James Babb – Tea Dealer of Devonport

I’ve been starting to import Ian Babbs Papers into the tree. This is a monumental task and it will take months or years to accomplish. Moreover, the papers aren’t fully organized into Counties. We have some indications, but with 142 Binders and files to work through and something to the tune of almost 6K pages to go through, I don’t know how far I’ll get.

Regardless, the documents for James Babb just happened to be near the front of the collection and I was surprised to come across the Index of the Court Record within about 48 hours of having first seen these files. So, I was easily able to connect them to James.

The thing that first drew my attention was this image of James’ Business Card. His profession as a Tea Dealer I found unusual and thus remembered it better when I saw it in the Index.

Business Card of James Babb, Tea Dealer of Devonport – Sometime after 1837

Having something this special from this long ago is truly inspiring! It’s almost 200 years old and someone thought to save it all this time and to send it to the Devon Record Office to be stored permanently. This is something that most people would have simply thrown away. Think of all the business cards you’ve come across in your life and how many of them went into the refuse bin.

What’s even more amazing is that James’ Indenture Papers still exist along with a pledge from his Trainer to protect his health and give him time to deal with his father’s estate. Remember that you can click on the image to see a full-sized view.

Indenture Papers of James Babb of Devonport/Plymouth – 1830

The indenture lasted 7 years after which James was free to pursue his own interests. It is unknown at which point that he started the business, or exactly when the card was made, but it would have been after the indenture ended in 1837. John’s indenture was to result in him gaining a trade card, which is what he would have needed to import the teas.

While I’m on the topic, here is the Promise John MacKay (Mentor) signed to keep James Babb healthy during the Indenture.

James went on to Marry Elizabeth Peard in 1829 in the neighboring community of Stoke Damerel and together they bore 10 children. James died at the ripe age of 81, the proud grandpa of at least 11 Grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth who passed in 1876.

James was a member of the tree we refer to as Devon Pedigree (Barnstaple 1711) 04, 15, 34 which contains the trees formerly named Devon Pedigree 04, 15 & 34. Its descendants stretch to modern day.

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