John Stowell

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.

Black Sheep Sunday – Lily Clegg (1896-1970)

Lily Clegg (nee Bowes) is my 3rd cousin 2x removed.

Lily was born on 17 June 1896 in Burnley, Lancashire, to parents James Bowes and Ada Welsh. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.

Lily married Harry Clegg sometime in the September quarter of 1921.

In 1939, at the outbreak of World War Two Lily and Harry were living at Fife Street, Barrowford, 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.

Lily Clegg - Nelson Leader 8 Nov 1940.pngOn the 8 November 1940 two such cases were reported in the Nelson Leader. One of the offenders was Lily Clegg.

In the first case the offender was fined £1, including costs.

I have transcribed below the case against Lily.

A similar fine was imposed on Lily Clegg (43), of 31 Fife Street, Barrowford. PC Riley stated that at 7.30pm on Saturday, the 19th ult., he was on duty in Fife Street, Barrowford, when he saw a bright light shining from the front upstairs window of defendant’s house. The window was fitted with a double thickness curtain, but it was not drawn, and the window was entirely unscreened. He obtained a ladder, got into the room and extinguished the light. Later he saw defendant, who said she was responsible. She had gone out in the morning and the light had been burning all day. When told she would be reported she said she was sorry. Defendant was unable to appear, but she sent a letter in which she pleaded guilty and said she realised the seriousness of the offence. The window had full black-out curtains, but unfortunately they were not drawn.


A trawl through the local papers in any part of the country at this time will produce many similar cases.

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


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.”


“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.

Mystery Monday – Martha Blackburn (nee Stowell)

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

Closely related to Madness Monday only these missing ancestors might not cause madness! Mystery Monday is where you can post about mystery ancestors or mystery records – anything in your genealogy and family history research which is currently unsolved. This is a great way to get your fellow genealogy bloggers to lend their eyes to what you’ve found so far and possibly help solve the mystery.

Martha Stowell is my 2nd cousin 3x removed. Her parents are Thomas Stowell and Ann Wroe. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.

Martha was born on 23 July 1867. She was baptised on 18 August 1867 at Holy Trinity Church, Habergham Eaves, Burnley, Lancashire.

I have Martha in the 1871 and 1881 census returns. I then have a marriage for Martha to Robert Blackburn on 17 May 1884 at St Mary of the Assumption, Burnley, Lancashire. Details of this are from the Online Parish Clerks for the County of Lancashire Project

And then…..the trail goes cold.

I can’t find Martha on any later census or on the 1939 Register. Neither can I find her in the travel and immigration records online.

I know she was still alive in 1931. Her sister, Margaret Ann Gerrey died that year. Here is a link to my Sunday’s Obituary post. You will see among the floral tributes is one from “sister Martha and family”.

So Martha remains a MYSTERY!!

However I am not the only one interested in the whereabouts of Martha Blackbun (formerly Stowell).

Below is a notice from the Burnley Express of 24 April 1942.

Burnley Express 29 April 1942.png

(formerly STOWELL)

INFORMATION is desired respecting the above named who was the wife of Robert Blackburn and who in 1886 resided at 252, Cog Lane, Habergham Eaves near Burnley and later is believed to have resided in Haslingden and Earby. Any person who can give information as to her present whereabouts or (if dead) the date and place of her death is requested to communicate with

19, Union Street, Accrington
Tel. No. 2226

Hmm should I get in touch and see if they can help me after all this time……maybe not.

Sunday’s Obituary – Margaret Ann Gerrey (nee Stowell) 1871-1931

Sunday’s Obituary is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Sunday’s Obituary, post obituaries along with other information about that person.

Margaret Ann Stowell is my 2nd cousin 3x removed. Her parents are Thomas Stowell and Ann Wroe. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.

Margaret was born in 1871 – her birth is registered in the September quarter in Burnley, Lancashire.

I have Margaret in the 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 census returns. Her occupation after leaving school was as a “cotton weaver”.

On the 16 May 1891 Margaret married John Gerrey at Holy Trinity church, Habergham Eaves near Burnley. The witnesses at the marriage were Margaret’s sister and brother in law, Mary and Richard Brotherton. John Gerrey was from Cornwall and by 1911, together with their daughter May, the family had moved over 350 miles to live in St Austell, Cornwall.

John died in 1927 at the age of 60.

I haven’t been able to find any information about the daughter May – she appears in the 1911 census but as yet I haven’t found a birth record or a marriage or a death record.

Just recently I came across the following obituary notice for Margaret in the Burnley Express of 19 September 1931.

Burnley Express 19 September 1931LATE MRS MARGARET ANN GERREY – Last Thursday the funeral took place from the home of her sister, 54 Albion Street, of the late Mrs Margaret Ann Gerrey. Mrs Gerrey was a native of Burnley, and had resided in the Top o’ t’ Town district prior to her departure to Cornwall, where she resided for 24 years. Her late husband will be remembered by many as an employee at Burnley Bank Top Station. Mrs Gerrey was for many years connected with St John’s Church, Gannow. The Rev F Jones, of St Matthew’s, offered prayers at the home prior to the cortege leaving for the Burnley Cemetery. The mourners were:- Mr and Mrs Brotherton, Mr and Mrs Byrne, Mr and Mrs Sharples, Mrs Skinner, Mrs Halsall, Mr and Miss Roberts, and Mrs Black. Floral tributes were sent by:- Sorrowing sister and Dick; sister Martha and family; nieces Lily, May and Mary; Ivy and Stewart; Arthur and Lena; Annie, Jim and children; Edna, Jack and baby; Mr and Mrs Ogden and family; Lucy and Georgina; Mr and Mrs Ingham and Fanny; Mr and Mrs Swindlehurst; Mrs Black; and Lily and Fred. The Co-operative Society, Ltd carried out the arrangements.

Black Sheep Sunday – John Robert Stowell (1901-1966)

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

John Robert Stowell is my 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Robert Alexander Stowell and Edith Annie Burns. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Astin, my 2x great grandparents.

As far as I can tell John Robert was the only child of of his parents. His birth is registered in Burnley, Lancashire.

He married Sarah Ellis sometime in the September quarter of 1926. They has no children. He then married Ellen Ainsworth in 1935, the marriage is registered in Q4. John Robert and Ellen had one son – James in 1936.

On the face of it not an ancestor I would normally write a blog post about…until I found the following newspaper article from the Lancashire Evening News of 11 December 1929.

Lancashire Evening News - 11 Dec 1929.png

If ever I needed more information from a newspaper article this is it. What did he do that required a sentence of three months in prison with hard labour. The article is woefully short on some vital details.

I can find Ellen and James in the 1939 Register but there is no sign of John Robert. So perhaps there is more to John Robert Stowell than I first thought!