m. 14 Apr 1884 Hayfield, Derbyshire
Facts and Events
The Crockett Family in England
Amos Crockett and Alice Bunnager met in Derbyshire and an extract of the marriage is below:
1884 Marriage solemnized at Glossop in the Parish of Glossop in the County of Derby. When married: April 14, 1884 Amos Crockett, age 20, bachelor, spinner, resided at Hadfield, father: Amos Crockett, fishmonger Alice Bunnager, age 26, spinster, --, Hadfield, father: Richard Bunnager, Bricklayer Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church after Banns by me, George Olund. Signed: Amos Crockett, Alice Bunnager In the Presence of us, James Chorlton, Sarah Pugh
The ages of the bride and groom on the certificate are interesting: Amos aged 20 although he was married one month before his 19th birthday. Alice's age was 26 and she was married four months before her 28th birthday.
Amos and Alice's oldest son, Richard Herbert (Bert) Crockett was born February 1886 in Glossop and then the family moved to Colwyn Bay, Wales where James was born about 1888 and George Bunnager Crockett was born in March 1889. Amos was working in construction in Wales along with Bagot Arnold who married Alice's sister Rebecca Bunnager. Bagot and Rebecca's daughter, Ada was also born in Colwyn Bay. These first cousins, Ada Arnold and George Bunnager Crockett would marry each other after the families moved to Alberta. In 1991, Amos was living with Bagot and Rebecca Arnold in Llandrillo yn Rhos, Denbighshire, Wales while the rest of the family was living with Alice's brother, Richard Bunnagar in Broseley, Shropshire. Alice gave birth to twins, Thomas Amos and Mary Alice (Lal) in Broseley later in 1891. The two youngest daughters, Ada Annie and my grandmother, Lucy Millicent were born in Chester, Cheshire in 1894 and 1896 respectively. The picture of the family was taken in England about 1910 before they left England for the new world.
Crockett family in Alberta, Canada
I was surprised to find the 1911 ship's manifest with just Amos and his brother George and the destination was listed as Philadelphia. I would be interested in finding out how the family decided to make Edmonton their home. I have since found various members of the family coming to Canada on different ships but have yet to find Amos and Alice. The timeline follows:
Feb 22, 1911 "Ionion" departing from Liverpool to Philadelphia: George Crockett age 43, Amos Crockett age 45
August 31, 1911 "Lake Manitoba" departing from Liverpool to Quebec: Jessie Crockett (to husband in Edmonton), Alice Crockett, Lucy Crockett
Feb. 24, 1912 "Canada" departing from Liverpool to Portland, USA: Bagot Arnold age 49 (to brother A. Crockett), Harry B. Arnold 25
Apr. 3, 1912 "Royal Edward" departing Southampton to Halifax: George Crockett 44, Sarah Crockett 32, Thomas Crockett 20, Ernest 11, George 10, Ada 8, Mary 7. (John Bull and family)
Sept. 20, 1912 "Empress of Ireland" departing from Liverpool to Quebec: J. Crockett 25, Mrs. E. Crockett 19
Oct 1, 1912 "Lake Manitoba" Liverpool to Quebec: Mrs. Arnold 58, Miss Arnold 26, Charles 22, Norman 20, Edgar 18, John 15, Frank 14, Clifford 12
Oct. 1 1912 "Lake Manitoba" Liverpool to Quebec: George Crockett 22
In the winter of 1913-1914 the Crocketts took up homesteading in Busby, Alberta, a farming community about 35 miles northwest of Edmonton. The following is an extract of an article in the book "Busby's Busy Years" first printed in 1989. In the article her "father" is George Bunnager Crockett and "Grandpa" would be Amos Crockett.
CROCKETT FAMLY - EARLY DAYS IN BUSBY by daughter Vera Becklake
"Although I have memories of the Busby area from visits to the McConaghy farm (Mrs. Charles [Alice] McConaghy, affectionately known to us as Auntie Lal, was my father's sister), I never lived there. However, I feel very close to the area because of the stories told by my parents and other members of the family. Today, as we travel to visit my cousin Tom McConaghy and family, a trip of less than an hour from Edmonton, I am reminded of the homesteading days of my parents, George and Ada Crockett, when the journey in a wagon pulled by a team of oxen took at least two days. Sometimes the oxen would leave the road to get water from the ditches pulling the wagon and passengers in with them. My parents, both sets of grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles, came out to Canada around 1912, coming first to Edmonton. My paternal grandparents, my parents and several of my aunts and uncles decided to try their luck at homesteading. I never tired of hearing the stories they had to tell. My grandfather, Amos Crockett, using a piece of farm equipment with the old perforated metal seat, had the misfortune to run over a wasp or hornet nest and probably had a difficult time sitting down for some time. My grandmother, Alice Crockett, had some trouble getting her bread to rise in the winter until she hit on the idea of taking it to bed with her in order to keep it warm."
"Grandpa Crockett's habit of dropping "Hs" where they should have been used and putting them in where they shouldn't caused some amusement among his neighbours. At a fair they held at one time, Grandpa set up a tent and stationed himself outside urging fair patrons to come and see the "Water Hotter" which greatly amused the crowd. However, Grandpa had the last laugh when they went inside expecting to see a water otter and instead actually saw a "Water Hotter" -an old rusty tea kettle."
"My older sister Ada, later Mrs. L. C. Day, died in 1980. She remembered very little of her life on the homestead as she must have been only about two years of age when the family moved into Edmonton. She could recall owls hooting in the trees just outside the shack door. Once, during the winter, when they were visiting friends in the sleigh, my mother, with my sister in her arms, was thrown from the sleigh into a snowdrift. On another occasion, my Uncle Bert Crockett was perched on the back of the sleigh playing the violin when he was unceremoniously dumped in a snowbanks There he sat, in the snow, still playing the violin."
"My father loved to visit and one day he visited a neighbour and was busy talking, forgetting that my mother was alone in the shack. As it got darker, she began to worry and although she was certainly not in the habit of using a gun, she grabbed a shotgun, took it outside and fired it. That brought Dad home in a hurry!"
"The McConaghys were the only members of the family to remain in the Busby area and we would often visit them or our friends, the Dickinsons whenever we could borrow a car in the early days and later when Mom and Dad owned one themselves. My mother was particularly nervous of the two miles of dirt road that had to be travelled after leaving Highway #2, which was gravelled. When it rained, it was a hair-raising experience as the car slid from side to side in the sloppy mud which came half-way up the wheels. Somehow, we always managed to stay out of the ditch. When a trip was planned, we would watch for signs of bad weather and although we only started out under a cloudless sky, a storm would sometimes come up unexpectedly and we would find ourselves having to head for home on that treacherous mud. We always breathed a sigh of relief when we reached the gravel."
"A visit to Dickinson's sometimes meant a square dance in the evening. I was too young to take part, but I enjoyed watching the dancers - the young men trying their best to swing the girls off their feet."
"Any time Auntie Lal knew we were coming for a visit, she would always have a big bag of doughnuts (homemade) ready for me to take home. She knew I loved doughnuts. On looking back now, I realize that I didn't fully appreciate what was involved. Not only could she ill have spared the time from her farm chores to make them but it must have meant standing over a hot stove, probably on a hot day, yet never did she fail to have them ready for me."
"Auntie, like all the Crocketts, was very musical and one of the things I remember particularly about her was her lovely rendition of the song "Danny Boy". I think the last I heard her sing it was at a concert in Busby. Grandpa Crockett died in April, 1936. 1 remember my cousin Norman How also sang a solo, "Come to the Fair". Norman's parents were Mr. and Mrs. Arthur How who also homesteaded in the Busby area. Mrs. How was my Dad's sister Ada. Probably their daughter Rosa, later Mrs. W. J. Thomson, was the piano accompanist. Possibly my father sang one or two of his comic songs from his repertoire of the old English music hall songs. Several members of the family got together to put on a skit that night - "No, No, A Thousand Tiirnes No!" I believe my Dad was the "heroine", Norman How the hero and Uncle Bert Crockett - the villain who tied the heroine to the railway track just as the "milk train", a mandarin orange box on wheels was scheduled to appear. Someone kicked the "train" on stage too soon which convulsed the cast. In fact, Uncle Bert laughed so hard that the villain's moustache flew off and to cover it up, he held his finger under his nose for the rest of the performance. Even Grandpa got into the spirit of things singing his specialty, the old English folk song, "The Farmer's Boy"."
"The enclosed letter illustrates quite dramatically, I think, the hazards of travel in the early days."
"Note: This letter from my father to my mother in Edmonton describes a trip to the Busby area in 1914 with his brother, Bert Crockett. The "young George" mentioned was my cousin George, Uncle Bert's son. "John Bull" refers to my grandfather's brother, another George Crockett, always referred to as "John Bull" because of his attachment to his homeland England."
Seymour P.O. Alberta Friday Night
Just a line or two to let you know I have got here all-right and to tell you of a chapter of accidents. We started off at nine o'clock on Tuesday morning, and we got by the Alexandra Hospital still in sight of the house and got stuck (Bert's load). We hitched up the four horses on Bert's wagon but the beggars kept see-sawing and couldn't get it out. We had been over an hour when a fellow came past with a great big team. We got him to hitch up with the greys and they yanked it out fine. We got to the top of Portage Avenue nearly on the St. Albert Trail when we got stuck again and we had to unload the wagon (which really had two loads on it) and it was 3:30 when we got going. We got nearly to that creek this side of St. Albert about seven p. m. and got stuck again so we decided to camp out.
We unloaded again in the morning and then got the wagon out and struck out for Riviere Qui Barre. The roads were so bad that it was serving the horses cruel and in all we must have done six or seven miles hitched up double. We made Qui Barre allright without any more accidents though I expected Bert's load to go over several times (you know it was packed on a hay rack) as the back wheels scores of times, went six or eight inches in the air.
Well! we left Qui Barre early on Thursday morning and we got to within one mile of the post office when the expected happened and over went Bert's load with Bert just clear. The place where it capsized was comparatively smooth to some places we had already passed and I can't understand how it went just there (this happened at one p. m). Young George took Sally etc. on to John Bull's place and I went to Lovelock's and unloaded my wagon and then went back to put hatf of Bert's load on my wagon. We then started for home and got past Harry West's shack about a mile from John Bull's shack when it became too dark to see the trail and stumps so we left both loads and fetched them this morning and then took two wagons to Seymour for the other stuff- There was not much damage done. Those jars of pickles and jam were in the well bucket which went bowling across the road but they didn't get broken. Ma's stove got knocked about a bit but I think I can fix it. One picture had the glass broken and one china jerry got smashed. The legs of a table broke and some marmalade spilt and I think that is about all the casualties. I happened to have the crocks on my wagon. My three windows were in the smash but they didn't get broken.
I must finish now as I am very tired and it is getting late. I remain. Your loving husband George.
The article by Vera Becklake illustrates the hardships the Crocketts must have gone through and it also gives some insight into the characters of my Great-uncles as I remember them.
In August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany and Bert and George signed up. When Uncle Bert signed up in 1915 he was a miner living in Seymour, Alberta. Seymour is no longer on the map of Alberta but I believe it was just north of Busby. Another cousin of my Dad's, Rosa How, also wrote an article in the Busby book: ROSA ALICE THOMSON (NEE HOW)
"I was born December 1, 1913 and at the age of six weeks, mid January 1914, taken to Busby by my father and mother (Arthur and Ada How) and grandparents, Amos and Alice Crockett. With the exception of a break in 1918 -1919, we remained on the homestead until September, 1922. Arthur How enlisted in 1915 and was overseas until early 1919. During that time, my grandfather, Amos "Dad" Crockett was at the helm. My brother, Norman, arrived in October, 1915. He was born in Edmonton as I was."
"Perhaps the fact that we traveled from Edmonton to the homestead by covered wagon, complete with heater, is of interest. The winter of 1913-1914 was unusual because of the lack of snow which made the sleigh unusable. Dodson's hill presented a challenge to the horses and my Dad insisted that the wagon be stopped at the crest so that he could carry me down. Grandpa was indignant, but Dad won out. He had a "hunch" which proved all too accurate. The lurching of the wagon as the horses lost their footing resulted in the red hot pipe of the heater crashing down across the very spot in which I had been lying."
"The reason for my parents coming to the "farm" was that Dad (Arthur How) had been very ill and the doctor told him to get out of the city (Edmonton) or he would be dead inside of a year. The rugged existence in the country air seemed to be what he needed as he was accepted in the Armed Forces."
"An anecdote that stands out as one of the most memorable took place in the summer of 1917. Grandpa (Amos Crockett) decided to raise funds for the Red Cross by organizing a picnic - fair. Neighbours were encouraged to have a booth (fortune telling, etc.) and several enthusiastic people complied."
"Grandpa was very secretive about his "booth" and created a lot of interest especially when he stood outside and admonished one and all to "come and see a genuine water hotter". Know for misplacing his "H", it was assumed that he meant a water otter, and one of the first to enter was an American who came out looking like a cat that swallowed the canary and wouldn't say what he had seen. As a result, Grandpa took in the most money of anyone, because the "genuine water hotter" was a kettle!"
"Random recollections: The one room school and my teacher, Lois Brent - the Christmas concert in the school - "church" once again the the school and conducted by Grandpa resplendent in his Salvation Army jersey and Mrs. McGowan in her Army bonnet and playing the guitar - the bearskin hanging on the wall of the Frenchmen's house - our well going dry and Norman and I walking to Dickinson's with ten pound syrup pails to get drinking water - the terrible hail storm that flattened a bumper crop and resulted in our return to the city (Edmonton)."
Amos Crockett owned a sawmill and in a timeline from the Busby book it mentions: "1918 - First Busby Hall was started. Lumber sawed by Crockett Mill near George Lake. It was completed in 1920." Amos was listed as a Director of the Busby Agricultural Society for the year 1920. That organization put on the annual fall fair. Lucy (Crockett) Davies was not mentioned in any of these articles but she and her husband Bill also tried homesteading in Busby and my father attended his first year of school there. My grandfather, Bill Davies, lost a leg in the war and did not take up farming until he recovered from his injuries and returned to Canada. The Davies family only stayed in Busby for a couple of years because it was too hard a life for an amputee.
By 1919 James, Richard Herbert, and Thomas Amos, the sons of Amos and Alice Crockett were back in Edmonton. George Bunnager Crockett was in Edmonton by 1922 and I do not have a date when Amos and Alice moved back to the city, but Amos sold the sawmill in Busby to the Dickenson family, who moved to the property in April 1921.
Amos died in Edmonton on the 14th of April, 1936 at the age of 70 years and 11 months. The informant on his death registration was George Crockett. He was interred at Beechmount cemetery on the 17th of April, 1936. Alice lived on until September 1941, she was 85 when she died and she too was buried at Beachmount Cemetery. I fondly remember my father's aunts and uncles who used to visit Victoria regularly.