Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Little Sufferer

RMS Bavarian
Old newspapers are an important resource for the family historian as they provide "colour" to what otherwise might be a dry recitation of names and dates. As the volunteer Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for the North Devon parishes of St Giles in the Wood, High Bickington, Atherington, Tawstock and Yarnscombe, I have a particular interest in the historical issues of The North Devon Journal available online through The British Newspaper Archive.

While browsing through articles that mention Yarnscombe, I came across this piece:

North Devon Journal, Thursday, October 4, 1860

CAUTION TO MOTHERS.—On Saturday last, a melancholy occurrence took place at Yarnscombe. The wife of a man named Thomas Moore, residing at Delly, in the above parish, placed her infant child, a girl aged 5 months, into the cradle, in the kitchen. Shortly afterwards the mother had occasion to leave the house for a short time, and, during her absence, a large pig found its way into the kitchen where the child was sleeping, seized the infant by the right hand and dragged it from the cradle, crushing and fracturing the bones of the hand and arm, with fearful lacerations, and was only rescued just in time by the horror-stricken mother from further injuries. Doctor Jones and his assistant (Mr. Barr) were immediately in attendance, when it was found necessary at once to amputate one finger. It is doubtful whether the little sufferer will survive the injuries it received from this brutal attack.
Curious as to whether "the little sufferer" had survived the "melancholy occurrence," I checked the 1861 Census. Rebecca Moore, daughter of Thomas Moore and Harriet Hellings, was eleven months old and living with her parents and four siblings at East Delly. Her father was an agricultural labourer who later became a road contractor. Further research showed that Rebecca's mother died in 1874, and that in 1879 her father married Mary Ann Mansfield, a woman only nine years older than Rebecca. By 1881, Thomas had moved his family to the neighbouring parish of Alverdiscott where he continued working as a road contractor. Thomas died in 1915.

In 1882, Rebecca married Frank Braunton, an agricultural labourer from Huntshaw, Devon. Her son Francis John was born in 1883, her daughter Alice Gertrude in 1886, and her daughter Annie in 1891. They lived in Alverdiscott until 1905 when they emigrated to Canada on board the RMS Bavarian and settled in North Dorchester, Middlesex. Ontario. Frank died in 1929. Rebecca died at the age of 76 in 1932. Both were buried at Dorchester Union Cemetery, however, no grave marker exists.

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