"Your Darlings You See Never"

Jane Moses Wood Roodhouse

From the 1879 History of Tazewell County, Charles C. Chapman & Co.  Quoted in Martha McDonald’s “Roodhouse Family Tree”, 2002.

This story concerns the son of one of my mariner relatives –  my first cousin 5 times removed (twice over!) one of the sons of Jane Roodhouse (above), by her first husband Captain Abraham Wood.  I descend from the family both sides who decided to stay farming in Cawood, Yorkshire.

Abraham Jr was born in Cawood, Yorkshire in and baptised on Jan 25th, 1818. He was a posthumous baby, his father having died a few months earlier. The burial record simply says Abraham Sr ‘drowned’.

Jane went to to marry widower Ben Roodhouse, and together they emigrated to the U.S.   I’m related to the Wood family as well as the Moses’s and the Roodhouses too (Ben’s sister was my great X 4 grandmother, Jane’s brother also in my direct line).  It’s likely Abraham Sr was captain on ‘Ebiezzer’ or some other vessel owned by Jane’s father, Isaac Moses.

In 1830, the 12 year old Abraham Wood Jr emigrated to Illinois with his mother and his stepfather, brothers and sisters. In later life, he changed his surname from ‘Wood’ to ‘Woods’.

“The History of Tazewell County” describes how the county was plagued by horse thieves in the 19thC. It describes something that happened to Abraham in 1853.

“…A very gentlemanly appearing man stopped at his house for dinner. He was sociable, agreeable in  conversation, and withal, a clever fellow. He claimed to have plenty of money, and said he was on his way to California.  He left, and a few days thereafter,  appeared and called for breakfast, remarking as he entered, ‘Treat a dog well and he is sure to return.’ He was such a fluent talker, so intelligent and agreeable, that Mr. W. was glad to see him. He soon left. Mr. W., observed that he had a sharp eye, that could not be caught for an instant. On coming to the house that morning, he passed the barn and looked at two spans of fine horses, a gray and a bay team. He expressed much admiration for the grays, and made enquiries about their gentleness, &c . Mr W. replied that they were his ‘darlings’, and were perfect pets.

“A week passed, when Mr W. was awakened during the night by the running and whinnying of a horse, as if it had lost its mate. He sent his man out, telling him one of his horses was loose. He soon returned with two letters, one had been stuck upon the door, the other was found on the ground. He also reported one of the gray horses gone. One of the letters read as follows:

‘Oh, avick! shure and its meself that’s trying to make a decent outfit to go home to Sarah and the childer. As Col. Doniphan said in the Mexican war, I came across your ranche and made bowld to  take into my sarvice two Illegant Gray travellers I found on your premises. I wunst thought of calling and telling yer Honor what I was after transacting, But thinking it would be too bad intirely to be robbing a dacent Gentleman of his Darlings and sweet sleep at the same time I mean, I hope and trust your Darlings can travel Handsomely… for it’s no more than likely you’ll be after sending the dirthy spalpeen of a constable after me. Bad cess to the likes of him, He’d be asking my name and other unconstitutional questions, for what does Will Shakespeare say,

“That which we call the Rose,

By any other name would smell as sweet.”

‘So you see this settles the point at issue. Perhaps you would be mighty well obliged should I tell you my name, place of Residence, and where I am from. Well, yer honor, I am from every place but this, and shall be from this Just as fast as your Darling’s legs can carry me. Now to conclude. Fare ye well, and still forever fare ye well, Hoping your Darlings you see never, before I can swap them or sell. ACUSHLA MAVOURNEEN.’

….. It was evident that the thief got alarmed before he fairly started. He had attempted to take both horses, but one had broken loose…..”

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