Rebecca Ridgway
Rebecca Ridgway
When Jonathan Ridgway married Rebecca Higginbotham at Stockport St Mary in April 1843, he gave his father's name as Cornelius. A search of the IGI threw up Cornelius Ridgeway who had two children baptised at at New Mills Wesleyan Church in the Glossop parish. The timeframe is right for Jonathan, assuming the family moved about 1816.

I've included those details here, but it is notoriously easy to be misled by the IGI. For example, also on the IGI is a Cornelius Ridgway baptised in 1819 at Saint Mary's Church in Disley. The location is far more promising, given that Jonathan gave his birthplace in the 1851 Census as Compstall Bridge.

The timeframe is wrong, but at least there are Ridgways (spelt correctly) who could look upon a baby boy and think, "Hmm. He looks like a Cornelius to me." Had they seen Roddy MacDowell in the Planet of the Apes, they might have had a point!

But if I'm uncertain about Cornelius, I'm less so about his son. As mentioned above, Jonathan was born in Compstall Bridge about 1818. By the time of the 1841 cenus he was living in Newton, Hyde, a collier and presumably a lodger with John Cotterill and his wife Matilda.

Jonathan and Rebecca had five children — others suspected. Rebecca's parents were John Higginbotham and Rebecca Lees of Denton. This couple had ten children and all but one was a girl. Rebecca was widowed in October 1827, a few months after the birth of their youngest child, Eliza. She did not remarry and was found with her younger children at Granby Row, Newton in 1841. She was the same address in 1851, living with Jonathan and her daughter, Rebecca. By 1861, she was living with Eliza and family at Castle Street, Godley cum Newton.

Charles RIDGWAY, was born in 1851 at Granby Row, Flowery Field, Newton. He was a labourer and married Emma Howard. They had eight children, the eldest girl being Rebecca who was born in 1876. She married Edward CRABTREE.


Market Street, with Howard Street on the left — © Tameside Image Library
When Rebecca and her sister, Alice, were baptised at St George's, Hyde in 1879, Charles described himself as a collier. Just over a year later, at the baptism of Maggie, he was a labourer and in 1889, Mary Ann's record has him as a 'scavenger' living at 6 Edward Street. Basically, this was a street cleaner employed by the parish. Again a year later when Lily was baptised, he was a labourer, living at Holt's Passage. They finally settled at 10 Howard Street, Godley, Hyde.

One point I find difficult to explain is that in the 1891 Census, Charles is recorded as Thomas. I can only assume that it was a mistake by the enumerator as all the other details fit Charles to a T — the right age, right job, right address and the right family. It's a mystery!

Charles and Emma appear to have taken on the waifs and strays of the district. In 1891, John WHARMBY is their adopted son, and by the time of the 1901 census, Gertrude Doxey had joined the family as an adopted daughter. Her birth certificate gives her mother's name as Elizabeth DOXEY, but no father. However, the entry was amended by the registrar six weeks later to show that Elizabeth was "formerly Gunnell." An Elizabeth Gunnell married one Vernon Stanley Doxey in the March ¼ of1890 in Stockport. What became of the couple is not yet known.

Emma HOWARD's father, Joseph, had three other children that I know of, and then apparently died some time after 1865 as his wife, Rebecca, remarried to William Whitehead in 1876 at St Mark's, Bredbury. However, Joseph reappeared on the 1911 census living with Emma, and possibly in 1901 as well. There is more information on the Howard home page.

An interesting link between Emma and her father is to be found on her birth certificate — both had first names that they didn't use. She was registered as Margaret Emma Ann Howard, while her father gave his name as Squire Joseph. Okay, so it's not that interesting!

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