Samuel Williams of Ashbourne, pig dealer and publican

One of Ari’s 5x great-grandfathers was Samuel Williams, born on 21 May 1810 in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

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Samuel was the son of William and Frances Williams. He was baptised on 27 December 1810 at St Oswald’s church.

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Helpfully, the baptism record gives his exact birth date.

No records of Samuel have been found until his marriage, which took place on 20 April 1840 at the same church. His bride was Eliza Grace Potter. The marriage bond is in the collection of “Staffordshire, Dioceses Of Lichfield & Coventry Marriage Allegations and Bonds, 1636-1893” on Findmypast, and shows that Samuel was a pig dealer.

In the 1841 census the couple are living in Ashbourne with Emily’s parents, George and Ann Potter.

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Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 04 December 1846

In 1849, Samuel appears in the Derbyshire Post Office Directory:

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In 1851 they are still living at Pig Market, with children Anne Eliza, Samuel, Emily Fanny,  and William George.

On 17 Feb 1854, this notice appeared in the Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal:

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In 1861 Samuel and Eliza are living in the same place, now with four more children: Louisa Maria, John, Frederick and Lucy. By 1870 Samuel is also working as a publican, at the Royal Oak. A lodger, also a pig dealer, is living with the family in 1871.

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Derby Mercury 29 May 1850

Samuel died in 1878 and was buried on the 1st of May at St Oswald’s. His abode at that time was given as Crown Yard.

Ari, this is how you are related to Samuel:

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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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Wilful murder in Heage

So I’m happily going through the death certificates recently ordered from the GRO, and filling in the causes of death in my database, when I come to the certificate I’ve received for William Taylor, Ari’s 6x great-grandfather:

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Not what one expects to find! This happened on 31 July 1849 in Heage, Derbyshire.

I then found the newspaper accounts in the British Newspaper Archive on Findmypast. The story appeared in the Derbyshire Courier and the Buxton Herald on 4 August 1849.

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William was born in 1784 in Staveley, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, to Thomas and Sarah Taylor. His christening took place on 19 September 1784 at the church of St John the Baptist. In 1808 he married Millicent Bower, and they had at least six children.

William worked as a collier, and afterwards as a nailmaker (one report says that he kept a shop in Belper). The murder was reported quite widely, even outside the county (this is the London Morning Post):

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The accused was charged at the next assizes, the following spring:

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The Staffordshire Advertiser reported the outcome on 30 March 1850:

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Such a sad story! The full newspaper accounts give lots of details about William and other family members, so I need to read them thoroughly. The moral of the story: death certificates are definitely worth finding!

Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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William Cobley (pronounced Coverley?)

William Cobley was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, born in 1814 in Barrowden, a parish on the river Welland in Rutland, and also on the Jurassic Way.

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As I started looking at what I knew about him this morning, things got a bit confusing. I thought I’d found his marriage to Mary Davis in 1841 but then couldn’t find it again. What I found instead were the banns and marriage record for:

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That definitely says Coverley! Now I wasn’t sure. Is this the same person? Would Cobley and Coverley be pronounced the same if you had a Rutland accent?

Puzzling over this, I did a search for the new name, and came upon a second marriage for William on 29 Dec 1863, after Mary’s death. He is marrying a widow, Amy Townsend, and just look at the signature:

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So maybe he used both names, or maybe the curate wasn’t sure. But at least that provides enough evidence that it is the right person.

So, on with his story. The banns (from the Rutland Banns Collection on Findmypast) say that he is living in Oakham, so we can assume that the 1841 census is correct. Here he is a servant on a farm called Oakham Grange. He appears in the Lincolnshire Chronicle twice. Firstly on 5 Sep 1845 where he has been convicted of using wire snares to kill game:

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And secondly on 3 March 1848, where he is being sent to gaol:

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(Always worth checking the local papers!)

In 1851 he and Mary are living in Barrowden with three of their four children and a nephew. William is an agricultural labourer. Mary died in 1863 and William married Amy later that year, as we have seen. In 1871 the two of them are still in Barrowden, with an eight-year-old grandson, John Newman.

William died in 1876 and was buried on 2 Feb.

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(Source: Rutland Burials on Findmypast.)

To end his story, here is a photo of Barrowden’s tranquil pond and village green.

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Ari, this shows how you are related to William:

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Judith Brooks of Middleton-by-Wirksworth

Judith Brooks was Ari’s 4x great-grandmother. She was born in Middleton-by-Wirksworth in Derbyshire on 23 Jan 1828 and baptised at St Mary’s Church in Wirksworth on the 2nd of March.

In the 1841 census she is thirteen, living in Town Street, Middleton, with her parents Thomas and Mary, older brother Charles, and younger sister Martha. On 30 Oct 1848 she married William Spencer at Holy Trinity Church, an event captured in several local newspapers. This is from the Derby Mercury of 1 Nov 1848, on Findmypast:

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Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 14.42.47.pngBy 1851, Judith has given birth to three boys: William (possibly born before the marriage), Daniel (who was baptised in March 1850 and buried in April) and Isaac.

The 1861 census shows Judith living in Hillside, Middleton-by-Wirksworth with her husband (a lead-miner), three sons and two daughters. The oldest son, William, is a lead-miner at the age of 13.

In 1871 they are at Rise End. Judith is now 43, with a five-month-old baby, Samuel. Daughters Martha (17) and Mary (14) are factory girls, son Thomas (11) is working in the stone quarry, and the two youngest boys, Francis (7) and David (3), are at school. (Samuel was probably Judith’s ninth and last child.)

In 1881 Judith gets an occupation: ‘wife’. Now they are living in Water Lane with six of their children and two grandchildren.

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Judith died on 18 Jan 1890, at the age of 62. Her death certificate shows that she had been suffering from liver cancer for one year. She was buried on 21 Jan 1890 in Middleton. We have found hundreds of other Spencers (I think it must be the most popular name in Wirksworth) but we haven’t found her grave yet.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Judith:

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Henry Penny, gamekeeper

Another of Ari’s ancestors (his 4x great-grandfather) was Henry Penny, who lived all his life in Fonthill Bishop, Wiltshire. British History Online tells us this about the Manor of Fonthill:

“Athelwulf’s morning-gift to his wife Athelthryth was a 5-hide estate at Fonthill which in the late 9th century she sold to Oswulf. Helmstan later acquired it but, when accused of the theft of a belt, his right was disputed by Athelhelm. Helmstan proved his right but for help in doing so and for a life-lease granted the land to Ordlaf. In exchange for land elsewhere Ordlaf in 900 granted Fonthill, then said to be 10 hides, to Denewulf, bishop of Winchester.”*

Henry was born on 28 Sep 1826, christened at All Saints Church on 28 Dec, married there on 5 Nov 1853, and was buried there on 27 Jan 1909.

At the age of 14, he was an agricultural labourer. We can get a flavour of his life from this report in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal of 5 Feb 1853 (from Findmypast):

henry penny salisb and winch jnl 5 feb 1853

He is mentioned in another account from the same newspaper on 15 Oct 1870:

henry penny salisb and winch jnl 15 oct 1870

By April 1871 was living with his wife Mary Ann and four of his six children at Woodbine Cottage, working as a farm labourer. In 1891, his son Walter is living next door with his own family.

In 1901, the last census before his death, he is shown as a game keeper and widower, still in Woodbine Cottage (the last house in the parish), with his daughter Bessie, son-in-law Frederick, and two grandchildren, Thomas and Elsie.

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*A P Baggs, Elizabeth Crittall, Jane Freeman and Janet H Stevenson, ‘Parishes: Fonthill Bishop’, in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 11, Downton Hundred; Elstub and Everleigh Hundred, ed. D A Crowley (London, 1980), pp. 77-82. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol11/pp77-82 [accessed 22 July 2017].

Ari, this shows how you are related to Henry:

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Family stories: murdered for a wedding suit

One of the stories told by my grandmother Rose was about her father-in-law, Charles Feinstein, who was born on 25 June 1859 in Libau (Liepaja), Latvia. I wrote this down from what she told me: “He ran a grocery shop in Jeppestown, Johannesburg, after working as a picture framer. After his children had left home, he used to send a servant to his daughter Mary’s house in O’Reilly Road, where she would make food for the servant to take back. In September 1930 the servant came and said that Charles was very ill. The servant disappeared, and Charles was found dead in his room. He had told the servant that he had bought a new suit and saved £50 for Rose and Louis’s wedding. Both had been taken. The servant was later imprisoned.”

It was not until our last visit to Cape Town that I was able to find any evidence for this story. This involved hours of peering at microfilmed issues of the Johannesburg newspapers in the library (I don’t think many South african newspapers have been digitised yet – it would be great if they were!).

Charles Feinstein 1930

Although it was a shock to see this in black and white, it was amazing to finally have confirmation. Unfortunately it took so long that we didn’t read on to find out what happened to the servant.

The newspaper account mentions that a relative, Mr Perlman, had a duplicate key to the property and made the discovery, but I have not been able to find out who he was. I would also like to know what Charles’s middle name was.

This dreadful event happened in September, and Rose and Louis got married the following month. Charles was Ari’s 3x great-grandfather.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Charles:

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Driving a pig along the Kempsey road (a sad case of porcicide)

Sarah Dancocks was Ari’s 5x great-grandmother. She was born in 1803/4 in Kempsey, Worcestershire. On 11 October 1824 she married John Crump, an agricultural labourer. According to the Worcester Chronicle of 27 Sept 1865, a pig that John owned was being driven home by Sarah, when a man called Charles Burroughs drove over the pig, breaking its back. The case was also reported in the Worcester Journal on 30 Sept 1865 (both papers courtesy of Findmypast). John Crump claimed £1.6s as the value of the pig.

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john crump 30 sep 1865

Ari, this shows how you are related to Sarah:

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Favourite hymn

I discovered a newspaper account of Elizabeth Spencer (nee Pearson)’s funeral in the Belper News of 22 Jan 1937 (available on FindMyPast). Elizabeth is Ari’s three times great-grandmother, born in 1867 in Scarthin Nick, Cromford, Derbyshire. She died in 1937 in Belper, Derbyshire. We now know that her favourite hymn was “My Jesus, I Love Thee”, and the names of people who sent flowers to her funeral.

Eliz Pearson

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Ari, this shows how you are related to Elizabeth:

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Postscript

I now have Elizabeth’s death certificate. She died on 16 Jan, at No. 2 Patten Yard, from myocardial failure and pulmonary congestion and pleurisy. Her daughter Mary Ann was present at the death and informed the registrar.

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