Updated 23 Apr 2003

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Letters from Belper.

These transcribed letters are most interesting because they show a link between Derbyshire, DOXEY, RANDALL and California over 400 years. They were sent by Jean Wheeler of Hartington Beach, California. The story is too long and complicated to set down here, but I'm glad to say "Ince's Pedigrees" was used to find one of the final links - thanks Jean.
Dear John,
These are the transcriptions of the letters I have which were written to the Randall family. As you may recall, Hannah Doxey ( b. Feb. 13, 1788) married John Randall (according to Ince a shoemaker from Stockport). Her brother Henry Doxey (b. 17 Sep. 1800) moved to America in 1829, and later she also moved there with her son and her grand daughter Ann. I recently found Henry and his family as well as William, Ann, and Hannah Randall in the 1850 Census for Roscoe Township, Winnebago County, Illinois. Two other Randall brothers (John and David) and their families also settled in Roscoe Township.
Jean Wheeler, Hartington Beach, California

Jean later wrote out the story of her family in more detail, in a piece entitled:
Hannah DOXEY of Wirksworth comes to America, which is set out at the bottom of this webpage - Thanks again Jean.

Letter 1

This letter was written before the Randalls left England. The letter is addressed to "David Randall, Woodlesford, Near Leeds in Yorkshire, to be left at Woodlesford station house."

Ashby-de-la Zouche
April 14th 1841

Dear Uncle,

I received your kind letter on Tuesday, March 23rd and was very much pleased to hear that you and my Grandmother was quite well. My mother and I are quite well at this time. I was very glad to hear that my Uncle John and his little girl was in good health, but I was very sorry that my Aunt was very poorly and not much like to get better. I also was pleased that my Uncle William was quite well & in his old situation. I was very glad that my Uncle Thomas and my Aunt and his family was in good health. I was very pleased that you and my Grandmother like your situation very well.

We have moved from Bath Street & we now live in Wood Street. My mother and I will be very glad to see my Grandmother when she comes over. I get on with my studies very well. I am in Practice now and I hope by when I leave school I shall make a good scholar.

My mother received that half sovereign safe by Alice Ogden. Alice came on the 9th instant and she stayed a fortnight. They thought her not a sufficient cook. She called on my mother several times, for she felt uneasy in her mind. When she came she said that her sister was very poorly. Alice left Ashby the day before we received the letter. The reason why we did not send sooner was because Alice promised my mother she would write to her. She has not heard from her yet.

Dear Brother,

I was very much pleased as you inquired of Thomas's good behavior. He is pretty middling considering as he is the only child. I hope as he grows in years he will grow in grace and form a pillar in the Church when I am no more. When you write direct for Ann Randall to be left at Mr. John Warner's, Wood Street, Ashby de la Zouche, Leiceshire.

My mother joins me in love to you and my Grandmother and my Uncles and Aunts and all my friends.

So no more from you affectionate nephew.
Thos. Randall

Letter 2

This letter addresses 3 people individually: niece Ann Randall, brother-in-law William Randall, friend Hannah Doxey Randall. Written by William's sister-in-law Ann Gratton. (Ann Randall was almost 15. Her mother had died in childbirth on the voyage to America.)

March 7, 1858

Dear Niece,

It is a long time since I received your letter. I suppose you will think I have quite forgotten you, but far from that. You are as fresh in my memory as you was the first day you left England. I never pass a day without thinking of you, and I never retire to rest without praying for you and that the Blessing of God may rest upon you and your dear father and grandma. Dear Ann, it has not been willful neglect. I am very much confined at my work. I leave home at half past 5 in the morning and I do not return till 6 in the evening, and then I have all my household duties to attend to, but I hope you will forgive me and I will try to write oftener. There is nothing in this world that gives me so much pleasure as to hear from you, dear Ann. I hope this will find you and your dear father in the full enjoyment of the best of health, as, thank God, I am myself at this time. I am thankful to say that Susannahís health is much better than it was when you wrote, and I am happy to say that she is a very good girl and she joins the general Baptist society.

Dear Ann, you say we did not send you word who it was that sent you that card. It was Susannah, and she was very much obliged to you for the one you sent her, and I was very much obliged to your grandma for the pattern of needlework she sent me of your own working. Dear Ann, it gives me great pleasure to see and hear that you are making such progress in your learning, but most of all that you have read your bible once through and are beginning again. That is the most important thing in this world to read and understand the word of God.

Dear Ann, it is drawing near your birthday which will be on the 17th of March if you live to see it, which I hope you will, and I hope your grandma will make you a good plum pudding. Nothing is this world would give me so much pleasure as to be permitted to join you round the festal board. I often wonder whether I shall ever behold those lovely features in this world again. I think the joy would be unspeakably great.

Dear Ann, send me word whether you have gotten to wear any of your dear motherís clothes. If you have not, tell father I think you should. They will spoil with lying so long. Dear Ann, I have sent you a card and a lock of hair of each which you wished for.

Dear Ann, we have had a very mild winter. We have had but one small bit of snow. Things have been very flat in England. Provisions has been very dear. Dear Ann, we understand that things have been very awkward in America. They say that has been the cause for trade being dead in England.

Dear Ann, I hope you will write back as soon as you receive this and write me a long letter and send me all particulars for I want to hear from you, dear Ann. Mother Read and Sarah send their best love to you, and they are always very happy to hear from you. Mother Read says she never forgets you in her prayers. Sarah hopes that you will be a very good girl and she would be very pleased to have a few lines from you. Quintan Read also wishes to be remembered to you. He has left Belper. He has gone to be a gardener for a gentleman at Graves End that is 30 miles below London. I think he is very likely to get married very soon. Dear Ann, Fanney sends her kind love to you. I do not know whether you remember her. Susannah send her love to you, and she says she should very much like to see you now. Dear Ann, I do not know anything more to say at this time only that you will be a kind and affectionate good girl to your granma and your father. This is the prayer of your dear aunt, and may the blessing of you rest upon you all. Now, dear Ann, I must conclude with my best love to you, hoping to be yours truly until death-so goodbye.

Ann Gratton

March 7, 1858

My Dear Brother,

It affords me much pleasure to have a few lines from you, and I hope you will always send me a few when Ann writes. I hope this will find you in good health, as, thank God, I myself am at this time, and Susannah's health is much better than it was when you wrote. Thank goodness for it. She is a great comfort to me now. I should be very much lost without her. Dear Brother I feel quite alone in the world. As you know I have no near friends. Him that ought to have been proved himself the most unprincipled man in the world. He stayed away, and I did not know for why. He never gave any reason, and he has married a young woman about 32. She is not a Belper woman. They have been married about 14 months. He looks a poor old man.

Dear Brother, we have had a very mild winter, but things have been very dead. Everything has been very dear, but I hope they are reviving a little. Dear Brother, you never say anything about David. When you write, please send me word how he is getting on-whether he is got married. Dear Brother, you hoped that Mr. J. Strutt was enjoying good health. He is not. He has not been out of his room these last 4 months. He has had three strokes. They don't expect him to live long. The servants that was there when you was send their kind regards. So you know that they are always very glad to hear of you, dear Brother.

Mrs. Read and Sara Booth send their best love to you. Quinten is not at home, but you will see by Ann's letter all about it. Aunt Martha wishes to be remembered in love to you. She gets a poor old woman. Fanney send her love you you. Dear Brother, I should think that Ann is a very nice girl by this [time], and, I hope, a very good one. I hope you will let her write us as soon as you get this, for I want to hear from you. Susannah sends her love to you, dear Brother. Remember me to David and John. I do not know anything more to sayat this time except of my kind love and believe me to be your affectionate sister until death.

Ann Gratton

Dear Friend,

You did promise to write to me. I have thought that you had forgotten that there was such a being in the world, but I was very glad to hear from you. It would give me great pleasure to hear from you oftener. I hope this will find you in good health, as I myself am at this time. Thank God for it. I was very much obliged to you for the pattern of needlework that you sent me. It gives me great pleasure to see and hear that she is making such progree in her learning. I hope and trust she is a good girl to you. I am thankful to God that He has prolonged your life up to the present time to be with them. Dear friend, you say you should like to be in England. I wish you was. I have often fancied you there and thought we was talking things over, but I am afraid I must never see you there again, but if we never meet on earth I hoope we shall meet in heaven where parating is no more.

Please tell William that they have made Mr. Edward Strutt Lord Belper. Susannah and Aunt Martha send their kind love you you. Mrs. Godver and son has sent their love to you. They are living up Belper lane. He is got married. Fanney Taylor send her love to you. She lives at Kilburn. That is about 2 miles from Belper. She has no family. They are farming. Mrs. Read and Sarah send their kind love to you, and they would like to see you in England. Mrs. Mather is come to Belper. She often comes to the Unitarian Chapel, but I have never spoke to her. Please do let Ann write as soon as you get this. I don't know anything about David Randell . Accept of my love from your sincere friend.

Ann Gratton.

Letter 3

Stationery used for this letter is engraved with a drawing of "The Bridge, Belper, Derbyshire." I do not know exactly who Hannah and Sarah Read were, but they must have been close friends, at least.

December 25th 1859

My Dear Little Anne,

We was glad to have a few lines from you. It gave me and your Mother Read very great pleasure to have a few lines from one that we love so dearly. Though far from us, your memory still around our hearts like morning mist is hung. We are glad that your dear father and grandma is so very kind to you and does not forget to name our names to you. I often think how kind the Lord has been to spare your dear grandma. I hope you are a very good girl to her and try to smooth her path. Dear Ann, we was glad to hear that you have read your bible through. I hope you will treasure it up in your heart that it may make you wise unto salvation. I want to hear of you being made happy in the love of God that we may one day see the king in his beauty and the lamb that is afar off. O that you may view that lovely lamb that bled on Calvary and was slain for you to redeem us from all iniquity. O look to him; behold the glory of God; see the angels; O look at his precious bleeding side. His hands, his head, his feet; behold him gasping, groaning, dying that you might be made clean. Hear him cry, "It is finished," that his blood cleanseth from all sin. You know, my dear Anne, without holiness, no man shall see the Lord. But glory to His name whoever steps into that fountain which is expressly said to be for sin and uncleanness shall be made clean. O let your faith venture in that you may wash and be clean. I hope you will pardon me for taking this liberty in writing. It is all love. My dear motherís kind love to you, love to your dear father an grandma. Hoping you are all well from your well wishers.

Hannah and Sarah Read

P. S. The view is where you spent the first part of your childhood at Mathers Reach.

Letter 4

The stationery is embossed with flowers. In the center of them is this verse: "Though harsh voices may surround us, Though rude tempest rage between, Like yon azure heaven around us, Loves like ours shall smile serene. Bars of iron cannot sever When true hearts united are, Love will bloom and burn for ever, Fixed and stedfast as a star." (The letter was addressed to: Mr. William Randall, Beloit, West Constant, North America.)

Sept. 30, 1865

Dear Niece and Brother,

Yours came duly to hand and we was very glad to hear from you. We began to think you had almost forgot us. We was glad to hear that Moses arrived all right. Dear Ann, I must now begin to tell you who sent you your presents, so I hope you got them all safe. Well, I sent you the collar and broach. Susannah sent you the silk handkerchief; Alice sent you the two crocheted cloths; Mary sent you the rug, and Richard sent you the little box. Uncle sent you the needle case and needles. Dear Ann, Sarah Reed sent you the other broach, and she was very much pleased with the collar you sent her. She showed it to Mrs. Strutt. She said it was beautiful work. I was very sorry that I could not sent you the brown silk dress like your motherís, but it had lain by a long time. I could not wear it, and after I got married, I had a frock made on it for Mary. So you see it would have been of no use to you.

Dear Ann, I was very sorry to hear that father's crops was not good last year, but hope they will be better this year. Dear Ann, we have to rejoice with you now the war is over. I hope things will have a change with you as well as us. We are making full time at the mill. Dear niece, you should like a good slice of my plum pudding. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to of sent you a slice. Had I known I would of sent you a whole one by Moses. I was very glad to hear that father made you a present of a black silk dress. I hope you will live long to wear it. Dear Ann, you sent me word that cousin Lois was married. I hope she is got a good husband and will be very comfortable, as she has no parents. I expect to hear the same account about you, but, dear Ann, I have one favour to beg of you. I hope you will never leave your father while he lives, for he as been one of the kindest in the world, and I hope you will comfort him in his declining years.

Dear Ann, you say you should like to send me a collar, but I should much rather you would send Alice and Mary one if you will not think the trouble too much. They would be very pleased with them. Dear Ann, you must tell father that Mr. Leedham sends his regards to him, but he is very poorly and is not likely to get better-also Thomas Courtney sends his regards to him. He is going on very well. John Burlon wishes to be remembered to him. Old Mr. and Mrs. Gamble are both dead.

Father is very welcome to the small present I sent him. Dear Ann, you must give my kind love to grandma, and she is very welcome to the small present I sent . Her cousin Godber is dead. She had been dead three weeks when I received your letter. Her son send his kind love to grandma and father. I saw Mrs. Mather one day, and she says she should like one more letter from Grandma. Mrs. Taylor's kind regards to all. She was married on the 21 of this month to a 3rd husband. I went to the wedding and we was very comfortable. Dear Ann, we thought we would have a newspaper or a letter when the war was over but hope you will not be so long again without writing. We want to hear of you oftener. Please to write soon-Dear Ann, Mother Read and Sarah Booth send their kind love to you & father and grandma. They are always very glad to hear from you. Quinten is living in Staffordshire. He is going on very well. He has got three very nice little girls. Dear Ann, I hope these few lines will find you all well as they leave us at this time. Dear Ann, I must now bring my scribble to a close. Uncle joins me in love to you. All we remain your loving Aunt and Uncle till Death. Susannah, Alice, Mary, also Richard send their kind love to you, also father and grandma

Letter 5

Jan 18th 1875

Dear Niece,

I received your kind letter on the 27th of December. We was not expecting an answer so soon, and when the letter came, we thought that there was something amiss. But, O we little thought that it was your dear father who was taken to a better world! It was so sudden, but blessed be the Lord. He was prepared for the change. I was so sorry to hear that he suffered such severe pain, but the Lord was with him and enabled him to bear it patiently, and O how blessed for us to think:
Safe in the arms of Jesus
Safe on his gentle breast
There by his love oíershaded
Sweetly his soul now rest.

And my dear niece, I am so sorry for you, but we have that blessed assurance that we can go to them if they cannot return to us. And, O how blessed is the thought that all things work together for good to them that love God. My dear, I hope by this time that you feel reconciled to your loss, and that you can now say, Lord, Thy will be done. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. You must not think that you are alone in the world, for you have, I hope, a kind husband, and your dear children to love and comfort you, and also your uncles and aunts and cousins.

The day after I received your letter I got a broadhead newspaper which I thought your Uncle David had sent, and I was very pleased with it. There was a nice bit in it about your dear father. Mrs. Sarah Read Booth sends her kind love to you. She was very sorry to hear of the death of your dear father. You did not say anything about the children in your last letter. When you write again, please send me word how they are getting on. Susannah is still with us. Her health is better than formerly. Alice, Mary, and Richard are all very well at this time; thank God for all His mercies to us. When you write to Uncle David, please remember me to him. My husband and me are in good health at this time. Hoping this will find you all enjoying the same blessing. My husband joins me in love to you all-from your affectionate aunt and uncle and cousins

Ann and Richard Booth

Hannah Doxey of Wirksworth Comes to America

A number of years ago an uncle of mine passed down to me a little old wooden box, inlaid with a small decoration in mother of pearl. He told me that the box and its contents were things that had come from his mother's family in England. Inside were a few letters and a handwritten list entitled "The Family Record of Thomas and Milicent Doxey." The letters had been sent from England to America in the 1800's and may be seen as "Letters from Belper" on this site.

The list reads (I added the information in brackets after I learned more):

Samuel Doxey born Nov 9, 1781
Lydia Doxey born March 5, 1783
Thomas Doxey born August 13, 1785
Hannah Doxey born February 13, 1788
David Doxey born March 8, 1790
Millicent Doxey born March 16, 1792
Ann Doxey born March 3, 1794
Martha Doxey born March 7, 1796
Samuel Doxey born August 30, 1798
Henry Doxey born September 11, 1800
Joshua Doxey born September 14, 1809 [1802?]

Millicent Doxey died March 8, 1809 [1804?] Charles Doxey born April 23, 1811 [Thomas Doxey married a second time after Millicent's death. Charles was probably the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Wood Doxey.]

My grandmother's mother had been a RANDALL, and I knew she had come originally from England, so the letters appeared to have been from her family. The list was a mystery to me, though, for I had never heard of the DOXEYS.

Not long ago I was able to obtain a certificate of recorded marriage for my great grandmother's parents. It states that William RANDALL had married Catherine GRATTON on March 13, 1842 at the parish church of Saint Peter in the County of Derby. His father was listed as John RANDALL, shoemaker; hers was William GRATTON, blacksmith.

The story that I had heard about my great grandmother Ann RANDALL was that she had sailed from England with her mother, father, and grandmother. While still on board, her mother had given birth to a baby boy, but neither the mother nor the baby survived. Just William RANDALL, his daughter Ann, and William's mother arrived in America.

The 1850 Federal Census for Winnebago County, Illinois (Roscoe township) shows that William RANDALL, 38, was residing there with his mother Hannah, 63, his daughter Ann, 7, and his niece Lois [misspelled Louis], 12. That entry made me wonder if Hannah, the grandmother, could have been a DOXEY. Finally, through the help of John Palmer's Wirksworth site and Ince's Pedigree, I found that Hannah DOXEY, the daughter of Thomas and Milicent DOXEY of Wirksworth, was my great great great grandmother. Ince even stated that Hannah had married John RANDALL, shoemaker, from Stockport. Of interest, too, is the fact that Hannah and the RANDALLS settled in the same county in America where her brother Henry DOXEY was living with his family. Henry had left England much earlier-in 1829. Two of William RANDALL'S brothers also settled in Winnebago County, Illinois: David RANDALL and John RANDALL. A third brother, Thomas, died earlier, and his daughter, Lois RANDALL, came to America and lived with William RANDALL and family. The DOXEYS and the RANDALLS all came from Derbyshire.

After Ann RANDALL married John DULLAM, her father and grandmother moved to the village of Brodhead, Rock County, Wisconsin. Hannah and William both died before 1880.

My pedigree beginning with Hannah DOXEY goes like this-as far as I now know it:

Hannah DOXEY, daughter of Milicent GREGORY and Thomas DOXEY, b. 1788 in Wirksworth m. John RANDALL. (They had at least 3 boys.)

William RANDALL, son of Hannah DOXEY and John RANDALL, b. ca. 1822, m. Catherine GRATTON 13 March, 1842 in Derbyshire. The RANDALLS left England for America sometime during the 1840s and settled in Winnebago County, Illinois near the Wisconsin border.

Ann RANDALL, daughter of Catherine GRATTON and William RANDALL, b. ca. 1843 in Derbyshire, m. John D. DULLAM (b.11 May 1841 in LeRoy, New York son of Thomas and Mary DOWNING DULLAM originally from Devonshire, England) 19 September 1866. They lived in Capron, Illinois and Beloit, Wisconsin and were the parents of 5 children. Ann died in 1920 in Boone County, Illinois.

Alice Catherine DULLAM, first daughter of Ann RANDALL and John DULLAM, b. 23 July 1867 in Avon, Wisconsin m. John C. ZINSER (b. 27 October 1854 in Schmieheim, Baden, Germany) 12 July 1888 in Boone County, Illinois. The ZINSERS had 6 children and moved across country to Oregon at the turn of the century.

Alice Marian ZINSER, the youngest daughter of Alice DULLAM and John ZINSER-and my mother-m. Natcher William PRITCHARD in Santa Ana, California. Natcher PRITCHARD, my father, was b. in Ohio, then moved to Washington, and later to California. Natcher was the great grandson of Ann BANNISTER and Rev. William PRITCHARD, an Independent minister from Derby and Barrow-on-Trent, England. The members of the PRITCHARD family were all christened at All Saints church in Derby. So that links both sides of my family to Derbyshire!

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