|Ray Jerrems, Family Genealogist||
“Here is old Jerrems, the Parish Constable, massive and dignified,
for he weighs almost eighteen stone; almost a Mayor and a
Corporation in one! He is well able to keep all the Gainsborough
lads in order, to inspect the sewers, and to manage his farm at
Willingham in his spare time”.
Now you can see why I called him “Big Bill”! "Remember Big Bill? In the first instalment of my story, in an earlier Newsletter, I told you about the early Jerrems families in Willingham and Gainsborough, and was in the process of telling you about Big Bill, who was born in 1782. He was a prominent grocer and tea merchant in Gainsborough in the early to mid-1800s. The above quotation and comment picks up where I left off, when Big Bill was getting on in years. Now read on."
Eighteen stone is around 130 kilos. Big Bill must have eaten a lot of his cream biscuits when he was a grocer.
A combination of the introduction of railways as an alternative to river transport, and the loss of the customs house, would have affected Gainsborough. However, Gainsborough had still kept a considerable coasting trade and had built up a strong engineering base (for instance the Brittannia Iron Works employed 3000 men). (Gainsborough Market Place pictured.)
Thomas was Big Bill’s eldest son and probably took over the grocery business. In the 1851 Census Thomas was described as a grocer with one employee. Not a big business, but businesses of this modest size were probably fairly typical in rural England in those times.
The Jerrems clan had made quite an impact in Gainsborough. The source of our information on Gainsborough states that
By 1851 the population of Gainsborough had reached over 8,000. All these people had to be housed, the manner of which became a distinctive feature of (old) Gainsborough (town centre pictured). The population boom initially had not caused Gainsborough to sprawl. Instead, rows of cottages were built in the "back gardens" of existing houses. These became known as "Yards". Barnaby's Yard, Potter's Yard, Jerrems Square and Winn's Yard are to name but a few of these many narrow and pokey little homes that no longer exist. Barnaby's Yard on Church Street is all that remains to be seen of old Gainsborough's yards.
Jerrems Square was located behind Bridge Street, a lane from that street giving access to the Square. The 1851 Census also refers to a Jerrems Yard adjacent to the Square, a Jerrems Street, a Jerrems Row and a Jerrems Terrace. Surely with the number of Jerrems people in Gainsborough there should have been a “Jerrems Warren” also!
None of these “Jerrems” places now exist. Jerrems Square, in particular, was turned into a car park. An ignominious end. The ubiquitous car wins again!
When you look back, it is not surprising that a lot of Jerrems people lived in Gainsborough by the mid 1800s. The first William had 4 children, Bill had 6 children, and Big Bill had 8 surviving.
At one stage Thomas and Elizabeth lived in a house at 36 Silver Street rejoicing in the name of Mandarin House.
Thomas and Elizabeth and their family migrated to Australia. The reason for migration is not known, and is somewhat puzzling if Thomas had an established business, but it was not undertaken lightly. Perhaps it was because he had such a large family and thought Australia would provide more opportunities for them. Thomas and his son of the same name went to Melbourne in 1853, leaving Elizabeth and the remaining children in Gainsborough. The 2 Thomases went to Tasmania at one stage to have a look around and then finally sent for the family, most of whom sailed to Melbourne in 1859. Thomas Sr. became a merchant in Melbourne. But that is another story.
The 1900 Census shows that no people named Jerrems still lived in Gainsborough. in 1900. They had moved to other towns. There could of course still be people in Gainsborough tracing back to the Jerrems families through maternal lines.
So there you have it, my reconstruction of the 140 years that we know the Jerrems ancestors spent in England.
The Title of “The Strongest Jerrems” goes to...
In Gainsborough, England some of the family were merchants and grocers in the early to mid 1800s. In those days they could have had a lot of lifting of heavy bags of flour, sugar etc. In the 1800’s a number of Jerrems people in the US were farmers, in the days when farm work was extremely physically demanding. No doubt all these people were strong.
But the title should in all likelihood go to James H Jerrems Jr, born in 1837, who in the 1870 US Census was described as being a blacksmith in a town called Valley, near Lawn Ridge, in County Stark, Illinois (pictured in the header). Blacksmiths were renown for their strength so I think he should be declared the winner. The male line of this family has died out. (old Illinois blacksmith image pictured)
The most popular woman’s name in the Jerrems family today is Susan. There are 2 who were born Susan Jerrems (but have married) and there are 3 who have married into the Jerrems family, making a total of five. Oddly, there were none in any previous generations.
|Donald, Editor of the Jerrems Journal||
In December, Didier Begat (husband of Susan nee Jerrems) graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with an MS degree in HRD ( Human Resource Development) with 11 A's and one B (GPA of 3.92) He did not choose the thesis route and took a few extra classes instead.
He plans to celebrate with a 14-day trip to Agadez in Northern Niger (The Air mountains and the Tenere desert) from 12/31st to 01-14 to discover the Touaregs way of living (nomads). More on this story in a future edition.
Susan, who is continuing her long career as a linguist, stayed behind in Baton Rouge. She is an Adjunct Professor at LSU teaching English-as-a-Second-Language.
Didier retired from a French-based chemical company just two years ago. His future plans are to continue his education in golf, where he needs a lot of improvement.
|Photo submitted by Cousin Doug Jerrems; text by Cousin Ray||
Members of the Jerrems Family
This photograph was taken in 1905 and shows most of the Jerrems family living in Sydney at the time, except for one “ring in”. It was probably taken at the Greenwich (Sydney) house of Charles and Susannah Jerrems.
The family consisted of parents Charles and Susannah and their children Charles Jr, Edwin, Isabel, Alf and Richmond, the first two children being absent from the photo.
The people are (L to R) standing Isabel Jerrems (born 1876) and her brother Alf Jerrems (born 1878), seated Alfred Sassall, Richmond Jerrems (born 1886), and his mother Susannah Jerrems (born about 1850) and father Charles Jerrems (born 1847) seated in the far right.
The photo appears to have been taken at the side of the house because the people are standing or sitting precariously in a rose garden, presumably to enable the photographer to fit them in the picture. Isabel looks as though she is about to fall sideways. The photographer must have been a very persuasive person because I am sure that I would not stand in the middle of a rose bed for a photograph.
The two elder statesmen sitting on the far left and right have the best seats in the house but seem to have lost interest in proceedings because they are both gazing to our right of the picture. Perhaps they did not hear the photographer say “watch the birdy” or its 1905 equivalent. Or perhaps they were having what is euphemistically now called “a senior moment”. Susannah is gazing to our left. Alf Jerrems (Ray and Doug’s grandfather) looks quite nonchalant, in keeping with his placid nature. Susannah looks as though she is restraining young Richmond from “doing a bunk”. Only Alfred Sassall actually looks pleased to be there, most of the others look either quite glum or preoccupied with avoiding the rose thorns.
All people are wearing their austere “Sunday best” clothes, the only exception being Alfred Sassall’s fez (or something similar to a fez). His fez and moustache make him look as though he had just got off the boat after a stint with the British army at Poonah in India. In actual fact (less romantically) he was a butcher at Lithgow on the western edge of the Blue Mountains and had probably spent much of the previous day in a steam train negotiating the famous Zig Zag Railway.
The reason for Alfred’s jovial expression may have been that Alf Jerrems had just asked for his approval to marry his eldest daughter Esther. Alfred had obviously agreed because Alf and Esther were married the following year. Alfred’s happy expression in the photo may show that he had been thinking “Thank goodness, one down, only five more daughters to go”.
Charles was born in Gainsborough, England in 1847 to Thomas and Elizabeth. He and his 3 brothers William George, Robert Cane and Arthur Reginald are the forbears of all the Jerrems families in Australia and most of the Jerrems families in the US. Although at first glance he looks quite old he was only 58. He lived another 22 years. Alfred Sassall, also born in England, was probably about 10 years younger than him. A high protein diet and fresh mountain air obviously agreed with Alfred, he is the only person who looks well fed.
Regarding their clothing, Isabel’s hat cries out for mention. Isabel was a schoolteacher, a vocation not normally associated with such a large hat. I bet she never wore it to school.
Later JJ articles will trace these people's lives in detail.
|Donald, JJ Editor/Publisher||
Going Forward and Backward Simultaneously
Thanks to all who contributed to the Christmas Greetings issue (willingly and unwillingly) and for the kind comments afterwards. We might do it again this year.
Ray and I already have the February, March and April issues almost ready. We can't help ourselves.
We hope you enjoy these journeys to the past and look forward to the surprizes ahead!
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