22 March 2010

Monday Map -- modern road maps yield clues to the past

Granwilla's mother (Elizabeth Anne "Annie" Sale nee Walton) was born and raised in Hillmorton, Warwickshire, England. Annie came to California in 1876 as a lady's maid. In San Rafael she met and married William Truman Sale (also an English immigrant). None of her siblings left England, and the family has kept in touch for 138 years.

Annie's father. James Walton, and her grandfather, William Walton, worked on the  Oxford Canal, a 78 miles long narrow canal in central England linking Oxford with Coventry via Banbury and Rugby. When the railroad came through, Annie's father switched jobs and  her brothers became life long RR men.  The Walton family lived for many years in Hillmorton's St. John the Baptist parish house (the vicar prefering his much nicer place down the road).

A modern English road map circles St. John the Baptist for us and shows its proximity to the canal and the  RR tracks. The map also allows us to see how the once self-contained town of Hillmorton became part of a sprawling Rugby

In 2006 cousin Jim Hackett and I visited the houses where our Walton family was enumerated on the 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891 English censuses. It was a grand day.

The rain stopped, and Jim I walked from the rectory house to the Hillmorton locks -- just a few hundred feet away.  This July 4th we'll meet at Badsey's Cafe Bistro and Pub (on the right) to share a pint and toast our kin. 

           Modern canal boats at Hillmorton wharf.

 An old map showing how the Oxford canal was straightened back in the day

Note: apologies to the authors of both the new and old maps -- I found them early in my genealogical days and neglected to note the sources, not a mistake I would make now.

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