Make your own free website on

The Progenitors: Sharp



The basic Sharp family history would be that SHARP is a German name, and they do reside in Yorkshire County, with its Dane Law heritage. They would have come from Northern Germany or the Netherlands, in the 500-700 AD time frame.

Bradford, Yorkshire, England, with its textile industry, appears to be the source for these Sharps. Bradford is just west of Leeds, England, I believe this is an area that is impotant to the starting of the "Industrial Revolution". What started as improvements for the textile industry became foundries for the Railroads of the next century.

View Larger Map

The Google map at left shows the location of the family in the 1841 census, the green arrow near center. They lived on Bewick Court, just south of Highgate Road. It appears that John and Hannah were from Halifax and moved to Clayton after they started a family. In the lower left is Halifax. Warley is just a bit left of Halifax. You can zoom in or out on the map. This whole area is just west of Leeds.
Most of the information on this page is NOT proven. It looks promising, but is far from absolute. Rachel Sharp and George W Lish are the only proven ancestors.

The information about Rachel's life is taken from letters, and the usual documents.

The connection from Rachel Sharp to James and Jane is a bit weak.

The link from James and Jane, back to William and Rachel is probably accurate. I hope there is more documentation in England to solidify that portion.

A more specific (to me) version of SHARP genealogy

William SHARP and Rachel

A William SHARPE marries Rachel HOPKINS on 23 APR 1777 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England. Not positive.

John SHARP and Hannah

The 1841 census for Bradford district, Clayton parish, Morley hundred, Yorkshire county, England lists John Sharp 50, Hannah 50, Samuel 23, Susannah 20, Hannah Brook 9. This census also lists born in this county or born in Scotland, Ireland or foreign parts. These people are all listed as born in Yorkshire County.

There is a John SHARP marrying Hannah BAINES on 20 MAY 1810, Halifax, Yorkshire, England, right area but not enough information yet.

From the census information it appears both John and Hannah were born in 1791.

A John Sharp is born to a John and Hannah in Halifax, Yorkshire, England, on 20 OCT 1811

A James SHARP is born to a John and Hannah in Yorkshire England, on on 15 April 1812. He is christened in Warley, Yorkshire, England. Warley is the southwest part of Halifax.

A William Sharp is born to a John and Hannah in Yorkshire, England, on 15 JUN 1814. He is christened in Warley on 31 JUL 1814.

A Samuel Sharp is born to a John and Hannah in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, on 06 APR 1817.

A Mary Sharp is born to a John and Hannah in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, on 12 JUL 1818.

A Susannah Sharp is born to a John and Hannah in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, on 18 JUN 1820.

An Abraham Sharp is born to a John and Hannah in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, on 03 OCT 1830

James SHARP and Jane

As of June 27 2006, a fellow descendant has written to say that Rachel's parents were possibly James and Jane Sharp. Apparently they both died in 1847 from Cholera. Rachel would have been 1 year old when her parents died. I haven't been able to discern any siblings for her.

Originally I thought the SHARPs came from Scotland, but now I am not so sure. The actual sentence from the original letter is "A Scotsman named Ralph in California came with Grandma's parents from the old country". No punctuation. OK so now SHARPs may not be from Scotland...

There is a Richard Ralphs that seems to be near the Sharps in Nauvoo, IL, and again he is near them in San Bernardino CA, he is from Wollerton, Shropshire, England. A David Henderson connection seems to be there too, and he is from Scotland. Both Henderson and Ralphs traveled to Salt Lake in the James J Jepson company in 1852. Ralphs went on to CA in 1853. One thing is certain all three, Sharp, Henderson, and Ralphs were stone masons. Now if we can find whether Ralphs came to America on the ship "Hope", with Sharps.

There is a legal description for land in Nauvoo IL and it would appear that Ralphs and Sharps were in close proximity.

Kimball 1st: Block 6, Lot 25, N/2
Kimball 1st: Block 4, Lot 53, 1/4 acre part S 1/2(Tenant) Nauvoo: Block 40, Lot 3(Tenant)   

I wonder if the Scotsman was Henderson, and Ralphs was another person that came with them from England.

James SHARP was born 15 April 1812, in Yorkshire England. There is a christening date of 24 MAY 1812 in, Warley, Yorkshire, England. Parents were John and Hannah. Warley is in Warley township, which is contained in Halifax Parish, and is just west of Halifax the city. September 1840 James Sharp was baptized into the LDS church. 5 February 1842 James and his wife left England onboard the ship Hope, captained by Saul. At the start of this journey they had a 4 year old son, Joseph, and an infanty daughter names Sarah Ann. They arrived in New Orleans on 1 April 1842, however their son Joseph had died on the voyage. There seems to be no Ralphs or Hendersons on this ship with them. They traveled with 270 fellow converts to the LDS faith. They arrived in Nauvoo IL 13 April 1842. In William Clayton's journal he mentions James Sharp was a Stone Cutter on 31 December 1844, cutting stone for the Nauvoo Temple. 22 January 1846 he recieved his endowment. The North American Cholera Epidemic occured in 1848, 1849, and somewhat into 1850.

Jane Sharp was born 27 April 1813.

James and Jane died from cholera circa 1850 (1847?). It is thought that they had a son also. Perhaps a James Sharp who died at 7 years of age in 1850 (in Jackson county IL).

Evelyn Slocum Burke(grand daughter of Rachel Sharp) wrote my mother a letter in about 1974 and said Rachel's parents came from Scotland, other letters just say the, "Old Country", with a man named Ralph. She also stated that Rachel's father was a stonemason in Nauvoo IL.

James and Jane were in America, and alive for only 5-7 years, and that was between 2 census. Gordon Nelson felt that was a short window of oppoptunity for the accumulation af much recorded documents. Even less for their time with Rachel 3-5 years. Gordon also mentioned that many of the records for this time frame and locale were lost to Mississippi flood waters.

James Sharp did the following proxy baptisms
Hannah Sharp on 21 July 1844, lists her as his mother.
Rachel Sharp on 21 July 1844, lists her as his grandmother.
William Sharp on 21 July 1844, lists him as his grandfather.
Willaim Sharp on July 21 1844, lists him as his brother.

Wouldn't a blood relative have taken their child? Why would Rachel be with William Riley? Was Riley their neighbor, one of their new friends in America? Below you will see that Rachel stated her parents were both born in NY.

I am going to go with this new information. I would like to find proof, however sometimes that can't happen.

Rachel SHARP and George W LISH

Rachel was orphaned in Illinois, and came west, to Utah, with the William Riley family.

On the 1850 Iowa census for Pottawattamie County, District 21, William Riley (Kiley on the index) age 37, born TN is listed. His household includes Charity age 34, born TN; Rachel age 4, born in MO?, Charity 8 months, Elizabeth Lott age 22, born in TN; Fredrick Johnson 49 born Eng; John Sasnett (Saslett) 30, born TN; Mary 21, born TN; Cordilia, age 1 born MO.

Rachel is not listed by her last name. Elizabeth Lott is a niece to Charity Sasnett, maiden name for William's wife.

Not about Rachel, but Valentine Herring was in San Bernardino for the 1852 census there. States he was born in Illinios, most recently lived in Utah. He was the city assessor.

The Utah census for 1856 has the Riley family. They are in Palmyra City, Utah County, Utah. She is listed as Rachel S Riley.

The 1860 census shows a split with William Riley and his 2nd wife in Provo Utah. While Charity (Charolette) now married to Valentine Herring, and Rachel Sharp, are in San Bernardino CA. There is a note in margin that puts them in a seperate household from David Henderson. David Henderson was born in Scotland. Charity and Valentine state a North Carolina birth and Rachel is born in ILL. Family history states that Charity Riley had become disenchanted with the Mormon polygamy, practiced by William Riley, and left for California, but Herring and Henderson were also Mormons.

1870 shows us Charity Herring, born North Carolina, 52 years of age, keepinghouse. Also in the same San Bernardino census we have George Lish, Rachel (born in Ill), and their 2 daughters Rachel and Rhoda. Some census index them as Herring. Rachel's daughter Charity is named after William Riley's wife, while some think Rhoda is named for Harriet Tripp's mother.

The 1880 census has Rachel Lish as a wife to G. W. Lish. They are in Portage, Box Elder, Utah. They have 5 children, 4 were born in CA, the last born in UT. Again Rachel gives her birth as ILL. However Rachel gives the birth place for her parents as New York.

The 1900 census for Butte, Silverbow, MT has Rachel LISH, listed as a servent she is 56 born in Illinois. Both her parents are born in Scotland. It looks like the birth month is September.

1910 census Seattle, King, WA, Rachel Sharp is living with her daughter Elizabeth Smart and their family. She is 66, a widow?, and born in Illinois, both parents are listed as born in Scot, England.

The following was taken from a film of William Riley's diary; William Womack Riley's father moved to Dixon Co, Tenn in 1816 and in 1819 moved to Wayne Co, Tenn. William became a Methodist in Tenn in 1825 at age 12. 1829 his father moved to Bond Co. Ill. In 1832 he moved with father to Hillsborough, Montgomery, Ill and became a carpenter. Married Charity Sasnett in 1834. In 1836 he moved to Missouri. Went then to Jacksonville, Morgan, ILL. Became a member of LDS church 28 Dec 1839. Served a short mission in Ill and moved to Springfiled, Ill in Aug 1841. In April 1842 moved to Nauvoo. On 7 May 1844 he started on a mission to Tenn. He returned to Nauvoo Jan. 30, 1845.

So we have some info that might lead to a breakthrough. Rachel Sharp may have been born in either IL or MO, and her parents were born in either NY or Scotland. I guess the first thing to do is look through all the Lott, Riley and Sasnett family members to see if any married a Sharp.