Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The family of David Murdoch (1835–1879): a journey from Scotland to the New World

This is the story of a 19th century couple, David Murdoch and Harriett Parkes. Born in the 1830s into modest backgrounds, both had brothers who were more successful than they were. Married in 1859, they had nine children: one died as a baby and another died in her twenties. David had a short career as a minor civil servant but eventually went off the rails, abandoning his family and emigrating to Australia in 1873 where he died from drink in Sydney in 1879. Harriett, left behind in Britain unable to support her growing children, shipped off her five boys as “orphans” to Canada from where they later travelled south to the United States and established their own families. The two surviving girls both married in England and had children, some of whom also went to America. Harriett died in Manchester in 1911.

David’s father, John Murdoch (1788-1841) was born (like his father John before him) on the remote Lynemore Farm in the parish of Ardclach , Nairnshire between Nairn and Grantown-on-Spey in the Scottish highlands. David’s mother, Mary MacPherson (1790-?) was born in Corrybrough, a large house in Raigbeg a few miles west of Ardclach over the mountains in the parish of Moy & Dalarossie, Inverness-shire. The couple married at Ardlach in March 1815 when John was 27: Mary was 24, living in the parish of Calder, W of Glasgow, but their eldest child Elizabeth had already been baptised in Ardlach.

David’s brother John, who was to become a national figure in Scotland, was second born in 1818 at Lynemore where John senior farmed for the first 6 years of their marriage. They moved briefly to Culloden, a few miles west where George was born, and then the family went to stay for 6 years at Bonskeid House near the town of Pitlochry [Perth & Kinross] where Mary Ann and Charles were born. In 1827 the family moved to the remote Isle of Islay in Argyllshire and lived at Claggan farm a few miles from Islay House at Bridgend where father John Murdoch was the gamekeeper. Four more children (Walter, Alexander and twins Jessie and Janet) were born there, then David the ninth and last on 23 September 1834. Three of them (Alexander, Janet and David) were baptised together on 15 May 1835.

David was brought up in Claggan where the children helped on the farm. His brother John, 16 years older, left home to become an exciseman in 1838 when David was four. In 1840 or 1841 their father John died after a shooting accident, and in June 1841 the census shows widowed Mary with six children living at Claggan farm. In 1844 Mary was forced to leave the farm with her daughter Janet (known as Jessie) aged 11 and her son David aged 10. They were taken in by brother John who had been posted to Shuttleworth near Bury in Lancashire after he had worked for a period in Ireland. However, the very next year (1845) John was posted back to Bowmore on Islay so David and his mother and sister moved back too though they did not return to the farm at Claggan.

After two years there, John was posted in 1847 to nearby Campbeltown in Kintyre where the four lived for at least 5 years, including a 6-month residence in the village of Muasdale 14 miles further up the coast. At the census in 1851, David was a schoolboy of 15 living in Askinal Walk , Campbeltown, with his mother and elder brother John. Janet/Jessie was lodging in Edinburgh while completing her schooling. Soon afterwards their mother went to live with Jessie [Janet] who had become a school-mistress in Penycuik, Midlothian, south of Edinburgh. In 1853, when John was posted back to Ireland, David (19) may have joined his mother and sister.

By the time he is 20, David has had 6 weeks training in Edinburgh and qualified in April 1855 as an exciseman for the Inland Revenue, following in the footsteps of his elder brother. He worked in the Edinburgh “Collection” for 18 months before being posted to Orkney in December 1856. He remained there only 6 months as an “Expectant” until he was posted down to England in May 1857 as the assistant in Worcester, where a senior officer (before his death in 1854) had been one Frederick Parkes. It was another 2 years before David, who had been born and brought up in Scotland, married Fred’s daughter Harriett Jemima Parkes.


Frederick Parkes’ father Joseph had been born in Stoke Bardolph near Nottingham in 1788. He inherited £500 from an uncle and went to live in London where his father William kept a coffee-house. He married an Elizabeth and they had six children, all born in London. The eldest was Frederick, born August 16 1808 and baptised at St James. Frederick appears to have moved to Cambridgeshire and worked as a clerk, and in June 1834 he married Mary Ann Butler in the village of Barnwell on the edge of Cambridge. Their first daughter, Harriett Jemima was born in November 1835.

In September1837 when he was 29, Frederick became an excise officer in Cambridge. He was posted first to Oxford and then to Newtown, in the county of Powis in Wales where he appears in the 1841 census with his wife and now has three children. His moves took the family to Rhayader, and then to Lichfield, and finally, in May 1850, to Worcester where he appears in the census of 1851 with his wife and two small children, including a 3-year-old son Frederick, but not Amelia who had died in 1845 at the age of 6 or Louisa (14) who was an assistant to an embroiderer and living with her employer in Worcester. Harriett at 15 was living elsewhere at this time and has not been seen in UK census records: we do not know her training or occupation. In 1854, Fred “died of liver disease and dropsy”, leaving his widow Mary and four surviving children, the youngest being Frederick Charles (7) and the eldest Harriet who was 19. Harriet must have re-visited the family home in Worcester over the years, and got to know David Murdoch when he arrived to work there in 1857.

The couple were married in St Clements Church in Worcester on July 9 1859 when David was 25 and Harriett 24. Around that time David was posted to Nenagh in the county of Tipperary in central Ireland , and in the September of the following year (1860) he was posted to the market town of Bingham in Nottinghamshire where the family appears in the 1861 census in Church Street. Their eldest son, Roderick MacQueen, is shown as having been born in Ireland, presumably in Nenagh, before April 1860. The family later moved to nearby Fisher Lane in Bingham .

David’s place of work as excise officer was just across the road from their house in the Chesterfield Arms, the commercial inn where the county court was also held. Five children were born to the couple in their 6 year stay in Bingham, and all except the eldest of these were baptised in the parish church of St Michael’s and All Angels.

# Murdoch children’s first names Date of birth Place of birth
1 Roderick MacQueen April 9 1860 Nenagh, Ireland
2 Marian (Amy) Louisa April 18 1861 Bingham, Notts
3 Jessie Sept 22 1862 Bingham, Notts
4 Frederick Alexander June 25 1864 Bingham, Notts
5 Walter Douglas Sept 26 1865 Bingham, Notts
6 Colin Campbell Oct 10 1866 Bingham, Notts
7 Charles April 15 1868 Wakefield, Yorks
8 David Oct 17 1870 Liverpool, Lancs
9 Lucy Bradbury Aug 11 1872 Monmouth, Wales

Harriett’s mother may have stayed with them in Bingham as there is a record of a commercial farming transaction by a Mrs Parkes in December 1860. At Christmas-time in 1863, David’s brother John (at this time still an excise officer himself) visited the family in Bingham (where his own family were already staying) while he was on his way from Ireland via Crewe and Nottingham to London to be interviewed for a new post in Shetland.

At the end of 1866, David was posted to the small town of Wirksworth in Derbyshire (about 40 miles away) “having incurred the displeasure of the Board .” This is the first hint of a problem in David’s life and was perhaps a hint as to what would later befall. His whole career seems to have been a series of rather short postings: 9 in 17 years, by far the longest being his 6 years in Bingham. Their seventh child Charles was born in 1868 in Wakefield in Yorkshire where Harriett’s mother Mary was recorded (in the census of 1871) as living in her widowhood. The eighth child, David, was born in Liverpool in 1870 but died 2 days later. At the census in 1871, David (still a Revenue Officer) and Harriett were living in Bromsgrove with five children (Roderick, Jessie, Frederick, Walter and Colin) while Marion Louisa aged 12 (10?) seems to have been lodging at a dancing school in Coventry Road, Birmingham. Finally, Lucy Bradbury was born in August 1872 in Monmouth in South Wales , not far from where her grandfather Fred had been employed in 1841. David and Harriett’s married life together had been spent entirely in England except for a short period after their marriage in central Ireland.

It was in Monmouth at around the time of Lucy’s birth in 1872 that the Murdoch family life came to an untimely end. David was dismissed from his post as Excise officer for drunkenness and deserted his wife. He sailed to Australia and obtained a post as a Customs House Officer in Sydney. But he survived only six years and his death certificate gave intemperance as the cause of death. His affairs were taken care of there by his brother-in-law Frederick Parkes who was an established businessman in Sydney. So Harriett in her mid-thirties was left in Britain to struggle with at least six children, the eldest being 12, while her widowed mother Mary was 57 and living 200 miles away in Wakefield, Yorkshire.

Unable to care for the children on her own resources, Harriett had to make a most difficult decision. She entrusted five of them to Annie MacPherson-Marchmont organisation in London, who took them to Canada where they were placed first in Marchmont House in Quebec and then with families in the area where they were cared for and helped to learn a trade. The younger boys were sent first in 1872-3 at the ages of only six and seven. It may be that the older ones were kept back at first as being of some economic benefit to the home, but Roderick and Marion were sent over in 1873-4, when they were 13 years old. Soon after, in May 1875, Harriett herself sailed to Quebec to visit them, taking the three youngest (Jessie, Charles and Lucy) and they returned to Liverpool the same year bringing Marion back with them. Charles travelled independently to NY in 1888.

Birth order David & Harriett's family DoB Order Date of leaving Date arriving Ship Age
4 Frederick Alexander Murdoch 25/9/1864 1 8/8/1872 17/8/1872 Sarmatian 7
5 Walter MacIntosh Murdoch 25/9/1865 2 5/6/1873 18/6/1873 Moravian 7
6 Colin Douglas Murdoch 10/10/1866 5/6/1873 18/6/1873 Moravian 6
1 Roderick MacQueen Murdoch 9/4/1860 3 21/8/1873 31/8/1873 Prussian 13
2 Marion Louisa Murdoch 18/4/1861 4 21/5/1874 1/6/1874 Scandinavian 13
M Harriett Jemima Murdoch 1/11/1835 18/5/1875 Moravian 39
7 Charles Murdoch 15/4/1868 5 18/5/1875 7
9 Lucy Bradbury Murdoch 11/8/1872 2
3 Jessie Murdoch 22/9/1862 12

On their return from Canada, Harriett moved to Longsight, an area of Manchester a mile from the city centre. She begins to support herself doing needlework, but later sets herself up as a lodging-house keeper in Blackpool, Lancashire (then called Layton-with-Warbreck) . In 1891, Harriet is back in Manchester, living at 21 Everton Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock . Lucy is still at home with her, working as a mantle (dress-) maker, and so is her older daughter Jessie with her husband Frederick T Hazell (a grocery traveller) and their daughter Wilhelmina (aged 1, born there). Lucy became a piano teacher and by 1899, Lucy and Harriett have moved to nearby Wilson Street.

After Lucy had married at the local St Saviour’s church in Chorlton in 1899 and moved to Wybunbury in Cheshire, Harriett (now 65) went to lodge at 6 Chorlton Terrace nearby. Later she moved in with Jessie and the Hazell family at 289 Upper Brook Street, Chorlton were she died in June 1911. She is presumably buried in St Saviour’s churchyard which has survived the demolition of the church building.

Marian (?Marion; also known as Minnie or Amy Louisa ) went into training as a nurse in Manchester, but is thought to have died at 26 after an attempted abortion. She was not married.

Jessie, the second daughter, was a Salvation Army officer and at some stage a CMS missionary in Jerusalem. She married Frederick T Hazell, a grocery traveller, in c.1885 , in Chorlton-in-Medlock. In 1891 they lived in Chorlton with their first child, Wilhelmina M (aged 1 yr). In 1901 the family were in Ardwick, the next suburb of Manchester , with the first three of their four children: Wilhelmina Myra (11), Rudolph (8) and John (7).

Wilhelmina Myra, born in Q1 1890 in Chorlton where she was brought up, lived at the Beeches, Wistaston for a time while she was a student at the Reaseheath Agricultural College in NW Nantwich. She was musical like her aunt Lucy. She returned to Manchester as a telephonist, but died unmarried at the age of 36 in1928 leaving her estate to her brother John Murdoch Hazell . Rudolph Pung Hazell, born Q3 1892 in Chorlton, married Mary Ella Knight and had 5 children on Teeside. They became cut off from their relatives through the influence of the ‘Exclusive Brethren’ in the 1960s . John Murdoch married Ruth Topping and lived in Penwortham, SW of Preston, Lancs: they also belonged to the Brethren Church. Frederick, born in Chorlton in Q3 1904, is said to have had 2 wives, one named Daisy and the other Alice. He had 4 children, one of whom was named Myra after her aunt.

Lucy, Harriett’s youngest daughter, married Francis Joseph Wainwright (aged 25) at St Saviour's Parish Church in Chorlton-in-Medlock In October1899, when she was 27. They went to live near Nantwich in Cheshire, and had five children between 1900 and 1916: Eric Francis, Dorothy, Harold, Marjorie and Barbara. Eric enlisted in the army during WW1, and in 1921 went to India in some sort of disgrace, returning in 1925. In 1927 he went to Canada, married, but had no children. Dorothy trained as a nurse and served a year as a missionary in Nigeria in 1930. She married Willoughby Lambert and had twin daughters. Harold went to Canada in the twenties and became established in the automotive industry in Chicago. He married and had two children. Marjorie was also a nurse and married Leonard Patrick in 1939 and had four sons. Barbara, also a nurse, went to Meriden Connecticut to help care for her uncle Fred's wife in her last years. She married Fred Carter and they had four children all living in eastern US.

So of the eight children born of David and Harriett Murdoch, six produced 18 children between them. Their boys’ families are all in North America and so are the families of two of Lucy’s grandchildren. Jessie’s descendents are in the UK and so are the families of two of Lucy’s daughters. There are still at least 9 members of the family in each generation bearing the name Murdoch. It is good that so many of us are able to gather in California this month, to share our experiences and begin to re-unite our Murdoch tribe that was scattered because of the actions of David Murdoch, our great-grandfather.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jane Myatt of N Staffordshire (my 3*great-grandmother)

Richard and Mary Myatt lived in Wolstanton, Staffordshire at the end of the eighteenth century. They were probably born around 1760 and married around 1780. Their daughter Jane was born in 1782 and she was baptised in St Margaret’s Church, Wolstanton, on April 21. Six years later, another daughter, Anne, was born there and baptised on 24 August 1788. By 1795 the family had moved 8 miles SW to Maer where their son James was born. There may have been other children, including a Mary who died at birth in Abbots Bromley, Staffs, in 1805.

On February 16 1807 when she was a 25 year-old spinster, Jane Myatt married James Patrick in St Peter’s Church, Maer. James was a labourer from Stafford. They had seven children between 1807 and 1828, all born in Maer. Only the last died young and the third was William, my great-great-grandfather, who moved the Patrick family to Mow Cop.

In 1813, Jane’s sister Anne died in Maer at the age of 24 and was buried there on 24 April. Jane’s brother James Myatt became a tailor and married at a young age to a girl named Sarah from the next village of Chorlton: their first child, Anne, was baptised at Maer on October 15 1815, on the same day as her cousin George, the 4th child of Jane Myatt and James Patrick. Another daughter, Mary, was born in Chorlton in 1827 and a third, Emma, in Maer in 1828. Anne (13) and Emma (8 months) both died young in Maer in 1829 and were buried in the churchyard. By 1851, James and Sarah were again living in Chorlton with their surviving daughter Mary, and in the 1861 census they are shown as visitors in Burslem. James died in Wolstanton in 1867 aged 72.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1911 census released today


My father Leonard was 4 years old on Mow Cop in April 1911. Here he is with his father and mother, sisters Elizabeth and Evelyn, and brothers Fred and George.

Note that his father Benjamin is described as a stationary engineman, working above ground in a local colliery. They lived in a 3-room house just below the castle on the Staffordshire side of Mow Cop.

Note also that my grandmother had borne 10 children after 20 years of marriage, but only 5 were still alive.

Click on the picture to see it better, and then use the scrollbar without clicking on the enlarged image.
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The Nantwich Wainwrights in 1911


The Wainwrights lived in a 7-room house at The Beeches, Nantwich. They had four children including Marjorie, my mother, who was 3 years old. Francis Joseph Wainwright, my grandfather, was a Railway Clerk.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

James Patrick of Snowdrop Cottage, Mow Cop, mining engineer

James (my great-grandfather) was the first of the Mow Cop Patricks to be a skilled worker. His grandfather James (1786-1845) had been an agricultural labourer and his father William (1811-1879) was a collier who, in his sixties, also farmed 5 acres of Mow Cop land. James became a colliery engineer.

James was born in September 1832, the second son of William Patrick and Sarah Clark who had been married in Standon Church only the month before, having already had an older illegitimate son named Philip. James’ birthplace is shown in later censuses as being either in Bowers Bent, Whitmore, Newcastle or Maer Heath, but he was baptised in Standon Church, a few miles away from all these locations. By 1841 the family had moved to Madeley Heath where father William worked as a collier, probably at Leycett Colliery & Ironworks or Silverdale Colliery. Three more brothers were born there (but listed in census returns as nearby Talke-o-the-Hill): William (835), John (1837) and George (1839).

By 1845, however, William had moved the few miles NE from Madeley to the Staffordshire side of Mow Cop where the community was burgeoning because of the development of mining and quarrying. It was a rough place to live. A biographer of Hugh Bourne, the founder of Primitive Methodism, records that “the colliers of Kidsgrove and Harriseahead were quite as ignorant and debased as the Kingswood colliers of Wesley’s and Whitfield’s day. Drunken-ness, cock-fighting, bull-baiting, poaching, pugilism and profanity were rife. Apart from the chapel of ease at Newchapel (where James Brindley the canal engineer lies buried), there was no place of worship to be seen for miles”. It was to provide for this influx of working men and their families that a Primitive Methodist chapel (1841), a Wesleyan Methodist chapel (1842) and St Thomas’s Anglican Church (1842) were opened within a mile of Mow Cop castle . Both coal-mining and stone-quarrying were thriving on land owned by the Sneyd family of Keele Hall (now the site of the University of Keele). Although there were nine acres of trees and shrubs below the castle, and even more trees on the Cheshire side, there were also several small collieries on Mow Cop : near St Thomas’s church on the top of the hill, and at Stonetrough and Tower Hill further down towards Biddulph, as well as larger ones nearer Biddulph and towards Kidsgrove. A tunnel and tramway had been cut under the hill through to the Cheshire side to connect these mines with a wharf on the Macclesfield canal (opened in 1831) at Kent Green.

And so it was there on Mow Cop that another son and two daughters were born to the immigrant Patrick miners: Sarah (1846), Thomas (1847) and Mercy (1850). This made 8 children in the family. Mother Sarah died at 42 on Mow Cop in April 1850 , soon after the birth and early death of her last child. By then , 17 year-old James was the eldest son still at home and was employed as a coal miner like his father William (by contrast with his younger brothers who were just coal labourers). In 1851James acquired a step-mother, Mary Mellor, when William remarried in St Thomas’s Church.

In December 1858, James married at the age of 26. His bride was Maria Hancock, aged 20, from Brindley Ford, and the wedding was in St Margaret’s Church, Wolstanton. Their first child, Sarah Maria, was born in September 1860 in Harriseahead, and she appears in the 1861 census when the family were living at Stadmoreslow in the parish of Newchapel (on the SE slope of Mow Cop): James’s brother William is living next door with his wife Martha. James is now described as an engine-feeder while brother William is a coal miner. By 1871 , James and Maria were living on Mow Cop and had three more children: James (born 1865), William (1867) and Elizabeth (1870), but two other children had died in infancy: Joseph (in 1868) and another (in 1869). Another son, Benjamin (my grandfather), was born in May 1871 , a month after the census, and Mercy (1873) and Annie (1874) brought the number of births in this family to nine.

By 1881, James and Maria had moved to the Congleton Road, Mow Cop (probably at Snowdrop Cottage, the home today of Alma Crudginton). In 1878 Sarah the eldest daughter had married 21-yr-old John Cotterill, another local coal miner, and went on to have 7 children. So in 1881, only four of James and Maria’s children were still at home: James, William, Benjamin and Mercy, implying that Elizabeth and Annie had also died in childhood. James himself was now described as an engineer at [a] colliery, and young James (16) and William (14) were both coal miners. Benjamin (9) and Mercy (7) were at school, either at the National School at St Thomas’s Church (founded in 1845 in what is now the Sunday School building next to the church) or at the Wesleyan Day School (which had opened in 1874 on the ground floor of the chapel which is now a Chapel Museum).

In 1878, there were four generations of Patricks living in or near to Mow Cop. Grandfather William lived there with his second wife Mary until his death in 1879. As well as James and Maria and their children, James’ brother John lived down the hill in Brindley Ford with his second wife Harriett and his two children James and William , and his brother George lived in Stadmoreslow with his wife Elizabeth and son William H Patrick at least until 1871, though they had moved away to Lancashire before 1881. Elizabeth, James’ eldest niece (William’s great-grandchild), was born in 1878, when the Cotterills were still living on Mow Cop.

James’ eldest son James married Caroline Harding in 1887 and within three years they had produced three children, making a total of eight grand-children for James, including the five young Cotterills, all living on Mow Cop. Benjamin married Minnie Porter, a pottery painter from Pitts Hill, in February 1891 and went to live there with his new wife’s family, so by the time of the 1891 census only William (a coal miner) and Mercy and Annie (both at school) were still at home with their parents. William married Ann Bailey in Wolstanton in 1893 and moved away to Wolstanton village, and although he is said to be have been a good engineer he left the mines, served an apprenticeship and by 1901 was a journeyman bricklayer.

Maria Patrick died in October 1899 and was buried in St Thomas’s Church just six months after their youngest child Annie (25) had been married there. James (now a widower at the age of 67) soon employed 23-year-old Annie Hancock, who was probably a young relative of his late wife, as a resident house-helper. Annie, a spinster , already had a son who was born in 1899 and known as Bert Hancock. But Annie was more than a housekeeper to James: in January 1901 she bore him a daughter, Gladys Patrick, and in the following year, at the age of about 70 and notwithstanding the age-gap of 44 years, James married her at Wolstanton Register Office on 26 March 1902, and he is described on the certificate as a colliery engine-man. They continued to live in Snowdrop Cottage with its magnificent outlook over Biddulph and the Moor beyond, and had three more daughters together: Lillian, Mary and Annie, born between July 1902 and January 1908 (when James was 76).

We can find James in every Staffordshire census between 1841 and 1901, discovering that he came from Madeley Heath to Mow Cop with his parents, followed his father into the coal mines, married two local girls, and established himself in Snowdrop Cottage on Mow Cop as a family man and a mining engineer. His sons also made careers for themselves locally: James (born 1865) became the manager of the waterworks on Mow Cop, and said to be the first person there to have a telephone and a flush toilet. William (1867) became a colliery engineer and inventor before retraining as a bricklayer in Wolstanton after an injury. Benjamin (1871) followed in his father’s footsteps as a colliery engineer and was overseeing the operation of the underground steam engines as a “tenter ” in 1901. James Patrick senior died in November 1912 at the age of 80, and was buried in St Thomas's churchyard, leaving his widow in Snowdrop Cottage. Early in 1914 Annie (then 38) married Jacob Ikin (aged 36) in St Thomas’s and went on to have two more daughters: Alma (Crudgington) who lives there to this day, and Joan.

A summary of James Patrick’s life:
Born September 1832 in Bowers Bent, Standon, Staffordshire
Baptised 23 September 1832 in All Saints Church, Standon, Staffordshire
Married (1) December 1858: Maria Hancock in St Margaret’s Church, Wolstanton
Married (2) March 1902: Annie Hancock in the Register Office in Wolstanton
Died November 1912 at Snowdrop Cottage, Mow Cop
Buried 13 November 1912 in St Thomas’s Churchyard, Mow Cop

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

William Patrick (1811-1879): the man who brought the Patricks to Mow Cop

Our branch of the Patrick family arrived in Mow Cop in Staffordshire in 1845, and several descendants (through female lines) live there to this day . The man responsible for that move to Mow Cop was my great-great-grand-father William. He had been born in 1811 in Maer village, between Newcastle-under-Lyme and Market Drayton along the Cheshire border and 18 miles to the SW of Mow Cop, and he died on Mow Cop in 1879.

William’s father, James Patrick, had married Jane Myatt in St Peter’s Church, Maer in February of 1807 (the year of the first Primitive Methodist Camp Meeting on Mow Cop): both were in their early twenties. Jane was the daughter of Richard and Mary Myatt from Wolstanton, an extensive parish to the north of Newcastle-under-Lyme. She was already pregnant at the time of their marriage and their first child was christened Mary in Maer church three months later. Their second, Joseph, was born on 16 September 1809 and christened the next day. The names of these first two children suggest that these Patricks might have been a church-going family. Our William was the next child, christened on 28 March 1813 , but he was probably born earlier, in 1811 . Four further children were born to the family in Maer: George (October 1815 ), Catharine (August 1821 ), Samuel (May 1825 ) and finally Edward (May 1828 ) who died when he was only 2½ years old and was buried in Maer churchyard.

In a family with six children at home, the boy William would have grown up in relative poverty. Maer parish had a population of only 382 in scattered hamlets in 1801, rising to 505 in 1831. St Peter’s Church (above) was in the centre of the community, standing next to Maer Hall (left), the home since 1807 of Josiah Wedgwood II the potter, and it was in this same church that his daughter Emma Wedgwood married her cousin Charles Darwin in January 1839 . Emma had helped with the Sunday school held in Maer Hall laundry, and the Patrick children may have been taught by her. William’s father’s occupation is unknown, but he was probably an agricultural labourer in this predominantly farming district where the common land had just been enclosed by freeholders and James may even have worked on the Wedgwood estate itself. All his sons, however, became coal-miners . Maer is just off the old London to Chester road (now the A51), and close to the road between (Market) Drayton and Newcastle (A53). By this time a network of turnpike roads served the whole of N Staffordshire, facilitat¬ing communication and trade.

William’s elder sister and brother were both married in St Peter’s church and left home while he was still in his late teens. Mary married Joseph Clarke, an agri-cultural labourer, on 3 July 1827 when she was 21, but died when their only daughter Ann, born in 1828 , was still very young . Joseph married Margaret Murphey on 16 December 1829 when he was 20, and they had seven children all born locally (several of whom later migrated to W Yorkshire).

That same year (1829) our William fathered an illegitimate son, Philip , and only married the boy’s mother, Sarah Clark, three years later. Sarah had been born in 1811 in Madeley , four miles to the north, and was living in Bowers Bent, a hamlet in the parish of Standon, a small village three miles south-east of Maer. The two eventually married in the parish church of All Saints, Standon on 28 August 1832 just before the birth of their second son, our great-grandfather James, who was christened at the same church four weeks later. James’ birthplace, however, is given in some later censuses as Whitmore, 2 miles away on the road to Newcastle, and William and Sarah may have been living there from the time of their marriage or even before.

Soon thereafter William and Sarah moved to Madeley Heath, part of the village of Madeley (Staffs) with 1500 residents. There they had three further sons: William (born 1835), John (1837) and George (1839) whose births were registered at Talke-o-the-Hill. William probably worked as a collier at the Leycett Colliery & Ironworks or Silverdale Colliery which were providing coal for pottery manufacture in Newcastle. Communications in the area had been greatly enhanced by the opening in 1834 of the Grand Trunk Railway which linked Manchester and Birmingham and had stations at Whitmore and Madeley.

By 1845, however, William had moved to the Staffordshire side of Mow Cop. The community there was burgeoning because of the development of mining and quarrying, and it was a rough place to live. A biographer of Hugh Bourne records his opinion that “the colliers of Kidsgrove and Harriseahead were quite as ignorant and debased as the Kingswood colliers of Wesley’s and Whitfield’s day. Drunkenness, cock-fighting, bull-baiting, poaching, pugilism and profanity were rife. Apart from the chapel of ease at Newchapel (where James Brindley the canal engineer lies buried), there was no place of worship to be seen for miles”. It was to provide for this influx of working men and their families that a Primitive Methodist chapel (1841), a Wesleyan Methodist chapel (1842) and St Thomas’s Anglican Church (1842) were opened near to the castle. Both coal-mining and stone-quarrying were thriving on land owned by the Sneyd family of Keele Hall now the site of the University of Keele). Although there were several acres of trees and shrubs below the castle on the Staffordshire side, and even more trees on the Cheshire side, there were also several small collieries on Mow Cop: near St Thomas’s church on the top of the hill, and at Stonetrough and Tower Hill further down towards Biddulph. Some of these mines were rather simple, using bell-pits or sloping shafts from the surface . A tunnel and tramway had been cut under the hill connected these mines with the Williamson wharf on the Macclesfield canal (opened in 1831 and linking James Brindley’s Trent & Mersey canal to Maccles-field) at Kent Green.

It was there on Mow Cop that another son and two daughters were born to the newly-immigrant Patricks: Sarah in 1846, and then Thomas in 1847 who died in infancy. In March 1850 Sarah senior gave birth to her last child Mercy, but both mother (aged 39) and baby died within a month and were buried in St Thomas’s Churchyard on Mow Cop in April 1850. So during their marriage of 18 years, Sarah carried at least eight pregnancies and probably died of the consequences.

Living on Mow Cop, the newly-widowed William employed a widow from Audley named Margaret Davenport of about his own age as a resident servant to help look after his surviving children . Philip, the eldest son, aged 20 in 1851, was lodging with the Green family on Williamsons Row nearby , but the next four sons, James, William, John and George (aged 18 down to 12), were living at home. Sarah, the youngest at 6 years, was at school. That year (1851) their father William re-married at St Thomas’s Church: his second wife was Mary Mellor, a 40 year old widow from Ashton-under-Lyme in Lancashire. She brought two young daughters and a son to live with them, and also had four older children who had left home. William and Mary do not appear to have had more children together.

In 1855, the family celebrated at St Thomas’s, Mow Cop the wedding of William (20) who married Martha Hancock, the youngest child of a Longport potter. The following year John (19) married Lydia at St Margaret’s Parish Church in Wolstanton and lived next door to William and Mary . Then at Christmas-time in 1858 when he was 26 years old, James then married Maria Hancock, a 19-year-old girl from Brindley Ford, also in St Margaret’s Church. In 1863 George (24) married Elizabeth Trueman at St Thomas’s, Mow Cop. By 1871, all William’s own children had left home and he and Mary were living with Mary’s children by her previous marriage. Now aged 60, William made a living as a coal-carrier and as a farmer with 5 acres of land on Mow Cop.

William would have known many of his grandchildren who still lived locally. James and Maria produced nine children (including a William and a Benjamin) between 1860 and 1874; John had only one son, William, born in 1860 before his first wife died, and his brother George had another William in 1865. William’s second wife Mary died at the age of 64 in 1875 , after 24 years marriage, leaving him a widower yet again. William himself died in February 1879, aged 68, and was buried in St Thomas’s churchyard.

So William, the man who brought the Patrick family to Mow Cop, started life in poverty as one of a six surviving children of an agricultural labourer in Maer. He worked for most of his life as an unskilled collier in the expanding coal industry of the North Staffs coalfield, moving to Mow Cop in 1845 and ultimately working as a coal-carrier but also farming five acres of land. A family man, twice married, with eight children (including James my great-grandfather) and a dozen grandchildren (including Benjamin my grandfather), he ended his days on Mow Cop where some of his descendants have lived for a further 100 years.

A summary of William Patrick’s life:
Born September 1811 in Maer Moss, Staffordshire
Baptised 28 March 1813 in St Peter’s Church, Maer, Staffordshire
Married (1) 28 August 1832: Sarah Clark in All Saints Church, Standon, Staffordshire
Married (2) June 1851: Mary Mellor at St Thomas’s Church, Mow Cop, Staffordshire
Died February 1879 at Mow Cop, Staffordshire
Buried 8 February 1879 in St Thomas’s churchyard, Mow Cop

Monday, August 25, 2008

New photos of my grandparents discovered

These pictures were copied from photos in the album of my cousins Phyllis and Menes in Blackpool. (a) My grandmother Minnie (nee Porter) in a relatively relaxed moment [ca. 1916], and (b) my grandfather Benjamin Patrick and his second wife Sarah Ann (nee Lovatt) [ca.1950]

Monday, April 21, 2008

Marjorie Murdoch Wainwright (April 20 1908 to April 13 1998)

Marjorie Murdoch Wainwright (my mother) was born on April 20 1908 at Overton House, Willaston, nr Nantwich. She was the fourth of five children of Francis Joseph Wainwright, a railway accountant then aged 34, and Lucy Bradbury Murdoch, aged 36. She had two brothers, Eric (8) and Harold (4), and a sister Dorothy (6). Soon afterwards, the family moved a short distance to The Beeches, Crewe Road, Wistaston (halfway between Nantwich and Crewe) which remained the family home until 1958.

Marjorie was first educated at Wistaston School less than a mile from home, and later at the Nantwich and Acton Grammar School, about three miles away in Welsh Row on the west side of Nantwich. When she was 8 (in 1916) a younger sister, Barbara, was born and her older sister Dorothy had to leave school at 14 to help look after the family at home. Her eldest brother Eric had served as a soldier in Germany and after the war worked in a bank in Crewe before going off to India in some sort of disgrace in 1921 when Marjorie was 13. She matriculated from her grammar school probably at the age of 16 in the summer of 1924.

Marjorie only knew a few relations: she had a single aunt on each side of her family in the UK. Her mother Lucy’s sister Jessie was living in Chorlton, near Manchester, with her husband Frederick Hazell and their four children (all older than her). Her maternal uncles had all emigrated to North America after the desertion and death of their father David Murdoch in 1873, though Uncle Fred, the dentist, came back to visit Nantwich in 1932 . On her father’s side, Frank’s only surviving sister Florence lived locally in Wybunbury with her husband Samuel Potts and five children (again all older) and Marjorie kept up contact all her life with the youngest, her cousin Irene Ward (known as Rene, née Potts).

The family belonged to the Methodist Church in Hospital Street, Nantwich, and her sister Dorothy eventually married Willoughby, the son of Rev David Lambert who was the minister there between 1916 and 1919. Her mother Lucy was a regular attender at the Sisterhood between 1911 and 1927, and sang in the choir, as did Dorothy and Marjorie.

After leaving school, Marjorie spent 5 years at home without gainful employment, but at the age of 21, in September 1929, she started nurse training at the Nottingham General Hospital Nursing School. She lived in the new Nurses’ War Memorial Home where the rules were strict and supervision tight, but she was able to return to Nantwich for annual three-week holidays. She had a long period of illness in her first year and this may have contributed to her failing her first state examination in February 1931, though she passed it in the May. She passed the Final State Examination in February 1933 and finished the course in December 1933 as a State Registered Nurse. She probably went to Leeds to complete the midwifery part of her training.

On qualifying as a nurse and midwife, she returned to Wistaston to live at home with her parents and work as a health visitor in Crewe until her marriage in 1939, aged 31. Barbara had also been living at The Beeches until soon after their mother died in January 1938: in May that year she went to live with their uncle Fred Murdoch, a dentist in Connecticut, USA.

Marjorie had met Leonard Patrick at a Temperance Rally in 1922 when she was 16 and he was 18, but it was 1936, when he was a middle-manager in a textile factory in Congleton, before they fell in love. He came from a very disturbed family background on Mow Cop on the Staffordshire border 10 miles away: his mother had committed suicide when he was 10 and he had been withdrawn from Macclesfield Grammar School at 14 after only one year on a scholarship. However, by then he was a popular Methodist local preacher and had educated himself at night-school, holding down a responsible job and supporting his father and step-mother. In 1937 Leonard started working as Area Officer with the Associated Road Operators in Broad Street in the centre of Hanley.

They were married at Hospital Street Methodist Church, Nantwich, on her 31st birthday, Thursday April 20 1939. The reception was held at Churche's Mansions, a splendid Tudor building nearby, and it looks as though no expense was spared. They spent their honeymoon at an hotel at Blue Anchor Bay, Minehead, in Somerset.

They first went back to live with Marjorie’s father Frank at The Beeches for three months before moving to a rented house at 3 Delves Place in The Westlands, a newly-built model estate in Newcastle-under-Lyme. This would have been an enormous step for both of them, living independently of their parents for the first time after many years and in a place new to them. Marjorie would have given up her nursing job, probably on marriage and certainly on moving to Newcastle. Their semi-detached house was new and spacious, much bigger than the modest workman’s cottage that Leonard had known on Mow Cop for 20 years. They joined the new Methodist Church at the Westlands , now called St Peter’s. I was born there in March 1940 , their first child.

In July 1940 Leonard moved to Birmingham to take up a new job with the Commercial Motor Users Association whose offices were in the centre of Birmingham at 60 Newhall Street. The family lived in a rented house at 51 Webb Lane, a quiet and leafy suburban lane in Hall Green. A second son, David, was born there in July 1942 and Marjorie had a miscarriage in 1943. All confinements were conducted at home with the help of a midwife and under the supervision of old Dr Stubbs, a general practitioner on Stratford Road, Hall Green. This was wartime, and South Birmingham was bombed many times between August 1940 and April 1943. Leonard served in the ARP , being exempt from military service because he was in a reserved employment. He kept chickens in the garden in which he also grew vegetables and American relations sent food-parcels once in a while. With the end of hostilities in sight, Peter was born in August 1944, and then Malcolm in May 1946; in peacetime but in a period of continuing hardship and food rationing. So when Marjorie reached the age of 40 (in 1948) she was blessed with a husband in secure employment, a pleasant home in Birmingham (which they had purchased) and a growing family of four boys. Her nurse training gave her skills which helped her care for them. Leonard was promoted several times and made a success of his career in transport.

After the war, the four boys were brought up in a happy and supportive home. Malcolm had been born with mild spina bifida giving him a slightly deformed leg and a limp which had been treated by physiotherapy. The other boys were healthy: all attended Hall Green Primary School about a mile away and they first went to a Sunday School at the Congregational Church in Etwall Road and later to Hall Green Methodist Church. Family entertainment comprised outings on foot to local parks and weekend drives to places like the Clent Hills, Malvern or Henley-in-Arden. On Whit Monday Bank Holidays there was a local horse show and several times a season Leonard and the older boys would go to watch League football at West Bromwich Albion. Summer holidays were spent at beach resorts in England and Wales. In 1946, the family stayed in a caravan on the sands at Dyffryn north of Barmouth. In later years they would spend one or two weeks in boarding-houses in places like Aberdovey, Prestatyn and Boscombe, suggesting a relative prosperity that Leonard could not have imagined 20 years earlier. The family would make the 60-mile journey to Nantwich two or three times a year to see Marjorie’s father, with whom Leonard got on well and for whom he would do heavy gardening tasks like turning the compost in “the hole”.

After primary school, the two eldest boys moved on to King Edwards School, Birmingham (a direct grant school), Peter went to Wheelers Lane Secondary Modern School, and Malcolm to King Edwards Camp Hill Grammar School which had just relocated to Kings Heath. In 1953 the family moved from Webb Lane to a large detached house at 56 Tixall Road, Hall Green, which they purchased with the help of a legacy to Marjorie from her uncle Fred Murdoch. A sign of their raised aspirations was the arrangement Marjorie had for a “traveller” to visit weekly from Barrows to take her order for groceries to be delivered to the door. As her sons grew less demanding, Marjorie volunteered to start a new Girl Guide Company at Hall Green Methodist Church. Leonard was a local preacher, Sunday School Superintendent and church steward there, so they were pillars of that thriving community where three of their sons were eventually to meet their wives.

When Marjorie was almost 50 (in 1958) her father Frank died in his own home at the age of 82 and was buried in Nantwich. In his later years he had been cared for by a housekeeper, and Marjorie and Leonard had been preparing to extend the house at Tixall Road ready to have him to live there. His estate was divided equally between the five children (three in N America and one in Scotland) but it was complicated by the possession of four terraced houses in Crewe which were a liability and soon sold off.

By 1958 she had four sons at secondary school and the eldest was preparing to go to University College, Oxford, the first person on either side of the family to get to university. Two others followed, graduating in due course from Durham and Cardiff. John qualified as a doctor and went off to Nigeria for his first job and then settled in Dundee as a university lecturer. David became a secondary school teacher and worked for a year in Birmingham before moving to Bristol and Bath. Peter was trained as a chef and worked in restaurants in Birmingham, and was the last son to live at Tixall Road. Malcolm graduated in engineering and after working for Rolls Royce in Derby moved back to Birmingham to work for Gillette.

David never found a wife but by 1970, John, Peter and Malcolm had all been married at Hall Green Methodist Church, and in 1975 the last of Marjorie’s eight grandchildren (five boys and three girls) was born. Four lived nearby and she was able to see them develop through infancy. The other four grand-children spent most of their early years away in tropical countries but visited Birmingham most years for festivals and holidays. However, the whole family met together very rarely. Marjorie visited her sister Dorothy in Scotland occasionally: Barbara visited from the US two or three times and Harold came once. Her brother Eric returned to try to settle in UK in his declining years but this attempt failed and he returned to Vancouver where he died in 1965. In 1961 and 1965 Marjorie and Leonard flew to New York to spend time with Barbara and Fred in Meriden, Connecticut, and in 1971 Marjorie went alone. Marjorie’s health was reasonably good, though she suffered with gall-bladder disease for which she had surgery in Birmingham in her fifties.

In January 1976, when Marjorie was 68 and Leonard 70, the family was devastated by the tragic suicide of their youngest son Malcolm , not yet thirty. He left a widow Anne and two young daughters Rachel and Louise. Family relationships were not really strong enough to help them through it, and their grief and incomprehension hardly lightened with the passage of years. Soon afterwards they moved a mile from Tixall Road to 39 Painswick Road, Hall Green, a semi-detached house not unlike their earlier one in Webb Lane, despite the fact that Leonard was beginning to struggle with arthritis which made walking painful. By this time David was working in Birmingham again and Peter was living in Solihull, so they had some local family support. John and his family visited from Nottingham fortnightly. They enjoyed their small garden and continued with church work. Leonard died in the Birmingham General Hospital after a short illness in December 1983.

Marjorie was left a widow with a rather modest pension at the age of 75. She continued to drive for a while, but became increasingly disabled by a series of falls attributed to poor cerebral circulation. Eventually, she moved into the Grey Gables residential home in Acocks Green and the house was sold to pay the fees. She suffered a facial burn after a fall against a hot radiator and was admitted to Selly Oak Hospital for treatment. She was then moved to the Prince of Wales Nursing Home in Solihull Lodge, Birmingham, where she died just before her 90th birthday in April 1998. The last survivor of her Wainwright family, she was cremated at Robin Hood Cemetery, Solihull, within sight of Malcolm’s grave, just as Leonard had been 15 years before. She left three sons (John Murdoch, David Francis and Peter Leonard), eight grand-children (David, Jonathan, Daniel and Joseph; Leigh and Katie; Rachel and Louise) and one great-grandson (Daniel).

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Our Nantwich Wainwrights

1. Thomas Wainwright (1770-1852): Wybunbury weaver and property-owner
Thomas Wainwright (my mother’s great-great-grandfather) was born in the parish of Wybunbury, Cheshire in June 1770. His father John Wainwright had married Elizabeth Briscall in the parish church of St Chad, Wybunbury on 5 March 1768 , after his first wife, Hannah Whalley had died. Thomas, possibly an only child, was baptised in the same church on 5 June 1770 . Thomas became a cordwainer (shoemaker) as a young man and when he was almost 26, on 3 May 1796, he married 20-year-old Ann Davies. She had been born outside the county in 1776 but was presumably living in Nantwich where they were married in St Mary’s Parish Church .

Their first child, John (named after his grandfather) had already been baptised in Wybunbury the year before on 18 October 1795 , and ten further children were born to the marriage between 1797 and 1821, nine boys and two girls. The fifth was Joseph who was born in May 1806 . All eleven children lived to adulthood. All got married except two: William (b 1797) who lived with his much younger brother Arthur (b 1821), and Hannah (b. 1802) who kept house for her father after her mother Ann died.

Thomas became a cotton weaver in later life and acquired some wealth. He established his family in the village of Willaston Heath on a substantial plot of land on the corner of Warren Lane (now Wybunbury Road) and Cheerbrook Lane (now Road) which comprised a dwelling-house, outbuildings and a blacksmith’s shop where Joseph worked . He had also managed to acquire other land and property in Willaston , as well as four cottages in Tunstall, Staffs . His wife Ann died in 1849 after 53 years of marriage, and two years later Thomas himself died aged 82 in Willaston on 4 November 1851 , shortly after he had written his will . He is buried in Wybunbury churchyard .

Thomas provided an annuity of £10 a year for his unmarried daughter Hannah, and left the Willaston land on Warren Lane for the use of his sons (or their sons) in strict order of seniority as tenants for life. His executors were his sons John and Joseph. His great-grandson, Francis Joseph, was later to rebuild the house (called Warren House since 1871) on that site and it remained in the family for at least 50 years.

2. Joseph Wainwright (1806-1879): Willaston farmer & blacksmith

Joseph (my great-great-grandfather) was born on 13 May 1806 in the parish of Wybunbury, Cheshire and baptised in the parish church there on June 8. His father Thomas was a shoemaker (later a cotton weaver) who had acquired some property in Tunstall as well as a house in Warren Lane in Willaston Heath. Thomas and his wife Ann (née Davis) had at least eleven children who all survived to adulthood and lived in the neighbourhood.

When he was 26 Joseph married Eleanor Bickley (21) in Nantwich Parish Church and they had nine children between 1835 and 1858. In 1841 Joseph and his young family of four children were in Willaston, owning a house with about 3 acres of land to W of Wistaston Road and farming a further 17 acres on the Middlewich Road NE of Nantwich . He also owned two plots in the village of Shavington, amounting to 2.5 acres. His oldest brother William was living at a farmstead on the Newcastle Road, Wybunbury . Another brother John lived with his wife Alice on a plot on Crewe Road, Wistaston : he farmed several acres of land including a plot north of the Crewe Road at Cheneybrook, Nantwich and another off Cheerbrook Road, Willaston .

By 1851, Joseph and Eleanor were still at Wistaston Road, Willaston and had six children, but he was now a blacksmith. His father Thomas died that year, naming Joseph and John as executors and trustees, and leaving his Warren Lane property to Joseph . By 1861, Joseph and Eleanor had produced another son, George, and were living in Warren House, Willaston Heath and Joseph was farming 8 acres of land.

By 1871 Joseph had been widowed and, at 65, was still living at Warren House with his oldest child Mary (an unmarried letter-carrier at 36) and his youngest child George (an apprentice tailor of 16). His son Joseph (born 1846) had married a 19-year-old local girl, Ellen Green, in the Parish Church in Wybunbury in 1868. He died in 1879, aged 73 years, and was buried in [Nantwich or] Wybunbury.

3. Joseph Wainwright (1840 -1886): Willaston trader, traveller and house-builder

Joseph (my mother’s grandfather) was born in the new family home at Warren House, Willaston on June 25 1840, the fourth of nine children of Joseph Wainwright and Eleanor Bickley who had been married in Nantwich in 1831. In 1851 the ten-year-old was living in Willaston and he was still at home there in 1861, working as a turner.

In 1868 he married Ellen Green, a 19-year-old local girl, in Wybunbury. They had four children. The first, Ada Lydia, died young and is buried in Wybunbury churchyard . Francis Joseph was born in Willaston at the end of 1874, and a sister, Florence, followed .

Joseph is absent from the Cheshire 1871 census, but may have been visiting the southern states of America where he got the idea for the design of a house with porch and balcony that he subsequently had built for himself in Wybunbury: The Hollies, now identified as 14 Main Road . There had been a house on the site before , and he bought the land from Richard Oulton in 1878 and the orchard from the Church Council in 1886 . The house bears a plaque “JW 1879” on the front gable. But in the 1881 census three years later, Joseph and Ellen are living elsewhere in Willaston, running the Post Office and General Stores on the corner of Eastern Road opposite the railway station , and their two surviving children Francis Joseph and Florence are with them. Joseph was later described as a miller .

Joseph died in December 1886, aged only 45, and was buried in the family grave in Wybunbury churchyard . Ellen, his widow, moved to The Hollies before 1890 with her two children and in 1894 made a will in their favour . But in December 1898 Florence was married, and by the spring of 1899 Frank had left home and Ellen was being treated for depression. She committed suicide there in May 1899, aged 51 : she is also buried in the churchyard . The house was sold to farmer William Robinson by the executors (Francis Wainwright and Florence Potts) in 1899 .

4. Francis Joseph Wainwright (1874 -1958): Crewe railway official

Francis Joseph (my maternal grandfather) was born in December 1874 in Willaston, Cheshire, the second of four children of Joseph Wainwright jnr and Ellen Green who had been married in Wybunbury Church in 1868. His elder sister Ada Lydia died at 4 when Frank was still a toddler, but a younger sister, Florence, survived to adulthood. In 1881, Frank and Florence were living with their parents at the Post Office and General Stores run by his father in Willaston , on the corner of Eastern Road opposite the railway station. But in 1886 when he was only 12, Frank’s father died at the age of 46, and Ellen moved with the children to the house Joseph had built in the main street of Wybunbury: The Hollies.

By the time Frank was 17 he was employed as a junior clerk in Nantwich or possibly Crewe. In May 1899, when he was 25, his mother Ellen committed suicide at the age of 50 , and she was buried in Wybunbury churchyard , . The executors were Frank and Florence (who had been married to Samuel Potts a few months before), and they sold to The Hollies to farmer William Robinson .

In October 1899, Frank married Lucy Bradbury Murdoch, a piano teacher, in Chorlton near Manchester, Lancashire . They soon moved into Warren House in Willaston, splendidly rebuilt on the corner of Cheerbrook Road and Wybunbury Road, looking down the length of the village. The plaque on the front wall bears his initials FJW and the date 1900. Their first son, Eric Francis, was born there that year and Dorothy in 1902. Frank was employed as a Railway clerk at Crewe station, and the family moved house locally several times in this period. In 1903 they lived at Highfields, a newly constructed terrace of four houses at 371-377 Crewe Road in Wistaston, Nantwich , and in 1908 they were living at Overton House on Wistaston Road in Willaston. It is not clear which of these properties he owned. Harold was born in 1904, and Marjorie Murdoch (my mother) in 1908. Warren House was sold in June 1908 , and by about 1911 the family were living at The Beeches, Wistaston (a 2 storey, semi-detached house built between 1875 and 1910 ).

In 1911, Lucy went to the US for several months, but when she got back to England she found that her mother Harriet had died (June 1911). Barbara, their last child, was born five years later (on Dorothy’s 14th birthday). Eric was sent to India for 4 years in some sort of disgrace at 21, and later emigrated to Canada. Dorothy went to Nigeria as a missionary in 1930 and married in 1933. Harold went to the US and married in Detroit in 1934, and Barbara left for the US at the age of 22 in 1938 (before her mother died).

In 1928, Lucy suffered a heart attack and remained an invalid for the rest of her life. Apparently, marital relations with Frank were strained, and they had separate bedrooms and never went out together. Marjorie was the last child in the home. She may have left school early to help look after the family , and later trained as a nurse and midwife in Nottingham. She returned to live with her parents at The Beeches, and worked as a health visitor in the Crewe area.

Lucy died in 1938 and was buried at Nantwich cemetery. Only then did Marjorie feel able to marry and leave home. Frank stayed on at The Beeches and employed housekeepers to assist him. Frank had worked all his life in the accounts department at the Railway Office in Crewe and probably retired during WW2. He owned residential property in Crewe from which he received a small rental income. In his final years there was a plan for him to move to live with Marjorie and her family in Birmingham but that never materialised. Frank died in January 1958 and is buried alongside his wife at Nantwich Cemetery. He left various household items to his children , many of which are still in the family.