Joseph Johnson Snr was the eldest of the two children of William and Betty Johnson, born in Newbold near Chesterfield. I have found no trace of his sister Linney other than the record of her birth.
When Joseph was eleven his father died, leaving him, at best, the “man” of the house. At worst, orphaned and alone. As I have found no further records of his mother or sister, we don’t know if they were still living at this point.
We next find Joseph in Sheffield at the age of sixteen, getting married. Very possibly his “residence” in Sheffield was a fiction to facilitate his marriage to Mary Elliott. In any event they settled in Newbold Moor after the marriage.
Joseph was a potter, probably employed by the nearby Whittington Moor Pottery. By the time of the 1841 census, he had become a pot hawker. This would involve selling at markets and fairs, or possibly even door-to-door with a horse and cart.
I have found no trace of the family in the 1851 census, but there is an interesting note that the house where they had lived in 1841 was uninhabited at that time. Does that mean the house was empty, or just that there was nobody there on census night? Possibly the family were away from home “on the road” selling their pottery.
The connection with Newbold Moor certainly remained: Joseph and Mary’s daughters Elizabeth and Amelia were both married in 1851. Their residence was recorded as Newbold Moor and Joseph’s occupation as “earthenware dealer”.
In 1855 Mary died. We know Joseph survived her, but no more than that. As he could be anywhere in the country selling his wares, and “Johnson” is such a common surname, it’s impossible to find a plausible record of his burial.
Baptised Joseph Johnson on 25 December 1801 at Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Married Mary Elliott on 26 January 1818
Died sometime after 1855, but no reliable evidence found