By Charlene Shields
Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."
Copyright ©1998 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Laurel Crook and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."
July 1, 1998
English villagers had same name--sort of
Last week began the account of Sam and Martha Endicott as they started their dream trip back to the home of their ancestors in Devon, England. Their story is continued.
"Our destination was Mill End Hotel, situated on the banks of the River Teign. This is a small inn (16 rooms) which had at one time been an actual working mill. These country hotels, where one can find comfortable accommodations along with excellent food in a typically English setting, are very common in that country, and we found this to be exactly what we were looking for.
"It happened that when we were researching a place to stay, we stumbled on another hotel near Chagford which is called Gidleigh Park. Although it turned out that the prices there were somewhat beyond our budget, we did notice with great interest that their manager was named Catherine Endacott. Although the spelling varied from our own name by one letter, we knew that Endicott has been spelled in several different ways in times past, and we felt there might very well be a connection there.
"Hoping to discover if there was a connection between our families, we sent her an e-mail outlining our purpose in coming to that community. She immediately gave us a positive response and suggested that we call her upon our arrival in Chagford. And, of course, that was just what we had hoped to do.
"The first thing we decided to do the morning after our arrival was to go into the little village of Chagford to look it over. A plaque in the parking lot informed us that the town lies in a parish rich in prehistoric remains, and it is likely that much of the area has been continually settled for more than 4,000 years! A charter of 1305 ordained Chagford should be one of the Stannary Towns of Devon, a place where smelted tin was collected for stamping and taxation purpose. Later on, in the 16th century, the woolen industry contributed to the prosperity of the village. Today, the town is a small but thriving local center with shops, restaurants and even a public swimming pool.
"In the center of the village is the church and churchyard of St. Michael, and this is where we headed first. Sure enough, on the announcement board just outside, we discovered another 'Endacott,' who was the church bell ringer-- and the cemetery surrounding the church was quite populated with Endacotts who have gone to their reward. Inside the building, which displays some finely-carved roof trusses, we saw a plaque listing the rectors dating back to Symon de Wybbrie in 1315. And we think anything 100 years old is ancient! We also discovered a building in the town center called 'Endecott House' (still another spelling!). We couldn't find a date on it, but it also appeared to be quite old. It seemed to be something like a Town Hall, as there were announcements of several upcoming community activities which were to be held there.
"When we had finished our explorations, we returned to our hotel and put in a call to Catherine Endacott. Imagine our surprise when she said, 'I heard you were in town!' It seems that before returning to our hotel, we had stopped in a little gift shop to buy some post cards. As soon as we left, the proprietress had called Catherine's mother and had said, 'They're here! The Endicotts from the States are here!' It proved to us that communications in small towns are the same both at home and abroad!"
(To be continued)
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