I would firstly like to say how much I have enjoyed and benefited from the use of your excellent site, and secondly to see if you would be interested in transcripts of several letters, written between 1834 and 1851, to relatives of mine from Lancashire who settled in Bradford County, as I would very much like to offer something potentially useful in return.
Noah Makinson, the son of John and Grace, was baptised on 14th April 1771 in Bolton Lancashire, and was the brother of my 3xgreat grandfather Jeremiah. He and his wife Alice Taylor emigrated to America around 1809. Iinitially I believe they lived in Attleborough, Bristol County, before settling in Pike Township, LeRaysville Borough, where he was a farmer. Many of the records relating to the family are found under 'Mackinson', and occasionally 'Madison', a typical occurrence with surnames.
Robert Heywood, the nephew of Noah's sister Jane, and a leading industrialist and one time Mayor of Bolton, visited the family in 1834. His travels are described in his biography 'Robert Heywood of Bolton 1786-1868' by W.E. Brown, and published in 1970. During his stay in America Robert was introduced to Andrew Jackson, the President, and briefly met Dr Channing the Unitarian leader, whose book he later gave to Noah. In his travel diary, quoted in the biography, he mentions his visit to Pike, describing the 160 acre farm on the slopes, where the family made their own sugar from maple syrup, and soap from wood ashes. He was clearly impressed and reported 'All the neighbours sociable and kind', 'nothing like stealing is known, all the houses without lock or bolt'.
Robert wrote several letters to Noah and his family, and drafts of some of these were preserved in his papers and letterbook. The existence of these was brought to my attention following correspondence between my brother David and Linda Hindley, a 4xgreat granddaughter of Noah's sister Jane Makinson. I was allowed to copy or photograph the surviving letters at Bolton library, three to Noah, and one each to his daughters Ann and Mary, with the understanding that transcripts could be shared on a website provided the relevant reference for each is attributed. The letters obviously contain matters relating to life in Lancashire, but also give fascinating impressions of American life as viewed by an educated observer.
Having read the letters, I was able, with the help of your excellent site, to find marriages of three of his four daughters in Pike, and to ascertain that the fourth remained unmarried. I became so fascinated by the area, it's inhabitants and way of life that I had to follow in Noah's footsteps and visit the region. My wife Margaret and I were able to see where Noah lived and found the graves of Noah, Alice, his eldest daughter Ann, and daughter Martha Buck in LeRaysville cemetery. We also found his daughter Hannah Lyon's grave at Darling cemetery, Orwell. All were located in advance thanks to your site. We even tracked down his son James to Riverside cemetery Towanda, using your list of cemeteries to identify the most likely. I have to say the cemeteries are generally most beautifully kept, and we were surprised to see how well the gravestones have survived compared to here in England. Here we seem to have often used stone which weathers quickly, losing inscriptions. A number of local authorities commit vandalism by 'topple testing' monuments, and occasionally graveyards are cleared and grassed over. I was particularly impressed by the respect shown to veterans through the use of flag holders, a subject well documented on your site. Also the small towns appear to be very quiet and unspoiled, places such as Orwell and LeRaysville appear to be little changed from Alice and Noah's days.
I have to say that the friendly welcome noted by Robert Heywood in 1834 still exists, and was reflected in particular by the kind help we received at Towanda Court House, the record department of the Bradford County Historical Society, and at our B&B in Towanda.
Again many thanks for your help in gaining a better understanding of your area and its people. I now have a deeper interest than I would have imagined, and have managed to establish several links to soldiers who fought in either the Civil war or the War of Independence, and to have researched the families which Noah's children married into. I have found the authenticity of information to have been first rate. The Mormon FamilySearch.org website contains several minor but misleading inaccuracies regarding the family, in particular it attributes all births and marriages to Attleborough, where I know Noah's elder son John settled. I eventually discovered that this was because the family bible, held by a great granddaughter of Noah in Attleborough, was used as input to 'The Vital Records of Attleborough Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849', published in 1909, and assumptions regarding these records were subsequently made by the Mormons. This no criticism of the FamilySearch site, just a reminder to myself of the need to verify information wherever possible.
I hope at least some of this will have been of interest, and that I have not unduly bored you!
Dr. Alan Hawkins,
Thanks for your response to my email regarding the letter transcripts. I have added some notes, hopefully some of this additional information could go on your site with the letters, to add a little context. Please forgive me if I have repeated myself a little from my previous email.
The first letter dated 3rd Sept 1834, written after Robert Heywood's visit to Noah and Alice Makinson (ref ZHE/30/11) merits the following explanations:
1. Robert Heywood had met Dr Channing, the Unitarian leader, on his trip to America. Noah and Alice were Congregationalists, their first three children being baptised at Dukes Alley Congregational Church, Bolton le Moors, Lancashire. Their eldest daughter Ann left 200 dollars in her will, to the LeRaysville Congregationalist Church, for a new parsonage.
2. 'Tuanday' is presumably Robert's mis-spelling of Towanda.
3. 'Hodges' will be Lyman H. Hodges inn at Towanda, later the site of Ward House, and mentioned as of 1832 by H.C. Bradsby in 'History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches', and also by C. Heverly in 'Pioneers & Patriots of Bradford County'.
4. The reference to 'Mr Overton' is clarified by H.C. Bradsby, almost certainly being Edward Overton Sr., born Clitheroe Lancashire in 1795, a lawyer who emigrated from England in 1816.
The second letter written on the same day, and with the same reference number, is to Mary Gridley, she was Noah and Alice Makinson's second eldest daughter and married Harry Gridley, daughter of Chester Gridley and Rhoda Grant in Pike on 22nd January 1834. Their third child Robert, born 1839, was named after Robert Heywood, this is mentioned in the letter to Noah of 1840.
The third letter, reference ZHE/26/3/98, written 19th May 1835 requires little explanation. Noah never did return to England to claim the money from the will of his late brother John, who died back in England in 1833. The rigours of a voyage to Engand are well described, and there are useful snippets regarding the character of the four daughters. Sadly Noah's wife Alice had died during what was evidently a particularly cold Winter.
The fourth letter, written 4th February 1840 reference ZHE/26/3/244 makes mention of Robert's Aunt Jane, Noah's sister back in England. Noah's farm iprovements are mentioned. The Pike Township Taxation Records for 1839 show 25 acres of improved land, and 52 acres of unimproved. Surprisingly Noah paid more tax (40 dollars) on his horse then on his house (25 dollars), he also had three cows, taxed at 30 dollars. The description of the farm and it's surroundings, plus the importance of good neighbours and attending chapel are referred to. All six children are mentioned, the first five by name, 'the youngest' refers to Martha. John was known to be living in Smithfield, Providence County at the time, Rhode Island's centre of cotton manufacturing.
The fifth letter, written 10th February 1851, reference ZHE/47/90 is particularly interesting as the address was also written in Robert's notes. It is to Ann Makinson, the only unmarried daughter, but actually contains very little reference to life in the States, probably reflecting the passage of time since Robert's visit. Noah's sister Jane died shortly after the letter was written. The 'brother' referred to is James; John had died on 23rd November 1849, and is buried at Mount Hope cemetery, North Attleborough. The Exhibition referred to was the Great Exihibition at Crystal Palace, held to demonstrate the industrial, military and economic strength of Great Britain at the time. There is no record as to whether any of the family returned to England for the event.
Noah and Alice are buried with their eldest daugher Ann at LeRaysville cemetery. Martha, wife of Samuel Buck, is also buried at LeRaysville. Hannah, wife of Samuel Lyon, is buried at Darling cemetery Orwell, and son James at Riverside cemetery Towanda. Nothing is known of Mary Gridley after her husband Harry died at Oneida Depot NY in 1851.
I also have wills for Noah and Alice's daughter Ann, plus several others from the Buck and Makinson families. I have yet to transcribe these, but will send them in due course if you would like them for the site. Very pleased if I have been able to give just a very little in return.
Enclosed are a few books which I beg to present to your family as a small token of my regard. One of them (Channings sermons) I think you will not consider to be unworthy of your perusal though the author does not entertain the same views with yourself respecting the person of Christ.
I left Pike with reluctance and soon had to exchange its refreshing breezes for the hot dusty lanes approaching Tuanday - there I stopt at Hodges and found everything very comfortable & the most reasonable charges. I met with two countrymen who kindly invited me to spend a few days with them but which of course I declined, one a Mr Overton a lawer who said he knew your estate having property in the same neighbourhood and that the title was undoubted. After tumbling about the mountain nearly two days I came to Northumberland and spent some time very pleasantly with Mr Kays family then I came to Pottsville and proceeded through the vast coal region visited the summit mine where there is a bed of coal 60 feet thick worked like an open stone quarry - the coals are let down the mountain by means of a rail way ten miles long to Mauch Chunk canal a number of mules ride down at the same time to draw up the empty waggons. I find now that I cannot leave till the 15th and am now reconciled to this further delay in hopes of getting over the autumnal gales mid way in the Atlantic. Hoping your health is again restored my best respects to all your family I remain sincerely yours RH
Source: transcribed from The Heywood Papers catalogue reference ZHE/30/11 held by Bolton Archive and Local Studies Service, Bolton, Lancashire, England UK
Letter from Robert Heywood, dated 03rd September
To Mrs M. Gridley Philadelphia 3 Sep 1834
It is not easy to describe my feelings on discovering the brilliant present contained in your note. Though not accustomed to wear such articles I shall not fail to deposit it along with other similar testimonials of respect and consider it as one of the most valuable. As I observed I cannot but think it a most happy circumstance that you are settled so near your parents though one in all human probability will not long require such attention the other may be spared some years and will particularly stand in need of your advice & assistance (at) the time. Be pleased to accept of the enclosed volume though not smart it may prove useful. Yours sincerely with best respects to you and yours RH.
Source: transcribed from The Heywood Papers catalogue reference ZHE/30/11 held by Bolton Archive and Local Studies Service, Bolton, Lancashire, England UK
To Noah Makinson Bolton 19th May 1835
My Dear Sir,
I have just received the melancholy tidings of the death of poor Alice. It was by no means unexpected as I did not suppose she was likely to survive the winter which we are informed has been very severe. On her account the change cannot be lamented she has lived quite as long as life was desirable and I trust her sufferings would tend to reconcile you all to her departure. I regret very much not writing earlier to satisfy her anxious wishes but having delayed a few of the first weeks in consequence of many other pressing affairs I have confirmed the same shameful negligence till roused by the double letter just received from your daughter. Without further apology I must tell you that I left New York on the 16 Sept on the packet ship Hibernia with only seven cabin passengers which of course left us each a double birth. The second day we had a gale that made most of us sick and carried us north of New York more than 100 miles the winds variable and mostly against us during the ten first days, then quite favourable so that we sailed our due course more than 1000 miles in eight days as in the beginning so toward the end of our voyage we had another gale off Holyhead the night before our arrival completing however our voyage in 23 days so pleasantly that of life and health be spared I sometimes flatter myself that I may be tempted once more to visit your interesting country. I was very glad to find most of my relatives and friends so well, my mother better than I expected. During the winter she has been confined within doors but about a fortnight since she ventured to peep into a neighbour’s new house and we think took cold and increased her cough and difficulty of breathing, but we think she is recovering and we hope the fine weather will restore her. My sister and family all pretty well. About two months ago we lost our old former neighbour and friend Mr Marsden he has been gradually sinking during the last two years experiencing frequently great difficulty in walking up the slightest ascent, his life was plain and uniform and his end cheerful and serene. Mr Lum is latterly much altered his memory greatly defective. I have not heard of any recent change among your relations cousin Alice aunt Jane’s eldest daughter was married a short time ago to a young man not approved of by her mother. I often wish that family was as steady as yours and have not scrupled to say so since my return. I have submitted the clause in your late brother’s will to Mr Haworth my solicitor and he is of opinion that you must come over and claim the property within the five years or otherwise it must be disposed of and the proceeds forwarded to your children. This is also Wm Holden’s opinion therfore we may hope to see you in the course of a short time. X Though I have not written we are often talking of you and I shall not soon forget the spirited Ann, the cheerful and considerate Mary, the good natured Hannah and I had liked to have said the funny Martha. I hope they will long remain with or near you to solace your declining years and that your two sons will also by sobriety and diligence equally contribute to tranquilise your remaining days. My mother and sister were very much gratified in the presents from your family and would like to make some returns the first opportunity in the mean time they send their fondest regards to you all in which I beg to join myself most sincerely Believe me dear Sir
X - trade is generally very brisk and a good many factories building.
Source: transcribed from The Heywood Papers catalogue reference ZHE/26/3/98 held by Bolton Archive and Local Studies Service, Bolton, Lancashire, England UK
Letter from Robert Heywood, dated 4th February 1840
To Noah Makinson Bolton 4th Feb 1840
It is now a long time since I heard from you. I had hoped to have seen you once more in England respecting the settlement of your late brother’s property but suppose you have allowed it to lapse in favour of your children. I am not aware of any material change that has taken place with regard to it, the widow is still living and I believe in good health. Cousin Heywoods of Little Lever I think are generally doing rather better. Aunt Jane still keeps on the shop with two of the younger children Joseph the eldest son is a butcher has the farm also a large family and is married pretty well. John is also married carrys on the business of carpenter and is saving money. Alice the eldest married her mothers servant man and I fear is not doing much good. Mary and her husband have a small farm and also keep a public house. Robert a journeyman carpenter and I believe more steady than he was some time ago. Your nephew in Heaton has I think given up his farm, he is a returning officer for that district and I occasionally meet him at the Guardian office. It is somewhat remarkable that I had written so far and was obliged to leave to go down to the sessions room where I met your nephew the person just spoken of he pulled out a letter which he had received from you about a month before. This letter I shall now proceed to answer. In the first place I rejoice to find that you are all in good health and also that you are proceeding steadily with your farm improvements this is the way to make yourself really independent. I often think of you with considerable pleasure - the nice cottage near a good road with a large barn and other out buildings well stocked - neat wall fences - the heaping up of logs and burning them on a very hot day - jaunting about among your neighbours - going to chapel etc etc all these circumstances with the tales and jokes over there together form very agreeable recollections and I sometimes flatter myself with the hopes of once more renewing such delightful intercourse. I am glad to find that you have more of your family about you. John I think has always been engaged with power looms. Ann I expected would have been married before this and in that case would probably have had made and worn the breeches. Hannah perhaps would be satisfied with only making these articles. Mary I hope is still in your neighbourhood tell her I consider the naming of one of her children after me a mark of great respect and another inducement to revisit your interesting country. James I suppose is frequently coming to see you and of the youngest I can only say that if not tall and strong she is unless greatly changed a droll little housekeeper. And now for some account of myself. I continue to live in the same house one that we built on the Manchr road near top of the Heights some 15 years ago large enough you will think for a bachelor when I tell you there are seven bed rooms, I have also the garden well stocked with fruit trees, a stream flowing through it with a fountain and fish ponds, also a hot and green house furnishing me with grapes and flowers, the latter occasionally brought down and placed in my parlour window. There is a cottage for the gardener and also a room where I have occasionally tea parties during the summer. This with a good library, organ etc and a good deal of public business which has latterly been considerably augmented by the appointment to the office of Mayor you will readily suppose fill up my time pretty well. You will see by the public papers that we are in a very unsettled state in the country.Trade has been a long time in a very depressed condition - hand loom weaving extremely low - most of the cotton mills working short time and two or three in this neighbourhood entirely closed. Thos Crompton paper manufacturer of Farnworth about ten or twelve years ago erected a large cotton mill near Ringley and after working it unsuccessfully most of that time it is now said is willing to sell at a loss of £60000. Garnett Taylor of Astley Bridge near this town has just suspended payment a second time throwing out of employment more than 1000 hands. Most of our large foundries and machine shops have only half work. All these circumstances together with the high price of provisions have created many great and general distress. I was surprised to hear of Willm Cunliff’s factories and sorry to find you are likely to be a sufferer, but there is no escaping these sort of
troubles; since I saw you I have actually lost more than 40 thousand dollars all lent money to assist people in business. Some have failed throuh negligence others by the grossest misconduct one that should have been guarantor for £6000 has absconded to your country under a false name taking out of this concern it is supposed more than £2000. In addition to all these mishaps we have had a very poor trade during the last three years but thank God I have ample left and shall have a happier mind than those who have acted so fraudulently. I send this letter in a parcel to Philadelphia along with the remittance of a legacy which I have had charge of and shall be happy to undertake the same for you if health and life be spared and you do not feel disposed to come over, but I would recommend one or more of your young folks to revisit their native land and I can only say that I shall be glad to see them at my house. You say truly that our time on earth will be short and implore it may be devoted to the will of God to which I respond amen at the same time whilst we live we should be active in the discharge of our duties and thus be better prepared for that awful event whenever it shall arrive when we may hope never to part again. Believe me
Yours very truly
Source: transcribed from The Heywood Papers catalogue reference ZHE/26/3/244 held by Bolton Archive and Local Studies Service, Bolton, Lancashire, England UK
Dear Madam Bolton 10th Feb 1851
I cannot but blame myself very much in not answering your former kind letter
but the truth is, it was sent to your relatives who kept it a considerable
time and as often occurs if not answered immediately, letters are put off
from time to time, and after a long pause, we often find a difficulty in
knowing where to begin. Perhaps the most interesting information will be
that connected with your relatives, of whom I know little excepting the
one allied to our family, I mean Aunt Jane, who I am sorry to say, has
been upwards of two years confined to her bed in a state of great imbecility,
scarcely knowing her nearest relatives. She is supported by the rent from
the old shop with a small annual allowance from myself. I am sorry not
to be able to report favorably of some parts of the family. They are all
married and living in the neighbourhood. Alice the eldest daughter had
in early life an unfortunate connexion, she and the child remained many
years at home with her mother and afterwards she married a labouring man
much older than herself who is often out of health. Joseph the next, has
a very large family I think eleven children, he began butchering business
and has also the farm formerly occupied by his mother, but I am sorry to
say, is very much in arrears with the rent. Robert has one child, lives
in this town, and is working at an iron foundry receiving about 20/ a week.
Peter is a carpenter, carrying on his business in Little Lever, and appears
to be doing pretty well, he has only one child. Mary is keeping a public
house in the same neighbourhood, they have I think four children. William
was a tailor but died during his apprenticeship. Jane has three or four
children, they keep a small shop in Little Lever. James the youngest was
much indulged by his mother and has turned out a very idle drunken character.
I am sorry not to be able to give you any account of your mother’s relatives,
one of her sisters died I am told nearly two years ago in the Work house.
William Holden is still in the employment of Ormrod & Hardcastle, large
cotton spinners in this town and I believe has saved some money but I suppose
you hear from him occasionally as one of the executors of your uncle John.
I believe the widow is still living which I suppose prevents a division
of the property. I think I informed you of my marriage which took place
on the 5th Ap 1848 when we set off upon the continent, visiting Paris,
Lyons, Marseilles, Genoa, Leghorn, Florence, Rome, Naples ascending Vesuvius
whilst in a state of irruption, returning through Switzerland down the
Rhine to England, after an absence of four months. We have a fine healthy
boy 15 months old, just beginning to walk and talk. I may say this little
fellow has induced me to purchase an estate near to my garden, 27 statute
acres for £4000 and am going to build a house which will probably
cost £2000 more making a rental at 7 ½ per cent of £450
a sum large enough to buy a small estate in your country. My sister who
had suffered a long time from a bad leg, died more than two years ago,
leaving three children, the eldest married about six months ago, and the
other two at school. I am very pleased to hear such good accounts of your
father, and that you are living together at the same place which I often
think of with great delight. Tell him that we have not much political excitement,
the working classes being well employed at pretty good wages, and provisions
very cheap, but I am sorry to say there is great intemperance notwithstanding
the efforts made by the Temperance societies. I have sent your letter to
cousin Peter in Little Lever, he
is one of your uncle John’s executors and I hope he will write to you about the property but I fear there is not a good understanding among the Trustees.
I hope some of you will be tempted to come over to the Exhibition, the voyage may prove serviceable in restoring you to better health and we shall be very glad to see you in Lancashire.
Give my best respects to your father brother and sisters and believe me
yours very truly
Source: transcribed from The Heywood Papers catalogue reference ZHE/47/90 held by Bolton Archive and Local Studies Service, Bolton, Lancashire, England UK
See Also Makinson
In a message dated 6/16/2009 11:59:58 AM Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Some time ago you very kindly placed on your site several transcripts of letters written by Robert Heywood of Bolton to Noah Makinson and his family in Le Raysville.
I believe you may be interested in the following item:
This refers to a full extract from a book on Robert Heywood's 1834 American travel experiences, originally published privately in 1919, many years after his death. I would imagine that this will explain why his 1834 diary was missing from Bolton Library, although there is even a catalogue number for it, presumably for if it ever turns up. My guess it was removed from the other diaries when the book was written, and was either destroyed in 1919, or more likely placed in a section of Robert's papers that did not survive. I always thought he must have fully documented his travels as there is more detail in his autobiography, regarding his American visit, than is present in the letterbook. There is much more detail relating to the Makinson family, their farm and way of life, than in the letters, and of course there are more of Robert's personal opinions than he conveyed in letters to the family.
This ebook, 'A Journey to America in 1834' by Robert Heywood, released in 2008, appears to have virtually no copyright restrictions, although I am no expert in such matters, and is part of Project Gutenberg, which I note is referenced on your site. It may be possible to copy the relevant pages onto your site. I also now also have a hardcopy of the book, produced by Kessinger Publishing.
The items of most interest surround Robert's visit to Pike, from his arrival on 20th August 1834 to his leaving on 26th August, and subsequent journey through Towanda. Earlier, on August 9th, Robert had visited Noah's eldest son John in Providence, RI. Following his visit to Noah, he actually refers to writing two letters to the Makinsons on 3rd September 1834, and these two letters are among those found in Robert's letter book in Bolton Library, transcripts of which are now on your website. The 'Route' at the start of his book is noteworthy for listing Pike, Orrell (sic), and Towanda, in the same list as such major cities as Philadelphia and New York. Although Robert met the President, Andrew Jackson, on the 23rd June, he appears not to have been overawed by the occasion.
Last year my wife and I went to New England in the Fall, to do a spot of 'leaf peeping', and stopped off at Attleboro, finding the memorial and graves for John Makinson, Noah's eldest son, and the rest of his family, in Mount Hope cemetery, North Attleborough. Buried with John were his wife Amey, infant children Amey and James, also his son John Francis plus his wife Betsey, and their daughter Emma F. Makinson, who died in 1962 aged 96. I still have hopes of tracking the family bible, which is known to have once been in Emma's possession. If I discover she left a will then this may help my quest.
I believe that Robert Heywood's book is a very important social history document, and hopefully you will find it to be of some interest. By a strange coincidence Noah Makinson lived in Pike, and Robert Heywood's house is named 'The Pike', but this name refers to Rivington Pike, a prominent hill near his home in Bolton, England.
I have attached two wills, both transcribed from the copy books at the Bradford County Register and Recorder's Office, Towanda. These wills were promised some time ago, and I apologise for the time taken to process them.
The first will is for Perley Hanford Buck, a prominent resident of Le Raysville, whose brother Samuel Buck married Martha, the youngest daughter of Noah Makinson. Perley was buried, according to his wishes, in Le Raysville cemetery, his daughter Carrie Louise Codding, mentioned as already deceased in his will, is also buried in Le Raysville cemetery along with her husband Leslie Andrew Codding.
The attached obituary for P.H. Buck was obtained from the Buck family file at the Bradford County Historical Society in Towanda, I regret that I do not know the name or date of the publication from which it was taken.
The obituary for Samuel Buck, P.H. Buck's brother, and husband of Martha's Makinson is also attached, and is from the same source as that of P.H. Buck's obituary. Samuel is also buried in Le Raysville cemetery, along with his wife Martha. The cause of his death was recorded at Towanda Courthouse as Lagnppe, 14 days, and his abode as Pike Township.
The second will is for Perley Hanford Buck's son Samuel Ward Buck, of Towanda. He was an Attorney at Law in Towanda, and married Amelia C. Glen of Schenectady NY on 15th June 1882. Samuel was originally buried in Riverside cemetery Towanda, but later moved to Oak Hill cemetery Towanda in 1901, where his wife and two children are also now buried.
Please note that I have several photographs of cemetery monuments, including
that of Perley H. Buck, and also those of Noah Makinson and all but one
of his six children. Should any of these be of interest, either to yourself
or for the site I would be pleased to scan and forward them. Please also
note that your Le Raysville cemetery listing has Samuel and Martha Buck
listed under the surname 'Burch', whereas their monumental inscription
is definitely 'Buck' . I should add that this listing nevertheless enabled
me to locate their burial place before I visited the area, and of course
all genealogists should expect and allow for different spellings.