Thursday, 21 January 2016

#4 Charles Holland Sheaf - A Long Way from Home.

Not all our Sheaf ancestors stayed in the Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire area of England. Some ventured much further afield to other outposts of the Empire. One such traveller was Great Aunt Lou's older brother Charles Holland Sheaf.

Charles was born in the Cleeve Prior area in 1829, the third last child of William Harbidge Sheaf and Mary Tomes Holland. He was baptised in the August of that year at Welford on Avon.

Our next record of Charles is in the first English census in 1841. He is living at home on the family farm at Bickmarsh. His father was by this time dead so I guess that Charles would have been required to help out, along side his older brothers. It is unlikely that at 12 years old he would still have been attending school.

At some stage in the next 10 years Charles took the huge step of moving away from home and family. I don't know what prompted him to leave England, what route he took or even when he actually went; but I do know that he ended up in Wellington, South Africa. Today, Wellington is the centre of a prosperous fruit and wine growing region about 75 km from Cape Town; but in the 1850s I imagine it was pretty much a frontier town on the edges of the British Empire.  It was here that he died in 1851.

According to the documentation of his death, he was working as a police constable at Wellington. At only 22 years and 4 months, about 10 000 km from his home and family, he died alone in " a hired chamber near the lock up house at Wellington. His only possessions were "his clothes, a stretcher and mattress, a chair and one month's pay £3. "

Whether the news of his death eventually made it home or not I don't know. Certainly the document of his death accurately shows his parents' names and his place of birth, but by 1851 both his parents were already dead. Such a lonely way for a young life to end.

1 comment:

  1. It really was a tougher and more adventurous life back then, for some at least.