John’s son Benjamin also provides us with a great deal of information about his life.
In 1851 Benjamin was living at 40 Hackerley Moss in Eccleston with his wife Margaret and four young children (John, Ann, James and Alice) plus a 13 year-old Ellen Hesketh described as a stepdaughter. They had married at Farnworth in 1845, Margaret being four years older. Ellen must have been born out of wedlock as we have Margaret’s maiden name as Hesketh. Benjamin is shown as a mason’s labourer.
In 1861 they were living at 46 The Moss in Eccleston and Benjamin was a quarryman. His son John aged 16 is a stone mason and James aged 13 is an errand boy (too young for the quarry as yet). Alice aged 10 is a scholar. At the time there was a Moss Pottery near the Prescot Cables Football Club but it and other potteries in Prescot had disappeared by 1870, unable to stand up against the competition from Staffordshire, although one small pottery hung on in until 1893.
Benjamin was living at 4 Lea’s Court, Eccleston in the 1871 Census with his son James living at 2 Lea’s Court. Benjamin was still described as a quarryman, his wife Margaret at 61 (though actually 64) had no occupation. Daughter Ann aged 24 was a washerwoman and Alice aged 20 had no occupation shown. Living next door, James aged 24 was also shown as a quarryman, his wife Elizabeth aged 25 has no occupation. Their daughter Margaret Ann must have been quite bright as at age of five years she is described as a scholar.
I presume Benjamin and his sons worked at the Eccleston quarry (aka Hurst House Delph and Marsden’s Quarry). It still exists although it is now flooded and used as a scuba-diving centre. It was a stone quarry employing a dozen men and notably provided material for the Blackpool Promenade from the 1850s to 1870s. It also provided split stones as roofing slates.
I was looking out for records of any murders in my searches and there is a tenuous one here. On 14 Oct 1979 the body of narcotics dealer Marty Johnstone (aka ‘Mr Asia’) was discovered by divers in the Eccleston Delph quarry. His hands were missing and his teeth and face were mutilated to hinder identification. The murder is reputed to have been on the order of an associate Terrance Clark (aka Mr Big); both were New Zealanders. An international police investigation successfully broke up Mr Asia’s drug gang. Mr Big died of a heart attack in Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight while serving time for the murder.
|Note on shorthand acronyms being used in the DFB:|
– GGF1 / GGM1 – means first great-grandfather /mother;
– GU11 / GA11 – means eleventh great-uncle / great-aunt;
– 1C3 – means first cousin three times removed