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Photos and information courtesy of Mike Smith, USA, 2021
John Smith
Cooper - of Higham Ferrers

William Smith was born outside this county c1781.

In 1896 he came to Higham Ferrers as an apprentice to John Woolston, a cooper.

William Smith married Sarah, of Wilby. In 1841 they lived in Walnut Tree Row, where they had Aimey b 1815, Thomas in 1818, Jeremiah born 1820 (died 1831 aged 11), John born and baptised 1822, and Charlotte born and baptised 1826.

William died in 1847 aged 66.

John Smith followed his father’s trade, and worked as a cooper. He married Eliza Hewitt, daughter of James of Rushden, at Rushden on Dec 25th 1844. Eliza had been working for William Adcock, farmer, at Higham.

Three years later John’s father died. In 1851 John and Eliza were living with his mother Sarah, and his sister Charlotte, and they now had three children, Priscilla, William Thomas, and Eliza. Henry was born in 1855 and Ann in 1857, and Charles in 1864. The family lived at North End

William was a clicker, and had married by 1871. Henry followed his father and became a cooper.

house at Higham
Market Square home of John and his family in 1881.
Photo by C F Chapman c1920

The family had moved to the Market Square in Higham by 1881. Here they opened a grocery shop and Charles was working as a dispenser to a surgeon, Dr. Crew who lived next door but one to the Smiths.

John died in 1895 aged 72, and Eliza continued the business. Eliza died in 1911 aged 90.

Bertha Charles
Bertha
Charles
Charles Smith travelled around for a few years training and gaining experience. He moved back home by 1891, and opened a pharmacy in High Street Rushden, thus making him the second experienced chemist and druggist to open in the town after Wallis Wilkerson.

At Higham Ferrers he met Bertha Pickering who was living with her sister, Letitia, wife of Wesleyan minister, James Lawrence, at Higham Ferrers. Bertha was born in 1868 at Selby, YKS.

Charles and Bertha were married in 1891. They had two sons, Eric Desautis in 1893 and (Wilfred) Gordon in 1898, who both emigrated to America.

Eric returned to Rushden in 1916, and joined the Canadian Contingent.


Rushden Echo, 21st January 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Man's Long Journey
Seven Thousand Miles — In Order to Join The Colours

Mr. Eric Smith, elder son of Mr. Charles Smith, chemist, of High-street, Rushden, has joined the Electrical Signalling Department, Cable Company, Canadian Contingent. He has travelled 6,000 or 7,000 in order to join the Colours. He was electrical engineer on the Santa Fe Railway, and was at New Mexico, U.S.A., and the journey, which was via Toronto, occupied nearly three weeks. Reaching Rushden on Saturday night, he had to leave again on Sunday night to join his company.


Charles was a founder of the Adult School, and a keen Temperance worker. He died in 1947.

Bertha died the following year aged 79. They were buried at Higham Ferrers cemetery.



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