By Carol Saul
This article was published in the December 2022 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society
In the August magazine John Slaughter’s research from the Oldham Workhouse records raised the question of the unknown parentage of a baby, John Saul, admitted on 5 April 1899 from Middleton and dying in 1901. Well, I can claim him for my husband’s tree!
It began for me with a death certificate. But more of that later.
On 24 April 1885 Elizabeth Shearman, nee Cartmell, a 33 year old Housekeeper, married 36 year old widower William Saul, a Journeyman Stonemason, at Cockermouth Register Office. They were residents of Keswick.
William was born in Annan, Dumfriesshire, on 12 April 1850 to William Saul and Janet Douglas. By 1881 he had moved to Keswick where he first married a widow, Mary Armstrong nee Bewsher. There were no children.
William and Elizabeth had two children. Andrew Saul (my husband’s grandfather who he never knew) was born on 6 July 1887 in Keswick. Lizzie May Saul was born on 6 October 1892 at Pearson Street, Newton, Manchester.
In the 1891 census William, Elizabeth, and three year old Andrew were living in Butler Street, New Cross, Manchester. I am guessing they moved to Manchester for work; also Elizabeth had a sister and family living in Manchester.
However, William died aged 46 at Pearson Street, Manchester on 30 May 1896 due to Phthisis Pulmonasis (pulmonary tuberculosis).
In 1897, according to Rate Books for Newton, Manchester, Elizabeth was still living at Pearson Street,
Elizabeth died nearly 3 years after William on 26 March 1899 at Bow Street, Middleton, aged 45 and
the widow of William Saul,
a Stonemason (Journeyman). In attendance was her son Andrew who would have been aged just 9. Cause of death was given as Puerperal Pyaemia, a complication of childbirth. Well, that raised the questions of who was the father of the baby and what happened to it?
I couldn’t find a birth certificate but I did send for the death certificate of a likely-looking John Saul, age 2, in 1901. He died on 8 October 1901 at Oldham Workhouse Hospital with the certificate stating he was from Middleton and had been deserted by his parents when 2 weeks old. Cause of death was Phthisis and Measles. This appeared to fit with Elizabeth.
On a trip north some years ago we made a detour to the archive centre in Middleton and found a record for Oldham Workhouse stating that John Saul, born 1899, was admitted on 5 April 1899 which was just under two weeks after Elizabeth had died. He was destitute, from the parish of Middleton, and his first meal was supper. Unfortunately, the register of relatives and admitters is missing for that one year!
So, young John was not really a Saul but fits in the Cartmell branch of the family tree. I guess I will never know who his father was and can only ponder on the possible circumstances that led to his birth.
The orphaned Andrew and Lizzie May Saul returned to Keswick and were raised by Cartmell relatives.
The parents of Elizabeth’s husband William (1850-1896) were William Saul (born 1800 in Liverpool, died 1871 in Annan Dumfriesshire) and Janet Douglas. I will refer to this William as ’senior’. William senior moved to Annan some time prior to the birth of his first known child with Janet Douglas in Dumfriesshire in 1831. It is possible William senior was in the Annan area a bit earlier as a William Saul there fathered a daughter ‘in fornication’ with a Jean Murphy in 1827 although I can find nothing further about the child or mother than the OPR baptism entry.
William senior was the only known child of Robert Saul and May Johnston who married in Liverpool in 1798. No births or deaths records found anywhere have been found anywhere. I think May Johnston was from Dumfriesshire though no actual documents, just “hearsay” and references to other Johnston’s in the family.