The Wallis's ~ The Complete Story
At that time, Sergeant, who was a merchant trader in Cambridge, became so frustrated with the delays in settling the estate, He was the eldest son yet was not included in the Estate inheritance apart from the small gift of £150. Sergeant lost his temper and struck the solicitor causing grievous bodily harm. He was arrested but allowed out on bail using Willow Farm now in his brother’s hands as security.
It should be understood that at this time the 1870’s farming was at a very low ebb. Farmers were going bankrupt daily and Sergeant, a headstrong character, persuaded Richard to join him and try their luck in an adventure to the New World. The family had already taken the plunge some fifty years previously and had established a number of good farms in Ontario, Canada and also to west of Iowa in the U.S.A. This side of the Wallis family is covered in more detail in the next chapter: “The Comberton Story”.
I believe that Sergeant used his £150 legacy for his ticket to the new world and must have talked his brother in law to join him! the two men went headed first for Canada looking for land and a new life, for they must have known some of the Wallis family were already farming in the area. They seem to have separated for Sergeant Wallis clearly travelled south to the central American states and Sergeant finished up in Nebraska and no doubt contacted other members of the Wallis family already living in the State of Iowa. And no doubt the Wallis family urged him to travel to Nebraska where land was readily available. Here Sergeant, as a Travelling Man, would be able to get involved in the trading business he did and while there Sergeant later purchased a large plot of land in Antelope County east of Elgin and negotiated trade agreements before returning home to Haslingfield about 1886.
His welcome home must have been somewhat subdued for his brother John had been forced to sell the farm to pay off the outstanding bail. Worse still Sergeant had returned alone! Where was Richard? He did not know, for he had lost contact with him when he left Canada. Sergeant had presumed Richard had purchased land and was still there farming.
Betsy Hill, Richard’s wife had been left in England attending to their farm and bringing up their eleven children. She now had no idea where her husband was or even if he was still alive! Yet Sergeant had no answers for them!
Sergeant continued his trading work and returned to Nebraska a number of times as a Travelling Man”. I believe he took Ellen Hill , Richard’s daughter, with him in 1878 on one such trip for she was determined to find her father, this must have been about 1878 she surely would not have travel alone; my guess is that Sergeant probably took her first to Ontario, Canada where the family had said Richard had intended to emigrate there she could stayed with the earlier Wallis immigrants the family could have given her accommodation whilst she was looking for her father.
Whilst Ellen was searching, Sergeant might have continued his merchandise work there and might then have travelled down to Nebraska. He had work to attend there and was interested in the purchase of land in Elgin. It would seem Ellen did not find her Dad in Ontario so she must have decided to extend the search into the States and as her Uncle Sergeant was there in Nebraska she might have gone south to join him.
Again she was unlucky in her search for her father but while she was in the area, she met the Nightingale brothers Joseph & Herbert with whom she befriended and the
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