Abraham Greenhow Penrith postman

Abraham Greenhow: the man who delivered the mail. Continuing a look into the lives of just a few of the thousands of people buried at Beacon Edge Cemetery, Penrith:

Abraham Jacques Greenhow was baptised on May 29, 1853, Watermillock to John Greenhow and Mary Hodgson. The Jacques was John Greenhow’s mother’s maiden name.

His father was a stone mason, and in 1861, they were living at High Follow, Watermillock. Abraham had a sister, Mary Ann, who was aged 11 on the 1861 census.

His mother shows up on 1871 as living with widowed son-in-law and baby grandson Fred Dawson. Fred’s mother, Mary Ann, had died either during or soon after his birth (March quarter 1870).

Fred’s father, William Dawson, is a post messenger and could afford a domestic servant. Did that influence brother-in-law Abraham Jacques Greenhow in his switch to the postal service?

By 1881, William Dawson was a station master in Wetheral. 

In 1881, Mary Greenhow is at 1 West Lane, Penrith, working as a dressmaker, with young Fred Dawson now 11. Both say she was married, but where was husband John? By 1891, she is down as a widow. 

Back to Abraham Greenhow

In 1871 he was a farm servant at Sparket Farm, Watermillock, working for widowed Ann Dent and her family.

Ann Dent was née Ann Pears. She was the daughter of farmer and cow doctor Christopher Pears and his wife Mary, née Graham. And sister of Penrith vet Joseph Pears and Penrith coachbuilder Robert Graham Pears.

In 1874,  Abraham Jacques Greenhow married Mary Ward. Mary’s father, John Ward, was also a stone mason, suggesting they’d met through their fathers. Perhaps it was around this time he joined the postal service. For sure, in 1881, at 13 Albert Street, Penrith,  Abraham Greenhow is a postman, living his with wife, daughter Mary Elizabeth 5, and a boarder called George Goulding, 36, a Penrith-born clogger.

In March 1879, Abraham Greenhow, post messenger, was returning to Penrith from Morland when he saw husbandman John Salkeld fall off the front of a cart, which he was driving in the direction of Great Strickland. John Salkeld. The short version is that John Salkeld died from internal bleeding. The inquest was held on what would have been his 40th birthday.

Upsetting Her Majesty’s Mail

Four years later, Abraham Greenhow, mail contractor, sought to recover £5 from a man named Groves – the Birmingham-based owner of a traveller’s brush and basket caravan. At Brougham Castle Farm, Greenhow’s horse had shied at a flapping tarpaulin on the caravan, throwing Abraham to the ground and breaking both shafts of of the mail gig. The horse galloped back to Penrith and the mail was delayed two hours. Groves didn’t show up in court and the verdict was given in favour of Abraham Greenhow. Whether he got any redress from Groves would seem unlikely.

1890, May 13. To let, with entry at Whitsuntide, no 28 South End, Penrith, dwelling house, occupied by Abraham Greenhow.

The family moved to 6 Great Dockray, where in 1891, Abraham Greenhow is listed as a mail contractor GPO. His wife Mary is 40, b Motherby, Mary Elizabeth is15, and Abraham Gilbert, 7

Another accident

In May 1892, poor Abraham Greenhow was again thrown from his mail cart, this time on the road at Whinfell. He came across seven cyclists, who rang their bells, startling the horse. It bolted, the cart hit a stone, and Abraham Greenhow was thrown out. Cart and horse were fine, but poor Abraham’s face was ‘much cut and bruised’. He was also badly shaken, but was back at work the following day.

Sudden death at Penrith

Amid stories about early rhubarb, and taking Laxo Bromo Quinine Tablets to ‘cure a cold in one day,’ is a short report on Abraham Greenhow.

On Monday afternoon, Mr. Abraham Greenhow, an ex-rural postman, living in Great Dockray, Penrith, died very suddenly. On rising in the morning he said he felt unwell, uet he left the house for a short time. On his return Dr. Altkein was sent for, but deceased got worse and expired about four o’clock. 

The children

His daughter, Mary Elizabeth was a draper’s assistant by 1901, while son Abraham Gilbert Greenhow was a solicitor’s clerk, both living at 6 Great Dockray, with their widowed mother Mary.

Mary was running a boarding house at 8 Bath Terrace, Hunters Lane, Penrith, on 1911. Mary Elizabeth was there and now promoted to manageress in ladies’ outfittings.

Within a few years they, and Abraham Gilbert Greenhow (now married with children) had moved to Gosforth, in Northumberland. 

Beacon Edge Cemetery

This post is one of a series on people buried at Beacon Edge, above Penrith.

Others include publican Thomas Dixon and the local bonesetters, the Dennison family.

And Charles Gilder, a yeast merchant. And William Weight.