Ann Sheldon of Whatstandwell, blacksmith

Ann Sheldon was one of Ari’s 5x great-grandmothers. She was born in 1823, in Biggin-By-Wirksworth in Derbyshire.

In the 1851 census, Ann was twenty-seven, living with her widowed father John at Pointon Cross, Hucklow, where he was a farmer. Shortly after that, on the 8th of June, she married John Frost Bunting, a blacksmith.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 07.09.34.png

John had previously been married to Ann’s aunt, Mary Ann Sheldon, who had died in May 1849, leaving him with a nine-year-old son, Jacob. (This marriage caused an interesting tangle in Ari’s tree!):

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 07.30.07

I don’t know who Ann’s mother was. I haven’t been able to find her baptism record or the marriage of her father, and I haven’t found them in 1841 yet.

By 1861 they were living at Crich Carr, with Jacob and six children of their own. In 1871, they were at Whatstandwell, next to the Bull’s Head. Ann was described in the census as a housewife, and there were five children at home, from nineteen-year-old Mary down to six-year-old Charles.

By the 1881 census, Ann’s husband John had died, so she was now the head of the household.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 07.48.59.png

The youngest child, Frederic, was Ann’s grandson, the illegitimate son of Ari’s 4x great-grandmother, Mary Ann. Frederic was also a blacksmith, and in 1905 he emigrated to a place called Elyria in Ohio with his wife Sarah Jane and children Vernon and Dorothy. (His baptism, marriage and death records all give no father’s name, but when he applied for social security, the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 gives his father’s name as Samuel Wheeldon, who Mary married in 1875.)

Frederic had taken advantage of an offer whereby the Canadian government’s immigration branch paid commission to steamship booking agents in the UK for any suitable immigrants who bought tickets (the immigrants didn’t receive the bonus themselves unless they settled on western homesteads).

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 09.01.15.png
Passenger record for Frederic and family on the Lake Manitoba, arriving in St John, New Brunswick, Canada, from Liverpool. Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865–1935,

Maybe he decided that farming wasn’t for him – by 1910 he was back to being a blacksmith, in Ohio. Frederic died in Elyria at the age of seventy-five.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 08.45.15.png

His obituary appeared in the Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria:

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 08.44.19.png
Obituary of Frederic William Bunting, 2 Aug 1946, from

Ann was sixty-eight in 1891, running a blacksmith’s business in Whatstandwell.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 09.09.32.png

Her daughters Louisa and Lizzie were living with her and working as dressmakers. Son Charles and grandson Frederic (described here as her son) were blacksmiths.

Here she is in Kelly’s Directory for 1891:

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 09.15.05

Ann died a couple of months later, on the 6th of June. The cause of death was bronchitis and cardiac failure, and her son Charles was present at the death. She was buried at Crich.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 09.17.10.png


Ann’s death was reported in the Derby Telegraph and the Ripley and Heanor News:

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 09.22.41.png

I have ordered a copy of the will of Ann and her father John, so will update this post when they arrive.

Ari, this is how you are related to Ann:

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 09.58.30.png


John Edgar Pearson Wheeldon

Ari’s 3x great-grandfather, John Edgar Pearson Wheeldon, was born on 27 July 1878 in Holloway, Belper, Derbyshire. His parents were Samuel Wheeldon and Mary Ann Bunting.

Primitive Methodist Chapel, Holloway

John was not christened until 1896, and this event took place in Wirksworth.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 18.27.38
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916

The 1881 census had shown John as a two-year-old, living with his parents and three siblings in Holloway. His father was a hosiery dresser.

In 1891, John was still at school.

On 12 March 1898, he married Elizabeth Ann Murfin at All Saints Church in Mugginton, her parish.

The leaning porch at Mugginton church

The marriage certificate tells us that John was now working as a wheelwright.

In 1901, John and his wife are living at Little Hays in the parish of Alderwasley, Wirksworth, and John is a blacksmith’s striker. Two children have been born: Lawrence Edgar and John Henry Francis (Frank).

In 1907, John appeared as a witness in the newspaper account of a fatal injury (read left to right):

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 20.08.37

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 20.09.22
Belper News, 20 September 1907

Four more children would be born before the next census in 1911: Winifred Ethel, Arnold George, Edward Oliver, and Mary Elizabeth Ellen (Ari’s great-great grandmother). By then the family had moved to Nottingham Road in Belper. John is described in the census as “Journey blacksmith, wheelwright & general smith”. Another son, Lewis Mervyn, was born the following year but died at only a few months’ old.

John lived to see the marriage of two of his children, but sadly died at the age of only forty-five, on 4 February 1924, at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary. The cause of death was given as broncho-pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma.

Ari, this is how you are related to John:

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 20.14.46



A bit more on the Thickett story

Yesterday I discovered that Sarah Thickett, Ari’s 7x great-grandmother, was from Old Brampton, Chesterfield, and had relations called Matthew and Ellen or Helen Thickett.

I managed to reconstruct the family from their wills and baptisms, so we now know that Sarah (mother of Joseph Bunting Thickett) went on to marry a blacksmith called Joseph Stoppard in 1778 and died in 1816.

Matthew was indeed her father, and her mother was Alice Cundy. Matthew was a cordwainer (shoemaker). The name came from the finest goatskin leather that they originally used, from Cordoba in Spain.

The Cordwainer statue on Watling Street

Matthew’s father (Ari’s 9x great-grandfather) was Thomas Thickett, who must have been born in the 1670s. Thomas had a seat reserved for him in Old Brampton church. This is listed in a roll of seatholders from 1707.


Helen, whose grave was mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, turned out to be Ari’s 8x great-aunt (Sarah’s sister). She died in 1796, and her will ties everything together nicely, because she mentions Joseph Bunting Thickett by name.

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 07.01.45.png
Staffordshire, Dioceses of Lichfield and Coventry wills and probate 1521-1860

The families lived in Old Brampton and Holymoorside, near Chesterfield, so we have some exploring to do!

Joseph Bunting Thickett

Joseph was Ari’s 6x great-grandfather, born in 1765 in Ashover, Derbyshire, the son of Sarah Thickett.

The River Amber near Ashover

On 30 December 1793, Joseph married Jane Frost in Wirksworth.

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 17.23.55
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932

The couple had nine children, and they were all given the last name Bunting, rather than Thickett. Maybe Bunting was Joseph’s father’s name?

The first child, Betty, died aged six, and the second, Joseph, died at eight months. I knew he had died before 1811, as there was another son given the name Joseph that year, but I have just discovered his burial, in something called a Burials Waste Book for the church at Old Brampton, Chesterfield. This book lists the position of each grave. For Joseph, buried on 7 May 1798, it says:

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 18.35.51
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

On the page 10 referred to, which records burials in April 1796, we see:

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 18.33.35.png
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

So now I think that these are possibly Sarah’s parents. To explore further!

We know that Joseph was a blacksmith from the marriage record of one of his sons, and they carried on the tradition. Sons William, John, Joseph and James were all blacksmiths, while Thomas became a wheelwright.

Joseph died in June 1823 and was buried at Wirksworth.

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 18.57.20
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1991

Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 19.00.02