The Definitive History of the Surname STABLES in Yorkshire

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"The Notices of the Stables Family"
by William Stables (1794-1862)

Page 111 at the gold diggings in California, but where he is now, T know not.
When John Wilson had been a widower for some Years, he married
Spink. She was a widow with one daughter. She was of a suitable age,
and in respectable circumstances. We were twice at Linnothwaite during the
time she was with hits, but it was always said that they lived very
uncomfortably together. That her great partiality to her own daughter made a
constant unpleasantness with his children, and when at length she got
married, then he accused her of sending so many of his goods away to her; that
their quarrels became terrible, and in the end she left him entirely, and now
(1856) resides in a house at Tockwith. And he is left without wife or child or
relatives about him, a poor shandy looking old man, with his face looking much
too red, and himself despised by every one.
3rd. -- William. He was indentured, with a large fee, to a land surveyor,
and after serving his time, was settled, on a large farm at Gatenby, Hear
Bedall. He married a Miss Britton, a very respectable young woman, who bore
him a son which died soon after his father. William had the character of
being a gay, dissipated young man, and it is feared died as he had lived,
when he was 25 or 6 years of age.
4th. --Catharine. She was said to have very much her mother's mind,
temperament and disposition, so much so that my wife never invited her to
come to see us. While she was yet but a young woman, she professed to obtain
saving religion. For several years, after her brother John became a widower,
she was housekeeper for him, and on his second marriage she went to her
mother and younger sister at York. It was said by some that she behaved very
unkindly to her mother. After sometime, when she was rather growing old as a
young woman, she married Revd. Joseph Cusworth, a Wesleyan minister, a am
a good bit older than herself, he being a widower with his family all grown
up. He continued to travel some years after their marriage, when he was
appointed governor of Kingswood School. Under his management, very
considerably„ the new Kingswood School has been built. I believe he is now a
breaking down old man, but they are yet in the situation, and she has now full
scope to develop all her splendid abilities in a sphere, which, no doubt, in
many respects she is well qualified for (1856).
The offspring of William and Mary Wilson wares
5th. -Jane, a delicate and .feeble, but very sensible daughter.
She, as she grew up to woman's estate, became very deformed in the spine. After
suffering very much, she departed this life, when she was some 21 or 2 years
of age, during the time of her mother's residence at York.
Matthias and Jane Skilbeck had issue:
FOURTH, JOHN, born Augst. 20th, 1774. (Note W, page 134). After receiving a
good mercantile education, he became a clerk in a large cloth
manufactory, where they employed six clerks, a little below
Huddersfield. With them he continued some years. While in that
situation, he became acquainted with a young woman, the only child of a
cloth manufacturer in Idusfield (?), This Huddersfield manufacturer
had a field, near where the factory which John belonged to, stood. To
this field the young woman used to come to milk their cow, and he
becoming aware of this, used to contrive to get into her company.
He also went to a dissenting chapel in order to meet her, and by getting
together, they became attached to each other. Their interviews, however, were
Page 112  by stealth, for her parents frowned on bin, thinking that their daughter
ought to look for some one much above $ clerk. Becoming much enamoured with
the girl, he grate to his father on the subject, informing him of the
trouble he was in, and at his earnest request he came over to Huddersfield,
and had some interviews with the old folks. And on his engaging to give his
son 1000 pounds as a marriage portion, they consented to their union, and
the upshot of the business was that they were married Septr. 1794. John was
immediately admitted partner with his father-in-law, and became the
traveller in the concerts. The old man had been used to keep a horse and
cart,, and to travel about the country attending at many of the annual
fairs and some markets, in the manner of the old Farhound (Farhourd?)
Clothmakers. But this mode of doing business was much too low for John, he
had got very gentlemanly ideas, and the horse and cart were soon laid
aside, as belonging only to the hawker, and were soon exchanged for the
travelers' gig, which only carried samples of the various kinds of cloth
they made, and his father Matthias told me, that so fond was he of making an
appearance. and being thought a gentleman. that he changed his gig three or
four times before he could get one fine enough for him. And sometimes his
wife would go with him on his rounds, she becoming jealous of him for being
an unfaithful husband, did not like to trust him much out of her sight. For
a while things seemed to go on tolerably prosperously. And the old man
dying, he had then the whole business to himself. But in 1809, a kind of
panic in trade taking place, he became involved in difficulties, got his
father and brother Robert to be bound for him, to the extent of 1600
pounds. He afterwards became bankrupt, and his father paid the whole 1600
pounds, for which he and Robert had become bound. So that with the 1000
pounds he got when he was married, he got 2600 pounds from his father.
After his failure, he continued to reside at Huddersfield, on some
part of his wife's estate, for at his decease her father had bequeathed to
her a considerable property, which was almost entirely in houses, and a
little land, which, when all let, made about 170 pounds per annum. But he
was sufficiently cautious to leave it to her and her three sons after her.
Edgard, Matthew. and John. being only then born, and Thomas, born
afterwards, was left entirely unprovided for by his maternal grandfather.
Whether he was in any business for the five years between his failure
and his death. I cannot say. His death was very sudden, and awfully tragic.
Intending to visit his father at Healaugh, ho took with him his youngest son
Thomas, then between eight and nine years of age. It was a very severe storm
and there was then touch snow on the ground. They went by coach to Tadcaster,
intending to walk from thence to Healaugh, being about three miles. It was
between six and seven in the evening when they arrived in Tadcaster, where
they stopped about an hour and a half, when they started off on their
journey. Soon after they had started, he became very in with cholic, to which
he was subject, and getting very slowly on, they because very much stared and
being almost exhausted, he made to the farm house called Healough Manour, and
the family being all gone to bed, he asked thews, begged to be admitted,
telling them that his child was nearly starved to death. Insensible, however,
to his entreaties, they refused to let them in. Thus repulsed, "he turned
away from the house,
Page 113 resolved to make another effort to get to Healaugh. He struggled on, until
within a quarter of a mile of the desired place, when unable to proceed any
further, he turned out of the road called Duce Lane, into a field, then
occupied by his brother Robert, and lying down, it is supposed was starved
to death. This took place Jany. 14th, 1$14, when he was about 39 years of
age. Thomas, the little boy, however, survived, and stood over his dying
father, and even let several wagons
pass by them on the lane, while it is probable his father was yet alive, but
had not the sense or resolution to can out to them. He, however, afterwards
took some money out of his father's pocket, and set off back, as he said, to
Huddersfield. He was found neat morning in a brickmaker's shade, near
John and his wife had issues
1st. --- Edgard. He was put apprentice to a groper near Huddersfield.
His master, however, was only in a low way of business, and his family
lived in a dirty, pauper-like hovel and manner. Among their children there
was one daughter, and they did all they could to get them connected,
frequently left them together to sit up, and when so left, set them gin and
water to drink, and the consequences were such as might be expected. After a
while she was found with child by him, and in the difficulty in which he
was involved, he made her his wife. And a poor, lost, forlorn, helpless,
looking creature of a soother she was, and served very well to excite the
pity of the friends of the poor young man, who had been so entangled and
overcome by her, and her friends. Sometime after his marriage he became a
foreman in a wool-sorter's shop (1826).
2nd. -- Mathias. He was apprenticed to a cloth weaver, also near
Huddersfield. He was a spirited, staunch tempered young man, so much so,
that his mother durst not treat him in that scornful, tyrannical manner
that she did her other children. He was the subject of much affliction,
arising from some complaint in his back, and was better and worse for
several years. He died of consumption when he was about twenty one or two.
3rd. -- John. He was apprenticed to be a cropper not far from
Huddersfield. When loose from his apprenticeship, being among his father's
relatives in this neighbourhood, he came from Compton to see:-us. This was
not very long after our marriage. He afterwards began business for himself,
and after a year or two, he began to deal in, as gall as dress, the cloth.
He then began to travel in a rather extensive round, as a cloth merchant,
gradually enlarging his business, and last summer (Decr. 1826), he managed
to pick up a wife among theme, who is said to be a person of considerable
property, and with her he now resides in Ireland.
4th, -- Jane, who died of water in the brain, when she was five or six
years of age.
6th. -- Thomas. He was articled to a Mr. Hopkinson, a solicitor at
dewsberry. But his master dying before the expiration of his texas, he was
released from the engagement. Not being born when his maternal
grandfather made his will, he was not included in the entail of his
mother's property, and though she had a very good income, yet to a
considerable extent, he had to look to his paternal grandfather Matthias
Skilbeck. He put him to school, which cost him in various ways 30f 14/0.
He deposited 140 pounds in the hands of my father-in-law for find him in
clothes during his apprenticeship (Note Be page 136) and at his decease he
Page 114 bequeathed him 40 pounds, which legacy he lived to receive and soon
afterWards departed this life Novr. 1826, being a little over 21 years of
John's wife, the mother of these five children, once came to visit us.
I think she came from Harrogate, but I believe I was from home, for I have
no recollection of her whatever (1856). The character I have heard of her
is anything but amiable, and I understand they lived uncomfortably
together, and that it was not without occasion that he complained of her, as
having been a petted and spoiled child, and she was so petted and peevish
in her disposition, as no husband would be able at all times to brook. She
was a very unfeeling and tyrannical mother to her children, but this
disposition more fully exhibited itself after her husband's death. And such
was her demeanor towards them, that when loose from their apprenticeship,
they sought for board and lodgings amongst neighbours or friends, not
chusing, or being denied or refused a residence with their scolding mother.
Matthias and Jane Skolbeck had issue:
FIFTH, ROBERT, born June 27th 1776. He was taken from school to work in the
farm when he was about eleven and a half years of age, and then went again
in winter for a quarter or half a year, when he was about sixteen years of
age. He and his brother Richard, then wrought hard in the farm, regularly
going with the teams. But my father-in-law used to say that Robert never
liked work, and after he became his own master, took very little of it. He
was a rough, hardy looking youth, a little so in his temper as well as in
his person. When he was about fifteen, he had a very dangerous fever. For
some time he was not expected to recover, and such an effect did it produce
on his system that all his hair fell off. On the 8th June 1802 he married
Hannah Tomlinson of Eas-Dike, his own cousin, and they went to spend the
wedding day with my father-in-law at Compton. His father then gave up the
farm to him. He gave him 1000 pounds to begin business with, in which was
included the farming-stock, Implements, and furniture, to the amount of 982
pounds. But many things were not valued (see large book belonging to
grandfather), But his enjoyment of matrimonial happiness was exhort, for she
closed her eyes in death Decr. 23rd, 1804, being only then in the 23rd year
of her age. In her last illness she became an earnest seeker of salvation, and
professed to obtain the knowledge of it by the remission of sins, and died
in the full triumph of faith. James Pearl preached a funeral sermon on the
occasion for Ecclesiastes 7,1.
They had two sons, viz. Matthew, born May 3, 1803 and died Feby 19th
1805, being about 1 3/4 years of age, and Richard, born Octr. 18th, 1804
and died Jany 5th, 1805, being about 11 weeks old. Sometime before the
death of Robert's children, his father had a very remarkable dream about
them, which made such an impression on his mind., that he recorded it in a
large book, which is now in my possession. It is as follows: "I thought I
was in Duce Spring (a wood of six or seven acres at the bottom of Robert's
farm) and there was somebody with me, but I do not know who it was. I was
near the bottom of the far park field, and saw two children, each of them
on a cloud, and their mother following them, on another cloud, directing
their course towards Wighill,
Page 115 one after another, and I said to them that were with me, "One would think
that they were inhabitants of this world.' This was before little Matty
died. Their mother was neatly dressed with a white handkerchief. This
being only a dream, made a very great Impression on me." Matthew Skilbeck.
Robert's great weakness is the being too fond of company, being
by it led into the acquaintance of several gay and dissipated sportsmen, of
which diversion he is himself passionately fond. Soon after our marriage,
he came and shop a day over our farm. and had very good sport. In the
company of such persons he is sometimes led, for fear of being thought
singular, to take a glass or two too much. A bay called Jim Maude, who
lived servant with him and afterwards came to live with my father-in-law,
used to relate an anecdote of him, illustrative of one of his curious
whims. He had been at a party, at the house of one of his acquaintances,
and very late at night came home drank. When it came into his head to make
his servants perform a dance in his presence. But they not being in equally
merry mood, were rather slow in getting their eyes rubbed open, and seemed
disposed for making their sleepiness an excuse for not performing such a
farce at that time. When, at length, as though his patience was quite
exhausted, he seised the lad by the hair (whose head by the by was perhaps a
little rough) and dregging him into the middle of the kitchen floor, began
to caper about at no small rate, compelling the reluctant boy to attempt
something like a partner-ship in his fun.
After his wife's decease, his household concerns were very much left
to the care of housekeepers, For the last ten or twelve years he has had
Nancy Bell, a native of Healaugh. She is a very lean, puny, ilk.-looking
creature, whose haggard appearance bespeaks the deformed mind within. The
servants dislike her very much, for she is by no means good to please, and
can assume considerable authority, especially when the master is from home,
and scarce any of his relatives will come at him I once went down to his
house, when I was visiting Grandfather, but he was not in, and things looked
so yonderly(?) that I never called any more (1826) She was in the whole
somewhere between twenty and thirty years in his service, and died in it,
not very, long before he had to part with his farm there, and whatever
suspicions there might be of the kind of connection there was between her
master and her, in its earlier part, I have understood that before she died,
she became a preying woman, and joined the Methodist Society.
About 1817, in conjunction with my father-in-law, he purchased a
farm of 140 acres of good band at Gatenly, near Beedall. This they let
until the spring of 1822, when they made a feeble attempt to sell it, but
not succeeding in the way they desired, and he having discharged himself
from his farm at Healaugh, and not meeting with another that suited him,
he purchased his brother's share, and tent to reside on it himself. He
immediately commenced to make considerable improvements in the concern,
especially the homestead, remodelled and nearly rebuilt the house, walled
in a very large garden, planted an orchard, drained and banked, and in
several ways improved the estate.
During the first summer of his being at Gatonby. on his returning
once from Healaugh, he called to make a wait at Firs. _____, at Kirby
Hill, the place they were accustomed to stop at when they vent to Gatenby.
He .ad a glass of rum and water, when having paid for a barrel or two of ale
that he had had from her, she pressed him to have another glass, but
saying that he was not vary
Page 116 well., he refused, but said if she would make tea, he would take a cup of tea
with her. She Immediately set to, to prepare it, when he, being very unwell,
rose from his seat, intending to go out, bat Immediately ran forward, like
one drunk, and pitched his head against the opposite WaLL, cut it
severely, and bled like a stick'd sheep. He bled an astonishing quantity,
while laid on the floor, and being quite insensible, they put him to bed,
where he still bled much. After a while, he recovered his sessation, and
got up, having, as they supposed, had some kind of an apoplectic fit. At
nine or ten at might, he would ride home, a distance of eleven or twelve miles,
and although very weak through the lass of blood, he set off. When he came
to the gate at the head of the lane, leading to Gatenby, out of Leeming
Lane„ ho could not get the mare up to the gate, and himself saw somekind of
blank super-natural things about the mares feet, which very such alarmed
and affected him. He still feels much concerned when speaking on it, but
does not like. (Father Skilbeck, 1825).
After his removal to Gatenby, he soon got connected with a new set
of gay sporting companions. The expenses, however, attending so marry
gay acquaintances, so much time spent in shooting, and the consequent
neglecting of his farm, his drinking propensities growing upon him, so
that he could seldom go to market or anywhere from home, without coming
home drunk; with these things he too got to lay in bed long in a morning,
and added to all these, a great reduction in the price of agricultural
produce, and a consequent fall in the value of land, and having a very
heavy mortgage on his farm, and then a second one to his nephew, John
Wilson of, I think, 400 pounds. He soon began to feel, himself in
difficulties. Father-in-law had at first left a considerable sum in
his hands, but his own necessities had been such, that he had drawn it
all, by one amount after another. About 1842 he made another attempt
to sell, but had no bidders, that would enable him to get out of his
difficulties. At length the first mortgager, being unable longer to get
his interest, seized the estate, and other creditors homing on him,
swallowed up his stock and crops. So that about 1845, he was cast out
from the farm, and was entirely destitute. After living for a while on
his friends about Gatenby, and coming and staying some weeks with his
nephew at Linnethwaite, until Mrs, W, would not submit to his ways any
longer. He then went back among his friends about Gatenby. All his
property being gone, and every resource failing him, he vas in a state
of great wretchedness. When Mr. Cranswick, one of his old neighbours at
Gatenby wrote to his nephew John "Wilson, and some other of us, describ-
ing his destitution, and begging of us to help hips. A place Was found for him
where they would board, lodge, wash, and rake him comfortable for ten shillings a
week. John Wilson was the leading man in the affair, and he, his sister Mrs.
Haswell, Brother Allan, and myself entered into an engagement to raise that sum,
which was to be paid quarterly. but I believe we only paid two quarters, before the
agreement was broken up, and the thing fell to the ground. It came about in this
ways About that time a new customer put up for the farm, that offered a sume for
it that *,could have paid off the first mortgage, and have left 200 pounds for John
Wilson, the second mortgagor, and he said, that even that was not what the farm
was worth, and that he would never sign it away at such a sum, let the
consequence be what it would. With what he called his stupidity, John ,Wilson was
so and offended, that he declared he would
turn his '---ac k off him, and have no more to do with hiss, and as he was the
leader in the subscription for
Page 117 his benefit, when he withdrew the whole affair fell to the ground.
The supplies being stopped, he could not stay where he had been
boarded, and no other plan being open, he was by stern necessity and
want compelled to enter the Union Workhouse. I believe it was the Bedul
Union. 'there he mined for several years, I think seven or eight, and
there he died, I think about 1853.
Matthias and Jan Skilbeck had issues
SIXTH, THOMAS, born Jany. 12th, 1781 and died April 14th, 1782, being
14 years old.
SEVENTH, JANE, born Feby. 2nd, 1786. Being the youngest, she possessed
in a considerable degree what is generally the sorrowful inheritance of the
youngest of a numerous family of children. That is, she vas very much petted
and spoiled. Her father has been heard to say that he never struck her but
once, and it is probable that she wan then only a little girl. Having let
something fall on the floor, he bid her take it ups when she smartly replied
that he might take it up himself, for that he was big enough, which so
irritated him, as to bring down some correction on her.
She was a smart, wild, giddy girl. In one of her wild frolics
when she was thirteen or fourteen years of age, the servant girl and she took it
into their heads to have a cold bath. After the family were all also gone to bed,
they filled a large tub with grater. Bat she, fussing about in preparing the bath,
was all on a perspiration, and in that state got into the water. She, however,
paid dear for her imprudence, for she had very sore and tender eyes for about
two yam, which it vas believed was brought on by the bathing. About the same
time she began to have an acute pain in her foot. This at length settled into the
great toe, and after almost suffering a martyrdom in it, a piece of bone was at
length taken out# but she continued to have acute pain it it occasionally, as
long as she lived, and after her marriage it was some-times so acute, when
warm in bed, as to compel her to leave the side of her husband in order to
stand on the warm hearth flag, and sometimes when he awoke and missed her,
he would Jump up to seek her and often found her as above described,
laughing most heartily.
Another of her wild, not to say impious frolics took place when she
was twenty two or three years of age. She was on a rather lengthy visit at
her brother Richards at Compton, near Wetherby,, At that time they had
:carry Johnson, a witty, droll.. wicked man for a maltster. and as she was of a
Similar disposition, they had many sis together.
It was on the morning of Wetherby "air day. She was going to the fair, and the
conversation turned on her getting a sweetheart home with her from the Fair.
That she might succeed, they both in their frolic kneeled dorm to pray that
she might get a sweetheart. She went to the fair, the person who was
afterwards her husband accompanied her home, and the next morning she
and Harry again kneeled down to thank God for her success.
Page 118  In her person she was tall and rather slender. and had rather a
florid and pleasing countenance, and if her nose had not been quite so
large, her face and person would well have deserved the appelation
"beautiful". Her temper and manners were affable and agreeable, and her
dress was very neat. She was an excellent horse-woman, and on account of
her delicate health. she took so much of that exercise, that she could
manage a horse gracefully. And her general appearance was such, that after
her removal to Marston, the principal family in the neighbourhood used to
distinguish her from the other Mrs. Acombs in village, as being the
"Genteel Mrs. Acomb."
She only enjoyed poor health for some years, but was at length, after
a second attempt, obtained in marriage by Thomas Acomb, a farmer in affluent
circumstances at Marston, near York, and not more than three or four miles
from Healaugh, the residence of her parents. Their union took place April 23,
1810. They were very happy i» each other, but their happiness was of short
duration. Her health soon began to fail.. It was supposed that she was in the
family way, but in the end it turned out to be consumption, and she closed
her eyes in death, after being a wife thirty six weeks. (Thos. Acomb died
at York June 1st, 1835, aged 51, and was interred at Marston.)
Her sister, Mary Wilson, has told me, that she had a work of grace
on her mind, when she was but a child, about eight years of age. She was
very serious for about a year, but then her light, giddy spirit got the
better of Grace, she became trifling and host her religious feeling. But
when affliction and death began to stare her in the face, she sought for
mercy, and Mrs. Wilson believes she found it, and that there was hope in her
death. She was interred in the church-yard at Marston, where an altar
tombstone bears the following inscription,

"Sacred to the memory of Jane, the wife of Thomas Acomb, of
Marston, and daughter of Matthias and Jars Skilbeck, of Healaugh, who
died Jany. 9th, 1811. Bat now is Christ risen, m W become the first fruits
of these that slept, for since by man came death. by man also, came the
resurrection from the dead.
And she, now rising from the tomb.
With lustre brighter far shall shine,
Revive with ever during bloom,
Free from diseases and decline."
Page 119 N-O-T-I C-E-S of RICHARD, second child of Matthias and Jane Skilbeck.

He was born at Healaugh Febry. 20th, 17'0. When old enough he was
sent to the village school, the only one that he ever was favoured with
attending. But that was only of a low order. But there he learned to read,
write, arithmetic, etc., which occupied the principal part of his time,
until he was between eleven and twelve years of age, when he was taken to
work in the tarn, But before this time, he was not kept steadily at school,
for generally during the spring, and occasionally at other times, he, as
well as his brother, used to be taken to drive the plow. And as he had an
unconquerable aversion to books, and the school. He used always to remain
away as long as aver his parents would permit him. When about fifteen years
of age, he began to think that a little more education was desirable, and
would be useful, and being allowed to attend school again for three or four
months in winter, and by assiduous application gained more real knowledge
of arithmetic, and mensuration, than he had done in all his previous
attendances pat together. He however got far the least school instruction
of any of the faMily.
After being taken from school, while but yet about twelve years of
age, he was put to follow the plow, and though his work was a little like
that of a boy that had broke away from school, that is, it looked very
juvenile, yet by frequent practice, he soon came to perform it in a
workman-like manner. Indeed, from a boy he was often remarked of for his
activity and industry, and his father would often mention, with a little
display of parental pride and exultation, his hard working lad. After a few
years his brother Robert and he, did the work of the farm, at which he used
to labour far harder than any servants he ever had. It appears, however,
that his exertions were greater than his strength would warrant, for in the
spring of 1794, his father having got lames, his brother and he, had every
thing to look after, and manage, and being very busy sowing then about, such
was his exertion that he fainted beneath them. He became very weak and
poorly, and in this state he continued most of the summer, not being able
to do notch, and yet not so ill as to be confined to the house, and though
during the summer he approached to a state of convalescance, yet for two or
three springs succeeding, he had a periodical return of his weakness and
languor, which lasted some time.
This, he was fully convinced, was the effect of his overexertions. His
labour was too hard for him, and he found (to use his own expression) that he
was killing himself. From his infancy he had been accustomed to attend the
preachings and meetings of the Wesleyan Methodists, and thereby had his mind
gradually enlightened and informed in spiritual things, and for some years
before becoming a decided professor of religion, he was the subject of very
powerful strivings of the spirit. At this period of his life, he was on very
intimate terms with the Wilson's family at Linnethwaite, William having
married his sister Mary. He and his brother Robert used to go there annually
an the 5th Novr, when they had a regular shooting party. Being there on the
5th Novr. 1793 (I think) he having been with the party nearly all day, towards
evening, when drawing homewards, they came near to Wharton Lodge, where
Francis Wilson lived. He stopped tea with them.
Page 120  That evening the Revd. Jeremiah Brittle, Wesleyan minister, was
there, and preached there. Father stayed to hear him, and felt much
ashamed, and self-condemned for having spent the day so triflingly.
It was on the very night, when a class was first formed at that place,
which still remains (1820. Though his outward conduct was tolerably moral,
het he was ill at ease, and to use his awn expression, he went on sinning and
repenting. In the year 1794 there was a considerable revival of religion in
the neighbourhood of Healaugh, and in those days of Grace, Father was more
powerfully awakened, and induced to seek after the parton of his sins;
which he soon after obtained to the joy of his soul. He then united
himself to the Methodist Society, about June or July 1794, and in that
connection remained to his dying day.
It was his poor state of health which first induced his seriously to
think of entering on married life. He thought that if he had some farm or
business of his own, he could manage it without so much bodily labour.
These, however, were only like thoughts at random, for many difficulties
stood in the way of executing such a scheme. In the first place, he was
remarkably modest and diffident in his natural disposition, and as he had
been kept so close to work, had seen so little of the world, and
associated in so few companies. To such a degree was he under the control
of his native bashfulness acid diffidence, as scarce to dare to look at a
young woman, at a distant view, much less to make any near approaches to
them. And he once told me, that he never in his life said a word to any
young woman on the subject of matrimony, except to her that became his
About that time his sister Mary (having got married herself) used
often to joke and rally him on his bashfulness, and carried her banter so
far as to bet him a gager of a guinea, that he never would be married.
This was not all, for both the person and situation were yet to seek.
Indeed, there was a young person in the neighbourhood, Miss Isabella
Wilson, of Linnenthwaith, whose brother William had married his sister
Mary, who was a very amiable person, of good sense, active disposition,
very decided piety, suitable age, trained to move in a circle similar to
his own, and in almost every respect a very desirable match for him; and
was a great favourite with his father. He used sometimes to wish and urge
him to try to engage her, promising that if he could persuade her, he
would give up the farm to them. Yet, such was his native bashfulness, that
though he sometimes came into company where she was (sometimes probably
designedly to see her, yet he never ventured to express his wishes on the
subject to her, and she died a spinster when she was about forty years of
He had frequently heard the report of Kiss Sarah Midgley's amiable
qualities, and she had been recommended to him by some of his friends on
whose judgment he could place much confidence, more especially his
brother-in-law, William Wilson, of Linnethwaite, who was so fully con-
vinced that Miss Midgley would be a valuable wife for his brother, that he was
very desirous and active in getting theme together. Father
himself having seen the young woman, and perceiving that her person and
appearance were agreeable, and understanding that some other person was
about applying for her hand, ..'It length summoned up sufficient
resolution to write to her, but those were not railway times, and before
the letter reached Compton, Miss Midgley had gone to London.
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Last modified: December 12, 2006