Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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A Walk Through Ryde in the Early 1850s

In the autumn of 1853 Mary Ann Chambers, her husband and their children emigrated from Ryde to America and the family prospered in the United States.

Forty years later Mary Ann Chambers died in Baton Rouge, Louisana, at the grand old age of 91, at the home of her son, Mr C W Chambers. When she died she left two sons, three daughters, 29 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren to mourn her loss.

Mr Chambers wrote to Mr Alfred Pollard of Hill Street, Ryde to inform him of Mrs Chambers’ death and in his letter he also wrote:

“Give my kindest regards to any who may remember me, and tell them, in fancy, I often walk the streets of Ryde, and call up from memory’s record the names and faces of those with whom I used to associate in the long ago. Even as I write these few lines, in fancy I can see the town, and travel from my home in Nelson Street, through Cross Street and High Street, up to the old shop under the hill. I see the waterworks pump, with the old man, Parsons, pumping day by day through sunshine and rain – then up Hill Street to your old home, and on to the graveyard. Indeed, so many things crowd into my mind that I am warned to quit wondering about what may not interest you a thousandth part as much as it does me, who am 5,000 miles away from the town of my birth.”

The obituary for Mrs Chambers was published in the IW Observer on 9 December 1893 along with the above paragragh. The newspaper article went on to say: “We question very much, after 40 years absence, whether the writer of the above would recognise the streets he has mentioned. The “old shop under the hill” is, we presume, the old blacksmith’s shop which used to exist near Tub Well, and that, and the pump to which he refers, no longer exist. The Cemetery has been several times enlarged since he left the town, and many of those he knew and associated with him, are resting there. The town would hardly seem the same to him, if he returned.”

Mr Chambers had done well in the States and was much respected in Baton Rouge. He was the Past Grand Patriarch of the Independent Order of Oddfellows for the state of Louisiana (the highest honour that could be conferred on a member in any State). He was also well known as a local preacher in the Methodist Church.

Source Isle of Wight Observer 9 December 1893
Researched by Ann Ryder.