THORNBER FAMILIES IN HALIFAX AND TODMORDEN, YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND

Early 19th Century

Yorkshire Rose

 

I have done little research on the Thornber families of Halifax but the following groups are known from birth and marriage certificates collected for the period from 1837 to 1851 and a few references to marriages and baptisms in the IGI.

Abbreviations

BC      Birth Certificate
MC     Marriage Certificate

A.   Two sons of John Thornber, gentleman
1. John Barker Thornber, solicitor's clerk

John Barker Thornber of full age, a bachelor and solicitor's clerk, of Halifax, the son of John Thornber, gentleman, married Grace Beaver, of full age spinster of Halifax, the daughter of James Beaver, Gentleman on 14 October 1847 at Halifax, parish church. (MC)

Merle Thornber in Australia found that a Directory and Gazeteer of Halifax for 1853 listed John Barker Thornber as being of York Place.

John Barker Thornber, a solicitor's clerk of York Place, Rhodes Street, Halifax, and his wife Grace Thornber, formerly Beaver, had a son James born 6 April 1850 and registered by his father on 18 April 1850 in the District of Halifax. (BC)

From the probate index we know that John Barker Thornber died on 1 March 1876 at 103, St. Domingo Vale, Everton, Liverpool. Administration was granted at the Principal Registry to Clara Thornber of Brook House, Luddenden in the County of York, spinster, the niece and one of the next of kin on 5 May 1877.

2.  William Thornber, manufacturing chemist.Died 1849

William Thornber, of full age, bachelor and chemist of Halifax, the son of John Thornber, gentleman, married on 10 Oct 1844 in the Parish Church of Halifax to Sarah Swift of full age, spinster of Halifax, the daughter of William Swift, officer in the court of requests. (MC)

William Thornber, a chemist of Lilly Lane, Halifax, and his wife Sarah, had the following children registered between 1844 and 1849:

Frederick William Thornber born on 25 December 1844, Lilly Lane, Halifax.
Charles Henry, born 9 November 1846, at Brays Row, Lily Lane, Halifax, (BC).
John Edward, born 3 July 1848 at Brays Row, Halifax, (BC)
Sarah Hannah, born at Brays Row, Halifax, on 23 November 1849, daughter of William Thornber, deceased, manufacturing chemist.(BC)

Merle Thornber in Australia found that a Directory and Gazeteer of Halifax for 1853 listed a James Thornber of Waterside and Shaw Hill, as a Manufacturing Chemist. His house was at 2 South Parade. The date is after the death of William. Could James be a relative of the William who died in 1849.

B.  Thomas Thornber, silk spinner and manufacturing chemist

Thomas Thornber of full age, bachelor and worker in silk of Sowerby Bridge was said to be the son of John Thornber, hawker on his marriage certificate of 19 August 1841. His bride was Charlotte Bates, of full age, a spinster and the daughter of James Bates, wool stapler. They were married at Halifax parish church. The witnesses to the marriage were Hannah Thornber and William Thornber.

Birth certificates indicate that Thomas Thornber was initially a silk spinner living at Sowerby Bridge in Warley.From the second child onwards, Thomas was described as a manufacturing chemist. The family lived in Lilly Lane, and at Wesley Street, Lilly Lane from about 1843 to 1846. This address indicates that he may have connection with William Thornber shown above who also lived in Lilly Lane in 1846 and was a manufacturing chemist. While both Thomas and William give their father's name as John, there is a vast difference between a hawker and a gentleman so there must be some doubt as to whether they were brothers.

There is reference in the IGI to a James William Thornber, son of Thomas and Charlotte, baptised 9 December 1841, Halifax


James William, born 1 November, 1841 at Sowerby Bridge in Warley (BC).
Otho John, born 12 June 1843 at Lilly Lane, Halifax (BC).
Clement, born 9 September 1844 at Wesley Street, Halifax (BC).
Elizabeth Ann, born 8 January 1846, at Wesley Street, Lily Lane, Halifax. (BC).
Thomas Hamlet, born 18 November 1849 at Staffords House, Skircoat. (BC).
Mary Emma, born 20 November 1851 at Staffords House, Skircoat. (BC).

Elizabeth Ann was the wife of Alfred Welburn of 89 Albert Road, Aston in Birmingham when she was the administrator of her mother's personal estate in 1891. Charlotte Thornber, a widow, was said to have died at Walsh Street, Queen's Road, Halifax.

I am grateful to Merle Thornber in New South Wales for the following details of an administration of the estate of Thomas Thornber:

Thornber, Thomas - 13 March 1860 - Effects under 100 pounds: Letters of Administration of the Personal Estate and effects of Thomas Thornber late of Trafalgar in Halifax in the County of Yorkk, Manufacturing Chemist, deceased who died 17 October 1859 at Trafalgar aforesaid were granted at Wakefield to Charlotte Thornber of Trafalgar aforesaid Widow the Relict of the said deceased she having first been sworn.

C.  Thomas Thornber, mechanic of Sowerby

Thomas Thornber of full age, a bachelor and mechanic of Sowerby was said to be the son of John Smith a piece maker on his marriage on 7 December 1840. This probably means he was illegitimate and it may mean that John Smith is a fictitious name. His bride was Caroline Barraclough, of full age a spinster and dress maker of Sowerby, the daughter of S***** Barraclough, a wool sorter. They were married at Halifax parish church.

Thomas Thornber and his wife, registered the births of the following children at Sowerby in the Registration District of Halifax.

Susannah, born 5 March 1841 at Sowerby Street, Sowerby (BC)
Lucy Ann, born 21 September 1842 at Sowerby Street, Sowerby (BC)
Amelia Caroline, born 25 October 1844 at Sowerby Street, Sowerby (BC)
Eliza Jane, born 14 August 1846 at Sowerby Street, Sowerby (BC)
Thomas Frederick, born 6 March 1850 at Sowerby Street, Sowerby (BC)

There is a probate record of 1877 for Thomas Frederick Thornber of Sowerby Bridge. He was said to be late of Sowerby Bridge in the Parish of Halifax, an Engineer, and a bachelor, who died 12 August 1877 at Sowerby Bridge. Administratin was granted at the Principal Registry to Caroline Thornber of Sowerby Bridge, widow the mother and only next of kin. So Thomas Frederick died aged only 27 and by that date his mother was widowed.

D. Family of James Thornber of Causeway Head, Warley

The IGI shows records for James Thornber who married Betty Crabtree on 18 February 1819, at Halifax. Children baptised for this couple were as follows. The full records need to be consulted to confirm all details.

John, baptised 8 April 1823 son of James and Betty at Wadsworth and Halifax, Birchcliffe Baptist.
Hannah, born 16 May 1824, daughter of James and Betty at Wadsworth and Halifax, Birchcliffe Baptist.
Thomas, baptised 1 Feb 1826, son of James and Betty at Wadsworth and Halifax, Birchcliffe Baptist.
Susan, baptised 23 March 1828, daughter of James and Betty at Wadsworth and Halifax, Birchcliffe Baptist.
Mary, baptised 7 April 1831, daughter of James and Betty at Wadsworth and Halifax, Birchcliffe Baptist.
James baptised 4 January 1833, son of James and Betty at Wadsworth and Halifax, Birchcliffe Baptist.

Two illegitimate children were born at Causeway Head in Warley and registered in the District of Sowerby, Halifax.  The father's name is not given but the informant was James Thornber, occupier of Causeway Head, Warley. The mothers of the two children are probably the daughters of James Thornber shown above.

Elizabeth, born 2 June 1846 at Causeway Head, Warley, daughter of Hannah Thornber (BC)
Sarah Ann, born 24 May 1849 at Causeway Head, Warley, daughter of Susan Thornber (BC)

The John Thornber baptised in 1823 is probably the one who married on 23 March 1851, when he was said to be 27, a bachelor and spinner of Warley, the son of James Thornber, a warper. He married Elizabeth Bancroft, aged 22, spinster, of Ovenden, the daughter of John Bancroft a farmer at the parish church of Halifax.

There is also a James Thornber aged 48, widower, cotton dresser of Newbridge in Wadsworth, the son of Thomas Thornber a weaver, who married Betty Greenwood a widow, aged 40, a dressmaker, the daugther of Abraham Crabtree, a stone mason on 23 January 1838 at the Parochial Chapel of Heptonstall in the Parish of Halifax. James signed and Betty made her mark in the presence of Thomas Uttley and John Thomas.

E. The Family of John and Hannah Thornber

I am grateful to Mrs. Janet Thornber for the outline of the following family to which I have added details from certificates. There is a marriage certificate as follows:

John Thornber, widower, aged 31, a labourer, of Hawks Clough in Wadsworth, son of Ralph Thornber, farmer, married Hannah Barker, spinster, aged 26, a weaver, of High Greens in Erringden, daughter of Robert Barker, farmer on 6 October 1842 at Hepstontall in the Parish of Halifax at the Parochial Chapel according to the rites and ceremonies of the Established Church. John signed and Hannah made her mark in the presence of John Uttley and John Ingham (Marriage certificate.)

The fact that John's father is called Ralph indicates a connection with one of the Slaidburn families where Ralph was a commonly used forename. John must have been born about 1810 or 1811 and could be the one baptised 12 June 1810 the son of Ralph Thornber at Slaidburn. We also know from this certificate that John was a widower and there is a record of another marriage of John son of Ralph at Colne as follows:

John Thornber of full age, bachelor, labourer of Colne Moor, son of Ralph Thornber, farmer, married Susan Whitaker, minor, a spinster of Nar End, the daughter of William Whitaker a farmer on 8 January 1839 at Colne Parish Church in the presence of Peter Smith and Ralph Thornber.(Marriage Cert.)

To confirm this situation it would be useful to find the death of John's first wife, Susan prior to 1842. There is a GRO index of burials entry for the December of 1841 showing a Susan Thornber whose death was registered at Todmorden (Ref. 21 454)

Five known children of John and Hannah Thornber
1. John Thornber (1843-1848)

John is not found in the same area as the rest of the family in the 1881 census. There is a death record for a John in the December quarter of 1848. He was aged 5, of Erringden, Hebden Bridge, the son of John, a farmer, with the GRO index reference of Todmorden 21 463. The place name and father fit for this individual and suggest he was probably born about 1843. The birth certificate has been obtained.

John Thornber son of John Thornber, labourer and Hannah formerly Barker on 19 March 1843 at Rake Head Erringden, birth in the District of Hebden Bridge and registered in the District of Todmorden.

2. William Thornber (1845 to 1901)

The birth certificarte for William has been obtained:

William Thornber son of John Thornber, farmer, and Hannah formerly Barker on 31 May 1845 at Stub, Erringden, birth in the District of Hebden Bridge and registered in the District of Todmorden.

In addition there is a baptism record for William the son of John Thornber and Hannah at Heptonstall on 14 September 1845. William marreid Grace Dewhurst in 1872 and their children were Alice, Hannah, Sarah, John Thomas, Richard William, Albert Edward, Hagar Lina, Grace, Ralph, Ethel Louise, Nora Jane and James Robert.

3. Robert Thornber (1850 to 1914)

A birth certificate has been obtained:

Robert Thornber, son of John Thornber, farmer, and Hannah formerly Barker on 22 January 1850 at Stub, Erringden, birth in the District of Hebden Bridge and registered in the District of Todmorden.

Robert married Lettuce Mitchell. They had two children, Ralph and Edgar, who was father of Cyril.

Ralph and Lettice have been found in the 1881 Census at Erringden, Mythomroyd in Yorkshire when Robert, head of household was 41, a fustain dyer, born in Wadsworth, Lettice was 27 and born in Heptonstall, Ralph, son was 7 and a scholar born in Erringden and Edgar was 2 and born in Erringden. (Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 3543; Folio: 153, Page: 8; GSU Roll: 609865

4.  Ralph Thornber (1856-1912)
5.  James Thornber born about 1858

There is useful information in the 1881 census as follows for Erringden in Yorkshire on PRO Ref. RG 11, piece 4355, folio 41 page 8

John Thornber, widower, aged 70, head, farmer of 24 acres, born in Howarth, Yorkshire.
Robert, unmarried aged 31, son, a farm labourer, born in Erringden, Yorkshire.
Ralph, unmarried, aged 27, son, fustian cutter, born Erringden, Yorkshire
James, unmarried, aged 23, son, farm labourer, born Erringden, Yorkshire.

By 1881, the eldest brother, William was married with two children and he is shown with his wife Grace at Hirst, Wadsworth in Yorkshire on PRO Ref. RG11, Piece 4354, Folio 93 page 16.

William Thornber, married, aged 36, head of household, farmer of 31 acres, born Erringden, Yorkshire
Grace, married, aged 27, wife, farmer's wife, born Wadsworth, Yorkshire
Alice, aged 6, daughter, born Erringden, Yorkshire.
Hannah, aged 4, daughter, born Erringden, Yorkshire
Sarah, aged 1, daughter, born Wadsworth, Yorkshire
John F. aged 4 months, born Wadsworth, Yorkshire

F.  James Thornber

I have a marriage certificate relating to James Thornber, a widower aged 48, a cotton dresser of Newbridge in Wadsworth, son of Thomas Thornber a weaver, who married Betty Greenwood, a widow, aged 40, a dressmaker, of Hebdenbridge in Heptonstall, the daughter of Abraham Crabtree, stonemason, on 23 January 1838, at the Parochial Chapel of Heptonstall in the Parish of Halifax. Witnesses were Thomas Uttley and John Thomas.

Using this information it was possible to identify James in the cenus of 1841: Class: HO107; Piece 1306; Book: 7; Civil Parish: Halifax; County: Yorkshire; Enumeration District: 3; Folio: 46; Page: 15; Line: 16; GSU roll: 464265. At Hands Green, Warley, Halifax

James Thornber aged 52 was a cotton dresser born in Yorkshire
John Thornber, aged 18, cotton dresser, born Yorkshire
Hannah Thornber, aged 16, no occupation given, born Yorkshire
Thomas Thornber, aged 14, cotton weaver, born Yorkshire
Susan Thornber, aged 13, born Yorkshire
Mary Thornber, aged 11, born Yorkshire
James Thornber aged 8, born Yorkshire

From this it appears that James' second wife is not in the household that night. James was sought in 1851 and an entry was found again for Warley with reference: Class: HO107; Piece: 2300; Folio: 393; Page: 23; GSU roll: 87506-87508. The address was property 82 at Causeway Head. Note tht the ages are not an exact match for those found in 1851 but the family appears to be the same.

James Thornber, aged 60, head of household, widower, cotton dresser, born Wadsworth, Yorkshire
Hannah Thornber, aged 27, daughter, cotton weaver, born Heptonstall
Thomas Thornber, aged 21, son, cotton weaver, born Heptonstall
Mary Thornber, aged 19, daughter, no occupation given, born Clifner (?)
James Thornber, aged 18, son, cotton piecer, born Clifner
Eliza Ann Thornber, aged 4 months, granddaughter, born Warley.

It is not clear from the record who the parent of Eliza Ann is. James was not found in the census of 1861 so the two sons Thomas and James were sought. No plausible record was found for Thomas. A record for a James Thornber aged 24, born in Warley was found but this is not a good match with the ages given on the earlier census returns. However, it does show him living at Causeway Head, property 64, as a cotton spinner. It then has Elizabeth said to be a daughter aged 14 which is impossible. However, I show the record below. Class: RG9; Piece: 3291; Folio: 46; Page: 13; GSU roll: 543109.

James Thornber, aged 24, head, unmarried, cotton spinner, born Warley
Elizabeth Thornber, aged 14, daughter (sic) unmarried, cotton spinner, born Warley
Lewey Thornber, aged 13, daughter, born Warley
Abraham Thornber, aged 7, son, born Warley.

Birth certificates will be needed to find out how these people are related.

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