John Mahood 1825-1885

This article recounts the dramatic, traumatic, and tragic events leading to the first immigrant to California from the Gracia & Marchetti family. It is remarkable that one man’s life can be so thoroughly documented, placing him as, not only an eye witness, but a participant in historical events.

John Mahood was born 1825, son of Adam Mahood, in Magherally Parish near Banbridge, County Down, in Northern Ireland. The town of Banbridge was the centre of the ‘Linen Homelands’ owing its success to flax and the linen industry. Naturally, John became a weaver.

Into this pastoral setting arrived the Potato Famine 1845-1851 and County Down was hit hardest in 1847.

Five generations of the Mahood and Gracia Families
County Down: Banbridge & Magherally Parish are located in the Upper Iveagh (lower left purple)

Ireland had witnessed a massive surge in population from 2.6 to 8.5 million by 1845 when blight struck the staple food of the masses – the potato. Two-fifths of the population were totally dependent on the potato and it was the major food-source of the rest. Between 1845 and 1849, the potato crop failed in three seasons out of four. The result was starvation and the spread of the “road disease” – dysentery, typhus and cholera.

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John Henry Bainbridge 1892-1940

John Henry was the youngest of five siblings, born 2 March 1892 in Tollerton, to Elizabeth Ann Headley and Charles Bainbridge, a platelayer for North Eastern Railways. John Henry was named after his great grandfather John Bainbridge and grandfather Henry Bainbridge.

Unlike his elder siblings in domestic service, John Henry, took an apprenticeship with a clothing and outfitting retailer in York, living with his elder sister’s family, Elizabeth, in Brownlow Street in The Groves neighbourhood.

St Maurice Parish Church, Monkgate, York.
St Maurice Parish Church, Monkgate, York. The building was removed in the 1960s and the churchyard is now a public green space. FindaGrave.com

The 21 year old bachelor, John Henry Bainbridge, married 24 year old  spinster, Adelaide Edgar, at St Maurice Parish Church in York, 9 April 1913.

The newly weds settled in the village of Newton on Ouse, 9 miles northwest of York, where John Henry opened a grocery shop on Moor Lane, the main street entering the village, opposite the school.

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Elizabeth Ann Headley 1863-1935

Elizabeth Ann Headley was born 1863 in Huby, Yorkshire, to parents Isabella Mennell & John Headley, an agricultural laborer. Elizabeth was the sixth of eight siblings, seven of whom survived to adulthood. All four brothers relocated to Shildon, County Durham, to work in the coal mines or railways and her two sisters moved out of the village to raise large families in towns where their husbands held industrial jobs.

Transcription: Twenty Eighth December 1863, Huby |Elizabeth Ann | Girl | Father: John Headley|Mother: Annabella Headley formerly Mennell | Profession of father: Farm Labourer | X The mark of Annabella Headley, Mother, Huby | Registered Fourth January 1864 | John Hodgson, Registrar
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Charles Bainbridge 1861-1935

Charles Bainbridge was born March 1861 at Sutton Grange, Sutton on the Forest, second child to parents Henry Bainbridge of Tollerton and Jane Scott of Sutton on the Forest.

There is no record of Charles’ baptism so if it occurred, it may have been in the newly built Methodist Chapel opened in 1861 or the later Wesleyan Chapel, erected in 1864.

Transcription: Thirtieth March 1861, Sutton on Forest | Charles | Boy | Father: Henry Bainbridge | Mother: Jane Bainbridge formerly Scott | Profession of Father: Farm Labourer | X The mark of Jane Bainbridge, mother, Sutton on Forest | Registered Thirteenth April 1861 | John Hodgson, Registrar
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