This stone marks the resting place of two sisters. I took the photograph on a recent visit to St. Mary’s church at Conistone in Craven, Yorkshire, England.
Annie Sophia Spink was born about 1861 around the start of the American Civil War. Mary Jane Spink was born about 1865 in the same year that Lewis Carroll published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
According to the 1871 census both sisters were born at Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales – although this changes over the years and is sometimes shown as Conistone. Their parents were Joseph Spink and Isabella Hannah Metcalfe who I spoke about last week in a Tombstone Tuesday post.
It took me a while to find Annie on the 1881 census until I tried a search under the name “Spinks” (with the addition of the “s”). She is working as a dressmaker and is shown as a visitor at the home of Mary Ann Jacques (widower) in Skipton.
Mary Jane was also living in Skipton in 1881 and working as a domestic servant.
Ten years later in 1891 both sisters are back home with their parents. Annie continues to work as a dressmaker but there is no occupation shown for Mary Jane.
The first census of the 20th century in 1901 has Annie staying at an address in the nearby village of Arncliffe with her cousin John Alderson. I have no information about John Alderson – he doesn’t appear in my family tree at all – I imagine he is from an ancestor I haven’t researched yet. Anyway, Annie continues to make her living as a dressmaker.
In the same census Mary Jane remains with her parents. Her occupation is just shown as “worker”.
Annie married John Webster Smith sometime in the second quarter of 1907 and the marriage is recorded in the Skipton registration district. I haven’t done any further research into Annie and John following their marriage.
Annie died at the age of 85 on 23rd March 1946.
Mary Jane remained a spinster all her life. She was also 85 when she died on 5th September 1950.