Biography

John Harrison was the eldest son of John Harrison and Jemima Whittle. He was born in 1813 in Coppull less than a year after his parents were married and was baptized at Chorley St. Laurence Anglican church on 2 September 1813. John grew up on his parents farms in Coppull and Adlington where he no doubt was employed helping his father’s farm. John went on to become a farmer for most of his working life.

Circa 1834, John married Elizabeth Ormandy of Upholland

There have not been any records found of the births of John and Elizabeth’s first two sons, Joseph and John Jr. Our first record of the family is the birth record of William Harrison in 1838. The family was living in Heath Charnock, north of Adlington. John was working as a canal bank ranger, overseeing locks and traffic on the Leeds Liverpool Canal (near what is now the Chorley Golf Club). By 1840, when daughter Alice was born, John was still employed as a canal ranger, and the family had moved to Adlington. In the 1841 census, John’s wife Elizabeth was enumerated living at Toll House in Adlington, occupation shopkeeper, with their children William and Alice, and John’s sister, Ellen Harrison. John was not at home when the census taker called, nor were their two older sons, In 1843 when daughter Ellen Ormandy was born, John had left the canal job and was employed as a labourer.

Circa 1846, John became the innkeeper at the Waggon & Horses Inn on Nightingale Road in Adlington. The family took up residence at the inn and several Harrison children were born there. The 1851 census recorded John, Elizabeth, and eight children (excluding Joseph the eldest and Henry who was not yet born) at the inn on the night of 30 March 1851. The family was at the Waggon & Horses when Henry was born in December 1853. However, by 1855 John was back working as a labourer, and around that time the family moved from Adlington to Wigan. This move probably transpired around the same time as when eldest son Joseph moved with his family from Blackrod, near Adlington, to Wigan.

The 1861 census taker found John and his family living at 134 Great George Street close to the centre of Wigan. John listed his occupation as a colliery agent. All of their children except the two eldest sons, Joseph and John, were living with the parents. John’s mother Jemima was also at the home of John and Elizabeth on the night of 7 April 1861—whether living there or visiting it is not known.

At the time of the 1871 census, the family address had changed to nearby 17 St. Thomas Street; John was still working as a colliery agent. Children Jemima, James and Henry were living with their parents, and also staying at their home was Mary E Williams, a granddaughter (probably fathered out of wedlock by one of John’s sons) and James Ormandy, a nephew, probably the son of Elizabeth’s brother, James.

In the 1881 census, John and Elizabeth were both approaching age 70 and, as people of few means, were struggling to make ends meet. They had moved to 148 Chapel Lane, Wigan, where John was employed as a cowkeeper, and Elizabeth as a dairy maiden. However, they still had family with them. His son James, his wife Annie, and children Jemima (age 13), Roland (age 2) and Nellie (age 1) were all living with John and Elizabeth. Their son Henry was living at the house next door with his wife and four children.

Circa 1882, John and Elizabeth, along with James, Annie, and children, all moved to Elm Farm, Little Lane, Pemberton. This farm, 2 km or so from Wigan town centre, is still shown on modern maps. Three years later, on 4 September 1885, John Harrison died of pneumonia at age 72. He was buried in the churchyard of Standish St Wilfrid with his mother, Jemima Whittle. His wife Elizabeth died a few months later on 27 December 1885 and was buried with her husband and mother-in-law.


Details and Facts

Burial

12 Mar 1813
Standish St. Wilfrid's Church Yard

Christening

12 Mar 1813
Chorley St Laurence

Birth Registration

16 May 1813

Per 1871 Census, John reported that he was from Coppull, not Standish.

Residence John & Jemima Harrison family home

1 May 1814
Coppull

Per Baptism Record of brother James, Coppull Chapel, 1 May 1814.

Residence John & Jemima Harrison family home

15 Oct 1815
Coppull

Per Baptism Record for brother James, Coppull Chapel, 15 Oct 1815.

Residence John & Jemima Harrison family home

16 Apr 1817
Coppull

Per Baptism Record for brother William, Coppull Chapel, 16 Apr 1817.

Residence John & Jemima Harrison family home

30 Jul 1820
Coppull

Per Baptism Record for sister Alice, Coppull Chapel, 30 Jul 1820.

Residence John & Jemima Harrison family home

20 Jun 1824
Coppull

Per Baptism Record of sister Ellen, Coppull Chapel, 20 Jun 1824.

Residence John & Jemima Harrison family home

16 Jun 1833
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Baptism Record of brother Henry, Coppull Chapel, 16 Jun 1833.

Residence John Harrison & Elizabeth Ormandy family home

23 Aug 1838
Heath Charnock, Lancashire, England

Per William Harrison’s Birth Certificate.

Occupation Canal Bank Ranger

23 Aug 1838
Heath Charnock, Lancashire, England

A Canal Bank Ranger tended to all aspects of a section of a canal including the locks, traffic, and licenses. John must have worked on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, the only canal in the area of Heath Charnock.

Occupation Bank Ranger

15 Dec 1840
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Alice Harrison’s Birth Certificate.

Residence John Harrison & Elizabeth Ormandy family home

15 Dec 1840
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Alice Harrison’s Birth Certificate.

Residence John Harrison & Elizabeth Ormandy family home

15 Dec 1840
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Alice Harrison’s Birth Certificate.

Occupation Labourer

24 Jan 1841
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Alice Harrison’s Baptism Record.

Residence John & Elizabeth Harrison family home

24 Jan 1841
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Alice Harrison’s Baptism Record.

Occupation Labourer

9 Feb 1843
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Ellen Ormandy Harrison’s Birth Certificate.

Residence John Harrison & Elizabeth Ormandy family home

9 Feb 1843
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Ellen Ormandy Harrison’s Birth Certificate.

Residence John & Elizabeth Harrison family home

3 Mar 1843
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Ellen Ormandy Harrison’s Baptism Record.

Occupation Labourer

3 Mar 1843
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Ellen Ormandy Harrison’s Baptism Record.

Residence

16 Mar 1845
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Jemima’s Birth Certificate.

Occupation Labourer

16 Mar 1845
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Jemima’s Birth Certificate.

Residence John & Elizabeth Harrison family home

7 Jun 1847
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Elizabeth Harrison’s Birth Certificate, likely the Waggon & Horses.

Occupation Innkeeper

7 Jun 1847
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Elizabeth Harrison’s Birth Certificate.

Occupation Publican

8 Aug 1847
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Elizabeth Harrison’s Baptism Record.

Occupation Innkeeper

4 Apr 1849
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per James Harrison’s Birth Certificate, probably at the Waggon & Horses.

Residence

4 Apr 1849
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per James Harrison’s Birth Certificate, probably at the Waggon & Horses.

Residence John & Elizbeth Harrison family home

20 Dec 1850
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Mozella Harrison’s Birth Certificate and per 1851 Census, the family almost certainly lived at the Waggon & Horses.

Occupation Innkeeper

30 Dec 1850
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Mozella Harrison’s Birth Certificate and per 1851 Census, John was almost certainly at the Waggon & Horses.

Residence

30 Mar 1851
Waggon & Horses, Adlington

Per 1851 Census.

Occupation Inn Keeper

30 Mar 1851
Waggon & Horses, Adlington

Per 1851 Census.

Residence John & Elizabeth Harrison family home

10 Dec 1853
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Henry Harrison’s Birth Certificate. They were likely still living at the Waggon & Horses, because John’s occupation is still innkeeper.

Occupation Innkeeper

10 Dec 1853
Adlington, Lancashire, England

Per Henry Harrison’s Birth Certificate.

Occupation Labourer

14 Oct 1855
Unknown

Per Joseph Harrison’s Marriage Registration.

Residence John & Elizabeth Harrison family home

7 Apr 1861
134 Great George Street, Wigan

Per 1861 Census.

Occupation Colliery Agent

7 Apr 1861
Wigan, Lancashire

Per 1861 Census.

Occupation Colliery Manager

17 Sep 1870

Per Marriage Certificate of son William Harrison and Ann Williams.

Residence John and Elizabeth Harrison family home

17 Sep 1870
St Thomas Street, Wigan

Per Marriage Certificate of son William Harrison and Ann Williams.

Residence John & Elizabeth Harrison family home

2 Apr 1871
17 St Thomas Street, Wigan

Per 1871 Census.

Occupation Colliery Agent

2 Apr 1871
Wigan, Lancashire

Per 1871 Census.

Occupation Colliery Manager

29 Jan 1873
Wigan

Per Henry Harrison–Alice Austin Marriage Register

Residence John & Elizabeth Harrison family home

3 Apr 1881
148 Chapel Lane, Wigan

Per 1881 Census.

Occupation Cowkeeper

3 Apr 1881
Wigan, Lancashire

Per 1881 Census.

Occupation Retired Coal Merchant

4 Sep 1885

Per Death Certificate.

Residence

4 Sep 1885
Elm Farm, Little Lane, Pemberton

Per Death Certificate.


Research Notes

There is no direct evidence that John and Elizabeth were the parents of Joseph Harrison and therefore the great grandparents of Henry Harold. Joseph was born before mandatory civil registration began in 1837. We have not been able to locate a record of his baptism. Although he should have been living with his parents at the time of the 1841 census, the census-taker appears to have missed both John and Joseph. By the time of the 1851 census Joseph was apprenticed and no longer living with his family.

Therefore we have had to rely on the following indirect evidence to make this family connection:

  • In 1855 Joseph identified his father in his marriage register as John Harrison, a labourer. This John Harrison was a labourer prior to 1846 and may have become a labourer again upon leaving the Waggon & Horses
  • Joseph was born in Adlington, as were all of John and Elizabeth’s children insofar as we know (some census records incorrectly give their birthplaces as Standish)
  • Joseph named one of his daughters “Jemima”, a very unusual given name at that time and place, but also the name of John’s mother
  • Joseph named one of his daughters “Maria Ormandy Harrison.” Ormandy was Elizabeth’s maiden name
  • The 1901 census for the Honeysuckle Inn recorded a John Harrison, age 26, identified as a cousin of Henry Harrison. John and Elizabeth Harrison’s son William had a son of this age and lived in Poolstock in 1901
  • We have not been able to identify any other “John Harrison” who might reasonably be a candidate for Joseph’s father

The names of firstborn children can also be evidence of family ties as they were often, although not always, named after their grandparents. Joseph and Ellen named their first two sons Edward and Henry, most likely after Ellen’s father and grandfather. (They did not give the name John to any of their children.) They did, however, name their first daughter Elizabeth, perhaps after Joseph’s mother.

Taken together this evidence, albeit indirect, is compelling in establishing John and Elizabeth as Joseph’s parents.

Their marriage record has not been located, either in Standish or Chorley, so they may have married at Upholland St. Thomas.


Source Documents