Abraham Pridmore, Blacksmith

I cannot recall how or when we first made contact with Tim’s English cousins, and we have long since lost touch with them, but I owe them a debt of gratitude for all the family history material they mailed over the ocean to us. Perhaps one or both of them will see this post somehow and contact us again!

Tim’s 4th-great-grandfather, Abraham Pridmore, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Shepard) Pridmore, was born in 1790 in Brigstock (Northamptonshire) England, and died 20 March 1867 in Syston (Leicestershire) England. He married 9 June 1811 in St. Peter’s Church, Lowick (Northamptonshire) England, Elizabeth Bramston, who was born in 1791 in Lowick, and died 5 January 1866 in Syston, daughter of William and Alice (—) Bramston.

Abraham was baptized 27 July 1790 in St. Andrew’s Church, Brigstock. He worked as a blacksmith, and later as a machinist and a machine supplement maker. Abraham & Elizabeth were members of the Church of England. The following is from the notes Gillian and Gabrielle Rohowsky sent to us:

When they married Abraham was already resident in Thorpe Satchville, the age he was would probably mean that he had recently finished his [blacksmith] apprenticeship, usually marriage was not permitted during an apprenticeship, and of course Elizabeth was pregnant. The marriage was witnessed by Robert Pridmore, brother of the groom, and by John Brown who we think was a parish clerk.

The parish records for Syston parish church have suffered some damage, with sections totally unreadable. Syston is larger than Thorpe Satchville, we can only guess why the family moved there, maybe it was due to expanding trade and close proximity to the main city with better business opportunities, also Syston had a major rail link which would of been a benefit for the distribution of goods. Or maybe the move was purely prompted by family attachment, Christiana, George and Sarah were all resident in Syston. Abraham and Elizabeth probably moved there around the mid 1850’s.

The death date on the certificate states 5 January 1866, whereas the headstone states the 6 January 1866. The age on the certificate states 74, the headstone states 76. These discrepancies could arise from the informant Elizabeth Marchant being illiterate. Elizabeth Marchant was a widow whose husband died in an accident while working on the railways, she lived close to Abraham & Elizabeth and possibly worked as a housekeeper for them.

Elizabeth died of “paralysis justified” and Abraham died of pneumonia and they lie buried together in St. Peter & Paul’s Churchyard. Their headstone is inscribed:

Sacred
to the memory of
Abraham Pridmore
Who died Mar 20: 1867
Aged 77 years
Also Elizabeth his wife
Who died Jan 6: 1866
Aged 76 years
And of Sarah Randall
Granddaughter of the above
Who died Nov 15: 1863

Abraham & Elizabeth were the parents of fourteen children. Four of the sons (Thomas, William, Abraham, and Edward) made their way to America:

1. Thomas Pridmore, born 9 September 1811 in Brigstock, died 23 July 1890 in North Bergen (Genesee) New York. He married (as his first wife) 31 October 1842 in Canterbury (Windham) Connecticut, Jerusha Smith, who was born 20 March 1814 in Canterbury, and died 12 October 1851 in Clarendon (Orleans) New York, daughter of Ichabod and Actisah (Allen) Smith. Thomas married (as his second wife) 24 November 1852 in North Bergen, Mary Ann Grieve, who was born 25 October in England, and died 14 August 1885 in North Bergen, daughter of Stephen and Ann (Baker) Grieve.

An obituary for Thomas appeared in The Batavian in 1890:

Thomas Pridmore, Sr., died Last Wednesday (ed. July 23, 1890) about 4 p.m. For several years he has been in delicate health. He came to this country from Northamptonshire, England, when 22 years of age. He was twice married and was the survivor of both of his wives. Five children survive him: Chauncey, of Holley; Charles of Colorado; Frank of North Byron; and Thomas and Luella of North Bergen. He was in his 79th year. The funeral was held at the church last Saturday at 1 p.m. The interment was at the Root schoolhouse cemetery.

2. Mary Pridmore, born 1812 in Thorpe Satchville (Leicestershire) England, died 3 August 1858 in Freeby (Leicestershire) England. She married 26 December 1831 in St. Michael’s Church in Thorpe Satchville, Joseph Morris, an agricultural laborer who was born 1810 in Freeby, and died there 9 September 1887.

3. Christina Pridmore, born 1814 in Thorpe Satchville, died 3 December 1855 in Syston. She was a servant and married 24 January 1845 in St. Michael’s Church in Thorpe Satchville, George Randall, a publican, inn keeper, and licensed victualler, who was born in 1811 in Milby (Norfolk) England, and died in Syston 18 February 1878, son of James Randall.

4. William Pridmore (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather), born before 23 April 1815 in Thorpe Satchville (Leicestershire) England. He was baptized in Thorpe Satchville in St. Michael’s Church on 23 April 1815. He married (as his first wife) 13 October 1835 in St. Luke’s Church, Gaddesby, Mary Anne Smith, who was born in Gaddesby, and probably died there before William married again. William & Mary were the parents of a son. William married (as his second wife) 16 August 1838 in St. Luke’s Church, Gaddesby (Leicestershire) England, Ann Sturgess (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandmother), who was born in 1814 in Gaddesby, daughter of William Sturgess. William & Ann were the parents of six children. All of William’s children were born in England, and he worked both in England and America as a blacksmith. At the time of her marriage, Ann was employed as a servant. The time and place of Ann’s death are unknown. It seems possible that she may have died in England before William came to America in 1857(?) with their children, or perhaps she may have died at sea, because no mention is made of her or the youngest son, Thomas, in family accounts here. There is some mystery surrounding William – a family story says that he went to Chicago on a business trip and was never heard from again, and there is some evidence that he went to South Bend, Indiana with son George in 1875.

5. George Pridmore, born 1816 in Thorpe Satchville, died 16 April 1870 in Syston. He was a blacksmith, machinist, and mechanic and married 4 November 1855 in St. Peter & Paul’s Church in Syston, Mary Jane Dyball, a shopkeeper and dressmaker who was born 1828 in Hanford (Northamptonshire) England, and died 4 April 1888 in Syston.

6. Reuben Pridmore, born 1818 in Thorpe Satchville, died there 7 January 1842, age 24. He was a soldier and married 20 February 1840 in St. Pancras Church, London, England, Caroline Ward.

7. Sarah Pridmore, born 1819 in Thorpe Satchville. She married (as her first husband) 14 September 1846 in St. Peter & Paul’s Church in Syston, Robert Pickard, a husbandman and agricultural laborer, who was born 1816 in Syston and died there 19 December 1853, age 37. Sarah married (as her second husband) 14 October 1856 in The Parish Church, Great Yarmouth (Norfolk) England, George Randall, widower of her sister, Christiana (Pridmore) Randall.

According to Gillian and Gabrielle Rohowsky:

Sarah’s second marriage to George Randall was illegal because he was her brother-in-law, (previously married to her late sister Christiana). Because an act of parliament between 1835-1907 made such unions illegal and incestuous, attempts to change the law started in 1842 with the ‘Wife’s Sisters Bill’ which was put before parliament annually for 65 years until it was finally passed. Maybe this accounts for the fact that they married outside the district in Norfolk, but they later returned to Syston. Obviously Abraham did not object to the union, considering the contents of his will, he certainly held George Randall in high regard.

8. Abraham Pridmore, born 1821 in Thorpe Satchville, died 21 April 1878 in South Bend (St. Joseph) Indiana. He was a blacksmith and married Anna Sheehan/Scheehan, who was born 18 April 1834 in (Cork) Ireland, and died 28 April 1913 in South Bend.

Indiana Naturalization Records, Abraham Pridmore, Tippecanoe County, IN, Circuit Court, Volume 21, Page 536, Years 60:

To the Judge of the Tippecanoe Circuit in the State of Indiana, Abraham Pridmore, being an alien and a free white person, makes the following report of himself: upon his solemn oath declares that he is aged 31 years; that he was born in England that he emigrated from Liverpool in the year 1851 that he arrived in the United States at the City of New York on 17 July 1851 that he owes allegiance to Queen Victoria and that it is bona fide his intention to become a citizen of the United States and to renounce forever allegiance and fidelity any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatsoever. 6 November 1860.

9. Elizabeth Pridmore, born 1822 in Thorpe Satchville. She married 12 May 1851 in St. Michael’s Church in Thorpe Satchville, her first cousin, William March, a carpenter who was born 1828 in Brigstock, son of Daniel Blott and Esther (Pridmore) March.

10. Priscilla Pridmore, born 1825 in Thorpe Satchville, died there 1 July 1838, age 13.

11. John Pridmore, born 1826 in Thorpe Satchville.

12. Charlotte Pridmore, born 1828 in Thorpe Satchville, died 9 November 1896 in The Union Workhouse, Lincoln, England. She was a servant and married (as her first husband) 26 November 1849 in St. Michael’s Church, Thorpe Satchville, William Atkinson, who was born 1828 in Belgrade (Leicestershire) England. Charlotte had a relationship with George Hind, a groom who was born 1811 in Warsop (Nottinghamshire) England, and died 29 May 1897 in Lincoln. Charlotte married (as her second husband) 11 August 1880 in The Register Office, Lincoln, John Thompson, an engine fitter who was born 1820 and died November 1893 in Knight’s Place, Lincoln.

According to Gillian and Gabrielle Rohowsky:

Between the 1851 and 1861 census returns we have no information of Charlotte’s whereabouts. On the 1861 census she was in Lincoln under the name of Charlotte Hind, living with George Hind and their baby son Charles. On the 1871 census she was still in Lincoln, called Charlotte Hind, living with George and their 5 children. We are doubtful that Charlotte and George ever married, we have found no evidence but often people altered the facts to suit circumstances, possibly George was already married because he was 17 years older that Charlotte. If they had married Charlotte would have been a bigamist because George did not die until 1897. [after she married John Thompson]

It was always said within the family that Charlotte was a black sheep, who was disowned by her family, lack of communication between family could account for the fact that she classed Abraham as a blacksmith [on her 1880 marriage record], whereas he had long since been referred to as a machinist/machine maker, or maybe this was purely because of Charlotte’s lack of education, this could be said for her stating that her father was deceased, maybe she just presumed this because he would have been over 90 years old.

13. Eliza Pridmore, born 1829 in Thorpe Satchville, died there 27 July 1841, age 12.

14. Edward Pridmore, born 29 June 1831 in Thorpe Satchville, died 4 March 1910 in Batavia (Genesee) New York. He was a blacksmith and married (as his first wife) 28 November 1850 in St. Michael’s Church, Thorpe Satchville, Jane Marshall, a servant who was born in 1828 in Ashwell (Rutland) England, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Hinman) Marshall. After their marriage Jane & Edward left for America from Liverpool on the Cumberland, arriving in New York on 18 June 1852. Edward married (as his second wife) 11 January 1887 in Batavia, Eliza B. Ware, daughter of T. B. Ware.

An obituary for Edward, in possession of Delorma (Rodgers) Morton, reads:

Inventor of Harvesting Machinery Dead at His Home in Batavia

After an illness of several years with heart disease and complications Edward Pridmore, one of Batavia’s well-known citizens, died at his home at No. 532 East Main street at 2:20 o’clock this morning. Mr Pridmore had not been confined to the house all of the time of his illness, but had not been in good health.

Mr Pridmore was born at Thorp, Satchville, Eng, on June 29, 1831. He spent his boyhood working in his father’s machine shop, where he developed that taste for mechanics and that inventive genius which were so prominent in his after life. At the age of 21 Mr Pridmore came to America and soon afterward entered the employment at Brockport of Ganson & Co, a firm which later became the Johnston Harvester Company of Brockport and now of Batavia. He remained in the employ of the company until the time of his death, a period of over half a century. He was a skilled mechanic and invented a number of improvements and appliances which were afterward used by the harvester company. His inventive work aided largely in perfecting the harvesting machines and he received individual diplomas of honorable mention from the Chicago world’s fair and the St Louis exposition.

Mr Pridmore was twice married. His first wife was Jane Marshall of England, whom he wedded in 1850. By her he had three children, Elizabeth, widow of Homer M Johnston; John W Pridmore and the late Henry E Pridmore, all of Chicago. In 1887 he married Miss Eliza Ware of Batavia, who with two daughters, Fannie and Esther, survives him. He also leaves eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, all of whom live in Chicago.

In politics Mr Pridmore was always a Republican. For many years he had been a Baptist and was a member of the First Baptist church of Batavia at the time of his death. Mr Pridmore’s life illustrated the good old English virtues of honesty, thrift and generosity. Although he always lived without ostentation many friends and neighbors recall his kindly words of advice and of material help in their times of need. His integrity of character was above question and his business judgment sound. His death is a great loss to the business interests to which he gave so many years of faithful service and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

frozen

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2.16.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

These pictures were taken along the east side of the Thames River, looking south. The meteorologists are reporting that if this deep freeze continues, this will soon be the coldest month ever recorded in Connecticut. If this is what climate change will be bringing us, I think we will need to invest in some serious fleece lined boots. More snow due tomorrow and still more on the weekend.

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2.16.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Notice the chunk of ice in the water behind this duck. He seems to be doing better than the gulls, but where is the rest of his flock?

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frozen waves stick to the riverbank ~ 2.16.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Every once in a while, Mr. Logic (Tim) and I will have a brief discussion about poetry. I’m for it, he’s against it, and we agree to disagree. He says it doesn’t make any sense to him. But the other day I was browsing through my Emily Dickinson book and thought perhaps Tim might “get” this one. Read it to him, and wonder of all wonders, he said it made sense to him! I so enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime moment.

“Faith” is a fine invention
For Gentlemen who see!
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency!
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #202)

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2.16.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

After this we headed over to Mystic. More pictures soon…

human inventions

“The Reader (Young Woman Reading a Book)” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) French Impressionist Painter
“The Reader (Young Woman Reading a Book)” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
~ Carl Sagan
(Cosmos: The Persistence of Memory)

science, mystery, wonder

zebras by Gary M. Stolz
zebras by Gary M. Stolz

Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and reinvigorate it. … I love science, and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awed by nature.
~ Robert Sapolsky
(Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers)

a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam

My next post was supposed to be about furniture arrangements and home decorating, but I’ve stalled big time. I’m hoping this week will be more productive as many things are sliding here on the home-front. Had a very annoyingly busy week and then when the time finally came to get back to finish moving the furniture I became glued to the TV, trying to comprehend all that was and still is happening in Japan. Sometimes the mundane things in life start to feel pointless. But then I guess that’s the horror of it, so many people with their lives interrupted or cut short – it’s overwhelming to try to take in… I don’t know anyone there, but I know that each life lost was the most important person in the world to somebody, and for them my heart breaks.

“Japan’s recent massive earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded, appears to have moved the island by about eight feet (2.4 meters), the US Geological Survey said.”

“The quake probably shifted the position of Earth’s axis about 6.5 inches, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge.”

These numbers boggle my mind. In one sense we’re safely spinning through space on our relatively little blue spaceship, but when the planet starts readjusting itself it abruptly reminds us of how precious this life is, and how precarious in the grand scheme of things, whatever that scheme ultimately proves to be.

I feel something like a Who on the speck of dust in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who! “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” We feel so very small in the face of this. Such a pale little blue dot, our earth. But such a cataclysmic upheaval of our big beautiful and often frightening planet.

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
~ Carl Sagan
(Pale Blue Dot)

As I’m writing this some of the lyrics of Pig, one of Dave Matthews’ older songs, one of my favorites, come back to me with added poignancy:

Isn’t it strange
How we move our lives for another day
Like skipping a beat
What if a great wave should
Wash us all away
Just thinking out loud
Don’t mean to dwell on this dying thing
But looking at blood
It’s alive right now
Deep and sweet within
Pouring through our veins
Intoxicate moving wine to tears
Drinking it deep
Then an evening spent dancing
It’s you and me
This love will open our world
From the dark side we can see a glow of something bright
There’s much more than we see here
Don’t burn the day away
~ Dave Matthews
♫ (Pig) ♫

All we have is this moment.  Let us not burn our days away…

strong, lusty farmer

7.11.10 ~ Eastern Point
7.11.10 ~ Eastern Point

As another batch of strong thunderstorms pass through Connecticut this evening I’ve got a bit of time to post another death by lightning account. I know the subject doesn’t match the pictures, but I have no pictures of Elmer, and I have no words for the pictures, except for a caption. The pictures were taken on July 11, a lovely sparkling evening to be near or on the water.

7.11.10 ~ Eastern Point
7.11.10 ~ Eastern Point

When I married Tim I was thrilled to be given a copy of the autobiography of his great-grandfather, Charles Amos Hamilton. Charles was born when his mother was 47 years old, and she died when he was three weeks old. He had an 18-year-old sister, Addie, and a 26-year-old brother, Elmer. The following account of Elmer’s death was written many years later by his little brother, Charles, who was 4 years old when it happened:

One of my most vivid recollections of this period is the death by a stroke of lightning on July 20th, 1870, of my only brother, Elmer Alonzo. He was my father’s first born, and had grown up into a strong, lusty farmer. He and father were more like brothers than like father and son. He was very fond of his little brother, and used to romp with me and at times good naturedly teased me. To me, there was no one in the world like Elmer. After dinner, on the day of his death, as he was starting for the hay field, I begged him to take me with him, but, as a thunder storm was looming in the west, he told me I couldn’t go. He went alone to the hay field, cocked hay until the storm came up, and a bolt of lightning ended his activities forever. His body was not discovered until the next forenoon, all covered with hay. His untimely death was a terrible blow to the entire family.

Several years ago we took a trip to western New York state to do some research on the Hamilton family. I found an article in the archives of a newspaper, Cuba True Patriot, 22 July 1870, Vol 9, No 4. The reporter got his age wrong, Elmer was actually 29 when he died:

Killed by Lightning.  On Wednesday last, Mr. Elmer Hamilton, son of Charles Hamilton, residing on Keller Hill, in this town was killed by lightning. The particulars as near as we have been able to learn them, are as follows. Just before the terrible thunder-storm of Wednesday Mr. Hamilton went over to his father’s farm, adjoining his own, and just across the Hinsdale town line, to grind his machine knives and repair his mower. Towards night as he did not return his relatives began to wonder at his long absence, and a search was instituted. They looked in every place where it might be possible he might be found, but failed to find him. A large number of neighbors were informed, who searched diligently for the missing man till about 2 o’clock A. M., when the hunt was given up till morning. Thursday morning the body of Mr. Hamilton was found, partly screened by a haycock. By his side, and protruding from the cock of hay was his pitchfork, with the tine end sticking out. Close by was his hat, which led to his discovery. One side of the head was scorched almost to a crisp, plainly indicating the cause of his death. It is supposed that Mr. Hamilton crept under the hay-cock to protect himself from the severe storm, and that the lightning struck the fork which he held in his hand. Mr. Hamilton was about 21 years of age, and a young man generally esteemed by all who knew him.

Very sad and very sobering. According to the National Weather Service Lightning Safety website, in the United States, “an average of 58 people are killed each year by lightning. To date, there have been 15 lightning deaths in 2010.” Our local weatherman advises that if you can hear thunder or see lightning, then the storm is close enough for lightning to strike you.

Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod in 1752. Too late to have helped the folks in Marshfield in 1666. Perhaps by 1870 they were on most homes, but I wonder about barns… It’s good to have a healthy respect for thunderstorms and they are exciting to watch and listen to. But let’s all stay indoors or in our cars!

7.11.10 ~ Eastern Point
7.11.10 ~ Eastern Point