Nixons of Brown Edge and beyond

The Nixon Family

During my exploration of Brown Edge families and how we all seem to be related, I came across an interesting article about one of the Quaker founders of America who are directly related to the Nixons of Brown Edge.

This discovery came about when I was tracing the Nixon family. Most of you will remember Clarence Nixon the joiner from the Rocks, who I remember well, making and fitting the large wooden doors at the front of Turners Bus Garage. Incidentally they are still there and now must be 50 years old.

My interest in the Nixons was due to the fact that Clarence was married to Lucy Turner, Great Granddaughter of James Turner (my Great Great Grandfather).

Anyway tracing the Nixons back was relatively easy, as they were all local. Clarence’s (and Maurice his brother from whom Philip and Brian descend) Father was Robert born in Biddulph in 1889.

Roberts father was Luke Nixon who married into the Biddulph family, back another couple of generations untill you get to a Thomas marrying an Olive Bailey born 1793 who passed away aged 89 and was buried in Horton.  We can’t go any further back with the Nixons but I went another generation with Olive and noticed her mother was a Farnsworth who died in Pensylvania. Which I thought was worth a bit of digging around.

Her father was a Adonijah Farnsworth born in 1743 New Jersey and go back 2 more generations and you get to a Thomas Farnsworth who lived at Chesterfield, New Jersey.  I searched for him and the following fascinating record was available.


The first record in America of Thomas Farnsworth is that of his arrival in Philadelphia on the ship Kent in 1677. The passengers came up the river to Burlington in boats. There Thomas acquired land by deed on 2 Apr 1681 at the site of what is now known as Bordentown but then known as Farnsworth’s Landing, his holdings eventually extending to over 800 acres. The history of Thomas and his family of those days is best described in the “History of Burlington and Mercer Counties,” by E.M. Woodward and J.F. Hageman, published 1883 as follows:

“All we know of him prior to his leaving England is the statement in Bessee’s “Sufferings and Persecutions of the Quakers” that he was sent to prison on the 3d day of the 7th month, 1665 for attending a meeting of the Quakers at Tupton, near North Wingfield, Derbyshire. It is also stated that his brother, Richard Farnsworth of TickhilI, Yorkshire, was tried and imprisoned for not taking off his hat to a justice.

Thomas’wife, Susanna came over in Dec of the next year in the ship “Shield,” the first vessel that came up the Delaware to Burlington. She brought with her their children and two servants. Her coming was well known among the settlers, and looked for with some interest as she was a Quaker preacher in the old country of note.

The servants she brought were hardly to wait on her and perform menial service but more probably men who had contracted to work a certain length of time in consideration of their passage being paid and food found From the fact of his being this expense his purchase of five hundred acres of ground within a few years of his landing and his not disposing of his house and lot in Burlington until the 19th of May, 1685, when he conveyed it by deed to Anthony Morris, it is to be presumed he was possessed of considerable means for one in those early days and in a new country….

Farnsworth House

Farsnworth House rebuilt on site of original

As tradesmen in all new countries are scarce and in demand, and as the population is scattered, and as we find his children different localities, the probabilities are that he “whipped the cat” at his trade of shoemaking for several years before he located on his tract where Bordentown now stands. Where he built his cabin there is not known but he certainly did not reside there permanently prior to 1682-83. Careful investigation proves that Farnsworth’s cabin, (the first house built in Bordentown), was situated on the bluff near the northwest corner of Park Avenue and Prince Street, very near and perhaps on the spot upon which the frame house now stands (1883).

Thomas Farnsworth served as constable of Chesterfield (named after Chesterfield, Derbyshire by Farnsworth) township in 1689. His name never again appears on the township records and sometime between that year and 1693 he died, leaving his widow, Susannah, sons Thomas, John, Samuel, Daniel, and Nathaniel. By his will, dated 8th of the 11th month, January (O.S.), 1889 he left all his real and personal property to his wife, to rent or sell as she might deem best. But in case of her marrying again, his real estate was to be held in trust for his children and she was to have in lieu thereof twenty pounds. She was sole executrix. The will was witnessed by William Quicksall and Elizabeth Foulks Davenport (blimey those Davenports got everywhere!) and proved in 1693. The will of Susanna Farnsworth was proved 23 Jan 1713/4.

The Farnsworths proved to be very significant in the history of America.


Figure 2   The Farnsworth Charge at Gettysburg

So Mr Ivor Nixon of the Rocks, Brown Edge, your eighth great grandfather was Thomas Farnsworth,  a Quaker from Yorkshire who left for a new life and became one of the founding few.






14 responses to “Nixons of Brown Edge and beyond”

  1. Susan Parker

    Hi Peter,
    I have just read your history of the Nixons. Olive Bailey was my great x 4 grandmother. I read with interest that her mother was a Farnsworth. Where did you find this information?

  2. David Nixon

    So Robert Nixon born 1890 would have been your great grandad,father of Robert Harry,Clarence,Ivor and your grandad Maurice.
    During my childhood i can remember “Bob Nixon” and I am sure his wife was bedridden for a long time before she passed away,I cant recall her name she of course would have been your great grand mother.
    So your dad was also Maurice jnr who was son of Maurice snr,hope i am getting there!!
    That certainly puts us in the same bloodline as brothers Albert and Robert they also had another brother Harold.
    My Dad John Nixon therefore was cousin to Ivor,Norman,Clarence,Robert Harry,and your grandad Maurice snr.
    Not sure what title we would get out of this but certainly related.

  3. Brian Nixon

    Hi Peter.
    I would like to inform you that Philip and I had a sister Valerie ,she is buried in the church graveyard, new cemetery .
    Hope you are well

  4. Brian Nixon

    Hi i am Brian Nixon and i remember him playing at the club .Great times ,full of great people .Alan Lancet at the club he gave me job as bottle lad (filling the back fixtures with bottled drinks) i worked for about an hour at 6 pm and got thirty bob for 5 days but on Saturdays Alan would allow himself to indulge a bit more than usual and when busy i would top up the shelves at about 9 pm while bingo was on and he would always give me a 10 bob note rolled up in a ball (not bad for 10 min work 50 odd years ago)

  5. Tracey Nixon-Howell

    Hi everyone
    My Dad was Robert Harry Nixon brother of Clarence, Maurice and Norman.
    Dad left Brown Edge to join the Navy and sailed on the Empress of Britain to Australia during WW2. He was demobilised in Sydney at the end of the war and remained here in Australia until he died in 2003.
    He married Aileen Ruby Brown (Australian) and had 5 children.

  6. clare beddoes

    my memories of brown edge are the workmens club in greenfield ave, walking in fields behind the estate. granddad said they were owned by a butcher? granddad showing me where the most beautiful blue bells grow while walking his dog prince. before that his dog was blacky.

    1. David Nixon

      Clare my Dad John Nixon used to play the piano at Brown Edge club he did so for many years and he had a lovely tenor voice.

    2. David Nixon

      Clare I am sure the Butcher would have been Mr Sam Bratt a well known local character.

  7. clare beddoes

    hi david,
    I think we could be related? Clarence was my granddads brother. my granddad was Maurice Nixon.

    1. David Nixon

      Clarence lived in the next property on the Rocks at Brown Edge to my grandad Albert Nixon and his wife Emma Nixon they lived in a two up two down cottage just across a field, after WW2 I and my parents lived there with my grandparents until 1950.
      My grandparents cottage has been developed greatly since that period and is a sought after home.
      Clarence,Maurice were names heard then in day to day conversation and that must make you and I long lost cousins!! Hope so !!!Catch you later xx

      1. clare beddoes


        Is there anyway I could contact David Nixon as id like contact him if he is my cousin?

      2. clare beddoes

        LHi David,

        I’ve looked at my family tree. I found an Albert Nixon 1892 – he was the brother of Robert Nixon 1890 – 1957. Sons of Luke Nixon and mary biddulph. My dad may want to have a word with you and my uncle.

      3. clare beddoes

        Ive looked on my family tree found Albert Nixon 1892 this could be your granddad his brother Robert Nixon 1890 – 1957 is my great granddad. Their parents were Luke Nixon and Mary biddulph. So hello cousin. My dad will want to meet you.

  8. David Nixon

    Hi Peter,
    You may have our part of the Family in your records, but just in case not I detail our extension of the Ivor and Clarence Nixon segment.
    My Grandfather Albert Nixon was related to them I am not sure how,he and Grandma Emma Nixon lived just across the rocks in the cottage on Top Row. Albert was a church warden at St Anne’s for many years.
    Albert and Emma had three children John,Miriam and Elsie.
    Elsie married John Evans who was killed in action in North Africa they had one son Linden,and she later married William Bourne.
    Miriam married Richard Turner they did not have children.
    John (Jack) married Gladys May Whitehouse. John as most did at that time worked in the mines,They had five boys myself David,Christopher,Peter,Philip and Stephen all still surviving.
    John was an accomplished pianist by the time he was 11 and in 1932 he played the Church organ at his sisters wedding at St Anne’s for the first time but not his last,he stayed as organist from that date and later choirmaster for an unbroken 40 years.I too was in the choir.
    We have our modern day generation now and if you would like to know more I am only too happy to pass it on.

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