April 1st may seem like an odd day to get married, but for Joshua Thompson and SarahMattinson in 1876, it was the perfect day for an English wedding.
Joshua, the son of Charles Thompson and Mary Atkinson, was a 21 year old bachelor living in Frizington, a small village in the Cumbria (or Cumberland as it was known then) area. Sarah was just 19 years old when she said “I do”. She was the daughter of Robert Mattinson and Sarah Mitchinson, and also hailed from the Frizington area.
The next few years were busy ones for this young couple. Their first child, Charles, was born in 1877, followed by Mary in 1878, Joshua in 1881, and Robert in 1883. These four children were all born in the Cleator region of England. Census records for that area in 1881 document their growing family. They were living with Joshua’s widowed mother, Mary, his brothers, Anthony and Thomas, and his sister-in-law, Sarah Ormandy (nee Thompson).
Many people were making decisions to move to Canada, and Joshua and Sarah were among those imagining a future in a new country. Sometime in late 1882, it seems that Joshua did some scouting. There is a record of a young man who fits the description of Joshua on a passenger list 1882 and my Uncle Don recalled “I now remember a story when I was a boy that my grand father Joshua Thompson left England by himself. He went to California, got malaria, and so decided it was not the place to be. He then went to Ontario and the rest of the family came out and met him there.” (Source: Donald Thompson, Joshua’s grandson. Email April 5, 2010).
Joshua may have sailed on the Lake Huron, the same ship that Sarah and her four young children boarded in Liverpool on August 28, 1884. There’s a note next to Sarah’s name that she is traveling to her husband at Curry Hill, which is in Ontario.
They settled in nearby Lancaster and had four more children. John Frederick Ruben in 1886, Cuthbert in 1890, William in 1892 and my grandfather, Hedley Redvest Stuart in 1900. The family appears on the 1891, 1901, and 1911 census records for that area.
Happy 141st Wedding Anniversary, Joshua and Sarah!