William Richard Webb and Elizabeth Dutton

St. James Church, Didsbury
William Richard Webb was born on June 5, 1859, in Chester, Cheshire, England, the son of James and Sarah. He married Elizabeth Dutton on February 5, 1881, in Didsbury, Lancashire, England.

When Elizabeth Dutton was born in May 1859 in Cheshire, England, her father, Edward, was 35, and her mother, Mary (nee Jones), was 32.

Prior to marrying William Richard, Elizabeth had a daughter, Lily Drusilla Dutton with "Samuel Dutton". It is unusual that A) I was unable to find no marriage record for Elizabeth and Samuel and B) Elizabeth and Samuel appear to have the same last name. Records indicate that this is correct as Elizabeth's father was Edward Dutton. As well, Elizabeth is a "spinster" on her marriage certificate with William.  An article on FamilySearch.org suggests it was not uncommon for the parents of a child born out of wedlock to have two parents with the same last name listed on the birth or baptismal information:
A birth registered late by a woman may indicate that the child is illegitimate, particularly if a marriage cannot be found or if her husband's surname is the same as her own. In such cases the baptism of the child may reveal the true position and this should always be searched for.
All this evidence suggests that Lily was born out of wedlock.

I have not been able to trace the Dutton family much further than Elizabeth's parents, as Dutton and Jones were fairly common names in Cheshire.

Daughter Lily married Samuel Schofield and lists her maiden name as Webb and has her step-father listed both as her father and a witness on her marriage certificate.

Elizabeth and William Richard married on February 5, 1881 at St. James Church in Didsbury, Lancashire, England. William's occupation is listed as "seaman". Witnesses to the marriage are listed as Samuel Jones and Emma Dutton. Their relationship to the couple is unknown, but it is likely that Samuel was somehow related to Elizabeth's mother.



William and Elizabeth had eight children in the 12 years after they were married:
  1. Mary Elizabeth (Polly) (1881-?)
  2. William Alfred (1883-1951)
  3. John Henry (April 2, 1885-February 9, 1888)
  4. Joseph (April 26, 1886-February 9, 1888)
  5. James Edward (1887-1982)
  6. Joseph Henry (December 25, 1888-August 9, 1889)
  7. Alice Mabel (1890-1972)
  8. Eleanor (1893-?)
The 1881 census records indicate that Elizabeth, William and Lily are living at 7 Bark Street in Hulme, Manchester, in the home of a Samuel Dutton and his wife Emma. Is Samuel Lily's father? Is Emma the witness listed on their marriage certificate? How is she related to Elizabeth? William and Elizabeth's relationship to Samuel is listed as "visitors" and Lily is listed as "dau" - which suggests that either 28 year old Samuel is actually her father, or the census taker made a mistake - but either way, it only deepens the mystery surrounding Lily's birth. Samuel's occupation is a labourer, Emma a Charwoman (or house cleaner), William a Porter and Elizabeth a laundress.


7 Bark Street, Hulme. Image via Google Maps.
When Mary Elizabeth (Polly) is baptized on February 4, 1882 in the New St. George Church in Stalybridge, the register suggests that the family is living on Ridge Hill Lane. She was born on November 28, 1881. I wasn't certain whether the baptismal registration was the correct one because her father's name is "Richard" - but her younger brother John Henry was baptized at the same church (and his information is certain because "Dutton" is listed as Elizabeth's maiden name), I think we can safely assume this is correct. (The address is slightly odd...other homes that they've lived in were not quite so...affluent as the Ridge Hill area appears to be).


On February 1, 1883, William Alfred was born. William is baptized a few months later at St. Anne in Newton Heath. At this time, the family is living at 12 Munday Street in Manchester (appears they moved a lot!) There isn't a home at that address anymore, Google Maps show several large apartment buildings being constructed there as far back as 2011.



In May 1885, we find John Henry baptized at the same church as sister Mary Elizabeth (Polly), but the family is now living at 56 Doner? Street. (I can't find a listing for Doner Street.)


On February 3, two more sons were baptized - Joseph, born April 26, 1886 and James Edward, born November 4, 1887, both at St. John the Divine. The family is living at "Goose Green, Pemberton."


I first discovered that John Henry died without knowing about his other brothers. When reviewing the information for this article, I became aware that John Henry and Joseph died on the same day. Not only that, but five children under the age of two were all buried on February 9, 1888 in Pemberton (still Goose Green as listed in James' baptismal information).


I ordered the death certificate for John Henry and discovered the cause of death was listed as "measles". Given the closeness of their deaths, and the fact that three other children in the same physical vicinity all died within a few days span, I suspect that the cause of all of their deaths was measles. A disease that is completely preventable today through the use of vaccination. But back then, it could be a death sentence.

The address on the death certificate, 1 School Drive, is not found on modern GoogleMaps. William Richard was present for the death of his son. His job is listed as "Colliery Brakesman". A brakesman attends to the winding engine, which moves the cage up and down the pit shaft, to allow workmen to go down the pit and allows both coal and workmen to come to the surface. So...basically an elevator operator.

On Christmas Day ten months after Joseph and John Henry died, another son, Joseph Henry was born (named, it appears, for his two lost brothers). He was also baptized at Pemberton's St. John the Divine, and the family appears to be living at 25 Sarginson Street in Newtown, Pemberton, Cheshire (I can't find this street on Google Maps).


Unfortunately, little Joseph Henry died too, at age 7 months on August 9, 1889.


On October 19, 1890, Alice is baptized at St. John the Divine. The family is living on Sarginson Street. Her date of birth isn't recorded.


We find them on the 1891 census living still living on Sarginson Street Newton, Lancashire with Lily, Mary Elizabeth, William, James and Alice.


In 1893, Eleanor is born. There is no record of her baptism at any of the churches previously visited - I only discovered her birth after finding her Canadian marriage record.

In 1901, we find Elizabeth, Alice and Eleanor at 11 Princes' Drive in Sale, Cheshire, England. Where the rest of the family is at this point is unknown. Lily and Mary Elizabeth have married by this point, but where are William Richard, William Alfred and James?


11 Princes' Drive, Sale, Cheshire, England, image via Google Maps
After Eleanor's birth, the children start moving abroad. Elizabeth's daughter Lily appears to be the only member of the family who remained in England.

According to her son's birth registration, Mary Elizabeth (Polly) married in England in 1896. I'm reasonably certain this isn't correct, as she would have only been 14 at the time. According to the same record, her first son is born in December, 1898 in Kingston, Ontario. Polly is a witness to her sister Lily's wedding in England in May of 1899. The family appears back in Canada again, on the 1920 census in London, Ontario. Son Herbert Grant's birth registration is completed in 1926 from Florida and the family was in Virginia, USA by 1935, and she appears to have stayed there. Several of the dates and locations don't make a lot of sense for Polly.

All of the younger children emigrated to Canada in the early part of the twentieth century. William Richard and Elizabeth came with James, Alice and Eleanor (Nellie) between 1903-1904 (no emigration records have been located, but later Canadian censuses indicate that this was the date they arrived). William Alfred came later in 1910 with his wife Louie and son William.

Despite an intense search, I haven't located William, Elizabeth, Alice and Eleanor in 1911 in either the Canadian or the English censuses. However, William Alfred and his family and James and his family are living adjacent on Wellington Street North in Canada. William, Louie and William are living with Louie's sister Amelia and her future husband Joseph Gregory at number 84. (And, Louie and Amelia's sister May is living at number 80.) James and Sarah are with son James at 86.


In the 1921 Canadian census, the family is taking up even more of Wellington Street North. Elizabeth and Richard are at number 85 with several people: William E. Taylor (b. 1897) listed as the couple's adopted son (?), Effie Dake (b. 1886) listed as William's widowed Scottish cousin, and a border named Frederick Rotta (click here for Effie's story). Now Nellie is at number 84 with her partner James Stephen and daughter Eleanor and William's family has moved to number 89 with wife Louie and their two sons.


William died on July 19, 1942, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, at the age of 83, followed by Elizabeth a year and a half later on December 23, 1943, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, at the age of 84.

Elizabeth's death certificate suggests she was living at 51 Douglas Street with daughter Alice (which is a little odd, because we know that Alice and Charlie Truscott were living in Michigan at the time. But James and Sarah Webb were living at that address, so possibly Alice was visiting as a result of her mother's death). Another discrepancy - Elizabeth's father is "Edwin" here and not "Edward" as listed on her marriage certificate. Without further evidence, we can't know which is correct, although I should think that the former is likely more reliable.  I was unable to locate any obituary which might provide more information. The couple are buried in Woodland Cemetery in Hamilton, Section 20S Part 1. The information suggests "The record suggests "Section 20, Lot 17 (west-centre grave) Elizabeth Dutton WEBB of 51 Douglas Street, Hamilton purchased this 30-square-foot, single grave in July 1942. There are two burials at this grave." The stone reads "WEBB, mother, Elizabeth DUTTON, 1859-1943, father, William R., 1859-1941."


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