Samuel John Kirby, born about 1849 in North Benfleet

For related information see List, Place Index and Wills Index


Samuel John KIRBY, born in North Benfleet, Essex, and then raised there and at South Ockendon, Essex as part of a very large family. Possible early marriage to Emma SPICER, under investigation. Moved into central London after marrying Minnie PRITCHARD. Worked as a milk carrier and dairyman.

Parents and family

The 1851 Census indicates that his father was John KIRBY (1815-) born North Benfleet, Essex, and suggests that his mother was the Susan SULLINGS, whom John snr married in 1842. Samuel's marriage certificate confirms his father as John KIRBY giving his father's occupation as the somewhat grandiose 'farmer'.


The 1851 and 1861 Census records concur that his birth date was about 1849 and his birthplace was North Benfleet, Essex. The probable birth registration is Samuel John KIRBY, Billericay, Mar Q 1849, Vol 12 Pg 12. 

One Samuel John, son of John and Susan KIRBY was Christened on 25 Mar 1849, at North Benfleet, Essex.

Childhood and education

On the 1851 Census he is listed at Hall Cottage, North Benfleet, Essex. The family comprised:


On the 1861 Census he is listed in South Ockendon at unit 51, the previous unit with a name against it being unit 41 ('The Prince of Wales Inn')
The family comprised:
On the 1871 Census he is listed at Kennel Cottages, Prittlewell, Essex.
Samuel KIBEY is transcribed in one index as Riley, the writter's Ks are very similar to his Rs. He appears to be lodging with family of William WALKER.

On 2 Aug 1871 one Samuel John KIRBY married an Emma SPICER, at All Saints, West Ham, Essex. But this does not relate to the current Samuel, as the individual getting married was aged 44 and the son of James KIRBY.

Marriage to Minnie Pritchard

On 8th August 1875, in Emmanuel Church in the parish of Camberwell, he married Minnie Charlotte PRITCHARD. The writing on the marriage registration is a loose hand and so difficult, but the details appear to be -
Groom: Samuel John KIRBY, aged 26, bachelor, dairyman, residing in Emmanuel. Son of John KIRBY, farmer.
Bride: Minnie Charlotte PRITCHARD, aged 19, spinster, residing in Emmanuel. Daughter of Benjamin PRITCHARD, Slater.
Witnessed by Thomas [Har, Huc or Win?]ding and Mary Ann [L or H?]aw[s or t]on.

Shortly after the wedding, on 15 Aug 1876, he buried his father at South Ockendon, Essex.

In 1878 he was living at 11 Werrington Street, St Pancras, London, Middlesex and working as a Milkman.

On the 1881 Census they were listed at 91, Woodchester St, Paddington, London. At which time the family comprised -
There are two references, in the index to the collections of Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, lists amongst the manorial records, title deeds and family papers of the Abel Smith family of the Woodhall Park Estate, Hertfordshire,  [DE/AS/2090 - DE/AS/4883] to a Samuel John Kirby of Grays, Essex.  These involve the lease of property in Watton Street, but are likely to refer to another individual of that name, whose death was registered in Orsett in 1890.

At some point before 1891 Samuel then moved to the suburbs of Leytonstone (then in SE Essex) in which he plied his trade as a dairyman.

The 1891 Census lists him at 4 "[May?]" Cott, Cobden Rd, Leyton, Essex

By the 1901 Census he had moved down the street to 78 Cobden Rd, Leytonstone, Essex and was once again calling himself a Dairyman. Listing details are: 

On Sat 9 Jul 1904 the Essex Newsman reported that a Leytonstone dairyman had adopted the novel method of ushering four cows round the streets in the company of two white-coated hands who milked them on demand. The usual cry of "Milk!" being replaced by "Warm Milk!"

The 1911 Census saw the family still at 78 Cobden Rd., Leytonstone, Essex (a property with 5 rooms). Listing details are:

The above details rely on transcripts and have, in minor parts, still to be verified against the original census entries.

In Sep 1924 his son Reginald Harold KIRBY married, at which time he gave his father as Samuel John KIRBY, dairyman. The bride's father was shown as deceased, but Samuel was not.

The edition of the Essex Newsman for Saturday 15 August 1925 reported that Mr & Mrs Kirby, of Codden Road, Leytonstone, had celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Ivy Cook with a lady who may be Minnie L to R
  • Ivy Minnie E. KIRBY and son Roy
  • Unidentified older lady (see notes below)
Lady who may be Minnie holding a baby L to R
  • Unknown (possibly Frank Kirby)
  • Ivy Minnie E. KIRBY
  • Unknown older lady (see notes below) and Reginald's son Roy
  • Reginald Harold KIRBY 

Probably Samuel John Kirby to the right L to R
  • Unidentified older lady (see notes below)
  • Unknown
  • Reginald Harold KIRBY & son
  • Samuel KIRBY? (see notes below)

The identity of the older woman in these photos is uncertain. She has the look of a proud grandmother. As Roy's paternal grandmother probably died in 1926 (likely June quarter registration),  the older lady who is holding Roy (born in 1926), is likely to be Harriet COOK, his maternal grandmother. The identity of the older gentleman in these photos is uncertain but it seems likely that he is Samuel KIRBY as Ivy's father, George COOK appears to have been dead by this time. On the 1924 marriage certificate of his son Reginald Harold KIRBY Samuel is not shown as deceased, whilst the bride's father is. Furthermore, a grandson has a vague recollection from after 1926 of a very old man with a long white beard who was 'Grandfather' and lived across Cobden Road from him. A cousin of his has also mentioned recalling Samuel as a man with a long white beard. A further  recollection the grandson had was of a horse and cart being kept locally and a relative delivering milk from an urn on a cart. By 1926 Samuel would have been about 77 and therefore remarkable to still be doing a delivery job. One day a wedding photograph may turn up and help sort out who was who.

Last Will and Testament



The only candidate death registration between 1915 and 1935 is from 1935 - KIRBY, Samuel J, Aged 86 (i.e. born about 1849), West Ham, June Quarter, Vol 4a, pg 172. At that time few people lived beyond 87, so this was almost certainly him.



Descendants and notable relations

Service records are available for his son, Ernest Pritchard KIRBY of 78 Cobden Road, Leytonstone, Essex. The following is a summary, supplemented by details from The Long, Long Trail web-site (shown in italics).

He was enlisted at Chatham on 8 Dec 1915 as Private 241625 in the E Surrey regiment and subsequently called up on 5 June 1916, joining at Maidstone. Posted to 3/6th East Surrey on 7 June, then rapidly re-posted to 1/6th on 27th July, with whom he then departed, apparently on the same day, for India, arriving on 22 Aug1915, where the 1/6th formed part of the Rawalpindi Brigade. He contracted malaria in India in Oct 1916 (treated at Station Hospital, Rawal Pindi), at about which time the 1/6th  were transferred to the Jhelum Brigade. Remaining in India until 21 Jan 1917, he then sailed for Aden, arriving on 26th Jan (where the 1/6th came under orders of the Aden Brigade). In Aden he suffering a further bout of malaria in Nov 1917 (treated at Station Hospital Aden). He remained in Aden until 9-1-17 [sic 9 Jan 2018] when he returned to India, arriving on 15th Jan where the 1/6th joined the Dehra Dun Brigade in 7th (Meerut) Division. His application for a disability pension was rejected on 20 Sep 1919, when he was aged 29. The 1/6th and 3/6th were Territorial battalions.

Before being called up service Ernest had been a waiter, employed by D. Dowlana Esq. at the Sun & York Hotel, Chatham.


Any transcripts and images on this page are Copyright R I Kirby 2005 unless stated otherwise.