Hebden | Lowe | Gornall | Robinsons | George Gooderham

The Robinson name.

Robinson's are my wife's side of the tree. It is one of the most common English names, derived from son of Robbin or Robin. It is a surname used in America, from the Polish word "rabin," meaning a rabbi.

Starting with a dairy maid from Garstang, this branch of the Robinsons are firmly settled in the Clapham area of North Yorkshire. Her kin were farmers to a man, they were rooted in the soil of Ingleborough. The family tree begins in the reign of King George the fifth and goes back to back to King George II.




Born in 1919, Mary Bell was one of eight children to Joseph & Eleanor (nee Houghton), they were all born in the Kirkby Lonsdale area of North Yorkshire. Annie 1912, Ronnie 1914, Eleanor 1916-1922, Elsie 1921, John 1923, Laura 1925 & Alan 1931.

In 1919, King George the fifth was on the throne & David Lloyd George was his prime minister. It was immediately after the Great War ended (The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty that officially ended World War I. Although the armistice signed on November 11, 1918 put an end to the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude a peace treaty.), The Fascist Party is formed in Italy by Benito Mussolini, John Alcock and Arthur Brown depart St. John's, Newfoundland on the first non-stop transatlantic flight (they land at Clifden, County Galway, Ireland the next day) & the USA began it's experiment with Prohibition. 1919 was a good year for births, apart from Mary, there was Sir Edmund Hilary, Margot Fonteyn, Liberace & Nat "King" Cole. In the music world, it was George Gershwin, Irving Berlin & the Jazz era was coming of age. From when she was very young, she would have been practising the Charleston, the dance craze of the 1920 & 30s. Airships & flying were big in her first ten years, Charles Lindberg & Amelia Earhardt were struggling (successfully) to fly the Atlantic and by ten, the "Talkies" had killed off the silent cinema.

She started off as "Mary from the dairy" working in, what is now, the Garstang Creamery.

She married Percy in July 1942 at St. Luke's parish church in Winmarleigh. On her marriage certificate, her occupation was Dairy maid, Percy was a Farm worker. Uncle Frank & Aunty Elsie were their witnesses. She became a farmers wife in Catteral Garstang & later on Cow Hill, Grimsargh. They carried on working together at the chick hatchery in Longton, until retirement.

Tragically, Mary died, quite unexpectedly, in March 1989.



Joseph Robinson was a lovely man, affectionately known as Pa by his grand children.

Born in 1889, one of ten children to John & Mary Ann (nee Wallbank) Janie 1888-1980, Annie 1891, Isabelle 1893, Mary 1895-1967, John 1898-1932, Frank 1900, Elsie 1902, Richard 1904 & Frederick 1907-1971, all born in the Kirkby Lonsdale area.

In 1889, Queen Victoria had another 12 years on the throne, the Eiffel Tower & the Moulin Rouge opened in Paris & Yellow fever was interrupting the building of Panama Canal. This was the era of Oscar Wilde, Jack the Ripper & Van Gough.

In 1891, Joseph is one, living at Winder in Robendale with his sister Annie & parents. There was  no trace of his sister Janie, indicating she died early, luckily, due to the magic of the internet, her granddaughter, Janet Atkinson was able to provided her family details & her death at 92 in Kendal.

We should have Joseph on the 1901 census returns, at 12 but I have failed to find him. (There are a LOT of Joseph Robinsons, but not the one I want!)

Joseph married Eleanor in Bentham in April 1912 aged 23. Two years before the outbreak of the Great War. In January, Scott was setting off for the South Pole, on March 16th. Lawrence Oates, a dying member of Scott's expedition, leaves the tent saying, "I am just going outside and may be some time." & April 14 - The British ocean liner RMS Titanic strikes iceberg at 11:40 pm. It had gone down by 2.20am the next morning. That memory must never have left Pa. The RMS Titanic was a British Olympic-class ocean liner that became famous as the largest ocean liner built in her day. She also gained a lasting legacy when she sank on her maiden voyage in 1912 with a tremendous loss of life. Estimates vary, but around 1,520 people perished in the accident and the disaster ranks as one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history.

Pa was a farmer in the Kirkby Lonsdale area all his life.

Pa died in 1978, Nana died 6 years later.



John was born in 1861 at Lawsings Farm Clapham. The first son of nine children to Joseph & Hannah (nee Holmes) Margaret 1859, Isabella 1863, Hannah 1864,  Joseph 1867, Elizabeth 1869-1872, William 1871, Fanny 1874 & Charles 1876. He was 47 & Hannah was 38 when they had their last child.

In 1861 Queen Victoria was on the throne, Lincoln was to be the first President of America & their Civil war began at Bull Run. On the census return he is on Lawsings House Farm at 3 months old.

When he was ten, Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary, Dr. David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, and greets him saying "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

In 1881 John was farming 100 acres at Lawsings Farm with his brother Joseph and sisters Margaret & Isabella they all claim to be born at Clapham.

He married Mary Ann Wallbank around 1887 when Gottlieb Daimler unveils his first automobile & Buffalo Bill opened his Wild West show in London.He moved to Winder, Robendale, near Hornby. 

In 1911, he was in Goosemereheights in Hellifield, Settle with 7 children, they lived there for around 18 years, he left in 1916 to go to Parkside, Lawsings farm, Middle Salter Robendale, where he retired & died in 1937. Mary survived him by another 19 years.



Born in 1829 to Joseph & Margaret (nee Caverley) He was the second son of six children. James 1827, William 1832, John 1833, Mary Ann 1835 & Elizabeth 1837, she died the same year.

In 1829 George IV was on the throne & Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was his Prime Minister, Andrew Jackson became the president of the USA that same year. This was the change over period from canals to railways as the need for speed crept into the Industrial revolution. Far from North Yorkshire, Oxford was to win the very first boat race.

In 1841 he is with his father at age 12, at Clapham with Newby, Queen Victoria had married her "beloved Albert" in 1840 and in 1843 The first major wagon train headed for the northwest sets out with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri on the Oregon Trail.

Joseph married Hannah in April 1859 in Clapham. "Big Ben", the main bell housed within the Clock Tower of the House of commons, was activated, British naturalist Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species, a book which argues that species gradually evolve through natural selection. (It immediately sold out its initial print run.), A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is published & Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope for the first time.

On the 1861 census return, he is on Lawsings House Farm with 78  acres & his new children, Margaret one year old & John at 3 months.

By 1871 he has now 100 acres at Lawsings. and six children.

In 1881 they had moved & were farming 108 acres in Hawksheath, Clapham cum Newby with two of his last children, Fanny (6) & Charles (4). John his son, had taken over Lawsings.

Before he died the century turned over, Einstein's theory of special relativity was announced & the Wright Brothers took to the air in 1906.

Joseph died in 1909, thirteen days short of his 80th. birthday.



Born in June 1800 Joseph was the last of six children to William & Anne (nee Wilcock). Margaret 1783, William 1785, Mary 1788, Jinny 1792, & Richard 1797.

By 1800 the Napoleonic Wars were a year old, King George III was on the throne. William Pitt resigned as Prime minister in the February of the following year as Thomas Jefferson was made President of America the same month. This is the era of James Watt & Beethoven. Napoleon & Jefferson.

When Joseph was 12, "The Swiss Family Robinson" was written. When his grand father was born, it was "Robinson Crusoe".

He married Margaret around 1825, when the world's first modern railway, the Stockton and Darlington Railway opened, the first railway tunnel built on route between Liverpool and Manchester, plus an Englishman, John Walker, invented the Lucifer match.  They were farming, but in the heart of the industrial revolution.

By 1841, he is in Clapham with Newby as a farmer with three children, indicating he has lost three children and his wife, (Margaret died in 1838) by then.

In 2010, I received a fascinating email from Michael Casson "May I be so bold as to add a little to your history of the Robinson branch of the family. My Gt.Gt.Grandmother was Margaret (not Mary) Ann Robinson, born 1835 to Joseph & Margaret (nee Calverley) Robinson at Colterber Farm, Clapham. Colterber Farm is now just a barn between Clapham railway station & the village of Clapham. In your article you noted that by 1841 Joseph (Snr) was living in Clapham with three children (James, Joseph & John) having lost his wife Margaret in 1838. At this time Margaret Ann could be found living with her Grand Parents James & Ann Calverley at Feizor. I guess her father found it difficult looking after her as a 5/6 year old girl + three sons & a farm. I myself live in Bentham, less than 5 miles from Colterber. My Father & his Mother farmed at Keasden about 3 miles away, and my Gt Grandmother came from Hazel Hall at Clapham Station less than 1 mile from Colterber. It seems my family do not travel very far or fast. I hope this is of interest to you. Regards. Michael Casson. Isn't the interwebthingy wonderful?

It was in the mid 1840s that several harvests failed across Europe, which caused famines. Especially the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849) was severe and caused a quarter of Ireland's population to die or emigrate to the United States and Canada.

Joseph died in 1860 still living in Clapham, the village where he was born. Across the world The Pony Express begins its first run from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California & Abraham Lincoln is elected as the sixteenth President of the United States



William was born in Clapham on 30th November 1760, the eldest of four children to George & Margaret (nee Yeadon). Ann 1762, Alice 1763 & Joseph 1768, all christened at the Horton.

Ten years younger than Robert Hebden, they would undoubtedly have known each other's families, as they attended the same churches & social functions of this area. In 1821 (William would be 61), the entire Parish of Clapham with Newby contains only 1889 inhabitants.

In 1760 King George II died in the October, so William would have considered his King to be George III, Catherine the great was Empress of Russia, Handel had died the year before, and although he was only six, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart a child prodigy, had made his first professional tour (as a pianist) through Europe, by 1762. Before he was 8, Captain James Cook's first voyage began. (1768-1771).

Although it is very difficult to make accurate measurements, an agricultural wage was less than £20 a year (that's about .38p a week), strangely enough, a teachers pay was less, at about £16 per annum.



Born in around 1730, George is the last Robinson we have traced. At his marriage to Margaret Yeadon in September 1756 at Clapham, he was noted as a Yeoman. In the 16th & 17th century, that usually meant a small prosperous farmer.

George the second was on the throne, Robert Walpole was his Prime Minister & Peter the second was Tsar of Russia.

Joshua Wedgwood, the potter, was born in 1730. William Hogarth was painting, Sir Isaac Newton died three years before, Handel, Vivaldi & Bach were composing & Daniel Defoe had written "Robinson Crusoe", just perfect for this family but I don't think any of these farmers were going to get shipwrecked.


Links to genealogy


Robinson Crusoe

The Swiss Family Robinson

Charles Blondin?