The Bankrupt Shoemaker

When these posts are read as a complete story it will become clear to the reader that the fortunes of this family are vast.

The life of Edwin, Joseph and Mary’s 4th son, had far too many a parallels with that of his father although it must be said that Edwin avoided his father’s ultimate fate of the Debtor’s Prison.  Financially though, Edwin, his second wife and children did not have a stable home for a number of years.

He married his first wife Jane (nee Pringle) in 1852 in Berwick, then in Scotland, both at the age of 18.  By 1861 they had moved to Newcastle, Northumberland and had taken in Jane’s younger cousin, 12 year old Mary Cran.  Mary is named as ‘cousin’ of the head of household i.e Edwin but she is in fact Jane’s blood relation, although a few years later Mary’s position in the household became quite significant.

It is not known how many children Edwin and Jane may or may not have had as the only one that can be traced is a daughter called Mary Jane who died aged aged 3 in 1869.  Her mother Jane also died in 1869, leaving Edwin a widower at the age of 31.

Less than 2 years later Edwin remarried – to his wife’s now 19-year-old cousin Mary Cran.  She may or may not have been living with them all these years.  Edwin and Mary went on to have eight of their own children and adopted another (although probably not adopted in the sense that we know it now).  The children were : Edwin (1870 – 1871), Ann (1871 – 1871), May Jane (1873), Albert Edwin (1875), Edith (1879), Joseph George (1881) and Louisa (1885).  They adopted a little girl called Elsie in around 1898/99.

Between the births of these children, Edwin found his name in the local newspapers as a Bankrupt like his father and, unfortunately,  as a victim of crime.

His troubles seem to start in 1870 when an employee, Samuel Gregory, was said to have embezzled the sum of £13 from him although the charge was withdrawn.

He then suffered the theft of two pairs boots by a Sailor, Henry Frazer on 28 October 1870 and by a Lucy Davidson in November 1876 for which the former received 7 years imprisonment and the latter a one month prison sentence.

By 1879 he was now working as a boot and shoe manufacturer and had 3 premises in Newcastle, two in Gateshead, 2 in North Shields, 1 in Jarrow and 1 in Hetton-Le-Hole.

In March 1879 two women – Jane O’Neil and Mary Ann Eltringham – took 4 pairs of boots and were committed for 6 and 3 months respectively.

He was made bankrupt for the first time on 28 April 1880, after filing a Petition for Liquidation in June 1879 with debts of some £14,000.00 and assets of £16,000.00, although was discharged in around June 1880.   He then went to work as a Shoe Shop Assistant and to live with his mother in law, also called Mary.

A further theft of boots from him took place in January 1881 when a Mary Ann Hardy stole 2 pairs of boots for which she received a month in gaol with hard labour.

On 4 August 1894, whilst he was working as an Auctioneer’s Clerk, he was made bankrupt again.   In 1901 he could be found as having ‘no occupation’ but as a Head of Household with 6 working boarders paying rent and many members of his wife’s family. By  1911 he was living with his daughter Louisa and her husband Henry Godfrey and his grandchildren.

He died in Newcastle in 1921.   His wife Mary died 7 years later.









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