|Ray Jerrems, Family Genealogist, Roving Reporter, Research Historian, and Explorer||
This article is part of a series of historical items written for the
Jerrems Journal. It concentrates on Gainsborough and the Jerrems
families who lived there, but it begins with the earlier families
who lived in the nearby village of Willingham-by-Stowe.
A total of four generations of Jerrems families (spanning over 140 years) lived in these two places, the particular significance of this being that most Jerrems readers trace back to those families.
Willingham-by-Stow (usually called Willingham) is a hamlet 6 miles south east of Gainsborough (map - east of Manchester). Its current composition of 2 pubs, a church, some shops and offices has probably not changed a lot (except for the offices) since the 1700s. In those days there would also have been a blacksmith’s smithy and possibly a cobbler. In 1895 the village and surrounding area had the quite small population of 406 people. One might surmise that its population in the 18th century was about half that figure.
Although 6 miles does not sound far in these days of motor cars, it was quite a distance to Gainsborough (the nearest main town) in those days. It was too far to walk to Gainsborough regularly, and there was no public transport so you needed to own a horse. It would therefore be safe to assume that Willingham village’s main role in the 18th Century was to service the day to day requirements of the local agricultural community. Shopkeepers and inn keepers etc, who normally owned horses and carts, would have brought supplies from Gainsborough.
William Jerom, who gave his children the surname of Jerrems, lived in Willingham, where his 4 children (a son and 3 daughters) were born and he and his wife Cecelia were buried. The 6 children (4 sons and 2 daughters) of his son William (born in 1752) were born there also. There are a lot of people called “William” in this article, so I will call the son "Bill". It is probable that Bill was a grocer in Willingham.
The other place of interest to us is Gainsborough, situated on flat land in the lower part of the RiverTrent in the county of Lincolnshire, in the north of England. The county call the son “Bill”. It is probable that Bill was a grocer in Willingham. is on the east coast. Gainsborough was a thriving town in the period involving the Jerrems families. One of its claims to fame is that Alfred the Great married there in 868. Its prosperity in the 18th-century can be seen by the many fine Georgian period buildings that still exist. In 1791 a stone bridge was built over the River Trent where the ferry had once crossed. When Bill and his family moved to Gainsborough its population stood at just under 2,000.
Employment, including shipbuilding, rope works, soap factories and farming, was wide and varied in Gainsborough until the latter part of the 19th-century, when engineering took over.
Bill had a son, born in 1782, named (you guessed it) William. I will call this William “Big Bill”, for reasons which will become apparent. It is possible that Big Bill’s older brother John was first in line to take over his father’s grocery shop in Willingham so Big Bill headed off to Gainsborough seeking fame and fortune.
Big Bill was quick off the mark in the commercial community in G. A 1805 town directory lists “Jerrems and Metcalfe” as Grocers and Tea Merchants. He was 23 at that time. This leads me to surmise that his father Bill had been a grocer in Willingham (which had a large enough population to support a grocer’s shop), whereby Big Bill had gained earlier experience in the retail trade working for his father. The fact that he set up business in G may also indicate that he worked there for a time and been assimilated into that community.
In 1811 Big Bill showed a high degree of initiative by issuing two silver shilling tokens which were redeemable at his store (a separate article describes these coins). He was also quick off the mark in other areas because he and his wife Elizabeth had 12 children (sadly 4 of them died at birth or in early childhood) between 1806 and 1824. Over a period of time he also bought a number of houses.
Some of Big Bill’s children later had families, the most notable being Thomas Clarke Jerrems and his wife Elizabeth, who also had 12 children. Most of the Jerrems families in Australia and the US trace directly back to this family. Two families of this magnitude gave a new meaning to the term “breeding like rabbits”. But I am jumping ahead.
Gainsborough had petitioned long and hard for a customs house to be set up in the town, but it was not until 1820 that this request was granted. This would have had a significant effect on the town because it would have boosted river trade and support industries. The captains and crews of ships and boats awaiting processing at the customs house, or having finished processing, would have taken the opportunity to restock their provisions, go into town for entertainment and perhaps have their vessels careened and re-caulked at the nearby shipyards.
Big Bill would have tapped into this lucrative trade. In addition to his 1805 listing, he is listed in a 1830 town directory as Grocer and Tea Dealer in Silver Street and in the 1844 town directory as a grocer but he must have retired from this soon after. He took on a part time job (somewhat of a sinecure) with the Gainsborough Corporation, the equivalent of the local council.
Read on about Big Bill and Jerrems Street...continued in a future issue. After that the Australian connection. Then the U.S. connection
|A Documentary Film||
Starts October 27 at the CinemaNova, Melbourne
Girl In A Mirror is a riveting portrait of the extraordinary Carol Jerrems, a photographer of phenomenal talent whose photographs intimately chronicle Australian counter-culture during the seventies. Adventurous and forthright in her sexuality, Jerrems’ most recognisable work Vale St, an iconic image of seventies youth culture, rages with raw menace and sexual ambiguity of the time.
With breathtaking clarity, Girl In A Mirror features 73 of Jerrems’ original prints, many having never before been seen, plus 166 new prints created exclusively for the film alongside interviews with former lovers and friends including filmmakers Paul Cox, Esben Storm and Daddy Cool member Ross Hannaford, plus dialogue derived directly from Jerrems’ personal diaries to create a moving and insightful testament of an Australian icon.
Back to the Past - Pretend it is 1905
Wouldn't you love to shop in Nicoll's establishment located in the Lakeside Building in Chicago?
This charming image (business card) is from one of our
ancestors, Nicoll the Tailor. "Nicoll the Tailor" was
Alexander ("Big Alex") Nicholl, a forbear of the Jerrems
family. Jerrems grandchildren William, Alexander, Arthur and
Donald changed the name to "Jerrems Tailors" in the early 1900s.
It is too complicated to set out in detail now, but watch for
clarification in a future edition.
Hi Donald and Ray, thanks for the news. I found it very interesting especially the things about Carol Jerrems [I wondered why my photos always turn out good...its in the blood!]. And I was very surprised and flattered to find all that information about me there too thanks again! and I am always interested to read about anything Jerrems you have.
Cheers Jesse ===================================================
My name is Brian Harrison (Ian's cousin) from Sydney, Australia AND I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
Albert Edward Harrison ...who did not return to Australia after W.W.1 was my grandfather. We have tried very hard to find him....especially Ian.
Regards for now. Hope to hear from you soon. Brian Harrison
Editors Note: Ian and Brian's great great aunt Henrietta Harrison married Arthur Reginald Jerrems ===================================================
I greatly enjoy reading your emails, and look forward to next month's news letter. incidentally, do you happen to know if Ian Jerrems, my cousin, has an email address.
He lives in the Mountain Creek Estate, Mooloolaba QLD, 4557. I lost touch with him many, many years ago.
Kind regards, Ken Jerrems
Editor's Note: We sent Ken Ian's email address. They need to update us regarding their on-line reunion. ===================================================
Thanks so much for all your communications! I appreciate and enjoy them all. Keep up the good work. Allis Jerrems ===================================================
Hi Don & Sharon....Thanks for including me in your Jerrems Journals. Now I have French on three sides: my dad (Lay), my mom (Cornett) and now from Scott! I hope someone has the 'coat of arms'.
Take care! Hugs, JennyJ
Preview of Coming Attractions
Anyone recognize their Jerrems ancestors in the photo from 1905? We will tell you in a future edition.
Jerrems Family Quiz: Did you know that there is a Jerrems connection with mandolins, the instrument pictured at the beginning of this Newsletter. Read all about it in a future edition.
Past Editions of the Jerrems Journal ©
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