Agnes Baxter Farrington's parents were Jesse and Sarah Alice Baxter. This is what I know about them.
|Jesse Baxter with daughters Florrie and Agnes,
Jesse Baxter was born in 1873. He was the son and grandson of boatmen, captains of barges that carried freight on the canals that connect Liverpool and Manchester, through the coal country of Leigh and Wigan. Canal freight was not only a job but also a lifestyle; the whole family lived on the barge, and for much of the 1800s it was common for children to take up the lifestyle and marry children of other canal families. That was the case for Jesse's parents, both of whom were raised on barges.
|Birth registration for Jesse Baxter in Astley Green (map)
The 1881 Census shows David and Catherine Marlowe Baxter, Jesse's parents, living on the barge Winnifred with their seven children. By the next census in 1891, Catherine was a widower living with those seven children on Trafalgar Street, near St. Joseph's church in Leigh. David had died, possibly of bronchitis while an inmate of the Barton upon Irwell Poor House in 1887. Eighteen-year-old Jesse and his older brother were working as coal miners, and the two oldest daughters were cotton weavers.
|Sarah Alice Baxter, around 1910
Living just down the road from the Baxters in 1891 was the Lomas family, including Jesse's future wife Sarah Alice, born in 1875.
Sarah Alice's family was a little complicated. Her parents Samuel Lomas and Betty Coop were step-siblings; their parents had married in 1869, when the future couple were teenagers. Betty Coop gave birth to Sarah Alice out-of-wedlock in 1875, then married Samuel a year later, when she was pregnant with their first child.
|The birth registration of Sarah Alice Coop in 1875
Sarah Alice was raised in the Lomas household, but still used the last name Coop on her marriage registration. I don't know if that's significant, nor who her father was.
|Marriage Registration of Jesse Baxter and Sarah Alice Coop
On May 2, 1896, Jesse and Sarah Alice were married in St. Joseph's Church, the same place their American granddaughter would be married about 60 years later. Sarah Alice signed her name, but Jesse just left a mark, indicating he wasn't literate. Growing up on a canal boat must have made it difficult to attend school.
The witnesses at the wedding were James Lomas, Sarah Alice's younger brother, and Mary Ellen Douglas, his future wife. During the wedding Sarah Alice's mother Betty must have been about 8 months pregnant with her last child. Out with the old, in with the new.
The Married Life
The new couple lived nearby in Dukinfeld Street (map). Jesse was a hewer, one of the coal miners who actually loosens material in the mine. They had Mary Florence in 1898, then Agnes in 1901, James in 1903, Margaret in 1905, and Lucy in 1907. Their final child George was born in 1910 but died the next year.
|The Baxter household in the 1911 Census
In 1911 the family had moved across the road, back to Trafalgar Street. Sarah Alice's parents still lived there, and Jesse's mother was now living on Trafalgar Street with her second husband. They must have made use of their in-laws for daycare, because despite all the young children in the family, Sarah Alice was working as a weaver in a cotton mill. Young Florrie, just 13, was also working in a cotton mill.
World War I
|Part of Jesse Baxter's Royal Army discharge paperwork
Marked varicosities of right leg, below knee, especially on posterior aspect. No ulcerations. Skin in good condition. Does not wear elastic, because of pain.
Tranferred to Class "W" Army Reserve. To remain in Class "W" Army Reserve so long as it is necessary to retain him in employment in Astley Colliery, Clifton and Kearsley, Lancs.
|Death registration for Sarah Alice Baxter, February 9, 1917
|Agnes, Florrie and Margaret
Probably in the 1950s
|Margaret, Agnes, and (presumably) Frank Lee