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The Legend of William Alvey

Every morning William had to get up before the sun rose and clean out the horses, feed the chickens and collect the eggs. After breakfast, he had to milk the cows and in the summer, help with the harvest. It was pretty much non-stop hard work and he didn’t get much of a break.


“I don’t mind helping out,” William thought to himself one morning as he was mucking out,   “but I want more than this.”


William had heard that there was money to be made as a merchant on the coast but he knew he would have to learn to read and write and understand maths if he was ever to become a successful merchant himself. That evening at bedtime, instead of going straight to sleep, he lit the candle by his bed and opened the family bible at page 1; for the next two years William Alvey did the same thing every night. Although he was tired from helping out on the farm he read every evening. It was a real challenge, sometimes he could hardly keep his eyes open and he really struggled with those split digraphs…but he eventually taught himself to read. He was one step nearer to his dream.


Over the next year he borrowed a quill and ink from the Vicar and taught himself to write and the year after that he learnt how to add, subtract, divide and multiply.

By the age of 15 William Alvey was an apprentice in one of the largest shipping companies on the east Coast.


Just like at the Farm, he worked hard and he seemed to have a flare for trading, so it wasn’t long before he was made a junior partner and when the opportunity arose to take over the firm itself, everyone agreed William Alvey was the right man for the job.


Although we don’t really know if this is a truly what happened, we do know William Alvey was a successful merchant  and perhaps because of his own struggle to teach himself to read and write, he decided to leave some of his fortune to help others fulfil their dreams too.
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