A short history of the Wharam family

I have recently ( February 2019 ) been contacted by Glenn , who has supplied me with the following interesting information about the Wharam family ( frequently misspelled as Wareham). From his research efforts he has proven that his family lived in and around Netherthong at least by 1782, and knows that they departed Netherthong in 1849, bound for America. His line of Wharam seems to have been the only family with that surname in Netherthong and ,like most of those living in and around the village, they were engaged in weaving woolen cloth. The majority of persons with the surname Wharam seem to be in Clayton West and High Hoyland, with smaller numbers around Cumberworth and New Mill. Distant cousins live today in Skelmanthorpe. Glenn’s theory is that his great-great-great grandfather, Charles Wharam, must have migrated to Netherthong from the east. He married Ann Hudson in Netherthong, but she was baptized in Holmfirth.

Based on census and baptism records, the family moved around a bit, residing in Moor Lane Farm, Moor Gate Farm, and the Burnlee section of Upperthong. Cousins lived at Holmroyd Nook. One of the residents of Holmroyd Nook showed Glenn a leasehold document signed by Jonas Hinchliffe, the brother of his great-great-great grandmother, Lydia Hinchliffe Oldham. His great-great grandfather was baptised in All Saints Parish Church in 1837( the baptismal index records show a James Oldham Wareham, born 07/08/1837 and baptised on 27/09/1837 : father John and mother Sally Hinchliffe, both of Moor Lane), although this seemed to have been an exception as almost all the other baptisms and marriages were conducted at the Wesleyan Chapel.

The history continues when the Wharam family of Moor Lane (father John, mother Sally, great-great grandfather James Oldham Wharam, and his two sisters Lydia and Elizabeth) left Netherthong. They sailed via the Port of Liverpool to Canada and then on to join a family member who had already established a farm at Gaines Township in Genesee County, Michigan. The Hinchliffe cousins, who once lived at Holmroyd Nook, left a bit later and came to New Jersey. Incredibly, the Hinchliffes then traveled from New Jersey to Michigan and lived for a while with their Wharam cousins. So, two families who had lived on adjacent farms west of Netherthong were reunited and lived together in Michigan.

But Michigan did not appeal to the Hinchliffes because it was too cold . They left, and great-great grandfather, James Oldham Wharam, went with them (his mother had died, and his father had remarried). This group of cousins eventually made their way to Buckingham County, Virginia. It is helpful that the Hinchliffes had a child born in New Jersey, Michigan, and Virginia, as confirmed by the 1860 US census, which helped trace their movements. The Hinchliffes bought land in Buckingham and started farming.

In 1861 war broke out. James Oldham Wharam volunteered and became a soldier in Company C of the Virginia 44th Regiment of Infantry of the Confederate States of America. The Hinchliffe farm had no slaves, and James fought because his adopted homeland of Virginia was being invaded by the North.

James Oldham Wharam was a participant in the American Civil War for the duration, 1861 to 1865. He marched hundreds of miles and was shot twice, the second time through both lungs. He was left for dead on the battlefield but survived. He was captured by Union troops and taken to hospitals and then to a prisoner of war camp at Fort McHenry, Maryland . When the war ended, he was released and walked back to Buckingham County, which was devastated. There were no cows to milk, no pigs to slaughter, no stores of grain, and no seed to plant. The Hinchliffes had lost everything and after military actions had ceased, they moved to Philadelphia. James married a local girl and started farming, after surviving the winter of 1865-1866, living mostly on the game he killed – mostly squirrels. He fathered 14 children. Almost all of the persons today with the Wharam surname, stretching from Georgia to Maryland, are descendants of James Oldham Wharam of Netherthong. Today, there are more Wharams in the US than in the UK. Glenn is obviously very proud of his family roots and ended his information with the following question.

What do you call a fellow whose family of clothiers were put out of business by the Industrial Revolution, who survived the cramped conditions of a ship sailing to America, who survived the Michigan winters in a log cabin, who trekked from Michigan to Virginia, who marched hundreds of miles while a soldier in the Confederate Army, who was wounded twice and left for dead, who survived the horrible conditions of a prisoner of war camp, who walked back home, barefoot and with no food after the war, only to find his home place totally devastated, who started a farm from scratch while avoiding starvation, and who fathered 14 children? Answer: a Yorkshireman – one from Netherthong.

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