Thursday, 31 August 2017

Annus Horribilis

Annus horribilis, a horrible year, when everything that could go wrong does and then it when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.   The only saving grace it normally does not last more than a year.  We all have had them and if you don't know what I am talking about,  count your blessings.

I came across some articles that by themselves are not great – but when you add them all together I think you will agree this Palin family had an annus horribilis.

John Palin was born in 1817 to James Palin and Sarah Plant in Sandbach.  In the 1841 census John is living with his parents and siblings and his occupation is shoemaker.

In 1843 John marries Martha Lowe and in 1845 they welcome their first child Henry.  A year later in 1846 Alfred is born.

In the 1851 census we find John is living in Sandbach with his wife and two boys and his occupation listed is cordwainer (shoemaker).  In 1853, the third son John is born.

In the 1861 census John’s occupation is now listed as bootmaker.  He is still living in Sandbach with his wife and two sons Henry and John.   Henry is listed as scholar - cripple.  Alfred is living close by as servant in another household.

So far, so good, right?   Seems like a typical family from back then.  Then the annus horribilis starts and we find the first article about Martha in the Northwich Guardian January 30, 1864.

Also in the same paper - her sentence is mentioned.

The next article is about Alfred in the Northwich Guardian September 17, 1864.

The next article is about John in the Northwich Guardian October 29, 1864.

Yup, I would say that 1864 was definitely not a great year for this family.  We have no way of knowing what did not make it into the papers, but I have a feeling that their lives that year was horrible!     It may have gotten a bit better for them after 1864, but I don't think life ever got really easy or comfortable.

In the1871 census Martha is listed as head of the house, bootmakers widow, Henry is a stone breaker and John is a wire worker.

In the 1881 census Martha is no longer living with her sons, she is living with an older woman and is listed as her nursemaid.  The sons, Henry and John are still living together, still in Sandbach and both unmarried.  Henry is listed as a general labourer and John’s occupation is wire drawer.

In the 1891 census, nothing has changed at all for Henry, age 46, and John, age 38, except now they are orphans..   Martha died in 1890.  The brothers are living on Union Street in Sandbach.

In 1898, John marries a widow and moves in with her 4 children and in the 1901 census we can see them all living together and John’s occupation is still wire drawer.

In the 1901 census Henry is still on Union Street in Sandbach and has rented out rooms, he is still unmarried and his occupation is stone breaker, road labourer.   The next thing we find for Henry is his death in the workhouse in 1909.

John, Emily and her children then drop off the face of the earth.  No confirmed records found for the 1911 census or even death records.

p.s. - I am still trying to find which James Palin married Sarah Plant.  If you have any idea, please email me and let me know!

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