Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1900 & 09

Joshua Smith JP (1832 - 1906)

Joshua Smith was a cotton mill owner in Todmorden, (Lancashire/Yorkshire border), although he lived in Eccles, and also a Justice of the Peace. He was tragically killed by a steam locomotive near Todmorden Railway Station in 1906.

He was born in Barnoldswick, Yorkshire on 1st May 1832 and baptised on 9th Sept. 1832 at St Mary le Gill Church, Barnoldswick. His father was John Smith (b.1796 in Manchester) who was a Cotton Spinner. His mother was Jane Smith (b.1796 in Flockton, Yorkshire). In 1841 the family was living in Kettlewell, Skipton, Yorkshire. In 1851 the family lived at Trawden, near Burnley, Lancashire and 18-year-old Joshua was a Bookkeeper.

On 8th June 1852, Joshua married Elizabeth Whalley at St Mary the Virgin Church, Trawden, Lancashire. He was aged 20, a Cotton Manufacturer living at Lodge Holme. Elizabeth was aged 18, the daughter of John Henry Whalley, Cotton Manufacturer, living at Proctor Croft. Their children were Jane (b.1854 in Burnley), Cicero (b.1857 in Pendleton) and Frederick Henry (b.1859 in Pendleton). Tragedy struck on 28th December 1860 when Elizabeth died aged just 27. In 1861 the family was living with Elizabeth's family at 7, High Street, Pendleton. Joshua was a Cotton Warehouseman.

On 16th April 1863, Joshua married again, to Betsy Martha Hoyle at St Nicholas's Church, Sabden, Lancashire. Betsy was aged 24, the daughter of Thomas Hoyle, Manufacturer. She was born in Sabden, but living in Pendleton. The 1871 census has the family address as Half Edge Lane, Eccles. Jane is 17 and Cicero is 14. New additions are Walter (b.1865 in Lancashire) and Randolph (b.1868 in Eccles). In 1881 at Half Edge Lane, Eccles, Joshua's occupation is Manufacturer of Cotton Goods (employing 60 men and 15 women). Cicero (aged 24) and Walter (aged 16) are Warehouse Clerks. In 1891 and still at Half Edge Lane, Eccles, the only child at home is Randolph (aged 23). In 1901 Joshua is aged 68 and a Cotton Manufacturer and JP. Betsy is aged 62. But on 28th November 1904, Betsy Martha Smith died, aged 66.

Joshua had established his cotton manufacturing business, Joshua Smith and Sons, at Frostholme Mill in Cornholme, near Todmorden in 1882. It would appear that his son Cicero was the Manager as on 26th July 1884 the Halifax Courier reports the Mr C Smith of Oakley House, Cornholme, cotton manufacturer, treated his hands to a trip to Blackpool in celebration of his recent marriage. Later that year the Todmorden Advertiser reported that Frostholme Shed, J. Smith and Sons is to be enlarged to take 400 more looms. On 20th January 1886 reports that J. Smith and Sons, Frostholme Mill have advanced wages by 5%, the same amount of reduction made 12 months ago. On 17th January 1896 most of the mill was destroyed by fire. Looms were saved and transferred to other premises to keep the business going.

Joshua was in semi-retirement and visited the mill once a week. He had the habit of taking the short walk along the railway track from the mill to Todmorden Station, but on 19th April 1906 Joshua was struck by a train and was killed. He was 73 years old.