You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2017.

Matthew Darlington was born about 1809 and baptised on 19 February 1809 in Haslington, Cheshire. His parents were John Darlington and Jane Holland. I found nine children born or baptised in Haslington with John and Jane Darlington as parents. However, the baptisms were over a 30 year period (from 1792 to 1822), which seemed unlikely unless the children were baptised as older children. Having said that, I did find the 1851 census (at familysearch) for John and Jane, born in the 1770s listed with a son born about 1821. I haven’t seen the original (no current sub) so can’t confirm.  If so, it was a very long period over which to have children. If it’s the right couple, John was a brickmaker.

Matthew married Elizabeth Malam on 14 June 1829 at Astbury, Cheshire. I don’t know much about Elizabeth. She was born between 1804 and 1807 in Weston or Wybunbury in Cheshire according to census returns. She may have been born in 1805 in Wybunbury to John and Hannah Malam.

A daughter, Jane, was christened just three months after the wedding! Two years later in 1831 a son, John, was born in Haslington. Then three years later another daughter, Hannah, in 1834 (which seems to point to Elizabeth’s parents being named John and Hannah). Two more sons were born in 1835 and 1841 – Thomas and Matthew.

In the 1841 census all the children were listed as well as a two-year old girl called Elizabeth who would’ve been born in about 1839. I suspect she died before 1843 when “my” Elizabeth was born. And indeed, this is confirmed by a burial record at findmypast in which a girl, born in 1838 died in 1841 in Haslington. As I don’t currently have a sub I can’t view it. In any case, the family were living in Haslington and Matthew was a cordwainer.

Three more children that I know of were born during the next ten years: Elizabeth in 1843, Mary in 1847, and Joseph in 1850. The eldest child, Jane, married James Glover in 1850. The eldest son, John, may have died that year according to a burial record at findmypast. Certainly there’s no further sign of him.

In 1851 all the children except Jane, John, and the ‘earlier’ Elizabeth were listed. The family were still living in Haslington with Matthew being a master shoemaker.

In 1861 all the children except Jane, John and both Elizabeths were listed, all living at Haslington. The ‘younger’ Elizabeth was working at Haslington Hall. Matthew was a shoemaker and farmer of 18 acres, employing two men and two boys. He was also a gospel preacher! Son, Thomas was also a shoemaker, and daughter, Hannah, was a boot binder. Son, Matthew was also a shoemaker and “free gospel preacher”(in inverted commas and underlined), age 20.

Elizabeth married John Asher in 1864. Matthew married Hannah Whittaker in 1866. Thomas married Esther Plant in 1867.

In 1871, therefore, only Hannah, Mary, and Joseph were still living with Matthew and Elizabeth.  Matthew was now just listed as a farmer of 39 acres. With the family on census night were grandsons, John Glover, 15, and John Darlington, 5. John was born about 1866 and, I’m guessing, is either the son of Thomas or Matthew.

In 1875 Hannah married a widower with two children, Ralph Allcock.

Sadly, Matthew’s wife, Elizabeth, died in 1879.

In 1881, Matthew lived in Church Coppenhall, farming 35 acres at the age of 72. With him was daughter, Mary, 34, and son, Joseph, 31. John Darlington was also there, age 15, but this time was listed as a “son” not a “grandson”. Also there was Ellen Allcock, age 15.

Joseph married Elizabeth Whittaker in 1882.

I found an interesting article about Thomas Darlington, free gospel preacher and shoemaker in 1884:




“Cheshire Observer”, 26 April 1884

“An ignorant shoemaker”. Oh dear. Go, Thomas.

According to a burial record on findmypast, Matthew died in 1884, and I subsequently found this notice.


Cheshire Observer, 4 October 1884

[I can find no information on Maw Green farm, apart from the fact that a few families lived there over the years, including Richard Lindop.]

So, Matthew died on 19 September 1884, at age 76, a good age.

Sources: findmypast; wikipedia; family archives; familysearch; British newspaper archive; Google.




Samaria Johnson was born about 1827, but baptised on 23 September 1832 in Ibstock, Leicestershire. She was the second daughter of William Johnson and Lydia Pratt.  Samaria was one of nine children. I always thought that Samaria was an interesting name and it seemed strange combined with the common name of Johnson. Researching into her family, equally interesting names emerged such as Selina, Reuben and German, likely Jewish in origin. Her other siblings had the more common names of William, Samuel, Mary Ann, Ellen, and Eliza. Is there a Jewish connection? Samaria’s parents were both born in Leicestershire.

In 1841 the family of seven were living at Deacon’s Lane in Ibstock. Samaria’s older sister, Mary Ann, had died the same year she was born. Her father was a sawyer.

Samaria was pregnant when she married Thomas Asher on 5 February 1845 in Ibstock. She gave birth to John on 15 June 1845. A daughter, Louisa, was born between October and December in 1848. The next son, Thomas, was born on 28 February 1851. The family were listed in the 1851 census in Ibstock. Thomas senior worked at the colliery.


A son, William, was born between July and September, 1853, in Ibstock, then another, Samuel, between October and December, 1855, in Coalville. The last child, as far as I know, was Selina, born between July and September in 1858, in Coalville. As mentioned before, Louisa was not included in the 1861 census and I have been unable to find her, although she grew to adulthood and married.


Samaria did live to see one of her children marry, and became a grandmother. John married in 1864 and had twins in 1869 (having lost a baby girl).  She missed seeing Louisa married later in the year 1870.

Samaria (or “Mary”) died on 31 March 1870 at Church Coppenhall, Cheshire. Her age at death was given as 47 (which would mean a birth year of 1823), but according to census returns her birth year was 1827, which meant she was just 43 years old. She died of valvular disease of the heart and apoplexy.  She missed out on seeing the rest of her children get married, and on meeting her many grandchildren:

Louisa married William Turner in Cheshire and had five children.

William married Emma Guildford in 1875 in Staffordshire. They had nine children.

Selina married Thomas Snelson in 1877 in Cheshire.

Samuel married Lavinia Hall at the beginning of 1878 in Cheshire. They had four children.

Thomas married Elizabeth Gower in June of 1878 in Kent. They had a whopping 11 children, one of whom, sadly, died in Gallipoli in 1916.

Sources: findmypast; familysearch; family archives;; Ibstock Historical Society


Thomas Asher was born in about 1823 and christened on 12 October 1823 in Ibstock, Leicestershire. His parents were Joseph Asher and Sarah Heap. He had two brothers and two sisters, and two half-sisters from his father’s second marriage to Mary Thomas.

In the census of 1841 Thomas was 18 and at the colliery at Ibstock. The first coal shaft was sunk in Ibstock by William Thirby in 1825. In the beginning of the 1830s the colliery also began making bricks. In April 1846, the colliery was auctioned off. I thought the advertisement in the Aris’s Birmingham Gazette in March 1846 was quite interesting.

TO be SOLD by AUCTION, by B. PAYNE, subject to such conditions of sale as will be then produced, on Thursday the 2d day of April, 1846, at the Queen’s Hotel, adjoining the Railway Station, Birmingham, at two o’clock – all that valuable COLLIERY, in full working, called THE IBSTOCK COLLIERY, including an excellent Pumping Engine, with cylinder of 64 inches diameter, three Boilers, and 156 yards of Pump Trees. Clack-doors, Rods, and Iron-work complete [….]
And also 98 Acres of excellent Arable, Meadow, and Pasture Land, in fine condition with a Farm House in the centre, Barns, Stables, Sheds, and all the customary Buildings, in complete repair, situate at Ibstock aforesaid, contiguous to and now occupied in conjunction with the above Colliery.
The Colliery has been partially opened about twenty years, but has only been in full work for about ten years. The Estate contains several Seams or Beds of excellent Coal, the principal of which, so far as has yet been ascertained, are as follow: – the Five-feet or Top Seam, extending under 53 Acres, of which about 32 Acres have been worked out, and the Eight-feet or Bottom Seam, under 116 Acres of which about 23 Acres have been exhausted.
There is an abundance of Fire Clay, which may be turned to great advantage, and a good supply of Brick Clay, with a Brick-yard, Kiln, large Shed, &c. for its manufacture, now in full work.
A Branch Railway, of about a mile and a half in length, belongs to the Colliery Estate, and connects the same with the Leicester and Swannington Railway, at a distance of about eleven miles from Leicester, thus affording, in addition to the Home Trade, a ready market, with a priority in distance over other Collieries, for disposing of the excellent Coal at a moderate but remunerating price.
There are various Cottages and other Buildings and conveniences on the Estate, not only for the occupation of the Farm, but also for Colliery purposes, including new Offices and Store-room, capital Blacksmiths’ and Carpenters’ Shops.
>The Estate is tithe-free, with the exception of about 40 Acres, which pay a modus of £1.7s.6d a year.
The neighbourhood of Ibstock is thickly populated and wealthy, and the extensions of the Midland Railways now in contemplation will afford a new and very large market for the Coal towards Rugby and Northampton and other places, in addition to the present trade in the neighbourhood, and to the town of Leicester.
The Coal is particularly adapted for the working of steam engines, as it possesses great powers of generating steam.

Apparently the company went through several changes of ownership until 1875 when it was purchased by the Thomson family of mine owners.

But back to Thomas. He married Samaria Johnson on 5 February 1845 in Ibstock.  Samaria, it seemed, was already pregnant and gave birth in June to her first son, John. In 1848 they had a girl, Louisa, and then in 1851, a boy, Thomas.  All were listed in the 1851 census in Ibstock, and Thomas was a waggoner at the colliery (he pushed the underground tubs), age 28.

The couple had two more sons, William and Samuel, in 1853 and 1856, and then another daughter, Selina, in 1858.

At some stage the family moved to Hugglescote, just south of Coalville, not far to the northeast of Ibstock, and still part of the parish of Ibstock.


They were living there at the time of the 1861 census and Thomas was listed as a collier. All the children are listed except for Louisa, who I have been unable to find. (According to another researcher, she married in 1870, but I’ve been unable to find confirmation.)

Sometime between 1861 and 1870, the family moved to Cheshire to Monks or Church Coppenhall. “Monks Coppenhall was a township in Coppenhall ancient parish, Nantwich hundred (SJ 7056), which became a civil parish in 1866, and in 1877 became the Borough of Crewe.” (from Genuki)


Thomas’ wife, Samaria, died in March 1870 at Church Coppenhall. Between April and June that same year, Thomas married Catherine Garner! He didn’t waste any time. I don’t have the details about the marriage, so don’t know if Catherine was also widowed. According to the 1871 census she was born in Willaston, Cheshire in about 1820.  So, in the census for 1871, Thomas was a stationary engine driver (not a train engine driver). Living with him and Catherine were Thomas’ two younger children, Samuel and Selina, both teenagers. Samuel was a forger (eg blacksmith) at iron works (and something illegible in brackets, possibly a shortened form of apprentice).

Something happened to Catherine within the next seven years. I’ve been unable to find a death record, but Thomas married Jane Harris in 1878. In the 1881 census he was living with her at 61 Flag Lane in Monks Coppenhall, Crewe. Thomas was a labourer at the iron works at age 60. Jane was ten years younger.

Thomas and his wife moved again, to Northampton. In 1891 he and Jane lived at 31 St Peter’s Street in south Northampton. Thomas, at age 71, was working as a railway porter.

Thomas continued living there and working as a railway porter until his death in 1900. He died on 19th February of “senile decay”.

Sources: findmypast; familysearch; family archives;; British newspaper archives;  Google maps; wikipedia;; genuki

Now to Gabriel’s wife, Hannah.

Hannah Reynolds was born on 4 October 1801 in Ipswich, Suffolk. She was baptised on the 26th at St Matthew, Ipswich. Her parents were Robert Reynolds and Mary Milbourn.  She was the second child (and second girl).  She had two sisters and two brothers as far as I know.

As previously mentioned, she married Gabriel Reeve on 14 May 1821 at St Mary at the Elms in Ipswich.


It’s possible that her father-in-law was a parish clerk there. Interesting also, is that it’s on the corner of Black Horse Lane (where the couple lived 50 years later).

Their first child, Gabriel Benjamin, was born on 7 April 1822.  Two years later Robert was born on 5 March. Another two years on and John was born on 30 March 1826. Sadly he died in June 1827. On 27 December of that year another son was born and was named John Gabriel. Sadly, he also died, in 1830. On 30 November 1829 Edward was born, then in 1831 twins – Henry and Hannah (the only girl) who were born on 23 May.  In 1833 yet another son was born on 25 May and he was also given the name of John.  He, at least, survived to adulthood. In 1841 Joseph was born, and baptised on 1 August, so was probably born after the census. It appears that he also died young, at the age of four in 1846. The last child, another son, Thomas Edward, was born between April and June in 1844.

So, in the 1841 census, out of eight children born only Gabriel B, Robert, Henry, and John (the younger) are listed. Two children had died, but Edward and Hannah (Henry’s twin) are missing. Edward also appears to have died less than a year after his birth.  I’ve not been able to find Hannah, who would have been nine or ten years old. It’s possible she died earlier that year but the burial index doesn’t give an age at death. She may have been visiting a relative but I can’t find any likely candidates.

By the 1851 census, Gabriel B and Robert had married (Hannah Wright and Hannah Polley respectively). Henry, John, and Thomas were still living with Gabriel and Hannah. Henry, 19, was a painter and glazier like his father. John, age 17, was a pupil teacher at the Church of England. Thomas was only six years old.

No census found for 1861, sadly.  John seems to have married during this time.  Thomas Edward married Mary Rouse in 1865.  In the 1871 census Hannah and Gabriel were living at the Black Horse Lane address with their son, Thomas (also a painter and glazier) and grandson (Thomas’ son), Thomas Herbert, age 5. I cannot find Thomas’ wife. He was listed as married, so she hadn’t died.

Hannah died on 31 December 1872. (Less than eight months later her husband died.) She was 71.




Sources: familysearch; family archives;; findmypast; British newspaper archive; Google

I’m a week behind again, sorry.

This week I turn to Gabriel Reeve, the father of Gabriel Benjamin Reeve, my great-great grandfather.  He was born in about 1800, baptised on 26 May of that year at St Clement in Ipswich, Suffolk. He was the son of Gabriel Reeve (possibly a parish clerk) and Ann Brown. I have not found any siblings yet.

He married Hannah Reynolds on 14 May 1821 at St Nicholas in Ipswich. At the time of the birth of their first child (Gabriel Benjamin) in 1822, Gabriel was listed as a painter. Over the next 20 years the couple had another eight children (details in the next post). However, not all survived and only four children are listed on the 1841 census. Some, of course, could have been visiting relatives at the time. I’ll explore that in the next post. The family were living at Coytes Garden in the parish of St Nicholas, Ipswich.  One more child was born in 1844.

In 1851 Gabriel was described as a painter and glazier living at 104 Austin Street in the parish of St Mary at the Elms in Ipswich. According to Google streetview this is the address, or somewhere on the left-hand side of the street.


Three sons were living with them, ages from 6 to 19.

Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find Gabriel and Hannah in the 1861 census. Freecen is completely useless. Apparently there were no Reeves in Suffolk that year, which is absolutely ridiculous as I have the 1861 census for their son, and FindMyPast lists four (only one of which is a maybe, but I don’t currently have a subscription).

Gabriel was for many years a foreman at the business of D & E Haggar in King Street in Ipswich. They were a firm of plumbers, gasfitters, painters and glaziers.   I found this interesting account of a fatal accident at the business and Gabriel was a witness at the inquest.





Men obviously worked well into their 70s then as it was their only income and they often still had families to support.

In the 1871 census, Gabriel, Hannah, and two sons were living at 11 Black Horse Lane in Ipswich, not far from Coytes Gardens, and a short walk from King Street. The original buildings are no longer standing. This is the address from Google streetview.


King Street looks charming.


As expected Gabriel was still a painter and glazier at about age 70.

Sadly, Gabriel’s wife, Hannah, died in 1872.

Gabriel died the following year, on 24 August.


Ipswich Journal, 30 August 1873


Sources: findmypast; British newspaper archive; family archives; Google