Category Archives: Short-Harford Family

The Short family had a long history of working in the mines and farming in North Molton and surrounding parishes in Devon, England. They married the Leworthys, who hailed from the same parts. The Harfords came from Wiltshire, and they carried a strong streak of Quakerism over the years. The Harfords married the Jackas, a Cornish family from a small town called Perranzabuloe. The families emigrated to southern Wisconsin between 1840 and 1851, settling in Iowa and Lafayette counties.

North Molton, Devonshire, England to Devonshire Hollow, Lafayette County, Wisconsin

On the 26th of March, 1851, a group of 12 people left North Molton, Devonshire, England headed for Plymouth Harbor to take ship for North America.  The group consisted of three generations of an extended family, as well as some friends, all going to start a new life in America that they hoped would hold more opportunity than the difficult lives they led in the mines, sheep pastures and wool manufacturing factories of mid-19th century England.

Travel Route taken by the North Molton emigrants

Travel Route taken by the North Molton emigrants

Uniquely, one member of the group, John Cockings, kept a travel diary of their journey, and many letters have survived that were sent both from the migrants and those left behind.  These primary sources provide fascinating insights into the complicated decision about whether to migrate, a glimpse of what life was like for the pioneers, as well as those who remained in England, and an idea of what the physical journey of migration was like at the time.

Continue reading