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Thomas Earnshaw [e.1]

Thomas Earnshaw was the first son of John Earnshaw and Jane Wales. He was born on April 6th 1801 and christened on November 22nd 1801 at Muggleswick, Co. Durham.

He married Elizabeth Crosby on September 6th 1824 in Bishop Middleham, Co Durham. Witnesses at the wedding were George Earnshaw (Thomas’ brother), Jane Stephenson (her mark) and John Wilson. Thomas Earnshaw was presumably unable to write as he made his mark on the marriage certificate. Elizabeth was born 1803 in Bishop Middleham, the illegitimate daughter of Mary Crosby.

It appears Thomas was initially a farm labourer. By 1841 Thomas and Elizabeth were living at Dawdon Hall, Dawdon, Seaham Harbour, Co. Durham. Dawdon Hall was a fairly derelict building at this time. It had just 4 families living there; by 1851 there were only 3 families and it was abandoned as a habitation by the time of the 1861 census. In 1841 Thomas was a coal trimmer – a dirty and dangerous job. Durham Records Online described a trimmer’s job as follows:

“He was employed at the docks in the extremely heavy task of getting the coal from wagons into boats. Sometimes this could be done cleanly and effortlessly with the use of chutes and gravity but more often the coal simply piled up beneath the hatch and did not reach into the corners of the hold of the boat. The trimmers then had to get down into the hold of the ship and make sure that coal reached into the corners. They did this by either using moveable steel plates to direct the coal to the desired spot, or by manually shoveling it into the corners as fast as it poured in from above. Back-breaking work and all done in complete darkness! And of course a trimmer suffered as much from ‘the dust’ as any miner and got home from work just as filthy and exhausted. Trimming was part of the job of dockers at Seaham Harbour until the 1880s.”

By 1841 Thomas and Elizabeth had 4 sons – John (15), Thomas (10), George (8) and Robert (1) and 2 daughters – Jane (5) and Elizabeth (3). Also living with them was Elizabeth’s brother Robert Crosby (30), a cartman.

In 1851 the family were living in William Street, Dawdon. Thomas was still employed as a coal trimmer and children living at home were George, a railway labourer, Jane, a house servant, Elizabeth, a house servant, Robert and Mary (8). A visitor was recorded at this time, William T Ducker (27), a mariner born Thorne, Yorkshire. It would appear this was the brother of Thomas Ducker Taylor who married Elizabeth’s sister Isabella (see below) & his name had been incorrectly noted in the census. A separate family were living in the same house – John (coal trimmer) & Isabella Stamp and their 3 children.

Thomas died on December 19th, 1860 at Seaham Harbour aged 59 and was buried on December 23rd, 1860 at St Andrew’s, Dalton-le-Dale, Co Durham. Administration of his estate of £25 was granted to son John Earnshaw of Seaham Harbour, a mason, in 1887.

In 1861 widowed Elizabeth (57) was living at 28 William St, Dawdon and recorded as head of the house. Sons George (30), now a parish clerk and Robert (21), a miller and daughter Mary (18) were still at home. Also living there was Elizabeth’s sister, Isabella Taylor (nee Isabella Crosby) (45) with her son George Crosby Taylor (20), a shipsmith. A boarder was also recorded there – John Robinson (38), a railway labourer, born in Bishop Middleham.

In 1881 Elizabeth (77) was still at 28 William St, Dawdon. Sister Isabella (Taylor) was again living with her, along with husband Thomas Ducker Taylor (67), a master mariner. Elizabeth’s granddaughter Mary E Hall (10) was visiting.

Elizabeth died on August 10th, 1887 at Seaham Harbour aged 83 & was buried at St Andrews, Dalton-le-Dale.

The children of Thomas Earnshaw and Elizabeth Crosby were:

e.1.1 John Earnshaw born 1825 at Cornforth, Co. Durham; christened May 1st, 1825; died Jan- March 1897 Dawdon
e.1.2 Thomas Earnshaw christened August 31st, 1828 in Easington, Co. Durham
e.1.3 George Earnshaw born at Dawdon Hall & christened February 6th, 1830 at St Andrew's, Dalton-le-Dale, Co. Durham; died January 22nd, 1911 at Wood View, Spennymoor
e.1.4 Jane Earnshaw born at Dawdon Hall & christened May 21st, 1834 at St Andrew's, Dalton-le-Dale, Co. Durham; died Oct-Dec 1904 Middlesborough
e.1.5 Elizabeth Earnshaw born at Dawdon Hall & christened February 19th, 1837 at St Andrew's, Dalton-le-Dale, Co. Durham; died 1919 in Toronto, Canada
e.1.6 Robert Earnshaw born January 11th 1840 at Dawdon Hall & christened February 23rd 1840 at St Andrew's Dalton-le-Dale, Co. Durham; died November 21st, 1909, buried St Aidans cemetery, Grangetown
e.1.7 Mary Earnshaw was born at Dawdon Hall & christened August 27th, 1842 at St Andrew’s, Dalton-le-Dale, Co. Durham; died October 4th, 1912 at Spennymoor, Co Durham


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