Friday, 22 February 2008

William Daglish, Santa Cruz, California

I recently found some advertising materials for Daglish’s Health Food Service of Santa Cruz, California, and a little research led to a colourful story.

An article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel by Carolyn Swift provided some details.

The story begins in 1928, when Sarah Jane Kitchen married William Edward Daglish. The couple moved to Santa Cruz at the height of the Depression, opening the “Daglish Free Welfare Depot”. William quickly earned a reputation: the report describes him as "something of a fanatic, driving a "sign-flaunting gas chariot"... on a boisterous one-man moral crusade".

Life for his wife was difficult. She was described as "semi-invalid" and, forced by her husband to eat his chosen diet, some thought she was slowly starving – and said she occasionally went to neighbours for more food.

On July 17 1940, Sarah Jane died. She was buried the next day, Thursday, when William delivered the funeral sermon. On the following day he eloped to Reno, Nevada, with 22-year Joan Allardyce where the couple were married. This series of events led to nationwide news coverage, and one newspaper reported:

"If Daglish and Miss Allardyce had reached the Remo marriage license clerk four minutes later than they did, their marriage would have to be postponed until Sunday because Daglish’s church, Seventh Day Adventist, does not sanction marriages on Saturday."

Meanwhile, back in Santa Cruz, the authorities had ordered Sarah Jane’s body to be exhumed from the Felton Cemetery, and tested for poison.

William protested his innocence and gave his version of the story. He accused the authorities of a plot against him because of his campaigning against vice and gambling. He claimed that Sarah Jane had approved of Miss Allardyce as his future wife, and had urged him to marry her immediately after the funeral.

No poison was detected in the tests, and the authorities accepted the coroner’s decision that Sarah Jane had died of “hemorrhagic pancreatitis”.

The handbill dates from just after this in 1941. The photo shows William, Joan and their daughter Noaomi Celeste. William continued his business until his death in 1952.

William was born in 1896 in Indiana, the son of John Daglish and Mary Aldrich. His grandfather, also John Daglish, had emigrated from England.

I would be very interested to know more about the family and their story, or to hear from any relatives. Also any photos of the Daglish store in Santa Cruz, which was covered with various slogans and adverts - I have seen one small photo from the 1950s, but this is too small and the quality too poor to show here.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Daglish boxers of Workington

I recently stumbled upon an excellent web site abour Pre-War Boxing, run by boxing historian Miles Templeton. The site included details of two Daglishes who were boxing in Workington in the mid 1930s -Harry and Jim Daglish. From the site I obtained scans of two handbills from 1934.

The first is for Harry Daglish (born Henry Daglish, born 1917, died 1977). The fight to which the handbill refers took place on Monday November 12, 1934 at Drill Hall Carlisle. Harry beat his opponent Frank Moran on points.

At this time Harry would have been 17 years old. Miles tells me that he would be fighting for prizes of around 10 or 15 shillings, money that would support the family budget.

Harry was a member of Jim Pattinson’s Boxing Club and fought all over the North of England, from Workington to Manchester and across to the North East.

He carried on boxing until he was called up into the Navy during WW2. In the Navy he kept quiet about his boxing skills – but his daughter Linda tells a story:

“There was one fellow used to win bouts most of the time and he got rather too big for his boots - so Dad decided to bring him down a peg or two. Harry told his mate to put all the money he could scrape together on himself - and then he hammered the other fellow, much to everyone’s surprise! They all lost their money, except Dad’s mate - and of course the other fellow wasn't quite so big for his boots after that.”

Harry is part of the Daglish family which has been involved for many years with Workington’s famous Uppies & Downies held each year over the Easter period.

The other handbill is for Jim Daglish – and this is proving something of a puzzle, as no-one knows who this is! The fight appears to be a challenge match, as the handbill reads:

Daglish has asked for this contest, confident he will check Nugent’s series of victories. Will he?

Unfortunately we don’t know the result of the match!

My thanks to Miles Templeton for the handbills and to Linda Carter for the photo and family details.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Remember When - a Daglish research story

This week I was sent a copy of "Remember When", a monthly magazine on local history covering Newcastle and the North East. Included in this issue is a story about a Daglish family - and how an interest in finding about their family history has brought together cousins living many miles apart.

The story starts in July 2007 when Stuart Daglish, who lives in Doncaster, came across some old letters which started his interest.

Stuart knew that his father, John Francis Daglish, was from Byker in Newcastle. His father never spoke much about his childhood, except to say that he was brought 130 miles south to Doncaster from Newcastle when he was aged about 13 by someone called Elizabeth Machin and her husband. Stuart's father died in 1987, and all that Stuart had to start with was his father's old, tattered and taped birth certificate, an old photograph of his grandfather in uniform and two old letters from the only known sibling.

Stuart's grandfather, John Maddison Daglish, was born in Gateshead in 1884 and died of wounds in 1915 whilst serving in Gallipoli with the Northumberland Fusiliers. Stuart's grandmother, Theresa Daglish (nee Francis), later re-married but died in childbirth in 1922.

Stuart placed an advert in the Newcastle Chronicle looking for family members brought immediate results. He remembers:

"Three days later one of my cousins replied. She had not seen the advertisement. It was a friend of one of her daughters who read it and rushed round to their house. We had a three hour telephone conversation that Friday night and she put me in touch with other cousins. I went up to Newcastle in September to meet them and they are all wonderful people, and we are now in touch regularly. It is wonderful to discover you have new enlarged family you were not aware of."

Pictured (left to right) Kathleen Nelson, Betty Garner, Stuart Daglish and Pat Whitton.

Betty Garner is the daughter of Henry Butcher and Isabella Daglish. Kathleen Nelson and Patricia Whitton are daughters of Thomas McKane and Catherine Daglish.

Pat has been working with Stuart on the research, spending many hours in the Tyne & Wear Archives at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, looking not just at family records but also at where their ancestors lived and the social conditions in those times.

Stuart got in touch with me at the end of last year when he was trying to find out about his great great grandfather James Daglish who married Isabella Wheatley in 1844. James was proving hard to track down, but I was able to put Stuart in touch with Elaine, also descended from James and Isabella, who had found a possible answer to this mystery and extended the research on the family back to the parish of Whickham in the late 17th century.

Stuart and Pat hope that the article in "Remember When" might result in more contacts with relatives and people who knew the family. If you would like to get in touch with Stuart and Pat, please contact me at the e-mail address in the Profile section and I will be happy to pass on your details, or leave a Comment below.

My thanks to Pat for sending me the magazine and photos, and to Stuart for the details he has provided to the Daglish One-Name Study.

Remember When is published monthly by The Evening Chronicle and aims to record the recent history of the North East through the memories of local people.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Liverpool tram, 1949

I recently found a photo taken in 1949 showing a Liverpool Corporation Tramways tram on route 40 from Pagemoss to Pier Head, here seen going around a curve with a shop of R.P. Daglish in the background. I wrote about this business in November - see here.
Photo copyright N.N. Forbes