.…a typical tale about a poor family in the late C18th and early C19, when it was survival of the fittest, with dreadful housing conditions and work for the unskilled practically non existent.
Edward sen. was born in a tiny hamlet in Staffordshire in1750, the son of Hannah and Robert.
Shortly after he was born his mother was served with a Settlement Order to leave the Parish where she and son Edward were living…it appears his father had disappeared so Hannah had to make the humiliating journey back to the neighbouring Parish where she originally came from so she’d could ask for financial help…. not a very auspicious start to Edward’s young life.
His childhood was no different to any other boy from a poor family – nothing better than a mere existence for most of his youth. Thankfully Edward survived into adulthood which in those days and conditions was an achievement in itself.
In 1773 he married a young lady from Lichfield named Sarah and they produced seven offspring- one of whom was a son born in 1792 who they named Edward after his father. After this event nothing more is known about the parents Edward senior nor his wife Sarah
Edward Junior’s childhood wasn’t so very different from what his father’s had been – a poor family living in awful conditions.
Edward married in June 1817 to Hannah aged eighteen. Hannah wasn’t the most robust of women and after failing to bring two pregnancies to full term she at last gave birth to a healthy son (another Edward) in 1822. she sadly passed away two years later while giving birth to a stillborn baby. This meant leaving Edward to bring up his young son alone.
It was a few years later when Edward visiting the town of Walsall that he met Roseanna - who, although born in Birmingham, had moved with her parents to live in Walsall, so that her father could pursue work there in the chain making business.
Chain Making Business early C19
Edward and Roseanna married in 1829 and Edward decided to make a life for himself and new wife and son in Walsall, thinking he would have a better chance of employment there than back home in his rural village…As someone with no discernible skill this proved quite difficult, but he must have been a resourceful man as he found regular casual work to bring in a constant wage. Over the following years this meant moving addresses quite often, but despite this their growing family seemed to thrive.
Walsall early C19
In total Edward and Roseanna had a further five children.
Most of their married life was spent living on the poverty line but they appeared to be a happy loving family.
Roseanna died in 1876 in Walsall and it’s reported that Edward was already infirm at this time from arthritis…After Roseanna’s death he returned to the village where he grew up, and he died there three years later in 1879.
Edward has my admiration for he was a man who didn’t wallow in self pity. As a young man he worked hard against adversity to take care of his young family, but who sadly succumbed to illness during the latter years of his life.
..Doing family history research has made me realise how hard the poor people in those days had to fight against the odds to just simply survive.