The First World War Memoirs of Sampson J. Goodfellow, Part 16: A Touch of Romance

I’m posting the First World War memoirs of my grandfather-in-law, Sampson J. Goodfellow, a few pages at a time…

(Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10. Part 11. Part 12. Part 13. Part 14. Part 15.)

During one of my trips to Hanley to see Nancy, we became engaged. It happened this way:

Stoke on Trent is in the Potteries and is a very smoky place. They call it the five boroughs. As well as the making of pottery and fine china, they had a number of coal mines.

In the early days it was a question, should the factories be at the coal mines or in Wales where the finest clay came from.

It was decided to have the factories at the mines on account of the movement of the material required in the Firing of the material; China and Pottery. The clay was then brought to Potteries by barge via the Canals and railroad.

The same decision faced the Americans (Andrew Carnegie) when it was decided to have the Steel Mills in Pennsylvania (Pittsburg & Scranton) and bring the Iron Ore wherever they could find it.

I have been through a steel mill. The LackaVanna Steel Plant at LackaVanna, New York State on Lake Erie near Buffalo.

I was invited to go by the Graduating Engineering Students from S.P.S. School of Practical Science, Toronto University.

During my apprenticeship I had some of them as my helper as they had at that time to do some practical before graduation.

It was a wonderful sight seeing the ore and coal being unloaded from the boats, mixed with the scrap and then put in the large swing-hinged Cupola and coming out in a liquid form.

Allowing it to cool, being chemically tested, and then preheated and rolled into Train Rails and other shapes.

Nancy took me to several places in Staffordshire and one was Lake Rudyard. You could not find a more beautiful place.

I rented a boat as I was a good oarsman, having rowed on Lake Ontario and Lake Wascana, Regina.

Away we went, Nancy in the bow and me near the stern and I thought now is the time for me to pop the question.

I asked Nancy would she marry me, and after a smile she said, “Yes.”

I then asked her if I would have to ask her Dad.

She said, “Well, it is customary.”

So it was agreed that I would speak to her Dad as soon as we got back.

We beached the boat, and then I kissed my future wife for the first time.

We got in the boat and got back to Hanley as fast as we could. I was the happiest man in England.

I might say here I would have preferred a running-away marriage at Gretna Green and have the old Blacksmith marry us.

I detested the thought of asking Nancy’s Dad, for I knew, him being a great joker, that I would get the works, which I did.

Nancy, the devil, got in the house before me, and gave the show away as she wanted to be in the fun.

Did I get it. He wouldn’t give his consent. We were all cannibals and savages in Canada and he didn’t want his daughter in such a country. He kept his face as solemn as he could. Nancy and Mother were behind the door in the other room laughing fit to kill, and at last their laughter was so great we heard them, and Dad and I started laughing. He gave his consent.

I finally came down to earth, and hugged my future wife. The date was set for after the War. It took place January 2, 1919.

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