Posted by: peopleshistreh | August 20, 2013

A City of Light… Excerpts Chapter 4

Excerpts from Chapter 4 relating to the Nottingham emigrants to Illinois:

‘It was on Wednesday 21st June 1842 that a party of seventeen adults and several children from Nottingham and Leicester left the port of Liverpool on the sailing vessel Belmont. Their departure at a time of great economic hardship, while motivated by hopes of a more prosperous and happy future, must have given rise to mixed emotions …

The journey taken by the Nottingham socialists took more than two months. “Sixty five days on the ocean trip, they came directly West by an eight day journey on the Great Lakes to Chicago” and onward by the Fink and Walker stage coach to a timber tract at …

Thomas Hunt has been described as the leader of the “colony”, the man who the others entrusted with $1,200 in “English gold” on their journey from England to …

Another emigrant and long time resident of Ridott was William Fairbairn … older than most members of the “colony” he was 36 when he emigrated with his wife Ellen and his 2 year old son, the boy who had been “named” William Owen at the Theatre in Nottingham in 1840 by Robert Owen …

The person most likely to have been the organiser of the emigration left Ridott soon after the dissolution of the community. …This was Henry Layland Knight. Henry was born in Manchester in late 1819 or January 1820, the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Knight. His father was a silk warper …

After his first lecture in 1837, Henry Knight soon became a regular figure on the socialist lecture circuit … In January 1841 he made his first report from Leicester where he had been appointed a Social Missionary … A year later in 1842 the Nottingham branch was reporting that he had taken up an appointment as Social Missionary for the Nottingham District where he is “most zealous in his exertions” and “labours indefatigably.” …’

Read the full story of the socialist community builders and the socialist branch in Nottingham in in Chapters 3 and 4 of The City of Light: Socialism, Chartism and Co-operation – Nottingham 1844.

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