Saturday, February 8, 2014

Charles Gaisford from Hilperton, U. K.

Hilperton is a village in the County of Wiltshire in southwestern England.  It's about 110 miles west of London and only about 25 miles northwest of Stonehenge.  My Great Great Grandfather Charles Gaisford was born in or near Hilperton on January 26, 1842. 

In 2001, I connected with a descendant of Charles' sister Hannah, Cindy Pickard.  She shared with me some Gaisford family history.  Charles' parents were James and Anna (Rich) Gaisford.  Six children were born to James and Anna before they came to the U.S. in about 1855, then a couple more in Rhode Island.

The children of James and Anna were:
  1. Emma Jane  (1840-1915)
  2. Charles Henry  (1842-1920)
  3. James  (1845-1909)
  4. Hannah  (1847-1918)
  5. William  (1850-1827)
  6. Anna  (1854-1913)
  7. Samuel  (1857-1921)
  8. Jean  (1860 - ?)
Back in the day before census records were available to search online, I had to either inter-library loan microfilm, or request lookups from others.  In March 2004, I posted a request on the Rootsweb Mailing list for Providence county, Rhode Island for the 1860 census showing James Gaisford, listing his family members by name.  My request was answered the same day!  It would have taken me a long time to find them in a search at Ancestry or Heritage Quest since they were listed by the name "Gaskill".   They were in Burrillville, Rhode Island, James was a "cloth finisher".  The family moved to Minonk, Illinois in about 1868. 

In 1860, Charles was 19, living with his parents in Burrillville, working as a weaver.  His marriage record in 1867 shows his residence as Putnam, Connecticut, so it looks like he had gone out on his own, moved to Putnam and was making his living as a spindle maker. You can see a copy of the marriage record here.

After their marriage, Charles & Henrietta moved to La Salle County, Illinois about 1868 where he took up farming.  Charles became a Naturalized citizen in Woodford County in 1872.  In about 1876, they moved to Nebraska, first to Ellis in Gage County then filing a homestead claim in Jefferson County.  One of my goals this year is to take a vacation day and get to two or three county courthouses and look for homestead records.  If you have a homesteader story to tell, the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice is collecting them.  

Beatrice Daily Sun, February 4, 1903

This article from the Beatrice Daily Sun tells me two things:  1) that Charles did all right financially and 2) the reason for Charles Jr's move to Oklahoma.  Interesting coincidence - Charles Jr moved from Ellis in Gage County, Nebraska to Gage in Ellis County, Oklahoma. 

From the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota website, the 1920 census Instructions to Enumerators were:
 "Column 5. Name of each person enumerated.-Enter the name of every person whose usual place of abode on January 1, 1920, was with the family or in the dwelling place for which the enumeration is being made."
The Gaisford household was enumerated on February 4th, just two weeks after Charles' death on January 20, 1920.  He is listed as head of household with Henrietta and their daughter Mary ("Maime").  

Charles left the English countryside at about age 13, lived and worked in eastern cities for a while, then left there to help settle the west.  The Gaisford family was the first of my ancestors to settle here in Nebraska.  The state was 9 years old.

Charles Gaisford

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