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SOME MEMORIES

SOME MEMORIES

I

I was born on the 8th of December, 1823. My father was born in the same year and on the same day as the Emperor William of Prussia. My grandfather Robert was a sailor in Nelson's fleet, and my father would tell me how he sat on his shoulder to see the procession when they brought the body of the great admiral up the Thames for burial in St. Paul's Cathedral in London. This sailor man is the earliest ancestor on that side the house I can lay my hands on.

He went to sea again very soon after Nelson's burial and was lost overboard in a storm; and my grandmother died soon after, leaving her family of, I think, five children who were taken to an asylum in the city of London for shelter and nurture. My mother's father was also a sailor. His port was Yarmouth, but the family lived in Norwich. He was also the earliest ancestor we can

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find on that side of the house. His name was Thomas Norman, and we take a touch of pride in our “Norman blood” and imagine we also may have come over with the Conqueror. He was lost at sea, and not long after his family of four children were left orphans and taken to an asylum in Norwich. So we have no family tree to speak of, only this low bush.

Very early in the last century there was an urgent need for children to work in the factories they were building then on all the streams they could find fit for their purpose in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The local supply of “help” could not begin to meet the demand; and so the owners of the factories went or sent south to scour the asylums where children were to be found in swarms, to bring them north and set them to work as apprentices, who must be duly housed, fed, and clothed until the girls were eighteen and the boys twenty-one. They must also be taught the three R's and the boys some craft by which they might earn their living when they were free. They found my father with some more in the asylum and carried them north to work in a factory on a stream called the Washburn and in the parish of Fewston. He told me they gave him the

free choice to go or stay and wanted him to stay; but he said, “I will go." And so it was he went out, not knowing whither he went, was bound apprentice, and served his time first at the spinning-frames and then in the forge, for this was his choice of a handicraft. But here I touch a bit of romance. A few years ago when I was over in England I went on a visit to an old friend in Surrey who said to me one day: “ Here is an invitation from Esquire Ellis, a good Unitarian, to come and drink tea with him. He is far on in years and lives in a fine old manor house. You will like to see where, as the tradition runs, Queen Elizabeth stayed once over night.”

I was glad to go, had a very pleasant visit. And as we sat on the lawn under a grand old tree, chatting of many things, my good host said: “I have been told, sir, by your friend that you emigrated from Yorkshire to the United States. My family came south from Yorkshire many years ago

where

my

father was partner in a linen factory. The firm was Colbeck & Ellis: the factory was in Fewston. You may have heard of the place.” “Yes,” I answered. “I worked in that factory, sir, seven years in my boyhood. My father was

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