Friday, 8 June 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 23: 'Going to the Chapel'

Week 23 prompt -  'Going to the Chapel'
Historical Fiction. Reminiscence of John Cottam by daughter Elizabeth.

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 chapel to be wed.  I know father would be happy for us.  I must keep my thoughts to that.

St Elphin's Church, Warrington, Lancashire, England


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”


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