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In the mid-western region of England lies the city of Manchester, which
is part of Lancashire County. This area of England has a beautiful,
green countryside but it also contains some of her industrial cities.
Manchester has been called England's "second city", next to London.
It became a city in 1853 along four rivers (Irwell, Medlock, Irk and Tib).
But its history dates back to 79 AD when the Romans built a military station,
called "Mancunium". The people of the area, five hundred years later
called the area "Mancestre". By the time of Queen Elizabeth I (1500's),
there was a population of 10,000 people living in the area.
A woolen cloth called "Manchester Cotton" started to be manufactured in the mid-1350's. By 1760, cotton goods were exported to Europe and America. The cotton power loom was established in 1806 and so increased the cotton textile production.
In 1862, there were nine townships within Manchester. By the mid-1860's, Manchester had a population of about 530,000 people. Along the Irwell River was built a Gothic, highly ornamental Church in 1422. This Collegiate Church was the Parish Church of Manchester and became a Cathedral in 1847.
GEORGE and JEMIMA KERSHAW
The young couple Kershaws (George and Jemima) had seven children very quickly during the decade of the 1880's. There were five sons and two daughters:
So it was William Fitzwilliam's son,George, along with George William's oldest son---Henry (Harry) George Kershaw and another son, Edwin, that broke the family ties to England and set sail for America. George arrived after his son, Edwin. George sailed out of Liverpool, England on the SS LACONIA on August 6, 1912 and arrived in the Port of Boston on August 14, 1912. Edwin Kershaw was living at 185 Bowell St. in Methuen, MA. He claims he arrived in 1909. Other records show it might have been 1912 with his father. George was described on the ship's manifest as 5' 4 1/2" with a light complexion, light hair, and brown eyes. He had been a textile maker up in Longsight, England. Then Jemima sailed out of Liverpool on October 15, 1912 on the SS FRANCONIA. Traveling with her was her son, John Kershaw, age 18 years and a child, named Clara, age 5 years. John had worked as a laborer in Manchester. Jemima was described as 5' 2" tall with fair complexion, light brown hair and blue eyes. John was 5' 3" with a dark complexion, brown hair and eyes. They arrived at the Port of Boston on October 23, 1912. Next sent for was their son, Henry and son-in-law, George Green Prophet. Henry would later have alongside him his wife, Ethel Briggs. She was born January 28, 1884, in Manchester, the daughter of Isaac Briggs and Frances Annie (Dubberley)Briggs of England. Isaac was a bricklayer, born between 1852 in Pilkington, Lancashire, England, the son of Isaac Briggs, Sr. and Susannah Ramsbottom. The Briggs family were well known bricklayers for many generations. Frances was born between March - June 1857 at Church Stretton in England. Her parents were George Dubberley of Herefordshire Co. (born 1829) and Elizabeth Jewkes, born 1827 in Wistanstow, Shropshire. George and Elizabeth had six children. Frances and Isaac Briggs, Jr. married in January 16, 1881 in Saint James, Higher Broughton, Salford, Lancashire, England. They had eight children (Ethel, Mabel A., Euncie, Maud, Reginald, Annie, Eleanor, & Sydney). Frances died between Dec. 3, 1903 (about age 46)in Cheetham,Prestwich and Isaac after 1904. Ethel and Henry were married December 26, 1904 in Manchester (NOTE -- Marriage in the District of Chorlton in the counties of Manchester and Lancaster in Great Britain. Witnesses were: John Stanley and Elizabeth Prophet Elizabeth Prophet's sister, Emma Prophet, would later become Harry's second wife after Ethel's death.)**** December 26, 2004 (Sunday) **** Marks the 100th Anniversary since their marriage. They had a son, named HARRY KERSHAW, JR., born September 23, 1905 in Gorton,Manchester, England. A daughter, named ETHEL, was born January 28, 1909 (same day as her mother's birthdate). Then a second son, named EDWIN KERSHAW, was born September 6, 1910 in Openshaw,Manchester. Henry, Sr. worked as an oyster dealer, barman and salesman, at different times, each time trying to improve his family's lifestyle. Over the years they also lived in several different rental homes. A few years later the family was ready for a new life in America. After George and Jemima were settled they paid the passage for Henry, Sr. and their son-in-law, George Prophet. They sailed out of Liverpool on one of the many passenger ships headed for the United States. They traveled on the maiden voyage of the newest Cunard ship of 1913, named SS ALAUNIA, leaving November 27, 1913. They landed at the Port of Boston on December 6, 1913. Four months later Henry sent for his wife, Ethel. She came with their three children. It was the Cunard Line, SS CARMANIA that carried the family to Boston. They left Liverpool on April 14, 1914 and arrived on April 23, 1914. Ethel was described as 5' 4", fresh complexion, brown hair and grey eyes. Harry was listed as age 9 years (for April 1914, he was really 8 years old), Ethel - age 5 years, and Edward (Edwin) as 3 years old. Ethel and their children made their way to Henry's parent's home at 173 Hilldale Ave. in Haverhill in Essex County.
The young immigrant family later settled in at 453 Hilldale Avenue in this peaceful New England town just north of Boston. Henry felt he must start a job immediately. Haverhill had several factories employing many workers who manufactured shoes. He got a job at E. W. Bailey Shoe Factory at 48 Grande Street. Yes, Henry would be starting in a line of work similar to what his father and grandfather had done in Manchester but there still was the hope of opportunity in the years ahead in his new homeland. Plus earning money ($1.00 to $2.00 a day) was a great necessary for a growing family.
As the years moved on Henry, Sr. rose to the position of foreman at the shoe factory. The family was not rich but had all their needs provided.
Young Harry Jr. started school at Wingate Grammar School in Haverhill in 1914. He excelled in his academics and made friends very easily. Reading and comprehension came very quickly to Harry and he surpassed many of his fellow classmates.
Henry, Sr. and Ethel encouraged their families back in England to move
to America. They were happy in their new adopted homeland and wanted
the rest of the family to share in their life in Massachusetts. Henry's
father and mother, George William and Jemima Kershaw, had came earlier to America in 1912. They had a place to live just down the street from
Henry. It was located at 173 Hilldale Avenue in Haverhill.
Not only did Henry's parents come but also Henry's two sisters (Elizabeth
and Margaret) and three of his brothers (John, Edwin (Edward), and Frederick).
One brother, George Kershaw, Jr., remained in England as a soldier in the British
Army. His Military career - about 1915 - 1919 - with the Seaforth Highlanders (regiment dates back to 1778). A private in rank but aide to an officer (who won the military cross). In a letter to his mother in January 29, 1918:
"He has been made an officer's servant and where his officer goes he goes. The last time we went over the top, he won the military cross, he is a brave chap. I am hanging on, keep going into action and out again. We were in the trenches for Christmas dinner (Dec. 25, 1917). I have been among a lot of USA soldiers in France. They are a fine lot of fellows. It will be a blessing when this war is over. This is my third winter now doing my bit. We are having lots of snow and frost and us kiltles feel it."
(From: Haverhill newspaper (draft board - January 1918).
George was wound several times, each time taking weeks to recover in a hospital in England.
The Seaforth Highlanders Reg. # 23506 - George was a private.
Labour Corp Reg. # 634600 - George was a private. But on April 18, 1922, he too joined the Kershaw family in Essex County. He came first by himself on the SS SCYTHIA arriving at Ellis Island, NY. His family followed later leaving their home at 2 Brown Street, Blackrod, Lancashire, England. George later did return to England permanently, dying about 1963 in Bolton, Eng. George William Kershaw's two other brothers remained in England.
Along with the immediate family came the wives, husbands and children of George William's sons and daughters. All had left Manchester to try and start fresh in America. One family from Manchester that had intermarried with the Kershaw family in England was the Prophet family. George Green Prophet, Sr. (born July 8, 1880) married Elizabeth Kershaw (George William's daughter and Henry, Sr.'s sister) in early 1902 in Manchester. After four children (George Green, Jr., Margaret Ellen, Wilfred, and Harry Prophet) were born to the family, they all crossed the Atlantic in between 1913 - 1914 (George arrived December 1913) bound for Massachusetts. They settled in Haverhill, living at 247 Hilldale Avenue. A few years later two more sons, Stanley (June 17, 1916) and Kenneth Carl Prophet (December 20, 1920), were born to George and Elizabeth Kershaw Prophet in Haverhill.
After arrival in Massachusetts and setting in, George William Kershaw found
employment at the Pentucket Mills in Haverhill. It was a thread and
textile factory, very much what he was familiar with back in Manchester.
But George William Kershaw's time in America was short. He passed away at about age 60 years in Haverhill on Sunday, February 25, 1917. Jemima, his widow, did have her family around her to help during this difficult time. George was buried in Haverhill.
As the decade of the 1910's moved on the United States had its male citizen's
register for the U.S. military draft. War was raging in Europe and
the U.S. had to be prepared.
Henry, Sr. also registered for the military draft, ready to serve if he
When the United States entered the Great War of 1918, Henry, Sr. was not
drafted but better served the nation by continuing his work as foreman
at the show factory. His sons were too young, only 13 and 8 years
Young Harry Jr. completed his schooling at the Wingate Grammar School in 1919. He then went on to Haverhill High School in the fall of 1919. By January of 1920 the family moved to the small town of Plaistow in Rockingham Co., NH. They lived on Main Street. Henry worked as a finisher at Wood Heal Factory and the oldest son, Harry was an errand boy at Bow Manufacturer Co. Henry and Ethel had a third son, "unnamed" because he died at birth on April 21, 1920. The rest of the family remained in Haverhill. Harry had skipped a couple grades along the way as he was so advanced beyond the regular students.
On April 9, 1923, a fifth child was born in Merrimac, Essex Co. (where the family moved to next) to Henry, Sr. and Ethel. The fourth son, named Robert Howard Kershaw, became the darling of the family. His nickname became Bobby and he was well looked after by his older two brothers and one sister.
Before Merrimac, the family returned to Haverhill briefly. Harry, Jr. at age 15 years and 9 months felt the Haverhill High School had nothing else to offer him. He saw a greater need in helping provide additional income to his family. So without graduating from high school, Harry left school and found employment at the Haverhill Last Works in June 1921. He stayed there for three years before being hired at the H. C. Leschke Heel Company, making wooden heels,in Haverhill, where his father was now foreman. He did break his left heel when he was 17 years old. Harry continued to live at home and financially helped his family. Harry Kershaw, Jr. - born Sept. 23, 1905 in England ----- on September 23rd in 2005 ---- marks the 100th Anniversary of this birth.
In early 1935, Harry's mother, Ethel Briggs Kershaw, was very ill.
She had been suffering from breast cancer since 1933 and there was very
little medicine could do in the 1930's for such a disease. On April
18, 1935, Ethel died and was later buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn,
Massachusetts at the age of 53 years. There was never a tombstone or headstone placed at her grave. This could have been to the economic times, the middle of the Great Depression and the family didn't have enough money for a headstone. It was very hard on the family
and especially the youngest of Ethel's children, Bobby, who was only about
15 years old.
But just over a year later, more suffering for the family. Henry, Sr.'s mother, (Harry's grandmother) Jemima Smith Kershaw died on September 26, 1936 in Haverhill, Massachusetts of adeno-carcinoma of omentum. She was just a few days short of her 79th birthday. Jemima lived at 118 South Main Street in Haverhill. She was buried next to her husband, George William, at the Hilldale Cemetery in Haverhill. Jemima had claimed a daughter, Clara Kershaw, as her own. There was a question if she was Jemima's daughter or really a grandchild.(Proof found in 2003 with Clara Kershaw's birth record from England, her father was Jemima's son, George. Clara's mother died in childbirth. Jemima did raise Clara as her "daughter".) Clara did marry Percy Sullivan in the late 1930's. Photo-below, right
The Prophet family in nearby Haverhill was of great comfort to the Kershaw family in Lynn. One member of the Prophet family became very close to Henry, Sr. over the next two years. She was Emma P. Prophet, the sister of George Green Prophet, Jr., who had never married. Emma was born September 4, 1884 in England and had come to America in 1924, years after her brother and his family arrived. So it came to be that on Thursday, June 24, 1937, that the Kershaw and Prophet families were joined again by marriage. Emma and Henry, Sr. were married in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Henry was not as able as he had been years earlier to serve as foreman
in the shoe factory, so he left that job. To go at a slower pace
and still bring some money home, he worked as a custodian at a bank in
Lynn. Henry started his paper work to gain his US citizenship in 1935 and it became official in December 1939, twenty-six years after arriving. NOTE: Henry, Sr. - on his papers for naturalization - he stated his sons, Harry, Jr. and Edwin were born in England.
Harry, Jr. continued during the 1930's in the U.S. Army. By 1938, with the establishment of a separate U. S. Air Force, he saw this as an opportunity to advance in a new military branch. In 1938, Harry joined the regular Air Force as a corporal. He still served in the administrative fields but did enjoy learning how to fly a plane as a hobby.
Back in the States, Gertrude and Harry purchased a home in March 1946.
Harry was to be stationed back in Miami, Florida so they purchased the
home at 5151 NW 4th Terrace in Miami. He became active in
the Masons and Elks organizations and Gertrude with raising the two boys.
But the years of Harry being away had put a strain on their marriage.
They did not always see eye to eye on how the boys were to be raised.
Harry's family of his childhood was now gone or scattered to other locations. By 1946, his parents (Henry and Ethel) had passed away. His grandparents (George William and Jemima) were no longer around. Even sister, Ethel, died too young many years earlier. His two brothers, Edwin and Robert, had each gone their separate ways. Edwin first married Anna Leila McKay Larkin on Nov. 9, 1940 in Salem, NH. He was stationed at Mitichell Field on Long, Island, NY. Anna Larkin was divorced from Bernand Larkin. She was born in 1901 in Mass. What became of the first marriage and to Anna is unknown at this point. He later married (Feb. 1941 in NY)a nurse, named Laura Jean Fox. She was born June 18, 1912 in Canada. She and Edwin had four children, three boys (Geoffrey, Michael and Robert) and girl, named Deborah Sue. Edwin had also served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and rose to the rank of sergeant. They lived in various locations as Edwin was stationed in the military. Edwin and Laura settled in Salem, Oregon. That is where Edwin died suddenly of a heart condition on January 29, 1968. The youngest brother, Robert Howard Kershaw, continued to live in Lynn area of Massachusetts for awhile, cared for by Emma Kershaw, his step mother until he was 19 years and entered the military for a few years. He married Ida Zazarise on Dec. 27, 1943 in Tampa, FL and had three daughters (Donna, Lesley & Karen) and one son, also named Robert. Robert and his wife, Ida lived for years in the Peabody area of Massachusetts and later retired to the west coast of Florida. Harry lost track of his brothers over the years. The above information on Edwin and Robert was only recently secured through research by Alice Kershaw Luckhardt. NOTE: Robert Howard Kershaw died suddenly of a heart attack on Oct. 24, 2002. Robert was buried in Florida. He was the last member of the original Kershaws from England to America.
Emma Prophet Kershaw (Harry's step mother) worked at Magrane
Dept. C. on Market Street in Lynn for many years after Henry's death in
1940. She continued to live in Lynn near other Prophet family members.
She died in August 21,1983, (living in Sarasota, FL) almost reaching the age of 99 years. She was buried in Sarasota, FL.
Harry's uncle, Edward (Edwin)Kershaw had married Margaret Dolan and they had a son, Russell E. Kershaw, born about 1916 and a son, named Arthur W. Kershaw, born about 1918 in Mass. Edwin worked as a foreman for the Wood Heal Shop in the 1920's. He passed away on December 9, 1955 in Haverhill and Margaret on November 1979 in Haverhill. Uncle John Kershaw died in Haverhill in March of 1963. Uncle Frederick Kershaw (who was born August 28, 1884) lived during the 1950's at 420 Groveland Street in Haverhill and had been self-employed most of his life as a plumber, owning his own business. He was married to Isabelle H. Taylor (1888-1941) They had a daughter, Elsie Taylor Kershaw on Aug. 9, 1921. She married James Carideo and they had six children. Elsie died Dec. 2, 1998 in NH. Frederick had remarried to Helen F. Marchback (1914 - 1996). Frederick died on February 15, 1963 in Haverhill. Harry's aunt, Margaret (Maggie) married Joseph Wilman and they had 2 sons. But over the years Harry had little or no contract with his Massachusetts family and they were not aware what was happening with him.
Harry's own marriage to Gertrude no longer existed by the late 1940's.
While his divorce was in its processing stage, his life was about to change.
By September 1948, he was stationed in Panama City, Florida on recruiting
duty. From October 22 to December 8, 1948, he was at the Adjutant
General's School for special training in Ft. Lee, Virginia. It was
on the presidential Election Day of that November 9th morning in 1948 that
Harry was introduced to U.S. (WAC) Army Lt. Nan
M. Everhart by mutual friends.
During their breakfast meeting they talked and even continued to see each
other for the remainder of the weeks that Harry was at Ft. Lee. Even
after returning to Panama City after December 8th, Harry and Nan continued
to correspond and meet in different locations whenever both had some leave
time. They became very close in a few short months and each knew
they wanted to be together forever. Harry's divorce from Gertrude
in Bay County, FL, would not be final until April 14, 1949. But Nan made plans to resign
from the military service in March and gather her things for the move to
Florida. On Wednesday, April 27, 1949, Harry and Nan were married
by the Justice of the Peace in Bonifay, Holmes County, Florida. By July, 1949, Harry
retired from the military after 22 years.
As the new 20th century dawned nearly a hundred years ago, a branch of the Kershaw family took that first step to a new homeland, led by George and Jemima, Henry George and Ethel Briggs Kershaw. The first United States citizen born within the family, was Robert Howard Kershaw. There would be more family members to come from England in those first twenty years. More children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would be the many descendants of the Kershaws moving to America.
The first Kershaws in America may not have been rich or famous but they
did set the stage to allow future generations to achieve their own goals
and set their own standards. Long hours of work in a factory did
not have to continue. There were other avenues open to each including
a college education. Some descendants would achieve a four-year
college degrees and many other descendants would also make their
mark in America.
The sources for the family history of the
Kershaws are quite varied. They include an early family history in
note form written by Nan Kershaw based on verbal information given her
by Harry Kershaw. Old photos of Harry's with dates and names on them
provide data. Copies of Naturalization records (1935-1939) for Henry G. Kershaw and Social Security along with military records were excellent
sources. Birth, marriage and death certificates along with information from internet
ancestral databases (such as census records from England) were helpful.
Even information was secured from Manchester, England using Church records. Newest information is from Robert Howard Kershaw (April 1923-Oct. 2002), Jeff Kershaw, Gordon F. Kershaw, Susan Kershaw, Debbie Kershaw Ebbert and Mildred Leschke Bilbilian.