[MIDG661] Thomas Midgley (born at Colne, 1794) joined the East York Militia at Bradford (on 18th October 1812), together with twenty-one other boys and sixteen men. The militia was part of the home defence against the threat of invasion by French troops under Napoleon. After initial training at Beverley, the men marched north to Seaton House near Prestonpans. Most of 1813 was spent on exercises, with various marches in the area, e.g. to Edinburgh. In mid-August of that year the men marched to Dumbarton, then on to Gourock, and back to Glasgow by mid-September. Whilst at Glasgow, Thomas volunteered (on 15th December 1813) to join the 1st Battalion of the 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (which in 1881 amalgamated with the 73rd to form the Highland Light Infantry). He said he was age 16, born at Colne in Lancashire, and was a shoemaker by trade. (In fact he was age 19, though perhaps his small stature enabled him to pass for being younger.) His subsequent army records show he had fair complexion, with blue eyes, light hair and round face.

A week after he enlisted an army regulation was issued to the effect that:

Growing lads of 5 ft. 3¾ in., under 18 years of age to be received as volunteers from the militia.

Thomas was in fact under height by a quarter of an inch, but as a (supposed) growing lad of 16 he had a chance to grow.

Thomas was attached to the Regimental Depot at Carlisle, but was actually sick in hospital at Glasgow until February 1814. The battalion moved to Sunderland Barracks in the March, then Tynemouth Castle in the July, and finally Liverpool Docks in the September.

                                               Tynemouth Castle
(9 August 2011)

The men embarked ship on 25th October and disembarked at Dublin on 2nd November 1814, part of No. 7 Company. Early in 1815 the men moved to Galway, then marched to Cork in the July (this took 7 days). The remainder of that year they were either at Cork or Rathkeale.

Whilst in this area Thomas, a soldier in the 74th Regiment, married (at Ardcanny, 11th February 1816) [GRAC662] Anna Grace (born 1793, possibly daughter of [GRAC651] John Grace who had married (at Limerick, 10th February 1793) [GRDY652] Honoria Grady).

Thomas may have been in haste to marry, as by the end of that month he was back in Dublin, where he stayed a year. On 7th March 1817 the Company marched from Dublin to Prospessus. A month later Thomas and some other men were detached to Omagh. On 24th October he was “claimed” by the Omagh Militia. Finally on 30th December 1817 he was formally discharged from the 74th Regiment as being “under size”. At some date between 1818 and 1820 Thomas left the militia and settled in Leeds.

Thomas and Anna had four children:

William (born at Leeds, 20th January 1820, baptised at Leeds, St. Peter, 16th February 1820), married (at Leeds, St. Peter, 14th May 1844) Hannah Appleyard, and afterwards went to live at Halliwell (Lancs);

Elizabeth (born at Leeds, 2nd March 1822, baptised at Leeds, St. Peter, 11th July 1822);

Mary (born at Leeds, baptised at Leeds, St. Peter, 19th April 1824), married (at Leeds, St. Peter, 8th November 1842) Thomas Smith;

[MIDG672] Ann (born at Wortley, baptised at Leeds, St. Peter, 15th July 1827), see later.

The family lived variously at Leeds (Timble Bridge and East Lane), Wortley and New Wortley (Wellington Row). Thomas was variously shoe maker, labourer, potter, paper stainer, earthenware dealer and slap dasher. Of his children, William was a woollen weaver, Mary a flax spreader and Ann a flax rover.

Thomas, a potter, died (age 50, of phthisis) at Wellington Row, New Wortley, (18th January 1845, buried at Wortley, St. John the Evangelist, 22nd January 1845), and Anna died (age 61, of chronic bronchitis and dropsy) at Mann Street Holbeck (30th December 1853, buried at Holbeck, 31st January 1845). Whilst his birth details have not been established, other than his army papers showing him born at Colne, one possibility is that he was the Thomas (born at Burnley, Lancs), son of Thomas & Betty, baptised at Burnley, 16th February 1794. This Thomas senior married at Burnley either {13th May 1781) Betty Baldwin or {10th May 1789) Betty Prockter, or else the same Thomas married twice, both named Betty.

[MIDG672] Ann Midgley (born 1827, daughter of Thomas) was a witness when her bother William married (at Leeds, St. Peter, 14th May 1844, Hannah Appleyard. Ann married 1. (at Leeds, St. Peter, 12th October 1850) [KEMP671] George Kemplay (born 1824) see KEMPLAY. He died (age 23) in Hunslet (5th October 1852), and their infant daughter Ann was baptised three weeks later at Halliwell (Lancs), St. Paul, on 30th October 1852. The widow Ann later married 2. (at Little Holbeck, 20th October 1855) her brother William's brother-in-law Thomas Appleyard (born 1816).


Thomas Midgley = Anna Grace
1841 Census  1350/3-23  Wortley, Wellington Row
Thomas  MIDGLEY     45 potter          Y !
Ann     MIDGLEY     45                 Y !
William Midgley     20 woollen weaver  Y
Mary    Midgley     15 flax spreader   Y
Ann     Midgley     14 flax rover      Y
1851 Census  2317-561  Holbeck, Mann's Field
Ann     MIDGLEY H W 58 Parish relief  Limerick (IRL)