Thomas Moulding 1805-1885

Thomas Moulding was born in Warrington, England on a memorable and sad day for that country, Friday 18 October 1805, the day Admiral Nelson was shot at the battle of Trafalgar. War and pestilence brought misery and destitution to the homes of the poor during his early childhood. His father died before he was born, and when seven years of age he was at work earning a small pittance to help his widowed mother and grandparents keep the wolf of hunger from the door. No free schools then - the only school he ever attended was the Sabbath school, where he was taught how to read. Learning to read opened up a broad field of knowledge and even at this early age he was aiming to climb to the top.

At ten he was grappling with hard questions in mathematics, at this time working in a cotton factory fourteen hours a day. Many a time, after the long day of toil, difficult problems were passing through his brain. "By the flickering light of the fire with my slate on the bars, I worked them out before I slept" he said, "and many, many times as I lay in bed partly sleeping and waking, have I worked out difficult problems in algebra, and by the light of the moon placed the figures and demonstrations on my slate, we being too poor even to afford candles".

As he grew to manhood he became a cotton spinner and, when almost prostrated by hard work, his knowledge of figures helped him. For some years he was manager of a large cotton factory and took a prominent part in the affairs of the town.

On Wednesday 16 March 1825 at Daresbury Old Church, Warrington he married Rachel Bates. Children Thomas, Elizabeth and James were born in the next four years. In 1832 John was born and died, probably due the Cholera outbreak. In 1838 twins Esther and Eliza were born but both died, this time possibly due to a typhus epidemic. John J, Esther E, William and Charles all survived but in 1844 Arthur was born and lived only 3 years, again possibly due to the typhus and influenza epidemic of 1847. Emma and Susan were born and thrived but Arthur Henry was born just before emigrating to America and died either en route or shortly after embarkation.

It is quite possible that the elder children were taught by the Vicar of the Daresbury Old Church who used to teach other children besides his own. It just so happens that he was the father of Lewis Carroll, the well known author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Carroll was born in the Daresbury parsonage in 1832 and grew up there till 1843.

Through the 30s and 40s Thomas, as well as managing the cotton mill, was a local preacher, one of the directors of the Mechanics' Institute, superintendent of a large Sunday school and an active temperance worker and advocate. During the time of the famine in England in 1847, Thomas and Rachel were actively engaged in alleviating the suffering of the poor. They were much respected and loved by a large number of friends.

Thomas, Rachel and their remaining family of ten landed in America on the first day of May, 1851, and came to Chicago during the same month. He remained only a short time there and bought a place adjoining Judge Wilson at Geneva, and started James and Elizabeth in business there. James soon after died and he sold the place and bought a farm at Campton, Kane County, Illinois, moving there in the spring of 1853. Another son, Frank, was born in 1854 and later became a doctor.

1870 Agricultural Census, Illinois. Campton Township, PO Grey Willows, Kane County, July 1870
Moulding Thomas - 160 acres improved, 31 acres woodland, farm value $7,000, machinery $300, Wages $250, including board.
Horses 5, Mules 2, Milk cows 10, other cattle 20, Swine 8. Livestock value $1,400.
Cereal crops: Spring wheat 68 bushel. Indian Corn 200 bus. Oats 1100 bus. Barley 210 bus. Buckwheat 8 bus. Irish Potatoes 40 bus.
Butter 300lbs. Hay 25 tonnes. Cattle sold $202. Value farm production for year 1869------$640

Thomas farmed the land wisely and the 1870 and 1880 agricultural censuses show a steady development of pasture, woodland and tilled land with a wide variety of livestock, grain, dairy produce, fruit and vegetables. As well as farming, the Directory of Secret Societies in Chicago shows that he was a conductor of the Sons of Temperance movement, ie he gave Sunday Services to the group, who lived in a colony style. At the time of his death he had been a total abstainer for over fifty years.

1880 Agricultural Census, Illinois. Campton Township, Kane County, June 1880
Moulding Thomas, owner - 70 acres tilled, 89 acres pasture, 26 acres woodlands.
Farm & buildings $7,500, land machinery$400, Livestock$1,400, Repairs to fences & buildings $50, $116 pd. wages for 32 weeks labor. All farm productions $585.
20 acres mown, Hay 30 tonnes, Horses 7, Milk cows 24, other 4, Calves 20, sold 20 cattle living, 1 died.
7280 gals. of milk, sold to Factory (Cheese), 390 lbs. of butter made, ending 1879. Swine 39, Chickens 20, 120 doz. eggs production 1879. Cereal crops; Indian Corn 50 acres, 1,000 bus., Oats 24 acres, 500 bus. Wheat 4 acres, 32 bus. Irish potatoes 3/4 acre, 50bus. Apple Orchard, 2 acres, 50 bearing trees, 20 bus. $10 value on orchard, 6 cords of wood cut, $18 value of wood.

Rachel Moulding of Campton died on Tuesday 10 March 1885 and Thomas died on Wednesday 02 September 1885 at the residence of his youngest son, Dr Frank C Moulding of Watertown, Wisconsin. Though quite feeble, he had a strong desire to visit all his children once more, but during his visit to his children in Wisconsin, took a severe cold which settled on his lungs, causing death after a short sickness. Thomas, Rachel and many children are buried at Blackberry cemetery, Elburn, Kane County, Illinois.

His life has been so pure, and good, and useful, that he was highly respected by all his friends and neighbors as he had been in the old world. He had a large circle of friends in Chicago, many of whom were out to sympathize with the bereaved children. It will be seen that Thomas, like Rachel, was in his eightieth year; he has had the large family of 15 children, 50 grand-children and 2 great-grand-children; 7 of the children and 32 grand-children were living at the time of his death. His last words to his children who stood by his dying bed were, "I have full faith in the love and tender mercy of God, I have tried to live in the cordence to his laws, and now, at the last, have few regrets. Both mother and I tried to set a good example to our children. God bless you and all the absent ones".

Tomb of Thomas Moulding and family

Blackberry Cemetery, Blackberry Township, Elburn, Kane County, Illinois

Section 5 on the south side of Elburn on NE corner of Illinois 47 and Keslinger Road. The earliest noted interment is 1832.

  • MOULDING, Charles 11 Oct 1871 - 5 Feb 1952
  • Marie Brown 29 Aug 1871 - 16 Dec 1943
  • Stella Agers 10 Apr 1878 - 7 Jan 1909
  • AGERS, John Rowley 1837 - 1886 Co. I 8 ILL Vol Cav
  • Mary Connell 1845 - 1919
  • WHITE, William 21 Apr 1809 - 27 Sept 1900
  • Mary M. Washburn, wife 4 May 1823 - 20 Apr 1901
  • MOULDING, Jay John ILL Pvt US Army WWI 20 May 1889 - 19 Sept 1972
  • MOULDING, Frank A. 1879 - 1953
  • Theresa M. wife 1883 - 1969
  • MOULDING, Charles 9 Nov 1841 - 1 Jan 1904
  • Mary Ann, wife 1852 - 1916
  • Earl 1894 - 1911
  • Walter 1885 - 1941
  • WHITE, Seward W. 1854 - 1928
  • Etta B. wife 1869 - 1952
  • WHITE, Edgar F. 1906 - 1971
  • Zada T. 1907 -
  • JOHNSON, Melville A. 10 Feb 1880 - 15 Aug 1945
  • Daisy R. 1 June 1881 - 2 Nov 1958
  • Thomas, d 2 Sept 1885 age 80-0-0
  • Rachel, wife d 29 Mar 1885, age 80-0-0
  • John, d 22 Dec 1832 age 0-8-0
  • Eliza d 11 Dec 1838 age 0-0-14
  • Esther, d 5 Jan 1839 age 0-1-9
  • Arthur, d 27 Oct 1847 age 3-0-0
  • Arthur H. d 18 Jan 1851 age 10 wks
  • James, d 27 Feb 1853 age 24-0-0
  • DEWING, __.W. dau of __ Stone fragmented
  • SHARP, M.B. d 9 Mar 1875 age 31-6-10
  • BENNETT, Francis S. son of W.&E. d 25 June 1864 age 2-11-0
  • MOULDING, George T. 10 Dec 1876 - 21 Mar 1953
  • Amy H. 16 Mar 1881 - 31 Jan 1964
  • Irving M. 1905 - 1939?
  • Gary Earl 24 Mar - 6 Apr 1948

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