Tracing family history...

Started by: janus5 (496)

My great great grandfather was Thomas Knowles, born in Ince 1824. He was a partner in the Pearson & Knowles Coal Mining Company. The Wigan Observer wrote an article about him titled Rags to Riches dated 3rd January 1969 which I have a copy of. I know information about his working life but have very little info about his home/family life. My teenage daughter is doing an essay about him for a history assignment and the more we know the better! Thanks in advance, Jane

Started: 24th Feb 2009 at 04:01
Last edited by janus5: 24th Feb 2009 at 04:21:14

Posted by: ianmcl (inactive)

There was a Thomas Knowles mayor of Wigan 1864 and 1865, and in the 1869 directory he's listed at living at The Platts,Ince. There a bit in Hansard about his political life Here

I 've also just download a pdf from the University of California which contains "a memoir of the Late Thomas Knowles and a report of the funeral service preached by Canon Fergie" available Here click on "See other formats"

There's also a record in the New York Times of "Titled Visitors to Albany" pdf download Here click on view full article

Not bad for a quick google! There's loads about his work life as you say . . . hope this helps a wee bit!

Replied: 24th Feb 2009 at 08:56

Posted by: janus5 (496)

Thanks alot for your help it's greatly appreciated. Every bit of information gives a new path to search!

Replied: 24th Feb 2009 at 21:47

Posted by: grandmas (594)

1841 Census Railway Tavern - Ince
John Knowles 45 Publican and Collier Underlooker?
Martha 40
Thomas 15 Engine Worker
Mary 15
John 13 Coal Mine Drawer
Robert 9 Coal Mine Drawer
Adam 7
Ellen 6
Isaac 4

1851 Census - Crawshaw Cross (Ince)
Thomas Knowles 26 - Colliery Agent
Mary 28
Martha 2
Robert 6 months
Caroline Smith 14 - House Servant

1861 Census - Old Hall, Ince
Thomas Knowles 36 Coal Prop. and Farmer of 60 Acres
Mary 38 - b. Golborne
Martha 12
Elizabeth 9
John 7
Mary Ellen 5
Alice Waterworth 20 )
Eleanor Waterworth 35 ) Servants
Ellen Atkinson 20 )

In the 1871 Census I found Mary Ellen 15 - Pupil
Upton on Severn, Gt. Malvern

So this gives you some idea of where Thomas Knowles actually came from and his family.

Replied: 24th Feb 2009 at 23:42

Posted by: janus5 (496)

Thanks so much for all this information, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together!

Replied: 25th Feb 2009 at 01:57

Posted by: fred rosbottom (1930) 

janus5 what part of Sydney, I'm Dural/Castle Hill

Replied: 25th Feb 2009 at 11:54

Posted by: grandmas (594)

1881 Census - 9 James's Place, Westminster, London
Thomas Knowles 56 - Lodger
Colliery Prop., Iron, Cotton etc. Employing abt. 5000

His wife Mary Knowles died 25.11.1878

Thomas Knowles died at Darnhall Hall, Winsford, Cheshire 3.12.1883 aged 59.

Martha Knowles married Thomas Fielden b1854 Todmorden - March 1/4 1878 at St. George, Hanover Square, London. Thomas Fielden died in 1897

Mary Ellen Knowles married Edward Brocklehurst Fielden b1856 Todmorden (the brother of Thomas) 01.10.1884 at Northwich

Just google any of the above names. 'The Fieldens of Todmorden'lived in Stansfield Hall in 1861 and had 6 servants. By the 1871 Census they had 15 Servants!! Their father was named Joshua and mother Ellen (and in 1871 Joshua was an MP - Land Owner, Merchant, Cotton Spinner and farmer of 135 acres employing 10 men and 1 boy).

Who are you descended from?

Replied: 25th Feb 2009 at 22:03

Posted by: janus5 (496)

There may be crossed information?? My Father is the great gandson of Thomas Knowles, though the information I have says Thomas Knowles had children named Ethel, Norman, Phyllis and Dorothy. Then Norman had children named John, Geoffrey and Derek. Geoffrey is my Grandfather (now deceased). Are any of these names coming up in your searches? The Thomas Knowles I am related to was a partner in the Pearson & Knowles Colliery and was an MP for the seat of Wigan from 1874-1883 I assume until his death. I really appreciate your help with this!

Replied: 26th Feb 2009 at 02:37
Last edited by janus5: 26th Feb 2009 at 04:56:59

Posted by: grandmas (594)

Thomas Knowles - b1824 Ince - died 1883
Was MP for Wigan until his death:

He married Mary
They had the following children who appear with them in 1851:
Martha 2
Robert 6 months
Martha 12 (she married Thomas Fielden)
Elizabeth 9
John 7
Mary Ellen 5 (she married Edward Brocklehurst Fielden)

I have been unable to find them on the 1871 Census

Thomas Knowles MP lost his wife Mary 25.11.1878
In addition to the mining interests Thomas was also involved in the cotton industry (as where the family into which his daughters married).
Sorry none of the names you mention are coming up - but they could have been with them in 1871!!

Replied: 26th Feb 2009 at 11:02

Posted by: grandmas (594)

Hi Janus,
Do you have any DOB for Ethel, Norman, Phyllis and Dorothy or John Geoffrey and Derek?
Thomas Knowles life is well documented and John b1853 (his only surviving son so his obitury says) died in December 1887 at Darnhall Hall, Winsford, Cheshire (he was 34 years old).
Thomas also had a son Robert b 1850 who died in 1853.

Replied: 27th Feb 2009 at 22:50

Posted by: janus5 (496)

Hi, the only date I have is Geoffrey's birthday which is February 26th 1923. Hopefully this narrows it down a bit. Thanks so much for doing this for me! I'm sorry as I don't have access to the information that you have and the other thing hampering me is that I was adopted out and have only been in contact with my father in the past 10 years (I don't want to be too intrusive). I am not searching to find lost wealth, it was lost in the Great Depression! I was just trying to help my daughter out with an assignment and found a really amazing history!!!! Thanks again, Jane

Replied: 28th Feb 2009 at 07:41
Last edited by janus5: 28th Feb 2009 at 09:01:04

Posted by: geraldine long (104)

Wonder if this is any help:-John Knowles c1857 Mining engineer Address Bryn Mount Westwood Lane Ince
Wife Agnes Arsinoe Knowles 39yrs
Florence Modaline 16yrs
Mary Ethelyne 15yrs
Issac Norman 9yrs
Agnes Dorothy 7yrs
Evelyne Phyllis 6yrs Two servants in houshold 1901 census

Replied: 28th Feb 2009 at 09:19
Last edited by geraldine long: 28th Feb 2009 at 09:22:46

Posted by: geraldine long (104)

Did a bit more digging about found marriage of John Knowles and Agnes Arsinre(slight spelling differance) Lyon All Saints Wigan 1883
1861 census Thomas Knowles c1825 wife Mary 38yrs and children Martha 12yrs Elizabeth 9yrs John 7yrs and Mary Ellen 5yrs living Old Hall Ince.
On 1871 found a differant family of Knowles living at Old Hall Ince,they were Israel c1936 wife Ellen 34yrs 6 children of their own plus nephews Robert Knowles 10yrs (on origanal looks like 16yrs )Thomas Knowles 11yrs and neice Martha Knowles 13yrs.
1881 census I found a family of brothers and sisters living at Hawthorne cotts ? all surname Knowles John 24yrs Martha E 23yrs Robert 26yrs and Thomas 21yrs(John listed as head of household) 1891 and 1901 John and Agnes and their family living at Bryn Mount.

Replied: 28th Feb 2009 at 11:01

Posted by: janus5 (496)

I think we have found the main artery!!! I live on the Central Coast, NSW, Australia. How are your searching veins different to mine? Do you have access to more info than I do? Are these children with the middle names of Ethel, Norman, Dorothy and Phyllis related to my great great grandfather Thomas? Thank you for helping me

Replied: 28th Feb 2009 at 11:23

Posted by: grandmas (594)

Israel Knowles c1836 was the brother of Thomas Knowles and I found him in 1851 on the census at Railway Tavern, Warrington Road, Ince. Where his father John was Publican
he is there with Martha his mother 55, Mary 26, John 24, Robert 22, Adam 19, Ellen 11 and James 4.
In the 1861 Census Adam Knowles 28 is Publican of the Railway Tavern with his wife Alice.
The family living on their own at the census are the children of Adam and Alice. Their father Adam Knowles died 15.12.1880 - Adam and Alice had James 1857, Martha 1860 - died 1864, Mary 1862, Thomas Robert 1867, Martha 1870, Israel 1872, Emily 1875, Hilda 1877 and John 1880.
James Robert Knowles 30 Mining Engineer living at Westwood in 1891 was the son of Israel c1836 who was also a Mining Engineer.
Found Israel in the 1891 Census living at North Meols, Southport aged 56 with him are his daughter Mary A. 24 and Elizabeth M. 14 together with a nurse and general servant.

Replied: 28th Feb 2009 at 15:27

Posted by: geraldine long (104)

I honestly dont know if they are related or not,just saw the middle names and surname Knowles and it seemed coincidental. I had put in the name Phyllis Knowles no place name or guess at age on and up they all popped. Sorry Im not more helpful. Perhaps a copy of their parents marriage certificate would shed more light.

Replied: 28th Feb 2009 at 22:37

Posted by: janus5 (496)

Thanks everyone, you have given me more than enough to go on with!!!

Replied: 1st Mar 2009 at 10:09

Posted by: grandmas (594)

I traced your Israel Norman back (on one Census he is Isaac Norman) but if you look at the family it seems that the name of Isaac changes to Israel:

John Knowles b1857 the eldest son of John Knowles and Martha (so he was the brother of Thomas Knowles MP)

Married 1853 to Jane Almond at St. Peter & St. Paul Ormskirk, Jane was born in Lathom (Janes father was an engineer)

John died 15.09.1860 and we find his widow in the 1861 Census at Crawshaw Cross, Warrington Road, Ince with:
Robert 6
John 4
Martha 3
Thomas 1

Jane died in 1862

1871 Census - John 14 - Pupil at Knutsford

also in the 1871 Census we find:
Robert 16 - Nephew
Martha 13 Niece
Thomas 11 - Nephew
living with their uncle Israel and his family at Westwood

1881 Census - Hawthorn Cottages, Ince
John Knowles 24 - Mining Engineer
Martha E. 23 - Housekeeper (sister)
Robert Knowles 26 - Crpenter (at waggon works) - brother

1891 Census - Westwood Lane, Bryn Mount
John Knowles 34 Mining Engineer
Agnes Arsono Knowles 29 (Agnes Arsino Lyons married John 1883 at All Saints, Wigan)
Florence Madeline Martha Knowles 6
Mary Ethelwin 5
plus 1 domestic servant

1901 Census - Westwood Lane, Bryn Mount
John 44 - Mining Engineer
Agnes 39
Florence Madeline Martha 16
Mary Ethelwin 15
Isaac Norman 9
Agnes Dorothy Lelia 7
Evelyn Phyllis 6
plus 2 servants

1911 Census - Westwood, Westwood Lane
John 54 Mining Engineer
Agnes Arsinoe 49
Florence Madeline Martha 25 - Student at College
Mary Ethelwin 23 - student at College
Israel Norman 19 - Mining Student at College
Agnes Dorothy Leila 17 - student at College
Evelyn Phyllis 16 - School
plus Housemaid and Cook

So Israel Norman was the only son of John and Agnes and John Knowles MP was his great Uncle (ie. the Uncle of his father John)

Replied: 1st Mar 2009 at 17:02

Posted by: geraldine long (104)

I Searched the marriages for Israel Norman Knowles and the closest I could come up with was Israel N Knowles married Lucy Millar in Warrington 1918. I then searched children born Knowles mothers maiden name Millar and found just 2 Geoffrey Birth registered june quarter 1923 in Chorley and Derek birth registered in Winchcomb Gloucester 1927.tried again spelling mothers maiden name Miller and whilst there were lots up and down the country came up with John born 1921 in Chorley. Obviously I dont know if all these people are one family as it doesnt give Christian names and they may not be who you are looking for but put them on just in case.

Replied: 1st Mar 2009 at 23:02

Posted by: akno1533 (1)

Hi Janus5. I am grandson of John Knowles and similarly my daughter is trying to trace some family history. Did you get anywhere with unravelling this? It was good to meet Derek in Hobart a few years ago! Cheers Andy K

Replied: 9th Feb 2021 at 16:22

Posted by: DaveL (21)

A bit more Knowles family history:

Replied: 10th Feb 2021 at 19:58


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