Across the Atlantic

Isaac Makes the Crossing to America in 1843

The Gandys were a well-known, long established family, craftsmen and traders and with appropriate status. Isaac was a member of an extended family tied together by a common trade followed over many generations, extensive intermarriage and the name Gandy in itself. The Gandys produced shoes and boots on a large scale for export via Liverpool to the United States. To the Gandy’s, the United States was not just a dream but a trading partner, which may have encouraged Isaac to seek his fortune there. The Gandys had established trade contacts via the export of footwear and possibly also made business trips across the Atlantic. Family lore has it that Peter Gandy (see below) made several trips to California, and took younger family members with him. Peter’s daughter Martha born in 1870 in Widnes settled down in California in 1885 at the age of fifteen.  Read more about Martha’s family in California here.

Across the Atlantic

According to the 1900 US Census, Isaac arrived in the United States in 1843 when he would have been 8 years old, probably with an older relative, possibly brother Peter who would then have been 16 years old. Apparently Isaac had dreamed of travelling to America ever since he was a very small boy. He followed his dream and worked his way over by boat, according to his wife Harriet. The nature of the journey across the Atlantic at this time is captured in this letter from another traveller, courtesy Jane of Old Mersey Times. I am still trying to find details of Isaac’s journey across the Atlantic. His probable port of departure was Liverpool and port of arrival New York.

Peter Gandy (1827 – 1900), Isaac’s older brother, surrounded by six of his twelve children: back l-r: Kate, Henry and Lucy. Middle: Jane, Peter and Elizabeth Ann. Front : James. Photo courtesy Ken Wilson

Kate married Irish cooper and rugby player William Isaac Bingham and they had eight children. Henry married Phoebe Wareing at Runcorn in 1877. He worked as a labourer at a chemical works and they had eight children. Lucy married joiner Robert Beecroft in 1884 and they also had eight children. Elizabeth Ann married Monmouth born blacksmith John Dance in 1864. They produced twelve children. Jane (Mary Jane) married carpenter Thomas Haydon in 1868 and they had one child, son Thomas Haydon. After Thomas’ death, Jane married Thomas Fearnett. Son Thomas married his cousin Drusilla Dance. James Gandy, who was a well-known Widnes rugby player, married Mary Elizabeth Carmichael in 1885 and they had two children, Martha Jane and James. On the 1901 census James is listed as a self-employed carter. (Information generously provided by Ken Wilson, Widnes).

 The Dance Family

The eldest daughter of Peter and Alice Gandy, Elizabeth Ann Gandy born 1848, married John Dance. I have recently been in contact with Noreen Dance, who married Elizabeth’s and John’s grandson Gavin Arthur Dance. She has helped me with the Gandy tree. Also Tom Bint, who runs the Dance family website which contains a large section devoted to Elizabeth Ann Gandy and James Dance, including photographs: