Select Cross Miscellany

Here are some Cross stories and accounts over the years:

Crosse in Lancashire

The early Crosses in Lancashire may have come from Wales.  Richard le Waleys (meaning the Welshman) was to be found at the village of Aughton near Wigan in the early 13th century.  In 1210 he had erected a horse-mill within the “Land of the Cross” of the Prior of Burscough.   Henceforth the family was to be referred to as de Cruce.  The de Cruce of the Latin deeds also appeared as de la Croyz, atte Crosse and del Crosse.

Richard del Crosse, first recorded in 1400, did well and acquired lands in Liverpool and Chorley.  Settling in Liverpool, he and his successors had little further direct connection with Wigan.  In 1409 he was appointed Mayor of Liverpool.  John Crosse, his son and heir, followed him as Mayor of Liverpool in 1459

John Crosse in Liverpool

John Crosse of Crosse Hall at the bottom of Dale Street was mayor of Liverpool in 1522.  He founded the town’s first grammar school, “free for all children bearing the name of Crosse, and for poor children,” and endowed it forever.  Part of the Blue Coat school stood later on this site.

He also bequeathed a small thatched house to the town.  The thatched house is long gone.  But the land is where Liverpool’s Town Hall now stands. 

A descendant of John Crosse, also named John Crosse and also mayor of Liverpool, sought to build a wall in 1571 at the Dale Street end to protect his property from the ravages of the sea. 

The Crosses were still living there in 1673.  A visitor at that time described Sir John Crosse as living in a fine mansion on Dale Street.

Andrew Crosse at Fyne Court

Among the many visitors to Fyne Court, it is said that William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge both came to see Andrew Crosse.  Coleridge was the more likely visitor as Coleridge Cottage was only a few miles away from Fyne Court In the Quantocks.

Crosse was also linked with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his young mistress Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin after they had attended a lecture by Crosse in 1814 in London in which he explained his experiments with atmospheric electricity.

Crosse seems to have had two very happy marriages. After his first wife Mary Anne died in 1846, the 45 year old Andrew married the beautiful 22 year old Cornelia Berkeley. It was largely due to Cornelia that we know much about Andrew Crosse.  She recorded his life in detail in her books of Andrew Crosse - The Electrician in 1857 and Red Letter Days of My Life in 1892.

On his deathbed, Andrew changed his will, gifting Fyne Court to his beloved wife Cornelia.  His eldest son John was left the organ from the music room.  Following Andrew's death in 1855, Cornelia gave the estate to John.  Andrew is thought to have introduced John to Lord Byron's daughter Lady Ada Lovelace.  The two, who were married to other people, then embarked on an affair.

Robert Cross's Problems with the Law

the year 1653 Governor Bradstreet of Massachusetts entrusted Robert Cross, his father-in-law, and a friend with the custody of thirty ewes.  These sheep were turned over to the care of Cross’s two boys, Robert and Stephen.  The boys were possibly careless.  They said that many of the sheep had been killed by a great bear. Bradstreet did not believe them and, four years later, sued their father and grandfather.  Sons Robert and Stephen were jailed and put in the stocks for their training day. 

Robert Cross himself was very quick to sue.  There were various legal entanglements over the years, notably in 1664 when his daughter Martha got into trouble with a certain William Durkee.  Cross sued Durkee for abusing his daughter.  Durkee replied by suing Cross for withdrawing his consent to the marriage after having given it earlier.  Soon afterwards William and Martha were duly married.  

Around the same time his servant Lawrence Clinton was courting Rachel Halfield, an aging Ipswich spinster, who bought off his time (around three and a half years) from Cross for £21 and married him.  Clinton soon deserted Rachel and departed for fresh pastures in Rhode Island.  Rachel’s family then sued Cross, accusing him on conniving with Clinton to secure the Halfield money, and won the case.  Cross appealed and did manage to get a reversal. 

Robert Cross ended up believing he could get no justice in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  But later on Cross did make a point when he sued Thomas Wells for slander for calling him a “cheating knave.”  The court forced Wells to make a public acknowledgement to clear Cross’s name

Rev. W.K. Cross the Pioneer Mountain Parson

In a small cemetery in East Tennessee stands a tombstone with the following inscription: 

Reverend William King Cross. 
Known as W. K.  Born, July 18, 1814.
Died Oct. 18 1893 
Aged 79 years, 3 months  

W. K. was one of 12 children born to Elijah and Catherine Cross.  When he was young he was a wild and reckless fellow.  He boasted that he had had more fights than any other two boys of his own size.  At the age of 18, while attending a revival meeting, W. K. stepped out from among his friends and went to the mourner's bench.  He held out his large brawny hands and said earnestly:  

“See those broken knuckles, these broken wrists?  I have fought for the devil all these years.  Now I am going to fight for the Lord.” 

Parson Cross, as he became, married his childhood sweetheart Loozenia Gross and there were several children. Financially the family was poor.  Spiritually they were rich.  The parson was a giant physically.  Work to him was a pleasure.  He became a boatman, a mill-owner, and a prosperous farmer.  He would often leave his family on the farm to go and preach the Gospel, walking where he could not ride a horse. 

When he was in the mountains of North Carolina holding a revival, the sad news reached him that his little girl had died. Then his son died.  And this affliction caused his wife's death.  For a long time he was lonesome and inconsolable.  But he finally decided to resume his task, his appointed work, which was "to tell the story of Jesus and his love." 

The tragic story of his family he repeated wherever he went.  All in the audience would weep.  Many embraced the preacher.  Each night a multitude would gather around the altar.  His life, his sorrows, his sermons were topics of general conversion long after the meetings ceased. 

Later he married a second time. Children came to replace the ones who had gone on. 

The old parson's memory was clear until the last.  In the spring of 1893, the parson told his family he would attend another camp meeting, for his health was failing fast.  On October of that year, he passed quietly away. The crowd at his funeral was one of the largest anyone in the area has ever seen.  He was buried in the cemetery near his old home.


The Tragic Death of John Cross

Sydney Morning Herald of July 9, 1859 had the following story:

“A gloom has been lately cast over the Lower Hawkesbury in consequence of there being every reason to believe that John Cross, farmer, eldest son of David Cross, an old Australian settler there, met his death by drowning on Sundav morning last. 

John Cross was a passenger on the New Moon steamer from the Hawkesbury to Sydney. When outside of the heads, near the Long Reef, Mr. Cross went upstairs about three o'clock in the morning saying he would have a look at the lighthouse.

He was never missed till the vessel reached Sydney.  There can be no doubt that he fell overboard and was drowned. None of the seaman saw him, though it is believed there were several on deck.  So he must haye gone over immediately after reaching the top.

Mr. Cross has left behind him a sorrowing young wife and family.  He was taking 200 bushels of corn to market."

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