S8.6 – James and John Arthur Greenwood

A father and son are buried here – the son first and the father second.

James Greenwood was born in 1836 to William and Martha (Pilling) Greenwood of Horsewood, a farm that is still standing above Lumbutts. He was their only son. William was a cotton spinner despite living in a farm cottage, and while later he would become a farmer James stayed in the spinning and weaving industry. He married Amelia Leach of Sowerby Bridge in Halifax in 1857 and they decided to stay in Todmorden rather than make the move out that way. The Greenwoods would baptise their children in the Wesleyan denomination but over time would drift into the Church of England.

In 1861 James was still a weaver, but he decided to change career, and at some point after that became a baker. The Greenwoods moved down to York Street and both James and Amelia entered the business. Their eldest son Pilling also became a baker (although he would later become a mechanic) and the family moved to Union Street South while still maintaining their shop on York Street. They were only a few doors down from Robert Gibson the fishmonger, whose shop would relocated to Water Street before long. Their eldest daughter Grace would later marry Robert’s son Joe, but we’ll get to that later.

The only appearance the family makes in the papers is an incident where someone says something rude about Amelia while she and James were stood in front of Robert Gibson’s shop – which in a way is good, because it means little drama or tragedy. It doesn’t help us get a feeling for the people though.

Todmorden District News, July 30th 1880

Rather rudely, Amelia wasn’t overweight because she was an eating machine – she had not long since given birth to her sixth and last child, John Arthur Greenwood. He’s the first burial in this plot, dying in July 1882 at two years old from pneumonia. By 1881 the child mortality rate in the Todmorden district was about 1 in 10, so it maybe isn’t surprising that he was the only child they lost; still a painful incident though, and one which marked the family. We know this because Pilling Greenwood’s second son, born in 1883, was also named John Arthur…presumably after his lost little brother.

James and Amelia eventually decided to leave the baking in Todmorden to Pilling and moved to Southport with their two youngest remaining children, Clara and Harry. James is described on the 1891 Census as a “light muffin baker”. Clara married there, and back at home, Grace married Joe Gibson and the two of them moved to 41 Stansfield Street and started their own family. James became ill in 1901 and he and Amelia came back to Todmorden to be looked after by Grace. He died that same year and was buried here with his son John Arthur. Amelia, as well as daughter Clara and Clara’s two children, remained with Grace and Joe and their two children (there were a LOT of people living in this house!!). She died in 1913 and is buried at Christ Church, almost certainly in this plot as there isn’t anywhere else that logic would dictate she rest. Is her name on this stone and was simply missed off the 1980s unchecked transcript? We don’t know

Grace and Joe are buried at 27.37 and Clara is buried at 31.42. Her grave says she died in South Africa…there’s a story there isn’t there?

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