“You have to know the past to understand the present.”, Dr. Carl Sagan
A few years ago I decided to put our family tree into a computer database and fill in some missing branches. The Batie family didn't need any more work since my uncle Russell had tracked the Baties back to Thomas Batie who was married in 1751 to Margaret Robson, but no idea where he came from. My Mom's side was tracked even further. John Burbank was in the American colonies in the 1660's.
So I looked at Dad's mother's family, the Pickerings, which is appropriate since all the land we now own was previously owned at some time by one Pickering or another. I knew that my great-grandparents James and Harriett Pickering immigrated to the United States and settled in the Plum Creek, Nebraska area. Luckily we started having the oldest Pickering cousins start telling family stories at our annual reunions. What fun.
After much searching and looking at all kinds of websites and transcriptions of records this is some of what I now know about the Pickering family.
James and Harriet Pickering left Liverpool, England on April, 1873 on the steamship "Spain". James was a blacksmith in the coal mines around Hartshorne, Derbyshire, England. He probably had a drinking problem and Harriet thought the move would cure that. James' uncle Edward Pickering had earlier come to America and landed in Plum Creek, NE. Edward wrote to James to come to Plum Creek as the new town had no blacksmith. James sold everything and came to America with Harriet and his two young sons, William and John. William turned 3 shortly after arriving in America and John had his first birthday on the ship coming across the Atlantic. Harriet told her grandchildren that the voyage was horrible and she never wanted to do that again.
John had scarlet fever while on the ship and developed a high fever and lost his hearing and was deaf the rest of his life. They landed in New York City on April 14, 1873. They boarded a train for Nebraska. When they arrived in Plum Creek, Edward was gone! His son Frederick was killed in an accident involving a loaded gun and a wagon of firewood. James and Harriet stayed and filed a homestead on the SE 1/4 of 10-10-21 on April 26, 1873, having settled on the land on April 24, a mere 22 days after leaving England.
|James & Harriet Pickering and family, ca. 1890|