- a day - I never knew times so bad for farmers at present in England. Wheat 35/- a quarter and flour 75d a cwt. The produce of the land raises next to nothing. Your corn is worth as much I see from a paper I have just received as wheat is. Hannah and the children join with me in the kindest regards to both yourself and your wife. We shall at any time and all times be most happy to hear from you when ever you have time to write. I remain, dear Jabez,
Yours very truly,
Words in blue are my most likely substitution for illegible text. Although not easy to follow at times, I am confident that the other words are faithfully transcribed, even if it doesn't always make obvious sense!
There is some remote chance that the Banks family were related to my grandfather's family of Boyes, and my grandfather's younger brother was always knows as Robert Banks Boyes.
I've often wondered what Dropsy was. Apparently, it is an old term for the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess fluid. Nowadays the illness would be more specifically diagnosed, but it's possible that Jabez's wife's mother died of something like oedema due to congestive heart failure. Dropsy is not as funny as it sounds.
Info on any of those mentioned in the letter gratefully received!
Results 1 to 7 of 7
01-08-2008, 8:55 AM #1
Jabez & Robert Banks (circa 1850) and the move to Canada
01-08-2008, 2:24 PM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
- Grey County, Ontario, Canada
I have never heard of Owen Sound being in the Wellington district and I'm not sure about Avonmouth, but place names change over the years. Alot of old stage coach stops are just an intersection of roads now. Wellington County is south of Grey county and Owen Sound is in the northern part of Grey County. I have found a 1871 map and the counties were the same then as they are now.
A suggestion for Berr... it may be Berkeley... a little hamlet in Holland township, southeast of Owen Sound, on the main highway to Toronto.
A great website to help you out is https://www.genealogylinks.net/canada...greycounty.htm From there you will get leads to several other sites, including cemetary listings.
If you wish to pm me I may be able to help you out a little more.
PS>>>I don't understand, but when I check the preview the website is not as I have typed it.....after the canada there is a /ontario/greycounty and I was just viewing the site... If I click on the underlined site it says it has moved
Another site you can try is the "Grey County Genweb " lots of goodies there as well
01-08-2008, 9:56 PM #3
Thanks for your reply Sue.
I have managed to track down Wellington District on Wikkipedia
There it states that the District ceased to exist in 1849, which would tie in with the letter, being sent in reply to one from Jabez that would have been posted either in 1849, or perhaps even earlier. According to the map which accompanies this link, Wellington District extended from Owen Sound in the north, all the way down to Fort Erie in the south, and then west to the St Clair River.
Avonmouth is the port of Bristol in the UK. The ship sailed south from Hull on the east coast, around through the English Channel, and then up to Bristol - it's last port before heading out across the Atlantic. I can't believe the same ship would have sailed all the way to Owen Sound, which is well inland, but you may know if that was possible in 1850. The Welland Canal was opened in 1829, so I suppose not implausible, although I doubt the St Clair River would have been easy-going.
03-02-2009, 3:15 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
- dufferin county Canada
hi Thumber G T Jabez is my ggggrand father
09-02-2009, 6:21 PM #5
Welcome to the forum AJ, and delighted to think we might be related, even if only very distantly. The link between the Banks and Boyes families appears to be by marriage, and several of the later Boyes boys (if you follow) were given Banks as a middle name.
I've still not got to the bottom of it, but am about to resume my work on the family tree, so hope to throw more light on it in due course.
I lived in Glenelg once . . . South Australia though!
10-08-2018, 3:28 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jan 2018
10-08-2018, 3:41 PM #7
- Join Date
- Jan 2018
Amaranth, not Avonmouth
Not sure the OP or responders will find this, but for the record, the location “Avonmouth” is a mistranscription. The letter — I have a scanned copy — says Amaranth. That’s the Township in Wellington (now Dufferin) County, Ontario, Canada, where the brother Joseph mentioned in this letter settled.
Hope this helps someone!
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