Arthur James Pye – Hair Specialist

Arthur James Pye – Hair Specialist

Arthur James Pye was born on 14 December, 1899 at Ingestre, Staffordshire.  He was the youngest of the four children of farm labourer, James Pye and his wife, Ellen Mort.

Arthur’s brother, George Arnold Pye, was recorded as a hairdresser on the 1901 census (George died at 20 years of age) and Arthur followed his brother into the hair dressing profession.  Arthur was listed as a ‘Hairdresser’s assistant’ at Mineshead, Somersetshire on the 1911 census.  After he was fully trained Arthur moved to Blackpool, Lancashire and started his own hairdressing business at 5 Queens Street and 7 Market Street, Blackpool where he worked until his death in 1976.

Arthur became very successful in his business and went on to develop and market a scalp treatment machine; a high voltage violet ray wand machine, claimed to stimulate hair growth.  There are a few articles in the Catholic Herald advertising Arthur Pye’s book “How to End Hair and Scalp Troubles” which explained the ‘real causes for hair loss’.


High Frequency Treatment Machine – Arthur J Pye. Image from ebay.

One advertisement from the 1960′s claimed, “Hair troubles can be conquered!  World famous hair specialist offers – Free Books all about the hair and how to keep it healthy.”  “Grateful clients praise Arthur Pye treatments”.

UK incoming passenger lists record Arthur James Pye returning to England after a trip to Europe.  Arthur is listed amongst the passengers of the “Venus” which had departed Madeira, Portugal and arrived at Plymouth, England on 16 October, 1954.  Arthur was 65 years old and his occupation recorded as ‘hair specialist’ and address as Kirkland, Poulton.  So it seems Arthur marketed his machines across Europe.


Violet Ray hair treatment machine – Arthur J Pye. Image from ebay.


Arthur James Pye married twice but did not have any children.  His first wife was Dorothy While whom he married in 1923 and after her death he married  in 1939 to Dorothy Yerinak Kavanozian, daughter of artist, Dieran Kavanozian.  It is assumed they divorced as Dorothy married a second time to Louis Malone.

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Maids in Service

Maids in Service

After re-watching the first three series of “Downton Abbey” again I was prompted to take a closer look at the English census records that I had collated on the English Pye relations.

I knew that the majority of the Pye family members from the nineteenth century were labouring class or in-service, however, I had done little research into the larger households where some of the Pyes had worked.

Therefore after a quick look on the Internet this is what I have found.

Wikipedia gives a good description of the ‘types of maids’ including House maids and Kitchen maids.

On the 1871 census, Elizabeth Pye (22yrs) daughter of George and Margaret Pye of Weeping Cross, Stf, worked as a Kitchen maid at Alfreton Hall, Alfreton, Derbyshire.  The head of the household was Charles Morewood (51 yrs).

As a Kitchen Maid Elizabeth was a ‘below stair’s maid’ and her duties would have been to help run the kitchens and prepare vegetables, peel potatoes, and assist in the presentation of the finished cooking for serving.

I do not know how many years Elizabeth worked at Alfreton Hall, however she married in 1875 to a leather currier, James Brocklebank at Kington-upon-Hull where they lived and had four children.

Alfreton Hall, Derbyshire

Alfreton Hall, Derbyshire

Alfreton Hall, Derbyshire

“Alfreton Hall is a country house in Alfreton, Derbyshire. It was at the heart of local social and industrial history in the county. The history of the estate goes back to Norman times, but by the 17th century it was owned by the Morewood family, who were linked to local industry, mainly in coal mining”.  Link to Wikipedia gives a further history of the house.

Also on the 1871 census, Elizabeth Pye’s younger sister, Emma Pye (14yrs) was listed as an Under Nurse at Thomas Salt’s Walton house (was this Standon Hall?) .  I assume that Emma assisted the children’s Nurse in the nursery.  Thomas Salt was a landowner and son of a Banker.  His sister Miss Harriet Salt employed another Pye sister, Jane Pye, as her domestic servant, when she first moved to Clevedon, Somersetshire.

Emma may have continued to work for Thomas Salt up until the time she married in 1878.  Emma and her husband, William Edward Smith moved to Manchester where Emma died from haemorrhaging following the birth of their third child.  She was 28 years of age.

The 1901 census has Edith Smith (19yrs) the daughter of William Edward and Emma Smith née Pye recorded as a Kitchen maid at The Old Hall, Whittington. Stf.  The head of the household was Sarah Holliway née Seckham (66yrs), listed as Lodge keeper, plus her sisters Violet 35yrs and Mabel Seckham 25yrs and Kintarra Chetwyn 39yrs and brother-in-law Arthur Chetwyn, 43yrs Magistrate.  A total of nine servants were listed on the census.

From Wikipedia:

Whittington Old Hall  is a 16th-century mansion house at Whittington, Staffordshire, England, which has been subdivided into separate residential apartments. It is a Grade II listed building.

The house is believed to have been built by the Everard family during the Tudor period. The two-storey entrance front has four gables with dormers and four substantial irregular stone mullioned bays, one offset incorporating a porch.

The Astleys and the Dyotts followed as owners but after the Dyott family moved to nearby Freeford Hall, in 1836, the house was let out to a series of tenants. In 1889, the estate was purchased and occupied by architect and brewer Samuel Lipscomb Seckham, developer of Park Town, Oxford and Bletchley Park, and High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1890.

Seckham extended and renovated the house, but following the death of his son Colonel Basset Thorne Seckham in 1926, the estate was sold off, and the house again passed through the hands of tenants.

In 1959, the neglected property was sold for redevelopment and was subdivided into several separate residential units.

Also on the 1901 census is Edith Mary Pye (23yrs) daughter of Joseph and Ellen Mary Pye; she worked as a Domestic servant at Hoar Cross Hall, Hoar Cross, Stf.  John Bowers was the Servant in charge, plus 6 other women servants.  Hugo Ingram owned the Hall and his wife was Emily Charlotte Ingram née Wood, daughter of Viscount Halifax.

Hoar Cross Hall - S Thornber photo.

Hoar Cross Hall – S Thornber photo.

Hoar Cross is in East Staffordshire.  It has a vast church, built in the late 19th century.  Hugo Francis Meynell Ingram of Hoar Cross Hall and Temple Newsham married Emily Charlotte Wood, the daughter of the 1st Viscount Halifax in 1863.  When he died in 1871, his widow devoted her life to building the church in his memory and embellishing it. 

Hoar Cross Hall was designed in the Jacobean style by Henry Clutton and built between 1862 and 1871.  Today it is a popular spa venue where one can exercise, undergo a variety of treatments and enjoy fine dining.

Hoar Cross Hall below.

Hoar Cross Hall

Hoar Cross Hall

In 1871, Mary Pye (17yrs) daughter of Joseph and Mary Pye was a Kitchenmaid at Hinstock Hall, Hinstock, Shropshire, where Philip and Arabella Williams were the owners.  Philip Williams was a MA, JP and landowner.

Philip Williams’s son Philip Victor Williams married Lady Jaquetta Northcote daughter of Rev Hon John Stafford Northcote (peerage records).

Mary Pye, who was orphaned by 1876 was listed an unemployed domestic servant by 1881 and was living with an aunt in Yorkshire.  She went with her aunt and uncle to Lancashire and married Robert Sephton in 1886 at Ormskirk, Lancashire and they had four children, one of whom died as an infant and the elder son during the First World War.

HINSTOCK is a parish on the road from Newport to Whitchurch and Chester, 5 miles south-east from Hodnet station on the Wellington, Market Drayton and Crewe section of the Great Western railway, 6 north from Newport and 5 south from Market Drayton.  The register dates from 1695, and under the date 1704 has a memorandum stating that Haman Vaughan was rector of Hinstock in 1304. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £370, including 12 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of Mrs. Williams, and held since 1876 by the Rev. Herbert Harvey M. A. of Christ Church, Oxford. In 1887 a reading room was erected for the use of the village by the late Philip Williams esq. Hinstock Hall, the seat of Mrs. Williams, is a handsome edifice, surrounded by extensive plantations, situated nearly one mile north-west of the village. H. R. Corbet esq. J. P. of Adderley Hall, is lord of the manor, and Mrs. Williams is the chief landowner. The soil is partly loam and partly sand; the subsoil is principally red sandstone. The chief crops are wheat and barley. The area is 3,254 acres of land and 12 of water; rateable value, £6,131; the population in 1891 was 781. — Kelly’s Directory of Shropshire (1895)

Samuel Pye, (19yrs) Steward’s room man, and his future wife, Mary Ravenscroft, House maid, worked at Ingestre Hall, Ingestre, Stf – 1861 census.  Samuel was the son of George and Margaret Pye, and went on to become a Butler at Perton for Mr Charles Frederick Clark.  Samuel and Mary Ann had two children and lived initially in Perton, Staffordshire and later at Compton, Staffordshire.

Joseph Pye, (26yrs), son of George and Elizabeth Pye worked as a ‘helper’ at Acton Hall, Wrexham, Wales – 1871.  Went on to be a Coachman at Knightley Grange, Knightley, Stf.  Arthur P Lonsdale, Barrister, was the head of the household in 1871.  Joseph married Ellen Mary Pullen and had two children.  His son also worked as a Coachman and later as a van driver.

James Pye, (24yrs) son of James and Abigail Pye, was a servant, groom then gardener at Aston Hall, Seighford – 1871. James married fellow servant, Jane Labram.


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Pioneer women – Ellen O’Connor

Pioneer women – Ellen O’Connor (Mrs Thomas O’Connor).

Ellen O’Connor is the eighth and final of my great grandmother’s to feature in my series ‘pioneer women’.  I do not know any personal details about the life of Ellen O’Connor, but the following are some facts gathered about her and her family.

Ellen O’Connor was a daughter of Timothy O’Connor and Margaret Condon.  Ellen was baptised 18 March, 1831 at Bruff, County Limerick, Ireland.  Ellen and her siblings, Catherine and John, and John’s wife, Elizabeth, arrived in Portland, Victoria on the “British Empire” on 2 September, 1857.

John and his wife, Elizabeth, settled at Mortat near Goroke, Vic (some of Elizabeth’s Dunbar relatives were also in the Colony) and Catherine initially worked for Edward Henty’s wife before marrying John O’Callaghan and settling at Rocklands, Balmoral near the Grampians.

Ellen’s sister, Margaret O’Connor arrived in Victoria at a later date and married Mark Sheane, but died from tuberculosis at 37 years of age.

Ellen O’Connor married Thomas O’Connor, the son of James and Mary O’Connor/Connors of County Wicklow, Ireland.  They married on 7 March, 1859 in All Saints RC church, Portland and had six children.  Their eldest son, Patrick, was killed after falling from a train.  In the early 1870s the family moved to South Australia where Thomas worked as a farmer at Reedy Creek; he died when he was only 45 years of age from a bout of dysentery.  It is not known why Thomas moved his family to Reedy Creek, which is situated inland from the coastal town of Kingston SE.  The creek for which the area was named appears to have only flowed during wet winters.  It was flat dry land used for sheep grazing.  The steam railway between Kingston SE and Naracoorte only opened in 1877.

Ellen died only five years later from tuberculosis on 22 September, 1888 at Millicent, South Australia, aged 57 years.  Ellen’s sons worked at farming, on the railroads, as contractors in the forests, but were also athletes with a state-wide reputation.  It has been told that Ellen’s only daughter, Mary Ann disappeared and her brothers did not know her fate and the records bear this out as nothing has been found as to what became of her.

More research needs to be conducted into the district of Reedy Creek to give a greater understanding of what sort of lives Ellen and Thomas O’Connor had whilst they lived there and to see if the family was mentioned in any records of the area and also when they lived in the Portland district.

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Pioneer women – Jane Roche

Pioneer women – Jane Roche (Mrs Thomas Sinnott)

Jane Roche, the daughter of William Roche and Mary Brennan, was born in County Wexford, Ireland.  She married Thomas Sinnott in the early 1830s and they had three children, Bridget, Patrick and Mary born in the county.  Patrick was baptised in St Aidan’s cathedral, Enniscorthy in 1836 but no records have yet been found for the daughters, nor Jane and Thomas’s marriage.

The Sinnott family arrived in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria on the Brig, “Vesper” on 14 December, 1840 and settled near Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.  Two more sons were born to them:  Michael in 1842 at Clifton Hill and William in 1843 at Richmond.  Thomas Sinnott was said to have worked as a server during Masses at St Francis’s church.

After four or five years in Melbourne the family moved west to Port Fairy (then known as Belfast) where they lived for about nine years and their two youngest children, John and Jane, were born.  The final move was further west to Yambuk where Thomas purchased a farm of 133 acres.  Thomas made a successful living from his farm and could always afford ‘home help’.  Thomas purchased a town block in the township of Yambuk in 1855 when it was first laid out and also later bought 198 acres of land at St Helens.

Jane and Thomas raised their family of seven children, who all married and had families of their own.  Thomas was always a hail and hearty man throughout his long life, but Jane began to suffer from apoplectic fits during her middle years and one such stroke following a trip to Port Fairy in 1868 proved fatal.  Jane died on the 24 September, 1868 aged 58 years.  An inquest was held to determine the cause of her death.

On the day of her death, Jane had driven a horse and cart from her home in Yambuk to Port Fairy in order to sell some fowls and eggs in town.  Jane was accompanied by a lad, James Bartlett, who was in the service of her son, Michael Sinnott.  James Bartlett gave evidence that Jane, “drove into town with some fowls and eggs.  She left the horse and cart at Mr Gillespies and I stopped there while she went to sell the fowls.  We had dinner at Gillespies and soon after left for Yambuk.  After awhile she lay down in the bottom of the cart.  I thought she was asleep as she began to snore.  When we got as far as the stone crushing machine, she said ‘goodbye Bridget I shall not see you anymore’.  That was the last word she spoke.  She did not fall down, she settled herself in the bottom of the cart on her right side with her head on the front rail.”

Patrick Sinnott, son of Jane, gave evidence that he was outside when the cart returned and going up to it found his mother lying down in the bottom of the cart.  Upon touching her he knew she was dead.  Further evidence revealed that Jane had on previous occasions complained of severe prickling pain in the upper part of her neck which left her dizzy in the head.

The verdict of the inquest found that Jane Sinnott had died of apoplexy.  The Bridget that Jane spoke of prior to her death may have been her granddaughter (daughter of Patrick), since her daughter, Bridget Kelly, had died three years prior.

Jane was buried in the Yambuk cemetery, her grave being marked with a stone that had been brought out from Ireland.  Her husband, Thomas, lived to the grand old age of 97 years, but his name was never inscribed on the headstone.  By 1998 the headstone was lichen covered, broken off its base and weed covered therefore descendant, Des Sinnott, gathered funds to restore the headstone to its former glory and erected a neighbouring headstone to her husband, Thomas.

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Pioneer women – Johanna Kennedy

Pioneer women – Johanna Kennedy (Mrs Robert Barker).

Johanna Kennedy arrived at Port Adelaide on the ship “David Malcolm” on the 4 January, 1854.  She was listed as a “dairy maid”, 21 years of age and a native of County Limerick, Ireland.  Her death certificate stated that her parent’s surnames were “Kennedy” and “Barrett”, but no given names were recorded.

One of the Able seamen on the “David Malcolm” was an Englishman named Robert Barker, and it must have been on the voyage that a romance began between the two.  On docking in Port Adelaide, Robert jumped ship (as did nine other sailors) and married Johanna Kennedy four months later on 7 May, 1854 in Adelaide, SA.

What happened during the next four years can only be speculated, as Johanna’s death certificate states she resided in South Australia for four years and I would speculate that she worked in the State to avoid having to pay her passage money.  In 1854 passengers to South Australia were not required to repay their passage money, by signing an Agreement that if they quit the colony within four years or went to the Victorian goldfields they would be required to pay a large proportion of the passage money.

Robert Barker was under no such obligation and being a ship deserter it seems likely that he went directly to Victoria.  The 1856/57 electoral roll lists Robert Barker as a miner at Steiglitz, Victoria.  Eventually, Johanna and Robert reunited and lived in Sandhurst (now Bendigo) and had three sons: John Joseph, Walter William and Robert Timothy (later known as Robert Kennedy Barker).  It is noted that the Barkers’ lived in the “Irish section” of the goldfields and it seems that Johanna was determined to live amongst her countrymen and receive a little catholic instruction and ministry for herself and her sons.  Johanna lived the life of a miner’s wife with all its hardships, isolation and little reward.

It seems that during the late 1860s the family moved to Caramut where Robert tried his hand at farming, later moving to Cressy and Derrinallum and finally onto Mount Doran in the early 1880s where Robert purchased a 20 acre tenement.  But the lure of goldmining was too great and Robert and his sons used a dam, (still known by locals as Barker’s Dam), located 2 to 3 miles from his property for mining activities.

Johanna and Robert had a good relationship with their neighbours, the McGillivrays, and in 2007 my sister and I were fortunate to meet one of the McGillivray descendants (Ian) who provided a photograph of the Barker’s home at Mount Doran and told us what he knew about the Barker family.

Thanks to the assistance of the locals at Elaine, my sister and I were able to locate her unmarked gravesite and view some records.

Johanna Barker died suddenly on 29 March, 1905 aged 68 years of age from bronchitis and syncope and was buried at Morrison’s cemetery near Elaine.

The sons left the district and Robert spent his old age with his son, Walter, in Rosedale, Vic.  Robert junior went initially to Richmond in Melbourne before settling in Yambuk near Port Fairy, where John joined him.

(Thanks to my sister for her research into the Barker family).

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Pioneer Women – Two sisters dreaming

Pioneer women – Ann Leddin (Mrs William Sinnott)

I spent a very pleasant evening listening to a performance by Marcia Howard and Rose Bygrave.  Marcia sang her song “Two sisters dreaming” which is in honour of her great grandmother, Mary Leddin and her sister Margaret Leddin.  The sisters, Mary and Margaret, arrived in Victoria in 1855 on the “Hotspur”, preceding their parents and siblings, including my great grandmother, Ann Leddin, who arrived on “The Chance” in 1857.

Margaret Leddin and Mary Leddin.

Margaret Leddin and Mary Leddin.

The melody of “Two sisters dreaming” rode the waves of their trepidation, uncertainty and melancholy.  Arriving in this wild strange land and helping to build a community with their fellow Irishmen, Scots and Englishmen.  A thread of the strength of that Irish community still continues today.

The evocative songs of Rose and Marcia have the power to remind the listener of their connection to our beautiful land and to our early ancestral roots.  Like sitting around a camp fire, but there are no flames only the light of their hearts shining out to warm ours.

By a strange twist of fate, Marcia had three Leddin third cousins in her audience at Tyers, Vic.  Two descendants of Ann Leddin and one descendant of John Leddin (the sisters’ brother).

The parents, William Leddin and Johanna Condon came from Ballincaroona, County Limerick and had nine children all baptised in townlands bordering County Limerick and Tipperary.  On arrival to Victoria Margaret and Mary were met by their Gleeson cousin and escorted to Port Fairy.

William and his family settled in Yambuk, Victoria and his children all married and produced 81 grandchildren and 305 great grandchildren for William and Johanna.

Ann Sinnott nee Leddin.

Ann Sinnott nee Leddin.

Ann Leddin married William Sinnott and had nine children.  My mother wrote, “My father had a great respect and love for his mother.  He often spoke of how she used to pray each time she washed her hands, wouldn’t allow them to speak ill of anyone, of her love of cards and company, and her industry.

When Ann and William were living in the heath of St Helens, they often had a dray load of visitors come out from Port Fairy on a Sunday night, and they dined and danced till dawn; no light to go home earlier.  Another story told was of their surprise that she could grow such wonderful ‘taties’ in the heath.

Ann died suddenly the night of my father’s birthday in 1912, after a party and dance.  My father recalled she laughed and enjoyed herself more than usual that night.”  (c) Nance Pye.

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Pioneer women – Margaret Curtin

Pioneer women – Margaret Curtin (Mrs John Wiseman).

Margaret Curtin was the daughter of Timothy Curtin and Mary Curtin of Mallow, County Cork, Ireland.  Margaret was baptised in September, 1832 in the parish of Rathcormac.  Margaret had younger siblings named Joseph and Emma.

Margaret Curtin was one of 20 girls from Mallow, Cork who made up over 300 Irish orphan girls who were brought to Australia on the ship, “Pemberton”.  The Royal Hibernian Military School website states “In 1849, when the effects of the Irish potato famine of 1846-1847 were still being felt, a ship load of orphan Irish children left Liverpool via Plymouth for Australia. Numbers vary according to the various reports. Between 307 and 317 girl immigrants sailed in the ship and, of these, 24 were reported to be volunteers from the Royal Hibernian Military School. Although 24 are reported, only 21 are listed in the ‘Disposal List (of the) Pemberton’ prepared for their hand over to the Government Depot 26. The first report of the orphan ship Pemberton is in the Times.”

“The full-rigged ship Pemberton, Captain J.H. Richardson, arrived here from Liverpool on the 12th instant, for the purpose of embarking Irish girls for Sydney.

They (the girls) were selected as follows:- From the Poor Law Union at Rosecrea, 60; Nenagh, 40; Limerick, 50; Kilrush, 30; Lisnakes, 20; Tipperary, 40; Mallow,20; South Dublin, 7; from the Dublin Royal Hibernian Military Asylum, 24; and from the Cork Foundling Hospital. 16; in all 307, under charge of a head matron, 1 school mistress, and 4 sub-matrons. After they had been mustered and sent below, the crew, consisting of 63 persons, were inspected by Her Majesty’s Emigration officer, Lieutenant Carew, R.M., who in addition to some general advice, endeavoured in the most feeling manner to impress upon the minds of the men the propriety of treating the unfortunate orphans with every proper respect during the voyage….Thus in every way the bodily and physical wants of these expatriated girls have been cared for. The mental abilities of those from the unions have received little or no cultivation-scarcely any one can write, and very few can read. To aid them in this deficiency, and to provide suitable employment during the long and tedious voyage is the peculiar object of the benevolent institution denominated the Female Emigration Employment Society, which distributes its donations by the hands of the Rev. T. C. Childs, minister of St. Mary’s, Devonport, a gentleman who (with Mr. Allen) received the orphans on their leaving the main deck of the Pemberton, and was soon actively employed in giving them spiritual and moral advice, in kindly ranging them in classes, supplying them with books and appointing teachers and monitors to instruct them on the passage. The latter were selected mainly from the girls of the Dublin Asylum and the Cork Foundling Hospital, whose education, discipline, and general appearance, reflected credit on the conductors of those humane establishments.’

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the arrival of the Pemberton at Port Phillip, listing its cargo.  ‘The Pemberton, ship, has on board, 11 married couples, 317 single women, 3 male children, and 1 female child, under 14 years old. The above emigrants are principally from the Unions. The Pemberton is a magnificent ship, and the largest that ever arrived in Port Phillip.’”

The S.S. Pemberton, arrived in Port Phillip 14 May, 1849.  Margaret Curtin was recorded as 17 years of age; Roman Catholic; from Mallow, Co. Cork.  The Irish famine memorial database states that Margaret was assigned to work as a house servant to Mr Forster of “Taitalia” at £10 for 1 year.  I have not found anything to confirm where Taitalia was situated, but it appears to have been in the north of the state of Victoria.

What is known is Margaret Curtin ended up in the South Western district of Victoria where she married Englishman Thomas Spalding about 1850 and had two sons; Peter and John.  Thomas Spalding died following a horse riding accident after which Margaret married a second time in 1856 to John Wiseman, who was also from County Cork.  Margaret and John Wiseman had nine children and lived in Kirkstall, Victoria, where John farmed a poor piece of land.

Margaret’s husband, John died at 42 years of age, from tuberculosis just three months after the birth of their youngest son.  Margaret now had a large family to raise on her own, however, her older sons were old enough to support her.

Margaret was to bear a lot of heartache, due to the scourge of tuberculosis which took the lives of a son, Robert at 24 years and a daughter, Elizabeth at 20 years, plus the early deaths of William at almost 3 years of age and Joseph at 6 months.  Another daughter, Margaret died of cancer of the uterus when she was only 26 years of age.  However, Margaret was to see six children married and have children.

Margaret was the mother of 11 children and grandmother of 44.  Margaret Wiseman died on the 8 October, 1912 at Kirkstall, having left the farm to her unmarried son, Timothy Wiseman.

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