One Family's Journey to Allegany County, MD.
as told by Thomas Machin
"By request I will endeaver to put in writing a History of how it came about that The Machin Family came to this Country.
To begin with I will have to go into tradition.
Back in the Year 1849 My Maternal Grandfather Thomas Handley decided he would like to seek his fortune in the U.S.A. of America as he like to call it. He left his Family and Home, took Ship and landed in New York NY on the 28th day of July in the year 1849. And on the same day My Mother his youngest child was born. He left New York and went west across the Country into the State of Illinoise which was then Government Land and took up a Homestiad of 80 acres of land and proved up on it and in the meantime he purchased another 80 acres Built a Home and stocked the Farm by then he thought it time to bring his Family.
Now Before I go any Further I think I should introduce him. He was a very pious Man, in his younger days he became a Methodist Minister and preached in several churches and I understand he used to Travel to the different churches Horseback (or rather Donkey Back) because at that time It was the main Beast of Burden for the common people. But has[sic] time went on and he had more time to study He decided the Methodist Belief was to noisy and to much outward Show.
[Note attached: I believe the State of Illinois was only 31 year old at the time my Grandfather landed in it. I do not know how long he was here in the states.
Nor do I know what part of the state that he settled in.]
So he left them and joined the Quakers or Friends as they choose to call themselves at that time And he was a Quaker untill he died. He was a Teatotaler and a vegitearian. he did not believe in taking the life of anything. And he was very Philantropic. I have heard my folks say that Grandmother had to watch him like a Hawk to keep him from giving to much away. Now Grandmother was a little different She was pious enough but not so philantropic She believed that everyone should prepare for a rainy day. And I believe it was through her that they became very prosperous in their later years of life.
They were the parents of 13 children most of whom didnt survive only four of them grew up., Two girls and two Boys the oldest girls name was Eliza and Mothers Emma. The oldest Bro whos name was John He married when he grew up and had one Son William but he only lived till his son was two years Old. He became a coal Miner and worked in a very Gaseious mine and they had an explosion And all but three or four were killed And he died shorty after from the effects.
My Grandparents educated him, the son. I remember him. He went to a school in a place called Dronfield. We havent heard from him Since Grandfather died.
[Note attached: (Eliza) Who Mother thought inherited the estate. The attorney a Mr. Allen, who settled up the Estate wanted Mother to go back and fight this case in court. But could not go on account of Father being sick And a big Family of small children to look after and short of funds besides. (I think she got something like $250.00) out of the estate.
Eliza The oldest child]
The other Bro died when he was 17 years old He contracted T.B.
Mother and Eliza were the only two who lived to raise a Family. Eliza Married a a man by the name of Utley I don't know as I ever heard his first Name Maybe some of the other children heard Mother call him by name.
Well they had four children all girls I only remember two of them Lavina and Polly. They used to come to our house often continued Below
Now I will proceed to Introduce you to Fathers People. My Father doesnt remember his Father he was only two years old when he got killed. he was a bricklayer was working on a House and fell of the Scaffold and Broke his neck But his Grandmother lived till just before we came to this Country I remember when she was burried My Folks left George Myself and Mary with Aunt Sarah While they took Albert and went to her Funeral.
[NB:the preceding paragraph has a large X across it]
(continued from above) We have not heard from them as I know of since 1884 or 5.
Now I will try and Introduce Fathers People
My Father John Samuel Machin Born March 6 1842. He didn't remember his Father who was a Bricklayer by trade, fell from a scaffold while building a House and Broke his neck. When father was a child 2 years old. Eventually his Mother Married again A Man by the name of Burden I don't recall hearing his first name but remember him quite well. Who was a Widower with one child a girl Elizabeth, about the same age as my Father. They raised a Family of five 4 boys and one [girl] William the Eldest, Samuel, George, Thomas, My Favorite and Sarah, (Sally) they called her.
They all Grew up and had families. I remember some of the children. My Fathers Paternal Grandmother died Just before we came to this Country. Father & Mother took Albert and Attended the Funeral and left George Myself & Mary at Aunt Sallys.
I don't think there is anything else that would be interesting So will continue with my Maternal Grandfather. As I said in an earlier part of this writing he went back to england to get his family But there he was stumped. GrandMother was afraid to Cross the Ocean And wouldnt come to this country with him. So he had to sell out here. And locate over there. But in the meantime Illinois settled up fast and property advanced in Price and he realized a good profit on his Homestead.
He took the money realized from his US adventure and bought some land and went into Truck Gardening. He rented a stand or (Stall) as they called it over there And Grandmother worked in it and sold the thruck[?]. Grandfather and the Children raised and bought the Garden truck. And their Business Grew so he had to buy and rent more land. They did that for a many years. When they thought the had worked and had enough of that they retired and sold their interests out. He couldnt stop at that. So he had five Houses a Grocery store, and a Bakery. Built on Part of his land. And the Income from his rents brought in a comfortble income enough to Give him a vote. (At that time workmen common People didn't have a vote unless they had an independant income of 5£ or about $25.00 per week) He had a vote but I never heard what his income was.
But he never give up his love for America he continually talked about it He impressed My Father and Mother so much that they decided to come to this Country. But Grandmother would not hear to it as long as she lived. But in 1879 she died and at her death My folks decided to come across to the U.S.A.
Now My Father had a Friend in Midland by the Name of John (Jack) Humpfrey who correspond with them for some years and he like my Grandfather continually bragged what a wonderfull country this was. So My Father wrote him that they were ready to come over and he wrote back And told him to come to Frostburg And he would have a House rented and Furnished ready to move into and also a Job for him to start work as soon as We landed So on April 27 1880 We give our Friends and the Country good bye. And sat Sail for the Grand U.S.A. For my Parents and their Children never to return at this writing.
We landed in Frostburg May 12 1880 But then the trouble started. Although Humpfrey knew we were coming he did not meet us. And my people only brought enough money for transportation expecting to go to work right away. So We went to a Hotel for the night expecting his Friend to meet us the next day But he didnt show up And no one could locate him So my Father went into every Business in the town but no one ever heard of Jack Humphfrey.
But in the meantime A very good man by the Name of McLuckie who ran a Grocery store on the Corner of Bawry and Main St Frostburg took up the case and he rented a House on McCoullough st (It is still standing today) And he furnished it with a stove. And wooden Crates for Table an seats Our folks had brought taken Bedding [with] them And that is how we got started. Well this storekeeper Look around and found some odd jobs around the town that kept us eating And during the Summer My Father got a job on a Farm located on Eckhart Flat Opperated By a Morris Winebrenner it payed small wages but it kept us from going in debt And finally Father landed a job in the old Bowry Iron ore mine at Midlothian and earned enough to furnish the Home enough to get along Then in 1881 we moved to Midlothian and just when we got settled the Blast Furnace shut down And My Father was out of work again But he was forchunate enough to land a job digging coal in the Old Johnson mine owned
by the New Central Coal Company and worked there untill the Big strike of 1882 Came on and lasted for six months And during this time Father Located his Friend Humphrey who was living at Midland But Father was so disgusted with him he wouldnt have anything to do with him.
That strike tryed everybody. The Men as was usual those days wasnt prepared for such a long strike Their Organisation at that time was the Knights of Labor and could not take care of the miners for such a long strike and they had to do for themselves. Once in a while they would sind some Flour but when it was divided there was very little for each Family: But even at that we only missed one meal. Finly the Miners had to give up and that was about the end of the Knights of Labor At that time they dint have steel rails for the Miners they used 4"x4" wood rail during the strike the tracks rotted and when they went to work again the Miners had to almost carry the Cars out of the Rooms And Father injured his back from then he started to go down and was never well again untill he died. 1891 From that time on All of the Brothers and sisters know what went on.
I think this Concludes this this Writing So will close with asking you all to pardon my poor way of telling how it came about that we landed here in the Great U. S. of A.
Feb 8th 1947
Dear Jack. Please check this work and if you find any errors regarding this History please correct it at your earliest convenience So I can transcribe it I havent had time untill this week to work on it but would like to finish it and send it to Fred so he can have one of his boys to take the kinks out of it.
Dear Bro. & Sister and all I hope this finds you all well as it leaves us at present. I have given up carrying the mail and I will have more time to write., I would like to have brought this in person so we could talk over it but I dont like to drive my Car in the Winter. Bye Tom"
(Courtesy of James Rice/transcribed by Genie)
[NB: I have done my best to transcribe this exactly, leaving the spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar as it was originally written.]
Posted November 29, 2012