Tuesday, September 8, 2015

52 ANCESTORS, 52 THEMES, No. 36, Working For A Living: Thomas Hepard ATHERTON, Coachman

This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog based on Themes. Last week's theme was School Days, and this week's is WORKING FOR A LIVING.   Here is Thomas Hepard ATHERTON, who worked for a time as a Coachman.  He is the only person found in any of our family lines with this occupation.

Above, Thomas is seen on the 1861 Census of Crowton, Cheshire, England, with his wife Ellen ("Helen" sic), and their two first children: Anne 3 yrs old, and Thomas (jr) 1 yr old.

His occupation on this Census is stated as "Coachman, DomServ", i.e., he is working for a family as a Coachman, in an outside servant role.  It is unclear where he was working, as that is not noted on the Census form.

Thomas Hepard ATHERTON, bap. 10 Feb 1822, was the illegitimate son of Martha ATHERTON. Martha was the middle child of Rodger ATHERTON & Ann [Nancy] LEWIS.  She was 24 when her son was born.

As he is the only person on many pages of the Parish Register with a middle name, and there are several Hepard families in the village, one could make a reasonable assumption that a Hepard man was the father. Martha was likely indicating to the parish priest (and community) who the father was of her son, by baptizing him with this name.  All "Atherton" surname lines from Thomas are not Atherton, but most likely to be Hepard, genetically.  The surname Hepard may be spelled variant ways: Heppard, Hepperd, Hepard, Hepherd, and so on.

I have not yet found a subsequent marriage for his mother, Martha, nor for her death/burial.

Thomas was born and grew up in the small town of Crowton, Cheshire, England, where his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins lived.   His grandfather Rodger was a farmer according to an early census, as were several uncles.

According to this article on Victorian Occupations, in 1861 there were 11,897 Coachmen listed as such in all of England and Wales (scroll down on page).  This was a significant increase over 1851 numbers.

A coachman's duties would include overseeing the appropriate care of the horses and condition of the equipment (e.g., harness), plus cleaning the carriage and equipment if there were not any second-coachmen or grooms.  You might find it interesting to read the duties of a Coachman in a fairly wealthy home, by clicking on this link.

On the very next Census, 1871, Thomas is listed with his wife and five of their children, and his occupation is listed as a "Farmer 53 acres", which implies he owns the 53 acre farm.  I could be making an incorrect assumption here, of course.  Either he earned enough in earlier times to purchase this size farm, or perhaps he received land from one of his relatives (uncles?).  I haven't done enough research on all members of this Atherton group, as yet, to be certain.

I have much more information on Thomas Hepard ATHERTON, his mother, and grandparents as well as his children, and will do a full genealogy post on him at some point in the future.

If you have information and corrections for Thomas, I would be very pleased to receive any details.  I may be contacted through the email at the bottom of the page, or in the Comments section below.

Blogger - or my computer - is still not letting me "reply" to your comments, for some unknown reason. If I don't reply to your Comment, please know that I'm totally thrilled you came to read my post and commented!  You truly make my day.

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Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis