Tag Archives: accident

Andrew Pender and the Tinker’s Tent

 

This is a group of tinkers photographed in Fife early in the 20th Century.

The dictionary tells us that a tinker is

1.  A travelling mender of metal household utensils

2. Chiefly British    A member of any of various traditionally itinerant groups of people living especially in Scotland and Ireland; a traveller

And as itinerant is the key word for this week’s Sepia Sautrday the definition of tinker allows me to segue into a letter written by William Pender to his son Glaud in Australia in 1855.

We met Glaud Pender when he was proposing a toast to the Duke of Edinburgh  But Glaud had been in Australia since 1852.  Many years ago a distant cousin allowed me to transcribe this letter  from Glaud’s father which  at times is  difficult to follow as you will see.

William Pender lived at Knowes Farm near Fauldhouse in Linlithgow  (West Lothian) which is south of the road from Edinburgh to Glascow.  The letter  begins with a description of an accident involving a tinker suffered by Glaud’s younger brother, Andrew.

__________________________________________________________________Knowes  Janry 12th 1855

Dear Glaud,
I Embrace the opertunity of sending A letter with Euphimia Brown in hope of you Receiving it This is the 6 I have  sent    I am Sorry to inform you Andrew has met with an accident
but I am Glad to Say that he is geting better He went away to go to Airdrie on the 6th of Janry and the mare shyed at A tynkers tent west from leadloch Cntry  wheeled round and upset the Cart right on his throat The tinkers had Come and taking him from under it laid him down for dead ran off and left all    They met 2 Engineers and told them there was A man lying on the roadside nearby kiled to run and give the Alarm   They ran East to the den and A great many Came west but he was so disfigured they Could not know him til Wm Greenhorn came up with his Carts put him in one of his Carts and brought him home He lay About an hour in it Cold wet morning before any person Came to his Asistance the mare lying all the while under the Cart He has A Cut in one of his Cheeks 1 of his teeth brock and 2 loosed but had the tinkers not Come direct to his Asistance he could not  have lived 10 minutes.

***  Note :    Leadloch and Airdrie are to the west of Fauldhouse.  Andrew was sixteen years old and apparently still living at home.  Not all tinkers had the covered wagons to live in.  For some their tent was separate to their cart and this may have been the case in Andrew’s accident.   The cart referred to in the letter was Andrew’s cart which fell on him as his horse shied.

The letter then goes on to talk of Glaud’s other brothers and some local people.

David was here and went Away the day before Andw got hirt     he has been working at Muselburgh  this 4 months.      Robt has got married on Jane Forrest    he has got A daughter.  Yur cousin Wm Storry (of) Northfield died of fever in Septr last.   Sir W Bailee is dead .    John Bishops Son (at) halfway house  dropt down dead at his breakfast on Wednesday the 10th Janry       Mr Griffin is very poorly      he is not keeping the School      John Thomson has left him     he is keeping A School at Lesmahagow  he is geting A good School and Mr Griffin has A young man from Harthill  keeping the school for him

***  Note:  David and Robert as well as Andrew are also younger brothers of Glaud. David also migrated to Australia later on.    The letter mentions Sir W. Baillie and John Bishop.  John Bishop was farm overseer to the Baillie family on their nearby  Polkemmet estate     It is of  interest to the Pender family as John Bishop’s daughter Helen was married to Glaud’s cousin James Pender, and Helen’s mother was Elizabeth Burns, the eldest and illegitmate child of the poet Robert Burns.  Burns called Elizabeth his “dear bocht Bess “

 “Lord grant that thou may ay inherit
Thy mither’s looks an’ gracefu’ merit;
An’ thy poor, worthless daddy’s spirit,
Without his failins, “

William continues –

Trade has been very good this some time here and wages pretty high T   he farm has paid well this 2 years but I had the misfortune to lose A good horse last year of lockjaw I have not seen any of your friends in Whitburn this 2 weeks but they are all in good health Robert Bayton has been out of work this some time but he is back to Mrs Smith Again     Whitburn is A sturing place now there is a great deal of work going on About Capers       they have got A  Railway in to it from Bathgate    They have got an Exelint cheam of Ironston  East from Whitburn on Sir Wm’s land at Burnbrae and also plenty of good Coal.   James McCulloch is very poorly he has not wrought any this 10 months     Your mothers neck is A great deal more Swoln Since you left Scotland      We ar all very Anxious to hear from you      I think there has been 6 or 7 letters Sent away Since July last       Dr Mitchell is often Enquiring about you

I Supose you will hear as much about the  war in the East as we do here    T hey ar in A bad State It is reported here that word has Come to Edinburgh on the 11 that Nicoles had given in .   If you have the good fortune to Receive this be Sure and write Soon after I am still in the hope of Seeing you in Scotland yet         I had a letter from Jas lately.   They ar all well     our friends are all in health as far as I know.  Hoping this will find you all Enjoying the Same blessing.  Give our kind love to Grace and Mary Ann

I Remain Dear Glaud
Your Affectionate father
Wm Pender

*** Note :  Crimean War. This is about 6 weeks after the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. He is possibly refering to Nicholas I, emperor of Russia .  Grace is Glaud’s wife and Mary Ann his daughter.    Glaud’s father was to live for another 22 years but he never saw his son again.

William’s writing may lack punctuation and he has a creative way of placing capital letters,  In this transcript I have added a few more capitals for some of the place names.   He certainly manages to  touch on a wide range of topics – – Andrew’s accident, family and local news, economic and international news.  I doubt that I could do as well today even using a laptop in place of  a steel nib pen and a container of ink.  Thank you gggg grandpa William.

Further connections with the word itinerant can be found on Sepia Saturday

 
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Danger on the Roads

Danger – always present in varying degrees but rarely thought about.

Being alive is dangerous

Crossing the road is dangerous

Driving a car is dangerous

And a hundred years ago driving a horse and buggy could be dangerous.

Here is  a photo taken on the occasion of the wedding of Garnet Waldemar Fricke and Ida Kirk at Maryborough in 1923.  There was someone missing from the wedding.

The wedding of Garnet Fricke and Ida Kirk at Maryborough in 1923

The wedding of Garnett Fricke and Ida Kirk at Maryborough in 1923

The bridegroom, Waldemar Garnett Fricke  ( 1881-1940) was the baby of his family and the eldest of the family had been a brother Charles Frederick Henry Fricke, born in 1865.

But one day in October 1911 Henry was trotting along  Bucknall Street in Carisbrook , in Central Victoria, driving his horse and buggy with Mr Bruhn, a former Mayor and a butcher, as his passenger,  Garnett was a farmer and the pair of them had been visiting Mr Bruhn’s farm.  They came to a railway crossing which was about 100 yards from the Railway Station and were looking at the Melbourne bound train which was standing at the station. But they failed to notice that the train from Melbourne, travelling in the opposite direction, was nearly upon them until it was too late.

Newspaper reports tell how the train crashed into them.  Bruhn was thrown over the fence of the railway line and was cut about the face and bruised on the chest.  Henry was thrown under the train and had his legs nearly severed.  He died a few hours later after having been taken to the Maryborough Hospital.

A prze winning horse and buggy from the State Library of South Australia

A pr1ze winning horse and buggy from the State Library of South Australia

This is an example of a four wheeled buggy used in Australia

In November the coroner  heard from witnesses who gave conflicting evidence about the train’s whisle being sounded.  He brought in a verdict of death by the culpable neglect of the driver and the fireman  who were charged with manslaughter and  were sent for trial.

Then in December  a Nolle Prosequi was issued, i.e. the case of manslaughter would not go ahead possibly because of the difficulty of proving the case.  I believe this is not the same as an acquittal and the case could have been re-opened in the future.

The now unusee Carisbrook Railway station as seen from near the Nucknall St crossing.

The now unused Carisbrook Railway station as seen from near the Bucknall St crossing.

You can see how it was a single line track but originally there was a short piece of parallel track so that two trains could pass.  On the day of the accident one train was in the station waiting for the other to pass.

Another view of the station platform but this time looking towards Bucknall St

Another view of the station platform but this time looking towards the Bucknall St  crossing.

A Goole Map showing the raiway line running from bottom letft to top right and crossed by Bucknall  St to the right of the image.

A Google Map showing the railway line running from bottom left to top right and crossed by Bucknall St to the right of the image.

You can see the two railway buildings, one each side of the line, towards the bottom left of the image.  The platform is the upper building.

 

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A cautionary tale for any era.   Don’t allow yourself to be distracted when driving. It’s too dangerous.

Now I’m off to see who else has been living dangerously in the danger-themed week at Sepia Saturday

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