John Cammish CRAIK was baptized at St Oswald’s, Filey this day 1853. He was the first and last child of James Craik and Rachel CAMMISH – because his father died before the marriage was three years old.
When the 1861 census was taken, John C was 8 years old and described as a Lodger in the household of retired mariner John RUDDOCK and his wife Mary Ann née RICHARDSON. (John will appear centre stage in a post some day, simply because he went to the Arctic twice with Captain PARRY.) John C’s mother was a few doors away in Queen Street with her widowed father, Thomas CAMMISH, and a 17-year-old servant, Sarah JAMESON. The Ruddocks had a servant too, Mary CAMMISH, aged 50 and, as far as I can tell, a distant cousin of Rachel’s. It is impossible to ascertain who the poor boy looked to for love and guidance.
At the next census, 1871, John C was a “servant” to Christopher RICHARDSON, Innkeeper at the T’Oard Ship (sometimes T’Awd Ship) in Queen Street. John Ruddock had departed this life and his widow Mary was in residence at the Inn and, again, young John’s mother was living a few yards up the street with her father. Another source states that John C Craik was working as an ostler at the Inn so it isn’t a stretch to find him in the 1881 census described as a “farm servant” but living in the household of fisherman Castle JENKINSON. That Mary Ann Ruddock, now 83 years old, was there too suggests that it was she, rather than Rachel, who had been a mother to him. (Rachel had died in 1878 aged just 47.)
The Craik name now disappears from Filey. It was introduced to the town by John C’s grandfather John, born 1799 in Langton, Berwick, Scotland, a customs officer and later coast guard. He died in 1854, followed by his son James, John C’s father, in 1855. The two men are buried in St Oswald’s churchyard and the headstone also remembers wife and mother Eleanor née CROW.
John C had three sisters and a bunch of nephews and nieces in and around Filey but the census of 1891 finds him, age 37, working as a labourer in Walkington, near Beverley. Cue the X Files theme music, not because Gillian Anderson caused a stir some years ago by visiting the village but because of its infamous institution. John C was just one of many who slept there on the night of Sunday, April 5th. Sadly, it seems then to have swallowed him up. In 1901 he is a “patient” without occupation in the Broadgate Mental Asylum and still there ten years later, a “general labourer but above able to do work”.
He endured for another 12 years or so, his death registered in Beverley in the first quarter of 1924. So, he made his three score and ten but spent half of his life in the asylum. I wonder if his sisters, brothers in law, nephews and nieces ever visited him there.
Filey Genealogy & Connections deprives John C of his Aunt Isabella, mistakenly making her the daughter of a William CRAIK – but correctly hitching her to station master Richard Richardson HARRISON. You can follow Rachel’s CAMMISH line back four generations.