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JOHN WILLIAM HAIGH

1850-1901

 

John William was born in 1850 at PASTURESIDE FARM in Walsden, the son of Reuben and Susannah Haigh. He grew up at the farm and by 1881 he had married Hannah Ratcliffe of Dog House. They lived at Pastureside and John farmed 50 acres of land. In 1881 they had a son Reuben aged 2 and daughter, but by 1891 the family had moved to Ruabon in North Wales where John William owned and ran the Ruabon Brick Company. By then the family had grown to 4, Reuben 12, and three daughters aged 10, 9 and 7. In the census he is given as a colliery proprietor and lived at Pen-y-Gardden, Ruabon. They also had two servants so obviously lived in some comfort.

 

The year that the family moved to Ruabon isn't known precisely, but his youngest daughter, Edith was born in Walsden in 1884, so he was still in the town then, unless his wife had moved back so that the child could be born there.

 

From the date of an article in "Remembering Ruabon" by T.W. Pritchard, which states: "The Ruabon Brick and Terra Cotta Ltd. Gwaith Jinks, 1883, was established by John William Haigh", it looks likely that he had set up this business before his daughter's birth in 1884. A report of his death in July 1901 says that he left Walsden for Ruabon in February of 1889. Which of these dates is correct, is to be guessed at. All we know for certain is that the family moved to Ruabon between 1881 and 1891.

How and why he chose Ruabon to move to, and set up a new business is not easily explained. There is no evidence of any other members of his family living in the area of Ruabon and it seems a strange choice, as Walsden folk tended to stay in the area. His father died in 1886 and his mother went to live in Keighley with her married daughter Elizabeth, until she died in 1897. John William inherited £76,000 from his father, along with Pastureside Farm and all the collieries that his father had an interest in. He kept all his interests in the collieries in Walsden, right up until his death in 1901, and all the coals under Inchfield, Walsden, were left by him, for future contingencies. He was also a director of the Cliviger Coal Company, Burnley.

 

In 1901, John William went to Harrogate to convalesce and on July 9th 1901, he suddenly died there. His death was reported in the Wrexham Advertiser on the 13th July 1901as follows:

"Death of Mr. Haigh

We regret to record the death of Mr. J. W. Haigh managing director of the Ruabon Brick and Terra Cotta Works which took place after a brief illness at Harrogate on Tuesday. The deceased who was about fifty years of age, had suffered from cold for some time, but undertook the journey to Harrogate with the view of recruiting his health. The journey however proved too much for him and he had a relapse soon after his arrival at Harrogate. Mrs. Haigh, the son and four daughters were at once sent for, the patient's condition having become and he succumbed to pneumonia as stated. He was a native of Todmorden and has been connected with the brickworks at Ruabon since it's construction, and when the new company was formed and registered on March 14th this year, he was appointed the managing director. The deceased was well known for his kind and genial disposition and his liberality in all cases of need. He was much beloved by his workmen and a host of friends. Much sympathy with the bereaved family is felt throughout the district. The Parish Church bells rang muffled peals on Tuesday afternoon and the news of the lamentable death soon spread throughout the district."

He was buried in the family vault in St. Peter's churchyard, Walsden, with his parents on July 12th 1901.

 

The inscription reads:

In Memory of JOHN WILLIAM HAIGH of

Pen-y-Gardden, Ruabon, N. Wales

and Pastureside, Walsden

Born September 17th 1850

died July 9th 1901.

 

On a stone scroll is the inscription

From the employees of the Ruabon and Terra Cotta Co. Ruabon

In affectionate remembrance of their employer

John Wm. Haigh Esq., of

Pen-y-Gardden, Ruabon

 

The Wrexham Advertiser of 20 July 1901 also carried a report of his funeral as follows:

 

"The Late Mr. J. W. Haigh

The interment of the late Mr. Haigh of Gardden Hall whose lamentable death was recorded last week, took place at Walsden on Friday. The officiating clergyman was the Rev. J. Napier, vicar of the parish. The bells of Walsden church (the gift of the deceased gentleman's son Mr. Reuben Haigh) rang muffled peals throughout the day. The funeral was largely attended the church being crowded. There were twelve representitives from the Ruabon Terra Cotta Works and a similar number from the collieries at Cliviger, Burnley, of which the deceased was a director. The service was fully choral "He rests in the Lord" was played on the organ as the body was carried into the church and the hymn "........." was sung during the service and the Dead March from Saul was played as the procession left the church. At the graveside, "Lead Kindly Light" was sung."

 

It's obvious that John was a well-respected member of the community in his adopted town of Wrexham. He left the sum of £41,896, which went to his wife. His son Reuben carried on the brick business and the collieries. His wife Hannah, died on March 23 1912 at Pen-y-Gardden, Ruabon. She was a Ratcliffe before she married and a Mr. W. Ratcliffe was a mourner at her funeral, which was held on Wednesday 27th March 1912 at Ruabon Church, where she is buried. She left the sum of £7,854.

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