The Silversmiths who started a Bronze Foundry

I’m often amazed where my research takes me, and also how far Tickle and Tickell families travelled in the past. This post started out with the investigation of a family in Rhode Island. It went back to Birmingham, via London, and ended up with a statue in Toronto.

Rhode Island Tickells

There is a virtual genealogy conference taking place in New England at present so I thought I’d write about one of the families who were in that area on the 1900 US census. Joseph G Tickell, his wife, Alice, and their three sons – Frederick Arthur, Albert Edward, and Gilbert Francis Tickell – are shown living in Providence, the state capital of Rhode Island.

After the Civil War, Providence thrived and, by the early 1900s, it was one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. It was a major manufacturing centre for products from steam engines to silverware. Most of the factories were largely manned by immigrant labour, such as Joseph Tickell. He was a silversmith who emigrated to the United States from England.

Joseph’s Ancestry

I am fairly certain Joseph was Joseph George Tickle, born 4 Jun 1854 in Birmingham, England, the fifth child of Henry Tickle and Martha Chambers. Henry was also a silversmith and his father, William, was a plater. Joseph moved to London at some point between 1861 and 1871 and married Alice Murphy in Lambeth in 1879. They had at least four sons (possibly other other children who died). The family emigrated to America in October 1891 and settled in Cranston, Providence.

Joseph became a naturalised US citizen on 20 Jun 1901. Unfortunately, his youngest son, George Victor, who was just a baby when he arrived in Rhode Island, died of pneumonia in April 1897, aged eight. Joseph and Alice and their older three sons – Frederick Arthur, Albert Edward, and Gilbert Francis (Frank) can be found in the 1900 census in Cranston. Joseph’s occupation is shown as (medieval?) Silversmith. Frederick, aged 19, was also a Silversmith. Albert, aged 17, was a Chaser (Gold & Silver), while Gilbert, aged 14, was still at school.

A Second New Country

The family lived in Cranston for almost 30 years, during which time Frederick and Gilbert ran their own engraving business. Then, in 1920, the family moved once more, leaving the United States for Canada, where they established a bronze foundry, J.G.Tickell & Sons Bronze Founders.

Following the First World War, many new foundries were established. Bronze statues were being erected as war memorials in almost every town and city. The startup costs for small-scale businesses were relatively low and the demand for their products was high. I have found nothing as yet to suggest why the family moved to Canada.

War Statue Renovation

In searching for more details of J.G.TIckell & Sons, I discovered a story about one of the statues they created. The Great War statue was first erected outside a former hospital on Pearl Street, St Thomas, two blocks from the Main Street. It was then moved to the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital in the early 1980s, when the new hospital was opened. The image at the top of this post is by Alan Livingstone MacLeod.

Bronze cast by F G Tickell & Sons of Toronto. Prior to 1968 this memorial was located downtown, two blocks from St Thomas’s main street. It moved to its present, more distant location when the new St Thomas hospital was opened at that time.

In 2018, the statue, which weighs 315kg (700lb), was unbolted from its base at Veterans Memorial Garden on Moore Street. It was taken to a municipal maintenance shop in Pinafore Park, where the sculptor, Tyler Fauvelle, repaired any cracks and blemishes. Tyler Fauvelle specialises in creating bronze statues that pay tribute to Canada’s military history. He created the Afghanistan War Memorial that also sits in Veterans Memorial Garden.

The video below shows the statue being moved – it’s not very exciting but worth including, I thought.

Cousins Across the World?

I believe Joseph George Tickell to be the nephew of the George Tickle who was transported to Australia for theft as a 16-year old boy. I have told his story in an earlier post. It would be interesting to find descendants of Joseph and of George and compare their YDNA to prove the genealogical link.

If you are descended from either the Toronto Tickells or from George Tickle the convict,I’d be thrilled to hear from you.

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