Prairie Pioneers! From Main Street To Manitoba
The Fewkes family have lived in or around Swannington for centuries!
Daniel Fewkes was born in 1751, and was recorded in the 1775 Poll book as resident in Swannington.
Daniel and his wife Katherine (nee Palmer) had a son John Fewkes, born in Swannington in 1791. He married Sarah Ragg in 1828 and had 10 children. John was a Farmer in Swannington although it’s not known exactly where. He is recorded as such on the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns. He died on 10 July 1870 and was described as a Yeoman on his Probate record.
Children of John Fewkes and Sarah Ragg were,
Elizabeth Maria Ragg Fewkes (born 02 March 1824)
Daniel Fewkes (born abt. 1830, died 09 March 1911)
Ann Fewkes (born abt. 1831)
Hannah Fewkes (born abt. 1833, died July 1909)
John Fewkes (born abt. 1835, died 5 February 1917) Coal Miner and Farmer.
Jessie Fewkes (born abt. 1836, died 31 March 1881) Farmer and Licence Victualer at Angel Inn Coleorton.
William Fewkes (born 13 May 1836, died October 1913) Blacksmith.
Charles Fewkes (born October 1840, died April 1926) Coal Miner.
James Augustus Fewkes (born abt. 1843, died 7 May 1929) Farmer.
Sarah Fewkes (born 4 August 1844, died 14 October 1893).
Sarah Fewkes was the youngest of John’s 10 children and was born on the 4th August 1844. Her name was spelt Fukes on her birth certificate but this may have been a mistake by her mother who could not write her own name. Aged 16, Sarah was living with her parents and 3 of her older brothers and helping at home as a housemaid. Aged 22 yrs. Sarah married Timothy Smith, born 28th May 1842 in Moira on 27th November 1866 at St. George’s Church, Swannington. Leicestershire.
By 1871 there are two children, the family are living in Church Gresley with Timothy employed as a Coal Miner. But everything is about to change as the family, with new baby Alice, embark on a life changing adventure to Canada! We can’t be certain what prompted the decision to travel but the offers of “Free grants of 160 acres settlers in Manitoba” must have seemed too good to miss. They joined fellow passengers aboard the Circassian docked in Liverpool, departing on 22 Sept 1873 for Quebec, Canada.
With her husband Timothy, Sarah was a pioneer of Rosebank, Manitoba settling in Orangeville, Ontario for 4 years.
In 1877 they travelled west and homesteaded on the farm where they raised their family and where Timothy died aged 84 yrs.
Sarah had tragically died in a prairie fire aged only 49 in 1893. Leaving 10 children with the youngest only 8 yrs old. They had had 12 children in total in 17years.
Second son of Sarah and Timothy was Charles Fewkes Smith, born on 30 November 1870 in Church Gresley, Derbyshire. He married Annie Louisa Todd on 3 July 1916 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He had a very impressive Farm house, see picture below. He died on 11 August 1942 in Roland, Manitoba, Canada, at the age of 71.
Third Chilld of Sarah and Timothy was Sarah born on 25 March 1871 in Church Gresley, Derbyshire. She married William Chubb and they had two children together. She then married Samuel Joseph Sandy and they had five children together. In 1942, aged 70 yrs, Sarah became a naturalised American citizen. She died on 3 October 1966 in Morden, Manitoba, Canada, at the age of 95, and was buried in Roland, Manitoba, Canada.
The second child of John Fewkes and Sarah Ragg, Daniel Fewkes (1830- 1911) stayed in Swannington and had three daughters.
The first, Ann (1859-1942) was fondly remembered by her grandson James Noel Walker in an article in the Now and Then in 2015.
The second, Sarah Jane Fewkes (1875-1961) married and also went to Canada like her Aunt Sarah and Uncle Timothy Smith. She travelled from Canada to America where she lived and brought up her family until her death in 1961 having had 8 children, 20 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren!
The third, Clara Elizabeth Fewkes (1877-1960) remained in Swannington and married into a local family when she married John George Lidwell to later live in The Robin Hood Public house.