William Kirby Dicks . .

was my 3rd Great Uncle through my GGG-Grandparents, Thomas Dicks and Mary Ann Kirby.

As per records, William started out as William Kirby, the son of single mother, Mary Kirby. From the http://www.knightroots.co.uk site, his baptism is recorded as:

Page 110 no 873
19 July 1846
William son of Mary KIRBY
Single woman

The marriage record shows that Thomas Dicks and Mary Ann Kirby were married in August 1849 and she is listed as a spinster on the record. It was from that day forward William seems to be listed as Dicks not Kirby. So was it an adoption, legal name change or did he just assume his new father’s last name? An example is the 1861 England Census, as he is listed as a Dicks

Household Members
Name Age
Thomas Dicks
Maryann Dicks
William Dicks
Thomas J Dicks
Walter Dicks
Emma Dicks
Maryann Dicks

There is nothing about his childhood except they continued to live in Portchester. At one point, William fell in love and married a Sarah Jane Wardle on 18 Jul 1872 in Hartford, Cheshire, England. They seemed to settle down in the area and William was working at the Hartford Train Station as a porter.

On 1 Jun 1874 in Northwich, Cheshire, their son George was born. But sadly by February, William was dead after an accident at work at end of January 1875. He was only 28 years old, leaving his young wife a widow and his son fatherless. It was around that time I believe that Thomas and Mary with their other children may have already left for Canada. In the inquest, his Aunt Ester (sister of Thomas) is mentioned.

The Death

Thanks to a lovely group of people in a facebook group called 1841 – 1939 & Beyond Genealogy Group Discussion, I was able to find out how William died at such a young age. He was killed in an accident at the Train Station he worked at. There is a newspaper that carried an account of the inquest into his accident.

The British Newspaper Archives
Crewe Guardian
20 Feb 1875

Fatal Accident At Hartford Station

It is hard to read, I guess since it is from 1875, so I will try to translated it.

Fatal Accident At Hartford Station

William Dicks who met an accident at the Hartford Station on Monday evening on 30 January necessitating in the amputation of his right leg under the circumstances reported in the Guardian on the 6th left a widow and one child to mourn his loss. An inquest was held by Mr Dunstan at Mr Morgan’s Railway Hotel in Hartford Hotel. The first witness examined was Mr Arthur Sycon, Station Master at Hartford, who said: The deceased, Mr William Dicks, was a railway porter at the Hartford Station. It was at six-o’clock on Saturday evening 30th of January, after I had given the signal for the 3:40 train from Liverpool to start, I saw the deceased in the act of lifting a box onto his shoulder. He overbalanced himself and started staggering towards the train. He let go of the box, and fell on the footboard of the last carriage but one of the train that was now in motion. He was spun around and in a few seconds he was drawn under the train between the platform and the footboard, and before any assistance could be rendered he was drawn about 25 yards by the train.

The Coroner: Could you tell if the wheels went over him?

Witness: I cannot say positively but what I heard and saw at the time, I am under the impression that his right leg was caught in the spokes of the wheel, the train left him lying between the “fourfeet” and the platform. I went to him immediately. He was quite sensible. I observed that his right leg was broken. Dr Dixson was at once sent for, and after his arrival, the deceased was removed to his own house which was near the station. On the following morning, blood was found on the horsebox which was the last vehicle of the train, and I have no doubt the wound on the deceased’s thigh was caused by that wheel.

Dr Dixson said he examined the deceased before he was removed from the station the night of the accident, and found that his right leg was smashed above the ankle. The bones were considerably broken, and he believed that there were some pieces found on the platform the following morning. He ordered the deceased removed to his house where he attended him daily. Besides the broken leg, there was a large wound on the anterior surface of the right thigh; and various bruises on the body, but they were of no importance. Amputation was performed below the right knee on the same evening. He went on pretty well the first day, but after that the delirium set in.

The Coroner: Was there any hope for his recovery from that time?

Witness: There was hope, in fact last Tuesday he was some much relieved that I had great hope for his recovery; his wounds were beginning to heal and all was going well. On Wednesday night however, there was a change for the worst. At five o’clock on Saturday morning I was sent for, and found him vomiting blood, which was the absolute cause of death.

The Coroner: Supposing you had to give a certificate for death for registration, how would you word it?

Witness: He died from a shock to the system which undoubtedly due to the accident. A vessel gave way and exhausted him.

Ester Dicks said that the deceased was her nephew and was 28 years of age as of last July. He died at half past eleven o’clock on Saturday morning last.

The Coroner summed up, the jury found a verdict of “Accidental Death”

This is his Death Registration:

Death Registration

In the fall of 1875, Sarah remarried a Samuel Jackson. George grew up, married and had 6 children, he died on 31 December 1951 in Speke, Lancashire, England.

Still Need to find/get:

Marriage license (ordered)
Burial locations of William and George.

Hope you found this as interesting as I did — please comment below.