The following is from a document obtained from NelLo H. Bassett.
Joseph Hepworth was born 11 Sep 1816, the third child (second son) of the nine known children born to Richard Hepworth and Hannah Wilkinson. He was born at Mug Mill, a village which is down off the hill from Thornhill Edge in a beautiful valley area with a picturesque view. It is just outside Thornhill township, in the northwestern part of Shitlington township, which abounds in coal and consists of Middletown (Middleton), Netherton (Netherton), Overtown (Overton), part of Horbury Bridge, Midgley, Hollinghurst, Mug Mill, and Stocksmoor. Leading to Mug Mill is Mug Mill Lane which is abounded on both sides by Pennine Walls which were built out of stone from the area in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. No mortar was used and repairs have been made as needed down through time. Running through Mug Mill is Smithy Brook. Thornhill is set upon a hill with a flat top. On this hill is the parish church of Thornhill dedicated to St. Michael.
Thornhill is in Yorkshire, England. Joseph spent a good share of his young life moving from town to town in the Thornhill and Tong area of Yorkshire. This is coal country, and at the time of his birth, his father was listed as a coal miner, the profession Joseph and most of this family later followed. Richard and Hannah Hepworth had their son christened when he was about one month old, 6 Oct 1816, in the Church of England parish of Thornhill.
Mary Hirst was born 8 Nov 1820 in Drighlington, Yorkshire, England, the daughter of John Hirst and Jane Dunwell.
Joseph and Mary were married 9 Apr 1837, when he was 20 and she was 16.
Joseph and Mary had thirteen children, Richard (lived just over a month, dying in England), William (died at age 12, in a mining accident? In England), Edmund (1841-1915, died age 74 in Starr Valley, WY), the oldest child to emigrate, Squire (4 May 1843 – 26 Aug 1920, died age 77 in Elba, ID), Hannah (1845-1920, died age 75 in Salt Lake City), Sarah (died at age 4 in England), James (1849-1937, died age 88 in Bountiful, UT), Joseph (1850-1926, died in Bountiful, UT), Elizabeth (died at age 4 in England), Ann (died at age 2 in England), Mary Jane (1855-1926, died age 71 near Bear Lake, ID), Martha Annice (1858-1936, died age 78 in Butte, MT), and Samuel (1860-1928, died age 68 in Salt Lake City). Of their seven sons, five lived to emigrate to America. Of their six daughters, three lived to emigrate to America. Eight children, five sons and three daughters lived to old age in America. Five children, two sons and three daughters, died young in England.
Mary learned of the gospel from her husband’s sister (to be confirmed). Mary was baptized 26 Sep 1847 (or 11 Aug 1847). Joseph was baptized about three months later on 19 Dec 1847. Joseph was 31 and Mary was 27 when they were baptized.
In my Hepworth file, there is an article written by Donald J. Hepworth titled, “Coal Mining in England” with additional details. Our early Hepworth ancestors were weavers, but the invention of automatic weaving machines put them out of business. The first coal mine in Yorkshire was opened in 1750 in Overton, just a few miles walk from where our ancestors were living. We know that Joseph Hepworth (1816) was a coal miner. His father Richard was also a coal miner (NelLo H. Bassett, Feb. 1968, in file). Often times a husband and a wife worked as a team in the mines. The man broke the coal loose and the his wife loaded it on to a wooden sled. A rope went around her neck, passed between her legs to the sled which she pulled on hands and knees to the tunnel, where she loaded the coal onto the car. Boys as young as eight years of age were often miners; they could move about the low ceilings more easily than men and could work in narrower coal seams, so they were actually desired by the mine owners. They often pulled the coal cars to the main tunnels on hands and knees, with a chanin around their necks, passing between their legs to the cars, a second boy pushing from behind. Miners were paid by the ton, not by the hour, regardless of the coal seam. The work day was typically ten hours, six days a week. During the winter season, miners often entered the mines before sun up and left after sundown. Mine foremen would put their friends and relatives in the thicker seams where they could produce more coal easier and faster.
Explosions were common. In 1851, an explosion killed William Hepworth who was only 12 years old. Edmund, who was 10, had been working at his side, but had just stepped up the line. He returned to find his brother buried in rock and coal. William lived four days, but died with internal injuries. Coal dust was the greatest hazard, killing more miners than explosions. Weakened lungs were more susceptible to lung infections; miners rarely lived to a normal old age. The mine at Overton, where Joseph and his sons worked, has been made a national museum open to the public.
The following is typed from a letter handwritten by Joseph Hepworth from England to his family in America. It is typed as written, in the original spelling. Squire and Emily had arrived in Salt Lake City on 4 Oct 1864.
Nethertown Drighlington May 29th 1865
Dear Sons and Daughters,
I now take up my pen to write a few lines to you in answer to your letter which came to hand on the 6th of March. I hope you will excuse me for my neglect as you wrote in your letter that you have wrote 4 letters but we have only received one and we was very thankful for that. We was verry (sic) thankful to hear of the safe arrival of Squire and his dear wife and child. We was glad to hear that you was living so near each other. O how I long for the time when we shall have the priviledge (sic) to behold each others face again. I feel truly thankfull that I have still a standing in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints and I say to Dear sons and Daughters be faithful and live your religion for it will be through our faithfulness if ever we be permitted to meet together again. I feel to say the Lord bless you with every thing your hearts can desire in righteousness. We are here in Old Babylon sorounded (sic) with wickedness on every hand and the word of the Lord is come out of her my people lest you be partakers of her plagues. I have had the Demick in my right hand. I have had to play 7 weeks. I am verry thankfull to my father in heaven that I have the priviledge to commence work again but we have a verry poor place at the present and when we shall be able to gather means to emigrate ourselves from these lands with I don’t know but the Lord has said that he will gather his elect from the four corners of the earth and if we be his elect we have the promise and it is the promises of the Lord that stimulates us to go on. Was it not for the hope that we had within us we should die in despair. I am truly thankful for the testimony that I have in the work in which we are engaged for truly it is the work of the Lord. We have some rejoicing times here. There has been 6 added to the church by baptism from Birkenshaw. The following are the names thereof. George Schofield and Henry Schofield, Joseph Haigh, Joseph Renton, John Freel, James Gibson. Drighlington Branch is in a good Condition. It consists of 2 officers at the present, 3 Elders, 2 priests, 2 teachers, 1 Deacon besides the president. We held about 26 meetings outdoors last Summer. We have commenced out door preaching this summer. We have already held 15 meetings outdoors at Holm Lane end Birkenshaw and Drightlington & Adwalton & Burley & Dewsbury & Bathe & Batley carr heckmondwike. We held Counsel on Sunday the 2nd of May at Westgate Hill at Sister Cowlings. President Hodge gave counsel that we should hold 30 meetings next month. The wether been favorable. I have to go to Holm Lane end burley Cleckeaton Birkinshaw and Gomertal. Brother Thomas Turner has to go to Dewsbury batter carr Bathey heckmondwicke & Birkinshaw bottoms. Brother Stockdale has to go to Drightlington and Dwolton Gildersome Merstall and Tong. You will see by this that we shall not get rusty. I ever pray that God will bless us with a portion of his holy Spirrit that we might have strength given us to go forth and perform the labour assigned us that we might accomplish some good. We are all well at the present. Mother Cowling is not so verry well. The Batley folks are all pretty well at the present. Eurleys Uncle John Hobson is dead and buried. I was going to tell you the date but I have forgot and I can’t find the card. Sister Hobson has been confined of a daughter and it is living. They are all well for any thing that I now. She would like to hear from her two sons in the valey as she as not heard any thing since after they left this country. Your mother dyson has also buried her child. The rest of the folks are all well for any thing that I know. Your Uncle Coup.. desires to be remembered to you along with your ant. Martha Rustrick is working in the Brick yard and albert Withmina is working at the mill. They are all getting along first rate. Your ant Sarah Oxley wishes to be remmebered and wishes you to tell your ant Mary Thornton. She would very much like a letter from her as she as been silent ever since he got to the valey. She thinks that she is not sattisfied with her position. There is so many false reports conserning the Latter day Saints as a people. She would feel better satisfied had sister Mary to write a letter to her. I was at bentons yesterday and he desires to hear from his wife Polly. They are all well. James as got married. James Wells is dead and they have taken Thomas Wells to the asylum. Your ant Harriot wants to know if there is any room for her in the valey and if there is any souring when she gets there. Please to remmber me to all inquiring friends. I will write again soon and give you all particulars that I can. I remain your affectionate father in the Gospel.
Comments by Nel Lo H. Bassett:
1. “mother dyson” is Amelia Dyson (formerly Lambert), the mother of Emily Dyson (wife of Squire Hepworth), and is a sister to “Sister Hobson,” Ann Hobson (formerly Lambert), widow of John Hobson. Joseph Hepworth, the writer of this letter, later married her. They lived in Oxford, ID and were buried there.
2. In England it is the custom for all members of a family to refer to a mother-in-law as mother.
The following is a letter written by Joseph Hepworth, the son of Joseph Hepworth and Mary Hirst. Nel Lo H. Bassett commented that this letter was copied from a copy of Mary S. Hepworth of Grover, WY, who said the spelling was copied as it was on the original letter. We do not know where the original letter is. The mother that Joseph referred to as seeing in Batley was Ann Hobson formerly Lambert, who later married Joseph Hepworth, Sr. Ann Hobson emigrated on the ship Wisconsin on 2 Jul 1873. Joseph Hepworth, Sr. had emigrated on the ship Idaho almost three years earlier on 7 Sep 1870. We do not know when Mary Hirst Hepworth emigrated, but it was earlier than her husband Joseph. Amelia Lambert Dyson is a sister to Ann Lambert Dobson, and is also the mother of Emily Dyson, who married Squire Hepworth in England and emigrated with him to America.
near Hipperholme Nov. 15, 1871
To Mr. Joseph Hepworth Senior
My Dear Father,
We received your kind welcome letter on the 16th of October and another one addressed to Brother Joshua Wells on the 30th and we are all very much pleased to hear from you and as I am the scirbe (sic) that is selected to return unto you our compliments and gratitude I will begin with myself. The first you say in your letter that you hope that I have not forgot that I have a father and brothers in the land of the liveing (sic) and you all very anciously (sic) waiting to hear a something from me, also that Brother James cannot tell you all that you want to know. True it is a very difficult task fro one to tell something theat (sic) he don’t know himself, neither do I think that I shall be able to tell you all you want to know, nevertheless, I may perhaps give you rather more satisfactorily information on some particular points but not much, but if I can say anything in regards to anything else that you want to know, that will afford any satisfaction, pleasure, comfort or consolation I shall be very much pleased. After I received your letter, I went to Batley at the end of the week. Read the contents thereof to Mother she had some visitors from Halifax, consequently this prevented us from haveing (sic) much conversation, that is in regard to the welcome news that we had from you and as to what I were to say to you when I wrote back to you. It being the council day the following Sunday I thought it proper to defer writing to you an answer until that time. The time came and I had a short talk with Mother, she wishes to be kindly remembered to you would like to be with you as soon as possible. She has been rather sick, once she told her sister, Amelia. Amelia was going to write to her daughter Emily at the same time and I guess you hear of it. I think that is all that is or has been has rong (sic). So far as I can assertain (sic), only the inconvenient circumstances that we are placed in, which we ourselves cannot very well control. Mother and Jesse and Alma has been on the strike for wages. Mother was on the strike for a week, Jesse for a fortnight. They gone in again. They did advance the wages 2 schillings per week, previous to their striking, but a few of the hands were not sattisfied (sic), hence they struck out and the others were locked out. They have gone in again but not with a second advance of wages. Mother and the boys are doing pretty well just know. She says that she intends to come to America the next season if possible. Wether (sic) she can come right through or not she will not be able to come right through except there is some assistance from some other source and even if she could come right through she does not wish or desire to do so without calling to see her children. She does not know, however, she would accomplish the task. Tis six months since we heard anything from Sarrah (sic). Mother begins to feel very uneasy about her and the last time that Alice wrote she was liveing (sic) with William Woodhead. She told us not to write to her again till she had wrote to us as she was thinking to remove everday (sic) but she did not know where she would have to go therefore I guess you will have some idea how these things will affect the heart of a well wishing, kind, loveing, (sic) anxious Mother. I never heard anything from my Mother that bore me except what you say in your letters that she is going to send me some money to come out there with. I have not heard any signs of any money only what you say, I think Mother cannot get a confidential scribe to write for her else I think she would write to me or send me some information. Neither does sister Hannah write to me. I do believe that if they could write for themselves that they would do so. There is a portion of the truth in the saying of the poet:
All those who would be happy men
Here lies a presious (sic) portion in the pen
Therefore take care and learn to use this tool
For he who wants it looks much like a fool.
not that I wish to find fault with anyone that cannot write, not so but merely to show that what a great advantage it does aford (sic) to those that are fameliar (sic) with its use and how awkward and inconvenient it is to them poor dependent creatures that can’t write for themselves. I should be glad to hear from my Mother and sister Hannah if they could get anyone to pen them a few lines. I have not heard anything from Richard Bee or Mary Jane since I got the draft. He said then that they were going to a new settlement. I will write to them when I know wether (sic) they have got nicely settled. I am like you, I am always anxiously waiting to hear a something from all of you or any of you that think proper or that can or have convenience to write. I fully expected to hear or see a budget from James but I understand pretty near, I guess he is too busy with the girls. Well never, mind, but I’m not so young as I used to be. How do ye think I feel just now?
Now, James, my lad, if you have any time, Just sit down and listen
TO my merry rhyme.
You may have all the girls that you like by your side,
And they too may listen and I will not chide.
I want thee to tell me what sights thou hast seen
Since thee and me parted when at Norwood Green.
From Pickle Bridge station to Liverpool thou went
And how didst thou like the little time that thou spent?
You know very well, James, that I’ve never been
Not many miles further than here Norwood Green.
I’ve ne’er seen any shipping, don’t know what tis like
Because I’ve never been much further than Wike.
And now, my dear lad, you’ve been over the sea
And what thou saw there will thou tell to me?
What circumstance occurred that was worthy of date?
What sights met thy gaze that thou canst relate?
When over the sea thou was quickly wafted o’er
Thou wouldst see many sights that thou ne’er saw before.
From New York to Odgen and then to Salt Lake
Thou wouldst see many things that one might relate.
If thou rode in the train and it went too fast,
Thou would see haystack and tree and all things fly past.
If thy mind were distracted while going all that way,
That nothing attracted, just hear me I pray.
You would get to your home which long you desired..
And maybe I guess you would feel very tired.
But when you had rested and come to yourself,
Say, did you see nothing on the floor or the shelf?
I mean in the house or about where you live
That would please us or tease us or make us all grieve.
And now, my dear lad, tell us if you can
What sights you have seen, there come, thats a man (sic).
You need not to bother to put it in rhyme
It will do if blank verse, line after line,
But rhyme if you like, it will just do as well.
Write plain as you can so as we can tell
Don’t say that you can’t or you would if you could.
Just sit down and try, you will find it more good.
The girls they will help you, I know, if they can
Because we help Adam and he was a man.
They were made for that prupose (sic) deny it who can
That God created Eve, a helpmeat (sic) for man
I am what I am whatever betide. (Longfellow)
This is how the letter ends. It was written 15 Nov 1871 by Joseph Hepworth in reply to his father Joseph, Senior, who had written 16 Oct 1871. The first Mother he refers to is his future step mother. The second Mother (“that bore me”) is his biological mother, Mary Hirst Hepworth. James, to whom he writes the poem, is his brother, just nine months older than him. All of his older living siblings had already emigrated to America. He was still waiting in England. At this time, he was 21. James was 22. Their sister Hannah was 26 and married. They had a sister, Sarah, but she died at the age of 4, as did a sister Ann, at age 2, and a sister Elizabeth, at age 4. I’m not sure who the Sarrah is whom he refers to. Mary Jane was his younger sister, 15 at the time, almost 16 (on 23 Dec), who was already married to Richard Bee, age 20. Their married brothers, Squire and Edmund, were 28 and 30, respectively. Their parents, Joseph and Mary, were 55 and 51.
Mary Hirst Hepworth was endowed 6 Jun 1870, at the age of 49, in the Endowment House. Three years later, Joseph was endowed 27 Oct 1873, at the age of 57, in the Endowment House, two years after he emigrated on the ship Idaho on 7 Sep 1870.
Joseph Hepworth died in Oxford, Oneida County, ID, 18 Apr 1878, at the age of 62, and was buried in Salt Lake City. Mary died 25 years later, in Salt Lake City, 21 Sep 1903, at the age of 83, and was buried in the City Cemetery, Salt Lake City.
They were sealed to each other 14 Apr 1897 in the Salt Lake Temple, 19 years after Joseph died, and when Mary was 76 years old, 7 years before she passed away. Joseph and Mary were sealed to their parents by proxy 27 Nov 1945.
NelLo H. Bassett of Springville, UT has done extensive research and has very organized files of vital documentation on the Hepworth/Hirst ancestry. Her daughter in Shingle Springs, CA, is the back up researcher.