The Stemson Household

James and Mary Stemson

Mr William Hill recounted being aged about eleven when his widowed mother Mrs Martha Hill brought him from Alfreton to live here with his so called uncle Stemson. Given only these few clues, could they reveal his mothers maiden name with a potential brother named Stemson? Apparently not ! A little more research did find the Stemson household with James actually married to Mary, an unmentioned sister of Martha.

Although origins of the Stemson household actually remain vague, short lived and without children, they do prove holding relational ties among Huthwaite. They merit individual mention by linking two noted nephews influencing the upbringing of William Hill, plus further evidence of his step brother Robert Wright.

Again vaguely given is addressing for Uncle Stemson's first home upon Main Street. Hopkin Somewhere opposite the White Hart points towards my current flat among converted old terracing. Predating those on an 1835 map and fronted by the owners once proud residence, stood derelict to-date, had been a cluster of smaller frameworker cottages, loosely addressing an area called Hopkin's yard.

Suggested year of 1841 finds no Stemson listed in that Huthwaite census. Nonetheless, this could actually indicate when a joint family decision was reached. It turns out that Mrs Stemson and Mrs Hill are sisters from Alfreton, who both relocate shortly after.

First Huthwaite mention for James Stemson appears from an 1844 commercial directory, identifying trade as a framesmith. Majority of working families in Hucknall Huthwaite had grown heavily reliant on the vast stockinger cottage industry. Installed with pride of place in many homes, Frame Work Kitting machines FWK Machine like this example, were tirelessly operated by a family head, kept constantly running with support from a fully dependant household.

Finding numerous machines at work here, and a growing demand for more, all in time would need maintenance and repairs. It could therefore be surmised that it was Mr Stemson who realised better opportunity may be found here for expanding his framesmith trade, especially if willingly assisted by an apprenticed nephew. This is a confirmed relationship from later census. Furthermore revealing James Stemson born Hucknall about 1811, was married to Mrs Mary Stemson, a dressmaker born about 1810, whom also a native of Alfreton must prove to be the wedded sister of Mrs Hill.

Huthwaite records certainly give no sign that James and Mary ever had any Stemson children. The married couple certainly adopted young William, allowing his mother Martha chance of remarrying. Offering no mention of an aunt, Williams teenage years served a rewarding apprenticeship, following trade and clearly keeping a fondness for uncle Stemson. In short time the Stemson household could afford renting far larger premises. A short move into nearby Market Street would accomodate other interests. Plus in their day, these relatively grand properties asserted higher business status.

Market StThis view up along Market Street shows later properties lining the right hand side. Amid original facing block of shop windowed fronts, the Stemsons expanded their professional interests upon east corner of a desolate open market place called Ellispool.

An 1853 directory lists James as not only a framesmith but also a grocer. Afterwards and aided by William, a large rear yard serves for setting up a brewhouse to open a public alehouse under name the Travellers Rest. On the above photo, a prominently positioned sign is fixed above one of the central shop fronted properties. Unfortunately unreadable from a poorer quality print, but nonetheless, among the related business properties that may display pub name.

EllispoolThose alternative enterprising efforts soon come to an unrewarding end. The household shown from 1851 census revealed aunt Mary keeps busy trade, with two visitors also employed in dressmaking.

The main interest, possibly affording James a little more time for his later ventures, is another nephew has joined the home serving out apprenticeship in the trade of framesmith. William Hill and Robert Wright are half brothers as a result of their mothers remarriage to senior forenamed Robert Wright, who branches another influential Huthwaite family.

1851 Hucknall Huthwaite    P187
James STIMSON head married 40 framesmith b. Hucknall
Mary " wife married 39 dressmaker b. Alfreton
William HILL nephew 19 framesmith b. Alfreton
Rob WRIGHT nephew 15 framesmith (app) b. Matlock
Ann MATHERS visitor 14 dressmaker b. Greenhill Lane
Faney DAKIN visitor 19 dressmaker b. Sutton
Market St

There's no further found mention of the Stemsons among Huthwaite. In noting a fairly common variation of spellings, the similar surnames Stimson and Steemson can also be primarily claimed by unrelated families in and around the locality. So far, this creates some doubt at truly asserting future whereabouts of either Mary or James, especially when this couples marriage bore no known children of their own.

After being raised like an adopted son William Hill found a Huthwaite wife. Recalling uncle Stemson did attend their 1853 wedding and the honeymooners actually moved in next door. A few years after, they purchased that very same property William had been brought up in. Another view along Market Street shows those older properties left side, but around a century after Stemson took up residence, with the first Huthwaite post office, opened by William himself.

Written 02 Dec 12 Revised 02 Jan 13 © by Gary Elliott