On July 6th 1877 my great grandparents, Joseph Smith and Eliza Anne Hall, were married in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
Joseph Smith (1849 - 1923)
Joseph was the oldest child of John and Eliza Smith who had eight children altogether. Joseph was born on 18th March 1849 at Wintersett in Yorkshire where his father was employed as an agricultural labourer. With the development of the canals, John moved his family to Monk Bretton and became a canal labourer. Joseph also became a canal labourer and he lived in his parents' home at Burton Bridge, Monk Bretton. By 1877,however, Joseph had moved to live at Old Mill Wharf on the Barnsley Canal.
Eliza Anne Hall (1856 - 1931)
Eliza was the oldest child of George Henry Hall and his wife Elizabeth. She was born in 1856 at Clayton West, Yorkshire where her father was a corn miller. She had two sisters and one brother. By the 1870s George had re-located his family to Burton Bridge, Monk Bretton where Eliza lived until her wedding.
Marriage 6th July 1877
The marriage was solemnized at the United Methodist Free Church in Barnsley on July 6th 1877.
After their marriage, Joseph and Eliza lived at 51, Old Mill Wharf in Barnsley and Joseph continued to work for the Barnsley Canal Company.
Within nine months their first child, Edith, was born on March 2nd 1878.
Joseph was clearly ambitious because by 1881 he had got himself promoted to a Canal Foreman job with a new home for his family at Bridge House adjacent to the canal in Royston, a few miles from Barnsley. Ten years later he had become the Canal Inspector for that section of the canal. However, the census of 1901 records him as a Canal Foreman again and additionally describes him as a "navvy" which is a shortened version of the term "navigator" used to describe those employed in manual work on engineering projects (canals then railways). 1911 sees Joseph recorded once again as a Canal Inspector working for The Aire and Calder Navigation Company.
The Barnsley Canal was built to connect some of the South Yorkshire coalfields to the Aire and Calder canals network for onward distribution. Construction commenced in 1793 and despite a very chequered history the canal remained functional and profitable until 1942. One of the main problems was the effect of subsidence on the canals caused by the coal mining underneath. Presumably part of Joseph's job was to check for any problems and undertake repairs.
Joseph and Eliza had six children: Edith (1878 - 1919); Anne (1881 - 1926); John (1882 - 1970); Ethel (1883 - 1884); Elsie (1885 - 1952); Beatrice (1885 - 1962).
When Joseph retired from the Canal Company he and Eliza went to live at 30, Church Hill, Royston. Their home at Bridge House probably went with the job.
Joseph died in 1923 and Eliza died a few years later in 1931. They were buried in the churchyard of the parish church of St. John in Royston. Somewhere along the way they appear to have changed from Methodist to Anglican.
After Joseph's burial, the vicar wrote in the Church Magazine for that month: