Stringer – John (1812-1884)

Life Events :

  • Born : 6th September in Thorner, Yorkshire
  • Married : 24th December 1838 in Leeds to Mary Pye
  • Died : 6th October 1884 in Hull. Cause of death anaemia and senile decay (old age)
Children :
  • Ruth Dalby – 1840 – 1926
  • Eliza – 1843 -1925 (my great-grandmother)
  • Sarah Ann – 1845 – 1881
  • James – 1852 –
  • Joseph – 1854 -1855
Parents :
  • Joseph Stringer and Henrietta Labron-Dalby

When John was born in 1812, his father Joseph was 26 and his mother Henrietta was 43. Henrietta already had seven children to her first marriage and one child born to an unknown father, her eldest son was 22 and the youngest, the illegitimate Moses was 6. John would probably just have grown up with the Dalby family as his siblings. I think the fact that John gave his first daughter the middle name of Dalby suggests that he held his mother and his half-siblings in high regard.

By 1838, John is in Leeds, he married Mary Pye on Christmas Eve of that year. On their marriage certificate, both are living in York Street and John’s occupation is given as cotton spinner. It seems John could at least sign his name as he appears to have signed the marriage register, unlike Mary who made her mark with a X.

I assume John had moved to Leeds for work, the textile industry in Thorner was in decline and Leeds would have offered more opportunities for employment. John and Mary’s first daughter Ruth Dalby was born in Leeds in 1840, but then the family moved to Hull, along with Mary’s parents and siblings. They can all be found on the 1841 census, living next door to each other in 2nd Line, Albert Street. Strangely John’s occupation here is noted as Ag Lab, the common abbreviation for agricultural labourer). I am almost certain that this is an error on either the enumerator or in the transfer of the census forms to the register books because I imagined that the families moved to Hull to work in the cotton mills. On daughter Eliza’s birth certificate in 1843, he is again shown as a cotton spinner but on all of the census returns from 1841 to 1881 and on Sarah Ann’s baptism in 1845, he is recorded as being a labourer. Although the Hull Flax and Cotton Mill went into Liquidation in 1857, the larger Kingston Cotton Mill was operational until 1894 so I don’t really understand how John ended up labouring when he had a skill as a spinner.

For over 50 years, cotton was manufactured in Hull, over 100 miles away from the hub of the cotton industry in the Lancashire mills. It’s clear from my family research that it was this industry that brought many of my ancestors to Hull from Cheshire, West Yorkshire and Ireland.

Image shows Eggington Lane with Kingston Cotton Mills in 1889 by F.S. Smith

After moving to Hull, John and Mary had a second daughter in March 1843, my great-grandmother Eliza. Next came Sarah Ann in November 1845 and then two sons, James in 1851 and Joseph in 1854, Joseph sadly died as a baby in 1855.

The 1860s was a busy decade for marriages with all three girls flying the nest. Ruth married John Gibbons in 1860, Eliza married Charles Jubb in 1863 and Sarah Ann married William Dunbar in 1867. Finally in 1871, son James married Mary Ann Marsters.

If you have read Elizabeth’s Story, the name Marsters may be familiar to you, as brothers Charles and John Marsters were married to Elizabeth and Mary Ann Jubb, the sisters-in-law of James’ sister Eliza. So both Eliza and James Stringer had the same set of sisters and brothers-in-law.

If the 1860s was full of joyful weddings, the 1870s were to be somewhat heartbreaking for the Stringer family. James was widowed in 1874 at the age of just 22 when Mary Ann died. A year later in 1875 their 2 year old daughter, also Mary Ann followed her mother to the grave. The whole family must have been devastated, John and Mary having seen their son lose his young wife and infant daughter, who of course was their grandaughter. James never re-married and lived with his parents until their deaths. Also in 1875, Ruth’s husband John Gibbons died, leaving her with five children, small wonder with a brood of children to feed that she re-married in 1876 to another widower William Whitaker who in turn had his own family who needed a mother. People were far more pragmatic back then and remarried for practical and financial reasons. In 1881 there was even more sadness as John and Mary’s daughter Sarah Ann died aged 35 leaving a husband and five children aged between 1 and 12 years old.

John died aged 73 in 1884 of anaemia and senile decay, so just old age really. He seems to have worked hard all his life to take care of his family as best he could. The Stringers had lived in Albert Street, which in 1862 became Chapman Street since arriving in Hull in 1840/41. Firstly in the houses called The Lines in the census returns of 1841 and 1851, then

John’s Place, at number 5 in 1861 and in 1871 and 1881 at number 12. Daughter Eliza Jubb lived at number 19 and it is she who was with him at the end and is the informant on his death certificate.

Eliza Stringer – 1843-1925 (page to follow)