The Allen and Truman Scarborough fishing families

The writer of this history did not leave his or her name. It is a family history which concerns one child - Alice Irene Allen.

I was introduced to Alice Irene in the cosy kitchen of a little house so close to the harbour that when when the trawlers are getting up steam the whole place vibrates. Her parents were giving a New year's party and I was one of ther guests. Alice found more pleasure in entertaining herself than entertaining visitors, which duty she left entirely to her parents. Yet interest centred chiefly in the young person guilty of this indifference. The reader will perhaps find it easier to pardon such conduct when I say that Alice Irene is only a few months old.

"Apart from the personal charms possessed by this baby girl (and, needless to say they are legion), and which of course made an impression on me the fact that I know four people who are Great Grandparents to this little maid naturally gave an additional interest to the meeting.

There maybe other children with four Great Grandparents living. I do not know any. She also has twin uncles. That is because she belongs to the great family of Allens.

The four great-grandparents of Alice Irene live in two houses, which nestle under the Castle Hill. You could throw a stone from one house to another without being particularly good at throwing.

Robert Carr-Allen, says a very old bible which biographers are competing for, was born on October 19th, 1824. His parents must have been precise folk, for even the time of his birth was recorded (12:30 in the morning) is given in the bible, which rule was observed for all of the 13 children born to them. Robert was born in the easternmost dwelling in England, out of which he remembers being carried more than once when when the high tides flooded the lower storey.

He came to Scarborough over 60 years ago, and had not been here long in the town when he witnessed the foundering of James Wyrill's just outside the piers, and all hands were lost with the vessel. Mrs Allen was also a spectator, and called to mind that at the expiration of nine days a party went on the the Castle Hill to fire guns in the hope of raising the bodies. One of the party died shortly afterwards, his death being generally attributed to excitement.

(The Yawl "Emulous" foundered off the pier end on 24th February, 1844, and James Wyrill and his crew perished. He tried to make harbour in a North east gale and those on shore lit a tar barrel to 'burn him off', which he ignored, and she foundered off the pier with the loss of all the crew, none of them was found. Sixteen weeks later a Mrs Cowling of Staithes, known locally as "Staithes Nell", who was reputed to have second sight, told Mrs Wyrill one Saturday morning of a dream she'd had that night 'of seeing Richard Wray's coble sailing in the bay with its trawl down.

The trawler encountered a mound of sand which checked the boat. Afterwards the body of James Wyrill, which had lain "sand warped" until disturbed, rose to the surface'. That afternoon James Wyrill's brother called at the house and asked for some buttons similar to those that his brother was wearing when he last went to sea. The body was that of James Wyrill.) Scarborough Library).

As I sat in Robert's kitchen not many nights after Alice Irene had treated me with such coldness, I mentioned her to him. "Fine child,that" he said "Well off for great-grandparents too."

Alice Irene's great-grandfather had not lost his south country dialect yet. Neither has his wife, who is also a Lowestoft woman, although she came to Scarborough when quite a girl. She remembers well the high jinks there was when the first railway train arrived in Scarborough. (York Scarborough railway completed 1845).

"I asked her how long she had been married and it was then that a book was produced in which was the date of her golden wedding nine years ago. The book was one of Roundell Palmer's hymnals".

"As I read the inscription in this book Mrs Allen observed that she would willingly have given a thousand pounds to be able to read it, but there were no educational advantages in her day. She meant, of course for poor folk. The only school I ever went to, except for Sunday school, was one where old women taught girls to braid nets, Robert's wife told me. He himself had no more opportunities to learn to read or write.

The old fisherman went to sea when he was eight years old. His father was not sparing in the rope's end, in the efficacy of which he was a firm believer, Robert and his brother Jim often carrying marks for days together. That was in the days when boats were at sea for nine weeks at a stretch, their catches of mackeral being brought to port by cutter. Fried fish and biscuits formed the basic diet. Meat was a rarity, and tea,coffee,cocoa, and water seldom indulged in, the nine-gallon casks of beer being the favourite beverage.

The cutlery of today astonishes Robert, who has known what it is to eat with a nail tied to a pierce of stick in lieu of a fork. As for work he thinks young lads of the present day do not understand what the term means. He was not born to be drowned he says, for after being overboard five times he lives to talk about it. One of his weaknesses is to wear a hat at all times, except when in bed. Then he hangs it on the bedpost."

"Hanging in the kitchen were photographs of twin sons of the couple,first, as juveniles, wearing frocks, and again as young men. They were always dressed alike. They are men now, but the likeness,which caused so much confusion when they were children (neighhbours had to enquire which was which), still puzzles people, I confess that I a amongst those who are unable to tell them apart. The late James Sellers used to ask their mother how she distinguished them apart.

She laughingly told him that one wore earrings, and the other didn't. Thompson is the oldest twin by ten minutes, his mother assured me, and I envy him the old fashioned desk he is to have in the fullness of time. Doubtless Robert will be solaced by some other treasure. It will not be the Bible, for that also goes to Thompson. The twins are part of a family which closely approached a score. Mrs Allen was the mother of twin-girls, too."

"The picture gallery in the klitchen includes photos of former vicars of St Thomas's, the late leader of the former Mission to Seamen (Mr Tinley) and his wife, a very life like picture of Robert Allen Carr himself, taken on the West Pier by a gentleman who had the picture framed and forwarded to the subject, and numerous relations living and dead, some of the latter pictures being framed in plaster of Paris.

One of the old couple's daughter's (Elizabeth), I learnt, had lost two husbands, both, having been drowned at sea. (Elizabeth Allen married William Truman, 27th March 1875, at Albemarle Baptist church, William came up from Barking, Essex, along with his father Captain William Truman. William was drowned with the whole crew of the Scarborough fishing smack "Pollies", on 30th January 1877. The "pollies" was a 43 ton yawl built at Scarborough in 1871.

Elizabeth had one child, Selina, age 2(my grandmother) and was expecting William Allen Truman. William's father, Captain Truman, died while up at Scarborough, age 42, in 1871, his wife and family still being down in Barking.

From the Scarborough Post, 9th February 1877 - "At noon today nothing had been heard of the "Pollies" and the "Victor" (owner Mr Crisp), and the owners have given them up for lost. The "Pollies", owned by George Levitt of the Dolphin Inn, Eastborough, went to sea a fortnight today, well provisioned for a fortnight. She was not expected to go far, and it is supposed that she was driven by the gale last week out towards the Dogger Bank and foundered. She was worth £800 and was insured for £450. The men on board were:
- Isaac Yexley, wife and one child
- William Truman, wife one child
- John Fell, deckhand, married
- J Wake, cook

In the poem "Musella: The wandering fisher boy"("A wreath of Rhyme") by Mathew Harman, a semi-biographical story of his own voyages as a ship's boy from the Isle of Dogs to Scarborough, he describes the stop over in Yarmouth - "Bold Captain Robbins has some friends to tea, men like himself, who earn their bread at sea. One's Captain Higgin's, with his swagg'ring air; all bounce and bluster, impudence and stare: The other's Captain Truman, calm and kind; he talks with reason and is more refined.

Elizabeth Allen then married George Dawson, born Rillington, on 8th January 1883. He was lost when the Scarborough fishing smack the "Empress" foundered in the great storm of january 1884, age 22, leaving her expecting George Dawson, Junior. A memorium card for George Dawson reads

"In affectionate rememberance of George Dawson, who was lost with all hands in the fishing smack "Empress" in the January gale 1884. AGED 22 YEARS.

He's gone, the one I loved so dear, to his eternal rest,
He's gone to heaven I hope and trust, to be forever blest,
His morning sun went down at noon,
Death cut him off, just in his bloom,
Prepare for death while you have time,
For god called me just in my prime,
Farewell my wife and child dear,
We now must part, I can't stay here,
For none can stay when God does call,
So farewell friends, farewell all.

Her third husband was Thomas Barker (I knew him as Uncle Jum), he came up from Essex on the sailing smacks. He died in 1938, aged 74. Elizabeth died in 1931. Thomas Barker, they say, was a bit of an awkward so and so in his old age, he fell onto the fire and badly burnt himself. He then locked himself in the outside toilet, afraid they might take him to the workhouse.

They had to break the door down to get him out. He was taken to the workhouse hospital where he died. The comment from a "down-streeter" was "he wur' a funny colour, I think they did 'im in" (Even after the Second World war when the system was abolished people still had that fear of being reduced in circumstances to having to go into the workhouse.

Another daughter (Hannah) is the widow of the late Skipper William Dawson (Bielby). He was skipper of the steam paddle trawler "Dunrobin", and was one of the founders of the annual charity football match played on the sands on Boxing Day morning. William Dawson (Bielby) died 4th May 1903 and the image of the "Dunrobin" is on his tombestone in the Manor Road Cemetry. Hannah's first husband was George Samuel Duncan, who died age 27, 13th October 1875.

The "Dunrobin" was driven aground between West Hartlepool and Seaton Carew in the storm of 8th January 1908. Thousands of people lined the promenade to witness the crew being rescued by breeches buoy by a rocket apparatus team, with a great cheer going up when the seventh crew member was brought ashore. The First Mate was Arthur Dawson, son of Hannah, who was washed overboard, another wave washed him back to the ship, where he managed to cling to the nets hanging over the side, and the next wave deposited him back on the deck half stunned. His half brother, Robert Allen Duncan, was a crew member on the "Cam" which sought shelter in the Tyne.

Thinking they were not going to survive, the crew poured oil around the ship to try to calm the waves. He was also washed overboard and then washed back on deck in the same storm. One of Robert Allen Duncan's son's, Thompson Allen Duncan, was stoker on "HMS Defence", an armoured cruiser at the battle of Jutland, which blew up and sank in seconds with the loss of 903 crew, there being no survivors. There is a wedding in the December quarter of 1890 for Robert Allen Duncan and Sarah Dove Percy at Caistor.

1901 census Robert Duncan lived at 3 Anderson Terrace, age 30, fisherman - born Scarborough. His wife was Sarah Duncan age 33 born Tynemouth. Their children were
- Thompson Duncan, age 4
- Walter Duncan, age 1
- Constance Duncan, daughter age 3 (in the Scarborough Pictorial of 9th June, 1915 is the wedding of Mr John Sheader of Quay Street, prior to his departure to the Dardenelles, to Miss Connie Duncan, daughter of Mr and Mrs Robert Duncan. John (Jack) Sheader was coxswain of the Scarborough Lifeboat that overturned in 1952 and was drowned.

"And still another daughter (Selina) is the wife of Skipper William Smalley of the screw trawler "Sir Albert Rollit". William Ward Smalley and his brother Samuel (who married Alice Cammish) were also skippers of the trawlers "Morning Star" and "Evening Star", respectively, prior to the First World War. William Ward Smalley was involved in the rescue attempts when the hospital ship "Rohilla" foundered off Whitby during the First World War. He towed the Scarborough Lifeboat up to Whitby, but it was unable to get close to the wreck. He was awarded a pair of binoculars in recognition of his efforts at a ceremony at the Scarborough Town Hall.

The "Evening Star", skippered by Samuel Smalley, hit a submerged object coming out of Hartlepool, midnight, 11th August 1908. Finding no damage they continued to the fishing grounds. After hauling their nets they found the fish hold taking water, and they then made an epic attempt to reach Scarborough, which ended when the pumps failed, and she finally sank "35 miles north by north half north of Scarborough" (sic Scarborough Mercury).

They were picked up by a Dutch drifter, which only condescended to drop them off in Scarborough Bay after it had finished its own fishing, and they had to get sahore by scrambling onto a passing fishing boat. The rescued crew included william Trueman, mate(son of Elizabeth Allen),of 2 Parks Yard, Castlegate, and a young unamed boy, described as a "Newphew of William Trueman". In the Scarborough Mercury of 30th April 1915 is an attack on the trawler "Envoy", fishing out of Aberdeen, by a German U-boat.

They were shelled and forced to take to the ship's boat when they were fired upon again. The U-boat did not sink the "Envoy" and it was later recovered. The "Envoy" was skippered by Eden Smalley (who married Ada Duncan, daughter of Hannah Duncan, nee Allen), brother of William Smalley. In the 1881 census two inmates at the Boston union Workhouse, Boston, Lincs., were Mary Jane Smalley, age 9 (born North Shields) and Eden Smalley (age 7 born North Shields). One wonders what family misfortunes resulted in two family being resident there so far from Shields.

Alice Irene's great grandfather Allen was for over thirty years master of the yawl "Trio", which, was eventually sold and manned by a Filey crew, who went down in her. (The "Trio" had a weight of 39 tons and was built in Scarborough by Robert Shelton, the owners being Alexander Tindall,ship owner, William Tindall, sailmaker(Husband of Hannah Allen), and James Tindall, banker of Knapton Hall. On February 5th, 1863, the owners were Alexander Tindall, Enoch Oldfield Tindall, banker and Robert Allen.

And on 7th February 1881 the owners were Robert Allen, senior and Junior, and James and John Allen. She was lost in May 1895 with her crew of six - Thomas Avery Johnson,Skipper - Frank Johnson, son of the skipper- William Johnson, son of the skipper, aged 15- Robert Edmund- Matthew Cappleman- Frank Cammish

There is a model of the vesel hanging in the kitchen , which its present owner won in a raffle promoted by the landlord of the Spread Eagle, by name of Tissiman. Raffles were common at the time and Robert had a special interest in the model.

The following list of births are taken from the family bible mentioned in the above article. My late mother was in possesion of the Allen family bible, which she gave away to someone she thought had more right to it!

Children of Robert Allen, senior, born 1803, died 9th July 1889, age 87 and Mary Swann, born 1821, died 1880, age 87 (married 7th April 1822, St Margarets, Lowestoft):
- Hannah Allen, born 1 september 1822 12:15am. Wife of William Tindall( he was a member of the local shipbuilding family, they eloped and were married 4th February, 1842 at Dalton Le Dale Church, Seaham. Her father Robert Allen, was waiting on the pier for them when they returned.

There seems to have been some advantages gained from marrying into the Tindall family for Robert Allen progressed from skipper to owner of the yawl "Trio". When William Tindall's grandfather, John, wanted to marry a friend of his sister, 19 year old Isabella McIver, such was the opposition from the Tindall's, who had a strong Quaker background, that it was suggested by them that she had been sent by the devil to tempt him., although eventually he went against their wishes and married her.

In later life Isabella said that once married she never encountered any further animosity from the family. William Tindall was drowned along with Lord Beauclerc and Mr Iles, when they were washed off the Spa slipway, when attempting to rescue crew from the overturned Lifeboat at the wreck of the "Coupland" in November 1861. Williams mother was living at slingsby at the time, and on the morning after the wreck she came down from her bedroom and said, "I have just had a curious dream. I saw William all dripping wet and covered with seaweed." Later news came that William was drowned.

Her maid, Mary Ford, was sleeping with Mrs Tindall at the time, and reported that her mistress suddenly called out, "Mary, Mary, there's my Billie at the foot of my bed, all dripping wet! He's been in the water." Hannah Allen's second husband was Fredrick Heywood, an auctioneer and valuer. - Robert Allan Carr, born 19 October 1824. 12:30 am
- James Allen, born 19 August, 1827. 1:55am
- Thompson Swan Allen, born 9 October 1830 at 1-55am. Died 1833 aged two.
- Immanuill Allen, born 3rd December 1832 at 11:20 am died 25th January 1833 not a year old.
- Thompson Swan Allen, born 3rd August 1834 at 12:15am and died 21 December 1862 - drowned with the loss of the yawl "Norfolk Lass".
- William Allen born 2 April 1838 at 3:45 pm died 16th October 1845
- Susannah Allen, born 7th August 1840 died 21st Sept 1840 just 1 month old.
- John Allen born 13th December 1842 at 3pm.

Census: Robert Allen and wife Mary Allen
- 1851 census Robert and Mary Allen lived at 16 Long Greece Steps with their sons Thompson (16 Born Lowestoft), John (8 born Lowestoft), and Rachael Appleby (Servant born Scarborough)
- 1861 Robert and Mary Allen lived aged 58 at 23 Burr Bank with their son John aged 18
- 1871 Robert and Mary Allen lived at 10 Potters Lane with two grandsons Thompson Allen (14) and Thompson Allen (12).
- 1881 JohnAllen lived with wife Sara Ann Allen(aged 38 born Peasonhall Suffolk) lived with father Robert Carr Allen(aged 78) at 11 Castle Terrace with niece Elizabeth Crawford aged 2.

In his will Robert left his looking glass and bed to his son John Allen; to my son Robert Allen my Bible(The family Bible) and night commode. To my grandson Robert Allen my watch and guard. To my children Robert Allen, james Allen, John Allen, and Hannah Allen, wife of Frederick Heywood, equally all that my fishing yawl and sails and cables belonging thereto.. The yawl, the trio was sold and converted into cash to share out.

The children of Robert Carr Allen, born 19th October 1824 at 12:30 am and Mary Ann Elizabeth Golder, born 1827 ( Married 28th September 1846, St Marys, Scarborough).
- Hannah Allen, born 24th July 1847(wife of George Duncan and William Dawson Bielby).
- William Allen, born 15th March 1849 died 15th May 1852 aged three
- Mary Ann Allen, born 10th Nov 1851
- Elizabeth Allen, born 22nd July 1853 died 19th May 1855 aged 1
- Elizabeth Allen, born 29th October 1855. Died 1931 (wife of William Truman, George Dawson and Thomas Barker)
- Thompson Allen born 18th February 1857 (married Sarah Elizabeth Mansfield)
- Robert Allen(born 18th Feb 1857)
- Selina Allen(born 24th September 1858 died 8th March 1860 aged 1
- William Allen born 24th August 1860
- Selina Allen born 21 January 1863 (wife of William Ward Smalley)
- Frederick Allen born 28th March 1864, died in infancy.
- Arthur Allen Born 30th September 1865 died 30th October 1865
- Alice Maud Allen Born 14th September 1867 (Married John William Beevers)
- Charles Alfred Allen born 14th September 1867 died 29th september 15 days old
- Harriet Allen born 19th March 1870

Census records for Robert Allen and Mary Allen (borth born Lowestoft)
- 1851 Living at Sanderson's yard with son William(2) and Daughter Hannah(3)
- 1861 living at Burr Bank with daughters Hannah(14), Mary Ann(10), Elizabeth(5) and sons Thompson(4), Robert (4) and William (8 months)
- 1871 Living at 9 Potters Lane with sons William(20), daughters Selina(18), Alice Maud(13), and Harriet (11) and grandson Robert Allen Donkin (Duncan) aged 11.
- 1881 Living at 15 Potters Lane with daughter Harriet Allen aged 21
- 1901 Living at 5 Anderson terrace aged 76 and 74

Thompson Swan Allen, born 3 August was lost when the yawl "Norfolk Lass" foundered in the North Sea on 212 December 1862. His son also called Thompson, was lost in a hurricane in the Bay of Bengal from the steamer "Olive Branch" on 14th November 1878.

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