UPDATE: Originally posted on June 22, 2017 (that post has since been deleted)
IT’S A SOGGY, DREARY AND WET ONE OUT THERE AS I WRITE TODAY … EVER SO FITTING AS TODAY’S BLOG FOCUSSES ON MY ENGLISH ROOTS AND FOLLOWS MY PATERNAL GRAND MOTHER’S, FATHER’S SIDE. I HAVEN’T WRITTEN EXCLUSIVELY ABOUT THEM, BUT I HAVE MENTIONED MY GRAMMA SALLY IN PRECEDING POSTS. THIS BLOG FOLLOWS, THE LEE FAMILY LINE IN YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND.
The LEEs were a hardworking, blue collared bunch. They lived primarily in the little towns and hamlets of Yorkshire and worked mainly in factory jobs.
Meltham Mills (now simply referred to as Meltham) was known for its many textile mills back in those days. It was the former site of Jonas Brook and Brothers, a silk mill complex that employed over 1,000 workers during the late 19th century. The large majority of the Lees lived on Shady Row. Shady Row was a co-op community built next to the mills for the employees of the Jonas Brook Bros. mills (which I have confirmed is where most of the males worked based on census results).
Census returns indicate that there was a total of 60 houses. Until a boundary change in the 1890s, the row was classified as being part of the Honley district.
At the time of the 1841 Census, 57 of the houses were occupied, with a total of 339 people were residing there (averaging nearly 6 people per property).
Shady Row was still in existence in the late 1940s but had been demolished by 1965.
SARAH ANN LEE
My gramma, Sarah Ann Lee, affectionately known as Sally, was born on December 7, 1922. Her father, Joseph, was 26, and her mother, Ellen (née Plant), was 30.
She was born in MELTHAM-MILLS (now just called Meltham), Yorkshire, England. The town and civil parish is within the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, in West Yorkshire, England. It lies in the Holme Valley, below Wessenden Moor, four and a half miles south-west of Huddersfield on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The population assessed at the 2011 Census was 8,534. The chapelry comprises parts of the townships of Meltham and Honley.
I’ve located her birth registration in England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005, for births registered the first quarter of 1923. I have not been able to locate her actual birth record as of yet (in the records). I need to confirm her actual year of birth as there is a discrepancy from what I have been told i.e., 1922 and the historical records confirming her registration in 1923.
Her father Joseph Edward passed away in 1930 in England at the age of 34 and her mother Ellen Ann passed away on May 9, 1936, at the age of 44. She appears to have been orphaned at the tender age of 13. Where did she go? What did she do? Did she live with her sister, Mary? What did she do from 13 to 22? Who did she live with? Did she have another boyfriend before grampa? Did she work? I literally cannot locate any records of her for this period of time …
She married Benjamin “Benny” Richards on June 20, 1945, in Agbrigg, Yorkshire, England, at the age of 22 while he was there on military service during WWII.
Transcribed excerpt from grampa’s military record:
June 20, 1945: Married with permission to Miss Sarah Ann Lee in Agbrigg, Yorkshire, England.
From the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 for Sarah A Lee – 1945 – Q2-Apr-May-Jun
Name District Vol. Page
Per grampa Benny’s military records her address as next of kin is noted as 4 Pick Hiss Rd (I feel they mean Pick Hill Rd), Meltham Yorkshire, England.
As we know, gramma Sally was a war bride. She arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax in 1946, which is Canada’s equivalent to the USA’s Ellis Island in New York. I was able to locate her in the Canadian Wives Bureau records. I will need to write to the Department of Immigration for a true copy of her arrival documents, which will likely contain the passenger log and her Canadian naturalization documentation.
Sarah sailed to her new home on the RMS Aquitania, a Cunard Line Ocean liner built in Clydebank, Scotland. The ship was launched on 21 April 1913 and sailed on hermaiden voyage to New York on 30 May 1914. Aquitania was the third in Cunard Line’s “grand trio” of express liners including the RMS Mauritania and RMS Lusitania, and she was the last surviving four-funneled ocean liner. Widely considered one of the most attractive ships of her time, Aquitania earned the nickname “Ship Beautiful”. In her 36 years of service, Aquitania survived military duty in both world wars. After completing troopship service, the vessel was handed back to Cunard in 1946, and was used to transport war brides and their children to Canada under charter from the Canadian government. This final service created a special fondness for Aquitania in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the port of disembarkation for these immigration voyages
I understand she that took the train from Halifax, NS to Mattawa, Ontario where Grampa met her, and they carried on to Témiscaming Québec by train (there were no roads leading into town at that time) to live with Lina (Angelina – Benny’s mother/Sally’s M-I-L) in Lumsden. This was stated in documentation twice. Once in Benny’s military records on discharge and in Sally’s document from the Canadian Archives which I obtained earlier from the national archives in Ottawa.
Excerpt from Benny’s military records:
” … Richards married in England and expects his wife to join him in a few months. They can live with his mother until they secure a house through the paper company, who are building homes for returning service personnel”.
Sally and Benny had seven children during their marriage (Christine, Malcolm, Ralph, Gwendolyn, Rosemary, Patrick, Kenneth). She had 7 children in 9 years.
She was an avid knitter and puzzler (no she didn’t like to puzzle people, she enjoyed working on puzzles 😉), I remember she would make them when I would visit her in Verdun, Québec. I’m told that she was also a teetotaler – I had no idea what that term even meant until 2:05 PM. The definition as per Wikipedia: When at drinking establishments, teetotalers (or teetotallers) either abstain from drinking completely, or consume non-alcoholic beverages such as water, juice, tea, coffee, virgin drinks, mocktails, and alcohol-free beer. So, she didn’t drink. She apparently ceased drinking alcohol after getting a little too tipsy one evening on rye (It’s ok gramma, haven’t we all?).
In connecting with my uncle Kenny and my aunt Gwen (I wish my dad was still alive so I could ask him some if this) – they moved in to 102 Anvik Avenue (in Témiscaming) in or about 1955.
At that time Témiscaming was a company (CIP) town and the company owned everything including the homes. CIP sold the houses in or about 1972, Sally and Benny bought theirs. The row house was tiny. 4 rooms total (living room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 1 washroom). It was only 2 stories, no basement. Aunty Gwen remembers them digging out the basement until they hit a big rock … they were able to move the furnace down there. Only the front bedroom had closet space … Grampa built one in the back room for the 3 girls … that and a double bed … for all 3 of them. The bathroom had a toilet and bathtub … no sink. They were 9 living there – 7 kids, 2 adults. The row house had an enclosed, unheated back porch. The whole space was about 600 sq ft. The address was originally 502 Elm Ave, but Dutch Elm disease killed all the Elm trees, and the town renamed it Anvik Ave and renumbered the houses…. the number became 102 instead of 502.
FYI: The Canadian International Paper Company (CIP) was a Montréal based forest products company. The mill in Témiscaming was originally built by the Riordon Pulp and Paper Company, later bought by CIP. When CIP wanted to close its mill in this one industry town, the employees formed Tembec to take over the operation. Tembec was sold just last month (May 2017). It agreed to a takeover offer from Rayonier Advanced Materials in an $807 million (U.S.) deal.
Sally’s husband Benjamin George passed away, on June 17, 1977, in Verdun, Québec, whilst visiting. They had just visited their other children in Kitchener, Ontario. He was 61. They had been married 31 years.
Gramma Sally ending up selling the house to Lucien Bernard for $6,000 in 1978 and moved to Verdun, Québec to live with her daughter Gwen, son-in-law Serge and her grandkids Marc and Caroline.
Gramma never lost her English accent in all her years of living in Canada, more specifically Québec. I always did find it interesting that gramma moved from England to Québec – that she was plopped in the middle of a French speaking province and managed quite well.
She wrote often – my letters were always address to Miss Tina and my brother’s always to Master Darrel – she spelled Darryl incorrectly all of the time – but it was cute – we’d get $10-$20 for our birthdays and Christmas.
Gramma passed away on March 29, 1993, in Verdun, Québec, at the age of 70 years of cardiac and renal failure resulting from complications of Diabetes Mellitus.
At the time of her death, she had 20 grandchildren and had just missed the birth of her first great grandchild by 2 months. Auntie Gwen told gramma that she had to keep alive until June as then she would become a great grandmother. Aunt Gwen told me that “she always mentioned that she wasn’t a great grandmother yet and her sister Mary had so many……before she died, she did say that she would never get to see her first great grandchild or be a great grandmother”.
I was pregnant with my oldest, at the time that gramma passed. It was a tough weekend as my Grand Mémère on my mom’s side and Gramma Sally on my dad’s side passed away 2 days apart and at 7 months pregnant I had to trek up North to attend both funerals on the same day – in different provinces – thankfully Témiscaming and Bonfield are only about 1h10mins apart.
Sally is buried alongside her husband in Témiscaming, QC. How fitting of a tombstone footer, “A small corner in a foreign land, that is forever England”
***I HAVE DECIDED TO KEEP THE BIOS OF HER LINEAGE TO A MINIMUM. I JUST HAVE TOO MUCH INFORMATION AND PHOTOS TO ADD TO THIS TO MAKE IT EASY TO FOLLOW***
JOSEPH EDWARD LEE AND ELLEN ANN PLANT
Joseph Edward Lee was born on August 24, 1896, in Batley, Yorkshire, England. Batley is a town in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Batley is a very old town in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It was mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1086 and was listed in the 1379 Poll Tax.
When he was born his father, Tom, was 27 as was his mother, Hannah.
His brother George Victor was killed in action on November 4, 1915, in France and Flanders in WWI.
He married Ellen Ann Plant in December 1918 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England when he was 22 years old.
He died as a young father in 1930 in England at the age of 34. I am looking for a cause of death – I suspect he was ill because the census records indicate that they moved from 33 Shady Row where they had lived for many years to 6 Shady Row, in 1930 – the same year he died.
When Ellen Ann Plant was born on May 10, 1892, in Honley, Yorkshire, England, her father, Tom, was 29, and her mother, Sarah, was 31. Honley, a village in West Yorkshire, England. It is situated near to Holmfirth and Huddersfield, and on the banks of the River Holme in the Holme Valley.
She was baptized on Dec 10, 1892, at St Mary with Brockholes, St George, Yorkshire, England (Honley).
April 2, 1911 – the census notes that her family lives at 4 Oldsfield in Honley. She is single & 19 y/o. She works as a Cotton Frame Tenter at a cotton factory. A frame tenter works in the Spinning Room & looks after spinning frames. Her father must have died as her mom is noted as being the head of the household.
She died on May 9, 1936, at the age of 43. It is said that she passed from Dropsy. We know that the term Dropsy is no longer used in today’s medical terms – it’s an ol’ fashioned term to describe the presence of generalized swelling, but you just get or die from edema without some etiology – usually it was due to acute decompensated heart failure. Prior to the twentieth century, heart failure was known as Dropsy. I’ve seen this diagnosis come up in a few other death certificates throughout my family tree journey.
TOM LEE & HANNAH CRABTREE
When Tom Lee was born in 1869 in Liversedge, Yorkshire, England, his father, Samuel, was 43 and his mother, Martha, was 45. He married Hannah Crabtree on January 26, 1889, in Batley, Yorkshire, England.
In the April 2, 1911, census he is noted as Married, Head of House. There were 9 people living in a 4-room dwelling at 3 Shady Row Meltham Mills, Meltham. He was working as a Bobbin Maker. MIL Sarah Crabtree lived with them as she is widowed (72). The census notes of 8 children; 6 were alive & 2 dead.
Hannah Crabtree was born in 1869 in Hull, Yorkshire, England, to Sarah Ann Pickles, age 30, and William Crabtree, age 40.
She was imprisoned on Aug 25, 1890, for obscene language at HMP Wakefield. Sentence Imprisonment or Servitude Released on August 29, 1890. She was jailed along with Mother Sarah Ann Crabtree. I am making the assumption they got into an argument and used threw in a few F bombs lol
SAMUEL LEE & MARTHA LEE
When Samuel Lee was born in January 1826 in Holmfirth, Yorkshire, England, his father, William Lee, was 26 and his mother, Mary Raine, was 22.
He was baptized on 26 Mar 1826 at Holmfirth, Holy Trinity, Yorkshire, England.
Samuel Lee married Martha Lee in Almondbury, Yorkshire, England, on February 9, 1845, when he was 19 years old. Marriage records indicates that Samuel was a is a Bachelor, employed as a Spinner and that Martha was a Spinster. They marked their signatures with X’s so that tells me that they were unable to write.
They lived in Honley, Yorkshire, England, in 1851 and resided at 65 Dean House. He and Martha and Harriett and Sarah Ann are all living here. He was employed as a Spooner. As a Spinner he would work in the Spinning Room and would operate one or more usually two facing each other, spinning machines, each with many spindles, to make thread. Because the floor beneath spinning machines was soaked in the oil from the cotton, spinners usually worked barefoot. Spinners normally employed their own piecers and paid them directly. A spinning mule might have up to 1200 spindles from end to end and be nearly 100 yards long. A spinner would be paid according to the amount of thread produced.
On the 1881 census they lived in Batley, Yorkshire, England. They were living at Temperance House at 175 Wilton St. He is living with Martha, William (who is working as a Clogger – i.e., made wooden shoes “clogs”, in England they were usually leather with thick wooden soles) and Tom who is in school. They also have a boarder staying with them. Sam is working as an Eating Housekeeper (would an eating housekeeper mean someone who owned a cafe or was just managing it?)
He died in 1901 at the age of 75.
Martha Lee was born in 1824 in Honley. The marriage record indicates that Martha’s dad’s name is John Lee. He and William both worked as Weavers. So, her maiden name is Lee as well?
Martha is absent from the 1901 census leading me to believe that she passed away between 1891 and the 1901 census. In this census Sam is listed as widowed and is living with William Brown (75) and Martha Brown (75).
WILLIAM LEE & MARY RAINE
William Lee was born in 1800 in Newbiggin, Durham, England. He married Mary Raine on March 4, 1821, in Middleton in Teesdale, Durham, England. They had ten children in 21 years. He died on May 17, 1883, having lived a long life of 83 years.
In the 1851 census they are living in Holwick, Yorkshire, England He is listed as Head of Household. He is working as a Lead Miner. He has some of his grand children living with them (not sure whose, two have last name Lee and the other Longmire).
In the 1871 census, we find them in Wooldale, Yorkshire, England, they are residing at 6 Muslim Hall. They have a visitor, Joseph Broadbent, age 26 who is a Grocer’s Assistant. William is still working at 70 as a Wool Weaver.
In 1881 we find him living in the Hamlet of Holwick, Yorkshire, England. Marital Status: Widower. He is a retired lead miner and farmer.
Mary Raine was born in abt 1800 in Yorkshire, England, died in October 1874 when she was 74 years old.
I haven’t been able to trace the line back any further than this for the time being. I’ll keep on searching.