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Category Archives: genealogy

John Calow – Primitive Methodist, local preacher, Oddfellow

I hardly need to write this entry as the obituary for this ancestor is a dream in detail. John Calow is my GGG Grandfather and seems truly to be an ancestor to be proud of. Census returns show scant detail of his life in comparison to his obituary. This brings home the fact that census returns tell us so little, if my history was just documented by my census returns, what would it tell, very little apart from a few house moves and additions of children. Things have not changed much in that respect.

So what information do the censuses give?

In 1841 John Calow appears to be working as a manservant at Beauchief Hall  although I do not have absolute proof that it is him it seems very likely. At the same time his wife to be, Mary/Jane Hopkinson, was working as a servant also, for the Arkwright family, maybe that is how the couple met.

By 1851 John is living in Clowne (his birthplace) with Jane his wife, two year old George and baby Sarah Ann, his occupation is given as Agricultural Labourer.

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The Preacher’s Plan showing John Calow at number 17

 

In 1861 the family have moved to the town of Calow and are living in the interestingly named Nether Cockally, Elizabeth, Eliza, Hannah and Mary have been added to the family. John’s occupation is now local Methodist preacher and miner.

1871 finds the family moved again, this time to Sheffield, with son George working as a stoker, Elizabeth is joined by her husband and cousin William Calow and Sarah Ann by her husband William Reddish, both Williams are miners. Also living with the family as a boarder is a Richard Reddish an assistant clerk. John is still a miner and preacher.

In 1881 John and Jane are back at 8 North Road, Clowne this time living with Granddaughter Emma Reddish and visiting preacher Amos Theobald.

In 1891 living at 152 North Road, Clowne, John is described as a general labourer, Granddaughter Emma is still with them, plus three lodgers, Charles Brown, George Calow (can’t work out if he is related) and James Ellis.

The final census we find him in is in 1901, living at 85 North Road still with wife and Granddaughter Emma plus three male lodgers. I guess that Emma must have cared for her grandparents and presumably cooked for the lodgers, by this stage according to the obituaries Mary/Jane had dementia and John had lost an eye, he also suffered from dementia at the end of his life.

So what extra information does the obituary tell us about John?

John Calow title

 

  • Died from Bronchitis and senile decay.
  • Clowne’s oldest resident, in his 88th year.
  • Contractor for getting ironstone on the Wingerworth estates.
  • Enjoyed robust health which helped him work as a local preacher and Primitive Methodist worker.
  • Worked as a miner at Grassmoor Collieries.
  • He was an Oddfellow!
  • He was a member of Barlborough Brass Band.
  • He was in a serious railway accident from which his wife never really recovered, he couldn’t work for two years. He only took £75 in compensation.
  • He was a Methodist Local Preacher for 50 years and walked many miles during this time.
  • “When in business he was the means of aiding many by way of provisions”. – think this means he was generous.
  • His father was sexton at Clowne Church.

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He packed a lot into his 88 years, I wonder what would he have made of himself given modern day education and opportunities.

I would also like to know who wrote the obituary, it certainly gives the impression that the writer knew John Calow personally and liked him, or maybe they simply spoke to someone who did. Whoever it was, I am grateful to them for giving me such a detailed insight into the life and character of this fascinating ancestor.

 

 

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Which Elizabeth Halden?

I have drifted from writing about my direct ancestors for this blog post. It serves merely to alert any Halden researchers worldwide (and they are worldwide) that two Elizabeth Haldens have become, understandably, confused with each other.

I have always known via my Grandmother that her Grandmother Rachel Halden had two sisters and one brother. She also told me that Rachel, her siblings and parents had emigrated to the USA. The brother had run away, never to be seen again but the oldest sister had married and had children and the second may have done.

Through census research I found the family in 1841, minus the brother and with the addition of another sister. So there are Elizabeth, Mary (guess Elizabeth is the elder as ages rounded for census) Jemima (who sadly died in 1845) and Rachel.

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The next census finds the family in the USA, Edward has died, brother Edward has joined them but eldest sister Elizabeth is not with the family.

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I thought it was likely that Elizabeth had married by 1850 and that was the reason she was no longer living with the family. I looked for marriages in the USA and even for English Elizabeths living nearby, but to no avail.

It did occur to me that Elizabeth may have married in England before leaving for the USA or maybe my Grandmother was wrong and she never left England at all.

There were two possible marriages Elizabeth Halden to Joseph Briscoe  on 18 Apr 1844 at Saint Chad, Stafford and Elizabeth Holden/Halden to Thomas Hiden 21 Jul 1844  Rugeley, Staffordshire.

I looked at the original marriage record for the Halden/Briscoe marriage and found this to be the daughter of Joseph Halden, Tailor. Interestingly both Elizabeth’s and Joseph’s names were originally recorded as Hawthorn and then changed to Halden.

Joseph is in fact cousin to Edward Halden, the father of the family who went to America and my GGG Grandfather. Joseph’s father William and Edward’s father Roger were brothers, their Grandparents in common were Thomas Halden and Dorothy.

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So eventually I looked at the record for Elizabeth Holden and Thomas Briscoe which I had dismissed earlier for some reason. It shows this Elizabeth to be daughter to Edward and his occupation is given as schoolmaster and hers as governess, a seemingly unlikely profession for someone marrying a coal miner.

Halden Hiden marriage.png

If further proof were needed that this is my GG Grandmother’s sister, she named her daughters Elizabeth, Jemima and Rachel like herself and two of her sisters.

So how did people get confused? Well currently there seem to be no baptism records for either Elizabeth. Elizabeth daughter of Joseph is not living at home in 1841 and there are a couple of possible female servants that may be her but the only definite Elizabeth Halden is daughter of Edward. Then when it comes to marriages there is only one Elizabeth Halden marriage, the Joseph Briscoe one, the other is mistranscribed (quite reasonably) as Holden.

By 1851 both Elizabeths are married, Elizabeth Briscoe is well reported appearing in censuses up until 1901 and not dying until 1907, she spent her latter years living with her daughter Mary Elizabeth who married a Samuel Walker. However Elizabeth Hiden and family disappear from the censuses, so what became of them?

Something for another blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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52 ancestors – James Walker “owd Jim”

James Walker my mother’s Grandad Jim was born in 1877 in Barnsley, West Yorkshire, his parents were Elizabeth Gillett a Yorkshire lass and the rather grandly named George James Archer Walker who was born in Welney, Cambridgeshire. Grandad Jim had said that his ancestors were farmers in Huntingdonshire and research has proved him right, it seems that his father came to Yorkshire to work on the railway.

Although Jim was born in Barnsley his sister Elizabeth, born a year later, was born back in Welney, maybe on a holiday or perhaps a failed attempt to return to Cambridgeshire, whate13090616_10153893652199279_352476208_over the reason, Jim’s other siblings brothers Alfred and Herbert and sisters, Emily, Harriet and Edith were all born in Yorkshire.

The first job that he had that we have a record of is listed on the 1891 census as a Down Quilt Weaver, I don’t think he ever mentioned this in later years, he lived and breathed (not too much we hope) gas.

By the 1901 census Jim is newly married, living in Featherstone, Yorkshire and working as a gas stoker. I think he was moved to Featherstone by the gas board.

JamesHannahJaneHowever, he was promoted and moved again with Jane and baby daughter Hannah to Clowne, Derbyshire where he spent the rest of his days.

The 1911 census finds them at 7 Station Road, Clowne with the addition of James born 1904 to the family. Jim’s occupation is Colliery Gas Manager.

I am now going to hand over the blog to my mother who has written down her memories of her Grandfather, her words in blue, I have added notes in red.

My memories and some history of my grandfather. He was a father to me from my being five years old which makes him rather special in my eyes.

Most of his life was spent in Clowne (Derbyshire) but still maintained that ‘aura’ of a Yorkshire lad – which indeed he was!

Working in the gas trade, he took a promotion to work and move to Clowne. Gas was being fitted nationally and expanding. Jim worked placing pipes all over the village. He also was a “jack of all gas trades” in this small outfit – stoker, fitter, collector etc. He had been given a house with the job. It was very near the mine and the gas works. His wife Jane hated it at first and longed for Yorkshire. They had a daughter Hannah and later two sons.

This house was 7 Station Road as mentioned above. The sons were James and Lesley, James died of flu in 1912, Lesley was born the day after James’ death.

Photo 05-11-2014 18 35 51His wife Jane discovered that a detached four bedroom house belonging to the gas company was vacant and badgered Jim to ask for it. He was succesful. “71” became a very happy home until the end of the 1940s.

Jim became known locally as “owd Jim” as the years progressed and was very popular.

I remember him working on Sundays for extra money – this was stoking – in other words making gas. My sister and I often took him a pint of beer to refresh him.

I would be six or seven years old and was fascinated to see the red hot coals being dragged from the very long retorts on to the ground with a special long pole, they were immediately drenched in cold water and the result was ‘coke’ which was used in industry and some heating processes. My Grandad was the one using the long rakes or poles in this furnace.

The other work I remember him doing and I watched some times was when the coal for the furnaces came in wagons, from the station nearby. There was a small private link railway line from there to the works. There had to be people to move the lines on to the private track, Jim was one of them. (This was in the years after the mine was closed; originally the mine itself would be providing coal to make the gas.)

Mum also told me that she on several occasions would be walking along the street and would see her Grandad’s head pop out from a hole in the road where he was fixing a pipe.

He was a member of the Constitution Club to which he dressed in his suit and tie to look smart, perhaps once or twice a week. He did not go to the local pubs at all. His friends there were his manager from work – Arthur Seston (Jeanne Smith’s Dad) and Dr Knowles. This was where he took his brothers-in-law when they visited – they were Caleb Butterfield (Geoff Green’s Grandad) and Fred Spivey (Joyce’s Grandad) from Pontefract and Heckmondwike, Yorkshire. They came back slightly tipsy and very amusing. Caleb was a wit and a comic, Fred a little slow getting the jokes (more hilarity!)

Grandad gave my mother the complete run of the house both financially and housekeeper, after my Grandma died.

He actually used to give her his wages and just keep a bit of spending money for himself.

He suggested one day that she sent me for Elocution lessons, what his idea was – we did not know – but I went and it – drama – became a big slice of my life, (Molly Francis, teacher of Speech and Drama).

Mum had had Speech and Drama lessons in Clowne but when war started her teacher joined the forces and the classes finished. “owd Jim” kept reading out the advert in the local paper, “Molly Francis, teacher of Speech and Drama” until eventually Hannah said “do you want our Mollie to go for lessons? He said “yes” and that was that.

I had a few boyfriends who were allowed to visit. If however they touched my hand at all a cough was heard from “owd Jim”.

As a very young girl he’d give me some pennies and always told me to get “acid drops” a tease because he knew I hated them!

It was actually “get me a ha’porth of acid drops”. He also used to ask Mum how July Palmer was, he knew perfectly well that her name was June.

When Spring showed its head he often told my mother that “Stella has got her anniversary dress” – a hint that she should get hers and mine. (Stella was a glamorous, smart lady at our church!) He always hinted, never was dogmatic.

This was for the church and Sunday School anniversary when everyone had new outfits specially for the occasion.

He worked until 68 or 69 and had a few years retirement. He did see me in a play in rep in Wellington – so glad he did. 

After he had retired, occasionally gasworks employees would knock on the door to ask about the location of gas pipes in Clowne. Jim had a map of them in his head.

A true and gentle – man.

And a final added note…

He only put his teeth in when he wore his jacket and tie!

And a couple of other things, Jim could tinker out a tune on the piano by ear, (his sister Harriet could play well).

He would not be drawn into discussions on politics, he said “all I will say is we all have to Labour”. When Mum asked him what Conservative meant he said “leave it alone”. Is that what Laissez Faire means? He was pretty shrewd I think.

Photo 05-11-2014 18 39 26

He always carried things behind himself rather than in front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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52 ancestors – Sarah Pickard/Sellars

Sarah Pickard is my Great Great Great Grandmother, all I know about Sarah is that she married Joseph Sellars in 1827 in Middlesmoor North Yorkshire, Joseph was a school master but Sarah couldn’t write so “left her mark” on the entry. Witnesses were Thomas Pickard and James Rayner. She had one daughter Sarah who was born on 17th October 1829 the date of Sarah Pickard’s death in Lofthouse, North Yorkshire.

middlesmoor

Middlesmoor

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in family history, genealogy, Wensley

 

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52 Ancestors – William Booth, fancy weaver, weaver or bobbin winder

William Booth is my 4 x Great Grandfather, he was christened at Cumberworth St Nicholas, near Huddersfield 23 September 1792 son of John Booth and Charlotte Lockwood.

St Nicholas Cumberworth

He married Mary Barrowclough on 3 January 1819 at Kirkburton All Hallows witnesses were JI (?) Booth, John Shaw and Jonathan Barrowclough.

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By 1841 he is widowed (Mary died in 1838) and he is living with sons Jabez and William plus married daughter Elizabeth and her husband Seth Shaw (my G x 3 Grandparents, he is described as a Fancy Weaver and living in Lower Cumberworth.

A fancy weaver as the name suggests would be skilled enough to weave patterns in colour. They worked on looms fitted with a Jacquard system.

The purpose of the Jacquard was to bring the selected colour to the surface of the cloth during the weaving process, to produce patterns which the Jacquard slats did by means of programmed pins. The Fancy Weavers were better paid but it seems that they suffered more during financial crises and were involved in industrial action.

In 1846 William Booth marries widow Sarah Crossland (nee Gill) at Kirkburton All Hallows, his occupation is given as weaver (maybe he gave up the fancy work), witnesses at the wedding were William Fitton and Jonathan Gill (Sarah’s brother).

By 1851 William is again widowed and with an addition to his family, son John Gill aged 1 (I think Sarah died in childbirth). This census is confusing as the “ditto” marks imply that he (and most of the street) are bobbin winders. I am not sure if this means his career has gone further downhill.

By the 1861 census William has died, I am not sure when, there are several William Booths in the area that died between 1851 and 1861.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2015 in family history, Gasworks, genealogy

 

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52 Ancestors – William Swan

William Swan is my Great x 4 Grandfather, he was born in Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire in 1793 and died in 1858 from heart disease and general dropsy, he was a Gamekeeper.

The Swans of Kirkmahoe appear to have been Covenanters, strict Presbyterians who believed that God, not the monarch, was head of the church, they were opposed to the “Divine Right of Kings”. It seems they were persecuted for some centuries, many fleeing to Ireland and then later to the USA. All connected up with the border conflicts, opposition to Catholicism and the English Civil War. I had always thought the Irish came to Scotland, but it seems it works the other way too, perhaps many came back.

There was a William Swan who was a hero among the Covenanters, I can’t trace how we are descended from him, but presume there is some connection, he seems something of an actor, contriving an argument with his wife to throw the army off the scent of a covenanter hidden in his barn.

William Swan and the Covenanters.

William Swan and the Covenanters.

Our William Swan was married to Mary Beck and was father to my Gt Gt Gt Grandmother Flora Swan, John Swan, James Swan and Jane Ann McAlpin Swan. James followed his mother’s brother out to the USA and formed a very successful tool making company there.

I understand the Covenanters who went out to the USA were opposed to slavery and in 1800 the Reformed Church voted to outlaw slave-holding among its members.

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52 Ancestors George James Archer Walker

George James Archer Walker was my GGreat Grandfather he was born in Welney Cambridgeshire the son of a carpenter James Walker and his wife Sarah Earl.

Birth certificate George James Archer Walker

Birth certificate George James Archer Walker

He moved to West Yorkshire presumably for work, he married a Doncaster woman, Elizabeth Gillett and had a family with her, his sons, grandson and great grandson all worked in the gas industry which is why I like to have a gas cooker! He was a gas stoker which meant that he stoked the fire at the gas works to make the gas.

Gas stoker

Gas stoker

Known as James on all the censuses, his mother has died before the 1861 census and he is living with his sisters Eleanor, a dressmaker  and Rosamond and Rachel who are both still at school (like him). Almost all the Walker children have several names and are usually known by the second one:

Harriet Eleanor Earl

Harriet Rachel

Mary Ann Rosamond

Brother Francis Earl and sisters Rebecca and Augusta Sarah die as children.

The names Rosamond and Augusta recur in this branch of the tree, but I don’t know where they come from.

In 1871 James is living with Eleanor and her husband Beales Lee a shoemaker. For some reason this makes me think of Great Expectations, I hope Eleanor was kinder to James than Pip’s sister was! James is 16 by this stage but no occupation is given, I think this is probably an oversight.

By 1881 James is married with three children and living in Barnsley, his wife is Elizabeth Gillett, four years his senior and from Doncaster. He is now working as a gas stoker.

George James Archer Walker Elizabeth Gillott marriage certificate

1891 shows him in the same occupation but now with six children. James, my Great Grandfather who is already working, Alfred, Herbert, Elizabeth, Edith and Harriett.

By 1901 his son James (my Great Grandfather Walker) has left home and young Elizabeth has died, Alfred is also a gas stoker and Edith an apprentice dressmaker, the family are now living in Wheatley near Doncaster.

The 1911 census shows that James and Elizabeth had had eight children in total and that only six are still living, (they must have had a child who was born and died between censuses). Their youngest daughter Harriett had an early death from a flu epidemic in her early twenties.

James died in North Bierley in 1914 aged 60.

 

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