Graham Snowdon is a retired journalist, our Secretary and an author in our blog team who has definitely raised the bar in the quality of our reporting. His talk was an account of his paternal grandmother’s family, which he has traced back to Christopher Husband, his four times great grandfather, born in Scarborough about 1734.
We all think of Scarborough as a seaside resort but that only came about with the advent of the railways. Scarborough was a very active port from medieval times and a great deal of ship building took place there. From 1755 to 1807 The Tindall shipyard was the largest producer of vessels, totaling 57, ranging from 64 tons up to 403 tons.
Graham said that of the Husbands his great great grandfather Christopher Husband, his great great uncle John Husband, his great grandfather Richard Tindall Husband and his great uncles Jack and Art Husband were all master mariners.
Frances (Fanny) Tindall, Graham’s great great grandmother was born in Scarborough in 1787 and she and Christopher Husband married in Scarborough on 15th December 1817. Christopher and Fanny settled into married life in a small house on Quay Street behind Ivy House (now Ivy House café). At that time Ivy House was the home of one member of the Tindall family, known as ‘Gentleman’ John, master mariner and ship owner.
Christopher and Fanny had three sons, John, Christopher and Richard.Christopher was born in1825 but died in infancy. John and Richard both became master mariners. Richard or Captain Richard Tindall Husband, to give him his full title, was the youngest of the three, born in 1827 and was the great grandfather of Graham. Richard married and had a daughter Frances Annie (1872) and two sons, Jack and Art, who again were master mariners. Frances Annie was Graham’s grandmother and Jack and Art his great uncles. Again Jack became a master mariner (Captain Jack Husband) and his brother Art, became a fully qualified trawler skipper.
Captain Jack Husband used to sail across to America and it was on one such occasion That he was the hero in a dramatic sea rescue 60 miles of the coast of America. The JohnTwohy with eleven crew on board was in danger of sinking in a terrible storm. Captain Jack Husband dispatched a lifeboat from his ship, the Kilnsea to go and rescue them but one member of his crew was thrown into the sea and was rescued with great difficulty. The lifeboat was then smashed to pieces and the crew of the stricken John Twohy had to remain on board throughout the night, to await rescue the following afternoon. Great Uncle Jack who organized the rescue and remained calm under severe pressure was recognized by President Woodrow Wilson who commissioned a 14-carat gold pocket watch and chain to be presented to him for his gallantry. This watch is now in Maine Maritime Museum.
Captain Jack Husband survived the first World War to sail his ship into Calais in 1919 on government business, and according to ‘The Times’, he was seen to go ashore never to be seen alive again. His body was found floating in the harbor ten days later.
Graham’s great great grandfather had a 2nd cousin twice removed called Gregory Husband who was born in the same year as he in 1827 and he also was a master mariner. He apparently slipped off the gang plank going aboard his ship, whilst it was moored in the Thames one Saturday night in 1869 and drowned.
In all, 6 of Graham’s ancestors were master mariners and was a fully qualified trawler skipper, and quite a few of the Husbands sailed the Tindall ships.
His talk was full of facts and dates and was altogether thoroughly interesting. I for one was spellbound.