JOHN DORBER (born c1812 in Warrington, died 16th Feb 1881 in Salford)

From IGI records, it would seem that John Dorber (my Great Great Grandfather), was the oldest of three sons (but five children) of Richard and Rosannah Dorber.  He was born about 1812 in Warrington, Lancashire.  His father Richard was a “Blacksmith,” and John, his oldest son, followed in his footsteps.

John Dorber married Ann Stanley by banns on 22nd May 1831 at Prescot, Lancashire.


Ann was born c1813 in Kenynon Winwick, Near Warrington, to Samuel Stanley and his wife Ann (nee Rowland).  Samuel and Ann had married at St Elphin’s Church in Warrington on the 20th February 1811 – their daughter Ann, was christened on 14th August 1813 at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, in Leigh.

Whilst living in Warrington, John and Ann Dorber had two children: Richard (born about 1832) and Rosanna.

Rosanna’s birth year is not recorded, but burial records from St Elphin’s Church, Warrington, show that a Rosanna Dorber was buried on 27th August 1833 with the Rev Charles Nicholson (Curate) officiating.  The records do not state the name of her parents but does give an address at “Cockhedge.”  Rosanna is described in the records as “an infant.”


As John and Ann were the only married members of the Dorber family living in Warrington at this time, it’s probable that this child was theirs, and named Rosanna(h) – in memory of John Dorber’s mother who had died in December 1829.

Unfortunately, as no age is given for the child, it is difficult to know whether she was older or younger than John and Ann Dorber’s oldest son, Richard (born c1832).

Fairly soon after Rosanna’s death in 1833, John and Ann Dorber moved away from Warrington to Manchester – whether it was because of unhappy memories or because of the prospect of better employment opportunities, is uncertain.

By 1834, their daughter Mary Ann was born.  In 1839 they had another daughter, Rosannah – presumably named in remembrance of their deceased daughter.

In about 1841, John and Ann had another son whom they named John.  Early in 1842, they had a a daughter whom they named Emma.  She was christened on the 1st May at Manchester Cathedral, but unfortunately, she was rather a sickly child, and she died towards the end of that year.


By the Autumn of 1845, John and Ann Dorber’s family were living at 7 Indigo Street, Salford – it was here that Ann gave birth, on 29th October, to my Great Grandfather, Samuel Edward Dorber.  He was christened at Manchester Cathedral on the 26th April 1846.


John and Ann’s next child was Joseph, born in 1849, and he was followed by Frederick in 1850.

By the time of the 1851 Census, the family were living at number 78 Lower James Street, Salford.  John’s occupation is given as “Blacksmith” and he is 37 years old – Ann is 36.


There are several named children on that census – their oldest, Richard (b. c1832) is 19 years of age and described as a “Blacksmith’s Apprentice.”

Mary Ann, aged 17, is described as a “House Servant” – though whether this was within the Dorber household or elsewhere, is not apparent – strangely there is no further record of her after 1851!  Rosannah is 12 years old and described as a “Scholar.”  Also mentioned are John (aged 10), Samuel Edward (aged 5), Joseph (aged 3) and Frederick (aged 4 months).

Including Rosanna, and taking into account IGI records and records from St Elphin’s Church, Warrington,, and also Census returns, John and Ann Dorber appear to have had at least twelve children altogether – they were:

Rosanna (birth year unknown but died August 1833 in Warrington).

Richard (born 1832 in Warrington).

Mary Ann (born 1834 in Manchester).

Rosanna[h] (born c1839 in Manchester).  She died 21st June 1901 in Salford).

John (born c1840 in Manchester).

Emma was born during period Jan/March 1842.  She died Oct/Dec 1842.

Samuel Edward (my Great Grandfather) was born at 7 Indigo Street, Salford on 29th October 1845.

Joseph (born c1849 in Salford, Manchester)

Frederick (born 1851 in Salford, Manchester)

Agnes (born 3rd November 1852 in Salford, Manchester)

James Stanley (born 22nd November 1854 in Salford, Manchester, and

Martha (born c1858 in Salford, Manchester)

The 1861 Census shows John and Ann Dorber as living at 12 Hathuton Street, St Stephen’s in Salford, Manchester.  John’s age is given as 49, and he is described as a “Shoeing Smith.”  Ann has no occupation given on this Census.


The children, recorded as living at home on the 1861 Census, are shown as:

Rosannah, aged 22, and employed as a “Cotton Weaver.”

Samuel Edward is 15 years old, but no occupation is shown.

Joseph is 12 years old and is described as a “Scholar.”

Frederick is 10 years of age and a “Scholar.”

Agnes is said to be 6 years old – thus giving her a birth year of c1855 – though this is inaccurate as later documentation shows she was actually born on 3rd November 1852.

Martha, the youngest, is three years old.

On 13th January 1868, Samuel Edward married Ellen Flanagan at St John the Evangelist Church, Salford.  At the time of his marriage, Samuel was employed as a “Fish Merchant Salesman.”  The Dorber family were then living at 5 Taylor Street, Salford.

On the 17th April 1870, John and Ann’s son Joseph (aged 20) married Rebecca Adams (aged 18 yrs) in Manchester Cathedral – and on 21st December 1870, John and Ann’s youngest son Frederick, married Alice Ann Raby at Manchester Cathedral.

By the 1871 Census, the family have moved again – they are now living at 35 Borough Street, in the Parish of St Thomas, Pendleton.  John is said to be 58 years old and is still described as a “Blacksmith” – whether this generic term means that he was still a maker of horseshoes or whether he was involved in metal work associated with the cotton industry, is unknown.  Ann, his wife, is also said to be 58 years old and is still at home looking after the family.


The 1871 census shows that Rosannah, their oldest daughter, has left home – as has Samuel Edward and Frederick.

Frederick  and his new wife, Alice Ann, are living  at 1 Orchard St. Square, in Pedleton.  The 1871 Census gives Frederick’s employment as a “Grinder and Striker.”  Alice is employed as a “Cotton Weaver.”

Also with John and Ann Dorber at 35 Borough Street were Agnes (aged 18) who worked as a “Mill Hand,” Martha was 14 years old and also employed as a “Mill Hand.”  Also living at 35 Borough Street were Joseph (aged 22) and his 19 year old wife Rebecca – they were also employed as “Mill Hands.”  The 1871 Census also shows that John and Ann had an 18 year old lodger named John Bryan – he was also employed as a “Mill Hand.”

The combined income generated by six workers in the household must have been more than enough to keep them above the poverty line.

The 1871 Census also mentions a one month old child, named Frederick.  The Census describes John and Ann as the parents, but at both 58 years of age at the time – this seems unlikely!  It is more likely that this child was the  son of Joseph and Rebecca.  Unfortunately, Frederick may have been quite a sickly child, for he died in September of 1871.

Rosanna Dorber features on the 1871 Census too, though her name is given as Annie.  She is described as a “Domestic Servant” in the employ of the Bourdman Family at 238 Lower Broughton Road, Broughton, Salford.  her age is given as 29.


On 25th December 1872, Agnes Dorber married Henry O’Neil(l) in Manchester Cathedral.

Just one month later, my Great Great Grandmother, Ann Dorber (nee Stanley) died at home at 30 Whit Lane, Pendleton on the 22nd January 1873 – she was only 61 years old – having had a hard life and giving birth to at least twelve children.

It isn’t clear how John Dorber, my widowed Great Great grandfather, managed to cope with this loss.  What we know is that he moved in with his daughter, Agnes, and her husband Henry at 7 Corbett Street, Salford.

John and Ann Dorber’s youngest daughter, Martha, married Thomas Gibson on the 30th January 1876 at St Simon’s Church, Salford.

By early 1881, John was in the Salford Workhouse.  Whether he was in the hospital wing or was in the Union Workhouse because of destitution, is unclear.  He died there on the 16th February 1881, aged 68 years – his cause of death was given as “Diarrhoea.”  His death was registered on the following day by his daughter, Agnes – she was unable to write her name on the register and could only make her mark.

Unfortunately any records relating to when or why my Great Great Grandfather was in the Salford Union Workhouse, were destroyed during World War II.




One Reply to “JOHN DORBER (born c1812 in Warrington, died 16th Feb 1881 in Salford)”

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