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Benjamin Ward
Senior Member

307 Posts
3 Threads
Registered: 07-18-2019

Biography Account Information
Additional Info About Benjamin Ward
Age: 50
Occupation: Fisherman
Class: Working class
Origins: Whitby
Height: 5'8''
History: When Benjamin Ward’s father fell into the Esk and drowned on a drunk night, it was a good thing for the whole family. Ben was nine at the time and had one younger brother and three younger sisters. Although social and economic conditions had made it impossible for Ben’s mother to leave their father, she was a strong woman, who tried to protect and raise her children into good people, despite the difficult circumstances. She picked up several jobs to provide for her family and put the children to work early to make ends meet.

Ben went to school for two months or so, but it soon turned out that he was either lazy or stupid, for he couldn’t learn his letters. The only thing he gained was a life-long hatred for teachers. His parents pulled him out and he learned the fisherman’s trade, first with his father, and then with his uncle and cousins. With his mother’s firm but loving hand and the help of his uncle, he grew up into a responsible young man, who could provide for himself and a family. And yet it took him forever to find the courage to ask that lovely girl, Hannah Hawksfield, to be his wife. In fact, it took so long, that she finally asked him to marry her, and he consented.

Part of the fear was his father’s shadow looming over his own projected future. Ben would strive to be a better man all his life. Despite other fishermen mocking and laughing at him, Ben never drank a drop of alcohol. He would work hard and treated his wife with respect and gentleness, almost with fear. He tried to raise his children into good and responsible people, perhaps demanding too much and being too harsh at times, in the eager hope that they would not fall back into the life he had crawled out of. He made sure they were not neglected, being attentive to each of his children and praising them were fitting, correcting them were necessary, but always being there. He made sure that they were never hungry, even if it meant sparing food from his own mouth. He was determined to rise above his origins.

He found support in this in his faith. Ben was an Anglican, but originally this mattered little in his life. Both when he was a child and when he was a young adult with his own family, he only went to church sometimes and only prayed in difficult situations. However, when his oldest children were young, he went to hear a renown preacher who was visiting a town nearby. The sermon, which was all about love and mercy and forgiveness, deeply moved him and he would describe it as a conversion. After this, Ben took his family to church every Sunday, prayed often, and asked his children to read the Bible to him. He did indeed become gentler, more loving, and more charitable to the people around him. But there was one thing he was convinced his faith demanded, which he has not managed to do up to this day: forgive his father. Every time he thinks he has forgiven, anger eventually returns.

Ben had been friends with a man who died together with his wife in a house fire. Their son Elijah was heavily injured. Although the boy would grow up with his grandparents, Ben and his wife would take him under their wing. Ben got two sons, Tom and Simon; then a baby girl who died soon; then four daughters, Maggie, Rose, Alice, and Anne; and then two boys again, William and Abraham. He would have another daughter, but she would die in infancy as well. For a long time, the family was blessed to have lost only one child. They lived in a yard with open sewers, a shared toilet house, and mold in the walls of their two-room cottage. Disease was common. But the children were healthy and strong, and their parents provided for them as well as they could.

In 1888, however, when Tom was a young man who had just turned twenty, he was on a boat with Ben’s brother and nephews and they got caught in a storm and drowned. His body was the last to wash ashore. Ben wasn’t the same after it. He became quiet, withdrawn and at times irritable. Though he would spend several hours a day on the boat with his second son, Simon, he wouldn’t speak. He continued to work hard and provide for his family, but he struggled with grief, questions of faith, and with a sense that he should have been on that boat, rather than his son. Tom had always been a good and responsible son. Simon had been a trouble-maker, who would test boundaries, get into fights, and seemed to be at war with himself most of all. After his brother’s death, he became more rebellious, and would sometimes drink or stay out late, despite his father’s rules. The relationship between Ben and his now eldest son became troubled. Hannah still managed to have some control over her son, however, and would be able to calm and comfort Ben.

Late in 1889, the flu pandemic reached town, and Hannah, Alice, and the new-born girl, Lizzie, fell very sick. Hannah and the newborn passed away and Alice barely survived. After this, things became rougher for the family. They all suffered from grief. Abraham, who was only turning four, kept asking where mother had gone and when she would be back, tearing open a would every time. More was expected of the girls, since Ben and Simon were out all days. Ben managed to keep Alice in school, however. She was clever, and the teacher had said she might become a teacher one day. The repeated grief, worries about his family, and trouble with Simon, whose behavior was getting worse, took their toll on Ben’s health. Fights between Ben and Simon were becoming more frequent, especially since Simon would drink more often and stay out more. Ben became more impatient. Maggie married half a year after her mother’s death.

For a long time, things between Ben and Simon would get worse. There were periods were Simon was better-behaved, after his father had managed to reassert his authority for a while, or he had made a promise to behave to his sister, Rose, to whom he was now closest. But eventually, he would stay out entire nights again, drink, and be rude. At one point, Ben found out that Simon had been saving money, of which he could not explain the source, and was planning to leave Whitby. Ben took away the money and left it at the church. He believed it was stolen and did not want to handle it. It wouldn’t be the last time he would find money on Simon. Simon would finally confess it was stolen. Ben was desperate to save Simon from the path he was going down, but nothing seemed to work for long.

In the autumn of 1891, Ben caught Simon and Rose secretly preparing for Simon’s departure. But at last, Ben decided to let him go, begging him to at least look after himself and not do anything criminal. After an awkward goodbye, Simon left. But later that night, they learned that Simon had been arrested for stabbing and killing a local rich man, Christopher Hurley. That very night, Simon had been transported to the York prison, to be tried by the assize court during Lent, the sentence almost certain. Ben went to visit him, but Simon would not see him. Ben attended the court and heard his son sentenced to death. After this, he visited again, and at last, Simon would see him. Only after it was too late, Simon opened up to him and Ben learned the ugly truth. They reconciled.

Simon was hanged just before Easter, and Ben returned to Whitby a broken man. He urged his children to move on. Simon had taken another man’s life, and justice had been served, and no grief could change a thing about it. But he fell sick more often. They barely ever spoke of Simon again. Ben was well-respected in the fishing community. Despite his son’s crime, they were generally supportive, especially in the financial struggle, now that a main breadwinner was gone. But Ben did not want to rely on other poor people too long. He took Alice and William out of school, and made William take his brother’s place. Ben’s sister managed to find Rose a position as maid in York, where nobody knew her background, and so Ben had to say goodbye to another child.

In the two years that followed, Ben trained William as well as he could. His health was sometimes good and sometimes bad. Ben knows he might fall sick and pass suddenly. He often thinks he would have passed away already, if it weren’t for his children, who still need him. Rose returned after two years, having been sent away without references, the reason for which Ben only learned later. Rose managed to find a position in Whitby, but Ben is eager to see her and Alice safely married. His main concern now is to make sure all his remaining children have some form of security, in case he dies.

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Benjamin Ward has written 307 posts. (2.6 posts per day | 6.93 percent of total posts) (Find All Posts)
Benjamin Ward has made 3 threads. (0.03 threads per day | 2.1 percent of total threads) (Find All Threads)
Birthday: 06-11-1990 (29 years old)
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