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John Raisbeck was born on June 11, 1826 in Waverbridge, Bolton, Cumberland, England to Thomas Raisbeck and Elizabeth Fawcett. His father, Thomas, died when he was not even 4 years old. His mother remarried to Robert Corrie in 1838. John lived in Welton, Cumberland, England from 1838 with his siblings, mother, and stepfather. John first worked as a blacksmith. The smiths forge was behind the public house in Welton.
John married Phoebe Bell on March 2, 1850 at the register office in Wigton, Cumberland, England. Shortly after their marriage, they immigrated to the United States. They departed from Liverpool, England on a ship called the Ivanhoe. They arrived in New York City on May 13, 1850. John and Phoebe made their way to New Castle, Pennsylvania, and settled there. They are record in the 1850 Census in New Castle. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1851. In the United States, John worked as a miner.
Phoebe was partially sighted and was told an operation in America might help. When it was found they couldn't help her, she wanted to return to England and so they returned and were living there by 1853. By this time most of John's family had moved to County Durham to work in the coal mines, so John and Phoebe joined them here. John and Phoebe had more children in England. They lived in Little Chilton Colliery, County Durham, England at the time of the 1861 census. Phoebe died in 1869 and so windower John Raisbeck raised his younger children after Phoebe's death with the help of his sister, Dinah Nattress. They lived on George Street in Spennymoor, County Durham, (Whitworth Parish) at the time of the 1871 census. In 1881, John and his family lived in Byers Green and he worked at the mine there.
John remarried about 1881 to Eleanor, possibly with the maiden name of Scott. An Eleanor is listed next to his household in the 1881 census, but it is not known if this is the same Eleanor. They immigrated to the United States in 1881 and they were living in Ridgeway, Elk County, Pennsylvania in 1900. Some of John's children were living in this part of Pennsylvania at this time, including his daughter, Sarah Harrison. John died in Ridgeway and is buried there.
- 1841 England Census, Sebergham, Cumbria, England
- 1850 United States Federal Census, New Castle, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
- 1861 England Census, Chilton, Durham, England
- 1871 England Census, Whitworth, Spennymoor, Durham, England
- 1881 England Census
- Ivanhoe passenger list, May 13, 1850