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  Shirleys of Dalbury
Derbyshire England
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Shirleys of Dalbury, Radbourne, Shottle - Derbyshire Co. (see this lineage)

Submitted by D. J. Shirley - research done by his 1st cousin, John W. Shirley and Jerry, his wife, with additional research performed by the Shirley Association

Charles Shirley born about 1821, son of William Shirley of Dalbury Lees Derbyshire; living in Shottle, Derbyshire in 1841 census with wife Hannah and 2 month old child John Shirley in the household of William Goodwin (grandfather of son Thomas Shirley); Living at Barlbro farm at Barlborough, Derbyshire in 1851, born Dalbury, Derbyshire

married Hannah Goodwin on 17 Dec 1839 at Church Broughton, Derbyshire England; Daughter of Thomas Goodwin (named in marriage record)


2(i). John William Shirley born April 2, 1841 Radbourne, Derbyshire England (date according to a gold-headed cane given him on his 75th birthday); He was christened 30 May 1841 at Radbourne; He was a successful landscape gardner in the old country and was employed by different members of the English nobility residing in the vicinity of Derby. In 1866 he emigrated to the United States and located in St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained for two years. At the expiration of the time he removed to Springfield, Illinois, settling just outside the city limits. There he purchased thirteen acres of land and engaged in truck gardening, meeting with success. Through his thrift and enterprise he managed to aquire sufficient capital to enable him to purchase a farm of three hundred aces of excellent land near Minburn, Dallas County, Iowa USA. He died 1918 in Iowa USA. Shirleys of Illinois and Iowa USA

married Margaret Hailstone.


3(i). William Goodwin Shirley born 1877 Springfield, Illinois, USA

Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913


One of the most popular and public-spirited citizens of Swea City is William Shirley, superintendent of the public schools. He was born in the vicinity of Springfield, Illinois, on the 17th of January, 1877, and is a son of John and Margaret (Hailstone) Shirley. William Shirley attended the district schools in his native county until the family removed to Iowa, when he entered the high school at Minburn, graduating with the class of 1896. In the autumn following he began his career as a teacher, but he temporarily withdrew from this at the end of a year to attend Ames College. He pursued a civil engineering course there for a year, then returned to Dallas county and taught for four years. From there he went to Waukee, to accept the position of principal of the high school, capably discharging the duties of this office for three years. In 1906 he came to Swea City as superintendent of the new high school, and has since been located here. That he has filled the position in a highly creditable and capable manner is manifested by the period of his term of service, and the regard in which he is held by both parents and pupils and the community generally. The Swea City high school was built during the summer and fall of 1903, at a cost of ten thousand dollars and opened in the fall of that year, under Superintendent C. A. Smith. The average daily attendance in the grades and high school is one hundred and twenty-five pupils. The enrollment has increased during the intervening period, while the standard of scholarship has greatly improved under the capable supervision and direction of Mr. Shirley. He has worked tirelessly in his efforts to raise the educational standard and has had the satisfaction of seeing it develop until Swea City schools are now ranked with the best in Kossuth county. Mr. Shirley is a man of high ideals and noble purposes and strives to stimulate those who are privileged to study under him, not only to high mental achievements but to a recognition of their duties to the community and society at large. Although he fully appreciates the value of intellectual attainments, he never permits that to overshadow the higher or nobler purpose of education, and endeavors so far as possible to preserve the individuality of his pupils and to assist them to become strong, self-reliant men and women. In 1900, Mr. Shirley was united in marriage to Miss Grace Barger, a daughter of Samuel and Emma (Partello) Barger, the father a native of Ohio, but of German extraction, while the mother was born in Connecticut and is of Yankee descent. When a lad of ten years Mr. Barger came west with his mother, who located on a farm in the vicinity of Boone, Iowa. There he was reared and married, continuing to reside upon the farm until 1884, when he went to South Dakota and took up a homestead. He cultivated it for seven years, then returned to Boone. At the end of a year he removed to Minburn, Dallas county, and there the mother died in 1899. He remained on his farm there, however, until 1912, when he came to Kossuth county and rented a farm seven miles north of Swea City. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Shirley, as follows: Hale, who was born on the 27th of September, 1901; Pearl, whose birth occurred on January 23, 1904; and William, whose natal day was the 27th of September, 1908 [SAssoc ed: he is John in the census]. The two elder children are attending school. Both Mr. and Mrs. Shirley are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and take an active interest in the work of its various organizations. While living at Minburn he belonged to the Good Templars lodge and at Waukee he joined the Knights of Pythias fraternity. His political views accord with the principles of the republican party, but at municipal elections he frequently casts an independent ballot, considering that it is more a question of the man best qualified for the office than of political issues. Although he is deeply interested in all municipal affairs, he has never taken an active part in local politics, feeling that the first and highest claim on his time and energies is his school work. He is most conscientious in the discharge of his duties, and this together with his progressive methods, makes him a leader in the intellectual life of the community.

married Grace Barger


4(i). Hale Shirley born 27 Sept 1901

4(ii). Pearl Shirley born 23 January 1904

4(iii). John William Shirley born 27 September 1908

American educator and author John Shirley (1908-1988), internationally recognized as one of the few authorities on Thomas Harriot, was directly responsible for elevating Harriot's status in history. Shirley, a native of Swea City, Iowa, graduated with honors from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in literature and physics, and later a doctorate in literature and philosophy. He taught English at Michigan State University and in 1949 was appointed dean of liberal arts at North Carolina State University before becoming provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Delaware in 1962. He served as acting president of the University from 1967-1968, and in 1972 he was named H. Fletcher Brown Research Professor in the History of Science. In recognition of his significant contributions to scholarship, the University awarded him its highest award, the Medal of Distinction, in 1982. Shirley began his studies of Thomas Harriot during his John Simons Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947, during which time he researched Harriot's unpublished manuscripts. Once Shirley had located all of the known manuscripts, many of which had been neglected for over a century, he then spent decades examining and evaluating them. The result of his research includes several works on Harriot such as the first Harriot biography, Thomas Harriot: A Biography (1983). He also published Scholarly Publishing at the University of Delaware (1975) and Sir Walter Raleigh and the New World (1985). Shirley died at the age of 80, while on vacation in San Antonio, Texas, in 1988.

3(ii). Thomas Jefferson Shirley born 1879 Illinois

3(iii). Walter Scott Shirley born 1881 Illinois

3(iv). Ruth Shirley born 1883 Illinois

3(v). Anna Shirley born 1883 Illinois

3(vi). Laura Shirley born 1889 Illinois

3(vii). John Wesley Shirley born Iowa

3(viii). Jessie May Shirley born 24 May 1896 at Sugar Grove Township, Dallas Co Iowa

3(ix). Ian McLaren Shirley born 12 Sep 1898 at Sugar Grove Township, Dallas Co Iowa

2(ii). Phoebe Shirley born about 1842; chr 9 Apr 1843 at Radbourne Derbyshire; living in Barlborough, Derbyshire in 1851

2(ii). Thomas Shirley born about 1845; chr 22 May 1847 at Radbourne, Derbyshire; Living Barlborough in 1851; living with his grandparents in Shottle Derbyshire in 1861 census

2(iii). William Shirley born about 1847; chr 17 Apr 1847 at Radbourne Derbyshire; Living in Barlborough in 1851

2(iv). Elizabeth Shirley born about 1849; chr 8 Apr 1849 at Radbourne Derbyshire; Living in Barlborough in 1851

2(v). George Shirley born about 1851 Barlborough, Derbyshire; living with his grandparents in Shottle Derbyshire in 1861 census


My wife, Jerry, and I had three uncommitted days in England in May 1977 and ;mellowly decided to use them to see what, if anything, we could do to push our Shirley connections back beyond the grandfather for whom I was named. The basic facts on which we might build were sparse.

My grandfather, John William Shirley's birthday was April 2, 1841, according to a gold-headed cane in my possession, given him on his 75th birthday.

According to a statement written by my father for his biography in the HISTORY OF KOSSUTH COUNTY, IOWA, published in 1913 when my grandfather was still alive reads....

John Shirley (John W's... grandfather), was born and reared at Shottle, a village near Derby, England, and is of Norman extraction...... John Shirley was a successful landscape gardner in the old country and was employed by different members of the English nobility residing in the vicinity of Derby.

In 1866 he emigrated to the United States and located in St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained for two years. At the expiration of the time he removed to Springfield, Illinois, settling just outside the city limits. There he purchased thirteen acres of land and engaged in truck gardening, meeting with success. Through his thrift and enterprise he managed to aquire sufficient capital to enable him to purchase a farm of three hundred aces of excellent land near Minburn, Dallas County, Iowa USA.

Preliminary study by going through British Gazetteers had revealed no town or village bearing the name of Shottle, so the "near Derby" seemed the best place to start our inquires.

We boarded a train to Derby and found a guest house within walking distance of the railway station. The desk attendant produced a large-scale map which showed not only shottle as a rural community, buy a village of Shirley, as well, which he insisted was the well-spring of the Shirley family. He also informed us that the local records were not maintained in Derby, as we supposed, but were housed at Matlock, where the County Council offices were---eighteen miles from Derby. We had to rent a car and by a map and off to Matlock we went.

We met Miss Sinar who was most helpful. she produced histories, maps and directories of Derbyshire for various periods of the nineteenth century. She said we were fortunate in that grandfather was born in 1841, (when the first British census was taken), and made arrangements for us to be assigned for census micro-film reader for the period from 1-5 PM that afternoon.

We checked out the reels containing the township of Shottle and threaded into our reader, and began our search. We found no Shirley. Then...noticed that the reel was split and checked out the second reel with the other half of Shottle township.

Suddenly, I stopped cranking, there was a William Goodwin and living in his household was a Charles Shirley who was 20 years old, a wife, Hannah Shirley who was eighteen and a son, John, two months old. I turned to the date of the census and it was June 8, 1841... thus 2 months would be correct as John was born in April.

No coincidence could account for two babies of the same name to be born in the same township in the same week. The John Shirley born at Radbourne was John Shirley who later told his son he had been born in Shottle; my grandfather's memory was mistaken.

We hurriedly checked out the reels of 1851 census for the Parish of Radbourne to follow the Goodwins and Shirleys and were in for a slight shock. They were no longer there!

In 1861 census grandfather John Shirley had reappeared as a "Farm Servant" and living with his grandparents. Also living with their grandparents were two of John's younger brothers, THOMAS 16 years and GEORGE 10 years, who was in school.

George Shirley was new on the scene (1851 Thomas was living with the Goodwins). This could give us a clue as to where the Charles Shirley family moved when they left Radbourne, and sure enough, he was listed as having been born in Barlborough.. The census for Barlbourgh for 1851 and 1861 were missing. so that proved to be a dead end. The library was closing and we found a lovely country Inn in Ashbourne and spent part of the evening reviewing our records and planning for visits the next day to localities from which these people came, both to view our roots and to take pictures for a permanent record.

We first drove to Shottle, the town which we had so long associated with my grandfather. One of the residents, surprised by our stopping, came out in the rain to see what we were doing. She pointed us in the direction of Holly House where my Shirleys had lived. There it was almost exactly as it must have been in 1866 when they packed up and headed for Derby on their first leg of their journey to the fabled land of America. We traveled around to some of the other areas and saved a half day to visit the Public Records Office in London. We wanted to plug the gap in the Charles Shirley family.

In London, the census room was much busier that the Derbyshire Public Library. There were about sixty micro-film readers at long tables, most of them busy. Number thirteen was open and since I am not superstitious, I took it. They informed me I could only have one reel at a time and I requested the 1841 Radbourne. I checked for discrepancies and found none. I got the second reel- for 1851census of Barlborough. I turned the sheets of Barlborough and read slowly and sure enough... item #39 told the story; there laid out before me was the whole Charles Shirley family, with the exception of Thomas, age 6 who was recorded as as being at Holly House, Shottle, visiting his grandparents at the time of the census...1851. The remainder of the Shirley family was at Barlbro Farm; Charles Shirley, age 31, farmer of 62 acres, and Hannah, his wife, age 27, John (my grandfather), age 9, Phoebe, age 8, William age 4, Elizabeth, age 2, and George, one month old.

The arrival of the 1841 census of Dalbury and Lees wound up my search. It met with success, or so it seems. On page 10 of this census, in a house designated as "THE LEES" IN DALBURY, lived a family of three. The head was William Shirley aged 60, his wife, aged 55, and one child, Roseeta, aged 10. William was listed as AG Labaourer. Charles Shirley listed his place of birth as Dalbury Lees and these Shirleys lived on a farm called "THE LEES" in DALBURY, gives practical assurance that they must have been his parents.

Our search had gone as far as our time would permit.


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