Burnley

Black Sheep Sunday – James Bowes (1888-1973)

James Bowes is my 3rd cousin 2x removed.

James was born on 27 December 1888 in Burnley, Lancashire, to parents James Bowes and Ada Welsh. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.

James married Gerty Roberts sometime in the March quarter of 1915.

In 1939, at the outbreak of World War Two James and Gerty were living at Clifton Street, Nelson, Lancashire.

It is common practice during wartime for a blackout to be introduced. People who failed to keep their homes or premises in darkness were liable to stringent legal penalties.

On 6 June 1941 the Nelson Leader carried a report that James was in breach of the lighting regulations.

James Bowes - Nelson Leader 6 June 1941.png

Black-Out Offence

For a breach of the lighting regulations, James Bowes (52), 18 Clifton Street, Nelson, was fined 10s, by the local magistrates on Saturday. P.W.R. Jolly said he was in Chapel Street at 11.50pm on Saturday, May 17th, when he saw a bright beam of light shining from the back kitchen window of defendant’s home. He found that the window was screened only by light brown curtains, and these were about three inches apart down the centre. Defendant said it was an oversight, he had blacked-out the front of the house, and forgotten to draw the dark blind in the kitchen.

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Sunday’s Obituary – Tom Myers (1862-1945)

Tom Myers is the husband of my 1st cousin 3x removed, Mary Ellen Procter. Mary’s parents are William Procter and Nancy Stowell. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.

Tom was born about 1862 in Burnley, Lancashire – his birth is registered in the June quarter of that year.

Tom and Mary Ellen were married on 22 April 1884 at St. Peter’s church in Burnley. They had at least seven children between 1885 and 1904.

In the census returns for 1891, 1901 and 1911 Tom’s occupation is described as “barber” or “hairdresser and tobacconist”.

Sadly Mary Ellen died at the relatively young age of 44 early in 1908.

Tom lived for another 37 years passing away on 30 August 1945. The following notice was published in the Burnley Express on 5 September 1945.

Tom Myers - Burnley Express 5 Sep 1945.png

Mr TOM MYERS

Mt Tom Myers, last of four brothers who did so much for the musical life of Burnley, was laid to rest in Burnley Cemetery on Monday. Mr Myers, who was 83, had been residing for the past few years at 294, Scotland Road, Nelson. He was a brother of the late Mr Fred Myers, who was one of the founders and conductors of the old Philharmonic Orchestra in Burnley which afterwards became the nucleus of the Municipal Orchestra.

Sunday’s Obituary – James Bowes (1861-1955)

James Bowes is the husband of my 2nd cousin 3x removed Ada Welsh.

James was born on 23 December 1861 in Burnley, Lancashire. he married Ada at Holy Trinity church, Habergham eaves, Lancashire on 25 September 1886.

Over the next twenty one years James and Ada had eleven children.

In the census returns for 1891, 1901 and 1911 James was described as a “cotton beamer”.

James died on 12 February 1955 and his death was reported in the Nelson Leader on 18 February 1955.

James Bowes - Nelson Leader 18 Feb 1955.png

Mr James Bowes

In the RC Section of Nelson Cemetery, on Tuesday, the remains were interred of Mr James Bowes, 76 Southfield Street, Nelson, who died on Saturday, aged 93 years. The Rev. Fr. Hope officiated. One of the oldest blind pensioners in Nelson, Mr Bowes is survived by three daughters and two sons. Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated in St. George’s Church by Fr. Hope prior to the interment.

There were no flowers by request.

Mass offerings:- daughters Ida, Eva, Lilly; Mrs Dee and Mr Chapman; Mrs Laycock; Mrs Corrigan; Katie Hargreaves, Bob, Eileen (Canada); S.V.P. Saint George.

Undertakers:- Nelson Co-op, Funeral service.

Sunday’s Obituary – Ada Bowes (nee Welsh) 1867-1950

Ada Welsh is my 2nd cousin 3x removed. Her parents were Patrick Welsh (or sometimes Walsh) and Charlotte Stowell. Our common ancestors were John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.

Ada was born on 11 April 1867 and her birth was registered in Burnley, Lancashire. As far as I have been able to establish she was the first of at least seven children.

On the 25 September 1886, at the age of 19, Ada married James Bowes at Holy Trinity church, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire.

James and Ada had eleven children over the next twenty one years.

In the census returns of 1891 and 1911 Ada’s occupation is given as “cotton winder”. And in the 1939 Register she is described as doing “unpaid domestic duties”.

Ada died on 16 May 1950 and her death was reported in the Nelson Leader on 26 May 1950.

Ada Bowes - Nelson Leader 26 May 1950.png

Mrs Ada Bowes

At the Nelson Cemetery, RC Section, on Friday the interment took place of Mrs Ada Bowes, 76, Southfield Street, Nelson, whose death, at the age of 83, occurred the previous Tuesday. The Rev. Father Hope officiated.

Floral tributes from:- Lily and Harry; Jim and Eva and brother Jim and Madge; Agnes Corrigan; Bobbie and Brian; Mrs Lonsdale; and others.

Mass Offerings:- Dad and Ida; S.V.P and Married Ladies, St George’s; Margaret Dee; Mrs Laycock; Mr and Mrs Chapman; Bob, Eileen and the boys (Canada); Cissie McIntyre.

Undertakers:- Helliwell Funeral Service.

Sunday’s Obituary – Dent Stowell (1882-1948)

Dent Stowell is my 2nd cousin 3x removed. I have written about Dent before, herehere and here.

Dent was born on 14 July 1882 in Burnley, Lancashire to parents Thomas Stowell and Ann Wroe. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff (my 4x great grandparents).

If you have read my previous posts you will know that Dent had an interesting life :-

  • he served in the Black Watch Regiment in South Africa in the Boer War and in France during WW1, being wounded more than once.
  • he had an unhappy first marriage but found love for a second time with Helen Gordon – however he was found guilty of bigamously marrying Helen in 1918, before finally marrying her legally in 1939.
  • he had eight children from his two marriages.
  • he lived in Canada and in the United States of America.

Dent passed away on 28 March 1948 and I recently discovered the following inquest report in the Burnley Express of 31 March 1948.

Dent Stowell - Inquest 31 March 1948.png

Man’s sudden death during night

“Death from natural causes” was the verdict recorded by the Burnley Deputy Coroner (Mr C Waddington) at an inquest on Monday on Dent Stowell (65), machine operator, of 89 Marlborough Street, who died on Sunday morning.

Mrs Helen Stowell said that her husband had served in the Boer and 1914-18 wars, and in the latter was wounded and badly gassed. His general health had not been good since 1918, but he had never had a serious illness. For the past four months he had complained of chest pains, but would not seek medical advice.

On Friday, the pains became worse, and on Saturday he said the pain felt like a lump in his chest. That evening she gave him a Seidlitz powder in warm water and, later, Indian Brandy in warm water, and they retired about 11.15pm. At 12.15am her husband got out of bed, and put the light out before returning.

Immediately he had got back into bed she heard strange noises coming from his throat, and, on putting on the light, found him struggling for breath. She helped him to sit up, but he collapsed in her arms. She ran out of the house and asked a passer-by to send for the police, who, on arrival, told her her husband had passed away.

Mr R O Davidson, consulting surgeon, said that he had conducted a post-mortem examination, and in his opinion death was due to cardiac failure, due to myocardial degeneration and coronary sclerosis.

After Dent’s death Helen moved to America to be with family who had emigrated there. She lived for another 36 years before passing away in 1984. Helen’s family brought her to England for burial alongside Dent and their son Percy in Burnley Cemetery, Lancashire.

Dent and Helen had thirty years together and I suspect could tell some tales about their experiences and adventures.

Wedding Wednesday – Alban Arthur Birch and Connie Jackson

Alban Arthur Birch is my wife’s 3rd cousin. His parents are Arthur Birch and Sarah Fitzgerald. Their common ancestor is Martha Espley, my wife’s 2x great grandmother.

Alban was born in Burnley, Lancashire on 5 August 1916. He was the only child of Arthur and Sarah Birch.

On Alban’s 23rd birthday he married Connie Jackson at St James Church, Briercliffe, Lancashire.

The wedding was reported in the Burnley Express on 12 August 1939.

Burnley Express 12 Aug 1939.png

Briercliffe St. James’s Church was the scene of a pretty wedding last Saturday morning between Mr Alban Arthur Birch, son of Mr and Mrs A Birch, of 200, Burnley Road, Accrington, and Miss Connie Jackson, only daughter of Mr and Mrs T S Jackson, of 12, Burnley Road, Briercliffe. The bride, who was given away by her father, was charmingly attired in a gown of white satin with veil of embroidered net held in place by orange blossom. She carried a bouquet of pink roses and lillies of the valley. She was attended by a matron of honour, Mrs M Jones, of London, friend of the bride, and a bridesmaid, Miss Gwen Dewhurst, cousin of the bride, who wore dresses of lavender taffeta with head-dresses and shoes to tone, and carried bouquets of pink carnations. The best man was Mr James Hargreaves, friend of the bridegroom, while Mr Eliot Andrews and Mr B Spencer (friends of the bridegroom) were groomsmen. Mr G Dewhurst was the usher. The ceremony was performed by the Rev A B Dex, MA, who also rendered appropriate organ music. A reception luncheon was held at Storey’s Cafe, and afterwards the newly-wedded pair left for a honeymoon in Scotland, the bride travelling in a moss green coat with black accessories. Among numerous presents received were some from the staff of W H Dean and Son, where the bride and bridegroom are employed. Mr and Mrs Birch will reside at 1, Bedfordshire Avenue, Burnley.

Military Monday – Dent Stowell (1882-1948) – part 1

Military Monday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

We all have ancestors who have served in the military. Military Monday is a place to post their images, stories and records of their service in various branches of the military.

Dent StowellThis is the first of a three part series about Dent Stowell, my 2nd cousin 3x removed. He was born on 14 July 1882 in Burnley, Lancashire to parents Thomas Stowell and Ann Wroe. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff (my 4x great grandparents).

As far as I can tell Dent was the last of nine children to be born to Thomas and Ann Stowell. He was baptised on 20 August 1882 at St John the Baptist church in Burnley.

On 30 March 1900 Dent took himself to the army recruiting office in Burnley and signed up for “short service” of three years in the military. The next day he passed his medical examination and was signed fit for the army. He was appointed to the 2nd Royal Highlanders Regiment with a service number of 7778.

He joined his regiment in Perth, Scotland on 4 April 1900.

I can see from his service records available online that Dent was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 28 February 1902. Then two months later on 24 April 1902 he was posted to South Africa.

He completed his three years “short service” on 30 March 1903 and was transferred to the Army Reserve for nine years.

Back in civilian life Dent married Rose Ann Cairns on 5 January 1907 at St Matthew the Apostle, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire. Dent was 24 years old and Rose Ann was 19.

Over the next five years Dent and Rose Ann had four children:-

Mary Ann Stowell – born 16 December 1907
Dent Stowell – born 1 March 1909
Clifford Stowell – born 25 June 1910 (died December 1913)
Albert Stowell – born 20 May 1912

In the 1911 census the family are living at 2 Zion Street, Burnley. Dent is working as a “plate moulder” and Rose Ann as a “weaver”.

At the outbreak of WW1 Dent rejoined the army and was mobilised at Perth on 5 August 1914. He had several postings to France over the next three years. He was wounded in action in November 1917 and then posted home from 27 November 1917 until he was demobbed on 24 March 1919.

Here is an account of Dent’s experiences in the Burnley News of 3 October 1914.

Burnley News 3 Oct 1914 - 1WOUNDED BURNLEY SOLDIER

IN THE FIRING LINE AT THE AISNE

A thrilling narrative of incidents which have taken place at the Battle of the Aisne has been told to a Burnley News reporter by Private Dent Stowell, of 2 Zion Street, who has returned home to recuperate after having been wounded. Private Stowell is a Reservist in the Black Watch.

“I reported myself at Perth Depot, Nig Camp, Cromarty,” he said, “and from there I went to Southampton, where we embarked for France. After a short time in camp at St Lazaire, we had a four days’ journey on the railway, and then we marched for four days, at about thirty miles a day, up to the firing line, about forty miles from operations at the Aisne, where there is a firing line of 150 miles.

“We thought then that there were no Germans about, but we could see dead horses, pieces of legs, heads, and other gruesome objects. On Sunday night, September 13th, the German bullets and shells began flying over our heads. At five o’clock on the following morning, we marched out on to a hill, and laid in a trench from about 6 o’clock to 3 in the afternoon. The Germans were shelling the position all the time, Burnley News 3 Oct 1914 -2and it was not safe for anyone to lift up his head. My mate did so, and he was shot through the brain.

“At 3 o’clock, someone said ‘Retire,’ and we had almost forty yards to run to the edge of the hill. During the run a German shell burst, sending me down the side of the hill. I remained unconscious until between 2 and 3 o’clock on the following morning, I was wounded by a bullet which went into my left knee, and when I recovered consciousness my shoe was full of blood.”

STRETCHER BEARER SHOT

“While they were carrying me, one of the stretcher bearers was shot; consequently another fellow carried me down to the hospital. When we got there the bullet was extracted.”

After describing his further passage from the scene of conflict by Army Service Corps and motor wagons, and how he was conveyed via temporary bridges of boats and planks, Private Stowell retuned to his experiences in the operations against the enemy. “I eked out existence on one biscuit on the previous Saturday night,” he remarked. “In the fighting a bullet went in my bully-beef tin on my back. Much havoc was caused to my equipment. I could not get a chance to fire back. It was an artillery battle, not an infantry one. Men were mowed down like grass under the terrific fire of the Maxims.

“I was conveyed to Le Mons, where the wound was dressed. Then we went along to Nancy, where I was again attended to. Subsequently I was taken to St Lazaire. I left there last Wednesday, and landed at Southampton on Friday morning. I was treated at the Southern Hospital, Birmingham, which I left yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

“It is indeed a sight for anyone to see which confronts you where fighting operations are going on,” Private Stowell continued. “The Germans had no ‘grub’ for four days. On Monday morning, the 14th, they were reinforced with 40,000 troops, and provisions to last them six months. Every place we got into we found they had looted. We could get nothing.”

Speaking about the French people, Private Stowell remarked enthusiastically that they were very good. “They will give anything to the English troops. We lived on nothing but fruit. The Germans took all the bread obtainable. Tobacco and cigarettes were sent out, but we never got it.

“Oh, yes, we wanted it,” he continued, smilingly. “If you saw one of your men with a cigarette, you would have ‘killed’ him for it.

The massacre is awful. There are thousands of Germans now in the trenches who cannot be buried. Our men cannot go up the hill to bury our dead. Many a hundred bled to death on that hill where I was. The men are healthy enough, but they cannot get any ‘grub.’ Marching to the firing line, we average between 20 and 30 miles a day. At night we try to get into a village. We find the villages have been looted, but there are barns and haylofts we can sleep in. It is not very comfortable to be sleeping 200 in a hayloft that really only accommodates about 10. After about three hours there, we are called to march again.”

Asked as to whether he had met any other Burnley men during his experience at the front he said, “I bade good-bye to my pal, J W Hurst, of Padiham, on Monday. He belonged to the C Company. We went out together. Then his Company went one way and mine another. On Monday night 200 came in out of 1260 at roll call. There were about 30 left out of the 200 on Tuesday. As I said before, they mowed us down like grass, chiefly with Maxim guns.

“I can tell you that I did say my prayers when I got up in the morning with bullets flying round. You think any morning that before long you may be a ‘gone-er’.”

“One of the 16th Lancers was on horseback when a shell burst close to him, and left only his legs in the stirrup, carrying his body away! It is nothing to see a horse getting blown in two.”

“You get used to it,” summed up the soldier laconically. “I shot one German that I know of. I was two years and eight months in South Africa, but that was a picnic to this.”

Look out for the second instalment of the trilogy next Sunday.