DABBS : Wellington, Shropshire

My great-great-great-great-grandparents were John Dabbs and Elizabeth Thompson, who married at Wellington, Shropshire, on 17 April 1779. Elizabeth had been baptised privately at nearby Little Wenlock on 30 September 1759, daughter of William Thompson of Little Wenlock and his wife Elizabeth Bailey, who had married at Wellington on 3 May 1755. 

The children of John and Elizabeth Dabbs, all baptised at All Saints church, Wellington, included: Rosehannah, 23 Mar 1780; Moses, 11 Jan 1782; Frances, 30 Dec 1785; William, 12 Apr 1789; Elizabeth, 15 May 1791; John, 3 May 1795; Bobitha, 16 Mar 1796 (name also recorded as Bytha); Joseph, 15 Oct 1797 (my direct forebear); and Benjamin, 21 July 1799.

My great-great-great-grandfather Joseph Dabbs married Elizabeth Taylor at Buildwas, Shropshire, on 31 May 1819.  Elizabeth had been baptized at Acton Scott, near Church Stretton, on 15 Jan 1796, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Taylor.  

On the 1821 Wellington census (see end) Joseph and Elizabeth Dabbs were shown living at Street Lane with 70-year-old Richard Dabbs (probably Joseph’s uncle: he died in 1830 aged 77) and an unnamed infant (probably Jane) aged one year old. Their children, all baptised at Wellington, included Jane, 19 Sept 1819; Tabitha, 31 Oct 1821 (my great-great-grandmother); William, 12 Nov 1823; Richard c.1825; Elizabeth, 1 Mar 1829; Sarah, 29 May 1833; and Joseph, 27 Jan 1836 (see notes below).

Street Lane was part of the old Holyhead Road, now A5, and the Dabbs family lived just a few doors from the Wickets Inn, which is still there.

On the 1841 census the family was recorded at Street Lane:
Joseph Dabbs, 42, agricultural labourer
Elizabeth, 44
William, 18, lime miner
Richard, 15, lime miner
Elizabeth, 12
Sarah, 8
Joseph, 4
Samuel, 3 (a grandson)
Thomas, 2

Next door was the family of Joseph’s deceased brother Moses – Mary, 50; Catherine, 23; Mary, 21; Moses, 17; Sarah, 14; and Henry, 11.

On the 1841 census, my great-great-grandmother Tabitha Dabbs was living away from home, working as a domestic servant for a family named Birch, living at Upper Green Fields, in St Julian’s parish, Shrewsbury.

Tabitha’s illegitimate son was Robert Dabbs, born at Street Lane, Wellington, on Sunday, 6 July 1845. On the birth certificate her name is spelled Boitha, suggesting that she was known familiarly as ‘Bitha; though All Saints church register spells her name more correctly as Tabitha, and describes her as a servant living in Shut Lane.   Her whereabouts in 1851 are not known.

The 1851 census records her parents and family at Street Lane:
Joseph Dabbs, head, aged 57, ag. labourer, born Wellington
Elizabeth, wife, aged 59, born Church Stretton
Richard, son, aged 25, ag. labourer
Elizabeth, daughter, aged 22
Joseph, son, aged 14, ag. labourer  > all born at Wellington
Thomas, son aged 12
Samuel, grandson, aged 13
Robert, grandson, aged 6.

On the 1861 census Robert was still living with his grandmother at Street Lane:
Elizabeth Dabbs, head, widow, aged 69; born Church Stretton
Joseph, son, aged 24, labourer
Thomas, son, aged 22, labourer  > all born at Wellington
Robert, son (sic) aged 16, labourer.

Joseph Dabbs was buried at All Saints church, Wellington, on 23 October 1859.  The church register gives his age as 66 and abode as Street Lane.  His widow Elizabeth died on Friday, 28 Sept 1866, aged 70, also at Street Lane. The death certificate describes her as the widow of Joseph Dabbs, a lime stone miner, and cause of death as ‘decay of nature’. Present at the death was her daughter Elizabeth Howells, of the nearby hamlet of Steeraway.

Sometime before 1857 Tabitha left Shropshire and began a relationship in Birmingham with a widower, William Anderton (see ANDERTON family). Their daughter Alice – my great-grandmother – was born at Hall Green, Yardley, Birmingham, on 7 October 1857.

On Alice’s birth certificate Tabitha gives her name as Anderton, formerly Dabbs; but she and William didn’t actually tie the knot until 1874 – their marriage certificate shows them marrying at Birmingham Registry Office on 20 April that year.

Alice’s half-brother, Robert Dabbs, was one of the two witnesses to her marriage to William Eyre at Sparkbrook, Birmingham, on Monday, 30 June 1879. The other witness was Annie Rose, Alice’s half-sister by her father’s first marriage. On the 1891 census Robert Dabbs was shown as a labourer, single, aged 45, born Wellington, living with the family, and described as brother-in-law.

Tabitha Anderton was widowed in 1890 and died at Aston Union workhouse on Tuesday, 24 April 1894, aged 73. The death certificate describes her as widow of William Anderton, gardener; a domestic of Leonard Road, Aston Manor. Cause of death was chronic wear of albuminoid (an old name for a protein), degeneration of kidneys and dropsy. Her daughter Alice Eyre, of 5 Leonard Road, Aston Manor, was present at the death – suggesting that Tabitha had gone into the workhouse because it was difficult to nurse her at home with a family of small children. Alice herself died just three years later. (The workhouse, at Gravelly Hill, Erdington, had a hospital wing. In 1881 it had had 854 residents, including nurses.)

Children of Joseph and Elizabeth Dabbs:
Jane – was buried at Wellington on 8 March 1835, aged 15 years.
Tabitha – see above.

. Samuel –  described as a grandson on the 1851 census, but his marriage certificate names his father as Joseph Dabbs.  On 11 April 1859, when he was a month short of his twentieth birthday, he enlisted as a private in the Royal Regiment of Horse Guard at barracks in Upper Albany Street, London, serving with that regiment until his discharge on 16 July 1880.  His enlistment record describes him as born at Wellington, Shropshire, a miner by occupation, height 5 feet 113/4 inches, with blue eyes and light brown hair.  Private Dabbs served abroad at some time, was wounded, and was described as of ‘very good character’ on his discharge paper.  He was awarded a pension of 1/1.  On 28 May 1861 he had married an Irish girl, Mary Quillivenn, and by 1881 the couple had two sons, Samuel and James. In 1901 they were living at 19 Kingstown Street, St Pancras, where Samuel Dabbs died in 1907, aged 69. 

William – married Emily Bowen on 25 March 1851 and on that year’s census was living at Chapel Street, Dudley, with his wife and a month-old child, Elizabeth. In 1861 he was still working there as a limestone miner and his household comprised Emma (Emily), 40, Mary Ann (who was dumb) and Hannah, both 8, Joseph 6, and John ten months.  In 1871 William and Emma were at Walters Row, Dudley, with Joseph 16, John 10, and Emma 5.  William Dabbs died at Dudley in 1899.

Richard – married 15 March 1860 to Sarah Ellis. In 1861 he was 35 and living next to his mother at Street Lane with wife Sarah, 26, and son Richard Ellis, aged one. In 1881 the family was still at Street Lane: Richard, a stone miner, aged 54, wife Sarah 47, sons Richard 21, Herbert 19, Henry Benjamin 16 and Alfred 14 (all general labourers), daughters Agnes 10 and Ada 7, and youngest son William, also 7.  Ten years later the family was living in the hamlet of Steeraway, just outside Wellington, Richard described on the census as a retired miner, 67, with wife Sarah, children Alfred, Ada and William, and grandson Alfred.  Richard died there in 1896. 

Elizabeth – married 15 January 1855 to John Howells, a limestone mine. In 1861 John, 33, and Elizabeth, 31, were living at Wellington with their children Jane 5, Richard 2, and newborn Mary Ann. By 1866 they had moved a short distance to the hamlet of Steeraway, and were still there in 1881 with son Richard 23, and granddaughter Mary Ann E. Peake, 5 – this child was the eldest daughter of Jane Howells, who had married William Peake in 1874 and was living close by at New Works Lane with another two daughters, Jane 3 and Agnes, nine months.  Elizabeth (82) and John Howells (84) were still living at Steeraway in 1911, with Elizabeth’s unmarried brother Thomas Dabbs.

Sarah – married Robert Banks at Wellington in 1857.

Joseph – a furnace labourer, married Jane Paine in 1867 and on the 1871 census was living with her and his unmarried brother Thomas at Wrekin Road, Wellington. They were still there in 1891 and appear to have had no children.

Thomas – never married. In 1881 he was lodging close to his sister Elizabeth Howells at Steeraway; and by 1891 he was working as a labourer at Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire, on the farm owned by the son-in-law of his sister Tabitha Anderton’s husband. In 1901 he was back at Steeraway, lodging with his sister Elizabeth Howells and her husband, and was still there ten years later, aged 66.

Dabbs families living at Street Lane, Wellington, on 1821 census:

Andrew Dabbs 50
Elizabeth 15
Robe 13
William 12
Emma 9
Rosi 4
Andrew 1

Samuel Dabbs 45
Margaret 44
Richard 21
Samuel 20
Elizabeth 10
Susan 7
Ann 3

Moses Dabbs 40
Mary 30
Benjamin 10
Cate 5
Mary 2

Edward Dabbs 57
Isobella 41
Rachael 12
Michael 10
James 8
Martha 5
Eleanor 1

John Dabbs 42
Rebecca 40
Ester 21
William 16
Elizabeth 13
James 7
John 4

Ann Dabbs 50
Francis 45
Reubin 16
Harriet 14
Frank 11

Joseph Dabbs 25
Elizabeth 23
Richard 70
(Jane) 1
(these are my forebears)

James Dabbs 50
Hannah 36
Hannah 14

William Dabbs 25
Mary 25
Harriat 14
James 4

Jane Dabbs 35
George 20

Samuel Dabbs 66
Sarah 62

Sarah Dabbs 84
William 81

Maria Dabbs 14

Dabbs families living at Street Lane, Wellington, on 1841 census:

Andrew Dabbs, 70, agricultural labourer
Rose, 60
Andrew, 21
John, 18

Joseph Dabbs, 42, agricultural labourer
Elizabeth, 44
William, 18, lime miner
Richard, 15, lime miner
Elizabeth, 12
Sarah, 8
Joseph, 4
Samuel, 3
Thomas, 2

Mary Dabbs, 50 (widow of Moses)
Catherine, 23
Mary, 21
Moses, 17
Sarah, 14
Henry 11

Rebecca Dabbs, 60, farmer
Esther, 20
Robert, 16
Rebecca, 15

Eleanor Dabbs, 20

William Dabbs, 40, agricultural labourer
Rebecca, 30
Mary, 7
Edward, 4
James, 2

Mary Dabbs, 40, female servant
Mary, 20, female servant

At neighbouring Red Lake:
Richard Dabbs, 30, miner
Esther, 25
Thomas, 2