Thursday, 5 April 2012

Robert Myers and Jemima Baxter

In Memoriam
of Hulme
born October 28th 1804
died January 8th 1876
Also JEMIMA, wife of the above,
born May 7th 1819
died November 12th 1878
Also of ELIZABETH, the
beloved wife of
and eldest daughter of the above,
who died October 5th 1901
aged 64 years.
"Thy will be done"
Also JAMES MYERS their son,
born December 1st 1845,
died November 4th 1908.

who died July 27th 1935

Robert Myers Pawnbroker of 320 Deansgate, Manchester,1804- 1876 and Jemima Baxter 1819 -1878.

Robert Myers, my great-great-great-grandfather, was a Pawnbroker in Deansgate, Manchester. He was born 28 October 1804 in Manchester. He had several children with Jemima Baxter before marrying her in 1853. Jemima was probably his housekeeper, she first appears on the 1841 census, aged 20 (changed from 22) living with Robert on Liverpool Road, Manchester along with two children, Elizabeth and Robert, listed as son and daughter of Robert Myers aged 35.
The 1841 census rounded ages to the nearest five years and the ages of Robert and Jemima and their children on subsequent census forms are not at all accurate.
When Robert died in 1876 he left a will conveniently explaining that Elizabeth was his natural daughter with a Mary Davis or David (deceased) and he listed the children born before and after his marriage to Jemima. There were 11 children in total, Elizabeth, Robert, Sarah, James, Mary, Henry, William and Fanny were born before marriage and Thomas Edward, Frederick Lawton and Annie were born after their marriage. Sarah Myers Baxter was my great-great grandmother, she married James Charles Armstrong who died young and she later married Henry Hind Beanland.
 The 1841 census was the first real census, it shows very little information; it was only four years into Victoria’s reign. There was no running water, not much gas light and cooking was done over an open fire in the kitchen.
 Engels, in his book ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’  describes Deansgate, Manchester as ‘lined first with mills and warehouses, then with second-rate shops and alehouses; further south, when it leaves the commercial district, with less inviting shops, which grow dirtier and more interrupted by beer houses and gin palaces the farther one goes, until at the southern end the appearance of the shops leaves no doubt that workers and workers only are their customers.’
The business was run as Worthington and Myers, there was an Isaac Worthington trading at 258 Deansgate in 1834. Pawnbrokers were common on the streets of working class districts in the industrial cities. Manchester at this time was one of the richest and fastest growing cities in the country. People were moving in from the countryside and from Ireland to work in the mills and factories. They were in regular but poorly paid employment and were living from hand to mouth in overcrowded housing. It seems the main function of the pawnbroker was to provide a way of making ends meet. The pawnbroker was commonly known as ‘Uncle’. Pawning was a regular practise; people often used their Sunday best clothing as capital on which to obtain cash. Items pawned were known as pledges, and clothing was pledged on a Monday and redeemed on a Saturday after being paid. They wore their best clothing to church on Sunday and pawned it again the next day.

My great-aunt Bertha wrote a short piece for a parish magazine describing how her father had told her his memories of playing hopflag on Deansgate outside his grandfather’s shop in the 1870s with gold watches when he was ‘aged only six’. Bertha thought the shop was a lock-up shop as her father had told her that his grandfather used to sleep under the counter, having only had an apple for dinner, as he was afraid of burglars. Bertha had a lot of things wrong though. She was under the impression that Jemima was a daughter of the Worthingtons of Worthington’s Brewery. It seems the name Baxter had been quietly dropped in the family tree. Bertha cites her mother Sarah as the eldest daughter and we now know that his eldest daughter was Elizabeth, this on the family grave in Brooklands cemetery.
Bertha describes the tale of the painting left by an old seaman who didn’t reclaim it at the end of the year and so became the property of the pawnbroker. They thought it was a portrait of the poet Shelley and Bertha says it was given to her mother, Sarah, his eldest daughter, on her marriage. I remember the tale of a valuable painting that Bertha had inherited and its fate when she died was much discussed, I don’t remember the details but it inevitably turned out to be worthless.

On the 1851 census they are living at 12, Collier Street, Manchester, just around the corner from the Pawnshop which was on the corner of Deansgate and Todman Street, so at the insalubrious end of Deansgate if we listen to Engels.
On 23rd December 1853 Robert married Jemima Baxter at St.Mary’s Church in Manchester : age 49, bachelor, Pawnbroker, 394 Deansgate, father, James Myers, shoemaker. Jemima Baxter is 35, spinster, 6 Egerton Street, father Joshua Preston, packer.
In1861 they lived at 15 Egerton St, Hulme.
In1871 they lived at 15 Egerton St, Hulme, Robert aged 66,
 Robert died on 8th January 1876. Jemima died on 12th November 1878.
Robert Myers left a will with a legacy to his sister's living children of £50 - her name looks to be Eliza Atkinson and a legacy to his eldest daughter Elizabeth who was his daughter to a Mary David
 Then he left Jemima a regular income of £60.00 per year to be paid quarterly until her death and he confirms his children Robert, Sarah, James, Mary, Henry, William and Fanny were his and Jemima's children out of wedlock. But Thomas Edward, Frederick Lawton and Annie were his and Jemima's children during their marriage!
 The rest of the will is how his estate should be divided up after Jemima’s death with guidance to his son, William Myers, and the 2 other trustees on how the estate should be administered to make sure that any grandchildren should be looked after if their parents die before they reach 21 years old.

That is where the facts end and the speculation begins. I wonder if the Myers were originally from Germany as it is a German name and if so, were they originally Jewish? Robert Myers was trading with Isaac Worthington and this name appears on Jewish registers in Manchester. There is a Jacob Myers trading as a pawnbroker in 1852 at 114 London Road.
Jemima is even more of an enigma. On the marriage certificate she gives her father’s name as Joshua Preston. Why was Jemima Baxter’s father called Preston? Or was his name Joshua Preston Baxter?
There is a family legend about somebody being an illegitimate daughter of Lord Ribblesdale of the Lister family of Gisburn, Lancashire. The same legend has a daughter of the Lister family running off with a gamekeeper and so being disinherited.

322 Deansgate

Todman Street

Collier Street

Monday, 2 April 2012

Laurence Nolan 1832-1908 and Mary Callaghan 1833-1881.

This is a photograph of Laurence and Mary Nolan, the grandparents of my grandmother, Hannah Keogh, who married Arthur McNally. I don’t know who the baby is. The photograph of Laurence and Mary is signed F. Warburton, 96 Brook Street, Reddish. One of their sons, John, was  living in Brook Street, Reddish, Stockport in 1901 with a daughter Mary, two years old. Their daughter, Mary also lived in Reddish in 1901 but  in 1881 they were living in Yorkshire. At number 96 Brook Street there was a family of Warburtons in 1901. 
 Mary died in 1881 and I still haven’t found any connection in Stockport before this date. The Warburtons could be in someway related to the family as the 1911 census has a Warburton as a nephew of Ellen Nolan living with them in Salford.
 Laurence and Mary were born in Westmeath, Ireland. They were in Manchester by 1851 and both of them had their mothers living in Manchester also. Mary’s sister, Margaret, was born in Manchester in 1835 which seems to suggest they left Ireland between 1833 and 1835 and the father died in Manchester.
Laurence Nolan was born in Westmeath, Ireland in 1832. His mother Elizabeth was born in Westmeath in 1803.
Mary Callaghan was born in Westmeath in 1833. Her mother, Mary was listed as age 36 in 1851.
On the 1851 census Mary was living with her widowed mother, Mary, at 21 Short Street, Ancoats, Manchester. Her next sister Margaret was born in 1835 in Manchester as were the other siblings, Patric, 15, 1836, Thomas, 11, Catherine, 5, born 1846.
In 1861 Laurence is married to Mary Callaghan and they have a daughter, Elizabeth aged 5 born in Manchester in 1856. They are living at 12 Short street in the Ancoats district of Manchester with Laurence’s mother and two of Elizabeth’s siblings, Margaret, 26, a factory hand and Peter Callaghan, born 1846 also a factory hand. Mary is working as a factory hand and Laurence is an engine driver.
By 1871 they have moved over to Salford and are living at 5 Weaver Street. Laurence’s mother is no longer living with them and they have a few more children. Elizabeth is 15 and working as a Dribbler at a Cotton Mill. There is also Mary, 6, Ellen (great-grandmother), 4, and John aged 2.
In 1881 they are living at 68 Cavendish Street, Salford. Laurence is 48 working as a stoker and the younger children are at home. Ellen is 14, John is 12 and there is a new daughter, Katherine who is 9.
Mary (b. 1865) married William H. Williams. In 1891 they are living in Manningham, Yorkshire. In 1901 they are living in Reddish, Stockport.
John (b.1869); in 1891 he is living with his sister Mary and her husband in Manningham, Yorkshire, working as a labourer at a Silk Mill. Mary’s husband William is a Silk Plush finisher. John married Winifred Talbot in Stockport in 1898. In 1901 they are living in Brook Street, Reddish, Stockport and their daughter Mary is two years old.
By 1891 Laurence is widowed and living with Ellen (my great- grandmother) who is now married to Matthew Keogh. Katherine Nolan is also there aged 19 working as a bag maker. Laurence is still working as a stoker for a stationary engine driver. They live at 11 Gertrude Street and two children have been born to Ellen and Matthew. Mary is 4 and Hannnah (my grandmother) is 1. Hannah was actually born on 11th November 1888.
In 1901 Laurence is still with Ellen and Matthew and they are living at 13 Ruby Street, Salford. Mary is 14, Hannah is 1, and they now have Philip, Ellen and Laurence.
Laurence died in 1908.