The Family of The Revd Alexander Johnson of Ironville, Derbyshire and Fulstow, Lincolnshire

Alexander was born at Ironville (presumably Victoria Street) 24 October 1838 and baptised 18 November 1838, at Alfreton, a son of Edward Johnson, a forgeman and his first wife, Rebecca Pickering, who were married 14 December 1829 at Pentrich.

In 1841 he was at home with his parents, aged 3.


In 1851, at Victoria Street, Ironville, he was at home with his father, aged 12, and born in Ironville.


He applied to the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1858 having left a job in an iron foundry and studied at CMS at Islington 1859.


In 1861, at 3 School House, Ironville, he was aged 22, a visitor in the Miller household and a missionary student born in Ironville, Derbyshire.


He was ordained deacon by the bishop of Sierra Leone, acting for the bishop of London 26 July 1862.


On 15 October 1862 he sailed to South India and was stationed at Allepie, Travancore.


He married Hannah Stevenson 27 September 1864 at Cannanore, Madras.  He was aged 25 and a son of Edward Johnson, and she was aged 31 (transcript, but she was more likely 21) and her father was John Stephenson.  Hannah’s birth was probably registered September quarter 1843 in the Bethnal Green registration district.


Alexander was ordained priest by the bishop of Madras 26 November 1865 and he returned to England 23 September 1868.


From 1869-1870 he was a curate at St. Nicholas' Nottingham.


In 1871, at Nottingham Road, Kimberly, Alexander was aged 32, curate of Nuthall, born at Ironville, Derbys, and his wife, Hannah, was aged 28 and born at Bromley, Middx.  Their children were Agnes, aged 4 and Harry D aged 3, both born in the East Indies (sic), British Subjects, Alexander S, aged 1 and born at Nottingham.  There was also Joanna Stephenson, Hannah's sister, aged 22, and born at Bromley, Middx.  There was a domestic servant, Mary A. Hodgkinson, aged 16 and born at Nuthall.


He resigned from CMS on 5 December 1871 and became curate of Nuthall, Notts. (1871-1873).


He was a curate at Holy Trinity, Louth, Lincs. (1873-1876) and his appointment to Louth was published in The Hull Packet and East Riding Times, Friday, 20 June 1873 Issue 4615.


Afterwards he became vicar of Fulstow, near Louth and his appointment was published in The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 23 August 1876 Issue 8437. 

The Vicarage, on the Thoresby Road, Fulstow, was built for Alexander and cost £750 (£500 was borrowed from the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty and £250 was defrayed by the Rev. C. Alex Bourne, a late vicar. 


He was an executor of James Scupham, gentleman, late of Fulstow, who died 16 April 1880.


The 1881 census, details as before, revealed further children of Alexander and Hannah Johnson; Harry D. (born 1867/8 at Allepie, India), Alexander S. (born 1869/70 at Nottingham), Emma (baptised 20 August 1873 at Louth) and William Hedley (baptised 28 November 1875 at Louth).  There was also a servant in the household. 


Hannah Johnson died 19 May 1883 aged 40, at Fulstow.


Alexander married secondly Helen Sooby in the Louth registration district in the December quarter 1888. 


The 1891 census records that Alexander was 52, clerk in holy orders born Ironville, Helen, his wife, was 39 born Cockthorpe Norfolk, and children were William Hedley, 15, Scholar, born Louth, Mary, 13, Scholar, born Fulstow, Albert Leslie 11, Scholar, born Fulstow.  Living with him was a boarder, Wightman Sooby, widower, 86, living on his own means, born Grainsborough31 and Elizabeth Cousins, 24 a general domestic servant, born at Scamblesby.


Wightman Sooby was the father of Helen and died at Fulstow 13 September 1894.  He was aged 90.  He was born 3 December 1804 at Gainsborough, Lincs, a son of John Sooby and his third wife, Sarah (formerly Codd), and he married Mary Goulton at Croxby, Lincs, on 13 May 1833.  They had 6 children, of which Helen was the fifth child and third daughter (born 28 June 1843 at Blickling, and registered as Ellen Sooby, September quarter in the Aylesham district, which includes Blickling).  Wightman Sooby was a farmer.  His will was dated 1 February 1890 and he appointed Alexander as a trustee and H.D. Johnson (Alexander’s son Harry?) was a witness.  Helen was left £20 and a quarter of the residue of money left under the will of her aunt, Harriet Lucas (Wightman was exercising his power of appointment) and a quarter of Wightman’s residue.  Probate was granted 11 October 1894 and his estate was valued at £290.10s.8d.


In the 1901 census of Thoresby Road, Fulstow [the Vicarage], Alexander was aged 62, a clergyman (Church of England), born Ironville, with his wife Helen, aged 56, born at Blickling, Lincs.  With them were two servants, a kitchen maid, Mary Riggall, aged 17 born at Hagworthingham, Lincs and a house maid, Edith Hyde, aged 14 born at Louth.


Alexander's death notice in the Louth and North Lincolnshire Advertiser, reads 'On [Monday] April 2nd [1906], at the Vicarage, Fulstow, the Rev. Alexander Johnson, aged 67.  Funeral on Saturday [7th], at 3 o'clock.'

The burial register of Fulstow records Alexander’s burial 7 April 1906, aged 67.  Fulstow school logs record that Alexander used to call into the school at least twice weekly and give scripture lessons and hear the children sing and read.  An entry in the log for [Friday] April 6th 1906 reads “The children were asked not to go into the church tomorrow afternoon during the funeral service of the Rev A. Johnson late vicar of this parish”. 


A memorial tablet on the north wall inside the church of St. Lawrence, placed there by his family and members of the congregation, commemorates his service of 30 years there, 1876-1906.


Alexander’s will was dated 8 February 1905 and witnessed by Mary Deane Allison and Thomas Falkner Allison.  He appointed his friends Philip Allison, solicitor of Louth and Henry Sooby, farmer of Fulstow, his executors. To Helen, his wife, he gave the linen, knives, forks spoons and plated tea and coffee service and furniture sufficient to furnish a small cottage.  His pictures and photographs he gave to his wife and daughters Agnes Johnson, Emma Harnack and Mary Johnson and his sister Rebecca Johnson.  He gave the marble clock in the drawing room to Emma Harnack.  The residue to be sold and after conversion into money and after payment of funeral and testamentary expenses was divided equally between his wife, his three daughters and sister, Rebecca Johnson.  The probate of Alexander’s will was granted on 12 May 1906 to Philip Allison, solicitor and Henry Sooby, farmer (Helen’s brother).  His estate was valued at £409.6s.3d.  The notice of the distribution of the estate was published in the London Gazette (dated 17 August 1906).  It is odd that he does not mention his sons in his will.


Helen, wife of the Revd. Alexander Johnson, died 19 June 1919 and is buried in the churchyard at Fulstow near Alexander’s grave. 


Helen’s will was dated 27 July 1916 and witnessed by Sarah Maumby of Covenham St Bartholemew and Laura H Raithby of Covenham St Mary.  Helen was of Covenham St Mary (where she died) and a widow.  She appointed Richard Dawson, gentleman of Louth and Herbert Sharpley, solicitor of Louth as her trustees and executors.  Her real and personal estate was to be sold and, after payment of her funeral and testamentary expenses and debts, was to be invested by her trustees, the income from which was to be divided equally between her two sisters, Mary Sooby, Alice Sooby and brother Henry Sooby.  After the death of all of them the whole of the trust fund was to be paid to her nephew, Frederick Sooby, the son of her brother Thomas Sooby.  Probate of Helen’s will was granted 26 August 1919 to Richard Dawson, gentleman and Herbert Sharpley, solicitor. Her estate was valued at £1010.6s.0d (gross) and £605.0s.0d (net).  Doubtless Helen had to leave the vicarage at Fulstow when Alexander died and went to live with, or near her brother, Henry, who is described as of Covenham when he was given probate of Alexander’s will.

Alexander and Hannah's children were:

  1. Agnes, born 18 August 1866 and baptised 16 September 1866 at Travancord, Tamil Nadu, India.
  2. Harry Douglas, born 18 August 1867 and baptised 29 September 1867 at Allepie, India.  He has not been found after 1881 in England.
  3. Alexander Stephenson, birth registered in the Nottingham district in the December quarter 1869.  He has not been found after 1881 in England.  In the Ogden Standard Examiner, published in Utah, USA, 12 August 1923 an appeal was made for him or his heirs by the legal firm of Powell, Snowdon and Bishop, 48 Sparks Street, Ottawa.  He apparently left England about 1886.  Perhaps this notice was initiated by his brother William Hedley Johnson.
  4. Emma, birth registered in the September quarter of 1873 in the Louth district. She was baptised 20 August 1873 at Louth.
  5. William Hedley, baptised 28 November 1875 at Louth. His birth was registered in the Louth district in the December quarter 1875.
  6. Mary, baptised 29 July 1877 at Fulstow. Her birth was registered in the Louth district, March quarter 1877.
  7. Albert Leslie, born 2 June 1879 at Fulstow and baptised 6 July 1879 at Fulstow.


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