Ellen Maki, Ph.D.

JJ Rowe Diary: 16 Feb 1889

Introduction

Day 6 of Joseph’s voyage saw Pollie going ashore in Malta for groceries. The troopship pulled up anchor and continued on its journey, but it was lashed by a hurricane.

The Diary Entry

16.2.89 Saturday

Fine morning. Arose early. Took Pollie. got water, to wash baby. Had breakfast.

Pollie went on ashore & went to market. Brought back milk & cheese, which I am very fond of, some eggs, oranges, nuts, bacon & sausages, I was nevise [sic] time she went. Boy good, drank a whole bottle of milk while she was away & had fresh beef for dinner. Very good.

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Introduction

By mid-day on 15 February, which was the fifth day of travel, Joseph’s troopship had reached Malta, and had travelled a distance of 1,145 nautical miles from Gibraltar. The ship took on supplies, including fuel and food.

The Diary Entry

15.2.89 Friday

Fine morning. Rose at 6 am. Went in to see Pollie. She was in the wash-house. Took her some hot water & She stiped him & gave him a nice comfortable wash.

Had a good breakfast of eggs which I boiled, & went on deck. It rain at little but, not for long. Sighted land, all the way.

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Introduction

This is the fourth day of travel en route by ship from Gibraltar to India. Joseph paints a picture of life aboard the troopship with details of bathing, meals, safety drills, and entertainment.

The Diary Entry

14.2.89

A bright morning, not so rough. Slept till six thirty. Got up, roll up my hammock & cleaned my boots & had a wash, which is a very hard thing to get on a Trooper, especially in fresh water as I had this morning.

Went in to see Pollie, she was up, & in wash-house, washing baby.

Sickness gone, had a got breakfast which both of us enjoyed, off ham, as we where thoughtful enough to bring a whole ham with us, which I cooked in the cook-house, & a whole Dutch cheese & some braion thanks to Pollies economy in house keeping.

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Introduction

The troopship carrying Joseph and his fellow soldiers continued to sail eastward through the Mediterranean Sea, with the north coast of Africa sighted. It was not a good day for Joseph, however. There was insubordination, snow, ongoing sea sickness, and to top it all off, a hammock mishap.

The Diary Entry

13.2.89

At 4 Am, a Petty Officers & called for the watch. Then I mustered them. There was about 40 of them out of the 100 which should have been there. I reported it to the Officer of the watch & he told me to tell the bugler to sound the watch call, but there was only a Sergt, a Corprl, & one or two turn out.

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Introduction

For those with a love of being on the water, today’s diary entry paints a picture of adventure, albeit it a small one. There is rough weather in the Alboran Sea, some sea sickness, and a thorough drenching.

The Diary Entry

12.2.89

Arose at 5 am, rolled up my hammock & went up on deck & had a wash as we are not allowed in the womans quarters till 7 am. Just as I was going in, I was told Pollie was on deck, so I went up on deck & their she sit the only woman on deck. It was a fine morning but rather rough, & Pollie would not go below, but remained on deck all day.

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Diary of JJ Rowe, 1889

In a previous post, I wrote about my great-granduncle, Joseph James Rowe, and his time with the British army in Gibraltar, India, and Rangoon, from 1883 until his death in 1923. After writing that post, I was contacted by Joseph’s great-granddaughter, Marion Bowles, who kindly provided me with a copy of a journal that Joseph had kept during the 5-week period from 10 February to 20 March 1889.

Joseph’s journal is a personal one, rather than a formal army diary, and through it, Joseph provides us with insights into army life, the perils of travelling by sail, what he saw en route to, and in, India.

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JJ Rowe Diary: 11 Feb 1889

Introduction

The first entry in Joseph Rowe’s 5-week diary was made on 11 February 1889. He had been stationed in Gibraltar with the British army for just over a year, and it was here that his first child, also named Joseph, was born in 1888.

The diary begins on the day that Joseph and his fellow soldiers departed Gibraltar for India, the site of their next posting. Also travelling with Joseph were his wife, Pollie, and his 4-month old son. It is a nostalgic entry, looking back at his time in Gibraltar and the friends that he and Pollie were leaving behind.

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Charles John Smith, Marylebone Tailor (1822-1890)

Humble Beginnings

Charles John Smith was an older brother of my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Ann Smith. He was born 17 September 1822 in the small English parish of Hindolveston, Norfolk, to parents John Smith, a tailor, and Mary Shirley. On 29 October 1822, when he was six weeks old, Charles was baptised at the Independent (Congregational) Church of Briston and Guestwick. He was the fourth of ten children born to John and Mary.

After his baptism, the next record of Charles is on the 1841 census. He was enumerated in Hindolveston, living with his parents and younger siblings Isaac, Maria, Charlotte, and Francis.

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Illington, Norfolk: 1801 List of Inhabitants

Although national censuses of Britain were taken starting in 1801, personal names were not recorded until the decennial census of 1841. However, prior to 1841, some parishes made occasional lists of their inhabitants that sometimes included information beyond names. These can be useful for genealogical research prior to 1841.

The records for Illington, Norfolk include a list of inhabitants prepared in 1801. In addition to each person’s name, their sex was recorded. The names were grouped by family, and a note on the list indicates that there were 11 families living in 5 houses. In total, there were 71 persons living in Illington when the list was created.

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Elizabeth Clarke: Teething Death

Knowing that the infant mortality rate was higher in the nineteenth century than it is now does not make the discovery of a child’s death any easier. I am curious as to what my ancestors’ children died of, and I have previously blogged about 4-year-old Agnes Owen, who died from measles.

Elizabeth Clarke was born on 10 March 1866 in Palgrave, Suffolk.1 She was one of my grandfather’s older siblings, and she was the fourth child born to Benjamin Clarke, an agricultural labourer, and Mary Ann Warby Hunt. The couple had their daughter, Elizabeth, baptised at the parish church of Palgrave when she was about one month old, on 8 April 1866.

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