My great-great grandmother was Sarah Cartwright, first wife of Arthur Worsley Prestwich and mother of their eldest son, John Alfred, my great grandfather. She died at just 39 years of age and I had little information about her as they shared just one census return in 1871, at which time she was aged 34 and said that she had been born in Ashton. Digging out the truth was something of a bonanza. Quite fitting for a Cartwright family. And one of their granddaughter's favourite shows — click to play!

From Sarah's marriage record, I knew that her father was John, a hatter. As she married in 1862, I looked for her in the 1861 census and the only Sarah to fit the bill was living with her aunt and uncle, John and Elizabeth Davies at Charles Street in Ashton. Sarah also had a daughter, Elizabeth, born seven months before and gave her birthplace as Denton. This set me on the bonanza trail. This is their story, starting with her grandfather.

Thomas Cartwright was born about 1780 if I have his date and age at death correctly, that is in 1842 aged 62. This is open to question as at the census a year earlier he claimed to be just 55, but then in 1841 ages were rounded up and down with no great consistency in how this was done. Thomas was born in Cheshire and was married to Betty who was born about 1784.

The couple had six children, the eldest being John who was born in July 1808. At the 1851, he says he was born in Ashton, but at the three subsequent censuses John gives his place of birth first as Dukinfield. This may have been because the family moved. Thomas was described as a carder “of the town”, ie Ashton, when John was baptised, but was “of Dukinfield” when his other children were born.

John Cartwright
John appears on the 1841 census living at Broom Lane, Denton with his wife Ann and children Mary, Sarah and James. and worked as a hatter. By 1851 the family was living at Lees Yard, Dukinfield with John working as a cotton stripper. It was this census that gave me a clue as to Ann's identity as I have yet to locate their marriage. Living with the family was John's sister-in-law, the 19 year old Elizabeth Horsfield who was to become the Aunt Elizabeth Davies that Sarah was living with in 1861.

However, identifying Ann was not straight forward. The birth certificate for her son, Joseph, in 1846 showed that her maiden name was Greenwood. It seems she was the illegitimate daughter of Hannah Greenwood born in Denton in 1812 when about 16 years old. She went on to marry James Horsfield in 1818 and they went on to have six children, including Elizabeth, sister of Ann and aunt to Sarah.

John and Ann married at Mottram St Michael in 1830, but she died in Dukinfield in 1853 at the age of 40. In 1858, John married Mary Simpson at St Mary's Church, Stockport, when both were living at Davis Street, Dukinfield. She was the widow of Robert Lawton and was born in Middleton, Lancashire, about 1802. She gave her father name as James and there is a Mary Simpson born in Middleton on 31 October 1802, daughter of James Simpson and Martha Lomax, which appears on the IGI.

Mary had died before the 1881 census when John was a 72 year widower living at 30 Astley Street, Dukinfield, with his daughter Mary and son-in-law Albert. John died in 1884.

Children of John Cartwright
Charles Street
Charles Street and Park Street — © Tameside Image Archive
Sarah was the second eldest child of John and Ann Cartwright. She was born in Denton on 8 July 1836 and baptised almost a year later at Denton St Lawrence. She was living with her parents in 1841 and 1851, by which time she was a lap tenter in cotton. As mentioned above, she was living in Ashton in 1861 with her Aunt Elizabeth who was only five years old than Sarah. She had had an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth, who was born in September 1860 at Charles Street, presumably at her aunt's home. Elizabeth was baptised on 18 August 1861 at Christ Church, Ashton, and died shortly afterwards

Sarah married Arthur Worsley Prestwich at Christ Church about six months later. She died of phthisis (TB) in May 1876 at Park Street, Ashton and there is more about her children on the Prestwich page.

John's eldest child was Mary born in October 1834. She married Albert Cooper at St George's Church, Hyde, in 1870 when she claimed to be a 33 year old spinster, although she was in fact 36. Perhaps this was because Albert was some 12 years her junior. The couple had no children that I am aware of and Mary died in 1884.

John's eldest son was James Cartwright born in Denton in 1840. He married Selina Wolstencroft at St George's Church, Hyde, in May 1859 and the couple had eleven children all born in Dukinfield:

Elizabeth Ann born 1859 — married James Beard Ramsden in 1878 at Bredbury St Mark

Mary born 1861, but died the same year

Joseph born 1862 — married Mary Taylor in 1882 at Ashton St Peter and lived in Hurst

John born 1864 — married Mary Elizabeth Healy in 1884 at Ashton St Peter and lived at 165 Charles Street

James born 1866 — nothing more yet known

Jane born 1868 — married Walter Jesse Bown, originally from Middlesex, in a civil marriage (probably non-conformist) in 1890

Tom born 1873 — married Sarah Carus in 1900 at Ashton St Peter

Harry born 1875 — died in 1884 aged nine

Alice born 1877 — married James William Ashton in 1898 at Stalybridge Holy Trinity

Selina born 1882 — did not marry and died in Dukinfield in 1944 aged 63

Arthur born 1883 — did not marry and died at Ypres in 1917

Jubbulpore
A smoker in Jubbulpore c 1911 — © Science and Society Picture Library

It is worth recording that Arthur joined the army as a regular in 1902. According to his records, he had a chequered career and was disciplined for being absent without leave and for stealing property from an officer. In 1911 he was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 2nd Battalion Cheshire Regiment at “Jubbulpore” in India. (See entry in 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica)

The battalion stayed in India until August 1914 when they returned to England, landing at Devonport on 24 December 1914. They were attached to 84th Brigade, 28th Division, at Winchester. Arthur had been demoted to private and he was killed at Ypres in 1917. His death is recorded at the Menin Gate Memorial, although the age of 32 is incorrect.

His father, James, died in Dukinfield in 1894 aged 53, while Selina Wolstencroft died two years later aged 56.

John's second eldest son, also called John, was born in 1844, but died in 1862 at the age of 18. His brother, Joseph, was the youngest of John Cartwright's children. He married Mary Stafford in 1867 at Staley St Paul, but died in 1877 at the age of 31. They had one son, William Stafford Cartwright, in 1869, but he too died in 1878 aged eight.

Brothers and Sisters of John Cartwright


St Mary;s Church, Ruabon
Thomas and Betty had seven children that I am aware of. Of these, James was born in 1816 and married Elizabeth at some point in the late 1830s, although I have yet to find it. It is possible that it was held at a non-conformist church as many of their children's future marriages were recorded as civil ceremonies. The family was living in Ashton in 1861, but at some point soon after they left for Ruabon in Denbeighshire

James died in Ruabon in either 1867 or 1870. He and Elizabeth had seven children all born in Ashton but whose future was elsewhere:

Mary Cartwright born about 1839 — married Thomas Frith in a civil ceremony in Wrexham in 1863. He was born in Marple, but had lived in Dukinfield from an early age where his father was a boatbuilder on the canal. They had three children, and settled in Oswestry.

Sarah Dixon Cartwright
— as yet no sign of her beyond the census returns.

Elizabeth Ann Cartwright — married William Ellis in 1867 at Oswestry. He was originally from Ruabon and they had four children. In 1871 William was a coachman in Bronygarth, Shropshire, in 1881 a farmer at St Martins, Shropshire. By 1891 the family ran a restaurant in Tulketh Street, North Meols, Lancashire, and then on Princes Street in 1901. Their daughter, Louise, was a teacher of cookery.

Catherine Taylor Cartwright — married Hugh Anderson Bogie in a civil ceremony in Wrexham in 1868. Hugh's family were originally from Belfast, but he had been born in Dukinfield. They lived in Rhos Y Madre until 1880 when they returned to Dukinfield with their seven children. Both died there in 1926.

William Ashton Cartwright — married Mary Ann Jones of Cefn-Mawr, Wrexham, in a civil ceremony in 1881. The couple had two children and lived in Ruabon and Wrexham in 1871 and 1881 where William was a clerk at a colliery. They were last seen in Hardings Lane, Stoke-on-Trent where William was a commercial traveller.

Emma Cartwright — worked as an assistant for John Ogden Taylor, tailor and draper, in 1871 at 123 and 125 Old Street, Ashton. Also working there was Jane Elizabeth Hughes who had been born in Ruabon. She lived with her sister Elizabeth in 1881 and Mary in 1891, although she had married William Bird Hill in 1883 at Wrexham in a civil ceremony. William was born in Long Lawford, Warwickshire, but he does not appear on the census returns with Emma who was last seen at Princes Street, Nuneaton in 1901 with their only child, Dorothy.

Thomas James Cartwright — no sign of him beyond the 1871 census when he was living with his brother William in Ruabon. Their mother, Elizabeth, also lived with them and died there in 1873 aged 62.

Cemetery Road
Cemetery Road, Dukinfield © Tameside Image Archive

Frederick Cartwright was born in 1819 and married Ellen Dewsnap in 1842 in a civil marriage. Both died quite young in the 1850s leaving two orphaned children who lived with Ellen's sister, Elizabeth, and husband, Samuel Higginbottom in 1861. I have yet to discover what became of James, but Sarah Ann Cartwright married schoolmaster, Henry Clayton, who later became the registrar at Dukinfield Cemetery, the couple living at Cemetery House on Cemetery Road, now Hall Green Road. They had two children, Mary Elizabeth and James Henry.

Thomas Cartwright married Agnes Horrocks at Manchester Cathedral in 1842. I know little about him other than that he was a cotton spinner and was living with his in-laws at Mount Street, Ashton, at the 1851 census, along with daughter, Ellen, who was born in Stalybridge.

Finally there is Elizabeth Cartwright. Sadly, nothing more yet known beyond the 1841 census.

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