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Life and History of Sarah Ann Swancutt (nee Hartland)

Most of the info I have on Sarah Ann Hartland are from Letters, Post cards and stories from different relatives over the years.

Sarah Ann Hartland born 6 April 1855, Albert Street, Dudley, West Midlands.
Sarah came from a fairly well off family, her father Abraham Hartland born 1823 Pensnett, Staffordshire was a Mechanical Engineer and would have been well paid for this skill, the resulting income would have also put the family in the middle classes, Sarah’s family would have lived in nice surroundings with plenty of food on the table and possibly their own horse and carriage.
I have heard stories of this mysterious well dressed lady arriving in a horse and carriage at Sarah and Thomas Swancutt’s house, this mysterious lady is thought to have been Sarah’s mother Sarah Hartland (nee Harper) born 1826 Dudley, Staffordshire.
Sarah mother would always arrive on her own no one seams to know why Abraham never accompanied her but there was some talk of Abraham not being happy about his daughters marriage to Thomas Swancutt.
Sarah left home at sixteen, for what reason no one knows, I later found her on the 1871 census working as a domestic servant for a family by the name of Fletcher, in Handsworth, Birmingham.
Not long after this she must have meet Thomas Swancutt born 1848.
He would have been about 23/24 years old, and working as a coalminer at Sandwell colliery West Bromwich, Staffordshire.
Thomas and Sarah were married on the 13 July 1874 at St Matthews Church, Walsall, Staffordshire.
Working from the marriage date and the birth date of their first child, Sarah Ann would have been 5 months pregnant when she married Thomas Swancutt at the age of nineteen.
This may have been one of the reasons Abraham was not happy about the marriage to Thomas Swancutt.
Thomas and Sarah’s marriage was by all accounts a fiery one, she was said to have had a bit of a temper and in later life became almost impossible to live with.
From what I have been told Sarah also had a bit of a drink problem but this got worse after the death of her daughter Beatrice in 1908.
Beatrice was 18 years old when she died from pneumonia they were living in a small two-bed terrace in 7 Lewisham Road, West Bromwich.
I went to look at the house about two years ago and I can tell you it’s a small house how the other children never contracted pneumonia is a miracle.
It’s strange about the drinking habits of Sarah because I can recall my dad Albert Pike and his dad William Pike talking about Florence Pike (my Nan) and William’s conversation went something like, “you know Bert She’s just like her mother when she’s been drinking, a bad tempered old bugger”.
I latter found out that Florence like her mother Sarah had also lost her daughter in 1915 at the age of 18 months from Tuberculosis.
It must have been the stigma and stress that turned Florence like her mother to drink.
I have letters to Florence at this time from different relatives wishing her a speedy recovery.
Around 1885 coal mining in Sandwell was coming to an end, and Thomas Swancutt now aged 37 found himself out of work.
These were hard times and Sarah had to do part time work as a cook/cleaner to make ends meet.
Thomas managed to find work with the local council as a road labourer, this was not the best job in the world but it helped keep the wolfs from the front door, in fact he did this job for the rest of his working life.
On the 1901 census Sarah was still working and her occupation was shown as corporation labourer.
we can only imagine what it was like in those days but it must have been hard.

Linked toFamily: Swancutt/Hartland (F5)

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