Mary Sarah Young was born in 1867, the fourth daughter, and fifth child of seven of Hannah Halliday and George Shields Young.
Although born in Gateshead in County Durham, her family moved to Yorkshire when she was young and she grew up in Shipley.
Mary came from a well-educated family. Several of her older sisters had been governesses or worked in schools, and at the age of 24 in 1891 Mary herself was working in Shipley as a School Assistant Mistress.
However she had vanished from Yorkshire in the 1901 census and by broadening my search I found her living down in Okehampton, Devon with her mother Hannah and two sisters Marion and Edith. Mary was single and her family all widows; Mary was the only one in the household working, and by this time she’d had a promotion to Schoolmistress.
It can’t have been too long after that before she and mother Hannah had moved on again, to Pembrokeshire. Her youngest sister Edith accompanied them but didn’t stay that long; she had fallen for a surveyor from Okehampton and they married in Pembrokeshire in 1905 before moving back down to Devon.
Her sister Dora came up from her home in Essex to visit in October 1908, but shockingly died during her visit, leaving a husband and 3 young children.
By 1911 Mary had been appointed as a Head Teacher of an elementary school owned by Pembrokeshire County Education Authority. She and her mother were living in Rhydberth, Tenby.
The Tenby Junior School website tells me: “Tenby Council School was built in 1915 while the First World War was at its height. It was officially opened in June 1916 by Mr S.B. Sketch, J.P., C.C., Chairman of the Education Committee. The school was situated in Greenhill Road and pupils came from the School which had previously been held beneath the Methodist Chapel in Warren Street, which was subsequently demolished in the 1980s. The Headmaster at this time was Mr J Howells.” Given Mary’s religious background, I’m wondering whether she taught at the Warren Street Chapel. Pembrokeshire Record Office website has some potential for archive material if I want to follow it up at a later date.
Her sister Marion remarried at the start of the war, a John Ogden, a widower, back in Yorkshire in Keighley.
Eight years later in 1919, after the first world war which took her nephew George Shields Young, Mary is also found back up in Yorkshire, listed on the electoral roll in the School House in Oldfield, where she was still living in 1926.
I googled ‘Oldfield School West Yorkshire’ and it came up with the website of the Oldfield Primary School which has a lovely image of an old school building on the home page. It’s been taken on a frosty morning and I can just picture Mary wrapped up well walking up the path to the door. I rang the school and the secretary said that she was actually speaking from the School House, which I really loved.
By 1929, aged 62, she has moved to Harrogate, Yorkshire, where she lived for the rest of her life.
She died, aged 75, in the midst of the second world war, on Christmas Day 1942. In her will left effects of £871 5s 1d [£25K in 2005 money] to her brother and her nephew.