James Dodds

JamesDoddsA while ago I came across this photograph on Ebay.  A fine, handsome chap named James Dodds, with his birthdate conveniently written.  It’s not often you come across photos with names and dates and I felt sorry for him thinking he must belong to someone’s family.  So who was James Dodds?  On the back of the photo is ‘Curren (or Currey), Bath St. Bolton 1866’.  If we take the date to be when the photo was taken this would put James at 19 years old and in Bolton, Lancashire.
A search on FreeBMD doesn’t really come up with anything obvious for this James – possibilities yes but nothing stands out as the births seem to be concentrated in the north east of England.  It’s possible his birth wasn’t listed as in the early days of registration it wasn’t unusual for a birth not to be registered as the onus was on the registrar rather than the parents to register the birth.  It wasn’t until the early 1870s that more births were registered as the parents could be fined for failing to register the birth within a given time period.

A look at the 1861 census finds a James Dodds born in West Ord, Northumberland, aged 13, living as a lodger with the Harrison household.  Also listed is a George Heppell Dodds, aged 15, born in West Ord, Northumberland.  Where are the parents and why are the boys living in Over Hulton?  Let’s go back 10 years to the 1851 census.  In this we find James with John aged 34, born Nutfield, Ann aged 32, born Hexham, Hannah aged 10 , John aged 8, Adam aged 7, George H aged 5, James aged 3, Elisabeth aged 2 and Ann aged 8 months.  All of the children were born in West Ord.  That’s a lot of children in a short time – poor Ann must have been worn out.  John is a farm steward and they must have been fairly comfortable as they also had a house servant living with them at the time Ann Thompson aged 18.  There is no doubt this is the same James Dodds in Bolton in 1866.

In the 1871 census George and James are living at Holly Bank, Over Hulton.  George is listed as the head of the household and aged 25.  James is described as his brother and is aged 23.  They have a sister who has joined them – Jane aged 19, all of them described as born in Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland.  The lads must have had a decent education as George is a cashier and James a book keeper – both working for a collier.  Jane is a housekeeper, probably looking after the house and her brothers.

In 1881 James has married Adelaide and they are living in Warrington.  They now have a son John aged 1.  Things are looking good for them as they have 2 servants living with them – Annie Worlsey and Emma Mainwaring. James works as a clerk/secretary to a public iron works.

James and Adelaide are living in Lymm, Cheshire in 1891.  A place I know well as a large part of my father’s side are from Warburton, a small village not far from Lymm.  I wonder if he and my great grandfather Abraham Collins ever came across each other, perhaps in the pub on a market day.  Back to James who is now a Tanner Master.  Their son John is aged 11 and has been joined by Annie aged 9; Adelaide Mary aged 7, Percy Lomax aged 4 ; Marjorie aged 2 and James H aged just 9 months. Adelaide isn’t stinting on the domestic help as she has 3 servants with her: Ada Partington, Annie Hopkins and Mary Abbot.

The family are living at Penketh House, Warrignton Road in 1901 and we find that James and Adelaide’s family has grown considerably.  John is now aged 21 and a farmer employing people; Annie is aged 19; Adelaide aged 17; Percy L aged 14; Marjorie ged 12; James H aged 10; Malcolm Fenton aged 6; along with 2 servants, Lilly Atherton and Annie Broome.  James is an Iron Manufacturer.

Sadly by 1911, it has ended for James and we find Adelaide listed as a widow.  She is still living at Penketh House on ‘private means’ with some of her children, Percy Lomax, Marjorie, James Hepple and Malcom Fenton.  She still doesn’t stint on help and has 3 servants with her; Rebecca Jackson, Mary Annie Hassall and Bertha Eaton.  Adelaide states she had 9 children 2 of whom have died.  Penketh House was a large property with 13 rooms.

Adelaide dies in 1926 aged 72.  A search found James and Adelaide were buried in St Mary’s Church, Lymm. Headstones can be incredibly informative in family history research and James and Adelaide’s headstone provides plenty of information about the family.  You can see the inscription on the Find a Grave website. So James and Adelaide had many children, some who married and had children of their own.  The questions are, why did James’ photo end up on Ebay and would any of his descendants like it back?

This entry was posted in Bolton, Family History, photographs, Research, signatures and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to James Dodds

  1. I can’t see the photo you posted any more – but I have a photograph of a lovely painting done in 1896 of a little blond boy called James Dodds – it was done by an artist I am studying called Nelly Erichsen but I don’t know who this James Dodds is. However I do know that around 1896 Nelly was portrait painting in Cheshire – could these be father (your photo) and son (my photo?)


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