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Emigration to America

Whilst there is a suggestion that some estate workers in Wickhamford emigrated to America in the 17th century, as a result of a connection with the Washington/Sandys family of Wickhamford Manor, no actual individuals have been identified.

In the 18th century, William Seward, the first Methodist martyr, certainly visited America, but possibly not with the intention of staying and, in his will, stated that he wanted his daughter, Grace, to be educated in Georgia under George Whitefield and then to proceed to Pennsylvania, but there are doubts as to whether this ever happened.

It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that emigration from Badsey, Aldington and Wickhamford began to take place.  It was a time of agricultural depression in England, and market gardening was only just beginning to emerge in Badsey.  Several families sailed for America in the 1870s, the majority of them all bound for Ohio and the same small town:  Auburn in Geauga County.  The first to settle there must have sent word home of the opportunities that existed there.  Owen Joseph Hall, together with John Knight, emigrated in 1872, as did John and Mary Ann Sears.  The following year, John’s brother, David Sears, emigrated, as did Oliver and Ruth Rogers.  In 1875, the parents of John Knight, Oliver Rogers, Mary Ann Sears and Felicia Sears (David’s wife) also decided to start a new life in America.  The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged naturalization by granting citizens title to 160 acres, provided that the land was tilled for five years. 

Emigration did take place to other places in America, but nothing like the scale of that witnessed in small-town Auburn.  The following is a list of people known to have emigrated.  The following people are known to have left Badsey or Wickhamford to settle in America.  Information has been obtained from Badsey parish records, census returns and records on AncestryFindmypast and