S3.1 – Elisha, Betsey, William Henry and Betty Crowther

There are so many Crowthers buried at Christ Church that you sometimes wonder if they’re all related. Many lived at Well Street at one point, further complicating things. These are some of those Crowthers and their stories.

Elisha Crowther was born in 1831 and baptised on January 1st 1832, the son of John and Mary Crowther of Sourhall. John was a basketmaker and died before 1841 – Elisha was the final child born to the couple. Mary and her children moved to Mount Pleasant and later across to the other side of Rochdale Road, to Hanging Ditch. Mary was working as a housekeeper by 1851, and Elisha had become an iron moulder.

Manchester Courier, September 1st 1855

In 1855 Elisha married Betty Marshall of Nell Cote (Springside, just down from and opposite from Lob Mill when leaving Todmorden). Betty was born in about 1836, possibly the daughter of Thomas and Betty Marshall of Bourn Royd (or Bower Royd – it’s hard to read confidently, and this place is not on any maps even in the 1840s) in Stansfield. The couple’s marriage certificate isn’t online so we can’t confirm which of the many many Betty Marshalls who were born around this time is her by seeing what her father’s name was.

Betty and Elisha moved to Salford and started a family – six children in total between 1856 and 1870. William Henry was the first, in 1856, and Betsey was the first daughter, in 1862. In 1871 they were at 14 Salford, with William Henry working as a mule piecer (usually children who would help at either side of a large spinning mule, the spinning equivalent of the power loom and designed for spinning wool into weaving yarn) and Betsey as a throstle piecer (throstles being the cotton equivalent of a mule!). It’s interesting to see that in 1881 both William Henry and Betsey were both working in cotton mills, and little sister Mary is now working in a woollen mill – was cotton more lucrative so it was more financially lucrative to encourage the family to move into it? Interesting question.

Elisha appears in the papers briefly in 1876 for drunkenness, but then, who hasn’t?

The spelling of “penalty” as “penaltp” makes us wonder about the typesetter, to be honest.

Elisha died in 1884, aged 51 years. Not elderly, but in those times, not surprisingly young. Surprisingly, only a year later (and at a different address), daughter Betsey died aged 23. Now that, that was young. After Elisha’s death Betty and her children had moved to 6 Well Street, but the change of address didn’t stop death from visiting them again. Betty lived at the Well Street address until the end of her life. William Henry moved out from home at some point before 1891, when he can be found at a lodging house at 61 Knowlwood Road.

William Henry followed his father and sister into this grave in 1898, and mother Betty in 1903. There is precious little information available via the newspapers about this family, and we’re left with only public records to give us any ideas about what happened. William Henry died at the Workhouse – why? Was there any connection between Elisha and Betsey’s deaths, being so chronologically near to each other? What’s going on? (said in a general, perplexed sense).

Elisha and Betsey were quick to figure out. Elisha’s death was due to apoplexy, aka. a stroke or cerebral haemorrhage. Betsey’s death was due to phthsis, aka. tuberculosis.

Elisha Crowther’s death certificate
Betsey Crowther’s death certificate

William Henry and Betty’s certificates will take longer to arrive. In the meantime, if these people are in your families, please let us know…

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