William Shearer

As a child, I was very close to the Shearer side of the family: my Grandma’s sister Aunt Cissie was like a third grandparent. Their sister Aunt Norah was an exotic visitor who gave me white chocolate and was widely regarded on our street as a witch. Brothers Ernest and Willie and their families were the “Dudley Hill mob”, named from where they lived in Bradford.

It’s a real disappointment, then, that I have only been able to follow the Shearers as far back as their grandfather William Shearer. His story is a mystery as far as his birth and marriages are concerned, but I am very sure about his death and burial, as I have a real-life funeral card for him.

Memorial card for William Shearer

The memorial verse above says “A kind husband and father he has been” but in fact he may not have been a father at all. Our ancestor Hiram may not have been his son and I can find no trace of any other children. In one census record there are two children staying at his home, but I think they are his wife’s brother and sister.

At one point in his life William ran a pub, the North Tavern. In 1887 the renewal of his licence was refused by Bradford Council. He appealed and won, I’m glad to say. I feel a great deal of sympathy for William in this – almost 100 years later I was supporting my friend Sammy Singh in the same situation. He won, too!

Father (maybe) of Hiram, son of James or Joseph Shearer

Born William Shearer in 1854 in Bradford, Yorkshire

Married Mary Bell 1 August 1870 at Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire

Married Mary Elizabeth Smith on 11 August 1890

Buried 9 January 1907 in Undercliffe cemetery

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