Tombstone Tuesday – Tale of Two Sisters

This gravestone marks the resting place of two sisters who were born within three years of each other but who died nearly half a century apart.

Mary Ellen Gawthrop (nee Snowden) was born about 1869 in Cowling, West Yorkshire and her sister Leah was born about 1872, also in Cowling.

Mary Ellen is the wife of my 1st cousin 3x removed.

On the 1881 UK census Mary Ellen and Leah were living with their parents John (48) and Ann Snowden (44) and  their seven other siblings

Alice (19)

Annie (19)

John (16)

Emily (14)

Selina (10)

Dinah (6)

James (4)

The family is living at Fold Lane, Cowling.  The father is working as a weaving overlooker at a worsted factory.  The four oldest children are working as worsted weavers and the remaining children are recorded as scholars.

Mary Ellen married Joseph Gawthrop sometime in Q3 of 1889.  In the 1891 UK census they are living at 7 Gladstone Terrace, Trawden, Lancashire.  Jospeh’s occupation is cotton weaving overlooker and Mary Ellen is working as a cotton winder.

The following year their son, Wilfred, was born and his birth is registered at Burnley, Lancashire in Q3 1892.

I have no other information about Mary Ellen until her death on 29th April 1897.

Joseph married Selina Bannister in 1898 and they had twin boys the following year, John Elvin and Joseph Arthur.

In 1891 the UK census shows Leah Snowden living with her widowed mother Ann and still at Fold Lane, Cowling.  Also still living at home are siblings Emily (24), Selina (20), Dinah (16) and James (14).  All the children are working as cotton weavers.

In 1901 the family are still together and still living in Fold Lane and still working as cotton weavers.

In 1911 Leah remains living at home with her mother and three siblings – Emily (44), Selina (40), and James (35).

I have no other information about Leah until her death on 1st June 1944.  And I find it really interesting that sisters were buried together after so much time between their deaths.

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2 comments

  1. There was also a sister called Alice who married Isaac Gawthrop – you have the picture of her gravestone. Her daughter Edith Ann was my grandmother. She married Walter Butterworth a farmer at Hill Top Farm Winewall – this was their second farm but unfortunately I don’t know where the first farm was – just that it was at the bottom of Boulsworth and it took my dad hours to walk to school in Colne! Fascinated by the things you have found out – only just started looking but we seem to share the same great great great grandfather Martin Gawthrop!

    1. Thanks for looking Jill and for your comment. I think the Gawthrop’s are a fascinating family and have enjoyed researching and writing about my ancestors. Yes indeed we do share the same 3x great grandparents – Martin and Ann Gawthrop. Hope you get on well with your research and if think I can be of any help please get in touch.

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