Tuesday, 20 December 2016

'Reminiscence - John Cottam' - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT, Walking In Their Shoes - First Person Narrative:

 A last dab of powder on her nose and in the mirror Elizabeth sees him again.  Her joy turns to sorrow.  She hears mother’s words, “You carry the looks of your father and ’tis your young brother James who carries his ways.“

Twenty-three years gone yet we still miss him so.  I think the suddenness of it broke mother’s heart. 

Father loved working for the Railway.  They say he was a hard worker who learned quickly and lived by God’s law.  A strong man for his height.  Little schooling yet moved right up to engine driver at only 29 years and carried his pride inside. 

That last morning he left with lunch package and thick coat for the Nottingham/Toton run.  Mother always rose early to see him off and as usual he gave her extra kisses for us when we stirred.

If only he hadn’t got out to check the brakes … if only the other shunting hadn’t happened…

Thomas the fireman said father was always careful and checked things ‘proper’.  They didn’t know eight other wagons were being shunted nearby.  It was so dark and foggy at five o’clock that morning. With God’s help, he may not have seen anything.  But I know he would have heard it.  Too late.  I shiver and cry … all those carriages going over him.

Not the time to dwell though.   I will go now to the church to be wed.  I know father would be happy for us.  I must keep my thoughts to that.


John Cottam: 28 Aug 1831 Winwick, Lancashire, England – 09 Oct 1860 Nottingham Meadows,
Nottinghamshire, England.  (My Great Great  Grand Uncle – Mum’s Father’s Father’s brother)
Elizabeth Pashley Cottam: 1854 – 1890, daughter of John Cottam and Rebecca Pashley (1831-1869).  Elizabeth married David Rankin Apr- Jun Qtr, 1883 at Warrington Lancs, England.

Newspaper articles:
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 11 October 1860, “Fatal Accident on the Midland Railway”

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 12 October 1860.  “Fatal Accident at the Nottingham Station”

‘A Tragic Ending’ - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT

May 8 1873, the Lancefield Examiner describes the shocking accidental death of Mr. James Cottam: “killed when a large mass of earth collapsed on him crushing against the cart, whilst doing roadworks at Chintin.  Conveyed to Melbourne hospital paralysed in both legs and with internal injuries, he passed a week later, on 1st May aged 44 years.  His funeral was attended by 60 horsemen and many friends at the pretty little township of Darraweit Guim on 3rd May 1873.”

James Cottam had a good freehold farm and stock but work for the Springfield Shire Council assisting John McCarty with road building would help a lot, providing more savings now they had 6 children and his wife Eliza in child again.

The two men worked hard undermining the face of a large hill cutting until time for ‘smoko’.  After discussing the grass crop for stock feed and state of the dairy cows this year, James shared his concerns for Eliza who was unwell and his pride in his oldest daughters for their housework and efforts at butter and cheese making.  He reminisced about his brother John back in England with 4 grown up lads and a daughter. 
“I wish they were here with us working this land together, but I do thank the Lord for my strong body and the opportunities in this new country.  Twenty years now I have been here and 12 with my dear Eliza – altogether we have been so blessed.”

Returning to work, with their backs to the cart they began pitching the pile of earth over their shoulders.  Sweating heavily and muscles straining they heard a thunderous rumble above.

‘Lancefield Examiner’, 08 May 1873
James Cottam b 20 Mar 1829. Croft, Winwick, Lancs. UK. (Lancashire England Birth & Baptisms 1813-1911)  d 01 May 1873 Certificate of Death Schedule B, Died Gipps Ward, Melbourne Hospital.  (My GG Grandfather – Mum’s father’s father)
Married 23 Aug 1860. Certificate of Marriage. Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. To Eliza Shanks (b 1829 according to marriage and death certificate, Poyntzpass, Co. Down, N.Ireland
Address of farm: Cottam’s Road, Chintin
James and Eliza Cottam’s children: Mary Ann 1862-1935, Elizabeth 1864-1846, Martha 1866-1902, James 1868-1923, George 1869-1960, Joseph 1871-1953 and Agnes McLeod born after her father’s death.1873-1912.
Brother John Cottam b.28 Aug 1831 Winwick, Lancs. UK. d. 09 Oct 1860 Nottingham Meadows, Nottinghamshire, UK.

John Cottam’s children: Joseph 1853-1926, Elizabeth 1854-1890, James 1856 – 1929 (?), John 1857-1905 and Jack  b.1859.