Select Wade Miscellany

Here are some Wade stories and accounts over the years:

Wade Myths

The origins of Wade lie in Nordic myth and saga.  Scholars speculate that he was originally a sea giant known to the coastal tribes around the North Sea and Baltic regions. 

The most informative early reference is contained in the 13th century Norwegian saga of Thidrek.  One day a certain king Vilkinus was walking through the forest when he was stopped by a young woman.  Later they met again when she rose out of the sea and stopped his boat.  She told him she was to bear his child and was taken onboard.  After the child's birth, she disappeared.  The child was named Vathe (Wade) and grew up to be a giant with an affinity for the ocean.  Later Wade had a son and the saga also recalls how he forded the deep channel of Groenasund between two Danish islands, with his little Weland on his shoulder.

On the North York Moors near Whitby, one of Wade's stones at Barnaby is still standing, as is the one at Goldsborough.  Legend has it that these two stones marked the position of the giant's head and feet.   Tales of Wade still exist in local folklore.  He was said to have lived in the area with his wife Bell.  One built Old Mulgrave castle, the other Pickering castle.  Bell had an enormous cow which she had to take out on the moors to milk.  To help her, Wade built a road over the moors which is still there.  In building the trackway, he scooped out earth, thus creating the Hole of Horcum.  The excess earth he cast aside, thus creating Blakey Topping.    

Early Wade Wills in Yorkshire

Year Name Place
1530 Thomas Wade Leeds (Headrow)
1626 Christopher Wade Rossett
1636 Francis Wade Kilsnea
1639 John Wade Wigton (Harewood)
1640 Christopher Wade Screvine
1652 Samuel Wade Addington
1653 George Wade Bickerton

The Murder of William Wade

On the morning of July 14, 1677 William Boteler was visited at his London lodging house by a man named Parsons whom he later described as "a person of debauched life and ill fame."   Parsons suggested that they should ride to Bishop's Stortford, stay at Betty Ainsworth's Reindeer Inn, and get merry.   Boteler at first refused the invitation but later agreed to go.  It was during the journey north to Hertfordshire that Parsons told Boteler of a quarrel he'd had with Captain Wade and that he wanted revenge in the form of a duel.

They stayed at the Reindeer Inn on Saturday and Sunday night.  On the Monday, Parsons suggest that they visit Wade at his home at Manuden nearby.   Parsons said that it might be better if Boteler went into the house alone and spoke with Wade while he waited in a field outside.  Boteler did so, met with Wade, and explained the situation.  Wade said that he would go and meet with Parsons and left, taking his sword with him.  At this point, Boteler mounted his horse and rode off.  However, within a short while, he was passed by Parsons riding at full gallop.  As he passed, he cried out: "He's fallen," and rushed away.

Parsons escaped to Holland and it was Boteler who stood trial for the murder.  He was found guilty at Chelmsford Assizes and hanged on September 10, 1677. 

Mary Wade's Trial and Conviction

Mary Wade, from a large impoverished family in London, spent her days sweeping the streets as a form of begging.  At the age of eleven, she with another child stole three items of clothing (a cotton frock, a linen tippet, and a linen cap) from a girl when she was collecting water at a privy.  They then sold the frock to a pawnbroker.  Mary was reported by another child to an officer who then found the tippet in Mary's room. Mary was immediately arrested.  Her trial was held on January 14, 1789 at the Old Bailey where she was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.

It so happened, two months later, that the king, George III, was proclaimed cured of madness.  In celebration, all of the women on death row, including Mary Wade, had their sentences commuted to penal transportation to Australia.  She spent 93 days in Newgate prison before being transported on the Lady Juliana.  

Jennie Wade Killed at Gettysburg

Jack Skelly and Jennie Wade were childhood sweethearts in Gettysburg where they grew up.   Then Jack was called up to war when the Civil War broke out.  Jack had a friend called Wesley who, however, enlisted on the opposing Confederate side.  When Jack was wounded in battle, he managed to pass a message to Wesley to take back to Jennie at Gettysburg.  But Wesley never made it.  He was mortally wounded in the fighting around Gettysburg and died on the battlefield.

The same day, Jennie was baking bread at her sister's home for the Union soldiers.  A sharpshooter's bullet passed through two doors and struck Jennie.  She fell immediately.  Union soldiers heard her cries and rushed to the kitchen.  They found her dead and carried her body to the basement.  A picture of Jack was found in her dress pocket.

Nine days later, Jack lost his battle to live.  They were buried together in the Evergreen cemetery in Gettysburg.  And they are remembered.  A Jennie Wade House Museum, with but a few minor changes and repairs, remains much as Jennie Wade must have known it more than 130 years ago.  Some believe she still haunts the house.

James Wade's Stories

The stories told by James Wade, one of Pembroke's best known story tellers, are rather far fetched, but nevertheless delightful.

On one occasion, he recounted that, while fishing on Goodwick beach, a giant carrion crow swooped out of the sky and carried him in his beak across the sea to ireland.  On reaching land, the crow dropped Wade and he fell into a cannon where he spent the night.  As he was waking the next morning, the cannon was fired and Wade was rocketed across St. George's Channel.  He landed beside his fishing rod at the exact spot from which he had been plucked!

Stuart C. Wade's Genealogy

The following notice appeared in the May 6, 1900 edition of The New York Times.

"An advertisement appeared yesterday requesting that all Wades in the world should send their names and addresses to S.C. Wade of 146 West 34th Street, New York City.  Stuart C. Wade is the compiler of a Wade genealogy, the result of 25 years' work, research, and correspondence.

The book recounts the lives and lineages of many Wades, including, in England, Armagil, Sir William, and General George Wade.  In America, the list runs from Colonel Nathaniel Wade to Senator E.F. Wade and then to Jeptha Homer Wade, the first President of the Western Union Telegraph Company.  This family was prominent in all of the wars and one volume of the work is devoted only to its soldiers."

Stuart Wade had published his Wade Genealogy, dedicated to Jeptha Wade, that year.  His book ran to over 960 pages.


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