Monday, July 27, 2009

Madness Monday -- Thomas Cotton Smedley

Great great grandpa Smedley -- you are truly driving me mad!!

My Smedley family has been doing genealogy for over 100 years. In fact my great-grandfather Thomas Joynes Smedley traveled to England to gather family records in 1896. That is how he met my great grandmother.

The following is an article from LATTER-DAY SAINTS' MILLENNIAL STAR, Vol. 58, 1896, page 169:
ARRIVALS. --- The American Line Steamer Pennland arrived in Liverpool on March 5, having on board for the British Mission -- Alvin B. Kempton of Curtis, Arizona; George Humphreys of Paris, Idaho; Christopher Wilcock of Huntington, Utah; Robert Winn, Francis C. Sella, and John H. Brough, of Nephi, Utah. Elder Thomas J. Smedley of Paris, Idaho, also came on the vessel, for th purpose of obtaining genealogical information. The weather was quite stormy during three days of the voyage, but except this there was nothing unpleasant experienced. All are well.
The Smedley Family records and stories for three generations have said that Thomas Cotton Smedley (Thomas Joynes' father) died in 1851 and that is why great grandfather went to live with an uncle after his mother died. In doing my own research I have discovered that is either a blatant lie that has been passed down, or a simple error by someone other than T.J. Smedley that has never been checked out. I have also discovered that he was married before and had two daughters that no one ever mentioned.

In 1841 the oldest daughter Ruth Smedley was living with Thomas C Smedley, while her mother was living with Thomas C's brother Gideon. In 1851 Ruth was living with her mother Martha, and she was listed as married. And according to Martha's death record in 1859 she was married to Thomas Smedley, brick maker at the time. Maybe he went back to his first wife in 1851 and then went back to her after being in the United States for a while -- I just don't know. I am not even certain his middle name is Cotton.

Thomas Smedley along with son and daughter in law, Thomas Joynes and Ann Smedley, came to the US in 1857 on board The George Washington. They sailed from Liverpool, England on March 28, 1857 and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts April 20, 1857.
They were listed as follows:
Thos. Smedley 54 Brick maker
Thos. " 19 Tailor
Ann Smedley 22 unstated (The passenger list can be found on

All passengers on board were mormon converts. Their passages were paid by the Perpetual Emigration Fund. I have not been able to find anything onThomas C. Smedley since he landed in Massachusetts in 1857. There is a diary of Amos Musser that records the passage. He was in charge of booking train tickets for the passengers after they landed in Boston. I need to find these records some how.

Since great grandpa came to the United States with his father, why wouldn't his children know this? It just doesn't make sense to me. I really hate it when important information is kept secret.

Thomas Cotton SMEDLEY was born on 17 Apr 1803 in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, England to John and Mary Smedley. He was christened on 8 May 1803 in Stapleford, Notts, Eng. He died after 1857. Thomas was baptized into the Mormon Church on 31 Mar 1851 in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England.

Thomas married, (1) MARTHA MITCHELL 4,5 on 26 Feb 1822 in Kettlethorpe, Lincoln, England. MARTHA was born about 1793 in Nottinghamshire, England. She died on 21 Jul 1859 in Harby, Nottingham, England.
They had the following children:

2 F i. Ruth SMEDLEY was born on 23 Mar 1829 in Kettlethorpe, Lincolnshire, England. Ruth married Unknown .
3 F ii. Matilda SMEDLEY was born about 1832 in Nottinghamshire, England
Thomas married (2) Elizabeth JOYNES daughter of Thomas JOYNES and Ann HOLBROOK about 1836. Elizabeth was born in 1808 in St Peters, Nottingham, Notts, Eng. She was christened on 15 Jun 1808 in St Marys, Nottingham, Notts, Eng. She died on 21 Jul 1854 in Derby, Derbys, Eng.
OCCUPATION: Elizabeth Joynes was a dressmaker.
Thomas and Elizabeth had the following children:
Thomas Joynes SMEDLEY was born on 16 Aug 1837. He died on 23 Feb 1921.
OCCUPATION: Thomas Cotton Smedley was a brick and tile maker.
Smedley and Wilson, brick makers ----- 1829 directory of County Derby, page 79

1. 1851 Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England Census, 30 Mar 1851.
7 Rosemary Lane Thomas Smedley Head mar 47 brick and tile maker Notts Stapleford
Elizabeth " wife mar 42 dress maker " Nottingham
Thomas " son 13 Tile maker Yorksh Wadsley."
2. 1841 Wombwell, Darfield, Yorkshire, England Census.
Thomas Smedley 35 Brick Maker
Elizabeth " 30
Eliza " 15
Ruth " 12
Thomas " 3
James Robertshaw 15 M.S.
Thomas Guest 12 M.S."
The George Washington passenger list.
4. Brent Jensen, Calvin Buck Smedley, page 6.
"The Smedley baptisms into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints were noted in the Mansfield Branch records."
5. 1841 Census-- North Clifton Hundred: Newark (North Division) Harby, Nottinghamshire, England , Folio: 8; Page: 8; Line: 13; GSU roll: 438907. Gideon Smedley 30 Ag Lab
Alfred Smedley 6
Reuben Smedley 4
Martha Smedley 50
Matilda Smedley 9
6. 1851 Harby, Nottinghamshire, England Census, Class: HO107; Piece: 2136; Folio: 106; Page: 17; GSU roll: 87766
Martha Smedley 58 head mar nurse
Ruth Smedley 22 dau
Matilda Smedley 2


  1. Just wondering if you have found any more information on great great grandpa Smedley? I am still looking.

  2. I believe the Thomas Guest (aged 12) Living with the Smedley family in the 1841 Census is my GG Grandfather born in Woolwich Kent in 1828. His parents were George and Elizabeth Guest.
    I wonder how he came to be living with the Smedley family. I think George Guest died in 1835 in Woolwich and Thomas moved North to the Wombwell, Barnsley area before 1851 where he is listed as a brickmaker in the 1851 Census, listed as a lodger in the Blacker Hill Area of Barnsley. My email address is if you have any information please?

    Douglas Unwin

  3. my great great aunt was ida buck she married a smedley


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