Thursday, 15 February 2018

Little Jack

There were four Metcalf sisters. Their names were Minnie, Nellie, Lily and Cassie, the daughters of Joseph and Ann Jane Metcalf (née Knox).

Joseph and Ann were married on 29 July 1893, and their daughter Minnie was born later that year. Nellie was born in 1896, Lily in 1899, and finally Cassie was born in 1904. 

The Metcalf Sisters

But I know there was a fifth Metcalf child, a boy, named Jack. 

My Grandma told me of him a few times, and it was always the same story. Not really a story, per se, more of a line, something little Jack said. And it always ended with my Grandma saying 'but, of course, he died young.'

The story was passed down to my Grandma from her mother, Minnie, who heard it firsthand. The line was spoken by Jack himself, who said, 'Put Cassie down, Ma. Nurse Jack.'

Jack was born on 13 May 1902 at West Moor, Northumberland. His father was a native of Stanley, Durham, but in his work as a sinker in the pits, he found himself working in many collieries in the local area. Ann, his mother, was from Bedlington.

Cassie was born two years later, on 9 February 1904. Jack was obviously jealous of his mother's affections and attention when the new baby arrived and decided he wanted to be nursed too.

On 6 July 1904, Jack sadly died of a combination of whooping cough and bronchopneumonia. He was only two-years-old.

Thankfully Jack is remembered in my family. Two of the Metcalf sisters named a son Jack in his honour, and it is clear that my own great-grandmother recalled him fondly and ensured he was remembered. 

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