Generation 2: Alfred John Dixon 1815 - 1878
Alfred John Dixon (hereafter called AJ) was the youngest and only son born to Isaac and Anne Dixon, although he did have 7 sisters!!
AJ was born in the “Guy, Earl of Warwick” public house in Bexley that his father leased.
He would have attended school, but there are no records of this. He followed in his father's footsteps and learned the farming/dairy trade, but also had a business as a carrier. The ad, right, is dated Oct 4 1866.
The photo on the right shows the family home in Harrow-on-the-Hill in 2021. Victoria Terrace is a small offshoot on West Street, just behind the famous Harrow School. In AJ's day his house was the only one there and it was called the Victoria Dairy. This photo was taken in 2021. It looks like terraced houses, but Google Earth shows that it was at one stage very much detached and probably the only house on the Terrace. I visited the Terrace when I started my research in 1971 and drew a sketch of what I saw. The sketch below was redrawn in 1991. Since that time, the houses have been sold off, tarted up, new houses built in and it's interesting to see that the entrance to allow his two cows and horse and cart access to the back garden has been bricked up.
I have tried to gain access but was unable to raise anyone (1971 and 1998).
AJ married Elizabeth Sturgeon in 13 Feb 1840 at St George's Hanover Square.
Puzzle No 1
Lizzie brings with her a real puzzle. On the wedding certificate she says she was born near Bury and her dad was William. That would have been Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. She confirms this on the 1861 census. And indeed we find that there was an Elizabeth Sturgeon, daughter of William baptised near Bury in 1817. So the facts tie in – apart from one glaring anomaly. Lizzie states that her dad was a tailor. But the Elizabeth Sturgeon of Bury in 1817 is a shepherd. A thorough search of Sturgeons in London and Suffolk and Norfolk shows no William Sturgeon listed anywhere as a tailor. I think therefore, that with no other leads we may claim the Rushbooke Sturgeons as our family. Unless any other evidence comes to light.
So AJ and Lizzie were married at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London because it was in the parish in which Elizabeth lived. It's a wonderful place - very large, very un-parish church like.
AJ took his bride back home to Victoria Terrace, West Street, Harrow-on-the-Hill. His father, Isaac and mother Ann, had by this time retired to Hogarth Lane, Harrow (now Crown Street).
We can see the young couple living at Victoria Dairy in the Victoria Terrace in the 1841 census with their first child Matilda Martha born 1840.
And AJ has started a carrier's business. A typical country carrier looked like this. Dixon’s carriers would have been the white van of the 1800s, found everywhere and used to carry almost everything. One of his routes was from the Saracen's Head, Snowhill - daily. The Saracen's Head was demolished in 1868 to construct the Holborn Viaduct. Interesting that almost 100 years later, one of his great, great grandchildren (Philip Burns) ran a trucking business from Sevenoaks. Instead of spring vans, Philip had 7 lorries.
Puzzle No 2
The 1841 census throws up a puzzle with two children living with AJ and Lizzie who can’t possibly belong to them. They are:
Kizziah Dixon bc 1831
Frederic Dixon bc 1832
The answer comes from the London, England, Births and Baptisms 1813-1906 resource which tells us that a Kezziah Dixon was baptised in Harrow on November 28 1830 and Frederic is in fact baptised Henry Frederick Dixon on 8 Sep 1833. Their parents were Henry and Elizabeth Dixon. Henry is listed as a servant. Henry and Elizabeth also baptised a Jemima Dixon at St Mary’s Harrow on 24 July 1839. Jemima was buried in November the same year.
Henry Frederick Dixon pops back into history in 1851. Now aged 18 he is working as a house servant in Upton-cum-Chalvey in Buckinghamshire. Head of the house is William Bruce, a surgeon and apothecary. There are three servants. My gut feeling is that Henry is related. However, after an extensive search I can find nothing more about the children or the parents. And they disappear from the records after this date.
AJ and Elizabeth had 7 children, Names in blue are links to their own pages
Walter William Dixon born 18 Feb 1842 d 22 June 1888. At the age of 29 he was still living at home with no listed occupation. However by 1881 he was married to a girl called Susan b 1840 Holbeach, Lincs, and Susan's mum aged 66 was living with them at 7 Nelson Road, Harrow. His occupation is carrier. He died in 1888. There were no children. Family tradition says that Sid recalls hat his father told him that Walter wanted to see the world so he took a job as a steward on some boat going to the East.
Elizabeth Emma Dixon born 16 June 1849
Alfred Archer Dixon b 27 Mar 1846
James John Dixon b 8 Dec 1847 bap 10 Apr 1850 For his fairly short life he lived in Victoria Terrace and just around the corner in Crown Street . His occupation was to continue the Dixon business of carrier. He married Ann Elizabeth Mansell of Bexford, Norfolk.They did not have any children. But they had a live-in a servant, Robert Ringer, who helped in the carrier business. James died 21 Jan 1894 at Rose Cottage, Waldron Road. His estate was valued at £130. Ann was admitted to Hammersmith Infirmary, Ducane Road, Shepherds Bush and was there in 1911 aged 62.
Eliza Ellen Dixon bap 14 Nov 1844 died 2 Jun 1845
Elizabeth Emma Dixon b 16 Jun 1849 known as Aunt Cissy.
Louisa Lucy Dixon b 27 Jan 1851 died 22 Nov 1852
Charles Christopher Dixon b 1856 died 12 May 1882. He too worked in the dairy. He suffered from indigestion, and knew that orange peel helped relueve the symptoms. Unfortunately he may be the only man in history to die of an overdose of orange peel. He died 12 May 1882 and was buried at St Mary's Harrow. There were no children. His death was reported in the The Borough of Marylebone Mercury”, Saturday, May 20th 1882, London.
“THE STRANGE DEATH IN FULHAM PLACE”.
Paddington. On Wednesday, Dr Danford Thomas resumed at the Providence Hall, Paddington, the adjourned inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Charles C Dixon, aged 26, milk carrier, of 12 Heathpool-street, Hall Park, and who on Monday the 8th inst., (?) died very suddenly at the Warwick Hotel, Fulham Place. Mr A. Wayne Blyth stated he had examined the contents of the stomach and found portions of undigested orange peel, no trace of poison whatsoever. The cause of the death was disease of the heart combined with indigestion, a result of the large quantity of orange peel.- Verdict accordingly.
I found this wonderful sketch on the alamy website ref 2A41WTM. A search of the census reveals no Crakins, so the artist probably used poetic license! I wondered if the columns on the right were a hint as to where this was sketched? I posted on a Harrow facebook and my thanks to Brett Lake-Benson who pointed out that the location is the High Street heading towards the school and Andrew Wynnew-Morgan sent a more modern shot showing the existing buildings.
The cart has milk churns - the Dixon's had a dairy just around the corner - this is almost certainly a sketch of our own Dixons!!! Exciting!!
Death of AJ’s wife Elizabeth
AJ’s wife Elizabeth died in 1861 and was buried in St Mary's churchyard 1 May 19861 aged just 40 from enteritis, We don’t know if she died giving birth as we have no details of any children being born or dying at this time. However she left 5 children under the age of 15. So AJ needed a wife or a housekeeper. On 4 March 1865 at the age of 59 he married Hannah Barnes at St Mary’s church, Harrow.
Hannah was born Hannah Kitson in about 1825 in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire – the daughter of Joseph Kitson a lay preacher of Ramsey, Hunts and Hannah Bass (bap 25 May 1797 at Peterborough). I believe that Joseph was originally from Norfolk. He is a shadowy figure and I have been unable to pin him down.
I have found no record of her birth. Non-conformists didn’t always keep their birth records. However she is in the 1851 census and is living at Great White in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, the wife of Marsham Withers Barnes. She married Marsham in the spring of 1848 in Huntingdon. Marsham (b 1823) was a master cabinet maker and was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. His father was also a cabinet maker. They had a daughter Mary Elizabeth (or Edith) Barnes b 1849 in Ramsey.
Great White is the name of the street that runs north in the town. Kelly’s Directory of Huntingdonshire 1898 lists an Anglican and Catholic church, two Baptist Chapels, one Particular Baptist, one Primitive Methodist and one Wesleyan Chapel. A damned religious mob in Ramsey.
Sometime after, the entire clan moved down to London, where the Portman Estate was being developed. There was an enormous amount of work, with wages significantly higher than in the country, So Marsham, his bother Robert and his father William moved down to Islington.
Disaster struck when Marsham died. At the time they lived in Mintern Street, near the New North Road. He was buried in Victoria Park cemetery in Bethnal Green 21 Nov 1858 (ref 34/3). Hannah didn't have money to put up a memorial to Marsham. Victoria Park Cemetery was a private enterprise started by a limited company in 1845 to take advantage of the market for burials created by the inability of church graveyards to accept any more dead. It was opened for non-conformists. The cemetery was never consecrated an the cemetery went bankrupt in 1853, as it was unable to attract wealthy customers. The business was bought out by one of the directors and continued until it closed in 1876. In 1885 it was turned into a recreation ground. (LMA). Bripumyarrimin, known as King Cole, a member of the historic Australian Aboriginal XI died on tour and was buried in this cemetery, now known as Meath Gardens. Little remains of this cemetery apart from a few gravestones and the entrance arch.
So Hannah, now aged 34 was widowed and with an 8 year old child. But family would have come in handy. Marsham's father and brother were living close by and she moved in with them. There were 18 people living in this house – three families. Hannah had another child – William Henry Barnes bc 1860. Hannah earned money as a dressmaker. The picture shows Mintern Street. Not sure which one is number 7. The area was flattened after the war.
My thanks to Adrian Wynne-Morgan for sending me the map that enables us to pinpoint this photograph and the sketch.
The Kings Head tap is just off left. Matilda Dixon who married John William Bliss was a publican here.
Victoria Terrace where the Dixons had the dairy was two streets away.
Life looks up for Hannah as we find that in the 1871 census she had married Alfred Dixon. I wonder how they met? Was it a mail order contact service? In the census her daughter has renamed herself Elizabeth M Barnes and there is no trace of her sons. I wonder if she was employed as a housekeeper and matters led on from there?
These wonderful pictures show us what AJ and Hannah looked like circa - they are pencilled drawings. I am very grateful to our New Zealand family that sent these to me. One of the advantages of being a small family in an isolated land far from home - mementos of their previous generations are cherished.
In this rather awful photo below which has not stood the test of time we find that AJ is with Hannah and daughter Matilda Mary Dixon (Bliss) in front. They are enjoying a day out at Ascot races.
Puzzle No 3
In the 1871 census, AJ and Lizzie have a full house. AJ is 56 and recently remarried to Hannah. There are 4 children from his first marriage (Walter, Elizabeth, Eliza Ellen and Charles, as well as AJs and Hannah’s children – Isaac and Arthur.)
But there are two people there that I can’t account for:
Elizabeth M Burney daughter in law but states that she is unmarried, though as she is born in Ramsey, she could be Hannah’s daughter from her first husband?
Eda M Dixon, grand-daughter aged 2 in 1871. The only Eda Dixon in the records at the time was born in Oldham. Which means her name is not Eda. It could be Ada – there was an Ada Ann b Kensington 1869. Another Ada b 1870 Shoreditch. Who are these two????
You wouldn't think that there could be ticket inspectors and parking fines way back when, but of course I imagine that there have always been fines for parking your vehicle where it's not supposed to be. On 2 Aug 1865 AJ appeared in court charged with allowing his van to stand in the highway longer than necessary for unloading - viz from one to six o'clock in the morning of the 19th July. Unlike the illegally parked white van, AJ left his cart with the horses attached!! Naughty man!! A witness stated that "it would have been the death of his horses had he, in their tired state, taken them down the hill at that time." This was his second offence and he was charged 10 shillings and 5 shillings and sixpence costs. In today's money (2022) that is £100.
AJ and Hannah produced two children:
Isaac Dixon b Dec 1865
Arthur Edwin Dixon He was born in the Victoria Dairy, the Dixon home since 1815, on 23 Dec 1866. Like the rest of the family he attended the John Lyon School (part of the salubrious Harrow school but set aside for the children of Harrow's tradesmen). As of of the family duties he helped run the dairy - jobs like milking the cows, mucking out the stables and organising the feed. But he didn't see cows in his future, so like his uncle Alfred Archer Dixon, he joined the railways and at the age of 24 he had made it to the position of railway porter. (Ed: He was probably a railway porter longer than I was. I was a porter for a day before being promoted to ticket collector in 1972).
He married Gertrude Annie Gibbs (Aunt Gert to the family). Gert was 19 when she married Arthur on 2 Aug 1890 at the parish church of St Mary's in Harrow. Her parents were George William Gibbs and Elizabeth Dobson. They were servants in Marlborough, but moved up to Harrow when their daughter married Arthur.
In 1881 he and his young wife Gertrude had set up home at 38 Aspenlea Road, Fulham. Thus was only a few streets from Charing Cross station where he worked. Life must have seemed perfect for this young couple, their own pretty brand new house, good neighbours with ready access to the rest of London and the West End glamour. Being a railway porter didn't suit Arthur's desire for a more interesting life (Ed: I thought the same so went to teacher training college). Arthur decided that the railways wouldn't fulfil his life. At that time (1890) they were living at 171 Shardlow Road, New Cross. He decided to join the Metropolitan Police and serve the nation by becoming a policeman. He was inducted into the Met at New Scotland Yard on 8 June 1891. His warrant number was 76833. After training he was sent to Acton police station in west London and as a police constable he pounded the beat there. He and Gert had a son, Arthur Dixon born c 1890. On the night of the census in 1901 at their home at 26 Leythe Road, Acton they also had two visitors - Marguerite Dobson (one of Gert's sisters) and Ethel Brick.
Like the army, the Metropolitan Police keep great records. So we know that Arthur was 5 feet 10 inches tall, a fresh complexion, with dark hair and brown eyes. The records tell us that he had a scar on his right hand between the thumb and the fore-finger.
Arthur was a clever bloke and a diligent policeman and by 1911 he had risen to the rank of police inspector and was liviing at 76 Cleveland Garden, Barnes. Looks like a nice place to live - easy access to the River Thames. Son Arthur is now 19 years old and is working as a chauffeur. By the time Inspector Dixon resigned from the Met on 19 Oct 1919, he was working in the Greenwich division. He was eligible to receive a pension of £252.2.0 - that's £13,000 in 2022) .
After retiring, Arthur and Gert moved down to Herne Bay in Kent and loved a Mickleburgh Avenue. Arthur died in 11 July 1937 at the Cottage Hospital, Hearne Bay. His exec was his son Arthur. the estate was valued at £468.5.7d (£34,041 in 2022)
Aunt Gert died in Jan 1963 aged 91.
Death of Alfred John Dixon
AJ died on the 21st January 1878 at Victoria Terrace, West Street Harrow. Cause of death was bronchitis and valvular disease of the heart - a condition that could have been caused by too much cholesterol in the blood. However, from our cousins in NZ, we learn that he had a big horse (a hunter) and he fell off said horse during a hunt. He was taken home on a hurdle suffering from broken ribs and he subsequently died of pneumonia.
He was 62 years old. His occupation is listed as cowkeeper, dairyman, farmer and carrier. Present at the death was A. DIXON this could have been Alfred (our ancestor) but more likely was Hannah, his wife. She was also known as Anna.AJ was buried on 25 Jan 1878 in St Mary’s churchyard. The family remembers seeing a gravestone but by the 1950s it had gone.
Anna died in 1887. Her executor was her son Isaac Dixon and she left all her personal possessions to her daughter, Mary Elizabeth BARNES. Her estate was valued at £295.15.6d.
Tis a bit hard to read but the highlights are:
"...I give and bequeath to my wife Anna Dixon during her widowhood all the town estate and interest to which I shall be entitled to at the time of my decease in the house, buildings premises and grassland in Harrow and Pinner now held by me in separate leases or agreements subject to them to the existing mortgage thereon for £250 and and interest together with my household furniture and trade effects, cows, horses. Anna was bid to select 2 of the horses. After Anna;s death everything was to be sold and divided beween his kids. James and Walter got the carrier's business.
17 June 1876
The will was proved 11 March 1878. His personal estate was valued at under £600.