Biography

Margaret, youngest child of Joseph and Ellen Harrison was born in 1875. Although Margaret never married, her calling seems to have been as a family caregiver.

Her early years were spent in the Poolstock area of Wigan, the family moving a number of times but always staying in the same general neighbourhood. In 1894, the year after her mother died, Margaret, her father Joseph, and her unmarried sisters went to live at the pumping station at Boar’s Head, just north of Wigan, in order to care for the six orphaned offspring of her brother Edward and his wife Martha, both of whom died untimely deaths in 1894 (he of rabies, age 39; she of cancer, age 39). The children at that time ranged in age from 5 to 14.

Although Margaret’s death certificate states she was a spinster and gives no occupation, it is known that early on she worked as a cotton weaver—as well as all of her sisters—most probably from age 13, when she left school, up until the time she left the Poolstock area to go to Boar’s Head. Thereafter, Margaret’s time was undoubtedly taken up with childcare and household duties. According to the 1901 census, in addition to her father Joseph, five of Edward’s six children were still living at home, as well as sisters Ellen and Alice (Margaret’s sister Maria had died in 1897). Eventually, probably about 1902, her nephew, Henry Harold Harrison, also became part of the household, and he likely stayed until 1907 when he immigrated to Canada.

Sometime after the 1901 census and certainly by 1908, the family had moved from the house at the pumping station; since when Margaret’s father Joseph died in 1908, the extended family was living at 130 Barnsley Street.

In the 1911 census, Margaret was enumerated as the head of the household, living at 130 Barnsley Street. Four of her orphaned nieces and nephews were living with her: John, Elizabeth, Martha, and Alice Harrison.

Margaret was still living at the Barnsley Street address in 1918, the year in which she signed her niece Alice’s death certificate. Then, sometime between 1918 and 1937, along with nieces Elizabeth and Martha, and perhaps other family members, she moved to 42 Kenyon Road (there may have been other addresses in the interim).

Margaret did not live to see the end of World War II. She died at 67 of a cerebral thrombosis on 5 January 1943, at Billinge Hospital, her address listed as 42 Kenyon Road, Wigan. She is buried, along with her mother Ellen, her father Joseph, and sister Maria in the churchyard at Standish St. Wilfrid.


Details and Facts

Residence Parents' Home

3 Apr 1881
64 Pool Street, Poolstock, Wigan

Per 1881 Census.

Residence Parent's home

5 Apr 1891
54 Poolstock Lane, Worsley Mesnes, Wigan

Per 1891 Census.

Occupation Weaver at a Cotton Mill

5 Apr 1891

Per 1891 Census.

Residence Father's home

3 Mar 1901
Pumping Station, Boars Head, Standish

Per 1901 Census.

Occupation Not Employed

3 Mar 1901
Pumping Station, Boars Head, Standish

Per 1901 Census, no occupations are listed for Ellen, Alice, or Margaret. This may be an oversight or they may have stopped working. The Pumping Station is a long way from Swan Meadows and Trencherfield.

Residence

16 Mar 1918
130 Barnsley Street, Wigan

Per Alice Harrison’s Death Certificate.

Residence

5 Jan 1943
42 Kenyon Road, Wigan

Residence at time of death

Burial

30 Jul 1943
Standish St. Wilfrid's Church Yard


Source Documents