Devout Methodists                                                       

The Scholes and Lumb Families of West Yorkshire Maternal ancestors of Horace Leopold Hurley

David Scholes and Elizabeth (Betty) Dickinson

David Scholes, a stonemason, was born in 1784 n Morley, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and baptised at the Morley Congregational Church on September 20th that year. Betty was also born in Morley and baptised in the same church on May 16th 1779 . Their fathers’ names were John Scholes and John Dickinson, the mothers’ names are unknown. David and Betty may have died before 1851 as they do not appear on that census. They were married c1802-3 and produced 9 children, all baptised at the Morley Wesleyan Church:- Jabez (1803), Titus (1805), Mary (1807), Adam (1811), David (1815), Paul (1817), Sarah (1821), Ruth (1823) and Absalom born on May 18th 1825 and baptised on June 26th.

In the early decades of the 19th century Morley had a population of just over 3,000. It was a busy market town in the growing commercial and industrial districts around Leeds and Bradford which had expanded with the development of the woollen cloth industry. Morley had also been a centre for Dissenters for several hundred years, so there were many Methodists, Baptists and Congregationalists like the Scholes, alongside the many Anglican families.

Jabez, Adam and Paul were stonemasons like their father. Titus and David made their way in the woollen cloth industry, David becoming a cloth manufacturer employing a workforce of 48 people.  By the 1840s Jabez and Adam had travelled south to settle and rear their families at Tunbridge Wells in Kent, while Titus and David remained in Morley. Paul and the sisters have been harder to trace, however it seems that Ruth had been a servant at Morley Lodge at the age of 15.

Postcard of Morley, early 1900s, the home town of Scholes since the 18th century.                                                                                  Source: Leeds Library and Information Service

The Lumb family

For many generations the Lumbs were hill farmers on the Pennines of Yorkshire. Michael Lumb and Mary Crosland were married at St. Peter’s Church in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire on February 4th 1811. The Croslands were also from around the same area. Michael and Mary produced a family of ten children. Their first three were baptised at Marsden, near Huddersfield – William in 1811, George in 1815 and Martha in 1817. All the other children were baptised at Scammonden – Sarah in 1820, David and Helen in 1825, Lewis and Mary in 1833, and Michael in 1837.

Scammonden, also known as Dean Head, was a small hamlet in the Dean Head Valley of West Yorkshire, now submerged under Scammonden Water and Dean Head Reservoir. The demise of Scammonden began with the project to build the M62 motorway linking Lancashire to Yorkshire in the 1960s, which incorporated the construction of a reservoir to provide for the growing city of Huddersfield. At the time our Lumb family were living there, in the 1820s and 1830s, Scammonden had a population of about 800, most of the inhabitants made a living by cloth-making combined with farming.

A scene of Deanhead where the Lumb family lived before it was submerged under          the reservoir in 1967. Source: Scammonden Wardens

In 1839 Michael Lumb met an early death whilst attempting to extinguish a fire in his barn. Therefore the 1841 census shows the eldest son William, age 30, a farmer, as the head of the family in charge of his younger siblings David, Lewis, Addison, Mary and Michael. Their mother Mary is also living with them there at Marsh in Huddersfield. Presumably George, Martha, Sarah and Helen were living independently. By 1851 William, still unmarried and a farmer, was living with his brothers Lewis, Addison and Michael – all stonemasons. Mary, now aged 16, and their mother Mary, described as a lodger aged 60, are also living there. Their address is Lindley, a hamlet of Huddersfield, and the farm consists of 13 acres under pasture.

It is difficult to know when Mary (Crosland) Lumb died as there were many Lumb families in the district and many Mary Lumbs. Her daughter Mary, who was to marry Absalom Scholes, and her son Addison, were to migrate to Australia in the 1850s and establish new lives at Ceres in Victoria.

“Scarr”  the Lumb residence at Scammonden, now beneath Scammonden Water.       Source: Susan Wood

Absalom Scholes

In the Census of 1841 Absalom is shown at Adwalton, Drighlington which is in the borough of Morley. He is listed as a joiner’s apprentice, age 15 along with two other 15 year-old apprentices. They are probably apprenticed to 55 year old joiner Thomas Baratclough listed with them. In the township of Morley in the same census, Absalom’s father David appears as a 55 year-old stone delver (quarryman) living with Elizabeth (wife Betty) and son David Scholes age 25, a woollen cloth merchant. Their street address is Birch Trees. The 1841 census also shows Absalom’s sister Ruth as a 15 year-old servant at the Lodge in Morley.

Absalom’s first marriage

On May 15th 1846 Absalom married Martha Cooper at the Wesleyan Chapel, Bradford. Absalom was now a joiner aged almost 21 and Martha was 22. They were both living at Drighlington. Over the next few years they produced a family of four children: Albert b. 1846, Edwin b. 1848 and Lydia b. 1851. The 1851 census shows the family living at Lindley Cum Quarmby in the Huddersfield district of West Yorkshire. Absalom is described as a carpenter age 25, Martha is 29 and their children are Albert age 4, Edwin age 2 and baby Lydia age 2 months. Later another baby, Hannah was born, but died in infancy. Sadly, Martha died before she turned 30.

In 1849 Absalom had a fall whilst working and was a patient at Guy’s Hospital in London.

Guy’s Hospital London c1830, where Absalom was a patient in 1849.                       Source:

Mary Lumb, Absalom’s second wife

Mary Lumb, the youngest daughter of Michael and Mary Lumb, was born at Deanhead in 1833 and baptised on November 24th. The census of 1851 shows her as a 16 year-old living at Lindley Cum Quarmby with her mother and brothers who were stonemasons. William is a farmer, but the other brothers are stonemasons. Perhaps Mary met Absalom through her brothers’ work, as he was living in this parish at the same time.

On September 24th 1855 at the Parish Church of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, Mary married Absalom Scholes. He was 30 and she was 22 years old. Absalom’s father David had passed away by then, and Absalom was still working as a joiner. In 1856 their first child Ellen was born at Lindley. The family also included Absalom’s three children from his first marriage - Albert, Edwin and Lydia.

Migration to Geelong and Ceres

In 1857 Absalom, Mary, the three children and baby Ellen emigrated to Victoria on the ship “Shakespeare" arriving at Melbourne on December 2nd. Mary’s brother Addison had already emigrated with his wife and settled in Ceres, a village close to Geelong. He worked as a quarryman. Absalom and Mary first lived at Chilwell in Geelong and it was here in April they suffered the loss of a new baby in 1858 at only six days old. The baby is buried unnamed, in the Eastern Cemetery at Geelong. That year the Scholes family moved to Ceres, but again were struck with tragedy when Absalom’s son Edwin died in September at the age of 9 years from an epileptic attack after having the measles. Addison Lumb had also suffered the loss of two babies at Ceres in the late 1850s. Absalom farmed and also continued his trade earning a living as a carpenter and builder. For at least 100 years into the 1950s, much of his woodwork could be seen at places such as Prospect House at Ceres and many other local farm residences. He also supplied the furnishings to the Highton Methodist Church, however these were destroyed in a tornado during the 1920s.

The family increased with the births at Ceres of Annie in 1859, David Ernest in 1861, Samuel in 1863 and Mary Elizabeth (aka Lizzie) in 1865.

Death of Absalom

In 1866 Absalom met with a tragic accident. Whilst working on the roof at a church in the nearby village of Modewarre, he fell and sustained injuries that were to be fatal. On July 24th 1866 Absalom made his last will and testament. He left all his property (value did not exceed £200) to Mary, except his watch and tools that were to be given to his son Alfred (Albert). He died in the Geelong Hospital on 2nd August 1866, aged 41 years. The inquest reported in the Geelong Advertiser of August 4th 1866, stated he suffered from a fracture of both bones in the leg and that 17 years earlier he had met with a similar accident in England. His son Albert gave evidence at the inquest. Absalom is buried in the Scholes’ family grave at the Highton Cemetery, Geelong.

After Absalom’s death Mary supported herself and family by dressmaking. She also kept a shop on the Barabool Road and owned three cottages in Ceres.

Tragic losses

More tragedy befell Mary six years later in 1872 when her 10 year-old daughter Annie died after 11 days of suffering hydrocephalus (a build-up of fluid on the brain). Four years later on November 15th 1876 Mary endured another great loss when her son David Ernest drowned in the Barwon River along with her daughter Ellen’s fiance Dr. James Hillard. (The accident occurred two miles from Buckley’s Falls.) This was a huge tragedy. The Geelong Advertiser ran the story outlining how an innocent swim on a hot day ended in such a tragic loss, witnessed by Samuel, Ellen and their little sister Lizzie.The family were devout Methodists whose beliefs would have been tested with these tragedies. Mary’s son Samuel was later to become a Methodist minister. He was 13 when he witnessed the drownings, almost falling into the river himself when trying to grab hold of his brother’s hand. The victims, Ernest and James were young men at the start of their careers. Ernest was training to be a teacher and James was about to become a Wesleyan minister. James’ body was recovered after a few hours but Ernest’s was not recovered until the next day. A poem written by W. Stitt Jenkins (1812-1878) describes the tragedy. One of the six verses reads:

             “Ah! winding Barwon! fatal stream

              That looked so smiling on that day!

              Could they e’er think that sudden death

              Within that placid bosom lay.

              Alas the weeds , the clinging weeds

              Dragged James & Ernest deep below

              And in an instant happy homes

              Were plunged in all the gloom of woe”

The Geelong Advertiser of Thursday November 16th 1876 wrote: A gloom was cast over the immediate neighbourhood of Ceres….. The scene of lamentation at the house of Mrs. Scholes was something beyond description.The funeral was held on November 17th at Mary’s home in Ceres at 3 pm and proceeded from there to the Highton Cemetery, where the bodies were laid to rest with Absalom, Edwin and Annie.

Happier times

Mary Scholes had suffered great family losses. A happy event however would have been when daughter Lizzie, her youngest, married a promising young schoolteacher Thomas Hurley, at her home in Ceres on January 12th 1887. Her son Samuel became a Methodist minister in 1885 and was a highly regarded preacher and Methodist leader in Melbourne. Step-son Albert was a well known builder around the Ceres area.

On August 15th 1898, Mary Scholes died at Ceres, aged 65, of a “valvular disease of the heart” from which she had suffered for 12 months. She was the last to be buried in the Scholes family grave at Highton. Her brother Addison died the same year.

The Scholes and Lumb families’ contributions as pioneers in Ceres were acknowledged by the dedication of a tree in 1933 in the Memorial Avenue on the Barabool Road. A tree outside the Cemetery nearest the Methodist Church was planted in their memory.

Scholes family grave at Highton Cemetery, Geelong.                                                    Photo: Ann Hurley 2008

Click here to continue to Mary Elizabeth Scholes and Thomas Hurley’s story