Some Interesting Frearsons

Whilst there are no well known “famous” Frearsons, there are characters of interest, and some are listed below:

John Frearson of Leicestershire, Manchester and Birmingham

John Frearson was born in Leicestershire, he later lived and worked in Manchester and then moved to Birmingham.  Tracking his movements and proving that the two John Frearsons were the same man was an education in Family History and the final confirmation was found in an Archive of Socialist papers in Amsterdam. 

In Manchester he came to the attention of the “authorities” as a socialist and seller of socialist tracts.  Some of his book stock is still preserved as “evidence” in The National Archives.  He was an admirer of, and worked in the later 1830s for the cause of, Robert Owen of New Lanark Mills fame. 

In Birmingham he became a manufacturer, engineer and inventor, making patented “Hooks and Eyes” that he exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.  He invented and patented the cross-head screw – the Frearson Head screw.  For patent reasons this is now only well known in USAin UK it was superseded by the slightly different but now better known Phillips cross-head screw.  John Frearson was an early temperance and industrial relations campaigner, and introduced the Saturday half-day in Birmingham so that his workers did not have to shop on the Sabbath and were more likely to be at work on the Monday.  He wrote socialist pamphlets, supported the co-operative movement, spoke at their Conference and corresponded with William Morris and other notables of the New Socialism of the 1880s. 

At one time he also managed a French Giant!  His wife ran a temperance hotel in Birmingham.  Whilst it was thought that his forebears gained the Frearson name by adoption after their mother re-married a Frearson, it is now established that this was incorrect and that he descends from the Leicestershire L24 family group.  There are though no known male Frearson descendants.

Martha Frearson from Lancashire

Martha Wilson Frearson was born in 1864 in Cartmel, Lancashire.  She became a missionary in 1899 in Turkey, taking charge of the Armenian Orphanage in Ainab caring for children orphaned in the massacres.   Later, although ill she refused to leave.  When Turkey entered WWI, she had to leave, but did not return home, but went to Egypt.  She returned after the war, but with Turkish hostility had to take the orphans to Syria.  In WWII she ran canteens for troops in the Lebanon, employing her former orphans.  She died in 1950 and is buried in the Anglo-American Cemetery in Bierut.

Mark Frearson of the 7th Dragoons

Mark Baguley Frearson is notable for his brief military service in the 1840 to 1850 period as found from his file at The National Archives.   

He served in the “Red Dragoons” – the 7th Dragoon Guards in South Africa during the “War of the Axe” and later in Ireland.  He left the army, possibly dispirited by the peace keeping duties in Ireland.  Having allowed the escape of a prisoner on escort, hwas court marshalled and demoted back to Private.  During this confinement, he became “drunk whilst on a charge of Court Marshall” and received a further three days “bread and water”.  Soon afterwards he left the service.  He became a vet in Sheffield, benefiting from his experience with the Dragoons and following in his father’s footsteps.

Isaac and Joseph Frearson of Ockbrook

Isaac Frearson and his brother, Joseph Frearson, [the 6 x great grandfather of the coordinator of this study] with three others, were sued in the 1740s by the Rector of Ockbrook, Derbyshire, for non-payment of tithes.   After a long hearing at Lichfield Ecclesiastical Court, the case was found “not proven, and all five defendants were found not guilty and awarded their costs.  The vicar was later excommunicated.  [The documents are in Lichfield Record Office].

It was Isaac Frearson who later invited a preacher with Moravian connections to Ockbrook.  This resulted in a Moravian community being set up, and Isaac later sold his land to the Moravian church.  The Moravian community is still in the village today – and some of the Frearson family became members of the Moravian community and two are buried in their graveyard behind their chapel.  [The Moravian Archives have an abundance of Frearson material].

A lecture on the Frearsons of Ockbrook is available.

Joseph and Henry Frearson of Nottingham

Joseph and Henry Frearson were thought to be cousins, but now appear to have been brothers.  They were both Lace Manufacturers in Nottingham and pillars of the Baptist church.  In due course they both won seats on the first Town Council of Nottingham.  Joseph was a founding partner of the Frearson and Vickers Lace Factory – both men were Baptists, and after Joseph left the firm, Vickers also became a Councillor and later Mayor of Nottingham.  Joseph died comparatively young in the 1840s. 

Henry Frearson had also manufactured Lace making machines and lived into old age as a philanthropist.  He collected for the chapel funds and made much of his land available for allotments for the workers who lost their jobs as a result of mechanisation.  He funded an expedition to North East Texas by his nephew-in-law, Dr Edward Smith, to investigate its suitability for colonisation – again with a view to assisting his fellow men.  Dr Smith’s daughter was later to marry the first Baron Younger.  His pocket watch, made by John Foster of Liverpool, was recently sold on EBay.  The Study was out-bid – but a message via seller to the buyer [who found it a less good collector’s piece than hoped] enabled it to be purchased.  The watch is not in its original silver case – but the inscription on the back plate is in good condition reading “For H Frearson – Heanor”.

First World War Frearsons

As was the case for most families in the land, a considerable number of Frearsons served, and a high proportion lost their lives in the First World War.  They have all been studied and their family contexts established. 

Cecil Frearson[on the Derby 2/3 Treewas a pharmacist who was wounded and declared ‘unfit for service’.  His Regiment successfully fought his discharge, and he remained in service, doing invaluable administrative work at his Regiment’s home base.  His Pharmaceutical College Medal [below] was bought on EBay.

                          Cyril Frearson’s Medal – obverse

                                 Cyril Frearson’s Medal – reverse

Frearson Family Trees

Family trees for many Frearson families have been established by use of census data and other sources.  These are being further extended using contacts via Genes Reunited and similar sites.  The Family Trees and their references are listed on the Frearson Family Tree page.

Back to the:   Frearson One-Name Study