Sunday, 6 April 2014


On Monday 6th April 1874, my paternal Great Grandparents Peter SMALL and Margaret STEVENSON were married at the Parish Church in Richmond Yorkshire. Peter was the youngest of 11 children of David and Margaret SMALL and was born in Dunbarney in Perthshire, Scotland. Margaret was the third child of Henry and Ann STEVENSON of Hornby, North Yorkshire.

By the 1881 census Peter and Margaret were living in Thorpe Street in Stockton-on-Tees and Peter was working as a boilersmith to support his growing family. So far the couple had 5 year old Sophia, 3 year old John Henry, 2 year old Elizabeth and Euphemia who was just 9 months old.

Ten years later and the family had moved to Oxford Street in Stockton and Peter was now employed as a marine boiler plater. Sophia had taken up a dressmakers apprenticeship and as well as Elizabeth and Euphemia, the family also had my future grandmother Margaret, Jane, Alexander, Isabella, Charlotte and Emma. Poor John Henry – at 16 he is to be found on the 1891 census at the North East Reformatory for Boys near Newcastle. I think I need to investigate him further!

Between the 1891 and 1901 census, the SMALL family celebrated several weddings. Eldest child Sophia married Charles CRAGGS in 1893, Euphemia married Alfred DOWSE in 1898, and in 1900 Elizabeth married Charles GIBBONS and grandma Margaret married Ivor MANSELL. John Henry spent this decade both at the Reformatory and then the Army from 1897; seeing service in east India in 1897/99.

The 1901 census shows that the family were still at 10 Oxford Street. Peter was still working as a boilersmith/plater and there were 6 young children at home.

By the time the next census was taken in 1911 Jane was no longer at home as she had married William ARMSTRONG in 1904. Only 17 year old Peter and 14 year old Alice were still at home. Alexander was working in Sheffield, Charlotte was living with her Uncle Alexander and Aunt Sophie SMALL in Leeds and Emma was a domestic servant at the home of her married sister Margaret – my grandmother. In an email from a second cousin, David Small in Stockton, I get the information that Alice may have been “retarded” and stayed with her parents for life. Sadly, although the 1911 census has an Infirmity column this information is not publically available so I cannot verify if indeed Alice was not able to be independent.

After 44 years of marriage, Peter SMALL passed away at the age of 68 in 1918. Margaret lived for another 28 years as a widow. She passed away in 1946 at the age of 89.

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