William dawson

Military Monday – William Dawson (1880-1939)

William Dawson is my great grandfather’s cousin. Our common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson.  He was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire on 9 October 1880 to parents Matthew Dawson and Ann Brigg.

William married Lucilla Whitaker on 29 February 1912. They had two children

• Matthew – born 19 September 1912

• Mary – born 9 March 1914

On 28 May 1918 William enlisted in Halifax at the age of 37 years 213 days. He was assigned to the 6th West Riding Regiment. At the time of his enlistment he was working as a ‘warp dresser’. His service number was 52089.

According to his service papers on www.ancestry.co.uk William left for France on 12 October 1918. He returned to England less than six weeks later on 20 November 1918 having received ‘gun shot wounds’ to both his thighs.

William was finally discharged on 6 May 1919 under King’s Regulation 392 (xvi) being no longer physically fit for war service.

The extract below indicates the degree of William’s disablement – and I think it says 38%. There are also some details of his pension and it looks like he was awarded £0.8s.3d per week from 7 May 1919 to be reviewed after 52 weeks. Also an allowance of £0.3s.6d per week for his two children from 26 May 1919.

William died about twenty years later – his death is registered in Q3 of 1939.

On this day … 22nd July

1858 … Martha Espley (nee Silvester) died in Biddulph, Staffordshire.  She is my wife’s 3x great grandmother.

1877 … Arthur Edward Espley was born at Chell in Staffordshire.  His parents were Henry Espley and Ellen Hannah Clewley.  He is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed.

1912 … William Dawson was buried at Holy Trinity church in Cowling, West Yorkshire.  He is my 2nd great grand uncle.

On this day … 10th July

1796 … John Dawson was buried at St. Andrew’s church in Kildwick, West Yorkshire.  He is my 3x great grand uncle.

1828 … William Dawson and Mary Overton were married at St. Andrew’s church in Kildwick, West Yorkshire.  William is my 3x great grand uncle.

1922 … Ada Buckley (nee Smith) died in Keighley, West Yorkshire.  She is the wife of my great grand uncle.

On this day … 13th June

1851 … William Dawson was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire to parents James Wright Dawson and Mary Thompson.  He is my 2nd cousin 3x removed.

1876 … Emily Dawson was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire to parents George Dawson and Mary Teal.  Emily is my 2nd cousin 3x removed.

1876 … Richard Espley was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire to parents Joseph Booth Espley and Christiana Boyle.  He is my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed.


Tombstone Tuesday – William and Elizabeth Dawson

This gravestone is in the grounds of Holy Trinity church, Cowling, West Yorkshire.  The stone marks the resting place of William Dawson and his wife Elizabeth (nee Bracewell).

William is my 2nd cousin 3x removed.  He was born in Cowling on 13 June 1851.  His parents were James Wright Dawson (1825-1893) and Mary Thompson (1825-1891).  He was the third of five children.  The other children were – Thompson (c1846), Alice (c1848), Dinah (5 May 1853) and Martha (22 September 1857)

In the 1861 census William is living at home with his parents and siblings at an address in Middleton (a part of Cowling which at that time was not much more than two rows of terrace cottages).  At the age of 9 he is shown as a scholar.

The 1871 census has the family still living in Middleton, although I can’t say whether or not they are in the same house as neither census shows a house number.  William is working as a “worsted weaver” as are his sisters Dinah and Martha.  The two older children have moved out by this time.

Elizabeth Bracewell was born about 1852/1853.  The first time she appears on the census with William is 1881 and her place of birth is recorded as Cowling.  I haven’t been able to locate a birth for an Elizabeth Bracewell in Cowling or any other nearby Yorkshire town around that time.

I have found an Elizabeth Bracewell on the 1861 and 1871 census returns for Great Marsden, Lancashire.  This is not too far from Cowling and I know that families regularly moved across the Yorkshire/Lancashire border to live and work.  So I am making an assumption here that this is the right person.  Of course I could obtain the marriage certificate for William and Elizabeth and this would go a long way to resolving this for me.

Anyway, William and Elizabeth married sometime in Q4 of 1875.  The marriage is registered in Skipton, North Yorkshire.

The 1881 census has them living at Well House in the village of Glusburn, about two or three miles from Cowling.  William is working as a “farmer of 39 acres” and they have one son, John William who is 11 months old.

The 1891 census shows the family are still living at Well House and William continues to work as a “farmer”.  Two more children have been born now – Martha Ann (c1882) and Freddie (c1885).  All three children are “scholars”.

Elizabeth died on 27 November 1895 at the young age of 42.  I haven’t obtained a death certificate so I have no information as to the cause of death.

Dover Street, Nelson, LancashireBy the time of the 1901 census William has given up farming and has moved to 16 Dover Street, Nelson, Lancashire (second house from the left in the photograph).  He is now working as a “cotton weaver”.  Two children, Martha Ann and Freddy are still at home and they are also working as “cotton weavers”.

Sometime in the next ten years William returned to farming.  In the 1911 census he is living at Lane Head Farm, Laneshawbridge, Colne, Lancashire.  William is shown as a “retired farmer”.

His son John William is single and living back at home working as a “dairy farmer” – I am assuming that he is now running the farm.  Also living there is William’s daughter Martha Ann and her husband, John Williamson and their two children William Henry (7) and Mary E (2).  Martha is shown as “housekeeper” while her husband is working as a “cotton warp dresser”.

This is the last information about William and he died on 29 January 1920.

On this day…..6th March

1764     Tryphena Foster and William Overton were married in Kildwick, West Yorkshire.  They are the paternal grandparents of Mary Overton (1808-1853) who is the wife of my 3rd great grand uncle William Dawson (1806-1855)

Tenuous link to a Viscount

Philip Snowden was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire on 18 July 1864.  I will go so far as to say that he is perhaps the most famous “son” of Cowling – although others may have a different opinion.  He was the     son of a weaver and his parents were devout Methodists.

Never heard of him?

Well, Philip became interested in local politics at an early age and joined the Keighley Liberal Club.  While researching the dangers of socialism he became converted to this new ideology and left the Liberal   Party to join the local branch of the Independent Labour Party.

In 1899 he was elected to Keighley Town Council and in 1903 became national chairman of the Independent Labour Party.

The next obvious step was to try to get elected to the House of Commons.  After two failed attempts at Blackburn in the 1900 General Election and Wakefield in a 1902 by-election he  was eventually elected as the     Labour MP for Blackburn in the 1906 General Election.

He developed a reputation as an expert on economic issues and advised David Lloyd George on his 1909 People’s Budget.

Philip Snowden was a pacifist and opposed to Britain’s involvement in the First World War.  He joined various groups and organisations campaigning against the war.  Like other anti-war Labour MP’s he was defeated in the 1918 General Election.  However he was quickly forgiven and was elected four years later to represent Colne Valley.

When Ramsay MacDonald formed the first Labour Government in January 1924 he appointed Philip Snowden as his Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Later that year Stanley Baldwin, the leader of the Conservative Party, became Prime Minister and Snowden’s period in office came to an end.

Five years on Snowden became Chancellor of the Exchequer again in the Labour Government of 1929.  This coincided with an economic depression and Snowden’s main concern was to produce a balanced budget.  He managed to make changes to the tax system that resulted in the wealthy paying more and the poor paying less.  The economic situation continued to deteriorate and in 1931 Snowden suggested that the Labour government should introduce new measures including a reduction in unemployment pay.  Several ministers refused to accept the cuts in benefits and resigned from office.

Ramsay MacDonald now formed a National Government with the Tories and Liberals.  Philip Snowden remained Chancellor and introduced the measures that had been rejected by the previous Labour Cabinet.  Labour MPs were furious with what MacDonald and Snowden had done, and both men were expelled from the Labour Party.

Snowden did not stand in the 1931 General Election and instead accepted the title of Viscount Snowden which enabled him to sit in the House of Lords.

Philip Snowden died on 15th May, 1937.

Why have I spent my Sunday telling you this story?  Because I have just this morning been able to make a family connection – albeit tenuous with this controversial politician.  I have Snowden’s in my family tree but hadn’t tried to find a link before today.  Anyway I now know that Philip Snowden is the 2nd cousin 1x removed of the wife of my 2nd great grand uncle - William Dawson married Martha Langton Snowden in Q1 1850.

OK, we’re only related by marriage – but that’s close enough for me.

Here’s a couple more links with articles about him.


The Bradford Antiquary