I've reached the first of the Hugh's today, taking the writing journey deeper into the subject family and indisputable facts.Now's the time to find the as yet unpacked box I'd packed the research material from EDM Holmyard in when we moved and draw comparisons from this.
Hugh Holmyard Snr 1791 - 1869
Hugh Holmyard Snr was born in Exeter in Devon, England, in 1791. He was twenty-seven when his father was executed, a year marked by diverse events such as the Ashantees defeat of the British at Accra, West Africa, the first performance of Beethoven's ‘Missa Solemnis’ and the patenting of the first washing machine by Noah Cushing of Quebec. This year also saw the introduction of the first steam locomotive, J. W. Goodrich introduced rubber galoshes to the public and the Great North Holland Canal opened. Closer to Hugh’s country of birth, twelve year old Charles Dickens began working at Warren’s Blacking Warehouse on Hungerford Stairs, near the present Charing Cross railway station where he pasted labels on jars of shoe polish for six shillings a week. This paid for his lodgings and helped support his family after his own father was imprisoned in Marchelsea debtor’s prison. Much farther away, in the land that was to become another Hugh’s home, a penal colony was founded at Moreton Bay, now the city of Brisbane, New Holland was renamed Australia and explorers Hume and Hovell discovered the Murray River on their overland expedition to Port Phillip Bay.
In 1801, at the time of the first census, Exeter had a population of 20,000 and considered a large town of importance. However, towns and cities in the Midlands and the North soon overtook Exeter, by-passed by industrial revolution, and with the traditional industries of wool manufacture and tanning declining, it dwindled to being a quiet market town. An Improvement Commission was formed in 1810, with powers to pave, clean and light the streets of Exeter, much of the town remained dirty and unsanitary with appalling slums. It wasn’t until after the death of 440 people in the cholera epidemic in 1832 that a network of sewers was built in the town.
Hugh Holmyard Senior was a cordwainer (bootmaker) by trade, having served under two masters in Pensford before enlisting in the Royal Marines on 22 May 1815. From these records, we learn he was five feet five inches in height, with fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair and his face described as long. He served in Canada in what some American historians refer to as ‘Second War of Independence’, a 32-month military conflict between the United States and Great Britain, and its colonies and Indian allies in North America. The outcome resolved many issues which remained from the American War of Independence, but involved no boundary changes. The United States declared war in 1812 because of trade restrictions brought about by Britain's continuing war with France, the impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy, British support of American Indian tribes against American expansion, insults to national honour after humiliations on the high seas, and American interest in annexing British North American territory (part of modern day Canada) which had been denied to them in the settlement ending the American Revolutionary War. [i]