Nesbit Family at Ford Forge 1825-1859
Ford Forge (Ford Mill), Northumberland, England shown in an 1866 ordnance map
Ford Forge is in Ford Parish, one mile Northwest of Ford Village. Buildings housing a water-powered forge were constructed at this site on the river Till by 1770. Throughout the 19th century, the forge was used to manufacture shovels for Northumberland collieries.
James Nesbit and Ann Black were probably married in about 1815. Ann's father, believed to be an accountant, was born in Scotland. Other members of her family, perhaps her brothers, leased buildings at Ford Forge where they ran the shovel factory. James and Ann moved to Ford Forge sometime between 1825 and 1830, presumably so that James could work in the Black's factory. James Sr. died in 1839 at the age of 56. By 1841 the three oldest sons were working in the factory and the two daughters were working as dress makers.
In 1841, the Nesbits were among 22 blacksmiths and 7 joiners working at the forge. Most of the workers lived on the forge side of the Till river, but the Nesbits and several others lived on the Ford Mill side and crossed the river every day to work. Also living in the community were millers, farm laborers, dress makers, clerks, drapers, woollen dyers, servants and a shopkeeper.
Ann Sr. probably died in 1842. Apparently, her daughter Ann, her son Robert and his wife Alice, all died in 1844 while still in their 20s. One can speculate that their deaths were due to smallpox, which was epidemic in Northern England at about that time. The younger daughter, Margaret, married someone named Dodds. She died in 1847 soon after giving birth to a daughter, Agnes. Agnes appears to have been raised by the oldest remaining son, John, under the care of a nanny (Jane Cuthbert).
John's first wife died sometime before 1851. He married Margaret Trotter in 1852. John and Margaret had two sons born at Ford Forge before they moved to Spittal in the late 1850s.
John's younger brother James married in about 1850. He moved to Wolsingham, Durham to work in another shovel factory where he eventually became a shop foreman. Many years later he helped his nephew, John's son James, find a job in the same factory in Wolsingham.
The 1861 census shows no members of the Nesbit family remaining at Ford Forge.
James Nesbit (1783-1839) was born in Alwinton (pronounced and sometimes spelled "Allenton"), a remote farming community nestled in the Cheviot hills. He moved to Ford Forge with his wife, Ann Black, and their children.
Ann Black (~1790-1842) was perhaps the daughter of John Black, a Scottish accountant. Her place of birth is unknown. She died at Ford Forge.
Robert Nesbit (~1821-1844) was born in Alwinton. He worked as a blacksmith at Ford Forge. He married Alice Oliver in 1840. They apparently both died at Ford Forge in 1844.
Ann Nesbit (~1821-1844) was born in Alwinton. She worked as a dress maker in Ford Forge, where she died while still in her twenties.
John Nesbit (1819-1877) was born in Alwinton. He worked as a blacksmith in Ford Forge. After his first wife died he married Margaret Trotter. They moved to Spittal in the late 1850s.
Margaret Nesbit (~1821-1847) was born in Alwinton. She worked as a dress maker in Ford Forge. Apparently she married someone named Dodds and died shortly after the birth of her first child, Agnes.
George Nesbit (~1826-????) was likely born at Alwinton. His trajectory is unknown, but there is a family story that has one brother moving to Massachusetts.
James Nesbit (~1826-????) was born at Alwinton. He worked as a blacksmith at Ford Forge where he married in about 1850. He moved his family to Wolsingham, Durham, where he became the shop foreman in another shovel factory.
Thomas Nesbit (1831-1908) was born at Ford Forge. He worked for most of his life as a farm laborer, perhaps first at nearby Hay Farm, and later at farms throughout Northumberland. By the age of 50 he was head of a large family living at a farm in Belford parish.
Thomas Black (1788-1856) was born in Scotland. He may have been the brother of Ann Black and the son of John Black. Thomas was an entrepreneur whose enterprises at Ford Forge were the mainstay of the local economy. In the 142 businesses listed for Ford Parish in the 1827 Parson White Trade Directory, "Black Thos. James & Co." is listed three times, denoting lines of business as "iron founders & wrought iron manufacturers," corn millers, grocers and drapers.
1841 Census (adult ages rounded to nearest 5 years)
Place Name Age Occupation Ford Mills Ann Nesbit 50 Independent Ann Nesbit 20 Dress Maker John Nesbit 20 Blacksmith Margaret Nesbit 20 Dress Maker George Nesbit 15 M***** Man James Nesbit 15 Blacksmith Thomas Nesbit 11 Ford Mills Robert Nesbit 20 Blacksmith Alice Nesbit 20 Ford Forge Thomas Black 53 Merchant Margaret Black 20 John Black 18 Agnes Black 16 Jane Black 14 George Black 12 Thomas Black 10 Ford Forge Thomas Tindle 40 Blacksmith Sarah Tindle 40 James tindle 10 Margaret Tindle 8 Sarah Tindle 7 Thomas Tindle 4 George Tindle 9 months John Black 21 Landsurveyor Alexander Black 20 Blacksmith Alice Brown 17 F. S.
Place Last name First name Relation Marital
Age Occupation Birthplace Ford Mills Nesbit John Head Wdr 32 Blacksmith Alinton " Thomas Bro M 29* Farm labr Ford Dods Agnes Niece 3 Ford Cuthbert Jane Svt 20 House Svt Ford Ford Mills Nesbit James Head M 26 Blacksmith Alinton " Margaret Wife M 29 Bamburgh " James Son 1 Ford " Isabella Dtr 9 mth Ford Ford Forge Black Thomas Head Wdr 63 Toolmaker Scotland " Agnes Dtr UNM 26 Ford " Jane Dtr " 24 " " George Son " 22 Clerk " " Thomas " 20 " " Purves John Svt 20 Carter Scotland Alexander Adam " 16 Farm labr " Turnbull Catherine " 19 House Servant Ford Ford Forge Black George Head UNM 22 Clerk Ford Black Thomas Bro 20 " " Turnbull Catherine Svt UNM 39 House Servant "
* Transcription error. Thomas Nesbit was born in 1831.
Marriages: General Register Office (GRO)
Date Surname First name(s) District Vol Page Dec 1840 Nesbit Robert Glendale 25 307 Oliver Alice Glendale 25 307 Dec 1852 Nesbit John Glendale 10b 365 Trotter Margaret Glendale 10b 365
Marriages: FamilySearch™ International Genealogical Index
Date Names Place 29 Oct 1852 Margaret Trotter
Parish Records And Dissenters, Ford, NBL
Births: General Register Office (GRO)
Date Surname First name(s) District Vol Page Jun 1847 Dodds Agnes Glendale 25 280 Jun 1847 Nesbit James Glendale 25 303 Mar 1853 Nesbit James Glendale 10b 279
Deaths: General Register Office (GRO)
Date Surname First name(s) Age District Vol Page Sep 1839 Nesbit James Glendale XXV 164 Jun 1842 Nesbit Ann Glendale 25 176 Jun 1844 Nesbit Ann Glendale 25 178 Sep 1844 Nesbit Robert Glendale 25 162 Sep 1844 Nesbit Alice Glendale 25 176 Jun 1847 Dodds Margaret Glendale 25 267 Mar 1856 Black Thomas Glendale 10b 184 Mar 1908 Nesbit Thomas 77 Belford 10b 318
John C. Nesbit 2005.03.29