Joseph Mills and Sarah Lees

Joseph Mills was born in 1761 in Oldham, Lancashire to parents John Mills (1724-1784) and Jane Jackson (1717-1776).

St Marys, Oldham Lancashire, parish church

Joseph was baptised at St Marys, Oldham and the baptism record states that his father’s occupation was that of a tailor, and he lived in Priesthill, Oldham.

At the age of only 18 years, Joseph married Sarah Lees on 21 April 1779 at St Marys, Oldham.

Sarah was born in 1760, and baptised also at St Marys Oldham on 28 December 1760. She was the daughter of John and Ann Lees, a bread baker of Greenacres Moor near Oldham.

Oldham has been described as the “most prodigious” mill town in Lancashire, and the one that grew the quickest, from most insignificant beginnings, into the cotton spinning capital of the world.  Oldham’s industrial history includes hatting, coal mining, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, textile machinery manufacture and cotton spinning – for which the town is most noted. Wikipedia.

Oldham Lancashire

Oldham’s population was 12,024 in 1801 rising to 72,333 in 1861.

Joseph and Sarah had 17 children (including three James!) –

  1. John b 1779 d 1780 Oldham
  2. James b 1782, d 1785 Oldham
  3. Ann b 1784 Oldham, d 1824 Macclesfield, marr Daniel Higham and Charles Gater
  4. James b 1782, d 1785 Oldham
  5. John b 1786 Oldham, d 1860 Adrian, Michigan, USA marr Charlotte Sharpley, 10 kids
  6. James b 1788 Oldham, d 1850 Macclesfield, marr Ellen Winstanley, 8 kids
  7. Sarah b 1793 Macclesfield, d 1860 Blackburn, marr George Gouldthorpe, 3 kids
  8. *Martha b 1795 Macclesfield, 1867 Macclesfield, marr Jesse Shufflebotham, 5 kids
  9. Margaret b 1796 Macclesfield, d 1864 Macclesfield, marr Thomas Lawton, 5 kids
  10. Mary b 1797 Macclesfield, d 1867 Macclesfield, marr John Whitehead, 2 kids
  11. Joseph b 1798 Macclesfield, d 1863 Huddersfield, Yorkshire, marr Sarah Jepson, 4 kids
  12. Abraham b 1800 Macclesfield, d 1870 Adrian, USA, marr Ann Holmes, 5 kids
  13. Joseph b 1801 Macclesfield, d 1801 Macclesfield
  14. Betty b 1803 Macclesfield, d 1803 Macclesfield
  15. Shusanah b 1805 Macclesfield, d 1885 Leeds, Yorkshire, marr George Robinson, 8 kids
  16. Samuel b 1807 Macclesfield, d 1869 Macclesfield, marr Anne, 1 child
  17. Hannah b 1809 Macclesfield, d 1851 Macclesfield, no children


*I have a DNA connection with a descendant of Martha

Two of the 17 children would immigrate with their families to start a new life – John in 1829 to Canada and Abraham in 1841 to New York, USA. Both families ended up living in Adrian, Michigan, USA by 1850.

It seems Joseph and Sarah and family moved down to Macclesfield, England  from Oldham (20 miles) sometime between 1788 when James was born there, and the birth of his sister Sarah in 1793 at Macclesfield, Cheshire. Macclesfield is now in the county of Cheshire.

In the early years it seems Joseph was working as a tailor like his father, and then later as a hatter.

Some other evidence I’ve found for Joseph and his family –

  • 1780 Baptism Register for his son John – Joseph, tailor of Bentbrow
  • 1786 Baptism Register for his son John – Joseph, hatter of Primrose Bank, Oldham.
  • 1792, 93, 94, 97, 99, 1800, 1801, 1804, 1806, 1811, 1815, 1817, 1818, 1819, 1820, 1824, 1825, 1826, 1827,  –  Land Tax Assessment, Waters Green, Macclesfield
  • 1798 Land Tax Redemption for his house and workshop, Waters Green, Macclesfield
  • 1822 Pigots Directory of Macclesfield – Joseph Mills, Commongate Macclesfield, hatmaker and dealer. (Cheshire Archives).
  • 1829 Will – Joseph Mills, hatter of Macclesfield.

Joseph Mills died aged 68 years in March 1829 in Macclesfield, Cheshire and in his will he left bequests to his wife and 11 surviving children, and his deceased daughter Ann’s children. His beneficiaries are named –

John Mills, James Mills, Mary Whitehead, Sarah Gouldthorpe, Martha Shufflebotham, Margaret Lawton, Joseph Mills, Abraham Mills, Susanna Robinson, Samuel Mills and Hannah Mills and the children of his daughter Ann Gater.

Macclesfield Cheshire Burials 1829

Joseph’s wife Sarah lived for another 18 years, despite having all those children! She died in January 1847 and was buried on 10 Jan 1847 at Christchurch, Macclesfield, Cheshire with her husband.

Christchurch Macclesfield Cheshire