William Dickinson was the progenitor of hundreds of descendants in America and elsewhere today, although most of them probably have no idea he ever existed. I discovered his name when I ordered a copy of my 3rd great-grandfather's marriage license. After learning his name was William, we can see why his son, John, named one of his sons William Henry Dickinson. Furthermore, John's other son, Harry, gave one of his sons the same name - that is Rev. William Henry Dickinson, who was my great-grandfather.
Recently, I've been sharing some newly discovered paper trails that give us a blurry view of William's life. He was born in Walkley, one of Sheffield's many suburbs, around 1790, and married in 1824 to Ann Loy. She was 18 and he was about 34. The family lived in Kimberworth, a suburb of Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, in 1841, and in 1851 they were in Wadsley Bridge. In 1861, however, William wasn't found in the home with his wife, Ann, when the census was taken. He appears to have been staying at the Ecclesall Bierlow Union Workhouse, as described in my previous blog found here. Why he didn't live with his wife, nearby, may never be known, but I suspect it was because he had a severe stroke or other condition rendering him incapacitated. Remember, he was 16 years older than Ann, his wife, and in 1861 he was set to be about 70 years old. Seventy was a ripe old age for a steelworker in those days. His son Joseph died at age 45 and his son John died at 58. John's son, Harry, who was also a Hammerman/Tilter, lived to age 72. Harry's brother, William, died at 73, the same age as their grandfather, William, when he died.
In 1863 William's son, Joseph, left for America and in 1870, Ann, was living with him and his new family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She may have traveled with Joseph, but I couldn't locate a ship record to prove it. It seems more likely to me that she left England after William died, but I can't be sure.
While searching for information about William's death, I found a very helpful site, sheffieldindexers.com, where I found the following burial transcription:
DICKINSON, William (Tilter, age 71). Died at Portland Street; Buried on August 25, 1864 in Consecrated ground; Grave #11, Section M7 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Notice, the key word - Tilter. For me, this 99% confirms it was my 3rd great-grandfather. I have found no other Dickinsons who worked as Tilters, besides William and his sons. Notice also, he died at Portland Street, the same street his wife lived on in 1861 when the census was taken. The street is only one city block in length. She may have still been there in 1864, but left for America after William died. Maybe one day we'll find the answer to prove when she emigrated to America.
William's death was published in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent newspaper on Saturday, August 27, 1864.
Burngreave Cemetery is also known as Brightside Bierlow Cemetery or Pitsmoor Cemetery, which adds to the likelihood this is the same William whose son, William, married Matilda Broadhead in 1861 at Pitsmoor, and whose other son, John, lived in Brightside Bierlow when the 1861 census was taken.
Section M7 is located along the edge of Section A1. A map of the cemetery can be found here: https://friendsofburngreavecemetery.chessck.co.uk/MapsandInscriptions
With the information from William's burial transcription, I created a memorial for him on Findagrave. (View it here). A volunteer kind enough to search for his grave informed me there is no headstone marking the spot. At this time, Findagrave only shows two other Dickinsons buried in the cemetery, but I was shocked to see there are at least 159 Dickinson burials there. (To see them, click here. Then, at the top of the page, for Cemetery, enter "Burngreave" and under Surname, enter "Dickinson".
Only the entrance to Burngreave Cemetery can be seen from Google Maps, but you can take a tour of the area with this interactive Google Map:
Tip: If you don't have a paid subscription to FindMyPast, try sheffieldindexers.com instead! Of course, once you find them in the indexes, you'll probably want more, like I did, and that's where FindMyPast comes in! Newspapers, parish registers, marriages, baptisms, deaths, burials, military, census, directories and more! If you're researching English roots, this is a MUST! Try a search!
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