The Parish Tries Emigration
Someone came up with the idea that the poor could be sent to the colonies. Sanguine reports about life in the colonies had been coming out of the Colonial office, so perhaps Lord Radnor or the Reverend Clark suggested it.
On March 15, 1835 the parish power brokers met to discuss the issue. On March 20th, Reverend Clark received a circular from the Poor Law Commissioners stating how money could be borrowed to pay for emigration. It was probably too late to apply for the current season, but the parish decided to send a few families anyway.
In early May of 1835, the first group of people left for Canada. They probably caught the weekly wagon from Salisbury to Southampton from where they caught a sailing vessel to Portsmouth to be placed on the American ship Louisa. They stayed at the Quebec Hotel. The receipts indicate passage was paid for 25 people. They bought things for the voyage such as 200 pounds of pork, chamber pots, stockings, tobacco, blankets, kettles and other provisions for life in the new world. Parish records list the following people as having left:
Jas KING and wife, plus 2 Adults and 4 children
J. PRACEY (PRESSEY) and wife plus 1 adult and 3 children
Jas. CHALK and wife and 5 children
Where did they go?
James Chalk and John Pracey and their families ended up as pioneers in the Talbot settlement, near present day St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. James King may have ended up nearby, as the surname is found in Norfolk county. The Bundy's may also have ended up in the same area, although no one is certain.
One thing is for certain, someone wrote reports back to Downton and gave a favorable report to other villagers. It seemed to generate lots of interest.