Hannah Darby (Ancestor # 4, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

Hannah was the second youngest daughter of Benjamin Darby and Sarah Darby. Born about 1799 at what would become St. Eleanors, Prince Edward Island. Noting much is known about her early life except what can be imagined in a place like Prince Edward Island. While I’m sure life was hard with a lot of physical labour to be done, I think it likely that she spent some time playing in the warm tide pools with hermit crabs, and with lots of older brothers she likely had more than one jellyfish thrown at her.

Thought to be Hannah Darby

Some time after the spring of 1819, a young man came into her life. I can imagine a young girl of that era living in a small isolated place would daydream and wonder who she would marry. Would he be one of the young men that she had grown up with or would someone new come to town and sweep her away! I think it’s safe to say that’s what happened to Hannah. Literally swept away back to England by Robert Ellis after a few years of marriage. They married  in 1823. A son, John, was born in 1824.

Hannah’s sister, Deborah, was living in the Miramichi, New Brunswick. One might think that if you married and went away to live where your husband was from, you might never see your family again. Clearly that was not the case in the Maritimes. It seems that people were travelling back and forth to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all the time. Hannah was visiting Deborah when her second son, Forbes Alexander, was born on the 4th of December 1826. We don’t know for sure if Robert was with her, but I imagine he was as this area of New Brunswick was a major ship building area and he was a cabinet maker/joiner, finishing the interiors of ships. Forbes was named after Deborah’s husband, Alexander Forbes.

Thought to be Robert Ellis

Thought to be Robert Ellis

Sometime between Forbes’ birth and the 12 of January 1830, Robert was to take Hannah on an even longer voyage back to his home in Devonshire. On that date George Alfred was born, only to live 3 years and 8 months. He is buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Bideford, Devon.

A daughter, Elizabeth “Caroline” was born the 10th of June 1832, followed by another son, William “Henry” Rawle on 3 July 1836. Caroline and Henry were both named after Robert’s family members in Bideford.

I’m thinking that England was getting old for Hannah. Her second son Forbes died of Typhus in 1839 and the following year, she, Robert, John, Caroline and Henry, sailed back to the Island and Hannah’s family. They made their home in what became Summerside. In addition to her own children, Hannah cared for her grand-daughter Robertina.

Hannah wrote her will in April 1889 and died the 4th of February 1891.



(Sources available on request)


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