The death of Henry Clifton
Henry Clifton was my great-great-great-grandfather Daniel Holtom‘s cousin, i.e. my 1st-cousin-5-times-removed. He was shot dead by George Ditton, the gamekeeper of Mr H.J. Sheldon of Brailes, on 18 February 1864, aged 29. As reported in the local newspapers Clifton, a farm labourer, and fellow labourer John Holtom were walking home along a footpath leading across one of Mr Sheldon’s farms when Ditton accused them of trespassing. A struggle ensued and Clifton struck Ditton with a stick. Ditton then pointed his double-barrelled gun at Clifton and shot him dead. Ditton was charged with wilful murder, but committed for trial at the Warwick Assizes on the lesser charge of manslaughter. While in Warwick Gaol awaiting trial, Ditton suffered greatly from remorse and mental anxiety, and his health was in a precarious state. On 10 April he became suddenly worse and died that day.
In 1869, Henry’s sister Dinah emigrated to the USA, settling in Onondaga, New York. In 1881, Henry & Dinah’s sister Sylvia and her daughter Mary Ann also moved to Onondaga, and Sylvia’s grandson Frank Lunnun emigrated to the USA in 1925. There might well be other members of this branch who emigrated to New York state, but these are the ones I have found so far.
William Decimus Godson
Walking around Brailes churchyard, I came across a gravestone for William Decimas (sic) Godson, who died in Carievale, Canada Sep 15th 1904 aged 42 years. Knowing my 4g-aunt Esther Clifton married Francis Godson, when I got home I did some research to see if William Decimus was a distant relative, and it turns out he was my 2nd-cousin-4-times-removed. William left Brailes in 1902 with his new bride Kate, to start a new life in Canada. According to the website Railway & Main: Small-Town Saskatchewan Hotels, the couple opened a hotel in Carievale. In 1904, ten days after his second daughter was born, William was accidentally shot and killed while on a hunting trip with friends. See Railway & Main for more details.
The much-travelled Joseph Simms
Joseph Simms was my great-great-grandmother Kate Holtom‘s cousin, i.e. my 1st-cousin-4-times-removed. In 1887, aged 16 (although claiming to be 18), Joseph enlisted at Banbury in the Oxfordshire Light Infantry. He served in the army for 12 years, with overseas postings in India & Burma. In early 1900, shortly after his discharge from the army, he married Bella Barton and the couple lived with their 5 children in Bideford, Devon where Joseph worked as a gardener until 1911. (On the certificate of Joseph & Bella’s marriage Joseph says he is a widower, but I can’t find any previous marriage & his army records say he was single.) In 1911 Joseph emigrated to Canada, and in 1912 he was joined by Bella & their children. Bella died in December 1912 and was buried in New Westminster, British Columbia. In 1913 Joseph & the children were deported to England. Canadian immigration laws allowed the government to deport unwanted immigrants, like those suffering from severe illness. Also, if immigrants committed crimes in Canada within a three year probation period, they could be sent back to their home countries. I don’t know yet what caused the Simms family to be deported. In 1918 Joseph & his sons Dick & Garnet were briefly in Canada before going to Massachusetts. Around 1920 Joseph married Elizabeth (possibly Lawson). Their son Winston was born in Florida in 1923, and Robert was born in Washington in 1925. In 1925 Joseph & Garnet travelled from Florida to Canada, again. In January 1926 Joseph arrived in Canada on a ship which had left Sydney, Australia in December 1925. After this, Joseph seemed to settle down, and spent the remainder of his life in California, where he died in 1953.