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The Sanders story by Elizabeth Thompson (nee Sanders)

As far as I can learn the name of Sanders was introduced into the village of Quorn around the year 1832 when George Sanders opened a butcher's shop in what is now the dining room in number 27 Meeting Street. His death is recorded as December 25th 1864. Who carried on his business I donít know, but his eldest son, Joseph, is mentioned in the records in 1865.

I believe George Sanders was brother to my great grandfather, John Sanders. I have not discovered what trade or profession John Sanders followed, but in his will, bearing the date 1867, he states, "I, John Sanders, Gentleman, do herby revoke all former wills" etc etc. He had four sons by his first wife and one son and two daughters by his second wife. He died in June 1868.

My Grandfather was one of the four sons and was born in 1838, and was also called John. I think he must have bought the house on Meeting Street from Joseph Sanders, Georges's son. I remember my father telling us that our grandfather worked in the offices of a shipping company in Scotland before he came to Quorn. He set up a carpentry shop on the land behind the house and excelled in the making of hand carved oak furniture. He sold many items to Mr Farnham of Quorn House and to Mr Warner of Quorn Hall. A very handsome fireplace was installed in the sitting of his own house with carved oak side panels and a life-like face of an old man at each side. This fireplace is still in the room as beautiful as ever.

John was also an excellent gardener and had a large greenhouse running the whole width of the garden, where he grew three different kinds of grapes and even had a fig tree which bore beautiful ripe figs. He was married to Elizabeth Mayo in 1867 and they had two children, a son, John, and a daughter, Elizabeth.

This John, my father, also became a master carpenter. He married Mary Martlew in 1898, took over his father's business and came to live in Meeting Street after grandpa Sanders died in 1900. He was really more interested in mechanics that in carpentry. Using part of the garden he built an engine room and installed a gas engine to drive saws for cutting up timber, which he had bought standing and had it cut down and hauled into the yard by heavy draft horses. We girls would love to watch the big horses straining on the harness to bring the heavy logs over the cobble stones of the gateway to be swing into place by the overhead crane.

The saws and engine were on the ground floor with sheds built over them for the carpenters to work in and separate rooms for drying and curing the timber. There was also a boiler room below ground. When the high chimney from this was built, my father wanted my eldest sister, Mary to go up on the scaffold to place a half sovereign in between the bricks. She was scared to go, so Grace, who was only about seven years old at the time, went. We have often wondered if the coin was discovered when the chimney was torn down.

Four daughters were born to my parents - Mary, Grace, Alice and myself, Elizabeth. I think it must have been quite a disappointment to my father that he had no son to carry on the business.

When World War I broke out he kept the saws going late into the night, filling government orders. Workmen were hard to get and I remember my sister Alice and I helped by running the band saw and cutting lengths foe pick handles for the trenches. This was done on Saturday and we would be ten and eleven years old at the time.

By the time the war ended, my father who was never a strongman, was exhausted and dissatisfied. A slump in business had set in and in 1919 he decided to sell up and go out to Canada to join his old friend, George North, who had emigrated to Saskatchewan in 1903. My mother was against the idea from first, saying it was foolish for a man of 52 years to go to a new country and engage in a new occupation. It was all to no avail, and he set sail in July 1920, leaving mother, Grace, Alice and myself to follow. My eldest sister, was now engaged and refused to leave. She was now teaching in Quorn School and in 1923 married George Horspool.

Grace continued her teacher training an taught for nearly a year in Hathern school. Alice and I were attending Rawlins Grammar School and took the Oxford Seniors exam in July 1920. In the autumn, Alice went to agricultural college while I went back to school for two more terms until we sailed for Canada in April 1921.

My father had bought a farm of 320 acres, ten miles from the village. It was a hard life in those days and when the Depression struck with dry weather and poor crops coupled with the low price of farm produce, he decided to retire in 1938.

By this time Alice had married a farmer named Reg Sibley and had a family of two. Grace had taught in several different places in Saskatchewan and then married a farmer named Douglas Duff. I taught for 6 years and then married a farmer who lived across the road from mother and dad. We had 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. When dad retired he and mother moved to a house on our farm where they lived until dad died in 1945.


There are many stories to tell you of our life in Canada, but I think I have written too much already. My mother had 10 grandchildren born in Canada and 3 born in England to Mary and George. All of them have done well. I am now living in a house on my eldest son's farm, so history had repeated itself. I am not so happy as I was before my husband passed away in Feb 1982, but now my grandchildren come to visit me and make my life worth living.

 Submitted on: 2011-02-18
 Submitted by: Kate Hutchinson
 Artefact ID: 1206

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