Ancestors discussed in this article are:

Ruth Wagstaff (great-grandmother, 1847).

Samuel Wagstaff (2nd-great-grandfather, 1820).

Mariah Lucy Webb (2nd-great-grandmother, 1820).

Isaac Wagstaff (3rd-great-grandfather, 1787).

Ruth Wagstaff (great-grandmother, 1847). Top of Page

  Ruth Wagstaff was born in Upper Caldecote.

Read Bible.

      For Ruth Wagstaff, the wife of George Jacklin, we have biographical sketches but very little information on her life in England. According to sketches, Ruth learned to work and had very little formal schooling; however, reading was important to Ruth. Each night the family read a chapter in the Bible, but Ruth never learned to write. Education wasn�t required until the 1870s (Mingay 86).

Braided Straw.

      As a girl, Ruth learned domestic skills. She became very skilled at braiding straw to make straw hats. On the 1861 Census (Great Britain. Census Office 1861) Ruth and her younger sister, Ellen are �Straw Hatters.� To make the straw hats she had three little pointers with which to split the straws. Each pointer split the straw into a different numbers of strands. Ruth went into the fields and gathered straw, then soaked it in water until it became soft and rather tough. After running the pointer back and forth to split the straw, she made a flat braid. She could then sew the braided pieces together in the shape of a hat. She did so much of this type of work that she wore a deep scar in the finger of her left hand. She was also excellent at knitting. She knit her own stockings as well as stockings for the whole family.

      �Straw plait� making was a common way that the families of agricultural laborers who lived in Bedford county supplemented the family income (Collett-White 10). According to Collett-White, �By 1880 the town [Luton, Bedford] had become the straw hat town of the country. Using the agricultural labourer�s women to plait the straw in the neighboring villages, the hat manufacturers had the straw hats made up in a number of factories. In 1901 there were 2,893 men and 7,730 women employed making straw hats in Bedfordshire. This hat making was the major industry in Luton (Collett-White Page 21).�

      When just fourteen, Ruth emigrated with her family in 1862 and met her future husband, George Jacklin, during the trip.

Samuel Wagstaff (2nd-great-grandfather, 1820) and Mariah Lucy Webb (2nd-great-grandmother, 1820). Top of Page

  Samuel Wagstaff.

  Samuel and Lucy Wagstaff.

His Diary.

      As with our other ancestors, we don�t have much reliable information on the life in England of Samuel Wagstaff, the father of Ruth. Although Samuel Wagstaff kept a diary, we only have excerpts from it (Jacklin, Harold).

Agricultural Laborer.

      Samuel is listed as an Agricultural laborer on the 1841, 1851, and 1861 Northill censuses.

Taught by Grandmother.

      Samuel Wagstaff never attended school. In his journal he says, �I received no schooling. All the learning I received was from my Grandmother Wagstaff who was a widow and lived alone. For several years I had to go and sleep at her home for company. While there she made me read at night and was my teacher. I had to work when young for six pence per day herding cows and took turns herding on Sundays.� Samuel�s Grandmother Wagstaff died in 1803, 17 years before he was born. His Grandfather didn�t die until he was 15, in 1835. His Grandfather remarried in 1809 to a Mary Huckle. Mary Huckle must be the �grandmother Wagstaff� that he refers to. It is clear that Samuel could read and write, at least later in life, because he did keep a diary.

Married Mariah Lucy Webb.

      According to Samuel, after he first married Mariah Lucy Webb (2nd-great-grandmother, 1820), they were very happy. Mariah Lucy was called Lucy (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Great Britain. Census Office 1841, 1851, 1861 ). Samuel writes in his journal, �I feel like a bird turned out of a cage not being use[d] to providing for myself, and now a wife and paying house rent which had to be paid twice a year, and everything to buy for house keeping, and at that time work was hard to get, and when I did get work, I only had 20 pence a day of about 40 pence a day to keep a wife on. But we bought all we needed to keep house ��. Since there are 12 pence to a shilling, this would be a wage of 3 shillings and 4 pence. A typical farm laborer made about 7 to 10 shillings per week at the time. The amount he was paid is undoubtedly wrong. It was much smaller.

Convert to Mormon Church.

      In 1849 Samuel joined the LDS Church along with his brother William and sisters Rachel and Sarah. Several months later, his mother Mary was baptized in Feb 1850. Lucy was baptized a Mormon the following May. Many of his other family members were baptized within the next few years. He was ordained a Priest in 1850 in Caldecote. According to his history written by an unknown author, the Branch met in his home. It had a thatched roof and brick floor. It states his house was the meeting place for the Mormons until 1862.

Branch President.

      In 1854, Samuel was ordained an Elder and presided over the Caldecote Branch according to his biographical sketch. The Thorncote Branch (Thorncote is near Caldecote) records indicate that Samuel and Lucy�s membership records were moved to the St. Ives Branch on 13 November 1853 and then received from the Fen Stanton Branch on 11 December 1853. St. Ives and Fen Stanton are 3.5 miles apart in Cambridgeshire. There isn�t a record of his being ordained an Elder in the Caldecote or Thorncote Branch (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). We couldn�t find membership records for the St. Ives Branch. In 1861, Samuel and Lucy were living in Upper Caldecote. We also know from an Elijah Larkins� diary entry previously quoted, that a Wagstaff (most likely Samuel) traveled with other members from the Caldecote Branch in 1858 to Orwell and Whaddon. Since he preached on this trip, it supports him being Branch President in 1858.

Isaac Wagstaff (3rd-great-grandfather, 1787) and Mary Bathsheba Gillions (3rd-great-grandmother, 1788). Top of Page

      According to Samuel�s history, his father, Isaac Wagstaff, had poor health caused by asthma. According to biographical sketches, Isaac and his wife, Mary Bathsheba Gillions, were devout members of the Church of England. (Mary later joined the LDS Church and emigrated to Utah.) They attended Church regularly with their children.

Agricultural Laborer and Gardener.

      Isaac Wagstaff is listed as an agricultural laborer, except on his death certificate where he is a gardener (a servant caring for the landscape of a noble or farmer). Again, according to the biographical sketch, they had cows, pigs, and a horse. This is very unlikely. The wealthiest agricultural laborers might have one pig (Pool 83). John Wagstaff (Isaac�s father), Isaac, and Samuel were all agricultural laborers. Again, the history states they planted garden vegetables. It states they were successful at raising and marketing onion seed. Onions were popular among agricultural laborers.

Rented A Small Property.

      Isaac paid land tax on a property from 1812 to 1823 in Northill parish. The property was probably located in Upper Caldecote. Samuel was likely born in this home. The tax was just 2 shillings, the minimum necessary to be included on the tax rolls. After 1823, the owner, Rich Richardson resided at this location. We don�t know where Isaac moved. He was still living in Upper Caldecote because a daughter was born there in 1824.

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