Mr Trick and Mrs Treat
At Hallowe’en, we’d like to introduce you to Mr Trick and Mrs Treat. Both feature in several articles in the British Newspaper Archive.
The Weston-super-Mare Gazette of 21 April 1849 reported that Mr Trick and his family were amongst 90 or so people from north Somerset villages emigrating to the USA.
Weston-super-Mare Gazette 21 April 1849 British Newspaper Archive
William Trick was a baker living in the village of Banwell with his wife Ann and two children. Trick was a member of the Banwell Total Abstinence Society and regularly addressed meetings during the 1840s. He belonged to the Banwell Wesleyan Missionary Society and spoke on the subject of ‘missions to the heathen’ at a meeting held in the local chapel in November 1846.
The Tricks sailed from Liverpool in steerage on the steamer Sarah Sands on 29 March 1849. A broken piston rod in the engine meant that the ship had to make a great part of the voyage under sail. The delay caused anxiety in New York but over 200 passengers and a valuable cargo eventually arrived safely on 1 May.
William, with his wife, daughter and son, travelled onwards to Dubuque County, Iowa, with others from Somerset, such as the Dyers. The area had been settled by Europeans in the late 1830s, and in the 1850s became known as Dyersville. William acquired 40 acres of land and also worked as a Methodist preacher, playing a large part in the building of the local church. In 1855 he was granted naturalization.
According to the 1906 Atlas of Dubuque County, the marriage of William’s daughter Annie to Malcolm Baxter in 1852 was the first in the community. Annie died in April 1856 aged just 27.
William Trick junior became a hardware merchant who served as mayor of Dyersville.
William Trick senior died on 27 October 1873 aged 78 after a busy life of public service. He was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery Dyersville where his daughter Annie and wife Ann already lay.
Let’s move on to Mrs Treat.
The Edinburgh Evening News of 19 February 1875 published an article entitled ‘Another Animal-Eating Plant’ about Mrs Treat and her carnivorous vegetables. Very appropriate for Hallowe’en!
‘Another Animal-Eating Plant’ - Edinburgh Evening News 19 February 1875 British Newspaper Archive
Mary Lua Adelia Treat was born in 1830 in New York, the daughter of Methodist minister Isaac Davis and his wife Eliza. In 1839 the family moved to Ohio. Mary was married in 1863 to Joseph Burrell Treat, a doctor who also wrote and gave lectures on a variety of subjects including women’s rights and abolition. The Treats moved in 1869 to Vineland, a model town and community in New Jersey founded by Charles K Landis.
‘A Lady and her Spiders’ – Shields Daily Gazette 28 August 1879 British Newspaper Archive
Mary Treat was a self-trained naturalist with a particular interest in insects and carnivorous plants. Having made scientific investigations with her husband, she continued to research and publish on her own after the couple separated and Joseph went to live in New York. He died in 1878 at the age of 55 and was buried at Siloam Cemetery in Vineland.
After the separation, Mary supported herself by writing scientific magazine articles as well as books including Chapters on Ants (1879) Injurious insects of the farm and garden (1882); and Home Studies in Nature (1885). She corresponded with Charles Darwin and had plant and insect species named after her.
Mary Treat died in 1923 aged 92 at Pembroke, New York State, after a fall. She too is buried in Siloam Cemetery in Vineland.
Lead Curator, East India Company Records
British Newspaper Archive - also available via Findmypast
Findmypast and Ancestry for the passenger list of steamer Sarah Sands; land transactions; naturalization records; UK and US census records; birth, marriage and burial records.
Atlas of Dubuque County 1906
Injurious insects of the farm and garden
Chapters on Ants
Home Studies in Nature
Tina Gianquitto, ‘Of Spiders, Ants, and Carnivorous Plants – Domesticity and Darwin in Mary Treat’s Home Studies in Nature’, in Annie Merrill Ingram, Ian Marshall, Daniel J. Philippon, and Adam W. Sweeting (eds) Coming into Contact – Explorations in Ecocritical Theory and Practice (University of Georgia Press, 2007)