(c.1837  -  5th March 1913)





Great Grandmother  of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson


Catherine was the second child of Thomas Walton (an iron moulder) and his wife Jane (nee Olivant). She was born around 1837 and her baptism took place on 10th Feb 1837 at the parish church in Darlington.

She had an older sister Mary, born in 1835 and a younger one Ann, born in 1839. Then something went very wrong for this family as in the 1841 census the three little girls and their mother, Jane, were recorded in the workhouse in Darlington. As yet, I have not been able to find any trace of Thomas the father, nor have I been able to find a death record for him which could have explained why his wife and family had to go into the workhouse. I will keep looking though.

In the 1851 census, Catherine was 14 and was recorded as living (and working) at number 35, Skinnergate in Darlington. She was listed as a house servant in the household of a butcher called Thomas Pigg. I have no proof but would guess that she had been placed there by the workhouse as being of age to earn her own living.

By the time of the 1861 census, Catherine was boarding in the house of a lady called Barbara Murray, originally from Scotland, at Tubwell Row in Darlington. Her landlady was a charwoman and Catherine earned her living as a weaver in the worsted mill. She was recorded as being 20, but in fact was 23. Maybe her landlady gave the information and just made her best guess at Catherine's age.

Catherine lived in Tubwell Row till she was married, that is the address on her marriage certificate when she married Matthew Lee a miner who lived in Crook (but was originally from Allendale in Northumberland) on the 21st September 1861 at the Register Office in Auckland. Matthew was 24 and Catherine was 23 and their witnesses were William Turner (Matthew's brother in law) and Ann Walton (Catherine's sister).

In the 1871 census Catherine (32) and Matthew (33) were living in Sunniside, near Crook. They were recorded as having four children. Mary, born in 1861, John, born in 1863, Thomas, born in 1867 and Matthew, born in 1869. The older children were listed as scholars. Another daughter, Annie aged 5, was recorded elsewhere as she was staying with her Grandparents on the night of the census.

The 1881 census recorded the family at number 38, Gladstone Terrace in Sunniside. Catherine was 42. Her oldest child, Mary, was no longer in the household. The older two boys John and Thomas, were working in the pit like their Dad. Matthew was still at school, no sign of Annie. Two more children had been added to the family, Sarah , born in 1872 and Ada Isabel (who was to be the Grandmother of Bill Richardson) who was born in 1879.

Ten years later, in the 1891 census, the family were still in Gladstone Terrace, Sunniside. Catherine was 52 and her husband , Matthew, was 53 he was still working as a coal miner. The only children still at home were Thomas, who was now 24 and working as a coal miner, Sarah who was 18 and Ada Isabel who was 12 and listed as a scholar.

Great sadness for Catherine in 1892, her husband Matthew committed suicide. He drowned in the reservoir at Thornley Pit in Wolsingham, he was 54 years old.

On the 1901 census, Catherine was 64 and was living at 63 Gladstone Street in Crook with her son John aged 37 who worked as a coal miner (hewer) and daughter Sarah who was 28 and working as an assistant elementary school teacher.

The census of 1911 showed Catherine as a 74 year old widow living at 19 Gladstone St., Crook. Her son John and daughter Sarah lived with her. The census form showed that Catherine had seven children of whom five were still living. (That was not supposed to be recorded unless both parents were still living, but I am pleased the mistake was made as it helps to research her family! ) Her son John was 48 and single and he worked as a hewer in Peases Colliery, daughter Sarah was 38, she too was single and her occupation was Assistant Teacher for the County Council. Sarah completed the census form and signed it.

Catherine died on the 5th March 1913 at number 19 Gladstone Street, Crook. Her death was registered by her son in law Thomas Ellison, who lived at Milburn Street in Crook. She was 76 years old.

Catherine was buried at Crook Cemetery on the 9th March 1913. The burial service was performed by G K M Bean.