Wednesday, November 12, 2014

(SMITH) James Greaves

{This is one of four posts about my children's ancestors named James--one James from each grandparent's ancestral line.}

James Greaves was born in 1773 in Shaw, Lancashire, England. He married Betty Buckley; they had two daughters. 

James's life spanned a time of local transition. Shaw had previously been so small that "going to Shaw was synonymous with going to church as there was not much else there." At that time "the area was sparsely populated and consisted of woods, moors and bogs." Shaw, with poor soil and rugged terrain better suited to sheep grazing than farming, had long been dependent on woolen manufacture.  Though wool was the foundation of the local economy, international demand was growing for a different clothing fiber: cotton. 

As it turned out, Shaw's damp climate was ideal for spinning cotton; it kept the cotton threads from drying and breaking. When James was 10, a cotton mill was built in the area. When James was 20, there were a dozen mills and Shaw's population had at least doubled. 

As is often the case, change was not completely welcome. To encourage and support wool production during the transition decades, there was a law in Shaw that the bodies of the deceased had to be dressed in woolen clothing. Nevertheless, the area became increasingly dedicated to industrialized cotton spinning and textile manufacture. 

James's grandchildren were born during a time of conflict as hand loom weavers faced the reality that they could not work as fast as machines. There was even a local riot during which many power looms were smashed. Despite the violence, progress and mechanization marched on, and Shaw was solidly a mill town for the next 150 years. 


Line of descent:

James Greaves, born 1773

Ann Greaves, born 1799
Alice Greaves Hurst, born 1819
Asa Brigham Scoville, born 1861
Lucia Naomi Scoville, born 1889
Alice Zemp, born 1925



1 -  The quotes are from this website. 

2 - 
3 -
4 - person ID LZFD-7P8

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