Samuel finished giving his details to the Census Collector “I’ll get Jonah, my boarder for you.”
Samuel entered the kitchen to find Jonah sitting with his head in his hands. His two children sitting quietly next to him. He touched Jonah on the shoulder “Jonah you’ll need to go give the man your details.”
The collector was surprised as a rather dishevelled man with two sad young children appeared.
“How may I help?” asked Jonah.
“What’s your name and age.”
“Jonah Walker. I’m 40.”
“And you’re married?”
“Um….um” Jonah stuttered looking down to his children, tears welling in his eyes. Quietly he said “I’m widowed. My wife died last month.”
The collector quickly moved on realising his error, “Where were you born?”
“Here in Willenhall as were my children.”
What is your occupation?”
“Rim Lock Maker.”
“Are these your only children? What are their names and ages?”
“I only have three children left. Sarah and George died earlier this year. Little Anne died five year ago. Catherine here is 8 and Aaron is 3. Harriet is 1 but lives with my wife’s family. I can’t cope with a baby as well” he said as way of explanation.
The collector looked sympathetically at Jonah who appeared to be struggling with his grief, “That is all I have to ask you sir. I am so sorry for your losses. I hope it improves for you.”
Jonah gave him a weak smile as he ushered the children inside and shut the door.
Jonah Walker was my great great Grandfather. At the time of the 1871 Census he was widowed and was a lodger with two of his children, Catherine and my great Grandfather, Aaron. Harriet, the baby was living with his wife’s parents. The part about Sarah, George, and Henney dying close to the Census is conjecture as I am yet to find death records to confirm this. The above photo is believed to be Aaron – I received this photo courtesy of a cousin in England.
Read more of my ancestor fiction stories in Stories Under the Tree.
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