Just writing to share a giggle this afternoon.
Am pursuing a Newcastle-born family and came across this webpage:
It's filled with lots of great scanned resources, but to find the giggle, go to p. 6 of the Newcastle Directory and look for Ths. Bell. It's not his occupation, but the editorial comment at the end of the entry that's making me laugh today.
BTW, for Clair and Rene who have been helping me, I think I've uncovered the "corn meteor" solution. It seems that in Newcastle & area, folks in the sale/trade of grain (corn) were known as corn merchants. Either the person of interest had "merchant" mis-spelled or he was someone likely responsible for weighing the grain.
Judii Rempel in Gambia