«Wilson Descendants In England: The Brothers of John Wilson John Wilson of Tattenhall and Lincolnville had three brothers who remained behind in ...»
■ Wilson Family History ■
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The Brothers of John Wilson
John Wilson of Tattenhall and Lincolnville had three brothers who remained
behind in England: William, Richard and Sheen Wilson. The brothers relocated, one at a
time, from Tattenhall to the Manchester area, just across the border from Cheshire County in Lancashire County, about 30 miles northwest from Tattenhall. William was there by 1793; Richard by 1805 and Sheen by 1822. There are several Richard Wilsons and William Wilsons in earlier directories but not at the same addresses, so their identities are uncertain; however, there are no Sheen Wilsons listed in the Manchester city directories for 1794, 1797 or 1816, therefore Sheen must have moved to Manchester between 1816 and 1822, considerably later than his brothers.
None of the Wilson brothers chose a rural life of farming like their father, but preferred to involve themselves in businesses in the big city. Nor were any of them as prolific; the three brothers between them produced eight children total, whereas John by himself had somewhere between 11 and 15 children. Consequently the descendants of John Willson the elder are today considerably more numerous in America than in England despite only one of his four sons having emigrated.
Manchester, in those days, was the focus of the industrial revolution in England and was the country’s most important manufacturing town; it was particularly known for its fabric mills. The city, occupying a low tract of land on both sides of the Irwell River at the confluence of the Medlock and the Irk Rivers, consisted of Manchester proper ■___________________________________________________________________________■ by Wendell E. Wilson ■ Wilson Family History ■ HOME PAGE: http://mineralogicalrecord.com/wilson/family.asp (including the suburbs of Hulme, Chorlton, Ardwick, Cheetham, Sale, Moss Side, Barton, etc. etc.) on the east or left bank, and the extensive borough of Salford on the right bank.
An 1866 gazetteer describes the city as follows:
Communication across the Irwell River is maintained by eight bridges, several of them handsome structures: Victoria Bridge, consisting of a single elegant arch; Blackfriar’s Bridge of three arches; the iron bridges of Strangeways and Springfield Lane, and the suspension iron bridge of Broughton may be specified as most worthy of notice. The almost unexampled rapidity with which Manchester has risen up has left it comparatively poor in architectural ornament, and yet it is superior to most manufacturing towns in general appearance. It has few of the narrow, twisted and crowded lanes by which all large towns of ancient date are more or less characterized, while it can point to spacious streets and squares, well paved and well lighted, and lined with houses which are generally of a most substantial, and, not infrequently, of a magnificent description. Market Street, continued in the line of the London Road, nearly across the center of town, towards the Irwell, is one of the finest streets out of the metropolis.
William Wilson (1768-before 1855) William Wilson, John’s older brother, was born in Tattenhall on 14 July 1768 (Tattenhall Parish Records). He married Margaret Oldham in Manchester Cathedral in 1793, and together they had at least three children: John (1800), Esther (1802) and William (1804). All were baptized at the Mosely Street Independent Chapel, central Manchester. His marriage in 1793 is the earliest record of the presence of any of the three Wilson brothers in Manchester.
According to the baptismal records of his children, William was a “warehouseman” (1800, 1802) and a “calenderer,” or cotton mill worker (1804). His 1793 marriage record also lists his profession as “calenderer.” Bancks’s Manchester and Salford Directory for 1800 lists seven William Wilsons, but only one of them is a “warehouseman”; his address is given as 18 Richmond Street, Manchester. An earlier Manchester directory, for 1797, also lists a William Wilson on Richmond Street and gives his occupation as bookkeeper (so this may not be him). The 1794 directory lists two shoemakers named William Wilson (who are not present in 1797), a tailor, a silkdrier and a grocer/confectioner. The latter, located at 8 Exchange Street, is a possibility for our William Wilson, considering that his brother Richard later opened a grocery business nearby.
William’s sons John and William each had three children of their own who were still alive in 1854, but unfortunately they are only mentioned without being named in Sheen Wilson’s will.
According to that will (dated April 1854), William’s daughter Esther Wilson married a man named Gresswell and had two sons, Edward and Thomas. The birth of Esther’s son Edward is recorded in Manchester Cathedral as 20 June 1827 (parents Thomas Greswell and Easter). He married Ellen Wood (daughter of William Wood, bootmaker) on 2 June 1852 in Manchester. The birth of Esther’s son Thomas (Jr.), is recorded in Manchester Cathedral as having taken place on 26 August 1835, his parents being Thomas (Sr.) and Esther Gresswell. According to the Manchester Cathedral register, Thomas Gresswell was a bookkeeper in Salford.
Thomas (Sr.) appears to have died in June 1859 (Civil Registration Index, Chorlton, vol. 8c, p. 589); Esther appears to have died in Manchester in March 1877 (CRI), and may in fact have died before 1871 (when she is no longer living with her son Thomas), and so neither is found on the 1871 or 1881 censuses. The 1861 census finds the family of Esther’s son Thomas Gresswell (a warehouseman) living at 12 Milton Street, Hulme with his wife Hannah (born 1835/5), infant son Edward and his widowed mother Esther (born 1801/2). The 1871 census lists the family of Thomas (Jr.) Gresswell, a greengrocer, age 36 (born 1835 in Hulme, Manchester), including his wife Hannah Pinkney (born 1833/4 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; married 1859), and children Edward (born 1860/1; died in 1895 at the age of 34; CRI vol. 8d, p. 210), Thomas (born 1861/2), Margaret A. (born 1863/4), George (born 1866/7) and infant William H. (born 1870), all of them born in Hulme, Manchester. The widowed Esther is not present. The family also appears on the 1881 census at 88 Park Street, Hulme; little William appears to have died, and Albert (born 1872/3) and Annie (born 1874/5) have been added. Thomas Jr. (head of the household) is listed as an unemployed printer, wife Hannah and daughter Margaret as shirtmakers, son George as a cabinetmaker, and sons Edward and Thomas III as “hookers” (probably a textile industry term). The 1891 census finds the family at 75 Park Street, Hulme, and lists Thomas (age 56) as “too ill to work.” His son Edward is a “stamper cott,” Thomas is a “painter,” sons George and Albert are plumbers and Annie is a shirtmaker. Manchester directories list Thomas in 1877 and 1879 (occupation “packer” and “porter” respectively) as living as 110 Junction Street, Hulme. The 1883 and 1886 directories have him as a “porter” at 88 Park Street, Hulme.
Thomas Gresswell III appears to have narried Elizabeth Frame in September 1893 in Chorlton (Civil Registration Index, vol. 8c, p.975), and is listed in the 1895 directory as a painter living at 30 Canning Street on Chorlton-on-Medlock. In 1903 his brother Albert is listed as a plumber living at 38 Heald Avenue, and in 1909 as a plumber living at 11 Collins Street, Hulme. Their brother George is also listed as a plumber in 1909, living at 19 Stanford Street, Hulme.
This family appears on the 1901 census, living at 9 Essex St., Hulme. George Gresswell, born 1866/7, a plumber, with his wife Annie (b. 1873/4 in Staffordshire) and his two children, George William Gresswell (b. 1897/8, listed in the CRI as born June-qtr 1898, and in the death index as born 11 April 1898 in Manchester, and died Jan. 1984), and Jessie Gresswell (b. 1900/1 in Manchester, probably the one shown in the CRI as having been born Dec-qtr 1901 in Chorlton and died June-qtr 1906). George had two more daughters thereafter: Hettie (b. 1902) and Lillian (b. 1908).
George William Gresswell, eldest son of George Gresswell and Annie Pettitt, married Eliza (“Ida”) Gould, and together they had one child, Muriel Doreen Gresswell (born 11 Mar 1929), who is still living today. She married Clifford Sharp (d. 2001), and together thay have been blessed with four children, ten grandchildren and (so far) four great-grandchildren.
George’s eldest sister, Jessie Gresswell, married George Lowe and worked all her life as a textile machinist.in Stockport near Manchester. Her husband George was an accountant in a hat factory. Jessie died in the mid-1980’s; they had no children.
George’s second sister, Hettie Gresswell, also worked in the textile industry, as a cutter. She married Chris Worsley, an engineering machinist for a machine tool manufacturer. They also lived in Stockport and had two children, Graham (b.ca. 1938) and Christine (b.ca. 1940). Graham married Sylvia ____ and they had two children, Gillian and Michael Worlsley. Christine was born with Down’s syndrome and never married. Graham and Christine both died in the late 1990’s.
And George’s youngest sister, Lillian Gresswell, married Thomas Stanley Lowth, a butcher, in 1936; they went on to have five children, all of whom are still living. Ian Lowth (b. 1936) has two daughters and one grandson; Anthony Lowth (b. 1939) has three sons and is currently living in Johannesberg, South Africa; Rodney Lowth (b. 1941), who supplied all of this information on Lillian’s descendants, lives in Cheadle, Cheshire and has two sons and three grandsons; Adrian Lowth (b. 1947) has four children and six grandchildren; and Jennifer Lowth (b. 1950) lives in Glasgow, Scotland and has four children and three grandchildren.
It is interesting to note that the address for Richard Wilson’s grocery business was 20 Market Place, and at 21 Market Street was the business of a William Willson (listed in the England Commercial Directory for 1816-1817, under the headings of “druggists etc.” and “oil merchants and dealers”). This may be Richard’s brother William, especially since this William chooses to spell his surname “Willson” like their father did, and also considering that only one other William Wilson (a linen dealer located at 2, Old Millgate) is listed in this directory of businesses. However, it is quite a large step up from a humble manual laborer (“warehouseman”) to a druggist, so it seems unlikely for that reason. If “our” William was just a simple laborer and did not run a business he may not have been listed at all in this particular, rather abbreviated directory.
A William Wilson died without leaving a will on 15 April 1851; a sheet of administrative details mentions that he was a “commercial traveler” living on Dorset Street in Hulme, near Sheen Wilson. This matches an 1850 directory listing him at Dorset Street, Hulme, his profession given as “traveler.” However, his wife’s name is given as Mary (not Margaret); therefore he appears not to be our William, whose exact death date still remains unknown. All we know is that our William Wilson was alive and well at the time of Sheen Wilson’s 1838 letter to Mary Ulmer Wilson in America, and that both he and his wife Margaret were dead by the time Sheen Wilson wrote his will in 1854.
A number of indistinguishable William Wilsons are listed in the 1841, 1850 and 1853 commercial directories for Manchester and surrounding area, one of them being a grocer and tea dealer (like his brother Richard), but the census records for his address are unfortunately too faint to read. Another in 1823 is listed as a “warehouseman. And also in 1823 is a listing for Margaret Wilson, “widow” (William’s wife’s name was Margaret), but this cannot be our Margaret because William was alive in 1838 when Sheen Wilson wrote to his sister-in-law in America.
Richard Wilson (1774-1847) Richard Wilson, John’s younger brother, was born in Tattenhall on 2 Feb 1774 (Tattenhall Parish Records). He married Ann Coultherd in Manchester, Cathedral in 1805; Ann, also called Nancy (a common nickname for Ann in those days), was born in 1774-1776 in Reeths, Yorkshire. Together they had six children: Eliza (born 1808), Richard (born 1812), Ann (born 1809), Lucy Ellen (born 1819), John Sheen Wilson (born 1822), and Alfred Wilson (born 1824 in Manchester).
Richard’s 1805 marriage record lists his profession as “grocer.” According to an 1838 letter bearing his return address, Richard was a grocer operating out of Market Place in Manchester. He is listed earlier in the England Commercial Directory for 1816under “Grocers,” at 20 Market Place, Manchester. In Pigot & Dean’s New Directory of Manchester & Salford for 1822-1823 he is at the same business address, but with his private residence listed as 15 Tib Lane. In other trade directories of 1841, 1843 and 1847 Richard is listed as a “Grocer and tea dealer of 10 Market Place,” with private residence at Wilton Terrace, Cheetham. An 1845 directory lists his private residence as York Terrace, Cheetham.
1794 and for 1797, the quarters at 20 Market Place were being operated by a John Wilson, “cotton manufacturer,” whose home address is given as 103 Green-gate, Salford.
Could he be an uncle? The name could simply be coincidence, but that is hard to believe.
A John Wilson continued to operate on Market Street, manufacturing cotton fabric, in 1816 and beyond, and was therefore clearly neither of our Johns, the father or the son who emigrated to America.