MEMORY LANE: Mum fought tragedy time and time again

RESEARCHING: Peter Cartwright
RESEARCHING: Peter Cartwright

PETER Cartwright’s family tree research has been a fascinating affair.

Last week, we told how his paternal side was originally from Shropshire and moved first to Wales before arriving in the North-East.

This week, Peter explains how an ancestor became a business boss after a family tragedy.

AS colliery work dwindled and the railway industry grew, the Cartwrights headed for the North-East.

Joseph Cartwright was a man with a mission – to protect his family and take them to wherever they could find prosperity.

His descendant Peter Cartwright told Family Roots: “The railway was now the future as new lines went in from Wrexham to the east coast. Joseph took the brave decision to move his family to an up-and-coming boom in steel at Thornaby which is where my paternal line took another turn.”

The Cartwrights moved to an area called the Mandale triangle.

One of the family was Samuel, born in 1842, and who met and fell in love with a widowed mother-of-three.

She was Sarah Williams, whose husband Stephen had died aged 29, not long after arriving on Teesside from Workington, in Cumbria.

Sam and Sarah married in November 1869, and moved into a house next to his parents. They had three more children, Sarah Jane, Joseph and Samuel.

But tragedy seemed to follow Sarah around, and her daughter was only three years old when she passed away. Sarah’s grief grew when her husband Samuel died in 1873 – just four years after they had married. Tuberculosis was the cause.

And if that wasn’t enough of a tragedy, Sarah was left on her own with two children at the very time that she was pregnant again.

She refused to succumb to tragedy, and married for a third time.

As Peter put it: “Sarah was a woman of a very strong mind, and did not want to end up in the workhouse. She met and married a widower.”

This time, her husband was a Francis Brallisford – a man who had known the pain of losing a partner himself.

And when they married, they became the parents and stepparents to five children.

They soon had a child together when Joel Brallisford entered the world.

But Sarah’s luck did not improve. Her third husband Francis died aged only 47 in 1888.

But this is when this remarkable woman took another course in her bid to keep her children safe and prosperous.

Peter added: “Sarah struggled on, and used her house as a boarding house for the large number of steelworkers arriving in Stockton at this time.”

This is where the tale establishes an even stronger link to Peter Cartwright. He explained: “One of the boarders was Richard Taylor who was born in 1850, in Hartlepool.

“Sarah and Richard ran the boarding house until about 1895 and then moved to Hartlepool and opened a boarding house in Mainsforth Terrace, next door but one to the Waverly pub.”

And in later life, this is where family tree researcher Peter would have his first drink.

l Next week: bringing the story up to date.