Robert Earnshaw was the sixth child of Thomas Earnshaw and Elizabeth Crosby, born January 11th, 1840 at Dawdon Hall, Dawdon, Co Durham, & the birth was registered on January 16th, 1840 in Easington, Co Durham. Robert was christened on February 23rd, 1840 at St Andrew's, Dalton-le-Dale, Co. Durham.
Robert’s early years were spent at William St, Dawdon. In 1861, aged 21, Robert was recorded as a miller.
After being granted a marriage licence on November 26th, 1869, Robert (29) married Ann Wilson/Richardson at Christ Church, in the parish of New Seaham on November 28th, 1869.
Ann was born in Oct-December 1848 at Burdon, Co Durham, the first daughter of Thomas Richardson and Mary Wilson. Ann came from a farming family with farms in the Burdon & Warden Law district. Witnesses at the wedding were Robert Richardson (Ann’s uncle) & Joseph Birkbeck. Joseph Birkbeck was choirmaster and organist at Christ Church. Joseph also worked at Seaham Colliery and 11 years later had an interesting story to tell! On the evening of Tuesday September 7th, 1880 he slept through his “knocker” at his home thereby missing his shift at the mine. This event was to save his life as he missed the explosion at Seaham Colliery which took place Wednesday September 8th at 2.20a.m., and enabled him to live until his 90s.
A family group with Ann Richardson front row centre & future daughter-in-law, Mary Emily Stainsby, back row right
In 1871 Robert & Ann were living at Seaham Park Place, Seaham with a daughter Elizabeth (1). They were living with Robert Richardson, Ann’s uncle.
By 1881 Robert (41), & Ann (32) were still at Seaham Park with children Elizabeth (11), Thomas (9), Robert Richardson (7), John (5), Mary Ellen (3) and Ada (2).
By 1887 the family had moved to Grangetown & were living at 6 Grange Terrace, Ryhope (Grangetown) in 1888. Ward’s directory of Sunderland of 1889/90 shows Robert was still living at Grange Terrace, Ryhope (Grangetown) & was working as a miller. At the time of the 1891 census Robert was still a paper miller living at Grange Terrace with 9 children! Daughter Elizabeth (known as Lizzie) was a finisher at the paper works, Thomas (Tom) & Robert R (known as Bob) were paper millers, John (Jack) was a paper maker. Others at home were Mary E, Ada, Frederick (9), George William (7), Ernest (Ernie) (5).
Robert Earnshaw & family.
From left: back row -Tom, John, Robert; centre Ada, Mary Ellen, father Robert, mother Ann, Elizabeth; front George, Ernest, Frederick
Photo courtesy of Rob Shepherd, author of a publication on the Centenary of St Aidan's Church, Grangetown
Electoral registers shown that by 1896 Robert & family had moved to Stockton Terrace, Ryhope (Grangetown).
In 1901 the family were living at 23 Stockton Terrace, Ryhope, Robert was 61 and Ann 52. At home were Robert R, a beater in the paper mill, John , a machine minder in the paper mill, Frederick, a clerk, George W & Ernest, both apprentice gilders. Daughter Mary E was also at home, now married (1898, Sunderland) to Richard Herbert Clifford (born c1876 Ryhope), a machine minder at the paper mill. They had a 1 year old son, Charles. Also visiting was Mary J Richardson (21), Ann’s niece – daughter of her brother Thomas Richardson.
Ann died on November 7th, 1901, aged 53 years, at Grangetown & was buried at St Aidan’s cemetery, alongside daughter Ada who had died May 2nd, 1900, aged 21.
Robert who had still been living at 23 Stockton Terrace, died November 21st,1909 aged 69 years and is buried at St Aidans cemetery, Grangetown alongside his wife Ann and daughter Ada. Probate was granted on December 14th in Durham to his son, Frederick, commercial clerk. His effects amounted to £267.10s.
The children of Robert Earnshaw and Ann Richardson were:
e.1.6.1. Elizabeth Earnshaw
born April 3rd, 1870 at Seaham, Co Durham, died November 1st, 1943 at Grangetown, buried at St Aidan's, Grangetown
e.1.6.2. Thomas Earnshaw born Jan-March, 1872 at Seaham, Co Durham, died June 15th, 1925, buried at St Aidan’s, Grangetown
e.1.6.3. Robert Richardson Earnshaw born Oct-December, 1873 at Seaham, Co Durham; died June 8th 1934, buried St Aidans cemetery, Grangetown
e.1.6.4. John Earnshaw born September 22nd, 1875 at Seaham, Co Durham; died September 16th 1944, buried St Aidans cemetery, Grangetown
e.1.6.5. Mary Ellen Earnshaw born April-June, 1877 at Seaham, Co Durham; died December 15th, 1936 at 4 Shaftesbury Avenue, Grimsby
e.1.6.6. Ada Earnshaw born Jan-March, 1879 at Seaham, Co Durham; died May 2nd 1900, buried St Aidan’s, Grangetown
e.1.6.7. Frederick Earnshaw born October 29th, 1881 at Seaham, Co Durham; died December 3rd, 1956, buried St Aidan's, Grangetown,
e.1.6.8. George William Earnshaw born at Grange Terrace, Ryhope & christened December 9th, 1883 at St Paul’s, Ryhope; died April-June 1952 at Sunderland
e.1.6.9. Ernest Earnshaw born at Grange Terrace, Ryhope & christened May 16th, 1886 at St Paul’s, Ryhope, died September 12th, 1938, buried St Aidan’s, Grangetown