Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spotlight Sunday - John William Bellew

Yes I do realize that it's "Black Sheep Sunday" in the genea-blogging world today, but I'm struggling along here with my research and trying to find a new passion for writing to my blog. One idea I've seen others do is to highlight a specific ancestor on their birthday. Rather than doing just a birthday spot, I thought I'd pick one ancestor who's birthday falls in the week and do a short write up about that person's life. Today, it's John William Bellew, my Great Grandfather.

John W. Bellew was born on 27 Sept 1889 in Preston, Lancashire England. He was the son of Patrick Bellew and Elizabeth Hall. John had six siblings; James (died at childbirth), William, James, Frances, Mary and Isabella.

John served in the British Army Royal Field Artillery from 1909 to 1913. He married Margaret McCann in the St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Preston on 1 July, 1915. John was a cotton weaver at a local mill prior to entering the British Army and later he was a hotel barman.

John and Margaret lived in Preston and had three children there - Hugh born 1916, William Patrick born 26 Nov 1917, and John born in 1919. Margaret's sister Catherine came to the US with her husband James Aspin in late 1919 or early 1920. John and Margaret later decided to join them in the US.

In 1923 John came to the US, joining his McCann sister-in-law and her husband in Rhode Island, where he worked in the mills in Central Falls. Margaret did not join him until almost a full 3 years later in 1926. Unfortunately she was forced to leave one of their children behind in England, their son John was too ill to travel at the time and never joined them in the US.

John and his family later relocated to the small town of Adams, Massachusetts, again to find work in the textile mills that had attracted them to Rhode Island. The family remained in Adams until the 1950s when they relocated to Maryland after John suffered a stroke.

John died in Bethesda Maryland on 15 Dec 1958. He was buried at the Gate of Heaven cemetery. The photo below is the only known existing photo of him. This is a picture taken at my Grandparents' wedding, the bride with her father, Joe Leeming (right) and John Bellew, the new father-in-law (left).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cindy, its a lovely idea to spotlight your ancestors and a lovely write up about John. I love the picture too which i dont think i had seen before.
    I hope all is good with you my friend
    hugs June xxx