Now the one-armed rag and bone man.
WHITCHURCH, BUCKS I had my first hint that my 2x great grandfather Thomas Dickens (1827-1894) had only one arm when I read in the village church records that a one handed boy named T. Dickens had won a ploughing contest. Fast forward to these two stories from the Buckinghamshire Herald. The first one is from 1854 and is quite amusing. It never ceases to amaze me as to what passed for "news" in the day.
The second story; not so jolly. Dated 1869 Thomas has at this point 8 of the 12 children he and his wife will eventually have. They live in poverty, the home he inherited from his grandfather, Jonathan Rickard - a well off baker and brewer in Whitchurch, is mortgaged beyond use. He has borrowed money which he cannot repay and his wife must go and plead their case.
Other articles at various times in the Herald mention that the family is quite possibly responsible for an outbreak of smallpox in the village, that Thomas has been negligent in sending his children to school and that his donkey has been roaming the Oving Road. The fine was waived because of their poverty and his "numerous" family.
It would be interesting to find out one day how Thomas lost his arm.
I think checking old newspapers for our ancestors is an amazing way to add "flesh" to the bones. Even if your ancestor wasn't a famous person there may be a mention of them for some reason.
British Newspaper Archive is a fantastic source for research.
#familyhistory #ragandboneman #dickensbutnotTHATdickens #historicalnewspapers #britishnewspaperarchive