Worcestershire Chronicle

Black Sheep Sunday – Elijah Skelding (1827-1888)

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

Elijah Skelding is my wife’s great grand uncle – a brother of her great grandfather Imri Skelding.

Elijah was born about 1827 in the area around Lye, Worcestershire. His parents are William Skelding and Catherine Taylor, my wife’s 2x great grandparents.

Elijah married Harriet Taylor sometime in the December quarter of 1850 in Dudley, Staffordshire and they had at least five children:-

Eunice – born 1855
William – born 1857
Agnes – born 1859
Adam – born 1862
David – born 1864

In the census returns for 1851 to 1881 Elijah is described as a “nail maker” or a “horse nail maker”.

I recently found the following newspaper article from the Worcestershire Chronicle of 21 October 1857. Elijah is described as an “Odd Fellow”. The Odd Fellows are one of the earliest and oldest fraternal societies – see this history from Wikipedia

Worcestershire Chronicle - 21 October 1857.png

ODD FELLOWS – Elijah Skelding was charged with stealing an umbrella, the property of John Taylor, on the 11th instant. Prisoner and prosecutor are Odd Fellows, and on the day named had, with others of the fraternity, been at a the funeral of one of the brethren. They afterwards adjourned to the Kings Head for business. Taylor took an umbrella with him to the house, and it was shortly missed. Prisoner, who had left, was suspected, and prosecutor’s brother, William, followed him. He overtook him in the road with the missing article, and at once accused him of theft, upon which a tussle ensued, which gave rise to two summonses, Skelding charging William Taylor with an assault and William Taylor charging Skelding with ditto. The summonses were both dismissed, Skelding being committed for trial on the charge of larceny.

Details of the alleged crime were entered in the Worcestershire register of Persons Committed, or Bailed to appear for Trial, or Indicted. The image below shows that Elijah was charged with “simple larceny.” The final column of the page is to record whether the person was acquitted or the case discharged. For all the cases on this page, including Elijah, it says “No Bill” – in other words the case did not proceed to trial.

Elijah Skelding - Criminal Registers.png

Interestingly Elijah married Harriet Taylor and his mother was Catherine Taylor – I wonder if the Taylor’s from the newspaper article are relatives and there was some sort of family disagreement at play here. Pure conjecture and fantasy on my part no doubt!!