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Thursday, 10 March 2011

The 11 children of great grandfather James Danson - Surname Saturday

My great grandparents James Danson (left) and Maria Rawcliffe (right)  had between 1877 and 1897  ten sons and,  as the youngest child,  an only daughter Jennie - an irony given that Maria was one of eight sisters.  This story below has been compiled using old family photographs and recollections of their children.
Eldest son Harry,   perhaps named after his paternal grandfather Henry, was born  7th Septembert 1877. In  the 1901 census, he was described as a rural postman.  He died at the age of 30 9th December 1907,  a year after his father.  Unusually he was not listed,  in the local newspaper, amongst the sons attending his father's funeral.  Was he ill by this stage? 

Second son John (left)  was born 8th April 1879, perhaps named after his uncle John Danson, James eldest brother. His was a sad life - his wife Sarah Haydon Lounds died at the young age of 21, leaving behind  infant daughter Annie Maria, who made her home with her grandmother. Family recollections told how John later become engaged to Dorothy Chisholm  but before they were married John a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery died 17th May 1917, buried in Moorland Cemetery, Poulton.  Something of a mystery surrounded his death, with a story that "Granny had to fight to get his name on the Poulton War Memorial in the Square" and he was not listed  on the memorial in St. Chad's Church.    It was only through his niece that I learnt that John,  a prisoner of war,  had committed suicide, leaving Annie orphaned at the age of 12.  So far I have not been able to verify this.    John's fiancee Dorothy never married and the Danson family continued to maintain a close link with her.  Like many women of her generation she remained alone, living in a bedsitter and I had memories as a child  of visiting her with my mother and aunt.

Third son, Robert (Bob), born 3rd June 1881 was named after his maternal grandfather and like his eldest brother bcame a postman.  His daughter Irene recalled "He went a long way ont his bicycle from Poulton over Shard Bridge, where his grandfther had been  toll collector to deliverthe post of Over Wyre.  Later his round was North Promenade and the Cliffs at Blackpool - very windy, but the hotel people looked after him with cups of tea.  He lived to be 89 years old so it must have kept him fit, though he was told at the outbreak of the First World War when his brothers were joining up that he had a bad heart."

Fourth son Albert, born 21st July 1883 did not survive infancy.

 William (Billy), my grandfather, the fifth son,  was born 4th April 1885.  He married Alice English and they had six children, including my mother Kathleen.  His  war time expertences  where he won the Military Medal at Passchendaele   and the postcards  he sent home form the basis of many of my earlier postings.   [See the posts November 2010]

Baby Danson was sillborn, buried 29th June 1887.


Thomas (right)  the seventh son was born in 1888.  I know little else on Tom apart from the fact he became a clerk at Poulton Station.  A photograph in a book on old Poulton  identifed him in 1911 as a member of the local  football team.

Albert (left) was the eighth son born c. 1890 and named after his older silbing who had died in 1884.  He worked on the ferry between Fleetwood and the Isle of Man.

Frank (right), the nineth son was born c.1892.  During the First World War, he was in hospital in Malta as a result of a war wound and later  became a painter.
George (left) was the tenth and youngest son, born c. 1894.  He was the favourite uncle of my mother and aunt, perhaps because he was nearest to them in age and took on the role of the big brother.  He worked on W.H. Smith bookstalls at different railway stations, joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and was killed 16th September 1916 at  the Battle of the Somme.  [See Death on the Somme]


Youngest child and only daughter was Jennie, born 24th December 1897, with her eight surviving brothers, George aged 3, Frank 5, Albert 7, Tom 9, William 12, Robert 16, John 18 and Harry 20.   Goodness knows how the family managed to fit into a small terraced house!  Their father James died when Jennie  was only eight years old. At her wedding she was given away by her then oldest brother Robert. 

By all accounts of her two daughters, Joan and Pam,  Jennie was a feisty  girl, well able to stand up to all her brothers.  Read more about her in the posting "Wedding 1920's Style"

This is the fourth in a series of postings to  show how I traced back my direct Danson line.
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  1. I love this post...the detail about each of the children - even the babies who did not make it.

    And the photos of each child who lived to adulthood.

    Just lovely.

  2. Hi, Dee, many thanks for your comments. I do appreciate them very much. I gain a lot of enjoyment from writing these articles, and using the images, but recognition from others is a great motivator! Happy blogging!


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