Pursuing the Parkfield

Findmypast announces new additions to their record collections every Friday. This past Friday (January 13th) brought an unexpected surprise – a newspaper titled Lloyd’s List.

Lloyd’s List is one of the world’s oldest continuously running journals, having provided weekly shipping news in London as early as 1734. Known simply as The List, it was begun by the proprietor of Lloyd’s Coffee House in the City of London, England as a reliable and concise source of information for the merchants’ agents and insurance underwriters who met regularly in his establishment in Lombard Street to negotiate insurance coverage for trading vessels.[1]

I decided this would be a good opportunity to see if I could find the ship Parkfield that carried my third great grandfather Thomas and his family from England to America in 1846.

I mentioned the Parkfield in “From England to Indiana, Part 3.” I knew the ship’s name from this biography of Sylvester Casbon, published in 1912. [2]

(Click on image to enlarge)

The information in this account gives the year incorrectly as 1847. This is not surprising considering that the biography was published 66 years after the fact.

I have previously searched the internet for information about the Parkfield, without success. Now, with the new Lloyd’s List archive on Findmypast, I had success right away – a modest one, I’ll admit. This is it.[3]

Detail of Lloyd’s List, April 20, 1846, showing sailing dates, and ports of arrival and departure; Newspaper image © The British Library Board; all rights reserved; with thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) (Click on image to enlarge)

This small notice shows that the Parkfield departed Southampton, bound for Quebec, on April 18, 1846.

Emboldened by my success, I did some more searching in the Findmypast British Newspaper Archive and located this advertisement in the Hampshire Advertiser of March 28, 1846.

“Shipping. Emigration to Canada,” The (Southampton) Hampshire (U.K.) Advertiser, vol. 23, no. 1181, p. 1, col. 1, 28 Mar 1846; online images, British Newspaper Archive—Findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/search/british-newspapers : accessed 13 January 2017); Newspaper image © The British Library Board; all rights reserved; with thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) (Click on image to enlarge)

EMIGRATION TO CANADA.—fine ship PARKFIELD, of 700 Tons burden, Captain Smith, will embark Passengers in the Southampton Docks, on Thursday, the 16th of April.
This Ship has been employed regularly in the East India Passenger trade, and has a roomy poop and other very superior accommodations for all classes of passengers, and will carry an experienced Surgeon.

These two newspaper items did not add a lot to what I already knew, but they validate my other sources and tell us a little more about the ship. I think the description of the ship as a “Canadian Lumber Boat” in Sylvester Casbon’s biography is probably inaccurate, given the fact that it was “employed regularly in the East India Passenger trade.”

The one item I would most like to have concerning Thomas Casbon’s voyage is a copy of the Parkfield’s passenger manifest. Unfortunately, it still eludes me!

As a postscript, I decided to check Lloyd’s List for the ship taken by Thomas’ brother James in 1870. As I reported in “James Casbon of Meldreth, England and Porter County, Indiana,” James arrived in New York from Liverpool, England, on December 27, 1870, on the ship Great Western. Armed with this information, it was easy to find the record of the Great Western’s departure from Liverpool on November 11, 1870.[4]

Newspaper image © The British Library Board; all rights reserved; with thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) (Click on image to enlarge)

I was able to learn a little more about the Great Western. There were several ships of that name in the 1800s. The most famous was the Great Western of 1837, the first steamship designed for transatlantic travel. This ship carried passengers to New York for many years, and was taken out of service in 1856.[5] Another Great Western was built in 1872, and was wrecked on Long Island in 1876.[6] Based on their dates of operation, neither one of these could have been the ship taken by James Casbon in 1870. That ship was almost certainly The Great Western of the Black Ball Line, built 1851 in New York. The Black Ball line was a well-known passenger company of the 19th century. It continued to operate into the 1880s. Unlike its namesakes, this Great Western was a sailing ship, not a steamship.[7]

[1] Cox, Alex (12 Jan 2017), “Findmypast Friday”. Findmypast Blog (https://blog.findmypast.com/findmypast-friday-2190497688.html : accessed January 15 2017).
[2] History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912), v.2, pp. 482-3; digital images, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://catalog.hathitrust.org : accessed 20 August 2016).
[3] Lloyd’s List (London), No. 10,014, p. 1, col. 3, 20 April 1846, Parkfield sailing, 18 Apr 1846; online images, Findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/search/british-newspapers : accessed 13 January 2017), British Newspapers 1710-1953.
[4] “Home Ports,” Lloyd’s List (London), No. 17,651, p. 4, col. 7, 12 Nov 1870, Great Western sailing, 11 Nov 1870; Findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/search/british-newspapers : accessed 13 January 2017), British Newspapers 1710-1953.
[5] “Ship Descriptions–G…Great Western 1837,” The Ships List (http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/descriptions/ShipsG.shtml : accessed 14 January 2017)
[6] “Ship Descriptions–G…Great Western 1872,” The Ships List.
[7] “Black Ball Line (trans-Atlantic packet),” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org : accessed 15 January 2017), rev 13:42, 3 Nov 16.

3 thoughts on “Pursuing the Parkfield”

  1. My great great great grandfather, Thomas Cave was on the Parkfield. He and about two dozen others from the village of Caxton, Cambridgeshire were also on the ship. I could give you a list of individuals if you are interested. There was one birth at sea.

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