Tag Archives: Firth

Relatives of Ellen Firth

The massive list below are relatives of my great-great mother, Ellen Eliza Firth.  I have manually removed anyone who is living. The report was generated in Reunion 9. I will update this post as further details are discovered (or corrected). If you are related please leave a comment! If you spot any changes or living persons, please let me know.

Last update: March 28, 2009

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George Firth – declaring the mystery as solved…

It’s been over 8 years since I first knew of my 3x great grandfather George Firth, but I’m happy to say that today I officially merged George Firth, my ancestor from Yorkshire, with George Firth, the nephew of my 4x great grandfather, John Elliott in my genealogy software.

This means that my George and his wife, Susan Elliott (daughter of the above John Elliott), were also first cousins – not unheard of back then.

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George Elliott (1830-1917)


George Elliott is my 3x great uncle. He was born July 30, 1830 in Fenwick, in the parish of Campsall, Yorkshire, England. His parents were John Elliott and Susannah Dawson. He was their second child, and their only son to live to adulthood. George was just 10 years old when he emigrated with his parents and siblings to Winnebago County, Illinois. As a young man, George moved to Buchanan County, Iowa, probably around 1856, according to his obituary (see below).

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Ellen Eliza Firth (1868-1912)

Ellen FirthEllen Eliza Firth was is great great and a grandmother. She was the fifth child of George Firth and Susan Elliott, born May 18, 1868 in Winnebago County, Illinois. When she was about a year old, her parents moved the family to Buchanan County, Iowa. There she grew to adulthood and married Oscar Torrence on March 2, 1892. In 1907, Oscar and Ellen moved their children to De Smet, Kingsbury County, South Dakota.

She and Oscar had nine children. She died Nov. 2, 1912 of ‘diabetic shock’ aged just 44, her youngest child less than a year old.

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George Firth (1837-1912)

George Firth is my 3x great grandfather, was born May 1, 1836 in in or near Womersley, Yorkshire, England. By process of elimination, I am almost certain that he was the son of Thomas Firth and Mary Elliott, sister of John Elliott.

At about 20 years of age, George came to America (ship, departure and dates unknown). George is enumerated in Winnebago County, Illinois on 1860 census, living with his aunt and uncle, Susanna and John Elliott and their children. There is also a James Firth living with the Elliott’s and George. Family rumor had always been that George came to America with an older brother.

On January 1, 1861 George Firth married John Elliott’s daughter Susannah in Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois.
According to Susannah’s obituary, George had found work as a brickmaker for the construction of the Hospital for the Insane, west of Independence, which was the reason for their relocation to Buchanan County, Iowa. The hospital’s construction contract was signed on November 7, 1868, and work began straight away.

Above: the Firth homestead, probably Westburg Township, Buchanan
County, Iowa. I think George and daughter Sarah are in front.

George and Susannah had 11 children live to adulthood: Mary, Susan, John, Charles, <a href=”/2008/11/30/ellen-firth-1868/”>Ellen (my 2x great grandmother)</a>, Sarah, Alice, Emma, Nettie, Frank and George. Tragically, their daughter Susan died age 33 shortly after the birth of her first child, and daughter Mary was murdered by her husband William McWilliams.

In 1870 the census, Aug 27, shows the family living in Sumner Township, Buchanan County, Iowa. George was a teamster (wagon driver) and Susannah a housewife. He had a estate of approximately $700. The hildren appear as: Mary J. 8, Susan 7, John E. 5, Charles H. 3, Ellen 2, Sarah 5/12.

George died November 17, 1912. Both he and Susan are buried in Oakwood Cemetery (formerly known as Oak Grove Cemetery) in Buchanan County, Iowa.


Nov. 20, 1912, Conservative, abstracted information….

George Firth died Sunday evening at his home in the First ward…for many years he was a resident of this county…in feeble health for the last year, his death the result of a complication of ailments…born Yorkshire, England, May 1, 1837, …at age 20 came to America and located near Rockford, Ill….in 1861 he was married to Miss Susan Elliott, and they had 11 children of which eight survive…one daughter, Mrs. Ellen Torrence, died only two seeks ago at her home near De Smet, SD….came to Iowa in 1868 and located on a farm just west of Independence…later bought a farm in Westburg township…resided on farm near this city up to the death of Mrs. Firth some five years ago…for the past four years Mr. Firth and daughter Sarah have lived in Independence where he died Sunday…surviving children are John, Charles, Frank, and Sarah, of Independence; George, of Medicine Hat, Canada, Mrs. Emma Miller of Goodwin, SD; Mrs. Nettie Clark, of Neosho, MO; Mrs. Alice Neidy, of Winthrop; 32 grandchildren; member Episcopal church of England… funeral services this afternoon by the pastor of the Methodist church with interment in Oak Grove…
Lot 573.

Similar obit in Nov. 21, 1912, Brandon Journal…

Resident of Buchanan Co for 44 years, ailing for a year or more with complications of kidney, stomach and bowel trouble…funeral at his home…spent boyhood in England coming to America at age 20 locating near Rockford, Illinois, until 1868 when to Buchanan county, IA….for a few years employed in work of building the Hospital afterward locating on a farm in Westburg township until 1900 when he went to a farm one mile west of the Hospital, his home until four years ago next spring when he came to Independence….married at Rockford, Illinois, Jan. 1, 1861, to Miss Susan Elliott who died March 10, 1907….daughter, Mrs. Oscar W. Torrence died Nov. 2, 1912, at her home in De Smet, SD…survived by eight children, same as Cons. obit with exception of Mrs. Emma E. Miller listed as living at Clear Lake, IA…

Swan funeral home records show that arrangements made by sons of the deceased, age 75, with no cause of death listed.

Transcription of death certificate:

George Firth
County of Buchanan
Township of Washington
City of Independence
Date of birth: May 1, 1837
Age at death: 75 yrs, 6 mo., 16 days
Birthplace: England
Fathers name: Firth
” birthplace: England
Mothers maiden name: ( left blank)
” birthplace: England
Occupation: Retired
Informant: John Firth, Independence, Iowa
Date of death: November 17, 1912
Cause of death: ( This is illegible, Exli???ti?s )
Contributory: Atrophy of bowels with Abst?????
Place of Burial or Removal: Oakwood Cemetery, Independence,Iowa
Date of Burial: Nov. ??, 1912

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