RSS

Tag Archives: Clowne

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.

Chesterfield_1857_8_Oct_Jan__898x1280_ (1)

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.

13183152_10153921577029279_1031641085_n

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.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,