SAMUEL EDWARD DORBER (29th Oct 1845 – June 1898)

Samuel Edward Dorber (my Great Grandfather) was born at 7 Indigo Street, Salford on the 29th October 1845.  He was the seventh of twelve children of John and Ann Dorber.  Ann registered the birth on the 8th December 1845 – his birth registration shows she was unable to write her name.  He was christened some six months after his birth on the 26th April  1846 in the Parish Church of Manchester (Manchester Cathedral).

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Samuel first appeared on the Census in 1851 when he was 5 years old.


On the 1861 Census, the family are shown to be living at 12 Hathuton Street, Salford. Samuel is shown to be fifteen years of age, but has no given occupation.


On 13th January 1868, Samuel married Ellen Flanagan,* daughter of his next door neighbour Elizabeth Flanagan.  They married at the Church of St John the Evangelist, White Cross Bank, Salford, “according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Catholic Church.”  At the time of the wedding, Samuel was 22 years old and described as a “Fish Merchant’s Salesman” – he lived with his parents, brothers and sisters at 5 Taylor Street, Salford.

Ellen, a 23 year old spinster, was employed as a “Cotton Corder.”  She lived with her widowed mother at 3 Taylor Street – Ellen’s father, Patrick Flanagan, is described as having been a “Tailor” and is “now deceased.”**

*There are variations regarding Ellen’s birth year.  her Wedding Certificate shows her being one year older than Samuel – thus putting her birth year as 1844.  The 1881 Census shows her to be 5 years younger than Samuel – thus giving her a birth year of 1853.  This latter date seems unlikely as she would have been only 15 at the time of her Wedding.  Ellen appears on the 1851 Census (aged 8) with her widowed mother Elizabeth – this would support her c1844 birth year.

**Elizabeth Flanagan (nee Mullins) was born in Boston, Lincs.  Her birth year is uncertain (compare the ages given on the 1851 and 1881 Census).  She was married to Patrick Flanagan (born in Mayo, Ireland).  The date of Patrick’s death is uncertain, but from the ages of Ellen’s brothers and sisters on the 1851 Census, he probably died sometime in/after 1847.

The Marriage Certificate shows that Samuel and Ellen could write their names, but of their two witnesses – Francis Nixon and Mary Ellen Coyne – Francis was the only one able to sign.

By the 1881 Census, Samuel is said to be 36 years old and is no longer selling fish – his employment details on the Census describe him as a “Carter.”  He and Ellen were living with their five children at 12 Cheetwood Street, Cheetham, Salford.  The children were:

Susannah (born c1869), William (born c1870), Samuel (born c1872), John  – my Grandfather (born 1st January 1875), and Frederick (born c1880).


The 1881 Census also shows that Ellen’s 80 year old mother is living with them in Cheetwood Street, together with a Boarder, Sarah Flynn, whose employment is gives as “Machinist.”

By the time of the 1891 Census, Susannah was married to Charles Chapman – they had married in West Ham in September 1889.  For some reason, however, there is no mention of Samuel Edward, his wife Ellen, or their remaining children on this Census – it’s likely that they were still living at 12 Cheetwood Street, Salford.

Samuel and Ellen’s eldest son  William Edward, married Harriet Louisa Lewis (born 1874 in Newtown, Wales) in September 1892.

John (my Grandfather) married Mary Butterworth on the 10th October 1894.  Samuel Edward and Ellen’s second son, Samuel, married Sarah Vesey in West Ham in December 1898 – this ceremony must have been tinged with sadness, for Samuel Edward didn’t live long enough to see them married.

In a “Supplement to the Manchester Courier” dated Saturday 18th June 1898, there is the following report:


Mr A. Holmes, Salford Coroner, held an inquest on Monday at Broughton relative to the death of Samuel Edward Dorber, 51 years of age, horseman, who lived at Gordon Street, Broughton.  His wife gave evidence to the effect that he had not been working for some time, and had been drinking rather heavily.  On Saturday morning he went out to work in Pendleton and returned about dinner-time.  He appeared to be ill, and she thought it advisable to send for the doctor. On the doctor’s arrival he found the deceased suffering from the effects of laudanum poisoning, and death took place shortly afterwards.  A chemist in Great Clowes Street, Broughton, said the deceased called at his shop on Saturday morning and asked for some laudanum, which he wanted for a pain in his face.  The jury returned a verdict of “Suicide whilst temporarily insane.”

I haven’t found Ellen on the 1901 Census, but she does appear again on the 1911 Census – which was taken on the night of the 2nd/3rd April.  Ellen is described as a “Patient” in the Salford Union Infirmary and is described as being 67 years of age.  Ellen died in December of that year.



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