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Thomas Rutherford Ashenhurst
There is a slight anomaly in this entry in that Thomas Rutherford Ashenhurst was not buried in Hirst Wood Cemetery but in Jamestown, New York. His name does appear, however, on the memorial erected when his wife, Jane Elizabeth was buried here on 1 October 1929. Saltaire historian Colin Coates has been researching the many links between Saltaire and Jamestown and has kindly agreed to allow us to publish his findings on the Ashenhurst family. Ashenhurst, Thomas Rutherford 26 June 1849 – 31 January 1902 Thomas Rutherford Ashenhurst was the son of Alexander Miller Ashenhurst. Alexander was born c1809 in Ireland. He married Anne Lodge, born 1821 in Ireland, 20 May 1842 in Lancashire. Thomas was born 26 June 1849 in Clayton. In 1851 & 1861 the family were living in Clayton with Alexander working as a bookkeeper and worsted designer. In 1871 they were living in Horton with both Alexander and Thomas working as pattern designers. Shipley Times Saturday 03 May 1879 Was this designed by Thomas Rutherford Ashenhurst? His father, Alexander died 3rd Qtr. 1879 Thomas married Jane Elizabeth Hodgson 19 September 1877. They had four daughters. In 1881 they were living in Bradford with Thomas working as a teacher of Weaving Design. Extract from a report in the Shipley Times 24 June 1882 referring to the visit of the Prince & Princess of Wales as follows: - “The first arch which announces the entrance of the royal party into the town is that at Heaton Grove, a triumphal arch of handsome proportions and unique design being erected here. Emigrated “The design was prepared by Mr T R Ashenhurst, instructor in chief at the Technical Schools – an important post he has worthily filled for several years.” In 1891 Thomas was living with his family in Horton. Thomas emigrated, without his wife and children, to Jamestown in New York State. He arrived in New York (from Liverpool) 4 June 1896 aboard the SS Aurania. In 1901 his wife, Jane and their daughters, were living at 15 Victoria Park in Shipley. Jane would spend the rest of her life here. Thomas died 31 January 1902 in Jamestown. Report from the Shipley Times 14 February 1902 as follows: -
“News been received of the death in Jamestown, N.Y., of Mr Thomas R. Ashenhurst, who was formerly head master of the Textile Department of the Bradford Technical College and was a well-known authority on textile designing. “Among the books which he published on this subject were— ‘A Treatise on Textile Calculation and the Structure of Fabrics’,A Practical Treatise of Weaving and Designing in Textile Fabrics’, and ‘Lectures on Practical Weaving, the Power-loom, and Cloth Designing.’ These works have long been used as text-books in technical schools throughout the country. “Mr Ashenhurst's early training was obtained in the West of England, and afterwards be had ten years’ experience as designer and general manager in the Huddersfield and Bradford trades. “In 1878 he was appointed instructor to the textile classes formed in connection with the Bradford Mechanics’ Institute. Afterwards, of course, these classes were removed to the Bradford Technical College, where Mr Ashenhurst occupied the post of chief instructor in weaving and pattern designing for upwards of fifteen years. Excellent colourist “Members of the College Committee in the past have placed on record that Mr Ashenhurst was an excellent colourist and master of every detail in the construction of various cloths, and that his instructions were always practical, clear, and easily understood. “After leaving the Bradford Technical College, he practised as a patent agent and consulting textile expert in Bradford for two or three years. “He went the United States some five years ago and had held responsible position with a manufacturing firm at Jamestown. “He was only fifty-two years of age, and the news of his death has come painful shock. About twelve months ago Mr Ashenhurst met with a very serious accident, and lay unconscious for several weeks. He leaves a widow and four children, who reside Victoria Park, Shipley.” Report from the Shipley Times 21 February 1902 as follows: - “Jamestown papers just received give additional particulars of Mr T. R. Ashenhurst’s death. “Mr Ashenhurst was taken ill at his hotel, and was removed to the hospital, where all that medical aid and careful nursing could do was done for him, but in vain, and died in about half an hour from a haemorrhage of the lungs. “The funeral was held in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the Rev J. S. Kerrin officiating. More than two hundred of his friends and
acquaintances attended the services, and there were many floral tributes. The bearers were friends employed in the local mills. “The remains were taken to Lakeview Cemetery, on the shores of Lake Chantouqua, The following is a quotation from the Jamestown Morning Post - ‘Mr Ashenhurst has been in this country about five years, holding a responsible position in the worsted mills of William Broadhead & Sons. He was a man of refinement and education, and a considered authority among the textile workers of Europe, as well this country. This was evidenced by a number of medals which he won in the line of his chosen work, as well as by a large number of contributions to the leading textile journals of this country.’ ” Extract from the Shipley Times 16 July 1927 as follows: - “At Shipley Parish Church on Sunday morning Archdeacon Stanton Jones (vicar of Bradford) dedicated four memorial gifts which had been placed in the chancel and sanctuary. These include panelling in oak of the east wall, the gift of Mrs Ashenhurst and the Misses Ashenhurst in memory of Mr. Thomas Rutherford Ashenhurst, husband and father.” Thomas’s widow, Jane, died 27 September 1929. Oak panelling Report from the Shipley Times 5 October as follows: - “The funeral took place at Hirst Wood Cemetery, Shipley, on Tuesday, of Mrs. Jane Elizabeth Ashenhurst, of Victoria Park, Shipley, who died on Friday of last week. “The widow of Mr. Thomas Rutherford Ashenhurst, she was an ardent support of Shipley Parish Church, and the local representative of the British and Foreign Bible Society. “Mrs. Ashenhurst and her daughter gave the oak panelling in the chancel of the Shipley Parish Church as their gift to the Jubilee celebrations. Before the interment took place, a service was held at Shipley Parish Church, conducted by the Vicar (Canon Harding Jolly), who was assisted by Canon Bowker (Vicar of St. Luke’s, Broomfields. Bradford, formerly curate of Shipley), and the Rev. C. Cambourn. of the British and Foreign Bible Society.” Report from the Shipley Times 2 November 1929 as follows: - “Mrs. Jane Elizabeth Ashenhurst, of 15 Victoria Park, Shipley, widow Thomas Rutherford Ashenhurst, of Bradford, left £15,749 (net personalty £14,708). She gives her residence and furniture to her daughters, Helen, Mary and Isabel, £l00 each to the executors, and the residue to her four daughters, Helen, Mary, Isabel, May Whiting, and Marian Louise Lambert. “ (Note £14,708 is worth c£970,000 in 2020) From the Hirst Wood Cemetery records we learn that Jane was born on 10 July 1929 and one of the couple’s daughters was Helen Mary Ashenhurst, for it was she who bought the grave plot No B7. The grave also contains Margaret Ann Hodgson, who died at the age of 90 on 27 April 1947 and is presumed to be Jane’s sister. (see link)
Hirst Wood Burial Ground base Hirst Wood Burial Ground base Hirst Wood Burial Ground base Link to Margaret Hodgson Link to Margaret Hodgson Link to Margaret Hodgson