John Sims, farmer and publican

John Sims was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, born in Yeldersley, Derbyshire, in 1843 and baptised at the church in Bradley on 23 April. His parents were farmers Samuel Sims and Harriet Goodall, and John was their fourth child.

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Baptism record, Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916, Ancestry.co.uk

When John was five, his little brother Samuel died. The 1851 census shows John as a scholar, and the 1861 census gives no occupation for him. No doubt he was working on the family farm!

On 22 June 1868 he married Emily Fanny Williams at St Peter’s Church in Derby, and he gives his occupation as farmer.

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The 1871 census shows that the couple have moved to Manchester. They are living at 277 Collyhurst Rd. John is working as a carter and they have two children, two-year-old Louisa Ann (born in Ashbourne) and baby John Samuel, born in Manchester. Two lodgers are living with them, Thomas and Annie Harrison from Derbyshire. Thomas is a druggist’s porter.

The move may have coincided with the death of John’s father Samuel in 1868.

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The baptism of John Samuel Sims at St Oswald’s, Collyhurst, Manchester, which has since been demolished. Manchester, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915 on Ancestry.co.uk

By 1881 John and Emily had moved back to Derbyshire. They were living in Hognaston, where they ran the Red Lion.

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We visited in 2009 and found a list of the innkeepers displayed.

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By now they had four more children, so we can tell by their births that they moved in 1873 or 4.

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1881 census. Ancestry.co.uk

As we know from reading about the Oddingley Murders, inquests often took place in pubs, to allow for the public to attend. In February 1884, John would probably have been present at this one:

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 21 February 1884. Findmypast.co.uk

By 1891 John has gone back to his roots, and is working as a farm foreman at Day Park in Holbrook.

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1891 census. Ancestry.co.uk

The 1901 census describes the address as Coxbench Day Park. John is now an agricultural labourer, aged 59.

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By 1911 John is at Alfreton Rd, Little Eaton, Derbyshire.

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1911 census. Ancestry.co.uk

In 1917, John and Emily’s youngest son, Walter, joined the Labour Corps. He was 33. His service records show that he was shot in the head while in France, and underwent an operation there.

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Service record for Walter Sims.

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On 10 Nov 1918, John died at Malvern Terrace, Little Eaton. The cause was intestinal obstruction and strangulated hernia. His son Frederick was in attendance, but died the following month from Spanish flu. I have not found John’s burial place, and he didn’t leave a will.

Ari, this is how you are descended from John Sims:

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William Boothby, coal higler

Ari’s 5x great-grandfather William Boothby was born in 1809 in Milford, Belper, Derbyshire.

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The River Derwent from Milford Bridge, looking downstream and south. The river passes over two V-shaped weirs.
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The well dressing at Milford from 2017

William’s parents were Samuel Boothby and Elizabeth Saunders (both cotton framework knitters), and William was baptised on 2 July 1809 at St Alkmund in Duffield.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, Ancestry.co.uk

The next record for William is his marriage to Eliza Kent on 20 April 1841, also at that church. The marriage certificate describes him as of full age, a Bachelor, and a Labourer. His residence at the time of marriage is Little Eaton. He did not sign his name.

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Little Eaton Gangway, a horse-drawn plateway which operated from 1795–1908, carrying material from quarries to the Derby Canal.

William and Eliza were at Holbrook Moor by the time of the census in 1841, with a one-month-old baby, Anne. Their house was owned by Jedediah Strutt, and can be seen marked as no. 59 on a tithe map of the estate, dated 18 Jan 1840 (see Tithe Apportionments, 1836–1929. TheGenealogist.co.uk 2019).

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By 1851, sons Samuel, William and John had been born, and a second daughter, Ellen. They were still at Holbrook Moor, and William was a farm labourer. Sadly, baby William had died at only eight months old. He was buried at St Michael’s Church in Holbrook.

Eliza died in 1859, leaving William with one more child – a second William – born in 1856. The 1861 census shows him as a widower with five children at home: Ann (19), whose job is House Work, Samuel (17), Labourer Agricultural, Ellen (14), and William (4), at school. William and his son John (12) are both shown as coal higlers.

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1861 census, Ancestry.co.uk

This is one of those old occupations that can be found in the census, and meant someone who sold coal to householders, probably travelling with a horse and cart.

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Higler’s cart (from A new book of horses and carriages: The Rhedarium). Artist Thomas Rowlandson, 1784.

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Derby Mercury 28 April 1780, Findmypast.co.uk

William died in Holbrook on 17 July 1863. The cause of death was “Disease of the Heart, Debility”, and someone called Thomas Mee was in attendance. He was buried at Holbrook three days later.

Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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Another sad story: Joseph Phipps

Joseph Phipps was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather. This is the only photo we have of him.

Joseph Phipps

He was born on 25 October 1848 in Holbrook, Belper, Derbyshire, the son of William Phipps and Mary Taylor. He was baptised on 6 October 1850.

In the census of 1851 we can see him aged 3 with his parents:

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By 1861 he is working as a cotton mill hand, with his older brother John and younger brother Francis.

On 30 December 1867 he married Ellen Boothby at St Alkmund’s church in Duffield, and by then his occupation was collier. The 1871 census shows him as a coal miner, and the couple have two children, William and Joseph. They are still living in Holbrook.

By 1881 he appears on the census as a labourer, and three daughters have been born: Mary Ann, Elizabeth and Emma.

In 1891 he is a quarry labourer, and they are living in Holbrook St.

In 1901 he has a new occupation, that of newsagent, and in 1911 the description “Nottingham Guardian” is added. He is now 63. Two sons, Joseph and John, are living with him and his wife, and the census shows that they have had eleven children altogether, with five having died before 1911.

Now we come to the sad part of the story, discovered through newspaper accounts. Joseph appeared in the newspapers a few times during his life.

This was in 1885:

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 30 Jan 1885

This episode was from 1896:

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 5 Nov 1896

On 23 July 1915, the Belper News reported:

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An inquest was held the following day.

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Let’s do a happy story next! Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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Horace Sims

One of Ari’s great-great-grandfathers was Horace Sims, the son of Frederick Sims and Elizabeth Phipps.

Horace and family

Horace was born on 1 Nov 1909 in Holbrook, Derbyshire and appears in the 1911 census as the sixth of seven children, living in Town Street, Holbrook. Horace worked as a motor bus conductor and a foundry worker. He appeared in the Derby Daily Telegraph on 27 March 1931:

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On 27 Feb 1932 he married Mary Elizabeth Ellen (Nellie) Wheeldon, and an announcement was published in the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald on 5 March:

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On 29 Sep 1939 Horace appears in the 1939 Register as a builder’s labourer, living at 36a Penn Street, Belper and in 1940 he was fined 5 shillings:

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Derby Daily Telegraph 12 April 1940

Horace and Nellie had three children. He lived to the age of 86, long enough to pass on some family stories to me, to enjoy the weddings of his grandchildren, and to know some of his great-grandchildren.

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Ari, this shows how you are related to Horace:

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Frederick Sims of Holbrook

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Frederick Sims, born 25 Jan 1875 in Idridgehay, Belper, Derbyshire. I like to imagine him getting dressed in his Sunday best to have this photograph taken.

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After his birth certificate, the next record we have of him is starting school at the age of three. This is his entry in the school admission register for Hognaston School, along with his brother John and sister Harriet:

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(Source: National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870–1914, D2695_2_1, Findmypast)

Fred worked as a bricklayer’s labourer and as a stoker in a blast furnace for an iron company. He married Elizabeth Phipps in 1899, and the couple had ten children. The last child, Leslie, was born in June 1918. Sadly, Fred died of Spanish flu on 8 Dec 1918, only three weeks after his own father, and one of the 50–100 million people around the world killed in the pandemic. According to the Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal of 21 Dec 1918, 28 people had died of influenza in Derby that week, compared to 49 the previous week and 74 in the week ending 30 Nov when the epidemic was at its height.

He was buried at St Michael’s Church in Holbrook.

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Ari, this shows how you are related to Frederick:

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