Hilton family of Wigan & Utah

Here is a query that I received recently ……


Genealogy WW1My mother was Elizabeth Hilton and was born in Wigan, Lancashire in 1900. Her father, John Hilton Sr. was a coal miner and immigrated to Castle Gate, Carbon County, Utah in August 1906. After working and accumulating the necessary funds, His wife Jane and three children joined him in September 1907. At the time John was the Superintendent of the Clear Creek Mine in Carbon County, UT. Family history is that the British Government recalled all her subjects with vitals skills home to help with the Great War (WWI) effort. We do not have a record of when he returned; Jane and 6 children returned in December 1915.

After the War, John returned Castle Gate in November 1920 to become the Boney Boss at the Castle Gate Mine. My mother Elizabeth returned in June 1921 followed by her mother Jane and 6 children (another born in England) in October 1921.

John and Mathew Tyrer (brother to Jane) was killed 08 March 1908 in the Castle Gate Mine Explosion. In total a 174 miners lost their life. To add to our family history, we would like a copy of the documentation that resulted in John and his family returning to England. I have been reading the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) of 1914 but cannot see where it compelled the return of British subjects. I am hoping that you might be able to help or point me in the proper direction.

Going off subject, I am retired now but several years in our aerospace/defense industries. I find interesting that we spell your defence as defense. Although I have a degree with double major in physics and math, I also have an English Literature minor. My wife was the county spelling champion and two of my three daughters participated in our National Spelling Bees. So spelling is very important in our family.

Looking forward to your reply.

Bill Roberts

Hello Bill,

I have never heard of the British Government recalling men from overseas to return to the UK to assist in the WW1 war effort. I can’t see how they would have compelled them to do so and I would tend to think that John Hilton senior went of his own accord rather than at the behest of the UK government. I may be wrong and  perhaps one of the MadAboutGenealogy readers will write in and put me right !

I have undertaken, as I expect you have, a Google search for the recall of miners during WW1 and found nothing. Therefore I rather think that the documentation does not exist for John Hilton’s recall to England.

The British way of spelling certain words does seem to have alter over the centuries as well as when the British moved to other lands. I think we had better agree to disagree on the way to spell defence !

Sorry not to be able to help you further.



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