Josiah Brown and Mary Skevington
Their Descendants In England and America
by Ruth Blacker Waite


Margaret Brealey
On December 9th, 2009, I received a letter from a Margaret Brealey living in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England. The name of the town caught my attention as I remembered that some of the Brown ancestors had come from there. Margaret wrote that she was a descendant of Josiah Brown and Mary Skevington and wanted to know if I could give her more information concerning my branch of the Brown family.

Imagine the thrill of hearing from a previously unknown cousin living in the very town where our shared ancestors lived! Margaret and her family had been completely unaware that some of the Browns had come to America, and settled in the west.

I referred her to our web site (lrwaite.net) which has several Brown histories along with photographs, and she has generously sent me photos of her family, along with census records and copies of various birth, death and marriage certificates.

In this short history I will discuss Josiah and Mary Brown's family. Then their son William, who is my ancestor, and William's brother Joseph, and their brother Reuben, who is Margaret's ancestor. The information came from my family history, history from Bette Fuller (Orson Hiram Brown's granddaughter) about Joseph, and from Margaret about Reuben's family.

I would welcome more information about the family, especially with pictures which can be easily added. I am aware that there may be errors in this history. Feel free to contact me about any corrections that need to be made. If you have more information you would like to share you can contact me by email at the address in the header.

Josiah Brown and Mary Skevington were married 8 September 1828 in Pentrich, Derbyshire, England. Pentrich is a lovely little village where some of our Godber family also lived, and during a political upheaval, one of the Godber’s homes, among others, was pulled down, and he along with other men involved in the rebellion, were shipped away to Australia. This was called the Pentrich Rebellion of 1817.


Josiah Brown

Mary Skevington
Josiah’s and Mary’s first child, Lucy was born in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, followed by the births of James, William, Thomas, Ann, Hannah, Josiah, Joseph, Reuben and George. Sadly, Thomas died when he was ten years of age, and Hannah died when only a year old. At first, the family lived on Lowmoor Road in Kirkby, where several of the children were born. Margaret remembers that when she was a young girl, the steam train and the coal mine were still on Lowmoor Road, and she said it was impossible to walk down the streets without getting black specks in one's eyes from the coal train.

The family later moved to the Paul Pry cottages on Birchwood Lane. The cottages were near the middle of the lane in an area called Paulpry. The lane begins in South Normanton, where Mabel Alice Godber was born, and where her mother and seven brothers and sisters are buried. It then goes south from South Normanton through the countryside and into Somercotes near "The Old English Gentleman". This pub was owned and operated by James Clark and his wife, Martha England Clark for many years. They were the parents of Hannah Clark, the wife of William Brown. So many of our ancestors' different families came from this small area in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. In 2008, we visited the pub, now owned by Jackie Wilburn. She kindly showed us around the establishment, which operates under the same name today.



Census records supplied by Margaret, show that Josiah and his sons worked in the coal mines, or pits. This occupation gave employment to many of our ancestors. Often, boys as young as seven years of age worked in the dark, dangerous pits.


The 1851 census showing the Josiah Brown and Mary Skevington family

In the 1851 census Josiah was listed as an" engine worker". The others in the family are listed with initials for their given names. Josiah's wife, Mary is listed as 'M'. The children are James listed as 'J' age 20, William as 'W' age 17, Ann as 'A' age 13, Josiah 'J' age 9, Joseph 'J' age 4, Reuben 'R' age 1.


The famly in the 1861 census

The 1861 census lists Josiah as a “coal engine worker”, his sons Josiah, and Joseph as “coal miners” and Reuben, at age twelve, as an “ironstone miner”. ( Ironstone is ore that has high percentages of iron.) Youngest son George, who at the time was nine years of age, was attending school, and categorized as a “scholar”. In this census, sons Josiah and Joseph are both listed as being fifteen years of age, but this must be an error as other sources show them as being born five years apart.


The 1871 census

In the 1871 census the family is still living in the Paul Pry Houses. Josiah is age sixty-six, Mary, age sixty, Reuben is twenty-one and George is nineteen.

Seven years later on April 15, 1878, Josiah passed away at the age of seventy-three in Pinxton. On his death certificate, the cause of death was “Acute Bronchitis for fourteen days.” Undoubtedly, the many years of working around coal dust, contributed to his death. So many of our coal-mining ancestors suffered from lung problems, often just referred to as “black lung.” For many years we were unable to find the death date of his wife, Mary. However, in Spetember 2015, Terry Stretton living in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, who is a descendant of Josiah Brown and Mary Skevington, shared the following information from her death certificate: "Mary departed this life on Satuday, January 17th, 1885, aged 75 years, with close family in attendance. The death certificate records: Cause of death: natural decay. Mary Duffield, present at death in South Normanton. She was interred in St. Michael & All Angels' churchyard, South Normanton, Derbyshire. E. J. Trevill was the officiating curate."

William, the third child, is the ancestor of the Wyoming Browns. He married Hannah Clark April 17, 1852, in Somercotes, Derbyshire. They were the parents of thirteen children, the first ten being born in Somercotes, and the last three born in Almy, Wyoming. Their first child, Ann, lived only about nine months, passing away the 31st of March 1854. In December of the same year, their second child, Adin Ebed was born, followed by Orson Hiram, Lydia, Alfred, Mary, Willard James, Reuben, George, and Margaret Seline or Selina.

About eighteen years later the family left England for America from Liverpool, October 18, 1871 on the SS Nevada. They arrived in New York November 1, 1871. Hannah’s widowed mother, Martha and younger sister, Martha with her husband George Woodhouse sailed with them.

They traveled by train from New York and arrived in Utah November 11, 1871. They were met by either Samuel or George Clark, Hannah’s brothers who had traveled to the United States earlier. They lived for six months with or near these relatives in Coalville, Utah, until hearing about jobs in the coal mines in Almy, Wyoming.

Arriving in Almy, Wyoming, they must have been really struck with the difference between the lovely, green countryside of England, and those dry sagebrush hills. In Almy, Josiah, Martha Ann and Lucy were born. William and their older boys found work in the coal mines along those hills. The children married and established homes in Almy, becoming productive citizens of the community. On March 20, 1895, one of the sons, Willard James was killed in the terrible explosion of Mine #5, leaving a wife and several small children.

Tragically, Hannah Clark Brown died January 25, 1882, leaving young children, with Martha Ann being seven, and Lucy only four years of age. She was buried in the Almy Cemetery. On 29 November 1884 William married Abigail Scothern, who had come to Almy with her husband and children from England. Her husband died leaving her with family still to be raised. William and Abigail moved to Providence, Utah in 1887. Abigail died in 9 April 1901 in Providence, Cache, Utah but in the 1900 census, William was living with his son, Josiah, in Providence, and is listed as a “widower”. He died July 10, 1906, and is buried next to his first wife, Hannah in the Almy Cemetery. Surely someone of the family knows the circumstances surrounding his death, and can fill in the missing information as to his death and his return to Almy.

While reviewing the history of William and Hannah Clark Brown and their immigration to the United States, I came across information that another son of Josiah and Mary Skevington Brown had died in Providence, Cache County, Utah in 1924. This was Joseph Brown, born in 1847 in Kirkby-in-Ashfield. In the 1861 England census shown above he was listed as fifteen years of age and working in the coal pits.

Joseph and his wife Ann Gent Naylor were listed in the 1871 England census in South Normanton, Derbyshire. He was twenty-four years of age, and his occupation continued to be that of a coal miner. His wife, Ann Gent, had been previously married to a Samuel Naylor, and had two sons with him, George and Charles. Samuel died in 1861, about six months after the birth of Charles. Ann was several years older than Joseph, being listed as thirty in the 1871 census. Living with them were three children, George and Charles Naylor, ages twelve and eleven, and Mary Ann Brown, age three. Remarkably, about the time I was researching Joseph, I received some information from another “cousin”, Betty Fuller, the granddaughter of Orson Hiram Brown, a brother to Adin Ebed. She sent me information about this very Joseph Brown that I was researching! She had received it from Charlene Barnes Hayes, a descendent of Mary Ann Brown, the only daughter of Joseph and Ann Gent Naylor Brown. Included in this information were pictures of Joseph Brown and Ann Gent Naylor Brown, and also one of their daughter, Mary Ann, who married Brigham Barnes. Ann died in Providence in 1912, and Joseph married Maria Weber, the 16th of December 1913. He died the 9th of March, 1924 in Providence.

I located the immigration record of Joseph and Ann as they came to the United States. They sailed on the SS Nevada arriving in New York from Liverpool on September 16, 1880. The Mormon Immigration Index lists Joseph and Ann along with George Naylor, age twenty-one and Mary Ann Brown, age thirteen as passengers. This was the same ship his brother, William and family had sailed on nine years previously.

Ann’s other son, Charles, who would have been twenty years of age, was not listed as traveling with the family. After some searching, Charles was found on the 1881 census in South Normanton, Derbyshire, England. In England, the censuses were usually taken the end of March or the first part of April. He was listed as a “visitor” at the home of a Smith family. He was unmarried, twenty years of age, whose occupation was that of coal miner. Surprisingly, he next shows up on the Mormon Immigration Index, as leaving Liverpool aboard the “Wyoming” the 16th of April, 1881, which would have been just after the census was taken. The passengers consisted of 197 members of the LDS Church, who arrived in New York the 26th of April. Another item of interest is that while in Almy, Wyoming, George and Charles married daughters of William Brown’s second wife, Abigail Scothern, Phoebe and Elizabeth. It is fascinating how these people’s lives intertwined! At the age of forty-nine, he applied for a passport, and said he had lived in Evanston from 1881 to 1910. At the time of the application, he claimed that his permanent home was in Providence, Cache County, Utah. His step-father Joseph, and mother Ann were living in Providence at the time.

In 1912, in Providence, Cache, Utah, records show that Ann Gent Naylor Brown died and was buried there. On the 16th of December, 1913, Joseph married Maria Weber, and the next information I can find for him is his death the 9th of March, 1924 in Providence.

Reuben, Josiah and Mary Brown's ninth child, is Margaret Brealey’s ancestor. Reuben was born November 5, 1849 on Birchwood Lane and was christened December 30th of the same year. The 1861 census of England states that Reuben was twelve years of age, and was working as a miner of iron stone. Remember that children of that time finished their education and went to work at an early age. Later in his working life, Reuben and his father did not work down in the pits, but worked other jobs related to the collieries, such as being coal engine workers, colliery firemen and stokers, and in transporting coal onto barges for its distribution.

The 1881 census shows that Reuben had married Mary Ann Allen. They were living in Annesley with their two daughters, Hannah age twelve and Harriet age one.

Ten years later, in the 1891 census, they had six children living with them, Harriet, Alice, Mary, Maggie, Arthur and a one day old infant daughter, not yet named. In the same census, Reuben was a furnace stoker, or fireman at the colliery. Margaret sent some very interesting facts about this occupation. “Below ground a coal mine was broken up into sections. Each section had its own coal face and haulage support system. The fireman was the man in charge of the section. His duties included carrying a Davy lamp and testing all places for explosive gases. He was also responsible for other aspects of safety, including the air supply. The name originally arose before there were air pumps. The basic mine consisted of two shafts with a fire at the foot of one – to cause hot air to rise, thus pulling fresh air down the other shaft into the mine. So the man in charge of the fire, the fireman, was responsible for ventilation.”

Reuben died at age seventy-six, of “Myocardial Degeneration” the 1st of January 1926. According to the death certificate, William Cherry was in attendance at his death. William was the husband of Reuben’s and Mary’s daughter, Maggie.

One of Reuben’s and Mary Ann’s six children, was Margaret Brealey’s grandfather, Arthur, who was two years old in the 1891 census, being born the 19th of August, 1888. He had worked as an ironstone miner at the age of thirteen. Arthur enlisted in the Army during WWI. He later married Lydia Wilson in 1913, and worked as a butcher and later had an ice cream shop. (He was able to get away from working in the coal. Also, many of the coal mines were beginning to close down, as it was becoming more difficult to find coal veins. At this time, there are very few, if any working mines in England.) They were the parents of Edwin Arthur, (Margaret’s father) Nellie and Fred. In June of 2010 Margaret sent news that her aunt Nellie had passed away at the age of ninety and that her uncle Fred is still living at age eighty-five.

Edwin Arthur was born in 1914, in Annesley, Nottinghamshire and married Violetta Boyce April 8, 1939. Their children are Keith David, Margaret Ann, Frank Edwin , and Anthea. Sadly, Keith David passed away at the age of fifty, after a five-year battle with skin cancer. They had a half brother, Trevor Boyce, who was killed in a motor bike accident at the young age of twenty-three, leaving a wife after three years of marriage.

Margaret was born in the old vicarage at Annesley Woodhouse on July 31, 1941. She says that they first lived with her grandparents for seven years until her sister, Anthea, was born, at which time they moved to Kirkby-in-Ashfield. She wrote the following about her father Edwin Arthur, “My father had a variety of jobs…engineers milling machinist, and a brick maker in the brickyard kilns next to the colliery. He also did factory work, bought and sold everything from sweets (candy) clothes, eggs from their own chickens, and household goods. In his spare time, he swept chimneys and chopped and sold firewood.” Margaret says of him that he “was a very hard-working man.” Her mother, at the time of their marriage was a hosiery machinist.

Margaret was married to David Hunt and they have three sons, Dean David, Shaun Lloyd, and Adrian Gavin. She later married John Brealey, but they are divorced. She has the following grandchildren, Miles David Hunt. Ryan Shaun and Jade Melissa Hunt, and Ross Gregory and Katie Nicole Hunt. Margaret has been with her partner, Keith Dakin for ten years. They live at 16, Caroustie Close, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. They enjoy staying in their caravan (camper or trailer house) in Skegness about eighty miles east on the North Sea when they can get away.

Margaret wrote the following concerning her and Keith, "I worked mainly as a sewing machinist doing factory work, then self-employed making children's, then ladies clothes, and selling them on outdoor market stalls, in all weathers. In the past I liked to paint in oils and watercolours. I have enjoyed nightschool, doing car maintenance(still can't change a tyre) flower arranging, art, etc. and genealogy. And of course, spending a lot of time with my sons and grandchildren. Keith worked in the mines for twenty-nine years, then he worked in the hospital, as a porter for three years. He then did driving work, later worked as a school caretaker. His interests are football, cricket, most sports, and fishing. We now both enjoy going to our caravan."

It has been wonderful to correspond with and get to know more about our “cousins” from England, and we greatly appreciate Margaret's valuable help, in sharing with us this information about our Brown family there.