Archive for September 2013

Workday Wednesday: My Weavers made shoes

Category: Ancestors Corner

FootwearHats and shoes feature significantly in my family. Whilst hats aren't quite so in vogue as they once were, we all still need footwear, but how things have changed!

My Dando line were the hatmakers, my first confirmed hatter being my 6 x great-grandfather, John Dando (abt. 1715-1775). However, this profession died out in my family during the mid-nineteenth century.

Moving from heads to feet, from the title of this post, you might be thinking my ancestors were involved in the weaving industry, having a sideline in making shoes. Actually, Weaver is the surname of my shoemaking forbears.

My 4 x great-grandfather, Robert Weaver (abt. 1789-1869), lived in Curry Rivel, Somerset, and was described as a shoe and boot maker and also a cordwainer. Distinct from a cobbler who repaired shoes, a cordwainer made luxury footwear out of the finest leathers. Whether Robert was the first cordwainer in his line is uncertain as I haven't been able to confirm the occupations of his antecedents.

My 2 x great-grandfather, William Henry Weaver (1848-1944), lived with Robert and his wife Sarah, and it is therefore no surprise that he too, went into the family trade. He would have learnt his skills from his grandfather. Ironically, there is in fact, a weaving link as William Henry's wife, Jane (nee Arnold), had previously been a silk weaver, coming from a long line of silk ribbon weavers in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

Their son, Richard, had a short spell at shoemaking before embarking on a 40 year career with the post office. The need for homeworkers and factory outworkers met with a decline during the 19th century as factories increasingly took over the manufacturing processes and mechanisation in the industry was complete by the 1890's.

William Henry Weaver's granddaughter was my own gran, Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver). Born in 1916, her connection with shoes was not in the making of them but in the selling. As a young woman she worked in a shoe shop called Leonards.

Footwear continues to play a large part today as our son, Phyllis' great-grandson, is the manager of a shoe store and so the connection with footwear, spanning at least eight generations of our family and four centuries, is still going strong.

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[Why Workday Wednesday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Black Sheep Sunday: 2 boys steal John Oliver's guns for armed burglary

Category: Ancestors Corner

BurglarJohn Oliver was my 3 x great-grandfather. He was a farmer in a hamlet called Bramwith Woodhouse, a few miles from Doncaster in Yorkshire. John held a game certificate, presumably for killing wildlife or vermin, etc. and one summer night in 1847, two seventeen year-old lads broke into his house and stole a couple of double-barrelled guns.

These same guns were used in a second burglary the following night at another house. The young lads stood at either end of the bed of one Samuel Rudman with the guns in their hands and demanded 'his money or his life'. They were disturbed and made off with three shillings, a handkerchief and two ounces of tobacco. A few days later, John Oliver's guns were found in the possession of the two criminals and the lads received the sentence of transportation for 15 years.

I looked up the Criminal Registers and discovered that this was neither of the boys' first offence. Richard Bisbroun or Bisbrown had committed larceny in 1844 and was sentenced to be whipped and impisoned for 1 month. He was at it again in 1846 and was sentenced to be whipped and impisoned for 1 week. James Walker had also committed larceny in 1842 at the age of 12. He received the sentence of whipping and imprisonment for 1 month.

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[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]