A photograph of two envelopes addressed to Emma Sharp, with United States stamps.
Two envelopes from Stuart Sharp’s stamp collection

New information, has been found by Trustee Stuart Sharp in his grandfather’s stamp collection whilst Stuart was looking at for something to do during Covid lockdown. Stuart found this envelope dated 10th Feb 1947 addressed to Miss Emma Sharp, his Grandfathers sister, who both lived in Slaymaker Lane, Oakworth. On the back of the envelope it shows the name of the sender Mrs James A Sunderland 5101 Webster Street, Omaha 3, Nebraska. Stuart recalls his father saying that his Aunt Emma visited America several times but did not know why she visited. Stuart contacted our Sunderland family friends in USA to ask who Mrs James A Sunderland was and how she fitted into your family tree and if they were aware of their assumed friendship. It seems to demonstrate that the Sharp and Sunderland families kept in touch a hundred years after your ancestors moved to US.

   Emma Sharp is buried in Dockoyd graveyard in the same grave as her parents – Stuart’s great grandparents. She was born in 1867 and died 1959 aged 95. Also in the same grave are four of her siblings Ellis, Fred, Stanley and an unnamed baby who all died under a year old. She also had three other siblings Smith (1870-1940), Albert (1874-1951), Walter (1875-1956) and Chrissie Ann as can be seen on the family tree on page 97 of Dockroyd Live.

   The reply sent by William Sunderland explains:

Here is how I’m connected:

1) Thomas Sunderland, 1813-1849 (Keighley)
  2) Reverend James Sunderland, 1824(Keighley)-1924 & Mary Elizabeth Partridge 1838-1879
     3) James Albert Sunderland, 1860(James Town,NY)-1937(Omaha,NE)
        &Alice Louisa Edgerly,1870(Ottumwa,IA)-1961(Omaha,NE) [m: 1897 IA]
       4 )John Edgerly Sunderland, 1898-1966 & Julie Bill 1898-1984
           5) James Albert Sunderland II 1929(Omaha)-1992 & Marion Brown 1930-1981
     3) Lester Thomas Sunderland, 1867-1955

   When Thomas Sunderland moved to the US he brought with him all his children including the Revered James Sunderland. His children included James Albert Sunderland (1860-1937) and Lester Thomas Sunderland (1867-1955) my great grandfather, so James Albert Sunderland was my great grand uncle. The name initially peaked my interest because I had met a James A Sunderland (my father James Paul Sunderland always referred to him as “James A”) and his adopted son John when I was probably around 10.  But this would have been James A Sunderland II, the grandson of James A Sunderland 1860. That branch of the family found the Sunderland Brother Company in Omaha, NE which provided building materials. My great grandfather Lester was involved with the company before moving to Kansas City and getting involved in the cement business (Ash Grove Cement). I’ve not been in contact with the “James A” branch for some time, but the company still exists as a tile store. Their website has a little history on it (https://www.sunderlands.com/know-us/).

   James A Sunderland’s wife Alice Louisa Edgerly was likely the author of the letter which appears to have been mailed from San Marino, CA. I assume she was traveling at the time. There would have been other Sunderlands living in California at the time. I haven’t been able to verify that the address on the envelope was hers, but she did live in Omaha at the time, her husband would have died 10 year prior.       The Sunderlands in Omaha were quite prominent. We received a note from the University of California, Santa Barbara Library Cylinder Audio Archive a while back telling us that they had put online-recordings of wax cylinders passed between Sunderland families in California and Nebraska as a “high-tech”correspondence http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/search.php?query_type=keyword&query=Rev+james+sunderland&nq=1

AN example of a logo from the Sunderland brothers company in Omaha, Nebraska
Sunderland Brothers logo.

Sunderlands’ (formerly Sunderland Bros. Co.) was founded on March 19, 1883 by James.  A. Sunderland & has been integral to the growth and development of Omaha, Nebraska, selling stone, coal, cement, and other building supplies essential for a young growing city. The company evolved over the years as the needs of the construction industry changed. 

   As time passed & the company grew, new locations were opened, several product lines were added & the distribution reach was extended to several states across midwest.    In June’19, the legacy of Sunderlands moved to Samsara Surfaces LLC and we take great pride in extending the brand lineage of ‘Sunderlands’ and create new frontiers of growth in its current avatar. Today – ‘Sunderlands’ showrooms are a ‘One-Stop-Point’ to ideate & design the spaces people experience everyday – homes, offices, commercial venues & every bit of the world around, by being the single point for stocking, selecting, specifying & distributing the most exhaustive selection of surface materials, across tiles, mosaics, natural stones & other solid surfaces

A photograph of aa Sunderland's brothers horse drawn waggon.

We also now know from Passenger lists that Emma Sharp made several trips overseas and probably visited the Sunderlands in America.

1. She departed on 22nd July 1893 from Liverpool for Vancouver on the ship “Lake Ontario”.

2. Aged 34 and described as a waitress she left Liverpool on 23rd September 1899 to New York on the ship Campania. The ship’s master was J.B.Watt who later took the Lusitania on her maiden voyage.

3. On 24th July 1902, and described as a nurse, she took the return journey from New York to Liverpool on the ship Teutonic.

4. On 27th April 1912 she set off to New York on the ship Lusitania. The Lusitania was torpedoed by the Germans off the coast of Ireland on 7th May 1915 killing 1198 passengers and crew.

   Looking at the Census information we can see where Emma was living at different times:

1871 – Sykes Head William head of household, 30 stonemason, Mary 33, Emma 7 scholar, Smith 3, Fred 3 moths died in infancy

1881 – Sykes Top William 42 Emma 17 dressmaker

1891 – Sunny Bank Sykes Top, Mary widow living on own means, Emma 27 dressmaker, Smith 23 mason, Albert 18 apprentice, Walter 16 corn miller’s assistant

1911 – 20 Slaymaker Lane, Mary widow 73, Emma 47 both ”private means or income’.

   It is noticeable that Emma is missing from the 1901 Census. So combined with the above passenger lists we can assume she spent the period from September 1899 to July 1902 in America.