Charles Higgins, aged 38, born of Bredon, 1815, Worcestershire. An Agricultural Labourer like his father Richard Higgins(born, bred and buried in Bredon 1782 – 1865). How one feels for the folk waving goodbye, knowing they will never see the little family again, and grow, part of their lives and community.
Charles and Angelina would have caught a coach to Liverpool Port, start of a very long journey, knowing it was make or break time.
Angeline Higgins(nee Stratford)aged 34, also of Bredon, had two young children to mind. They had been living with Charles father, Richard, a widower, according to the 1851 Census at Waterloo Cottage, Tewkesbury Rd. Bredon.
Their first child was Samuel Charles Higgins, born in Bredon on 15 March 1848 and christened at Bredon Church on 21 January, 1849. His younger sister, Catharine Ann Higgins was born on 20 April 1850.
Why would this young family say goodbye, to move so far away. “For good” is the only answer, and why to Iowa in the United States of America?
Richard, the father’s second son, Frederick Higgins, born in Bredon 1820 is my 3rd Great Grandfather. He doesn’t emigrate, he makes his way to Belbroughton, 40 miles North.
The thirty one year old Agricultural Labourer finds lodgings with a family of Nail Makers – the Davenports. Not long after the daughter, Betty is pregnant and they wed on 25th December 1852 at the Holy Trinity Church.
It’s a shock to learn they live in The Gutter! but research shows that is a traditional name for an old track in the valley.
Betty gave birth to Richard’s second grandson in 1850 called William Higgins, and baptised in 1852. It’s not certain if the grandfather in Bredon knew how either of his sons were doing, as nobody could write their names, though they must have known how to measure their value in nails they made at the home forge.
At 79 years Richard Higgins found lodgings and had time to think. It would be unlikely that he would have suffered the tragic news of his first grandson, Samuel’s death on ship, and buried in the Atlantic ocean, aged five years.
By the time Charles and Angleline set foot off the sailing ship onto the soil of America, found their place to settle in the farming state of Iowa, their daughter Catharine had married a young man from Kent, and they went on to deliver to their new country, ten babies who lived good, productive long lives, half of whom are still alive.
Richard Higgins could only imagine and never know for sure how things had worked out for his boys.
Richard had a third son, James born in 1826 at Bredon. In the 1841 Census he was 15 years, staying at The Royal Oak Hotel in Front Street, Bredon. Perhaps he met somebody who told him there would be better work gardening around the fancy houses around Droitwich Spa.
By 1845 he secured a job as a gardener at Barbourne Terrace in Claines and got to know a domestic servant called Anne Bradley who was born in Bredon too, and was ten years older.
They married at the Claines Church when he was 23 years. They were in service at Rigley Hall and their baby son was born in 1850. He was named Charles probably after his older brother who had gone to America.
Anne had gone home to Belbroughton, Bromsgrove for the birth, as she was worried about having her first child so late and wanted to be with her mother and female folk. After her lie-in, and the baby was Churched, she returned to Claines where her and James were in service.
Obviously little Charles grew to love gardening alongside his dad, and he may have been taught to read and write, then was given a position at 21 years as a gardener at a grand house in Surrey, where he was to meet and marry his wife Sarah Elizabeth.
Charles parents must have been proud in 1881 that he, Charles John Higgins had become Head Gardener for the Earl of Derby’s Lancashire Estate, and had a son, called Charles James Higgins born St. Michaels on Wyre 1878.
Richard had died in Bredon 1861 so missed out on the progress his son’s and grandsons had made.
His youngest son, Henry Higgins, born 1828 had worked with his dad until there wasn’t enough work to feed a growing lad, and he like his brothers had to decide where he was going to go for work. From the census he took a short route over the bridge to a farm in Boddington, Gloucestershire where he wed a young lass called Jane who was born at Stroud.
Little Henry Higgins was born soon after in 1849.
(copyright JM 2007-all rights reserved)