Thomas Staniforth & Co. Sickle works at Hackenthorpe.
Staniforth sign put in place by current owners of Thomas Staniforth's former home, Michael Boykin
Thomas Staniforth, a carpenter and builder that resided for the majority of his life in the town of Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi in the United States, is a man that still remains a mystery to this day. This page was put together so that all of the research we have discovered can easily be read, as most of this can only be found in Newspaper archives.
The very first mention we find of Thomas Staniforth comes from a Post office listing from The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) dated 19 Feb 1841:
List of letters remaining in the New Orleans Post Office on the 15th Day of February 1841. Here we find listed: ‘Staniforth, Thos;.
Three years later we find him mentioned once again on the letters list in the Mississippi Free Trader (Natchez Mississippi) 27 April 1844: List of Letters remaining in the post office in the city of Natchez May 1 1844: ‘Staniforth, Thos’
In a cemetery in Natchez we find a gravestone for Agnes Staniforth born in Natchez Baptized 5 Mar 1848 to Thomas and Mary dies Mar 15 1849.
On the 1850 Census, Thomas Staniforth is living in Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi, age 31, occupation Carpenter, and his birthplace states England.
He is married by this point, to Mary, age 27 from England.
On March 4th 1859 in The Times-Picanyune, we see Thomas listed as the Chief Engineer to Mobile Fire Department.
In the 1860 Census, again in Natchez, Mississippi, Thomas Staniforth is now 40 years old, and listed as a Master Carpenter, his wife Mary is 30.
Thomas is then mentioned in the Natchez Democrat March 23 1867:
‘Local Intelligence City Fovernment
William Dixon, Mayor
Grave of Agnes Staniforth in Natchez
On Public Property – Messrs Forbes, Staniforth and Dicks
On Roads – Messrs Staniforth, Baker and Aldrich
On Enrolled Bills – Messrs, Dicks, Staniforth and Walworth’
And the following month, Natchez Democrat – April 4 1867:‘The Natchez Baseball club, now know nas the “Rosalie Baseball club of Natchez” held a special meeting Tuesday night; whereat, as provided by the new constitution, an election of officers was entered into, which resulted as follows: Mr. Thos Staniforth was elected President, but declined and afterwards accepted the position of referee. J. Dixon was elected Vice President, J. W. H Arraghi, Secretary; John J. Hart, Treasurer; Chas. Katz, Corresponding Secretary.
The Election of President and Scorers was deferred until a special meeting to be held this evening. See advertisement.’
The following year, Thomas is described as being Chairman of Road Committee:
Natchez Democrat January 4th 1868
‘Mr. Staniforth, Chairman of Road Committee, reported the following pavements as needing repairs:
In front of G.W Fox’s Store on Franklin Street.
In front of S. Shatz’s store on Franklin Street
In front of M.D Mark’s store, corner of Franklin and Union – and thereupon it was.
Resolved, That the pavenents in front of the properties reported by the Road Committee of this date as needing repairs, are hereby ordered to be repaired within thirty days from service of notice upon the owner’s thereof.
The following accounts were presented severally allowed and warrants ordered to issue for their respective amounts:
T. Staniforth, repairs at institute …. $13.50
C. F. Merrick, office expenses … 13.25
G.M. Brown, sundry brick work … 11.70
Thomas Staniforth House, Natchez
T. Staniforth, lumber for streets … 11.65
The Board then adjourned to Tuesday
December 31 15 4PM
C.F Merrick, City Clerk’
Natchez Democrat January 16 1868 –
Proceedings of the City council
City Hall, Jan. 7 1868At a regular meeting of the Mayor and Selectmen of the City of Natchez, held this day at 4 o’Clock P.M – present Wm Dix, Esq. Mayorl Messrs Staniforth, Walworth, Aldrich, Baker and Forbes. Minutes of previous meeting were read and adopted. The saxton reported no deaths for the past week. A petition from Peter Griffin, relative to assessment, was referred to Finance Committtee. The finance committee reported the Treasurer’s report for December correct. Balance on hand $780 14. Tax Collector’s Reprot for December was also declared correct, showing collections amounting to $2875 57, warrants of 1867, outstanding $1516 65. Acounts of W. Hawkaby, $75, and Riddle, Coleman & Co, $35, were allowed. The proposal of G. M. Hillyer to do the city printing was accepted. Mr. Staniforth offered the following resolutions: Resolved, That the Finance Committee be requested to investigate and report in what way and manner the expenditures of the city may be retrenched. On motion, the Board then adjourned to Tuesday, January 28 1868 at 4PM. C.F. Merrick, City Clerk.
Natchez Democrat May 16 1868To correct an error occurred our last, we re-publish the following extract frin the oriceedings of the City Council: Mr. Staniforth, Chairman of Road Committee, reported that they had examined the bayou at B. Cozzens’, and that to put it in a safe and permanent condition, would incur an expense of between $3000 and $4000; but that it might be in a condition to stand for a few years, at an expense of about $100. Report received and committee authorized to repair the same at the latter expense.
On the 1870 Census, still in Natchez, Mississippi, Thomas Staniforth is 51 years old and his occupation still states Carpenter. His wife Mary is 40 and is ‘Keeping House’. Now the mystery begins, as there is a Mary Staniforth, aged 16 living in the same household, with her birthplace ‘Mississippi’. There is no baptism record for Mary, daughter of Thomas and Mary, and the fact she is not present on the 1860 Census shows that she is likely not a daughter.Mary goes onto marry Frederick Gustave Bauer on April 21st, 1881 in Natchez. On the 1880 Census, Thomas has left Natchez, and relocated to Galveston, Texas. Thomas is 60 years old by this stage, still working as a Carpenter. His wife Mary is 50. The following message is found in the Natchez Democrat Dec 23 1884 –
It was particularly gratifying to us yesterday to have a call from our old friend, Mr. Thos Staniforth, sit one time a citizen of Natchez, but now a prominent builder of Galveston, Texas. Mrs. Staniforth accompanies him on his visit to his old home. Time deals gently with our old friend, and we are pleased to see him looking so fresh and well.’
Thomas Staniforth House, Natchez
Thomas Staniforth passes away on February 7th, 1899 in Galveston, Texas.
In 1899 we find the following reports:
Death of Former Natchez CitizenBy a private telegraph received here yesterday information was received of the death of an old-time citizen of this place, Thomas Staniforth of Galveston, Tex. Aged about 82 years, He will be remembered by the older citizens as a prominent builder here, having built many of the finest buildings. He was foreman of the late James Hardie who built or rather did the woodwork of St. Mary’s Cathedral He was well liked here by all. He took an active part in all enterprises appertaining to the welfare of the city and at one time served on the Board of Aldermen. He left here some twenty years ago to try his fortunes in Texas, but unfortunately met with reverses and died very poor. He leaves a widow who is about his age. They were never blessed with an offspring.
This further proves the point, that Mary Staniforth was likely not his daughter
Following Thomas’ death we find reports on his wife Mary:
Natchez Democrat April 12 1899
Mrs. Thos. Staniforth came in last night of the N.O and N.W.R.R from Galveston, TX. She will in future make her home in Natchez and will be made at home in the family of Mrs. Heine.
However it seems Mary did not make it back, as we find her death on September 28th, 1900 in Galveston Texas:
‘Mrs Mary Staniforth
The sad information comes from Galveston, Tex that Mrs Mary Lester Staniforth, widow of the late Thos Staniforth died yesterday morning in the 81st year of her age. Mrs. Staniforth was born near London, Eng, in 1819. She left England when about 9 years of age and settled in New Orleans and married Mr. Thos Staniforth in the year 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Staniforth came to Natchez and resided here until about 20 years ago and went to Galveston where he pursued his profession as an architect and builder. She leaves a sister, Mrs. Sarah Lewis, now residing at Hard Times, LA and a niece Mrs. Heine of this city. While in Natchez Mr and Mrs. Staniforth made hosts of friends and they were constantly on the alery to entertain them. They were exceedingly fond of the young people and every child in the city knew and loved Mr. and Mrs. Staniforth.
Mr. Staniforth was foreman for James Hardy when the latter built St. Mary’s Cathedral. He built a great number of the buildings in this city. He was a member of Phoenix fire Company No. 7. His death preceeded that of his wife and it is believed that she will be buried by his side in Galveston. Sep 28 1900’
Based on Thomas Staniforth’s age throughout the various Census decades, he would have been born 1819/1820, however most of the Thomas Staniforth’s found on the various Parish Records from these years can be found in England during the same decades, this page will however continue to be updated as we uncover more of Thomas’ background and story.
We are fortunate to be in contact with the current owner of Thomas Staniforth’s house in Natchez, Michael Boykin and are delighted to see that the official name of his residence is still the ‘Thomas Staniforth House’. We give full credit to Michael for the photos of ThomaS Staniforth house.