Lucraft and Luckraft One-name Study

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Heavitree family faces poverty

John Lucraft, baptised 1760, was the grandson of Nicholas Luccroft who we believe was married in Farringdon, in 1691. Farringdon is a little chapel almost without a village these days, though there is a big school nearby. Farringdon is between Woodbury and Broadclyst, just east of Exeter, and Nicholas' son, also called Nicholas, who had been baptised in Farringdon, moved to Woodbury, where he was buried.

Young Nicholas had five children that we know about. The fourth called William, is the source of all the Lucrafts living today that I know about. The youngest child, John, is the head of this tree overleaf.

We believe he settled in Lympstone, on the Exe Estuary, just south of Woodbury, where he died in 1832. He married first a woman Ann Eastman in Lympstone, though we believe she too was born in Woodbury.

Life was hard for the family. The first child Joseph, was baptised a couple of months after their wedding, and the lad was put as an apprentice for six years, to Peter Tilman, yeoman, for 2 shillings, in 1796, when he was fifteen according to the records. If the apprentice records are right then he was born several years before his parents' marriage.

The children who followed fared little better. Their mother died in 1806, leaving John with up to eight small children of whom Elizabeth was apprenticed at 13, Ann died when she was 22, William and Martha were apprenticed when they were seven years old, and James when he was eight. These were parish apprentices, presumably as the father was destitute. We believe however, that James grew up to be a baker in Lympstone, according to the 1841 census.

Three years after John was widowed, he married again, to Mary Chorley, herself also bereaved of her husband Thomas Chorley. She was born Mary Arthur Newbury in 1774 in Woodbury, and was a lacemaker. Lace was a significant local craft, marketing its product in London and all round the world.

Though I don't know any descendants of the Lucraft lines in this tree, there are descendants of this second marriage of John. His daughter Jane Mary married Thomas Litton, and the Litton family in Devon have been very helpful over the years. Diana Lewis, daughter of Nancye Litton was the librarian of the Devon Family History Society.

The Littons have provided me with extracts from the Lympstone Poor Book and Vestry Book, which show how the Parish System helped this family. As early as 1799 the Parish was paying John a wage supplement of 4s a month. On 31st May 1801 they paid 2s5d to John for a journey to buy potatoes. The Parish paid the indentures money for the children, and when Ann was ill in 1819, they paid 2s for her "being a very ill person for wakening" Is this someone to sit with her, or to get her up in the mornings?

Before Ann was buried, on Sunday 11th April, the Parish agreed on Friday 26th March to pay for three packs of bran for Lewcraft, 1s6d, and 15s for his daughter's coffin. Even those in poverty were accorded the basic trappings, because the Parish also paid for the bell to be rung and the grave to be dug, which cost 3s.

Other snippets from the records include:

Feb 1824
Joseph Lewcraft ill at Heavitree 3s.

Feb 1825
Mr Fley for journey to Exeter Castle in regard to the Summons by the Parish of Pinhoe respecting Martha Lewcraft. Martha was 22 at this date, so perhaps she had a child to support.

23 Apr 1830
Ann Lucraft, for lodging of a poor woman, taken ill on the road, 5 days and nights, 5s.

From 1833
a Mary Lucraft, (is this John's second wife?) was having trouble with her leg, and was being supported financially by the parish. In June 1835 she went to the Poorhouse.

The Heavitree Family travels to America

The Heavitree family tree on the website shows the family of the eldest boy, Joseph, who was baptised on 18th February 1787 at Lympstone.

We saw Joseph being apprenticed in 1796, and at the first main census, he is a carpenter in Heavitree, on the eastern outskirts of Exeter, where his eldest son, John, is also listed, as a gardener. In the 1851 census we see Joseph is listed at No 7 Oakfield Place, Heavitree. At the same census, his daughter Elizabeth is in service at the same house, and his son Thomas is a gardener.

The life of Joseph's son, also called Joseph, was more travelled, which has made research more tentative. There are no GRO Index records of a Joseph bc 1847 England or a Margery Hannah, b c 1848 England, or at least I haven't found them. But in the American records, there is a Joseph Lucraft, with these two children, married to Sarah, born about 1837, in England. They also have three children named Mary Ann 1849, James 1850 and Sarah J 1859.

It seems Joseph, a shoemaker, moved to Hooe, near Hailsham in Sussex, perhaps after the death of a first wife, and there married Sarah Elphick in 1848. If the American Census dates are right she was only 11 years old, but they can be several years out. She was listed as a "minor" on the certificate.

Then Joseph and his second wife, and the children from both marriages, turn up in Ogle County, Oregon, USA.. The youngest child, Sarah J, is listed as born in Illinois. Joseph's son Joseph enlisted in 1864 in the Illinois Regiment during the Civil War, though he was discharged with kidney trouble a year later. By 1890 the census lists this Joseph as living in Rock Creek Township, Jefferson County, Nebraska, as a Union Veteran.

The US Military Pensions Records show that a Mary Ann Lucraft was married to John S Fish, and that his mother made a claim for a pension based on the death of all the family members. John Fish was also in the Civil War, in the 92nd Illinois Regiment. He died of consumption and dropsey of the bowels, "chronic diarrhea contracted since enlistment".

Though there is no proof, I know of no other Lucrafts in the US at the time, and Joseph's daughter, Mary Ann was born in 1849, which makes her a prime candidate for a marriage to John Fish on 13th December 1870. Mary Ann died on 15th January 1873, and their daughter, Mary Worland Fish died on 4th May 1879.

[There is later research on this family in America which will be published in a future blog.]

One son gets transported

A recent discovery is the listing of a William Lucraft for transportation from Exeter Assizes in 1841. The only possible William Lucraft I've so far got looks like being Joseph's son, who was also a gardener at Heavitree. A future blog will cover later research intothis William.


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