New clues to a Cavers family’s brief time in France in the 1830s

Thanks to the British Newspaper Archive‘s online digital editions of old newspapers I just uncovered a useful clue to a Cavers family’s brief time in France, which had puzzled me before. The obituary below is for John Cavers (ca1833-1920) who was born in France, son of John Cavers and Elizabeth Fiddes. For more details of their family tree see my blog post about this family that moved from Ashkirk near Hawick to farm in Berwickshire.

Berwick Advertiser, October 15 1920

Noted Border Farmer Dead – There passed away at Belville last week one of the ablest and most successful farmers of the Merse, in the person of Mr John Cavers. Born 87 years ago in Alsace, where his father was a gardener for a time, he started work at eleven years of age. At various times he acted as hind (at Belville among other things), as miller at Ednam, and as steward at Highridge Hall, Swinton Quarter, Whitsome Langrig, and Broomdykes. His first venture as a farmer was made at Heriot Bank 28 years ago. After five years he came to Belville as farmer, and there he succeeded so well that he and his sons have since been able to take over Heiton Mains, Kelso, Pittlesheugh, and Thorneydykes (since given up). Mr Cavers, whose wife, as sister of the late Mr James Aitken, of Springwells, died ten years ago, had two daughters, Elizabeth, who died within six weeks of her mother, and Mrs Clinkscales, now of Bo’ness; and six sons, one of whom, John, died abroad; a second Andrew lives in Canada, William, farmer of Heiton Mains; Walter, farmer and proprietor of Pittlesheugh; James, lately farmer of Thorneydykes, but now living at Bank House, Greenlaw; and George, who farms Belville. The late Mr Cavers, whose farming was probably unsurpassed in the County, was for some years a member of Whitsome School Board, and for a longer period a trusted manager of Leitholm U.F. Church. The attendance at his funeral on Saturday – one of the largest seen in this neighbourhood – was a tribute to the respect in which he was held.

And as a postscript to this, Jean Le Youdec has since traced the birth record for John Cavers in France. Quoting from Jean on Facebook:

I have discovered a trace of the birth of this John Cavers in Alsace. His birth was registered in the commune of Hayes in the Moselle on 20th October 1833. His parents are given as John Cavers and Elisabeth Sidder – perhaps a mis-spelling of Elizabeth Fiddes?

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Theft of fruit in Hawick in 1889

Hawick News, 1889 September 21

BURGH POLICE COURT
THEFT OF FRUIT
Alexander Forbes, Backdamgate, and John Moore, Baker Street, schoolboys, for stealing plums, pears and apples from the shop of George Cavers, High Street, were fined. Forbes 2s or 4 hours and Moor 3s 6d or 6 hours.

George Cavers (1847-1912) married Janet Bruce at Wilton in 1886. He was the son of John Cavers and Janet Graham, and has living descendants. As a young man George was the Cornet for Hawick.

Hoping to get some old Hawick papers digitised

I’ve just asked the British Newspaper Archive to add a Hawick paper to its archive of digitised papers. More votes supporting this would help. For ages they had no Scottish Borders published papers at all. Then they added the Southern Reporter, but it has very little content re region’s then largest town, Hawick. If we can get a Hawick paper digitised then I will be able to pull out lots more useful Cavers surname references from Hawick and surrounding areas (including Cavers itself). To vote see here. Thank you.

EDIT: Happy to say that the British Newspaper Archive now plans, newspaper condition permitting, to digitise old issues of the Hawick News. See here.

Retiral of a tourism coachman

This concerns George Cavers (1831-1900) of the John Cavers and Elizabeth Hislop line. He died six months later, of chronic bronchitis. The tourism routes he operated on are in Dumfriesshire and Selkirkshire.

Edinburgh Evening News, 1900 April 11
George Cavers, the well-known four-in-hand “whip,” who for nearly half-a-century has driven tourists on the Moffat and St Mary’s Loch routes, has laid down the reins in this capacity, and retired from the road.

More on James Cavers “Old Dunneram”

I’ve blogged previously about this James Cavers (1765-1863) in Hawick, including him celebrating his 97th birthday, and a link to a painting of him.

I’ve just found another newspaper report about him, which makes entertaining reading. It was published in a Belfast paper, reproduced from a Border one.

Belfast News-Letter, 1861 December 16

AN OLD ALMANAC SELLER – James Cavers (alias “Dundrum”) is still able, in his 97th year, to go about and sell the “Royal Belfast Almanac.” He has now sold publications for somewhere between sixty and seventy years. He tells with great gusto of an old woman, about forty years since, buying three copies of the same year’s almanac. It appears that for a long time the price of the almanac was 2d; but some free-trading vendor coming round was content to take a small profit and sell it at 1d. The old woman, anxious, like many yet, to save a penny, thought she would lay in a supply for three years. It is needless, however, to say she was rather mistaken. – Border Advertiser

Death on a tramcar

Another death report, this time from a New Zealand newspaper, many of which have been digitised. This looks like the oldest son of Walter Cavers and Jane Blair who were discussed, including in the comments, in the previous post. There’s a Scottish birth for this John in Stobhill district, Midlothian, in 1875, registered as “John Cavers Irvine”. And there’s a matching New Zealand death certificate for him.

Wanganui Chronicle, 1917 January 31

SUDDEN DEATH ON A TRAMCAR

A man naimed[sic] John Cavers, who resided at 116 Bell Street, boarded a tramcar at King’s Avenue, Gonville, yesterday about 5 o’clock, and was observed to collapse before the car had gone twenty chains. Dr Wilkin was hastily summoned, but could do not[sic] more than pronounce life extinct.

Deceased, who was 42 years of age, had been, until the 20th inst., employed as fireman on the N.Z. Refrigerating Company’s lighter Dorset, but had recently been working on day wages.

A second report, this time in the Evening Post of 1917 January 31, notes that he was a “married man”, and that the death occurred on 30th January.

Was he John Cavers who married Sarah A. Samways at Canterbury, NSW in 1910, with several children born over the next few years?

Death of a Cavers emigrant to Australia

I’ve just started searching through the online collection of digitised Australian newspapers. Here’s one of the first interesting entries I found. At the moment I don’t know where he fits into Scottish family trees. There’s no obviously matching Scottish birth for him. But checking his marriage certificate (1899, Granville, New South Wales, wife Ada E. Vines) would reveal his parentage. There are quite a few references in the Australian papers to marriages of his children Albert G. and Ada.

The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 1946 October 16

DEATH OF G. CAVERS

Mr George Blair Cavers (69), who died recently at his residence, Eleanor Street, Granville, had lived in Granville ever since his arrival in Australia from Scotland at the age of six.

In his early days he was employed by the Clyde Engineering Co., and was a keen member of the Clyde Cricket Club. For many years he was manager and coach of the Granville Rechabite football teams, winners of several competitions.

He was one of the foundation members of the Granville Presbyterian Church. Always interested in any movement to help the young people of the district, for many years he was superintendent of the Granville Junior Rechabites.

Mr Cavers is survived by his widow, a son and a daughter.