Day: October 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday – Thomas’s Tale

I guess there is nothing remarkable about this tombstone.  It’s not especially grand or pretentious in any way.  The tombstone is at the grave of Thomas Dawson and his wife Sarah (Cowgill).

There isn’t any glowing eulogy – just a simple message In Memory of.  Is anything else really necessary?

As you will see from the photograph (apologies for the poor quality) Thomas was born in 1863 in the village of Cowling, West Yorkshire.  He is my 2nd cousin 3x removed.  He had a sister, Sarah born c1857.  Their mother was Priscilla Dawson.  I haven’t been able to find any evidence of who the father was.

Thomas worked in the local mill as a cotton warp dresser and his sister Sarah worked as a cotton weaver.

In 1888 at the age of about 25 Thomas married Sarah Cowgill, a local girl from the same village.  They had two sons, Watson (named after his great grandfather) born c1892 and Ernest born c1896.

I get a real sense that this little family unit stuck together and relied on each other.  The census returns show that right up to 1901 Thomas, his wife and two sons, and sister Sarah were living with Priscilla.

Within seven years three of them would die.

Priscilla died in 1903 about a year after her daughter Sarah.  Thomas passed away in 1908 at the age of 45 and after only 20 years of marriage.

The remarkable thing about this story for me is that Sarah lived a further 42 years until 1950 and died at the age of about 86.

I hadn’t bothered to get a copy of Thomas’s death certificate but writing this post has persuaded me to send off for it.  I am interested to see what caused his death at such a young age.  I know times were hard in those days yet Sarah lived a long life and, I assume, raised two sons on her own.