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The four wives of John Cooper – Unstone area

Can anyone help me find Agnes? And more importantly if she actually married my 2 x gr grandfather John Cooper.

John was born in 1837 in Manchester to George Cooper and Elizabeth Holt. It looks like he moved to Bakewell (then Eyam, Unstone, and Pilsley) where he certainly married three times, but there is a 4th that I cannot confirm or discount.

Here are the main details: (It's Marriage 2 that has the question mark against it.)

Marriage 1 – April 1863
• April 1863 to Martha Unwin in Bakewell
• Martha and John had two children (William born 1863 and Sarah Elizabeth born 1867)
• Martha died 28th Jan 1870

Marriage 2?? – Between Feb 1870 and April 1871??
• To Agnes
• The only reason I’m thinking she might be another wife is because she appears to be living with John and his daughter in the 1871 Unstone Census (Taken on 2nd April 1871) as his wife:
o John Cooper, aged 34, Born Manchester (fits)
o Agnes Cooper, wife, aged 24 born in Kendal
o Sarah Cooper, daughter aged 3 born Eyam (fits)
• (John’s Son William, is missing from this line up, but I can find him staying with his uncle during this census)

Marriage 3 – 8th Oct 1871
• To Elizabeth Nadin on 8th Oct 1871 in Dronfield
• Elizabeth passes away on 19th May 1872 in Unstone

Marriage 4 – 4th Nov 1872
• To Eliza Booth on 4th Nov 1872 Dronfield (Unstone) This is my 2 x gr grandmother and they go on to have 10 children together.

I’ve checked for marriages and deaths for Agnes but am coming up empty.

Any help to confirm or remove Agnes from the equation would be greatly appreciated.

Re: The four wives of John Cooper – Unstone area

I've checked the Derbyshire Registrars Marriage Index on FMP and there does not appear to be a marriage to Agnes.


Re: The four wives of John Cooper – Unstone area

Thanks Angela

That's what I thought too. I tried searching Kendall too, as that appears to be where Agnes was born, but not found anything there either... yet! :blush:

Thanks for searching. Nikie

Re: The four wives of John Cooper – Unstone area

Quick update:

I've been continuing my search and I did come across a marriage for Ann 'Agnes' Topham to John Cooper in Kendal, but this is for 1867 and Martha didn't pass till March 1870, so I'm guessing this isn't the right one.

Might get the marriage cert just to fully rule it out

Re: The four wives of John Cooper – Unstone area

Unless the death of Martha you found was not in 1870. Are you 100% certain the death of Martha you found is correct?

Re: The four wives of John Cooper – Unstone area

Hi John. I though about that too.

Martha has a second child with John (Sarah Elizabeth Cooper) on 29th Sept 1867 in Eyam, Derbyshire.... Baptism date 01 Dec 1867

So, I searched from then forwards for a Martha Cooper in the area. The only hit I'm getting is in 1870 in Bakewell (Associated with Eyam)

But I haven't received the death certificate yet, so it's not totally confirmed.

Thanks for the thought


Re: The four wives of John Cooper – Unstone area

We cannot find a marriage for an Agnes to a John Cooper in the right time frame. Also there is no death for an Agnes Cooper in the right time frame before he married to Elizabeth Nadin a few months after the 1871 Census. So either there was no marriage to Agnes or, if there was a marriage, John Cooper committed bigamy with Elizabeth Nadin.
Far more likely is that Agnes was his child minder (he needed one) who may or may not have lived with him as his wife, but they separated and he found a new child minder in Elizabeth and they married.

Re: The four wives of John Cooper – Unstone area

Thanks Dave.

That's certainly a possibility.

Thanks for the info and thoughts.

Much appreciated. Nikie