John Thomas Valpy

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John Thomas Valpy

The Valpy smithy in St Mary

John Thomas Valpy was born 22 August 22 1853 in
Grouville and had a very varied career

Cabin boy

At 12 he became a cabin boy and travelled all over the world, sailing to Canada many times. In 1868, at 15, he sailed to Nova Scotia. The boat took three months to cross the Atlantic. In Nova Scotia, he obtained a job with Robinson-Colliers, who freighted fish to England. He worked for them for five years and the wage he received was 100 pounds sterling.

Back in Jersey on 17 February 1881, he married Susan Elizabeth Bree. They had five children (two boys and three girls). He was an excellent sharpshooter. He obtained the highest marks in Jersey and England. At one gun club, Kolapore High Club, he won several plaques and prizes. The highest award was a shield with the face of Queen Victoria.


In Jersey he built wrought iron gates and fences in the cemeteries. He tried to help a little by working on the stone roads Jersey was building. At that time, if some of the home owners were owing on their taxes, the husband had to work on the stone roads.

He joined the army during the Boer War, but he was only there three days as the war ended at the turn of the century.

He built a big blacksmith and machine shop in St Mary in the Jersey countryside. He also invented the Valpy Plough. It proved to be easier for the field workers and became very popular. His shop built wagons and did carriage work. He was so smart inventing new, easier ways to do the hard work. He always tried to make the worker's job easier. He was well liked.

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