Howdenshire History

Emigration: Howden & Area, Yorkshire to the USA

I have been researching local history for over 30 years and, even before the age of the internet, I was contacted by people from all over the globe whose ancestors were from Howden and the surrounding villages. My own ancestors emigrated to the Port Hope area of Ontario, Canada in 1832 and from the letters I have read they knew several local families who had also settled in Ontario over the previous 10 years.

This project lists some of the families who began life in Yorkshire but who moved to many different parts of the world. I have used various sources. I have researched some of these families myself but although I have tried to check everything, some of the information below is from secondary sources. Therefore, please use it with caution.


Harrison - Turner - Freeman & Threadgold - Hayhurst


Robert and Jane Harrison:   Yokefleet to New York City, USA

Robert Harrison (b. 1788) married Jane Creaser [or Crissey or Cressey] (b. 1785) on the 8th December 1807 at Howden. Their children (Richard, John, Mary, Robert, Thomas, Elizabeth, Ann, Charles) were christened at Laxton between 1812 and 1830. The family was living in Yokefleet in the 1841 census.

Robert and Jane arrived in New York City on June 16th 1845 on the ship Panama, which sailed from Hull. At least six of their children came to America. The oldest boys, Richard (b. 1808), John (b.1810) and Robert (b. 1814), left for the US first. The youngest two children, Ann (b. 1825) and Charles (b. 1830), came over with their parents. Mary (b.1812) had married Robert Thompson, and they and their children emigrated on the same ship as Robert and Jane.

Robert Harrison died in 1857.





William and Mary Turner nee Leighton:  Gilberdyke to Detroit and Chicago, USA

William Turner was baptised in 1770 at Eastrington. In 1798 he married Mary Leighton (bp. 1776, Howden) at Howden. Although their nearest church was Eastrington, it seems that the family lived at Gilberdyke. They were Methodists.

All their nine children were born at Gilberdyke. Sons William and Robert emigrated in 1830. Another son, Leighton Turner, emigrated in 1832, and William and Mary with the rest of the family - apart from the eldest, Sarah or Sally (bp. 1799) - emigrated in 1834.

N.B. Sarah (Sally) Turner married Charles Tomlinson in 1824 and remained a farmer's wife at Little Airmyn until her death in 1876.

The Turner family settled in Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, where Mary died in August 1836 and William died in September 1838.


Old painting of Detroit, Michigan in 1837

"City of Detroit, Michigan. Taken from the Canada Shore near the Ferry", published in 1837


More information about the family is available from two biographies taken from the Album of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois, which was published in 1897:


John Turner

"Mr. Turner was born July 10 1815, in Gilberdike, Yorkshire, England, and was a son of William and Mary Turner, who were natives of that county. William Turner and his wife had a family of two daughters and seven sons. Their names were: Sarah, Elizabeth,Thomas, William, Robert, Leighton, John, George and Charles.

"With the exception of the eldest, all became residents of the United States, and all are now deceased except Charles, who resides in Detroit, Michigan. William and Robert Turner emigrated in 1830, and two years later Leighton followed. In 1834 the parents came, bringing with them one daughter, and the other sons. They settled at Detroit, Michigan, where the parents died several years ago.

"In 1836 John Turner came to Chicago, accompanied by his brother Leighton, arriving October 25th. In early life he enjoyed very few advantages, and received only a limited education. He had attained his majority when he came to Chicago, and he determined to seek the broad field of western enterprise in beginning life on his own account. Estimated in dollars and cents, his resources at this time were very meager, but in mental endowment, pluck and self-reliant manhood, he had abundant capital. He soon found employment with the proprietor of the old Lake House, being put in charge of the horses and stables. At the end of a year the proprietor failed and was unable to pay Mr. Turner his salary, so that the only remuneration he received for his first year's services was the gratuitous contributions made by the guests in consideration of the excellent care he had taken of their horses, the whole of which he carefully saved.

"Undaunted by his first year's hard experience, he continued to labor, engaging in any honest work he was able to procure. Mr. W. B. Ogden, recognizing the industry and integrity of the young emigrant, urged him to engage in the livery business on his own responsibility, and offered him the necessary assistance, and Silas B. Cobb insisted upon furnishing him with harness on credit. In 1838 John and Leighton Turner opened a livery stable on Wolcott (now State) Street, between Kinzie and North Water Streets. They began on a small scale, increasing their business to meet the growing demands of their trade. They were very prosperous, and in a few years began to invest their surplus capital in Government land in Cook County, and the Turner Brothers soon began to take rank among the substantial and wealthy business men of the city.

"After a successful partnership of about fifteen years, the brothers separated, making an equitable division of their realty and personal property, Leighton turning his attention to farming, and John continuing the livery business. From this time on the career of the latter was a prosperous one, and he erected a number of valuable buildings. The fire of 1871 swept away nearly his entire fortune, which he had been over thirty years in accumulating, and which amounted, at least, to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, leaving him comparatively poor. He did not attempt to rebuild and re-commence his business in the city, but moved his family to a farm he owned in Section 19, Lake View Township (now in the city), and with the assistance of his eldest son, set about to retrieve his lost fortune by farming and gardening. By pushing this industry vigorously, he accumulated a handsome competence, and passed the last years of his life in comparative ease and retirement.


Old drawing of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871

A contemporary illustration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871: "Chicago in Flames - The Rush for Lives Over Randolph Street Bridge" by John R. Chapin


"January 18, 1843, Mr. Turner married Miss Sarah Patterson, sister of John G. , and daughter of Andrew Patterson, the latter a pioneer of Chicago. She was born March 22, 1825, near Newburg, New York. They had eight children, namely: Mary P. ; Sarah Elizabeth, wife of Carman Moody, who has one son, named Mervin Turner Moody; John W. ; Charles Wesley ; Ella Bird, now Mrs. John Trelease, who has three children, Justin Patterson, John Dudley and Ella Trelease; Thomas Andrew, who married Fannie B. Wilkins; Henrietta Pamelia, wife of John Arthur Fishleigh, who has three sons, Walter Turner, John Arthur and Clarence Fishleigh; and William Edward, all of Chicago. The mother of this family died May 14, 1882, and Mr. Turner passed away February 17, 1892, their remains being laid side by side in Rosehill Cemetery.

"For over fifty years Mr. Turner was an honored and respected citizen of Chicago and Cook County. When he came to the city it contained a population of about four thousand, so that he witnessed almost the entire growth of the second city in the Union, and bore no inconsiderable part himself in promoting its best interests.

"From boyhood Mr. Turner was a member of the Methodist Church, and his delight was always in doing good, his religion being a part of his daily walk in life. He was one of the founders of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Chicago, a liberal contributor to its building fund, and for many years its treasurer. He wasa friend to the poor, and was always ready to extend a helping hand to the needy. He achieved success, not by over-reaching his fellow-men, or by any questionable means, but through honest industry, and he bequeathed to his family not only an abundance of this world's goods, but also the priceless heritage of a good name."


Leighton Turner

"Leighton Turner was a pioneer of 1836, and was born February 17 1812, in Gilberdike, Yorkshire, England. His parents were William and Mary Turner, both of whom grew to maturity and married in Yorkshire, where all of their nine children were born. In the early part of the thirties all the family except the eldest emigrated to the United States, locating at Detroit, Michigan, where the parents lived the remainder of their lives, and where they died several years ago.

"Leighton Turner received only a limited education, in the schools of his native land, and was reared to farm pursuits. He was about twenty years of age when he came to America. In 1836 he came to Chicago, in company with his brother John, and two years later they engaged in the livery business in a small way, on Wolcott Street (now State Street) between Kinzie and North Water Streets. This enterprise prospered and gradually increased in importance until it became one of the most lucrative of its kind in the city. They continued the partnership about fifteen years, during which time they had made a financial success of the business. By investing their money judiciously in land they soon had large interests in real estate, owning several hundred acres of land in Lake View, Jefferson and Niles Townships.

"The brothers dissolved the partnership by mutual consent, and made an equitable division of their property. Leighton Turner then removed to Jefferson Township, in Cook County, where he engaged in farming, and carried on this business successfully until 1867. He then located in Evanston, in order that his growing children might enjoy the educational advantages offered by that place. For some years he lived in comparative retirement, giving attention only to his landed interests. In 1872 he took a trip to Europe, and remained there a few months. He engaged in the livery business in Evanston in 1882, in connection with his sons, and they continued until the building was destroyed by fire about 1890.

"When Mr. Turner came to Chicago he was a poor man, who had enjoyed few advantages for education and improvement in his early life. He had, however, learned the valuable lessons of self-help and self-reliance, and he became, in the truest sense, a self-made man. His success in life was owing to his industry, his integrity and his keen business foresight. His career was always characterized by honesty in his dealings with his fellow-men. He achieved his ample fortune through the legitimate channels of business, and not by taking advantage of the necessities of others. In politics he was a Republican, but he never sought any office, being content to leave the management of public affairs to others. He was not lacking in enterprise, as all measures for public good found in him a liberal supporter. In religious faith he was a Methodist, as is also his wife, and both took an active interest in church work.

"December 17, 1844, Mr. Turner married Miss Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Jane (Osmond) Briden. She was born December 26, 1824, in Yorkshire, England, the native place of her parents. When she was ten years old, her mother died, and in 1842 the family came to the United States and settled in Cook County. Of the twelve children born to Thomas and Jane Briden, only two are now living. The father died in Iowa about 1866. Mr. and Mrs. Turner had eight children, all of whom grew to maturity, and are now living, namely: Jane (now Mrs. J. F. Lang, of La Crosse, Wisconsin), Mary E. , Sarah C., Miles L., Charles W., Julia P., Leighton I. and Walter I.

"Soon after Mr. and Mrs. Turner settled on the farm in Jefferson Township, they were instrumental in organizing the first Methodist congregation in that community, and the students who went out from school to conduct religious services among the pioneers always found a hearty welcome in their hospitable home, and were therecipients of many kindnesses at the hands of Mrs. Turner.

"In December, 1894, Mr. and Mrs. Turner quietly celebrated their golden wedding in their pleasant home, with all the members of the family present. After a long, useful and successful life, Mr. Turner was called to his reward, February 1895, and in his demise the community lost a valuable citizen. In his home, where his happiest hours had been passed, his death caused an irreparable loss, and left a sadness and gloom which will never be overcome."





The Freeman and Threadgold Families:  Laxton to Wisconsin and Chicago, USA

John Threadgold and Ann Freeman married at Howden in 1799. There were brickmaking connections in both sides of the family, and it is because of this that the pub at Laxton is still known today as the Bricklayers Arms.

Ann was the daughter of Thomas Freeman snr of Laxton, yeoman, who died on the 9th October 1815. In his will he left the lease of Carr House Farm at Saltmarshe, and the Public House, cottages and premises at Laxton to his son Thomas, who had to pay £10 per year to his sister Ann Threadgold for life and then £200 to be divided between her children. The property would eventually pass to Thomas snr’s son, Taylor Freeman.

His own dwelling house and cottages at Laxton he left to his son John, who was charged with payment of £200 to his brother George.

John and Ann Threadgold had eight children. At least four of them emigrated to America. John died in 1836 and Ann died in 1850. In 1841 she was living in Pinfold Street, Howden, and was of independent means.


The Threadgold children

1. George Threadgold (1799-1861) was born in Laxton. He stayed in England and was an engineer for a steam pumping engine. He lived at Belton in the Isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire. Many of his descendants still live in this area today.


2. Freeman Threadgold (1802-1863), born in Laxton, was an agricultural labourer in the Hemingbrough area. He died at Duffield.


3. Hannah Threadgold (1804-?) married Robert Stephenson, who was a brickmaker. They were living in 1861 and 1871 at Greasborough near Rotherham.


4. Robert Threadgold (1807-1854) emigrated in the 1830s to Argyle, Lafayette Co., Wisconsin, USA. He was the first settler in the Township of Argyle. He arrived in 1839 before the Village of Argyle was organized. He later became the owner of the Owego Mill. Older citizens said that the Village of Argyle would have been built where the Owego Mill was, but Robert Threadgold would not allow a store to be built by his mill nor sell any land for a dam site.

Robert Threadgold married Marilla Sowl in 1842. They had four children: John Freeman Threadgold (b. 1842), Ann, Thomas and Ellen. Robert Threadgold died in 1854. After his death, the Sowl family helped Marilla at the mill until she remarried to James Sardeson, who was also from a family of millers, and they continued to operate the mill at Owego.

An obituary survives for Robert's son, John Freeman, who died in 1909:

"Death of J. F. Threadgold.
After an illness of several weeks, John F. Threadgold died at his home in Argyle, on Friday last, August 27, aged 66 years, 8 months and 12 days. The deceased was probably the oldest resident born in this community. He was born on the John Wyss farm in the Mud Branch neighborhood, December 15 1842, where he lived for several years, and then with his parents moved to the Owego mill where his boyhood days were spent with the exception of two years when he lived in Wiota.

"He was married in January 1862 to Miss Susie Gierhart, and they made their home on a farm west of Argyle, (now owned by M. Flannigan) until they moved to town where he made his home to the time of his death. He was at one time chairman of the town of Argyle, was in the stock and machine business here for several years, and probably no man ever lived in the community who had a wider acquaintance than he, as he knew every highway and byway as well as all the inhabitants.

"He leaves a wife and five children besides two sons who died, one in 1869 and one in 1880. Those living are Minnie, of Milwaukee; Robert, of Chicago; Oscar, of Artesian, South Dakota; Mrs. R. D. Harker, of Saranac, Michigan; and Mrs. C. W. DeVoe, of Freeport, Illinois. All were present at the funeral except Oscar. The funeral was held at his late home on Monday conducted by Rev. W. E. Callahan, the burial taking place in the old cemetery under the auspices of the Woodmen, he being a charter member of the local camp."

5. Thomas Threadgold (1809-1865). Thomas died in Chicago but no more is known about him.


6. John Threadgold, born 1810, was a brickmaker. He married Mary Ann Slater in 1830 at Conisborough. They had a large family, and their last child was born c.1848 at Arksey near Doncaster. They emigrated in 1849. An 1855 receipt for repayment survives, made by John Threadgold to Thomas Freeman, of £15 advanced in 1849 for passage to America.


7. Mary Ann Threadgold was born in 1812. She married Thomas Thirsk. In the 1851 census Thomas and Mary Ann Thirsk and their family, including a son Freeman Thirsk, were living at Millington, where Thomas was working as a shoemaker.

In around 1854, Thomas and Mary Ann Thirsk emigrated with their children to Chicago, Illinois, USA. Thomas and Mary Anne remained in Chicago for the rest of their lives. From 1868 on, they lived at 102 Erie Street, Chicago. After Thomas died, his widow Mary Ann continued to live there until around 1888, when she moved to 1251 North Halsted Street. She died in 1891.

By 1860 Thomas and Mary Ann's son Henry Thirsk had moved to the city of St. Louis, Missouri, probably learning or engaging in his career of painting. Henry married Sarah Garside in 1866. By 1877 Henry and his family were living in Wisconsin, where they stayed until 1885. Henry moved southwest in late 1885 or 1886, and from 1887 to 1900 he and his family lived in Cowley County, Kansas.


8. Jane Threadgold was born in 1819. No further information is known about her.


Extra detail

Some papers relating to the Threadgold family dated 1847-55 are in the East Riding Archives.

They include an annuity receipt relating to the real estate of Thomas Freeman to Ann Threadgold, dated 15 Dec 1847; the appointment of George Threadgold as attorney for Robert Threadgold of La Fayette, Wisconsin, dated 5 Oct 1850; Legacy receipts relating to George Threadgold, Hannah Stephenson, Freeman Threadgold, Robert Threadgold, Thomas Threadgold, John Threadgold, Mary Ann Thirsk, dated 1850 ; the appointment of Robert Stephenson as attorney for John Threadgold, dated 1854 as well as a receipt dated 1855 for repayment made by John Threadgold to Thomas Freeman of £15 advanced in 1849 for his passage to America.

In September 1856 Philip Saltmarshe of Saltmarshe, Esquire, bought the 'house used as an Inn formerly known as The Cross Keys but now as The Bricklayers Arms Inn with blacksmith's shop, garth, gardens, stables, cowhouse, brewhouse and outbuildings at Laxton containing one rood' for £45 from Taylor Freeman of Laxton, bricklayer, and his wife Dorothy.





Jane Hayhurst:   Blacktoft to Wisconsin and Iowa

Jane Hayhurst was baptised at Blacktoft in 1809. She was the daughter of John Hayhurst and Sarah Stockdale, who had married 1790 at Blacktoft.

Jane Hayhurst married James Pratt in 1836 at Blacktoft. In 1841 James was working as a blacksmith in Blacktoft.

Jane and James Pratt left Blacktoft and arrived in New York from Hull in 1850 with their children Sophia, Emma, George, Harriet and Lydia, all of whom had been born at Blacktoft. In 1860 they were living at Menomonee, Waukesha, Wisconsin. In 1870 they were living at Cedar Falls, Black Hawk, Iowa. 

James and Jane divorced; James remarried and died at Cedar Falls in 1888. Jane died there in 1894.

  Home   |   Family Research   |   Old Photos   |   Local History Books   |   My Local History Blog   |   Contact  
  Goole History   |   Howden History   |   Eastrington History   |   Snaith & Area   |   Local Villages   |   Yorkshire Emigrants  
Copyright © Amy Butler & Susan Butler 2014. All Rights Reserved.