According to the 1851 census Harriet FIRTH was born in "Paradise, Yorkshire". There is no town or village called Paradise in Yorkshire, but there are two good candidates.
Paradise appears in the 1861 census as a place on Scout Road that runs south east out of Mytholmroyd less than 2 miles from Hebden Bridge where Harriet lived after she was married. This Paradise is shown on a map of 1852. Harriet wasn't the only person to give a birthplace as "Paradise, Yorkshire" in a census: an unrelated 7-year old Ralph WHITTAKER had a birthplace of Paradise, Yorkshire on the 1871 census while living in Oldham but his parents, who were originally from Oldham, were living in this house on Scout Road in 1861. The only other inhabitant of Paradise then was Thomas RIDEHOUGH, 60, a "manufacturers clerk(?) inploying 28 hands". Many new houses have been built since those days, but comparing the 1852 map with Google Streetview it appears that the house may still exist at 6 Scout Road.
There is an alternative "Paradise" in the area: 0.5 mile south west of Luddenden and about halfway between Hebden Bridge and Ovenden there is a hamlet near Ellenroyd on Naylor Lane. One of the current houses has a sign saying "Paradise", but the 1852 century map also shows it.
Harriet married Robert ARCHIBALD at St John's in Halifax on 23 June 1822 with Robert being recorded as being a plasterer living in Heptonstall, a growing textile community to the west of Halifax, where their first two children were christened. Their second child Firth was born in Hebden Bridge, just outside Heptonstall. Note that Heptonstall and Mytholmroyd were both in the Parish of Halifax in 1822.
In the late 1820's the family moved to Askrigg where Robert's mother's family had lived. The remainder of their children were born in Askrigg. In total Harriet and Robert are recorded as having eight children. Another child, Robert who died aged 2 in Askrigg, was likely a ninth.
Between 1838 and 1841, the family moved to Blackburn and were living at 15 Friday Street a few doors down from Robert's brother Henry. Harriet died at 2 Friday Street, Blackburn on 26 April 1857, aged 55, of "phthisis", a general term relating to the wasting of the lungs, but perhaps consumption or tuberculosis.
Some of her children were buried in the non-confirmist section of New Whalley Cemetery in Blackburn, so it is clear that she and her husband retained their non-conformist sentiments.
Harriet would most likely have been born between Jun 1802 and Mar 1803, based on the following evidence:
- death certificate, age of 55 suggests birth between 26 Apr 1801 and 26 Apr 1802
- 1841 census, an age of 40-44 suggests birth between Jun 1796 and Jun 1801 (or between Jun 1801 and Jun 1806 if the enumerator of the 1841 census was incorrectly rounding up instead of down)
- 1851 census, an age of 48 suggests birth between Mar 1802 and Mar 1803.
A good candidate for Harriet's baptism was on 20 Sep 1801, at the Zion Methodist New Connexion, in Ovenden by John FIRTH & Hannah (RAMSDEN) of Houldsworth, who were Methodists. This John FIRTH was a hand loom weaver, although his sons Stephen and Samuel both later became plasters and slaters, which provides an occupational connection between Robert ARCHIBALD and the FIRTH family even if the boys would have been too young for heavy labouring when Harriet was married. In 1851 there is a John FIRTH living in Holdsworth, Ovenden, born 1799-1800 who is a plasterer, who might have been an earlier child of John and Hannah and who might have been old enough to be working as a plasterer alongside Robert ARCHIBALD.
The Ovenden baptism fits with Harriet being born in the Paradise located between Hebden Bridge and Ovenden. This baptism fits with the (vague) 1841 census but is a year too early for most of her other records. But the Ovenden baptism states that, John and Hannah, the parents, were from "Houldsworth". This might be explained if Hannah RAMSDEN's family were from Paradise and, despite her living in Holdsworth, her first child was born at the house of her mother and close relatives.
An alternative baptism was on 8 Aug 1802 at St Bartholomew, Ripponden by John and Susan FIRTH, cotton carder from Soyland. Ripponden is 5 miles south west of Halifax. This couple also baptized Ann in 1798 and David in 1800. The date of birth fits with 1851 census, and Soyland is marginally closer to Mytholmroyd than Ovenden, but there is no other evidence to support this being the correct Harriet FIRTH such as the plastering connection.
Harriet died on Sunday 26 Apr 1857 at 2 Friday Street of phthisis, now known as pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Her death was reported in the Preston Chronicle, but no details were given.
The full list of Harriet/Harriot FIRTHs christened between 1796 and 1803 in Yorkshire:
- 24 Apr 1796, Norland by James FIRTH - Norland is 4 miles from Halifax. No child named James.
- 1796, Salendine Nook Meeting House-Particular Baptist, Quarmby cum Lindley, Huddersfield by William and Mary FIRTH. No child named James.
- 4 Jun 1797 Sheffield by Peter and Ann FIRTH, edge tool maker. Skilled tradesman would not not become a slater
- 25 Jul 1799, High Street Methodist, Huddersfield by William and Mary FIRTH of Dalton Lane (and again on 26 Aug 1799 at Heckmondwike, born 2 Jul 1799). No child named William. Non-conformist.
- 11 Sep 1799, All Saints, Dewsbury by John and Margaret FIRTH. 10 miles to Halifax. Harriet's only children with two christian names were John Augustus and Margaret Emeline. Coincidence?
- 20 Sep 1801, Ovenden by John & Hannah FIRTH of Houldsworth, who were Methodists (as above).
- 8 Aug 1802, St Bartholomew, Ripponden by John and Susan FIRTH, cotton carder from Soyland. Ripponden is 5 miles south west of Halifax. This couple also baptized Ann in 1798 and David in 1800. The date of birth fits with 1851 census, and Soyland is marginally closer to Mytholmroyd than Ovenden, but there is no other evidence to support this being the correct Harriet FIRTH such as the plastering connection.
- 7 Feb 1803 (born 8 Jan 1803), Denby Dikeside Wesleyan, Cumberworth by James FIRTH of Shelmanthorp and Mary LAWTON. Date of birth fits with 1851 census, but Cumberworth is 16 miles away from Halifax with Huddersfield lying between its less likely that Harriet would end up in Halifax. Non-conformist chapel.
- 25 Sep 1803, St Peter Huddersfield by Jeremiah FIRTH and Martha GLEDHILL of Deighton (7 miles to Halifax).
In 1871 an 89 year old Hannah FIRTH is living with her granddaughter Charlotte ASPINALL who was the daughter of John ASPINALL and a different Harriet FIRTH whose father was Thomas FIRTH of Elland.