Benjamin Brown Crosby was the first child of Robert Crosby & Mary Ann Brown born October 26th, 1866 at Cassop, Co Durham.
In 1871 Benjamin & his parents were living at High St, Sherburn, where father Robert was a butcher. Benjamin was listed twice in the 1871census, both by his parents & his grandparents who he was visiting at Front St, Cassop.
In 1881 Benjamin was still living at home at Sherburn, now at 10 Front St. He now had 3 sisters, Mary J (9), Dorothy A (5) & Edith (10 months).
Benjamin was living in Shadforth Village, Co Durham at the time of the 1891 census & listed as a farmer’s son. Living at the same address were Jane (23) & Agnes (17) Spedding, both general servants.
Benjamin married Agnes Stoves in Jan-March 1897 at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Agnes was born April 13th, 1877 at Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, the daughter of Ann & William Stoves, a coal miner.
Benjamin was listed as a farmer (employer) in the 1901 census & he & Agnes were living at Shadforth Farm. By this time they had 4 children – Edith (4), George (2) & Ann (3 months). (Their first child, Edith, was christened Edith Crosby Stoves and was born just prior to their marriage.) Also living with them were 3 servants, 2 of whom were working on the farm, & 2 nephews, Robert (9) & Ernest Peel (7). These were the children of Benjamin’s sister Mary Jane.
Benjamin died on July 23rd, 1908, his death being registered at Sunderland, Co Durham.
At the time of the 1911 census widowed Agnes was working as a charwoman to support her family. She & Edith, George Beard, Benjamin (8), John (6) & William (4) were all living at 57 Wear St, Hendon, Sunderland. It was noted on the census that Agnes had had 8 children only 5 of whom were still alive.
Sadly son George lost his life during WW1 whilst serving as a Lance Corporal with the York & Lancaster Regiment. George died in Kings Lancashire Military Hospital, Blackpool of tubercular meningitis (trench fever) aged just 18 years. When George enlisted in 1915 he gave his address as 13 Gladstone St, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. A few months after being posted to France George became ill. On his death his possessions & medals were to be sent to Mrs Agnes Duffy, 13 Gladstone St, Sunderland. However a declaration of relatives in 1919 gave his mother as Mrs Agnes Dickinson, his brothers John (14) & William (12) & half brother Thomas Duffy (6).
There is a marriage for Agnes Crosby & Thomas Duffy in July-September 1911 in Sunderland. They had a son Thomas in 1913 & a daughter Helen in 1916 who sadly died in infancy. Tragically Agnes was informed that her husband Thomas had been killed in action while serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers on April 28th, 1917. Thomas had been employed at Wearmouth Colliery prior to enlisting.
It appears Agnes married again in Oct-December 1917 & her third husband was William Dickinson. They had a daughter named Agnes who died in infancy.
Tragedy struck the family again during the festive season as reported in the Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail of December 27th, 1927. William, a miner, & Agnes’s son John Crosby quarreled over a pair of new boots & the dispute became so violent that Agnes ran out to send a boy for a policeman. When the policeman arrived at the house, 13 Gladstone St, he found William badly beaten with a coal rake & dying. The Inspector in charge of the case went to the home of a family relative in Barclay St & there arrested John Crosby & charged him with murder. John confessed he had lost his temper when his step-father made a blow at him with coal tongs. William (48) was a native of Nottingham who had come to Sunderland during the war with the Notts & Derbyshire regiment. The case came before Durham Assizes in February 1928 when the court heard that William Dickinson was a violent man & addicted to drink. It appears that on Christmas Eve William came home drunk & during the quarrel had attacked John & said he would kill him. In the struggle John claimed that the coal rake had struck William & he had not intended to harm his step-father. A doctor gave evidence that William was in a poor state of health which would have contributed to his death. A verdict of not guilty was returned.
In 1923 Agnes was charged with permitting a horse that she owned to be ill-treated and her son John Crosby was charged with ill using it. A member of the RSPCA had stopped John & on examining the horse found it in poor condition with sores & whip weals. They were both fined 40s. (Sunderland Daily Echo & Shipping Gazette, June 20th, 1923)
Agnes, of 13 Gladstone St, died aged 55 on September 14th, 1932 in Sunderland. Her death announcement stated that she was known as Mrs Duffy.
The 1939 register shows son William & his wife Isabella & family living at 13 Gladstone St, Sunderland & he was a general labourer.
The children of Benjamin Brown Crosby & Agnes Stoves were:
c.184.108.40.206.1 Edith Crosby Stoves born January 9th, 1897 at Ludworth, & christened February 21st at Shadforth, Co Durham; died July-September 1965 at Durham
c.220.127.116.11.2 George Beard Crosby born September 26th, 1898 at Shadforth, Co Durham; died September 21st 1916
c.18.104.22.168.3 Ann Crosby born December 28th, 1900 & christened January 30th, 1901 at Shadforth, Co Durham; died November 25th, & buried November 28th, 1903 at Shadforth, Co Durham
c.22.214.171.124.4 Benjamin Brown Crosby born January 10th, 1903 & christened Febrauary 4th, 1903 at Shadforth, Co Durham; died July-September 1912 at Sunderland, Co Durham
c.126.96.36.199.5 John Crosby born December 31st, 1904 at Shadforth, Co Durham
c.188.8.131.52.6 Robert Crosby christened April 28th, 1906 at Shadforth, Co Durham; buried June 18th, 1906 at Shadforth
c.184.108.40.206.7 William Crosby born April 22nd, 1907 at Shadforth, Co Durham; died March 15th, 1977 in Sunderland
c.220.127.116.11.8 Rosina Crosby born Oct-December 1909 at Sunderland; died at 44 Matlock St, Sunderland July-September 1910 at Sunderland