Holesgrove * Ashforth * Hawley * Holmes * Kniveton *


A Crossley in-law journey from Wales to America! See Great great Uncle Wilson & Aunty Fanny (Josephs) Crossley in the Crossley Family History page. (Dec 2012)

Great great Grandmother Susan de Marchye - a surprising find! See the Kelland Family History page.

Recommended Blogs & Websites!

 A Little East - life in the countryside!

The Lives & Times of Bella, our Japanese Shiba Inu x Staffie

Letters Words & Lines - some short stories and poetry

Musings while in London 2007-2011

Photography by Megan

Kelland Photography Etc

Jenna-Lea's Bakes

August 2012: A little beyond the Street family-link boundary to a single mum in the 1840's, a 19 year olds fatal accident, and a young wife dies leaving a babe in arms. The Hitchcock connection under the Street Family History page.

June 2011:  Marriage, Birth & Death between the Census. Catherine Mary and her son John Joshua cannot be found as wife, mother or son on the census records. Read the story under the Street Family History!

June 2011: William Holesgrove's Will gives clarification on the family, and gives a bit of insight into his interests. See his story on the Holesgrove Family History page! 

April 2011 - New poems from Grandad Walter Ash: A Beautiful Princess (just in time for Royal Wedding weekend!); Verses on the Death of my Niece; and On the Sinking of the Titanic.

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Samuel Crossley 1846-1933 (Great Grandfather)

 Samuel was the 5th of eight children and 1st of two sons born to Wilson & Mary Crossley (nee Sheppard) on 19th April 1846 at  Dunkirk, Rochdale, about 13 miles north of Manchester, in the county of Lancashire, England.

 His father, Wilson, was the manager of a cotton mill and at the age of 14years, Samuel was working in the ‘Warehouse’ (1861 Census).  Whether this was at a cotton mill, or the mill at which his father was the manager, we don’t know, but ten years later, Samuel is a ‘Bookkeeper in cotton mill’. In June 1880, on his son’s birth certificate, Samuel’s occupation as the father is noted as a “Dyer’s Clerk”, also a cotton process.

 On Tuesday 1st August 1871, Samuel married Annie Eliza Cocker at Great George Street Chapel, Salford (founded 1837, closed 1912). Annie Eliza’s father, Edward, had died and her cousin James Johnson witnessed the marriage together with Mary Crossley, Samuel’s sister, as his parents had also died before 1871.

 In June 1875 Samuel and Eliza’s first son, Samuel Herbert was born in Pendleton, Lancashire, and Alfred was born two years later in March 1877.  Richard Edgar was born on 13th May 1880 in Salford and when he was just 15 months old, Annie Eliza and the three boys left England for a new life in South Africa. It was always presumed that Samuel had gone ahead, but with no evidence until the following note came to light.

 What looks like a newspaper article, published on a Pedigree Resource File on, provides a hint as to why they all moved:

 Mr and Mrs Sam Crossley, both of whom are well-known to old Grahamstown residents, celebrated their Golden wedding yesterday in East London. They were married at Salford, Manchester on Aug 1,1871 and in 1880 Mr Crossley, on medical advice, came out to South Africa. He found his first employment in Grahamstown and prepared a home for his wife and 3 boys, who followed him about nine months later. During their stay here they were loyal supporters and workers in the Baptist Church and the many friends they made will join with us in offering cordial congratulations to them on the celebration of their half a century of happy life.

Golden Wedding Mr and Mrs S. Crossley late of Cross st., Grahamstown, now residing at 13 Paley St., East London, celebrated their golden wedding on 1 August 1921.

 Samuel had health problems and needed some sunshine and he possibly arrived in the Eastern Cape around October 1880 – spring in South Africa! The article says his wife and three boys followed him “about nine months later”, and it is well documented that Annie Eliza and the boys arrived in August 1881. A transcript in the ‘South-African-Immigrants-British’ rootsweb mailing list archives has a “Mr Crossley” arriving from Southampton on the 21st October 1880. This would be close enough to the nine months, but unfortunately the transcript from the Natal Witness newspaper did not give the name of the ship!

 Annie Eliza and the three boys left Plymouth on Friday 12th August 1881 at 2.15pm on the RMS Durban. They arrived in Madeira on 16th August at 11.30am and then in Cape Town on Wednesday 31st August 1881 at 12noon.  The passenger list shows them as having disembarked in East London. (

 Samuel Herbert Crossley died on 25th September 1933 and the Genealogical Society of South Africa has the following record:

Crossley Samuel

Occupation: Retired Clerk

Residence: 34 Tennyson Street

Died: 25 September 1933

Age at death: 58 years (DOB 1875)

Buried: 26 September 1933

East Bank Cemetery, Section 12B grave No. 275

Marital status: Married

Nationality: RSA

Cause of death: Chronic bronchitis

(Source: East London - East Bank Cemetery, East London, Eastern Cape. burial register. Repository: East London Municipality. Transcribed by Brian Barrett, independently)

 Alfred Crossley married Constance Mary Allcock on 9th October 1901 and they had three children: Alfred Osbert (5 Dec 1912-1994); Hilda Gladys (9 Oct 1904 - 18 Aug 1989); and Nuerdon Ronald (Dec 1912 – 29 Oct 1970). Alfred died on 1st Jan 1936 and Constance Mary on 5 April 1931, both in East London.

 Richard Edgar married Violet Maud Holesgrove on 7th April 1917 and they had five children: Cyril Edgar (1924-15 Dec 2003); Stella Gladys (my mother-in-law) (31 Jan 1927 – 23 Mar 2002); and her twin Wilson Aubrey (31 Jan 1927- 10 Jun 2007); Thelma, and Phyllis.

 The GSSA records the following on the death of Richard Edgar Crossley:

Occupation: Pump Attendant

Residence: 24 Scott Road

Died: 15 March 1940

Age at death: 59 years

Buried: 16 March 1940

East Bank Cemetery, section 10B grave No. 327

Marital status: Married

Nationality: RSA

Cause of death: Chronic Myocarditis

Place of death: East London

(Source: East London - East Bank Cemetery, East London, Eastern Cape. burial register. Repository: East London Municipality. Transcribed by Brian Barrett, independently)


Wilson Crossley 1811-1869 (Great great Grandfather)

Wilson Crossley was born on 16th October 1811 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England. He was the third son of David Crossley and Frances Fanny Dawson, and his siblings were John (20/4/1805, christened at Salem Methodist New Connexion on 12/5/1805); Samuel (born 15/10/1807, christened SMNC 22/11/1807); Ann (born 3/8/1809, christened 3/9/1809); Jane (born 5/12/1813, christened 20/12/1813); Mary (born 20/12/1815, christened 7/1/1816); and David (born 20/3/1818, christened 26/3/1818). Wilson was christened at Salem Methodist New Connexion, Halifax on 10th November 1811.

They seemed to be a devout Methodist family having had all 7 children christened or baptised within one month of their birth, unless their was the fear that the children may not have survived.

When Wilson was 21 years old he married Mary Sheppard at St Chad's Church in Rochdale on 11th November 1832,  and by the 1841 census they are living on Bank Street, Rochdale with three children: Fanny 7 yrs; Hannah 4yrs and Elizabeth 2 months old.

Ten years later Wilson is recorded as a "manager of cotton mill" though at this stage I still haven't figured out which one! The 1851 census records Mary as "at home", while the older two girls (Fanny & Hannah) at 17 and 14yrs are "Mill Hands", and Elizabeth is now 10yrs old and is recorded as "a nurse".  In the 10 years between censuses, Mary & Wilson have added another four children to their family: Mary born 1844, Samuel born 1846, Wilson born 1848 and Sarah born 1850. Samuel is my husband's great grandfather and he emigrated to South Africa with his wife Ann Eliza and three children. The young Wilson born in 1848 died at the very tender age of two years old. Mary died a few years in 1853, the same year that Jane, who is mentioned in the 1861 census, was born.  Is it possible that Mary died during childbirth or as a result of a difficult birth at 43 years old?

With six young children, Wilson couldn't possibly cope alone and remarried on 2nd January 1854. Martha Ashworth was the daughter of James and Martha Ashworth and was 16 years Wilson's junior (born 1827) enabling her to add another eight children to Wilson's family!!  Alice, Martha, Wilson, Edward, Ann, David, Amy and John were born between 1856 and 1869.

Wilson senior died on 17th September 1869, in the same year his youngest son was born. He was buried on 22nd September 1869 at the Manchester General Cemetery (Grave 3699). The National Probate Calendar (as per records the following: 

The Will of Wilson Crossley late of Cranage place, Dawson Street, Salford in the county of Lancaster, Mill Manager, deceased, who died 17th December 1869 at Cranage Place, aforesaid, was proved at Manchester by the oath of Martha Crossley of 3 Cranage Place. Aforesaid Widow the Relict the sole Executrix. Effects under £450.00.

Martha continued with a house full of children. The 1871 census records her as a housekeeper - probably in her own home, with 10 children ranging from Mary at 27 years to John 2 years old! Mary, Jane, and Martha were all working in the cotton mills as 'beam warper',  and 'drawer & twisters', Samuel was a bookkeeper in a cotton mill, and Wilson an errand boy at the age of 12. Ann, David, and Amy were all at school and John was just 2years old. On top of her own children the 1871 census also includes a Samuel Kershaw, a nephew aged 14 yrs, and a Mary Snelgrove, age 46 unmarried, as a Lodger.  Quite a housefull!


Maybe the stress was a little bit much and Martha died at the age of 53 and was buried on 1st March 1880.  Martha junior then took over the reins of looking after the younger children and the 1881 and 1891 censuses show Martha as the head of family, single with her brothers Wilson, Edward, David and John in 1881 and Edward and John in 1891.

Great Great Grandfather Wilson Crossley had 16 children in total in the 35 years between 1834 and 1869 and only one of those children died young!

Working in the cotton industry was not an easy time as these excerpts from show:

The American Civil War was a crucial event in the history of the Lancashire cotton industry. The blockade of the southern ports by the Federal navy cut off the supply of raw cotton on which Lancashire's mills depended. Mill closures, short-time working and mass unemployment resulted. The crisis reached its peak in 1862/63 ....... Stocks of raw cotton remained in Lancashire throughout the period, but were held in warehouses by merchants gambling on a further rise in prices. Lancashire was not wholly sympathetic to the cause of the Northern states, even demanding British government action to break the blockade. Cotton operatives did not suffer in silence to free the Southern plantation slave. Riots broke out in 1863 leading to Government intervention to fund public works in order to give paid work rather than relief to the unemployed. As with most historical narratives, that of the Lancashire Cotton Famine is a complex one..........

Mill owners were responsible for the general overall business of the mill, but the mill managers, such as Great Grandfather Wilson, ran the mill on a day-to-day basis. Mill managers usually lived on or close to the mill site and his duties would include: keeping the accounts (Samuel, Wilson's son was a bookkeeper in the mill!), paying wages, journals of events and happenings, recruitment, discipline, maintenance, production, quality, and health & safety!

Wilson Crossley (1859-1922) & Fanny Josephs (Great great Uncle & Aunt)

 Wilson is one of those given names in a family’s history that is unusual enough as a first name to be able to trace the family’s comings and goings fairly easily. The first Wilson so far in our Crossley family was born on 12 Oct 1811 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England. He was one of 9 children of David and Frances Crossley and the third of four boys – all of whom had ‘normal’ names: John, Samuel, and David!

When Wilson married Mary Sheppard in 1832, they had 8 children, two sons and six daughters and he named his second son Wilson. But this Wilson born in 1848 in Greater Manchester, England died at the age of three in Rochdale, Lancashire.

His only brother Samuel emigrated to South Africa in 1880 and his wife followed with their three young sons, Samuel Herbert, Alfred and Richard Edgar, our maternal grandfather. He picked up the tradition and named  his second son Wilson Aubrey, who was my mother-in-law’s twin! Wilson Aubrey died in South Africa in 2007 at the age of 80, and as far as I know none of his children carry the name Wilson.

Wilson Crossley born 1811 re-married after his first wife, Mary Sheppard, died in 1853 within a year of delivering baby number 8. His second wife, Martha Ashworth, also had 8 children, between 1854 and 1869 – four girls and four boys, including a Wilson born in 1859!

Wilson Crossley born 1859 in Salford, Lancashire, Clerk & Shopkeeper, married Fanny Josephs from Wales. The Joseph family lived close to the English-Welsh border and although Hereford is now considered to be in England, it used to be in Wales! There’s quite some extensive coverage on the internet about the area’s citizenship! Annoyingly, has different census records for Wales and for England, so I have to remember to look in both censuses!

Fanny Joseph was born 10 months prior to the 1871 Census date of 2nd April which puts her birth date somewhere in June 1870. The 1871 Census shows the following:

The Joseph family were living at Pendre Cottage, New Radnor, Radnor, Herefordshire (England)

John Joseph, Head, Married, 29yrs, Agricultural Labourer (Ag Lab), born New Radnor, Radnor (Wales)

Mary Joseph, Wife, Married, 24yrs, born Clun, Salop (England)

Thirza E. Joseph, Daughter, 3yrs, born Kington, Hereford (England)

Thomas L. Joseph, Son, 2yrs, born Evenjobb, Radnor (Wales)

Fanny Joseph, Daughter, 10mths, born Evenjobb, Radnor (Wales)

Joshua Lewis, brother-in-law, 10yrs, born Clun, Salop (England)

Joseph Lewis, visitor, unmarried, 25yrs, Ag lab, born Clun, Salop (England)

I love Google! I Googled Pendre Cottage and lo and behold ….. there was a For Sale pdf page with an exquisite photo of Pendre Cottage with all its specifications from 2010! It was advertised as a “detached two-bedroom, well presented and maintained character cottage with detached garage and parking with extensive views over the Radnor Valley.”  What subsequent owners of Pendre cottage have made into a two-bedroom detached cottage, used to house three families, with a total of 14 people in 1871!

10 years later in the 1881 census John & Mary Joseph were in Knill, district of Kington (Population of Knill in 1881 was 94) and then their family looked like this:

John Joseph, Head, Married, 39yrs, Shepherd, born New Radnor, Radnor

Mary Joseph, Wife, Married, 33yrs, Shepherd’s wife, born Clun, Salop

Thirza Josephs, Daughter, 13yrs, Scholar, born Old Radnor, Radnor

Thomas Josephs, Son, 12yrs, Scholar, born Evenjobb, Radnor

Fanny Josephs, Daughter, 10yrs, Scholar, born Evenjobb, Radnor

John Josephs, Son, 9yrs, Scholar, born New Radnor, Radnor

William Josephs, Son, 7yrs, Scholar, born Whitton, Radnor

Charles Josephs, Son, 5yrs, Scholar, born Whitton, Radnor

Ellen Josephs, Daughter, 2yrs, born Knill, Hereford

So in the ten years between these censuses, John & Mary added four children to their family and one can trace their movements from where their children were born – Old Radnor, Evenjobb, New Radnor, Whitton & Knill.

Fanny Josephs married Wilson Crossley in 1890 and moved to Lancashire, but I continued to follow the Joseph family, mainly to explain a Lilian R. Josephs living with Wilson & Fanny in 1901 who is described as Wilson’s sister-in-law age 13yrs. Sure enough in 1891 this is how the census read:

Living at: Cottage, Knills Bridge, Road Nashand Little Brampton, Hereford

John Joseph, Head, Married, 50yrs, Shepherd, born Clun, Salop

Mary Joseph, Wife, Married, 44yrs, born New Radnor, Radnor (I think they got these two mixed up!)

Annie Joseph, Daughter, 8yrs, Scholar, born Knill, Hereford

Mary Joseph, Daughter, 7yrs, Scholar, born Knill, Hereford

Alice Joseph, Daughter, 4yrs, Scholar, born Knill, Hereford

Lilian Joseph, Daughter, 3yrs, born Knill, Hereford

Stanley Joseph, Son, 7mths, born Knill, Hereford

So once again John & Mary added another five children to their family in ten years and yes, Lilian was there! They had 12 children in all that are accounted for, there may have been more who lived and died between the censuses.

What happened to the first batch of children? Unfortunately Thirze Elizabeth Joseph didn’t live many months after that 1881 Census. records a death of Thirza Elizabeth Joseph, age 13, at Kington, Herefordshire in the third quarter (Jul-Aug-Sep) of 1881.

Thomas L. Josephs emigrated to America. I discovered this fact by googling ‘Thomas L. Joseph’ and responding to an email address someone had left on a family tree site asking for info! The lady emailed me back saying that Thomas emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1888 and, according to family lore, he helped ‘many’ of his relatives get started on their lives in the US. How many of them emigrated to the ‘new world’ I don’t know – yet!

There is a death recorded for John Josephs in 1898 in Radnor and for Mary Josephs in 1891. If these are ‘our’ John and Mary, what happened to the young children? Stanley Joseph would have been just 1 year old when his mother died and 7 years when his father died. Did his brother Thomas take him to America?

I don’t have a worldwide subscription to ancestry so can’t access as much as I’d need to for this family. But a new destination has just opened up! From the Lancashire born Crossleys, to in-laws in Wales and eventually the Americas!






Richard Edgar Crossley - Grandfather

Richard Edgar was the 3rd and youngest son of Samuel & Ann Eliza Crossley.

He was born on Thursday, 13th May 1880 in Salford, Lancashire, England.

When he was just 15 months old, he emigrated with his mother and brothers to South Africa, disembarking at East London on 31st August 1881, after nearly 19 days (“the second fastest run between Plymouth and Cape Town”) on the RMS Durban. It is assumed his father had gone ahead and they joined him there.

In 1901 Richard Edgar joined the Boer War effort in Grahamstown and was assigned to the regiment known as ‘Marshalls Horse’, sometimes known as ‘Grahamstown Volunteers’, as a Trooper – regimental No. 21454.  (Read about Marshall’s Horse regt here).

The Boer War ended on 31st May 1902 and the next we hear of Richard Edgar is when he gets married on 7th April 1917 (Unsourced) to Violet Maud Holesgrove.

Richard Edgar & Violet Maud had 5 children: Cyril Edgar (1924-2003), Stella Gladys (31 Jan 1927 Twin-2002); Wilson Aubrey (31 Jan 1927 Twin-2007); Thelma; and Phyllis.

From the 'Form of Information of a Death', we know that Richard Edgar had been a garage pump attendant and was receiving an Invalid Pension although there is no indication why.

At the time of his death on 15th March 1940, aged 59 years, he was living at 24 Scott Road, East London, but he died at Frere Hospital, East London from chronic myocarditis and heart failure from which he’d been suffering for about a year.

He was buried the next day, 16th March 1940 at 4.30pm in the East Bank Cemetery, Section 10B, Grave No. 327, East London. Violet Maud lived another 31 years, although she was 14 years younger than him!