Posts Tagged ‘emigration’

Geoff Alexander and family

March 27, 2014

The Alexander family had a farm in the Southcliffe area of Market Lavington.

We think of Alfie Alexander as the founder of the Alexander dynasty, although, of course, the family really goes back years before him.

Amongst Alfie’s children there was a son called Deering and Deering had a son, Geoffrey, born in 1932. It is Geoff we look at today. The photo was taken in 1960 and shows Geoff with his wife, Val and baby daughter Mary Anne.

Geoff, Val and Mary Ann Alexander in 1960

Geoff, Val and Mary Ann Alexander in 1960

Geoff had married Val Baulcomb in 1954. Mary Anne was their first child, born in 1960. Paul was born the following year.

This branch of the family left Wiltshire for Australia. We know some of the family still live there.


Bob and Ada Merritt

August 31, 2012

The Merritts were a big Market Lavington family. If we look at the 1891 census we find no fewer than 21 Merritts lived in Market Lavington. Amongst them was 10-year-old Robert who is just on the 1881 census but under the name Charles. He was Robert Charles Merritt.

In 1891, the head of the family was William, aged 40. He was a blacksmith and he had premises by Broadwell on White Street. His wife was Elizabeth although we think it was the same wife called Emily Jane on the 1881 census. The children (in 1891) were William (15), Annie (12), Kate (11), Robert (10), Albert (8), Sarah (6), Ellen (5) and James (3 months).

This family is elusive on the 1901 census but Robert was an engine stoker living near Southampton.

Robert married Ada Jane Bolter on 21st August 1901. They emigrated to Canada soon after the birth of their daughter.

Our photo comes from Canada and dates from 1912.

Market Lavington born Bob Merritt with wife Ada and children Percy, Dorothy and Leslie. The photo dates from 1912 and was taken in Canada.

It shows Ada Jane making sure baby Leslie stays perched on the chair back. The oldest boy is Percy, born about 1902 and the girl is Dorothy, aged 8. Robert – always known as Bob – is on the left.

The picture comes from Jean, daughter of Dorothy who produced a web page about her mother . Click here to read it

Jean has sent us other information. We’ll get it on the blog one day.

William Wallis Titt

March 3, 2012

William Wallis Titt was very much a son of Salisbury Plain. He was born in Chitterne and brought up mostly in the Shrewton area. He’d have been there for the great storm of 1841 for he was born in the 1830s.

His dad was a blacksmith and by the time William was 13 he looked set for a lifelong job on the land. He was an agricultural labourer.

But William had other ideas. He married young, Market Lavington born Caroline Gauntlett in 1858 and in 1861 the couple, with baby Alice lived on High Street, Market Lavington. William was a wine and spirit merchant. We have one of his large stoneware bottles at Market Lavington Museum

W W (William Wallis) Titt bottle at Market Lavington Museum

Perhaps the 1860s were not a good time to be in the wine and spirit business in Market Lavington. William failed to make a go of the business. The British Antique Bottle Forum ( were able to send us this report of a bankruptcy.

Financial troubles for William Wallis Titt of Market Lavington

It would seem that William’s business folded in 1867. We note that James Farmer, a butcher of Market Lavington acted as a trustee. James was the stepfather of William’s wife, Caroline. Caroline’s mother, also a Caroline had married James after being widowed.

Perhaps it was James who gave William and Caroline a chance to get their lives back in order. In 1870, William and Caroline along with Lucy and an England born son, Ernest, were living at Junction City, Kansas, USA where William was an agricultural labourer who had property worth $200

By 1880 William was listed as a farmer in the town of Highland, Kansas. Eva, Francis, Walter and Emily had been added to the family.

By 1900 the family were still in Highland, Kansas. William and Caroline had been married for 41 years and Caroline had borne 11 children of which 6 survived.

The couple celebrated 50 years of marriage in 1908 and were still in Kansas in 1910 with just 5 of their children still living – two of them with the parents.

If anyone out there has any further information about William Wallis Titt, we’d love to hear from them.

A Market Lavington man celebrates Christmas in Canada.

December 25, 2010

Joseph Potter was born around 1870 in Market Lavington. His father was Edwin Potter who was the proprietor of the horse omnibus service between Market Lavington and Devizes. In 1891 young Joseph was living in Market Lavington and working with his father.

By 1901 Joseph was married, to Agnes and they had a baby called Annie. They lived in Devizes and Joseph’s job was a coachman.

Between 1907 and 1910, the family emigrated and lived in British Columbia, Canada. Daughter Sybil Agnes was born in England in 1907 but third daughter, Gladys Mary was born in British Columbia in 1910.

Like us, the Canadians had a 1911 census. This tells us that Joseph, Agnes and the two older children actually arrived in Canada in 1909 and that Joseph was a farmer who also earned money doing odd jobs. As it would look as though he worked about 60 hours a week on the odd jobs, maybe the farm was either very small or not successful. The address on the census looks to be Robin’s Range.

The family stayed in Canada and sent information about life back to relatives in Market Lavington amongst whom was Joseph’s niece born May Potter who became Mrs Elisha. One photo sent to Mrs Elisha shows the family enjoying a Christmas Day sleigh ride.

The Potter family of Robin's Range, British Columbia on a Christmas day sleigh ride - a photo at Market Lavington Museum. Joseph Potter was born and raised in Market Lavington

Joseph probably took the photo, which shows women – presumably Agnes, two girls who look to be between 15 and 30 and also the dog.

The back of the photo has a caption.

Caption on the back of the photo.

The year is not given, but at a guess this was the late 1920s.

It would be tempting to say we are looking at a totally different kind of Christmas here, but with the weather in 2010, we could almpst imagine seeing this kind of scene in Market Lavington.

Any further information about Joseph Potter and family would be greatly appreciated.

And from us, can we say a Happy Christmas to all our browsers.