51.63 – William, Sally, Emma and Sarah Ann Crossley, Susy Mattinson, and Sarah Annie Camm

Lots of names and surnames here, covering four generations: William and Sally, their daughter Susy, her daughters Emma and Sarah Ann, and her granddaughter Sarah Annie. We’ll try not to make it too confusing.

William Crossley was a clogger, born in 1804, who set up shop at York Street (now Halifax Road). He married Sally Rigg in 1824 when he was 20 and she was 18. Sally had been born in 1806 near Coolham, at Inchfield, but the couple had no question in mind about where they were going to settle, and that was Todmorden town centre where William could make decent money from his trade rather than the very outskirts of the area. The 1841 Census shows us three children of theirs – William, James and Susy. Susy, the youngest, had been born in 1835, and would prove to have a very busy young life indeed. By 1851 three more children had been added, John, Tom and Sam, as well as a grandchild. Who was the grandchild?

Well…we did say Susy had a busy young life.

Sarah Ann Crossley was born in June 1850 and was Susy’s illegitimate daughter. Two more daughters would follow – Emma in 1856 and Betsy in 1861. Their births are pre-newspapers so there’s no coverage of any affiliation (paternity) suits and there don’t appear to be any baptism records for any of the three which name a father. When Betsy married later, she left her father’s name on the marriage certificate blank. So we don’t know how the three children came to be, only that they did.

William and Sally had a clogger’s shop on Union Street but William’s story isn’t a very long one for the purposes of this story. He died in 1854 and was buried at St. Mary’s, as this stone indicates. Sally moved to Albion Place and her unmarried children stayed with her, all working at cotton mills or, in son John’s case, as a mechanic. They also began taking in lodgers. Sam, Sally’s youngest son, eventually moved away to find work on the railway and settled himself in Preston and worked back and forth between there and Liverpool. Susy must have gone to join him because in 1871 there were two marriages in the family. Sam got married in Liverpool, and Susy got married in Preston. Her husband is a bit of a mystery though because it seems as if their marriage was extremely short lived and he was extremely mobile. Thomas Mattinson, born in 1840, was a calico weaver. He seems to have gone from Preston to West Ham to London to Blackpool…all over, except anywhere Susy settled. Was it a marriage in name only? A marriage to finally convey legitimacy on a child? A fling that got out of hand? Who knows. But Susy returned to Todmorden with a child in tow, her son Harry, who had been born three months after their July 1871 marriage. Thomas was nowhere to be seen and would remain so until the end of his life, which we think was in 1904.

Sarah Ann, Emma, and Betsy had meanwhile been living with Sally and helping her keep her head above water. Sadly Emma died in 1876 and was buried here, and four years later her grandmother joined her. Susy’s wandering days were over and she settled at 31 George Street with Sarah Ann, Betsy and Harry. All of them were cotton mill workers apart from Betsy, who didn’t work at all. In 1886 she married James Hartley of the Shoulder of Mutton on Burnley Road, now known as Jack’s House. The couple had a number of children, amongst them Sarah Annie Hartley, born in 1888.

Susy’s children all seem to have been close, with Betsy being one of the witnesses at Harry’s wedding, and Sarah Ann witnessing Betsy’s wedding. Sarah Ann never married though and stayed with Susy until their deaths one after another – Susy in 1907 and Sarah Ann in 1908.

Sarah Annie Camm would marry Raymond F. Camm in 1914. Raymond was a local lad who was working as an engineer but would later move into the beerselling business, perhaps under James’s tuition. We don’t know much about their marriage except that Sarah Annie, the last person to enter this grave, died in Todmorden in April 1936, and that things don’t seem to have been terribly good between them. As early as 1916 there were reports of Raymond mistreating his wife, with Sarah Annie claiming that he got angry that she visited Betsy every day to see how she was. The newspaper made sure to mention that the couple were both from “respected Todmorden families” and her case for cruelty was dismissed.

Interestingly, coverage of this case didn’t appear in either Todmorden newspaper, but in the Halifax Courier instead. We wouldn’t want anyone to be embarrassed from either of these respectable families…

As we mentioned, Sarah Annie died in Todmorden in 1936. She seems to have been an active and interesting person in spite of her indifferent health. Interestingly, in 1939 Raymond and new wife Ermyntrude (formerly Greenwood) have a daughter, Dorothy, who was born in 1935. A check on the GRO shows that Ermyntrude is Dorothy’s mother, so it seems as though Sarah Annie and Raymond were separated and living two entirely separate lives up to the time of her death. It lends a new meaning to the mention in her obituary of her “indifferent health” for two years in 1936. It also makes more sense now, if the earlier newspaper story we mentioned wasn’t enough, that probate for her estate went to her brother Walter rather than to her husband. Raymond, meanwhile, didn’t have long to enjoy marriage to his mistress; he died in 1940 and was buried near his home and workplace of the Railway Arms pub in Eton.

That’s all we know about this grave. James and Betsy are buried at 13.4 – Betsy outlived her daughter by three years, dying in 1939 – and Harry Mattinson is buried in an unmarked grave at 14.42 with his wife Emma.

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