James Collier was born in Stowe, Staffordshire, England (Stowe-by-Chartley) in the Summer of 1825 to parents John Collier and wife Catherine Jenkinson.
James was one of two known children of John & Catherine. The elder of 2 boys, his brother George was born in 1828. James was baptized in Stowe at St. John the Baptist Church on 07 Aug 1825.
For the first 10 years of his life, James lived in the city of Stafford where his father operated the Goat Inn Tavern and Public House at 80 Eastgate Street. While we have no exact date, James father took over operation of the Inn during the year James was born. (James was born/baptized in Stowe where his grandparents lived and was raised in Stafford in a home adjoining the Inn his father ran. "Ran" not owned. The building was owned by William Peake Sr.)
In April 1835, before James' 10th birthday, his mother Catherine passes away. She was buried at the church she was baptized.
The newly single father John likley saw a great need for help trying to raise a 10 and 7 year old while running a tavern & public house. So James' father didn't grieve long. John remarries on 01 Dec 1835 to Lucy Shemilt. Their relationship would eventually bear James 4 half-siblings over the next 9 years (John, Lucy Ann, Jane & Susanna).
In 1837, following the death of James' grandfather, also named John Collier (Sr), father John Collier (Jr) gave his brother Charles Collier (James' uncle) the Goat Inn. At this time, John (Jr) moved the family to Stowe to take over management of grandfather John (Sr)'s pub, the Cock Inn, in his absence. (Charles purchased the Goat Inn from William Peake's estate when he took over for his brother).
By the time the 1841 census came around, James was no longer in the house. He had taken an apprenticeship as a saddler with James & Jane Cook of High Street in Uttoxeter.
On 12 May 1847, James' father John dies. Following this sad event, James would move in with his grandmother Jane Collier who also lived in Stowe while he worked as a saddler in town. [Seems step-mother Lucy stepped in and ran the Cock Inn in '49.]
Living next door to James and his Grandmother was another lady named Ann Yates and her granddaughter Elizabeth Chambers.
On 26 Jan 1852, James Collier and, the girl next door, Elizabeth Chambers married at the church in Stowe (which sits directly across the street from his father's pub.)
Following their marriage, the Colliers would settle down in Amerton, Staffordshire near the Plough Inn tavern & public house. Here James worked as a Saddler and Farmer.
By July 1852 the family welcomed their first child, George into the world. A child would basically follow every two years forth the next 21 years until 1873, then 2 more children in '77 and '81 for a grand total of 13 children in 29 years.
James would live his life in Amerton and pass away on 15 Feb 1895 at the age of 69. His cause of death is currently unknown (record request needed). His will mentions leaving 235 pounds to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Chambers' family is one of my most difficult families to trace of the recent era. I've had difficulties elsewhere, but not to the extent of Elizabeth. Brick walls usually have reason: records weren't recorded yet in the area, lost due to fire or war, etc... With Elizabeth there seems to be none.
Elizabeth Chambers was born before 29 Dec 1833 in what is believed to be Rugeley, Staffordshire, England. She was the daughter of William Chambers, a tailor, and Ann Yates*. Oddly enough, her baptism is recorded in two churches: Her information is listed in the baptism register in Rugeley, Staffordshire, England where the book says the couple resides, yet the book states the baptism took place in Wolverhampton. This appears to be because her mother's family lived in Rugeley while Wolverhampton was where her father William worked as a tailor.
There is only one known sibling of Elizabeth. A sister Mary Ann Chambers was supposedly 3 years Elizabeth's elder. Only issue is we have no other known mention of her name. No mention of her in later census records nor a mention of her death on her baptism nor on a burial record.
It seems by the age of 3 Elizabeth's mother dies. Causes are unknown. It's at this time that we also lose track of her father. I can't locate a death record or a marriage record or even future census records for a tailor with a new family. William just disappears and is presumed dead.
By the 1841 census, Elizabeth is living in Stowe, Staffordshire, England with her grandmother Ann Yates, a shopkeeper and her uncle James Yates, a butcher. She continues to be raised and grow up in Stowe and can be found there again on the 1851 census still living with grandmother Ann and Uncle James. Only difference in 1851 is there is now a new boy living next door: future husband James Collier. (On this census, it states that Elizabeth was born in Rugeley.)
The couple would marry the following year on 26 Jan 1852 at Stowe Church, Staffordshire.
The couple would settle down in Stowe and raise their family there. A common theme would arise on census records that would commonly flip-flop Elizabeth's birth location between the years: one census would say Rugeley, the next Wolverhampton. For this reason we are not certain of her birth location and can only provide assumptions.
Elizabeth would live in Stowe for the next 40 years at the Plough Inn tavern and public house. It's not know if the family ran the Plough Inn or when Elizabeth left Amerton, but she was still in Amerton as late as the 1901 census where at 69 years old, she was living at Amerton Heath with her son Arthur. (Arthur was at the Plough Inn with his wife Elizabeth Middleton after his mother left.)
By the following census in 1911 she had moved to Stafford at 21 Tipping Street.
Elizabeth would die in Stafford on 08 May 1928 at the age of 95.
(Problem tracking down Elizabeth's mother Ann: we know Ann's mother was Ann Yates and brother was James Yates, but I've not been able to find records to corroborate this. I can't find a marriage record of an Ann Yates and a William Chambers, only Ann Watson.)
(Peeking at incomplete transcripts from the Staffordshire Advisor, our William Chambers may have been in the paper numerous times in the 1820s related to court cases like thievery and assault... this needs more research.)
(The Goat Inn opened in 1753 and closed for good in 1873 when it became the British Workmen's Public House & Templar's Hall. The building was demolished in 1893.)
John Collier, bef 22 Dec 1803 - bef 12 May 1847
Catherine Jenkinson, bef 24 Dec 1797 - bef 13 Apr 1835
Elizabeth Chambers, bef 29 Dec 1833 - 08 May 1928
- George Collier, bef 04 Jul 1852 – ?
- John Collier, bef 08 Oct 1854 – Mar 1927
- James Collier, 11 Nov 1856 – 26 Jul 1920
- Jane Collier, bef 27 Mar 1859 – 1939
- Edwin Collier, bef 02 Dec 1860 – Jun 1943
- Elizabeth Collier, 21 Nov 1862 – 31 Dec 1929
- Herbert Collier, Bef 25 Jun 1865 – ?
- Henry Collier, 15 Jul 1867 – ?
- Catherine Anne Collier, bef 17 Oct 1869 – ?
- Arthur Collier, bef 26 Feb 1871 – ?
- Lucy Collier, bef 15 Feb 1874 – 18 Apr 1856
- Annie Collier, 1877 – ?
- Jessie Collier, Jan 1881 – May 1881
* While the "baptism record" in Rugeley says Elizabeth was baptized in Wolverhampton, I have been unsuccessful in finding a record in Wolverhampton. I believe that combining this with no records of an Ann Yates marrying a William Chambers, hints at a possible criminal history for William Chambers, and Elizabeth living with her grandmother, it's possible Ann and William were never married.
A The Cock Inn noted at the top displays the location of James' grandfather's residence in Stowe where the family would have been for James' baptism, which is across the street from the church where he was baptized. The exact location of the Goat Inn in Stafford cannot be determined without insider assistance as the building was demolished in 1893 and doesn't match current address listings.
Son George immigrates to America and serves in US Army (2nd Cavalry Co.H) out of New York, NY, deserts 21 May 1875 & we lose track of him... where did he go?