Joseph was born in Newbold Moor, the sixth child and second son of Joseph Johnson Snr. and his wife Mary. His father was a potter according to the birth record, and a pot hawker three years later at the 1841 census. Several of his neighbours were identified in the 1841 census as pot makers or pot turners: clearly the pottery was a major employer in the area.
I have not been able to find the Johnsons in the next two census returns – possibly they were travelling at the time of the census, maybe even living in a horse-drawn caravan!
By 1862 Joseph (now 24 years old) has made his way to Hingham in Norfolk, where he married Mary Ann Ward. He has followed his father’s trade as a pot hawker and I get the feeling he is marrying “well”. His new wife and the witnesses to the marriage, William and Emma Ward, can all write their names, whereas Joseph is still making a mark. His father-in-law is a fishmonger, which might imply he has his own small business.
The newly-weds stayed in Hingham for a couple of years: the first child of the marriage, William, was born there in 1864. Then the hawker’s trade took them south. Over the next few years the family lived in Canterbury, Maidstone and Bishop’s Stortford before settling for a while in Gravesend, Kent.
In the late 1870’s they moved north again, to Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, which is where we find them in 1881, at Crowle. Joseph’s wife Mary Ann died here just a short time after that census was taken.
I have found no further record of Joseph but we know he was alive in 1890 when his daughter Mary got married to Tom Bryan, surely a relative of “Diver” Bryan, my father’s friend! Perhaps the family returned to Chesterfield when Mary Ann died.
Certainly most of them are there at the 1891 census. It shows Mary (now Mrs Bryan) looking after Ada Ruth and Emma (now Mrs Wainwright) with Elizabeth. (There is a bit of a mix-up regarding Elizabeth’s status – she is recorded as a “servant” but clearly she is Emma’s sister. Maybe she was just staying there for the night.) Our ancestor William was also settled in the Square with his family. Of Joseph himself there is no sign.
Baptised Joseph Johnson on 30 March 1838 (at the crooked spire!) in Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Married Mary Ann Ward on 21 April 1862
No details of death available