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Bad Behaviour...

Of my Ancestor, John Carey

We all like to imagine that our ancestors were fine upstanding members of the community, but I'm sorry to say that my forebears didn't always live up to that ideal. I know very little about my great-great-great grandfather, other than what was recorded in The West Briton, Cornwall's main newspaper, in their 8 January 1841 issue. This reveals that John Carey was a "travelling rag-man" and a bit of a rogue. All I can say is that Grandfather John spent several years in gaol, and that we've all been a lot more law-abiding since! Here's the story, and it may help you to know that a "whim" is a type of steam engine used for hauling ore to the surface from a tin mine, and when you get to the bit about "rope and trade" you might find it helpful to know that "tread" or "trade" was defined by a witness in another Cornish trial as "rope ends, dead mice, and other combustibles".

The West Briton

JANUARY 8, 1841 Quarter Sns


JOHN CAREY, 24, was charged with stealing from Redmoor Consolidated Mine, in the parish of Stokeclimsland, a quantity of whim rope, value four shillings. John WALKAM, a man employed at the mine, stated that in consequence of some suspicions, he received directions from Capt. HARPER, and went to the mine about seven o’clock in the evening. On looking into the boiler-house through a hole in the window, he saw a man called Johnson GLANVILLE and the prisoner, putting something into a bag; but witness could not see what, because the steam-pipe interposed between him and them. They then put the bag upon the prisoner’s shoulder, and prisoner came out at the engine-house door. Witness joined him, and walked on towards Callington. He asked prisoner what he had in the bag, and he replied rope and trade. Witness asked what he gave a lb. for it; prisoner answered, that was according to quality. When they arrived at the bridge, prisoner said he must drop the bag as it was heavy. He then rested it on the parapet, and went under the bridge. Witness walked on, supposing prisoner would follow; but he did not come on, nor was he seen in Callington afterwards. Witness informed Capt. Harper; and active search was made for both prisoner and Glanville. The next morning the bag was found under the bridge, just by where prisoner had rested it, and it contained the rope in question. Glanville was discharged from the mine in evening, after he had been seen by witness in the boiler-house. Capt. Samuel Harper, managing agent of Redmoor, confirmed a portion of the last witness’s testimony, and added the circumstances of his finding the whim-rope beneath the bridge between the mine and Callington. It was a good piece of rope, not half worn. He stated that the prisoner was a travelling rag-man and lodged at Jerry’s, in Callington. John GALSWORTHY, working at the mine, saw the rope at the boiler-house on the 7th; and afterwards saw it when it was discovered at the bridge. Was sure it was the same rope. Henry BULLEN, constable of Callington, went to look for prisoner on the evening of the 7th. His wife and child lived with him; and witness at length found him by watching where the child was taken in Plymouth. He said he thought he should have 10 years; and Glanville 7 years transportation. The rope was produced in court, and identified by Goldsworthy and Bullen. Verdict, Guilty.



* This page last updated on 18 February 2010 *