Monday, April 20, 2015

My Lancashire Greenwood Family

My great-grandfather was Cropper James Greenwood. According to his Baptismal entry he was born February 13, 1882 in Bacup, Lancashire, England and baptized May 7, 1882 by A. Phillips, Vicar of St. John's church. His parents were William and Elizabeth Greenwood of Underbank St. in Bacup. William was a warper. Underbank was over the Irwell River.

Their 1875 marriage certificate shows William 23, warper of Underbank and son of Hartley (dec), sizer, married Elizabeth Hacking, 20, weaver of Vale St, daughter of Daniel Hacking, greengrocer. They were married at Christ Church, Bacup, by John M’Cubbin Vicar. Witnesses were James Greaces and Sarah Statt.

Cropper's first name was his great-grandmother Sarah Cropper's last name. The name has been traced back to the 16th c in Lancashire, England.

Greenwood is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name prevalent in the area. The middle name James does not appear anywhere but on the 1940 New York census where he is listed as James Greenwood.

Rossendale, Lancashire 
The Forest of Rossendale, once a royal hunting ground, was deforested for cultivation in 1507 by Henry VII, opening the land for settlement; towns that grew there included Bacup. Newchurch, and Waterfoot, all districts within the Rossendale township. Read more about Newchurch at 
The moors were used to raise sheep for their wool. Until the Industrial Revolution weaving was a home based industry. Around 1780 muslin or cotton lawn was being woven in Bacup, with Fustian, a thick and rough but long lasted cotton, soon being made. The Fustian was good for warp thread in weaving. The local damp climate was good for spinning yarn. Cotton dealers gave warp and weft to local weavers who brought back the manufactured cloth. From The History of the Forest of  Rossendale; read the full text at
A Hartley ancestry page notes that her ancestor Greenwood Harley left Colne for Bacup for work after the industrial revolution put the home cottage weaving industry out of business. 
 By the mid-1800s the Lancashire cotton mills had reached their heyday turning out 8 billion yards of cloth a year. 
 For information on the Lancashire spinning industry see
Lancashire Roots

The 1891 Census for Newchurch, Lancashire shows Cropper, age nine, living with his family at Blackthorn Terrace. His father William, age 48, was a warper; that meant he set up the long parallel warp yarns on the loom in one of the mills. His mother Elizabeth was age 34. The eldest son, David H. (Hartley) at age 15 was a weaver. Thirteen-year-old Eveline, eleven-year-old Roland, nine-year-old Cropper, six-year-old Sam and baby Fred kept Elizabeth busy.
Photographs of warpers at work can be found at:,_Evansville,_Ind._Girls_at_weaving_machines,_warpers._Evansville,_Ind._-_NARA_-_523100.jpg

Bacup in 1900
The 1901 census shows the family in Bacup, Dry Corner, Rossendale. William was still a cotton warper. Cropper was working in a quarry and Sam was a farm laborer. Children at home included Fred and seven-year-old Alice. David was living elsewhere.
Quarrying in the moorlands dates back to the 15th century when the stone was used locally, especially for roofing slates. Sandstone outcrops rise above ground high on the sides of the valley. With the growth of cities like London a demand for paving and building stone increased quarrying. By 1902 the local landscape was no longer recognizable, rubbish heaps and machines dominated a ruined landscape.
Immigration to America
The Majestic
September 1906 Cropper, age 24, immigrated to America on the Majestic out of Liverpool. His occupation was given as 'farmer.' On September 27 he arrived in New York City. He was described as single, a farmer born in Bacup, England. He was 5'3", with dark hair and dark eyes. He paid for passage himself and had $50. He was going to Mechanicville, Saratoga Co., NY. He had traveled with women and children from Bacup going to Mechanicville to join their husband and father; they settled in Troy, NY.

In America- Marriage

On December 12, 1906, Delia Smith, age 17 and born September 6, 1889, arrived on the Majestic. Age 20, Delia had been a domestic in Manchester. She was going to the home of 'friend' C. Greenwood, 24 Williams St. in Mechanicville, NY. Delia was 5'3" with a dark complexion, brown hair and gray eyes. She had $45.

Delia, or Della, was born at Chat Moss, Barton on Irwell to Irish parents John Smith and Bridget Allen. John Smith came from horse breeders and his children could 'ride before they could walk' I was told. He was also called Pigeon Jack, so perhaps he participated in the popular sport of pigeon racing. His father bred horses in Ireland. The story is that John was given horses to sell in England; instead of returning with the money he stayed in England. He died in a tragic train accident in 1901. His wife had died several years before. Delia was twelve at her father's death. She worked as a domestic servant in the Manchester area. In 1906 she immigrated to American to join her fiancée Cropper Greenwood.

Delia and Cropper married on February 21, 1907, in Troy, NY. They had children Emmett Howard, born 1908 and died of a heart ailment at age 9; Frederick Edward 1912-1957; and my grandmother Evelyn, 1913-1996.

Cropper next appears in the 1907 Troy, NY city directory working as a stable hand. The 1909 directory shows he was still a stableman but had moved. In 1910 they had moved again--but Cropper was now a chauffeur. Mom told that he was a 'chauffeur for a rich man." They moved again in both 1914 and 1915 with Cropper still a chauffeur. 

His WWI Draft Registration shows Cropper's birth as February 15, 1877. This is quite different from the birth records found. He worked as a chauffeur for Thomas Connor. The 1920 census shows a Thomas Connor living in Watervielet, born in Ireland, and 47 y.o. Cropper and Della Smith Greenwood were living on Parameter St. in Troy, NY. He was described as short, medium weight, with black hair and brown eyes.

The 1923 city directory shows Cropper was a machinist and living in a new location. From 1926 through 1931 Cropper was a 'machinist' living with Della on Central Ave in Troy.

In 1933 Cropper returned to England. The ship manifest gave his last address in England as Scout Holme St, Waterfoot, Lancaster.

May 23, 1927, Cropper Greenwood became a naturalized citizen at the District Court, Troy NY. In 1943 Delia became a U.S. citizen.
Actually, they lived in Troy,  NY
Cropper with his grandchildren, my twin uncles Don and Dave, in 1930
Sometime after 1947 Cropper and Delia moved to Kenmore, NY. Cropper died on December 11, 1956, when I was not four years old. My father said Cropper had sold us his old Dodge. He loved it and missed it and when he visited he would just sit in it.
I was recently contacted by a "distant cousin" who shared the first photos I have ever seen of my great-grandfather's family. This family photo is circa 1989.

Back Row: Sam (1884), Rowland (1880), David Hartley (1876), Cropper (1882) 
Middle Row: William (Father) (1852), Eveline (1878), Elizabeth (Mother) 
Front Row: Alice Jane (1894) and Fred (1891)

Elizabeth Hacking Greenwood
My great-great grandmother reminded me of her great-granddaughter, my Aunt Nancy, in her face shape and diminutive size.
William Greenwood
The Greenwood, Hartley and Cropper families were cotton mill workers for generations. William's parents were Hartley Greenwood, a cotton warp sizer born in Colne, and Sarah Cropper, born in Bacup.

In 1861 William Greenwood lived on Underbank in Bacup. Their oldest son John was a cotton warp sizer and their eldest daughter Sarah E. was a cotton broadloom weaver. In 1871 Sarah was widowed. Cropper (21), William (18, stripper & finder), and Sarah (12, cotton washer) worked in the mills and Alice, age 8, was at home.

Mill work was dangerous. The work conditions were harsh, with high heat, lint affecting breathing and eyes, long hours and tedious repetition. Children were employed in dangerous work. Delia's younger sister Susan worked as a 'scavenger', crawling under the moving looms to collect lint.
Articles on Bacup mills:

I wish I knew which mills my ancestors worked in and what products they made. I wish I knew how their work impacted their health and life.

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