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Between 1851 and 1853, over twenty Gottses left East Ruston village in Norfolk for Canada and USA: what was the driving force: poverty? Were they assisted by the parish? They clearly were not alone; this verse by William N. Southgate of East Ruston was sufficiently alarmed when he penned these verses and recited them at the Primitive Methodist Sunday School Tea Meeting at Happisburgh in 1866:
John Watts and Richard Hewitt were here no longer seen,
Straight to America they went, and so did young John Green;
A Scarland, and a Rayner, also a Bullimore
A Miller and a Taylor, they gave thier teaching o'er.
The Heyletts, Castons, Canhams I do remember well,
They crossed the briny ocean, in America to dwell,
I often think about them, my heart o'erflows with love,
I hope one day to meet them in yon bright world above.
Not exactly Shakespearean, but I guess he was concerned about losing so many virtuous men from the parish.
Painting by Samuel Walters in the Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, Connecticut.
East Ruston church, from a watercolour by Eileen Mitchell Kingstone
East Ruston church today, courtesy of Ian Gotts of Kings Lynn
The U.S. ship OCEAN QUEEN was built at New York by Jacob A. Westervelt & William Mackey, and was launched in 1850. 1182 tons; 175 feet 3 inches x 38 feet 5 inches x 22 feet 2 inches She sailed in Griswold's Black X Line of sailing packets between New York and London, her westbound passages averaging 33 days, her shortest passage being 23 days, her longest 52 days. In February 1856, W. B. Smith, master, she sailed from London for New York with 90 passengers and a crew of 33, and went missing.