maandag 19 oktober 2009

Stephensons Chapter 7 - the children of William (b. 1831)

William and Sarah had a big family, although not all of the children survived infancy. The children were:

Matthew Warrier b. 1854 died in his first year.

John W (b.1856) married Hannah Isabella Hodgson in 1880, and had five children. He worked as a steam boat fisherman. In the 1881 census Isabella Stephenson (born South Shields, Co. Durham) lived next door to William and Sarah in Trinity street and was recorded as a seamans wife. Isabella was known as Bel. In later years the family lived in Middle Street. John drowned in the Tyne in 1815, the same night his first grandchild was born. It was thought he had been celebrating, and tried to take his small boat across the river from South Shields.

Eleanor (b. 1858) Married Robert Routledge (b. 1856) in 1877. They had two daughters Lily (b. 1881) and Ethel b. (1882) . In the 1901 census Eleanor was living with her mother Sarah, with her two daughters and described as a widow. She was working as a nurse sister. It would appear from this that Robert died prior to 1901. She later spent many years in Canada, and travelled with her married daughter Lily Stewart.

James (b. 1860) married Maria and had six children. He was a steamboat man on the 1891 census.

George (b.1864) married Mary J Charlton in 1882. They had at least two sons, William (b. 1886) and Hudson (b. 1890). He was a fish salesman on the 1901 census.

Hudson (b. 1867) was a tailor and hatter. He married his half cousin Catherine Stephenson in 1892. and is my great grandfather. I will include more about this family later.

Sarah Louise (b. 1869 – d. 1880)
William (b.1871 - d. 1872)
Elizabeth (b.1873 -d. 1873 )

Sarah Hudson was always referred to as “the Ganny” in later years. The whole family lived in Ivy house at the bottom of Vicarage Street, opposite the Vicarage. The house s still there. One of the bay windows fronts onto Waterville road. There is a shop next to it that Ellie’s daughter had at one time, It was such a peculiar shape it was called “the flat iron”
The sons were all tearaways; always in hot water. Drink was their downfall but they were all “lovely people” – Some of their exploits didn’t sound very lovely – taking cargos of fish down to Middlesbrough, drinking the profits and coming back empty handed! However the boys were all well liked and popular with folks of all ages. The only one not lovely was the only surviving daughter , the eldest Ellie.
She went to Canada and persuaded her daughter (Irene and George Stewart’s mother) to join her leaving her children behind in the charge of their father, whom Irene and George worshipped. Irene’s mother stayed away for years and years under the influence of her mother, for which Irene never forgave her grandmother and always referred to her as “the old witch”. Irene and George’s father was a fine man and looked after them better than their mother would have done.
Meg Stephenson in 1987

From the census returns we know that in 1861 the family were registered at 10 South Street North Shields, Ten years later in 1871the family were at 9 Trinity Street, William was described as a Waterman. It was on the 1881 census where William, still at 9 Trinity street, was described as an inshore steam tug owner employing 10 men and 2 boys. In the 1891 census The family had moved to 3 Waterville new road. The house is still known as Ivy House.

William was very prosperous and generous in his prosperity.
He loaned a Mr Wood GBP 100 to start a business. It was not a pub, but in the brewery line. Mr Wood was a very shrewd man and became very rich. He bought “Star Cross” a big house in Monkseaton (now a nursing home) and Williams family were often invited for a meal in recognition of the fact that Williams money was the foundation of his fortune. On one occasion Williams grandsons wife Minnie took baby George still in nappies and without the benefit of waterproof panties. Minnie was terrified George would stain the beautiful pure white carpet in the lounge.
William was well loved in the community, as his obituary shows

“A typical steamboat man, having been brought up among the tugs all his life, Thrifty and enterprising, though his own exertions raised himself to a position of comparative independence ……. Owner of several large tug steamers……….” ”Stephey” was genial. Full of fun, seldom out of temper, seldom without a smile on his face…. 20 carriages turned out and over 200 steamboat men and friends followed the remains to Preston Cemetery, with a huge crowd at the graveside. Upright and conscientious in all his business transactions, successful as he was he remained in harness to the last until ill health compelled his absence from the busy fish quay and he ceased to superintend the working of the fleet of line and trawl boats which owed their existence in great part to his ability and knowledge of the trade.”
Meg Stephenson in 1987

William died in 1892 and in the census of 1901 Sarah was still living at Ivy House, she was now 70.

The end of Sarah’s Story
William died in 1892. As his obituary states he was a prosperous man, and he had Jim Jack and George to carry on the business. His brother, Stepha the Greek ad different ideas, however. He persuaded Sarah, the widow, to sell him the fleet for nothing like it was worth, and the poor sons were kept out of the business. George set up as “Smart and Stephenson” and prospered even more than he had before.
Poor Sarah kept her money, golden guineas, tied up in baby’s bootees in the folds of the curtains draped around her tester bed but every time she went for a few she found more and more missing, taken by her children – maybe they thought it was their inheritance, I don’t know. The fact remains that William, the best of men, and also shrewd and prosperous, hardworking, honest and liked by all, left his widow and children in not very prosperous circumstances in the end. It is said that Sarah became an alcoholic. Georges family reaped all the financial rewards.
Meg Stephenson in 1987

Chapter 8

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