Larceny of Ducks…
Beauchamp Scott, lovingly referred to as “Oul Beatty”, was a son, brother, husband and father – he was also my great grand uncle. Although many historical records indicate he was born on 26 Dec 1878 the Scott Family Bible reveals Beauchamp’s true birth date was 12 Dec 1878.
He was one of ten siblings born to Richard James Scott and Mary Agnes Hendren, my 2nd great grandparents, one of eleven when including the “foster band child” who was raised with him and his siblings! “Oul Beatty” was baptized in the Stoneyford Parish Church on 26 Jan 1879.
The 1901 Census of Ireland revealed that this particular line of my Scott family was living at 34 Ballymacward Lower, Island Kelly, Co. Antrim. They were all farmers and as history and family stories suggest they were the “wealthy Scott’s” – one of many of my Scott and connected families living in the area.
On 10 Dec 1909 at the Lisburn Civil Registrars Office “Oul Beatty” and Martha McKnight, daughter of David, were United in Marriage in the presence of John and Elizabeth McKnight – the bride’s siblings.
The 1911 Census divulged that Beauchamp was working on his father’s farm at 3 Ballymacward Lower. While his wife and young daughter Fanny were at home, “just up the road” at 12 Ballymacward, where the family lived with Martha’s parents.
Little more was to be discovered about “Oul Beatty” and his family between the 1911 Census being taken and the birth of their second daughter Lily – although I did determine that Beauchamp had found the time to go to the Stoneyford Orange Hall to sign the Ulster Covenant on 28 Sep 1912.
My next discovery was an article from the Lisburn Standard dated 23 Mar 1917 entitled “Larceny of Ducks”! The article stated:
“Mary Jane McKnight, Ballymacward Lower, summoned a neighbour woman named Sarah Henry for, as alleged, stealing six ducks from her property. From the complainant’s deposition taken at a special court, it appeared that she missed the ducks and suspected that defendant had taken them. She met defendant leaving home with a cart, and challenged her. Defendant said she never saw the ducks, and refused to let her look into the cart. When her daughter, Mrs. Scott, went to look in the cart defendant struck her with a stick. Her son-in-law Beauchamp Scott, came and took up a bag from the cart, and shook two ducks out. He got two more ducks in another bag. Her son-in-law took charge of the horse and cart until witness went for the police. When the police arrived they got the other two ducks in the cart. She had no doubt whatever that the ducks were her property. They were value for about 24s. The Chairman – Was there anybody else with this woman and her cart on the road? Witness – No Mr. Maginess, who appeared for Mrs. McKnight, said that was not the first time she had had trouble with defendant, and she felt compelled to bring her to Court. Defendant, on being asked had she any questions to ask, said – Her ducks are running wild, and I am tired feeding them. (laughter) Mr. Maginess – I think she has gone far enough. The Chairman (addressing defendant) – The value of these ducks is over five shillings, and you will be charged before a judge and jury at Quarter Sessions unless you plead guilty. If you plead guilty the magistrates have the jurisdiction to deal with you. Defendant – I plead guilty to taking them, but I did not know who owned them. The Chairman (to complainant) – Are these ducks in the habit of wandering? Mrs. McKnight – They never left the house before, or I should not have got alarmed so early. After some consultation with the District-Inspector and his brother magistrates the Chairman (addressing defendant) said – you are convicted of this charge. It is a very mean sort of offence you committed, and you are liable to six months imprisonment. The magistrates are going to sentence you to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour.”
Although I have photographed and documented many of the Burial Grounds in Stoneyford and surrounding area I have not yet come across the burial place for “Oul Beatty” and his family. It is highly possible, and most likely probable, that they are buried in the Friends Burial Ground Maghaberry where his parents and several of his siblings are interred.
Another trip to the Quaker Archives on my next trip “back home” is required to follow up on this particular Twisted Limb of my family tree!
Safe in the hallowed quiets of the past! Lowell