February 27, 2014

52 Ancestors: Great-Grandpa's Horse Saves the Day!

52 Ancestors: Great-Grandpa's Horse Saves the Day!
1882 Wedding
David George Simpson & Sarah Stead
Amy Johnson Crow has a new challenge for geneabloggers called Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy challenges genealogists to write about one ancestor once a week. I'm having fun with this and I hope you are too! 

My great-grandfather David George Simpson (1861-1921) was a coal dealer in Ramsgate England. My grandmother, his daughter Ruth, used to tell me stories about her dad. I loved hearing them! 

One I remember most was how her dad made his daily rounds with a cart and his horse to deliver coal to his customers. Great-grandpa had epilepsy and so frequently he suffered seizures on his route. Apparently his horse, knowing the route well, simply carried on without any guidance from David.  

At each house on the route, the horse would stop and the customer would come out, check on Great-grandpa, take their allotment of coal and send the horse on its way. Then the horse would take Great-grandpa home when the route was done.

Grandma Ruth also told me that her father had what she called "a withered left arm". I don't know exactly what she meant by that but she said he had no use of it, and when I look at photos I have of David George it does seem that he hides one of his hands. 

My Great-grandpa had a sad childhood. When he was 13 his father died suddenly of pneumonia. David's mother was pregnant with her 5th child and David was her oldest. Two months after the father's death, David's youngest sibling was born but sadly that child died at the age of one month. David's mother had to take in laundry to support her family. After David married his widowed mother came to live with the family.

David George died of an epileptic seizure at the age of 59 at his home in Ramsgate. 

Simpson Family Ramsgate, Kent England ca 1900
Standing Left-Right: Ruth (my grandmother), Albert, Lillian, Ernest (Uncle Ern), Frank
Seated: David George & wife Sarah Stead. In front is Uncle Syd. Syd, Ern, Frank and Ruth emigrated to Canada while Albert settled in Australia.

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