During the 19th century the Great Western Railway in the rapidly expanding town of New Swindon attracted workers from far and wide.
Robert Wattleworth from the Isle of Man worked as a railway labourer before becoming licensee at the Falcon Inn on Westcott Place, his wife Jane was born in Carlisle. But the Falcon Inn was a mere stopping off point for the wandering Wattleworth family.
Of the seven Wattleworth children who grew up behind the bar at the Falcon Inn, five went to the USA. Sister Esther also did her share of globetrotting, working as a governess for a military family and living in India. In 1903 Esther joined her brother Charles in Akron, Ohio but returned to England in 1910.
The couple’s youngest daughter Charlotte sailed from Southampton on the St. Louis in the summer of 1900 to join her sister in Querida, a gold mining town in Colorado.
In 1959 Charlotte, then aged 83, made a return visit to Swindon for the first time in 60 years, where she gave an interview to the Evening Advertiser.
She told how on arriving at her new home she climbed down from the stagecoach and asked herself ,”What have I done?” Life in the mining community was hard. “It was a lesson to me to see the women do the things they did,” she told the Advertiser reporter. “But they stuck by their husbands.”
Charlotte’s sister and brother-in-law James Lewis, ran a hardware and general store, a meeting place for the mining camp and where Charlotte met her first husband. Within ten months of arriving in Querida, Charlotte had married gold miner, Jay Clifford Goold.
A month before the birth of her second child in 1903, Charlotte’s husband was killed in a mining accident. Widowed with two young sons to support, Charlotte bought a cow with her husband’s life insurance.
Charlotte went on to marry a second time. Her husband William Farrell, a copper miner, eventually became president of the Devil’s Head Mining Company.
The 1910 USA Census finds the couple living at East Castle Rocks, Colorado with William’s son by his previous marriage, the two young Goold boys and Margaret, the first of William and Charlotte’s three daughters.
By 1920 Charlotte and her family were living at Englewood, Arapahoe, south of Denver, a town built on the site of the 1858 discovery of gold, which prompted the Colorado Gold Rush.
During her visit to Swindon Charlotte stayed at 1 York Road with her half sister Mrs Mary Parker, the daughter of her mother’s second marriage to carpenter James Brittan.
The holiday had been paid for by Charlotte’s children and included a trip to the Isle of Man where she was a guest at the Governor’s garden party. She also visited Liverpool to meet a family she had sent parcels to during WWII. With excursions to Cambridge and the Cotswolds on her agenda, Charlotte intended to be back home in Denver in time for the city’s centenary.
Mrs Farrell told the Advertiser that she was always convinced the family would eventually be rich, but that her husband had died before a good strike was made. “I have been rich in my children, though,” she added. Charlotte died in Denver in 1969, aged 93.
The Bassick Mine Company brought prosperity to the Custer County region, however today the former boomtown of Querida is little more than a ghost town.