Wednesday, April 4, 2012

James and Ann MIMMS my 3x great grandparents

James MIMMS , born c1801, was the brother of John who I told you about yesterday. The situation for labouring families in Eynesbury had worsened in the previous nine years. By 1830 there was a severe agricultural depression. many were unemployed. John had, perhaps seen this depression coming. William Cobbett witnessed this unease up and down the country in 'Rural Rides'.

Two previous harvests had been very poor and 1830 looked to be no different. What made the difference and fuelled the unemployment was the adoption of threshing machines, This became the symbol of the labourers misery.  What followed was the greatest machine-breaking episodes in English history, and became known as the Swing Riots.

In the midst of this revolt, James MIMMS decided to leave his agricultural life behind him and seek his fortune in London,  as his elder brother had set out to do nine years earlier.  Perhaps he intended returning. We will never know. Presumably brother John had sent home letters with news of his alternative life selling fish.

James will have followed the Roman Great North Road towards London. Perhaps he walked some of the way, and sometimes managed to take a ride for some stretches. No doubt he slept in hedgerows. As he approached London he may have decided to visit John and Sarah in Hampstead. Again we will never know. What we do know is, that James continued into London, and in fact crossed the Thames to Southwark. This was the only ward of the City of London south of the river. James settled in Southwark St Thomas, marrying Ann WINFIELD there in 1833.

By 1841, James and Ann had a small family consisting of William, James and  Francis (future father of Margaret Wilhemina). James' occupation was a porter. In the following ten years, four more children were born (only one girl altogether). These were Thomas, Mary Ann, Benjamin and  John Henry WinfieldJames was now listed as an apprentice tin plate worker. They were, after all, living very close to the Thames, so undoubtedly there were opportunities for a variety of dock work, which kept many members of my family employed for another 70 odd years. We can follow his occupation through the baptisms of his seven children.  When he died a year after the 1851 census, his widow Ann described him as a cheesesmonger's warehouseman. James died of kidney failure on 11th June 1852. He was a patient in St Thomas's Hospital. However, the hospital unusually did not bury James. Somehow, Ann found the money to bury him privately in St Olave's Churchyard, Bermondsey, aged just 49.


SheilaMatilda said...

What hard lives some of our ancestors had. We find it hard to walk for a bus and they traveled miles over several days or weeks.

Twiggy said...

They had to work hard in those days. It was work or starve. It wasn't heard of to be claiming doll money and sitting around doing nothing then.
Also what large families everyone had.