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Margaret Price

Details of her birth and parentage are unconfirmed, but it is thought that she came from the parish of Abergavenny in Wales. One report from descendants in Australia gave her birth date as 12 January 1801. However her death was registered in the second quarter of 1884 at which time she was recorded as being 81 years old. Consequently her birth is thought to have been in approximately 1803.

While unmarried, Margaret gave birth to a son named William. There is a record of a baptism of William Price in 1829 (date unclear but possibly 15 March 1829). There is no father recorded in the register and the child's mother is identified as Margaret Price, "Singlewoman" of Lloyndu. Following Margaret's marriage and the birth and baptism of her second child, James, there is a record of William being baptised a second time. On 2nd October 1831, just two weeks after the baptism of James who is recorded as having two parents, the parish baptismal register shows WIlliam Price, aged 2, the son of Margaret, whose surname is recorded as "Price then Price" meaning her name was the same both before and after her marriage.

The family name "Price" was rather common in Abergavenny and it is difficult to trace family records when there are many people of the same surname and same or similar first names. It was even possible for a young man and woman of the same surname to marry. The records of the church of St Mary Abergavenny record the marriage of David Price of this parish, bachelor, occupation "cordwainer" (maker of high quality leather shoes) to Margaret Price, spinster, (same surname) and also of the same parish. They were married by banns on 27 November 1830. Although David signed his name, it is recorded that Margaret signed with an "X".

 


picture provided by Kerrie Mullins-Gunst,
great great great grand-daughter of Margaret.
The brooch being worn by Margaret Price in
this photograph is in Kerrie's possession.

 

Parish baptismal records were reported to show that they were parents of three children, but not all this information has been confirmed :

The parish records also show that David Price of Monk Street, age 34, died from phthisis (tuberculosis) and was buried on 7 May 1837.

After the death of her husband, it appears that Margaret had three more children:

The record of the 1841 Census of Abergavenny has been searched (reference HO 107 742-744, books 10 to 13). Book 11, folio 42 shows a Margaret Price age 35, born in Abergavenny, residing at Richard's Yard, Ireland Street, Abergavenny, and in the same house is William Price, age 12, James Price, aged 10, and Charles Price, age 1½, and there is no record of two girls Caroline and Sarah. It is understood that there was a tendency in the census (sometimes but not always) to round adults' ages up or down to the nearest 5 so the reported age of 35 for Margaret is not entirely inconsistent with her having been born in approximately 1803. As she was unmarried and possibly looking for another husband, she may also have consciously understated her age a little.

In the 1851 census, there is a record of a household in Ireland Street, Abergavenny with the head of the household being Margaret Price, widowed, aged 46, Charwoman, born Llwyndu. Also present wre Charles Price, son, aged 12, Errand Boy, born Abergavenny, and Jane Price, daughter, aged 5, born Abergavenny. The census was taken on the night of 30 March which was three and a half months before the baptism of her youngest child George. Although a name is given to the child's father in the baptismal record, there is no man in the house at the time of the census and Margaret is identified as the head of the household.

In the 1861 census, there is a household recorded in the census but the name of the street is illegible on the original document. The head of the household is Margaret Price, widowed, aged 59, Laundress, born Abergavenny. Also present are Jane Price, daughter, aged 16, Laundress, born Abergavenny, and George Price, aged 9, born Abergavenny.

In the 1871 census, Margaret Price, is recorded as the head of a household in Ireland Street, Abergavenny. There are no other occupants at this time and she is recorded as a widow, aged 71, born in Brecknockshire.

By the time of the 1881 census, Margaret Price, is still recorded as the head of a household in Ireland Street, Abergavenny and there are still no other occupants. Her age is now recorded as 85, she is recorded as born in Breconshire and she is recorded as "Shoemaker's Widow".

The discrepancies in stated age and birthplace were not uncommon in the census documents. If one also remembers that Margaret could not read or write, she may have had difficulty communicating with the person taking the census.

An unconfirmed report from Australian descendants had reported Margaret's date of death as being in 1887 but the 1884 date seems more certain.

James, Charles and (Henry) George travelled to Australia and further information about them is provided separately.

The eldest son, William Price, was living as a servant in the household of John and Sarah Clayton in Cheltenham at the time of the 1851 census. Also in the household was another servant Harriet Jones and it appears that she is the same person (born approx 1829 in East Dean, Gloucestershire) who appears in subsequent censuses as the wife of William. In 1861 and 1871 William was living with his wife Harriet and son Jesse J., (born approx 1860) in Station Street/Oldbury Road, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. WIlliam's occupations were grocer in 1861 and builder's clerk in 1871. In the 1881 census WIlliam, Harriet and Jesse had relocated a short distance to Tolzey House, in Tolzey Lane (spelling now appears as Tolsey House and Tolsey Lane) and there is also recorded a niece Jane H. Price, aged 14, and three boarders. The identity of this niece is unclear but she is possibly a daughter of Charles who emigrated to Australia and died there at about the time of the girl's birth or, more possibly, an illegitimate daughter of William's sister Jane of whom we know little. It seems however that William and Harriet were willing to take in a niece in need. Jane is recorded as still living with them in the 1891 census. In 1881 their son Jesse's occupation is noted as builder's clerk, the same as his father. Jesse James Price later resided with his wife, three daughters and a servant at Bank House 4 Church Street Tewkesbury, and he died in Tewkesbury on 19 December 1933 at age 73.

The only further record of Jane (daughter of Margaret and not to be confused with the grand-daughter of the same name living with William and Harriet) is that the 1871 census records her as a servant in the household of Mr R.M. Benson in Westbury on Trym, Bristol.

Any further information about Margaret Price or her family would be welcome.

It seems Margaret's life was not an easy one. She was the mother of six, possibly seven, children, most of them while unmarried and/or widowed. There was no social security, no child welfare support, no widow'e pension or anything of that ilk. After the birth of her first child out of wedlock, she found a husband but he died of an infectious illness within a few years, leaving her with three, possibly four children .... or perhaps one or two of the children had died in illness and poverty. Three further children were born in the years in which Margaret struggled to survive. While there is a suggestion that there was a man named George Price fathering the youngest child in 1851, the census taken in that year places her at the head of the household and does not mention any man in the house. And the children that did not die, moved away. William to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. Jane to Bristol. James to London and then to Australia. Charles and (Henry) George also to Australia where both James and Charles predeceased their mother, both in mysterious circumstances. The elderly widow lived alone until her death. We know she was illiterate but we don't know anything of her personality. She worked well into her life as a charwoman and laundress. She was however a survivor in a tough world.

 

 

 

Margaret Price in the
Family History Index
family tree brief family tree of
Margaret Price

 

 


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