The Marshall Family – Part Four – John Marshall 1763 – 1851

My previous post centred on my 5x great grandparents Edward Marshall and Sarah Hattersley. Their eldest son John Marshall b. 1763 married Sophia Senior in Cawthorne on 7th or 8th April 1788 (different parish register sources give different dates) when he was 25 and she was just 18. They were married by licence. Sophia’s father George was one of the witnesses of their marriage. John and Sophia were my 4x great grandparents who had 10 children in all – baptised in Cawthorne unless otherwise stated.

Mary baptised 1st February 1789

George baptised 7th November 1790 – buried 22nd March 1808

Ellen baptised 26th December 1792

John baptised 10th May 1795

Ebenezer born 9th October and baptised 3rd November 1799 at Thurlestone Independent Chapel

Jennet born around 1802 – no baptism found

Timothy baptised 11th June 1805

Sophia born 17th May baptised 31st May 1807

Rachel born 19th Jan baptised 24th February 1811

Susannah born 1st June baptised 16th July 1815

Not a huge amount is known about John and Sophia, but John became a farmer in Cawthorne. His name appears in a subscription list in 1803 for Cawthorne relating to Staincross Volunteers, one of many local militia groups – more information can be found here

Cawthorne from the 1850 OS Map from

They both lived long enough to appear on the 1841 census together – at Near Lanes, Cawthorne where John’s occupation was listed as Farmer. With them was their son Ebenezer and an assistant named Elizabeth Clark aged 60 and a 15 year old female servant Sarah Swift.

Sophia passed away on 17th February 1844 at Haddon, Cawthorne aged 73. Her cause of death was general paralysis – so in modern terms this was likely to have been a stroke. The informant of her death was her son in law John Swift. She was buried on 21st February 1844.

John lived long enough to appear on the 1851 census living at 3 Haddon, in Cawthorne, down as an Annuitant – aka a pensioner, he was 89 years old and listed as a lodger in the household of Jennet Swift – his married daughter. John died not long after the census on 4th June 1851 aged 89, his occupation was given as Farmer and cause of death was Decay of Nature – so essentially Old Age. The informant of his death was a Richard Barlow. John was buried on 9th June 1851 at Cawthorne.

And what of their children?

Mary b. 1789 went on to marry Jonathan Greaves in 1812 and they had at least five children, Alice b. 1813, Joseph b. 1816 both born in Cawthorne, before moving to nearby Ingbirchworth where they went on to have Thomas b. 1824, Jennet b. 1826 and Mary b. 1830. Sadly Mary died the same year her daughter Mary was born, likely related to childbirth. Jonathan went on to remarry and he ran a pub for a number of years.

George b. 1790 – as noted above he died at the young age of 18, so never married or had children. Several years ago I was in contact with a lovely lady on Ancestry who is related to me via the Senior family who provided me with this touching information relating to George:

March 19th died my cousin George Marshall of Cawthorne nearly Barnsley Yorkshire; felt much on learning that he was no more! Stronger in constitution than myself he bid fair for long and healthy life; but like a flower he is cut down and wither’d. My friend.

Yes, thou hast faded like the flow’r no more
Shall these eyes see thee in life’s dreary vale;
But thou hast gain’d a fairer lovelier shore
From this; and where no storms shall e’er prevail:
No fall discase can blast where Life’s fair tree
Perennial blooms – near the eternal streams
Which flow thro’ Paradise – and saints are free
To pluck the immortal fruit – while heav’nly beams
From God’s high throne shall there forever shine
Resplendent through a world where all’s divine.
Grim death commissioned from the Pow’r on high,
Unerring, shot at thee his fatal dart,
Peirc’d to they vitals; – friends beheld thee die,
? o’er thy corpse – as reas’d thy beating heart!
T’was life’s spring morn, when thou wert thus cut down,
And thou had’st promis’d fair to fill some sphere
Useful in life; but now our hopes are flown
Of joyous entercourse and friendships dear:
Thy fate is seal’d! and seal’d in death thine eyes!
But there was one who, when the last adieu
A wett on his parting lifes, did not forbade
That parting was the last! as he withdrew
His hand from thine, to teach his homeward road:
Distance seen interven’d and year rolled on,
Yet they seem’d few ere were sad tidings sped,
That they short race was run! that thou wert gone
To thy lone home, this tomb, to rest thy head
On its last pillow, where the omnicients eye
Should watch thy slumbers from above the sky.

Rest on and take they ease where now thou’st laid,
Deep thy sleep and undisturb’d by care
That, hadst thee tarried here, would soon have pray
On thy young heart, jot Heaven appreciate a share:
Too all life’s journies as they cross the vale:
And would unfold a long and saddening tale
Thou never know because thou’st early slept;
And the green turf covers thee – and the wind
Sings solemn dirges as it sweeps among
The tall thick grass upon the grave reclin’d
That grave, where thy poor friend may rest ere long!

Amongst my friends some events have occurred of a painful nature: the death of my cousin George Marshall was a serious loss to his affectionate parents: When just arriving at manhood and beginning to be useful and a blessing in the family, he was snatched away. His death, nevertheless, was under such circumstances as to induce a hope the exchange of worlds was truly happy for him. How many of our early days were spent together in happy play: how dear were the scenes of home and how undisturbed by anything that could mar our juvenile minds. All now is gone and seems like the remembrance of a pleasant dream! (1808)

This was written by his cousin William Greenwood whose mother was George’s mother Sophia’s sister Jennet.

George’s sister Ellen married a John Hemingway in Cawthorne in 1811 and they had eight children. William b. 1813 in Huddersfield before moving and settling in Leeds where they went on to have Ann b. 1816, Elizabeth b. 1818, Ellen b. 1823, twins Sophia Marshall and Isaac Senior b. 1827, Mary b. 1830 and Rachel b. 1832. Her husband John died in 1845 and she died in 1852. In the 1841 census John and Ellen were both Wool Cloth Dressers as were many of their children.

John and Sophia’s son John b. 1795 married his cousin Mary Gillings in 1824 in Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire. He and Mary were my 3x great grandparents. They had six children – documented in the Kissing Cousins post, Sophia b. 1826 d. 1844, Sarah b. 1828, John b. 1832 (my 2x great grandfather), Jennet b. 1834, Susannah b. 1839 and Elizabeth Gillings b. 1843. John and his family were living at Ryecroft in Ashton in 1841 where he was a Watchman, by 1851 the occupation details were expanded slightly to state he was a Watchman at a Factory, still living at Ryecroft. At some point between 1851 and his death in 1858 he had become a Farmer. He died at Slate Edge in Audenshaw of Natural Causes – he had been found dead in a barn and there was an inquest into his death but no definitive cause was given. His widow Mary never remarried. She eventually died in Bolton, Lancashire in 1888 after a fall down the stairs. She had been living in Ashton up until at least the 1881 census and looks likely she went to live with her daughter Susannah or her youngest daughter Elizabeth – who were both living in Bolton at that time.

Ebenezer as mentioned above was living with his parents in 1841 and was working as a Farmer, a year after that he married Mary Dues in Cawthorne. Her surname is often spelled in many different ways, Duce, Deuce etc. Ebenezer and Mary had six children, Sarah b. 1842, John Christopher b. 1845, Jennet b. 1847 d. 1859, Susannah b. 1849, George Timothy b. 1852 and Elizabeth Sophia b. 1854. It also appears that Mary had a son Charles in 1840 before they married so it is possible Ebenezer was not his father. They settled in Silkstone where Ebenezer died in 1858. His widow Mary outlived him by 39 years – she was buried in Silkstone in 1897.

Jennet – as noted previously, had married John Swift in 1821 in Cawthorne. They had 8 children, Sarah b. 1823 (she is the Sarah Swift who was working as a female servant at her grandfather’s farm in 1841), Joseph b. 1825 d. 1839, Benjamin b. 1827, John b. 1830, Mary b. 1836, Martha b. & d. 1837, Jennet b. 1838 d. 1840 and George b. 1840. John Swift was a Mason and they were also living at Near Lanes in Cawthorne in 1841. Sadly John died in 1845 and the widowed Jennet was left to raise their children on her own. We know her father was living with her in 1851 and it is likely the older children were working to help her to look after the younger children. In 1861 she was still living at Haddon in Cawthorne as a Farmer of 10 Acres. She was living with her married son Benjamin – a Stone Mason like his father. Jennet died in 1868 and left a will naming Benjamin as her executor. There is a gravestone for Jennet and her family in the churchyard at Cawthorne. It reads:

To the Memory of Martha, Daughter of John and Jennet Swift, of Haddon, who died October 9th 1837 aged 8 days.

Also Joseph, son of John and Jennet Swift, who died November 29th 1839 aged 14 years.

Also Jennet, Daughter of John and Jennet Swift, who died February 21st 1840 aged 15 months.

Also the above said John Swift, who died June 24th 1845 aged 45 years.

Also Eleanor, wife of Benjamin Swift, who died November 25th 1854 aged 24 years.

Also Jennet, wife of the above said John Swift died April 4th 1869 aged 67 years.

Also Jennet, daughter of Benjamin and Ann Swift, died March 26th 1879 aged 13 years.

The Swift Family Headstone in Cawthorne Churchyard – photo from added by user Delarever

Jennet’s brother Timothy b. 1805 married in Darton in 1840 to an Elizabeth Marshall – she was no relation to him. At the time of their marriage his occupation was given as Agent. In the 1841 census he and Elizabeth were living at Darton Cottage and his occupation was given as Book Keeper. With them were a 13 year old George Beevers an Agricultural Labourer, a 19 year old servant Charlotte Wade and what looks like two women of independant means – Annie Long aged 70 and Anne Brown aged 20. By 1851 they were living at Birch House, Ardsley and Timothy was a Partner Owner of Oaks Colliery. He had a 17 year old servant Mary Crossley but also there is a 10 year old girl Eliza Hartley who is initially noted as a visitor but this is crossed out and servant written over it, however her occupation details state she is a “schooler”. When I found the details of Timothy being a partner owner of a colliery I did a bit more digging.

In 1841 Timothy gave a statement around child colliery workers, particularly girls:

No.141. Mr. Timothy Marshall, 35 years of age. Examined at Darton March 30th.

I have been connected with the collieries for 11 years and have lived in the coal district constantly. I am aware that girls work in several pits about here. I think it pernicious for their health. I knew a girl who had been, perhaps five or six years in a colliery employed as a hurrier who was taken ill about the age of 14 or 15 with a cough and chest complaint and eventually died, owing, in my belief, to the employment in the pit. It was the damp and hard work that hurt here and going out so early in the morning. She used to go to the pit soon after five in the morning. She left owing to illness and was apprenticed to my sister as a straw bonnet maker in consequence of her work in the pit hurting her. I think it is a very unhealthy employment. She has a sister going the same way now who is also working in the same pit. The system unfits girls for being mothers of families and has a very bad effect on their morals. They use very bad language. The education of the children is generally very deficient in coal pits. They get little else than Sunday School instruction which is very meagre indeed. I think the hurrying is what hurts the girls and it is too hard work for their strength. The collier’s children are worse in morals and education than those who don’t work in the pits but are not worse than manufacturing children. I think that children cannot be educated after they once get to work in the pits. They are both tired and even disinclined to learn when the have done their work and they make very little progress when educated only on Sabbath Schools. I knew a millwright who earned 24s. per week regularly who is sending two children to a colliery, and they went at eight years of age or earlier. He could have afforded to have sent them to school. I knew also of another man with 14s. a week and who sent his children to school and would not send them to the pit. There were no other circumstances which made this man better off. The 14s. and 24s. were fair measures of their actual means. It is not poverty that keeps them chilled from school. Girls might certainly get employed if properly brought up but there is a decided objection to taking them into respectable families from the pits.


It seems quite a damning statement really, the children of poor families often had no choice in having to work from a young age to bring in an extra wage, and of course would struggle with getting the right level of education. I am sure though that there were several families who sent their children to work because money was more important than their education in their eyes, but still in general the idea of children working long hours in terrible conditions was a staple of much of the Victorian era and it would take many years for things to change.

In 1861 Timothy and Elizabeth were still at Birch House, this time with a visitor Sarah Bland aged 62 and two servants Eliza Naylor aged 22 and Harriot Wigfield aged 15. Timothy passed away shortly after the census was taken on 10th April 1861. He and Elizabeth never had any children.

The Oaks Colliery in Barnsley which Timothy was a part owner of had numerous incidents and disasters over it’s life, the major one being in 1866 – 5 years after Timothy died, which to this day remains the worst colliery disaster in England claiming almost 400 lives. There is a memorial website relating to the disaster here – and also a Wikipedia page.

John and Sophia’s daughter Sophia b. 1805 had a rather advantageous marriage in 1828 in Tong, to a William Nicholson. William had started a building firm which soon became very successful. William and Sophia moved to Leeds where the business blossomed. They went on to have six children there, Sophia b. 1834, William b. 1836, Ann b. 1837, Marshall b. 1839, John b. 1842 d. 1847 (his birth registration is on the GRO website as John Edward but freebmd has it just as John. His death was registered under John,) and Emily b. 1847. There is a great article on the Yorkshire Post website about the firm of William Nicholson and Sons – which gives great detail about its growth and key clients such as Tetley’s Brewery. Their daughters never married. William junior took over the running of the building firm and his family were well connected and prosperous, with William’s grandson – also named William having been Mayor of Leeds and was also knighted for his charity and political work. Their son Marshall became a colliery proprietor and lived at the rather lovely looking Middleton Hall.

Middleton Hall – sold in early 2021 – details from the property listing by Savills Estate Agents

Sophia died in 1878 and her husband William Nicholson senior died the following year along with their daughter Emily. Ann died in 1904 and Sophia in 1909 – they are all commemorated on the same grand headstone in Lawnswood Cemetery in Leeds.

Nicholson Family Gravestone – from FindaGrave

John and Sophia’s second youngest daughter Rachel married a Henry Watkinson in 1834 in Leeds. Their witnesses were Rachel’s brothers in law John Hemingway and William Nicholson. Henry was described as a Warehouseman. In 1841 they are living in Wellington Place, Leeds. William’s occupation is hard to decipher – A G Ser(vice?). Rachel was a Confectioner. With them was a 6 year old son named Hamilton and a 25 year old Mechanic, James Stead. Rachel and Henry’s son was actually baptised with the rather unusual name of Alvaro Jesse Hamilton Watkinson in Leeds in 1834. He was their only child as far as I can tell, and sadly Rachel died a year after the 1841 census. I don’t know much of what happened to her husband but their son died in Harewood in 1853, I have not been able to find him on the 1851 census to know where he was or who he was with, but his burial entry gives his residence as Chapel Street.

The youngest child of John and Sophia was Susannah – born in 1815. She married William Stow in 1839 and they lived in the Hunslet area of Leeds. William was a Joiner and Susannah was a Straw Bonnet Maker. In the account given by her brother Timothy about the girl colliery workers – it was Susannah he was referring to as having taken on apprentices who had previously worked in the mines. They had five children, Elizabeth b. 1840, Maria Sophia b. 1847, Sarah Jennet b. 1849, John William Marshall b. 1852 and Ann b. 1855. William’s occupation details over the censuses show he was a Master Joiner and Builder and employed several men. By 1881 he had retired and in 1891 is described as Living on Own Means, so he had become quite independently wealthy from his business. Both Susannah and William died in 1896 in Leeds.

Tree of John Marshall 1763 – 1851

My next post will talk about Edward Marshall’s other children, George, Thomas, Jonathan, Charles, Sarah and Elizabeth.

7 thoughts on “The Marshall Family – Part Four – John Marshall 1763 – 1851

  1. Great post, Alex. So much packed in here. I particularly liked that gravestone with so much information on it—I’ve never seen one like that. And the speech about the girls working in the coal mines was very powerful. And poor George—do we know what he died from at 18?

    • Thanks Amy. Sadly I don’t know what George died of, his burial entry gives no further details and not found any newspaper articles for any death notices, but such a moving tribute by his cousin, it sounds like they were very close.

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