S5.2 – Betsy, John William and David Cropper

This grave holds a man, his wife, and their only son. The Cropper and Lingard families are represented elsewhere in the graveyard, but this small grouping of them is separate forever now.

David Cropper was born in November 1850 to John and Betty (Lawson) Cropper, their first child together. John was a stone mason, and the family started out living at Flailcroft on Parkin Lane with Betty’s father Benjamin, who was farming the property. In 1861 their roles reversed somewhat, with John farming a property called “Cote” on Hole Bottom Lane and Benjamin working as a labourer at the Mechanic’s Institute. The Cropper family was growing, with David being joined by siblings Sarah Ann, William, and John. One more brother came along later, Benjamin – and the family was complete.

David became a cotton weaver, and in January 1875 married Betsy Lingard of Willow Bank. Betsy was born in 1852 to Joseph and Sarah (Marshall) Lingard, both cotton weavers who lived at Blind Lane. All the children in the family were half-timers by the time they turned 10 and Betsy will have been glad to marry into a family like the Croppers who, while not wealthy, were comfortable enough for David to later own several properties at Meadow Bottom.

David and Betsy had three children – Sarah, Bertha, and John William. Like many women in the late 1800s, Betsy was at high risk of mortality due to childbirth, and her luck ran out with John William. He was born in January 1883, and Betsy died in January 1883. Left with three children, one an infant, David employed a nurse and began to look around for a wife. He found one nearby in Martha Wild of Willow Bank, and they married in February 1884. In a small but still strange coincidence, Martha had an illegitimate son named John William.

David’s luck with his family got a little better, and no one else was buried in this grave apart from him. They moved from Fox Bank to Joshua Street and David rented out some of the properties he had come into ownership of. He continued working as a warehouseman at a textile mill and spent his free time as the Secretary of the Loyal United Free Mechanics Lodge No. 28. In 1899 he was presented with a fine marble clock and a “purse of gold” to thank him for 20 years of service to the Lodge.

Todmorden District News, December 15th 1899

David died in 1902. He and Martha had no children of their own. After his death his household belongings were auctioned and presumably the properties were also sold. Martha went on to live with her son John William and his family in Hebden Bridge and died in 1912, leaving him £162.

There are other Croppers in the graveyard – David’s parents and a sister are at 45.59, and his grandparents and a brother are at 39.22.

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