Stringer – Joseph (1786-1845)

Life Events :

  • Born : Baptised 6th June 1786 in Thorner, Yorkshire
  • Married : 15th May 1809 to Henrietta Dalby (widow) maiden name Labron
  • Married : 28 May 1838 to Judith Brown
  • Died : 13th July 1845 in Thorner. Cause of death : Inflamation
Children :
  • John – 6 Sept 1812 (my 2x gt-grandfather). Mother – Henrietta
  • Sarah Ann – 1840 – Mother Judith
  • Joseph – 1843 – Mother Judith

Parents : William Stringer and Sarah

Joseph was born in the small Yorkshire village of Thorner, between Leeds and York, in 1786, the only surviving son of William, a tailor in nearby Scarcroft, and his wife Sarah. His parents had already seen two infant sons buried in 1777 and a daughter Sarah born 1784 and buried aged 2, just 13 days after Joseph’s baptism. How precious Joseph must have been to poor William and Sarah. He was followed by two sisters, another Sarah, born 1788 and Martha, born 1790. As we’ve seen in other branches of the family, it was not uncommon back then to give a baby the same name as a deceased sibling due to the tradition of naming children after parents and grandparents.

When Joseph was born the Industrial Revolution was transforming Britain. Fifteen years earlier in 1771 the first cotton mill was opened in Cromford, Derbyshire by inventor Richard Arkwright, heralding the ‘Factory Age’ and the steam power loom had been invented the year before Joseph’s birth. These events would have had a huge effect on Joseph’s working life as a weaver. The ‘Luddites’ were attacking and destroying this new-fangled mechanised equipment as more and more textile workers were losing jobs that were now done more efficiently by the machines. A selection of other events in world and British history below and as always, thanks to the informative British History Timeline

British Historic Events :

  • 1792 – Gas lighting was invented (but would almost certainly not have affected the Stringers)
  • 1783 – William Pitt the younger becomes the youngest ever Prime Minister at the age of 23
  • 1787 – The French Revolution starts with the storming of The Bastille
  • 1799 – Trade Unions are outlawed by an act of parliament to stifle any catalyst for a French style revolution. These acts were repealed in1824
  • 1801 – Act of Union creates United Kingdom
  • 1811-12 – ‘Luddites’ attack industrial machinery in protest against unemployment
  • 1834 – Poor Law Act passed to transform social security system
  • 1837 – Queen Victoria comes to the throne
  • 1845 – The Irish potato famine started

In May 1809 at the age of 22, Joseph married a 40 year old widow with seven children. Henrietta Labron had been born in the nearby parish of Harewood and was married in Thorner to Joseph Dalby in 1788, when our Joseph Stringer was just two years old! Dalby died in 1802 and in 1806 Henrietta had a son, Moses to an unknown father, only she, as a widow, is named on the baptism register. Whether Joseph Stringer, at the age of 18 was the father of Moses, we will probably never know. I have found Moses Dalby, being naturalised and married in in New Jersey USA in1837, so that will be another story!

Why he would have taken on a much older woman with a large family I don’t know but Joseph and Henrietta were married for 27 years, until Henrietta’s death in 1836 aged 67. They had one son, my 2 x gt-grandfather John, born when Henrietta was 43. John certainly would have grown up with some of his Dalby half-siblings, which no doubt influenced the name of his own first daughter Ruth Dalby Stringer.

In 1812, on son John’s baptism records, Joseph’s occupation is weaver, this possibly would have been using a handloom at home. Like the one pictured here on display in the visitor centre at The Piece Hall, Halifax. Although weaving sheds were also in operation by this time, housing multiple power looms, so he could well have worked in the more factory-like conditions of the sheds.

Wool was the most common fibre to be spun and woven in Yorkshire and this is what Joseph would have first worked with, producing such fabrics as woollens and worsted. The peak period seems to have been between 1792 and 1812 after which time was the start of the decline of skilled jobs and wages with the introduction of more sophisticated mechanisation. By 1851 the textile industry had disappeared from Thorner.

Later, in the baptisms of his other children and the 1841 census, Joseph is described as a cotton weaver. I have so far struggled to find much in the way of historical information about Thorner, However I did find a Gazetteer of 1840-1843 with a small entry, shown below. The cotton mill mentioned was that of George Thompson & Son and I’m betting that is where Joseph worked in his later years as a cotton weaver. A Google search found a copy of a trade card for the company. Source

Whilst trawling through the internet looking for information about weaving and life in the textile industry in Yorkshire during the 18th and 19th centuries, I found a wonderful family history blog Bancrofts from Yorkshire The writer has done a lot of research into her own family with some interesting detail into the lives of hand loom weavers and the textile industry in Yorkshire at the time. Give it a read for some background to the lives of textile workers of the time.

Two years after the death of Henrietta, Joseph then aged 51 next married a girl young enough to be his daughter, in fact she was just one year older than his son John! Judith Brown aged 27 married Joseph on 28th May 1838. So he first married a woman 18 years his senior and now a woman 24 years his junior! Joseph and Judith had two children, Sarah Ann in 1840 and Joseph in 1842. These children would be orphaned by 1846 and raised by their grandmother, Mary Brown. More stories to be told at some time.

By the time of the birth of Joseph and Judith’s first child Sarah Ann in June 1840, eldest son John (my 2 x great-grandfather) had already flown the nest and you can read his story here or using the link at the side of this page. He married Mary Pye in Leeds in December 1838, just 7 months after Joseph and Judith married. I wonder if he disapproved of his father taking such a young wife after himself being raised by his much older mother Henrietta. Something we can only speculate on I suppose.

Sadly when Joseph junior was just 3 and Sarah Ann 5 years old, their father died, his cause of death was given on the death certificate as inflammation. Nowadays, we understand that inflammation (swelling, redness, heat and pain), is our body’s reaction to something, a virus, an allergy or something simple like a cut or a scratch. The inflammation is our body’s attempt at healing and not the illness itself. Back in the 1840s, they didn’t know this and furthermore, it wasn’t until 1874 that a doctor was required to certify the cause of death. Up until then, the informant would have provided that information, in this case the informant being Judith. Judith and Joseph likely couldn’t afford a doctor so whatever caused the inflammation would be left untreated and in this case, led to his death. This article is the source of my information Inflammation as a cause of death.

Judith died aged a year later aged just 35 leaving her orphaned children to be raised by her mother Mary.

William Stringer – page to follow