Abel Earnshaw (1844-1852)

Abel Earnshaw was a victim of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852.


He was born in 1844, the son of Enos Earnshaw[1] of Hinchliffe Mill and his wife Betty (née Mettrick), and was baptised on 25 March 1849 at Holmfirth.[2]

The 1851 Census lists Abel and his mother Betty residing on Water Street, Hinchliffe Mill, with Betty's father James Metterick. In total, there were 14 people living in the property, 9 of whom perished in the Holmfirth Flood the following year.

Abel's father, weaver Enos, travelled to New York aboard the Elizabeth Denison in July 1846. It seems extremely likely he was the Englishman Enos Earnshaw who fought in the U.S. Civil War on the side of the Union, having enlisted with the 2nd Regiment of the California Infantry on 5 October 1861. Enos was was promoted to a Full Corporal in November 1861 and was mustered out on 4 May 1866 at Presidio, San Francisco. By 1870, Enos was a yarn dresser residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Abel Earnshaw died in the early hours of 5 February 1852, along with his mother, when a devastating flood killed many of the residents of Water Street. Both of Abel's grandfathers were also killed.

His body was found by Thomas Buckley and taken to the King's Head Inn, where it was identified by James Beaumont. He was buried on 8 February 1852 at Hinchliffe Mill Chapel, Holmfirth.[3]

The body of his mother, Betty, was found in the River Calder at Mirfield on the same day as the flood. Unfortunately her surviving relatives were unable to afford the cost of transporting her body back to Holmfirth and she was buried at St. Mary's Church in Mirfield on 7 February.[4]

Notes and References

  1. Enos Earnshaw was born on 9 January 1821, the son of Joshua and Hannah Earnshaw, and was baptised on 14 March 1821.
  2. Enos Earnshaw had married his neighbour Betty Metterick on 30 April 1843 at All Hallows, Kirkburton.
  3. Oddly, Abel's age is given as 5 when it should be at least 7.
  4. Leeds Intelligencer (14/Feb/1852).

Abel Earnshaw (1844-1852)


Drowned | People | Victims of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852
This page was last modified on 21 February 2016 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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