Elizabeth, the daughter of John Dalton and his wife Mary (nee Kenton) was born at the end of the 18th century in the reign of King George III. Elizabeth, my great-great-great-great grandmother, was baptised on 3 May 1798 in Brixton parish [east of Plymouth, Devon, England], where she grew up with a younger brother Samuel and possibly an older brother John. One of Elizabeth’s neighbours was called Joseph Willing and when she had a son out of wedlock in 1816 she named him John Willing Dolton after his father who didn’t stick around. Joseph Willing – oh the irony…
Another of my Devon ancestors, Ann Keast, was also a single mum; she ended up dying at her family home aged only 30. Elizabeth’s life was longer and happier.
Three years after John’s birth she married Nathaniel Ramsden, a quarry man born in Plymstock, on Christmas Day 1818, in East Stonehouse [now part of Plymouth].
They had nine children together: Elizabeth 1819, Ann Olive 1821, Nathaniel 1823, Emanuel 1825, William 1828 and Mary Ann 1830 in Staddiscombe, before having Maria 1833, William 1835 and Louisa in 1838 in Plymstock.
In 1851 Elizabeth, after a family bereavement, had 3 grandchildren staying with her (incorrectly recorded as nieces and nephew). Nathaniel – possibly because the house was full – was meanwhile staying with their daughter Mary Ann who by then was living with her husband William Carter and their 1-year-old son William. Mary also had with her a 1-month-old girl called Mary Leete(?) who was recorded as ‘nursechild’; she was possibly a wet nurse.
Ten years later Nathaniel and Elizabeth’s household had again gathered in a wider family, with daughter Maria (29) grandchildren Elizabeth (3) and William (1) plus foster children Letitia M Pollard (10) and Florence M Pollard (6). By that time Nathaniel had been promoted to be foreman at a slate quarry – they were living in Penlee Quarry, Stoke [Devon].
Nathaniel died c August 1863, possibly worn out by a life as a quarryman and the chaos of a bustling extended family home!?
Eight years later in April 1871 Elizabeth was living in Charles [Plymouth] in Devonshire Street, with her daughter Louisa, son-in-law William Scaun and their children. Her foster-daughter Florence, by then called Florence Ramsden, had left home and was working as a 16-year-old apprentice dressmaker; she married John King c November 1877.
By April 1881 Elizabeth and her nephew Samuel Dolton, 53, both marked as having no occupation, were living next to the post office in Oaklands, Plymstock.
Elizabeth had lived on nearly 20 years after her husband’s death, dying in Plympton St Mary, Devon, in September 1881. She was buried with her daughter and son-in-law Mary Ann William Carter, living for and with her family in this world, and keeping with them for the next.
© Text copyright Lynne Black 16 April 2014
Many thanks to C Lang for the use of the gravestone photo.
Content first published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/elizabeth-dolton/