Butterworth Family

map of English countiesEdmund Butterworth, banker’s clerk, son of Thomas Butterworth, cotton spinner, and Mary Lord, daughter of James Lord and Sarah Bamford were married 19 February, 1840 at Rochdale, Lancashire.

A description of James Lord, publican may be found at the following website: Todmorden and Walsden.  James was one of three sons who took over the family farm and butchery business and he ran a pub called “The Bull and Butcher” at Dog Isles, Calderwood.  Todmorden with Walsden was in Lancashire prior to 1888, and after that became part of Yorkshire.


rochdaleparishmap1“Every Lancashire lad is the son of Johnny Butterworth” – Henry Butterworth was born 31 December, 1845 at Green Cottage, Wuerdle, Rochdale, Lancashire, England, the son of  Mary Lord, age 26, and Edmund Butterworth, age 26. Edmund died in 1850 and in the 1851 census Mary Lord Butterworth is  35, widowed with three children, Alice (born 1844), Henry and a younger brother Edmund who died at the age of 5 in 1853. By 1861 Henry was apprenticed to Ellis Lord, his mother’s brother who was a widower and pharmaceutical chemist at 2 Roach Place, Wardleworth, Rochdale, Lancashire. By the 1871 census Henry had moved to London where he was an assistant chemist at St. George Hanover Square.  In 1863 Alice Butterworth  married Samuel Travis, an apprentice draper and later woollen merchant.  In the 1871 census they had three children;  Herbert Edmund, Walter and Henry Arnold.

Henry Butterworth and Elizabeth Kate Banks were married in 1873 and in the 1881 census they had Annie, 6, Kate, 5, Frederick, 3 and Florence, 2.

Tragedy entered the Butterworth household with the death of Freddie from pneumonia in 1882, a few days before his fourth birthday (see Hilda’s recollections below).  Two more girls were born between 1882 and 1884 – Mabel and Henrietta.  In November of 1885 Henry sent a telegram to Elizabeth that said, “Gone to join our Fred” and he committed suicide by taking prussic acid on Freddie’s grave in Hampstead Heath cemetary. At the ensuing inquest his brother-in-law John Hughes said that while Henry had not threatened suicide, his health and business had declined and he had latterly taken to drink.  The inquest was published in the paper:  see henry-butterworth-inquest

At the time of Henry’s suicide, Elizabeth Kate was pregnant and a boy (Henry Lord) was born six months later. By 1891 Elizabeth Kate Butterworth and her children were separated. Elizabeth and two of her daughters, Annie, age 17 (a student – she died of peritonitis a couple of years later) and Kate (Kitty) age 16 are living with Elizabeth’s father, Alfred and brother, also named Alfred.  The 1891 census for Samuel and Alice (Butterworth) Travis indicates that two girls named Beatrice (age 13) and Florence (age 8) were included in the Travis family and using the last name Travis. It’s possible that these two girls were Elizabeth and Henry’s daughters, sent to live with their aunt and uncle. Beatrice Butterworth and Florence Butterworth are also listed as students at the Orphan Working School in the 1891 census. in St. Pancras, Kentish Town. Lellie (Henrietta) died in 1889.  Mabel, age 8, was a resident at the Reedham Asylum for Fatherless Children in Croydon in 1891.

Beatrice married Walter Cuthbert and immigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba with their three children in May of 1904, landing at Quebec.  They would have joined Kate and Henry White in Manitoba who arrived at about the same time. Florence married Charles Schlosser and lived in the Philippines for a number of years before ending up in California (more information about the sisters may be found on the White page).

Henry Butterworth – Dec. 31, 1845 – Nov. 26, 1885 Recollections by Hilda Mabel White Milligan

henrybutterworth“He was raised by a guardian known to my Mother as Uncle Lord. He visited them on Tottenham Court Road. He was my mother’s father. He was apprenticed to the apothecary to the King (Queen?). He married my grandmother (Elizabeth Kate Banks) in 1873. He had an apothecary shop at 69 or 70 Tottenham Court Road, London. He dispensed drugs, made up his own prescriptions at times, and also made some diagnosis. At the back of the garden behind the shop was an enclosed area where he had some small animals in cages which the children were not allowed to go near. Mother thought he did experimental work with them. Some old gentlemen used to visit in the back of the shop where they played cards and so the story goes, raced the worms or weevils (or whatever) that they found in their cheese (snacks).”


Kate Elizabeth Butterworth White – August 21, 1875 to January 2, 1965 Recollections by Hilda Mabel White Milligan

kate_eliz_butterworth_white“Kate Elizabeth Butterworth was the second child of eight, born to Elizabeth Kate Banks Butterworth and Henry Butterworth. She was born at 69 Tottenham Court Road West in London. Her father was an apothecary and had been apprenticed to the apothecary to the king. He accompanied his employer to the Palace. He had been raised by a guardian who Mother referred to as Uncle Lord. He visited them occasionally, and Mother thought he was probably well-to-do. The apothecary shop was at ground level. In the basement was the scullery kitchen and bedroom for the cook-housekeeper. The dining room and drawing room and master bedroom were on the second floor and the nursery and other bedrooms and nursery-governess’s room were on the third floor. All the food had to be carried up two flights of’ stairs. Mother could remember getting her chin burned when she was bumped and her chin landed in a rice pudding. Beatie was caught licking sugar out of the sugar bowl and was made to eat the whole dish, which upset her in more ways than one. The nursery governess used to take them for walks in the streets, parks and squares and when it was rainy they sometimes went to the British Museum where they played touch (tag) around the cases when they got bored, at which point the attendant firmly asked them to leave.

Annie went to school regularly and Katie went when she felt like it and sat with Annie. She was considered frail. I think she probably had a nervous stomach as she did most of her life. Otherwise they had lessons at home and all read very fluently. Mother remembered her father teaching her long division (before the age of ten).

Florrie – the fourth of the six girls talked in her sleep. She also had a bad habit of borrowing her sisters’ clothes and other belongings. Their answer to this problem was to wait until Florrie was asleep and then ask “Whose white gloves (or whatever) did you borrow today Florrie?”, and Florrie always told.

Mother didn’t like dogs. As a child she had a recurring dream that there was a big black and white dog with its mouth open in each corner of -the room and they gradually advanced toward her until she woke screaming.

After twelve years of marriage tragedy struck the Butterworths. A few days before his fourth birthday the long awaited son (after six girls) died suddenly of pneumonia. The grief stricken father committed suicide on his son’s grave. He was 39. The day of Freddy’s birthday a beautiful rocking horse, bought as a surprise for the beloved son, was delivered.

The life of the family changed completely. Gone were -the days when a handsome father and beautiful mother, she dressed in a ball gown over which sparkle dust was sprinkled at the last minute, came in to kiss six excited little girls goodnight. There was no money to carry on as a family.

At that time in England, as well as public orphanages, there were endowed boarding schools for the orphaned children of professional people under straitened circumstances. Donors voted on applicants. Friends gathered around and schools were found for the oldest four. Annie (eleven) went to a very strict, not too well endowed school, where she died of “galloping consumption” –T.B. at the age of nineteen just as she was about to start teaching. Kate went to a very good school (she was ten), which she enjoyed. She stayed until she was 16, ready to sit for university entrance, but instead went to work for the “‘Bon” as previously mentioned. Beatrice (nine) and Florence (seven) went to a more technical oriented school. Six. year old Henrietta, a victim, of spinal meningitis, who had never sat up and lived all her life on a board, went -to a nursing home. She was very beautiful Mother said – with big blue eyes and long blond curls, but the back of her head was bald. She did not live very long. Mabel was two and stayed with Granny.

Granny went to live with her father and mother. Six months later another boy was born. He was the image of his father. His mental age never exceeded the age of five. He was sent to live with a clergy­man’s family but by the age of ten was too hard to control. He was very mischievous. He was put in a mental institute where he died of pneumonia at the age of thirty. The last time Granny saw him, she asked him what he would like her to bring. He replied, “Some sweets and a picture book.”

Granny took up the nursing profession to provide for herself and Mabel, and to some extent for her other children. She special­ized in massage and made a guinea an hour massaging rich women, a fairly large amount of money. She had the opportunity to be inde­pendent and still have time for herself and Mabel and to visit her other children. Mabel died at seventeen of peritonitis from a burst appendix. Some years later Granny married a country man in Southwald, on the east coast. His name was George Selfe. He was a fine looking man and very kind, though uneducated.

We spent some time with them in Southwald in 1922 when I spent three months in England with my mother. Granny had been laid-up with a bad leg , for some time and did not get out of bed very much. She thought I was vain, because, I always studied my re­flection in a big full length mirror facing me when I took a tray in to her or went to visit. I wasn’t really – I had been called fat and lazy too often (probably with good reason). Grandfather George always said “Eat it agin you do” if I said I didn’t want to eat something. He told me about the laborers he had known who had taken bread and cheese for lunch at their work, the cheese to smell and the bread to eat. When he was young you had to spend a penny a week to go to school, so whoever went when a penny was available tried to teach the others what they had learned.”