Biography of John Croft and Ann Howland

Compiled by Dana Palmer

John Croft Sr. was born June 17, 1799 in Halton, Yorkshire, England, son of Stephen Croft and Margaret Dawson. He was christened in Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire, England on August 4, 1799. Not much is known about his early years, other than he was a coachman for Major Benjamin Farrand, a large land-owner. 

Ann Howland, daughter of Robert Howland and Sarah Marton, was born and christened on August 10, 1802 in Dalby, Yorkshire, England. Her father worked as a farmer. She was raised by her step-mother, Sarah Kilvington, since her mother died when she was four years old, on 26 Apr 1806 at Dalby.

John and Ann married on November 24, 1823 in Kildwick Parish Church, Kildwick near Keighley, Yorkshire, England by Reverend John Creser. They were the parents of 8 children, four of whom lived to marry and have families of their own. All the children were all born at Primrose Hill, Bingley Parish, Yorkshire, England.  Sarah, their first child, was born on 1 December 1824; followed by Margaret Howland, who came on December 26, 1826; Mary arrived on 25 Nov 1828 but died at before she was two and was buried on 11 Apr 1830. They had another daughter whom they named Mary Ann who was born on 11 Jan 1831; she too died in her teenage years on 7 Feb 1852. A son named James was born in April 1833 but he died a month later and was buried on 7 May 1833. Another son, John was born on 1 February 1835, but he too died less than two weeks later on 15 February 1835. A year later they had another son, whom they named, John (my 2nd great grandfather). This John was born on July 16, 1836, their fifth child. Two years later, their last child, Howland Croft, was born on January 16, 1839. 

Three years after the birth of their youngest child, John Croft Sr. was accidentally killed by being thrown from his horse and died on September 19, 1842. John Croft Sr. was buried in the Wilsden Church Yard, Wilsden, near Bradford, Yorkshire, England on 23 September 1842. With Ann left by herself with 5 children to raise, she worked hard to provide for them but they were ultimately left up to their own resourcefulness to gain a 
livelihood. John Croft Jr. was only six years old at the time of his father's death, and Howland was only 3. The two oldest daughters, Sarah and Margaret married within the next year so they would not be such a burden upon their poor mother. Sarah Croft married John Brook on 5 June 1843 in Bingley. Margaret Howland Croft married Thomas Bairstow (listed as Robinson on their marriage certificate) on 24 Dec 1843 at Bradford. Immediately Mary Ann and John were put to work. John went to a cotton factory to work eleven-hour shifts. Later John Jr. was put into a worsted mill, working as a "half timer", only eight hours a day, spending the other two hours at Wilsden national school. When Howland was old enough to perform manual labor, he, too, was employed in the worsted-mill, spending half the day in school and half the day in the mill until he was 12 at which time he was employed full time at the mill.

On March 1, 1848, Ann Howland Croft died, during a change of life period, and was buried at Wilsden Church Yard, Wilsden near Bradford, Yorkshire, England on 4 March 1848. The other five children of John and Ann Howland Croft: Sarah, Margaret, Mary Ann, John and Howland were left parentless. John Jr. went to live with his eldest sister, Sarah, at Huddersfield and Howland went to live with his sister, Margaret. It is not 
known where Mary Ann went to live, put it is probable that she stayed at her place of employment since she died in Wilsden. John was put to work in a large tobacco factory, and Howland continued working at the worsted mill and attending school. 

Mary Ann Croft died soon on February 7, 1852 of consumption at only 21 years of age and was buried at Wilsden Church Yard, Wilsden near Bradford, Yorkshire, England on February 12, 1852. 

Back (L->R):  Howland, John 
Front (L->R):  Margaret, Sarah

Sarah Croft Brook, became the mother of at least 6 children: Annie Elizabeth, born about 1846 Wilsden; Lewis born about 1855 Huddersfield; Christina born about 1858 Huddersfield; Sarah born about 1859 Huddersfield; Polly born about 1861 Huddersfield; and a son, Croft, born 12 September 1862 Birkby, Huddersfield. Sarah's husband, John Brook was christened 9 September 1821 Bingley son of Samuel Brook & Hannah Speight. They emigrated to Pennsylvania with Howland and Margaret, but later returned to England before their death. John Brook died about 1886 xx, Yorkshire, England. Sarah died of brain fever on 6 April 1889 at Bradford and was buried about 8 April 1889 at the Undercliffe Cemetery in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. 

Clara Coxon & May Brook in England, ~ 1937

Margaret Howland Croft Bairstow was the mother of 7 children: Miranda B, born about 1847 in Yorkshire; Abraham born about 1850 in Yorkshire; Ann born 22 December 1852 in Wilsden listed under the name Robinson; John born 24 May 1855 in Wilsden; Samuel born 22 Feb 1858 in Saltair, Yorkshire, England; Margaret born 1 May 1871 Saltair; and a daughter Letitia, born XXX at XXX. Her husband, Thomas Bairstow, did not know his father's name and consequently he went by the name Robinson until after 1851 when he found out who his father really was, and that time, changed his name to Bairstow. Margaret immigrated with her family to the United States of America and settled near her brother, Howland Croft, in Camden County, New Jersey. Thomas Bairstow died 15 Aug 1900 at Collingswood, Camden, New Jersey and was buried in the Harleigh Cemetery in the town of Camden on xxx. Margaret Howland Croft Bairstow 
died of dysentery on 8 January 1896 in Camden, Camden, New Jersey and was buried next to her husband in the Harleigh Cemetery on 11 January 1896. 

George Howland Croft home in Ceder Croft, Woodbury, New Jersey, 1924

John Croft married Amelia Mitchell of Manchester 8 January 1860 at Heaton Norris in Manchester. They left England for America to join the Mormons in Utah in 1860. They emigrated on the ship, "Underwriter" and arrived in New York on 1 May 1860. They walked across the plains and arrived in Utah 2 September 1860 with Amelia being very pregnant. Amelia Mitchell, daughter of William Mitchell and Jane Hornby was born on 3 May 1840 in Chorlton upon Medlock in Manchester. She died 5 October 1926 in Salt Lake City and was buried on 8 Oct 1926 in the Enterprise Cemetery, Enterprise, Morgan, Utah. John Croft died of diabetes on 9 October 1909 in Enterprise and was buried two days later on 11 October 1909 in the Enterprise Cemetery.

They were the parents of 11 children: William Howland, born 24 November 1860 Salt Lake City; John Arthur born 24 August 1862 Peterson, Morgan, Utah, died 12 September 1887; George Albert, born 8 January 1865 Peterson; Emma Amelia born 7 April 1868 Enterprise, Morgan, Utah; Frank born 20 April 1870 Enterprise; Walter Leslie born 10 May 1873 Enterprise; James Herbert, born 6 July 1875 Enterprise, died 8 October 1890; Alfred Mitchell, born 29 July 1877 Enterprise; Charles Milton, born 8 October 1879 Enterprise; Annie Miranda born 11 March 1882 Enterprise; and Jane, born 21 June 1886, died 21 June 1886. John Croft kept in good contact with his siblings who lived in New Jersey and even with his sister in England. They wrote many letters and had occasional visits to New Jersey. 

Howland was employed in the worsted factory full time from 12 years of age until he was 17 years old. Being quick to learn the business, he then went to the town of Farsley and took charge of a small factory and while there met a Mr. Briggs Priestly, who later became a member of the English parliament, a large manufacturer, land owner, and was the father of one of his future business partners, Herbert Priestley, in New Jersey. 
While in Farsley, Howland met Mary Grainger, daughter of William Grainger and Hannah Hargreaves. She was born on 25 November 1840 at Farsley. Howland Croft was married to Mary Grainger on December 10, 1859 at Rehoboth Chapel (Baptist) Caverly, Farsley, Yorkshire, England by Minister Edward Parker.

Howland remained in charge of the small factory in Farsley until 1867 when he decided to immigrate to America. He wanted to join his sister, Margaret and her husband, Thomas Bairstow, who were already living in Camden, Camden County, New Jersey area. He would also be closer contact with his brother John who lived in Utah and worked on the railroads. Howland, his wife, his four children (Ann, John William, Miranda, and Clara), Mary, his sister, Sarah and her husband, John Brooks crossed the Atlantic on October 16, 1867 on the ship "City of Paris". It took 13 days to cross the Atlantic where they then arrived and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, until March 1, 1880, when they moved to Camden, New Jersey. 

(L->R): Howland, Harold and Gordon Bottomley,
grandsons of Howland Croft & Mary Grainger.

Howland was the father of 8 children: Ann born 14 March 1860 Farsley, Yorkshire, England; John William born 16 May 1862 Farsley; Miranda born 14 August 1864 Farlsey; Clara born 14 Feb 1867 Farsley; Thomas Howland born on 31 August 1869 Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but who died on July 31, 1871 and was buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia; George Howland, born 24 Oct 1871 Philadelphia; Samuel Grainger born 2 March 1874; and Letitia Margaret born 19 August 1876 Philadelphia. Letitia died on March 28, 1878 of scarlet fever and was buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
In 1894, Howland became a manager and senior proprietor of the Linden Worsted Mills, Camden, New Jersey. He set up this Woolen Mill with his sons and was very successful. It is often said that the wealthy Camden cousins helped out their poor Mormon cousins in times of need. There was a great correspondence between the eastern Crofts and the Utah Crofts. Many visits back and forth occurred. 

Howland Croft died of diabetes on April 27, 1900 in Camden, Camden, New Jersey and was buried on April 30, 1900 in the Harleigh Cemetery. His wife, Mary Grainger Croft also died of diabetes on November 12, 1917 in Camden, Camden, New Jersey. She was buried next to her husband in the Harleigh Cemetery on 15 November 1917.

The descendants of John Croft and Ann Howland are extensive and cover many areas of the United States and parts of Yorkshire. 


1. Altass, Roger. Provided details on 1851 Census for Margaret Howland Croft 
Bairstow/ Robinson and contact for professional researcher Lynne 
Gardiner. Email: 
2. Balfour, Walter. Howland family contact. Provided many details of descendants 
of Robert Howland's second wife Sarah Kilvington. Email: 
3. Collis, Christine. Howland family researcher. Confirmed details on Sarah 
Kilvington marriage to John Hall before marriage to Robert Howland. 
4. Croft, A. Russell. John Croft & Amelia Mitchell-pioneers of 1860. Ogden, Utah: 
John & Amelia Mitchell Croft Family Organization, 1977.
5. Croft, A. Russell. Out of our Past. Provo, Utah: J. Grant Stevenson, 1973.
6. Croft, Dan. Correspondence for Croft family of research on Croft & Howland 
line. Email: 
7. Croft, George H. "Ledger Book of George Howland Croft" August 23, 1919. 
Unpublished Ledger book for keeping genealogy, 1919. 
8. Croft, George H. Croft Letters. Between George Howland Croft and various 
Croft relatives.
9. Croft, Gretta. "Croft family records & pictures." Unpublished collection.
10. England, Lancashire, Manchester. Manchester Branch ward records (GS 087,017)
11. England, Yorkshire, Bingley Parish for Primrose Hill. Film #1596946 item 10
12. England, Yorkshire, Bingley Bishop's Transcripts. #0919130, 0919131
13. England, Yorkshire, Bingley. Parish register (GS #919131)
14. England, Yorkshire, Bingley: Marriage recorded at GRO entry #457. 1843, 
marriages solemnized at the Parish church in the parish of Bingley in the 
county of York, 5 June 1843. John BROOK, of official age, bachelor, 
cooper, resident of Bingley, father Samuel Brook who is a cooper, and 
Sarah CROFT, minor age, spinster, resident of Harden, father John Croft, 
farmer. Married in the church of Bingley by banns. Witnesses: Thomas 
Robinson and Margaret Croft. Registration district of Keighley.
15. England, Yorkshire, Bolton Abbey: Christening: Bolton Abbey, York, England, 
LDS film#0919157, yr. 1799, entry #922: "John, son of Stephen Croft of 
Halton, Butcher, son of John Croft of Beamsley, stuff weaver by Elizabeth 
dau of Stephen Brigg of Beamsley, blacksmith AND Margaret dau of 
James Dawson of Halton, Butcher by Margaret, daughter of Charles 
Benson of Halton, Yeoman. Born June 19th [1799]. Bapt. Aug. 4th 
[1799]." ** Note the Margaret Benson listed as the wife of James Dawson 
is a mistake. It should be Margaret KENDALL. Margaret Kendall's 
mother is Margaret Benson daughter of Charles Benson. 
16. England, Yorkshire, Bradford. Death from GRO records Office in England, BMD 
Civil Registration reference: Sarah BROOK, June Qtr 1889, record 
obtained from Lynne Gardiner, researcher in England, email: Death record: "Registration District: Bradford 
Yorkshire. 1889: Death in Sub-District: Bradford East in the county of 
York, #4, Died 6 Apr 1889 in Fernbank Road, Bradford. Name: Sarah 
BROOK, female, age 64 years, occupation-widow of John BROOK, a 
cooper (journeyman), cause of death- cerebral haemorrhage, hemipleger, 3 
days, certified by S. Johnson, M.D.; informant-William Longe, son-in-
law, present at the death on Fernbank road, Bradford. Registered 8 Apr 
1889. Thomas Crowrier, registrar."
17. England, Yorkshire, Bradford. Marriage from GRO records Office in England, 
BMD Civil Registration reference: Thomas ROBINSON & Margaret 
Howland CROFT, March Qtr 1844, record obtained from Lynne Gardiner, 
researcher in England, email: Marriage 
record: "1843: Marriage solemnized at the parish church in the parish of 
Bradford in the county of York, #362, Married 24 December 1843 
Thomas ROBINSON, age 20, bachelor, comber, of Wilsden AND 
Margaret Howland CROFT, 17, spinster, weaver of Wilsden Hill: 
husband's father not listed, wife's father- John CROFT, husbandman; 
married in the parish church by banns by John Butterfield, curate, the 
mark of Thomas ROBINSON, and Margaret Howland CROFT. 
Witnesses: Jonathan Wood and Joseph Hinchcliffe."
18. England, Yorkshire, Bradford. 1881 British Census: Census Place: Bradford, 
York, England: Dwelling: 15 Garnett Str, Source: FHL film#1342063, 
PRO Ref RG11; Piece, 4445, folio 22, page 4: John BROOK, md, age 59, 
Male, Bingley, York, England, Sarah BROOK, md, age 56, female, 
Bingley, York, England, Croft BROOK, unmd, age 18, Male, 
Huddersfield, York, England
19. England, Yorkshire, Dalby. Bishop's Transcripts. Baptism entry for Ann 
Howland. LDS film #0918418 listed for the year 1802. Also on the Parish 
records, microfilm #1068321. "10 Aug 1802 [PR & BT] Ann, daughter 
of Robert HOWLAND baptized." 
20. England, Yorkshire, Keighley. Baines Directory of 1822 for Keighley in West 
Riding Yorkshire, England 
Worsted Spinners and Manufacturers, Croft John, Greengate
21. England, Yorkshire, Kildwick. Marriage entry for John Croft and Ann Howland. 
Film #0919148, p. 234, no. 700. "Marriage: John Croft of Kildwick of this 
parish, husbandman and bachelor and Ann Howland of Kildwick of this 
parish spinster were married by banns 24 Nov 1823. Married by Rev. 
John Creser. Witnesses were Berry Smith and William Thornton."
22. England, Yorkshire, Shipley. 1881 British Census: Census Place: Shipley, York, 
England, Dwelling: 54 George Str, Source: FHL film#1342071, PRO Ref 
RG11; Piece, 4475, folio 29, page 6: Thomas BAIRSTOW, head, md, age 
57, male, Wilsden, Gass&Steam fitter Margaret BAIRSTOW, wife, md, 
age 54, female, Harden, York, England; Ann BAIRSTOW, dau, unmd, 
age 27, female, Wilsden, dress maker; Sam BAIRSTOW, son, unmd, age 
23, male, Wilsden, worsted warp dresser Margaret BAIRSTOW, dau, 
unmd, age 9, female, Saltaire, scholar.
23. England, Yorkshire, Wilsden. Birth from GRO records Office in England, BMD 
Civil Registration reference: Ann ROBINSON, March Qtr 1853, record 
obtained from Lynne Gardiner, researcher in England, email: Birth record: "Registration District: Bradford. 
1853: Birth in Sub-District: Wilsden in the county of York, #390, Born 22 
December 1852 Wilsden Hill, Wilsden. Name: Ann ROBINSON, girl, 
father: Thomas ROBINSON, mother: Margaret Howland ROBINSON, 
formerly CROFT, occupation of father: wool comber, signature and 
resident of informant: the mark of Thomas ROBINSON, father, Wilsden 
Hill, Wilsden; registered 8 Jan 1853. Registered David Briggs, registrar."
24. England, Yorkshire, Wilsden. Parish records. Burial for Ann H. Croft at 
Wilsden. LDS Film #1657654, item 6, p. 90, no. 662. "Ann Croft, of 
Wilsden Hill, buried 4 March 1848, age 40." 
25. England, Yorkshire, Wilsden. Parish records. Burial for John Croft at Wilsden. 
LDS Film #1657654, item 6, p. 52, no. 414. "John Croft of Wilsden, 
buried 23 Sep 1842, age 42."
26. England, Yorkshire, Wilsden. 1851 Census. Look up by Roger Altass.1851 
Census: Township of Wilsden, Ecclesiastical District of St Matthew's 
Wilsden, Entry#33 Wilsden Hill: Thomas ROBINSON, head, age 27, 
wool comber, born at Wilsden; Margaret H ROBINSON, wife, age 24, 
born at Bingley; Marinda B ROBINSON, daughter, age 4, born at 
Wilsden; Abraham B ROBINSON, son, age 1, born at Wilsden; Holden 
[Howland] CROFT, brother-in-law, age 12, scholar (& farm boy crossed 
out), born at Wilsden. 
27. Gardiner, Lynne. Professional genealogist. Email: 
Address: 62 Glenfarg Rd., Catford, London, SE6 1XH England. Found 
marriage of Margaret Croft-Thomas Robinson / Bairstow; and death 
record for Sarah Croft Brook. 
28. Hayward, Joann. Correspondence for Croft & Heiner family lines. Email: 
29. Hinson, Colin. Whitaker's Craven in Yorkshire CD rom. Provided some details 
on many of the areas in the deanery of Craven and the parish histories. 
Some info on Stephen Briggs Sr. death entry.  

30. Howe, Paul. Professional genealogist working on Croft line. Member of 
Derbyshire Family History Society and many England list groups. Email: Address: 28 Rochester Close, Alvaston, Derby, 
DE 24OHS, England. Web page: 
31. New Jersey, Camden county, Camden: 1880 US Census: Camden, Camden, New 
Jersey, precinct 1, Film#1254773, p. 85D: Howland CROFT, head, md, 
male, 41, ENG, woolen manuf, ENG, ENG; Mary CROFT, wife, md, 
female, 39, ENG, house keeping, ENG, ENG; Annie CROFT, dau, unmd, 
female, 20, ENG, dress maker, ENG, ENG; John W CROFT, son, unmd, 
male, 18, ENG, worsted fact, ENG, ENG; Miranda CROFT, dau, unmd, 
female, 15, ENG, worsted fact, ENG, ENG; Clara CROFT, dau, unmd, 
female, 13, ENG, worsted fact, ENG, ENG; George H CROFT,son, unmd, 
male, 8, PA, --, ENG, ENG; Samuel G CROFT,son, unmd, male, 6, PA, --
, ENG, ENG; Benjamin LOBLEY, other, male, 32, ENG, worsted fact, 
ENG, ENG; Anna GRAINGER, mother [in-law], female, 65, ENG, --, 
32. Palmer, Dana Croft. "Croft family records, pictures and genealogy." Unpublished 
33. Palmer, Dana Croft. Personal research on Croft, Howland and related lines. 
Unpublished collection. 
34. Sharrow, Craig. Correspondence on Croft & Howland lines and descendants 
from entry on World Connect site. Email: 
35. Summers, Vincent E. Correspondence for Howland Croft information in Camden 
County, New Jersey. Email: 
36. Utah, Morgan, Enterprise. Enterprise cemetery records (GS #599288)
37. Utah, Morgan, Enterprise. Enterprise Ward Annual reports 1877-1901. 
38. Utah, Salt Lake, Salt Lake City: Civil record SLC (GS 026582) and (GS026576).
39. Utah, Salt Lake, Salt Lake City. Special collection, SS at EHOUS (GS 183,402); 
Special Collection SS at SLAKE (GS 186,206). 
40. Utah, Salt Lake, Salt Lake City. Vital Statistics SLC. 
41. Utah, Morgan, Peterson: Peterson ward records (GS #026398).
42. Willie, Allen. Correspondence for Croft family of research on Howland line. 
43. Wilson, Nic. Genealogist in charge of Wharfegen project for Yorkshire 
Genealogy in the West Riding. Provided many helpful connections for 
Croft, Briggs, Kendall, and Cockshott ancestors and relatives. Email: Web Page: