Carter’s End

This is the second in a series about causes of death in Andrew’s Kindred, following on from Browns’ End.  Here I focus on my Carter ancestors, the latest of whom was Florence Carter, my maternal grandmother.

Florence Carter
Florence Carter. She made the hat herself.

Florence Carter

Florence was born on 13 September 1889 at Catshill, that part of Brownhills down by the Anchor Bridge.  She married Edwin “Ted” Brown on Christmas Day 1917, aged 28, so it appears the portrait is of Miss Carter, rather than Mrs Brown.  Miss Carter was in service at “the big house” in Stonnall, where she was a cook.   After that a housewife.

The entry of death records that Florence died at 41 Chapel Street, the house where I spent my first year, on 22 February 1949, aged 59.  The cause was essentially the same as for Mom, “Cerebral Haemorrhage.  The informant was R Brown, uncle Reg, but Mom was there, too.

Gertrude Elizabeth Carter

Although not a direct ancestor, Mom’s auntie Gertie would have some of the same genes.  Gertie died at Walsall Manor Hospital on 3 July 1980, aged 77.  The cause was “Right Cerebral Haemorrhage due to Cerebral Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension.

A pattern seems to be emerging.

I will expand on the female line separately.

Daniel Carter

Daniel was father to Florence and Gertie, and my great grandfather.  According to the press Daniel was a coal miner at Walsall Wood Colliery for 52 years.  He was also a keen gardener who grew lots of vegetables.  After being widowed he married again and moved to Brookland Road, Walsall Wood, where he helped his second wife with her chip shop business, and where he dug graves at the cemetery opposite.  He also had a paper round during World War One, when there was shortage of younger men.  So, he was a particularly active man.

daniel carter
Daniel Carter

Daniel lived to the ripe old age of 85.  He died on 16 August 1950 at 45 Chapel Street, which is where auntie Gertie and her husband Billy lived; he was the informant.  Daniel’s occupation was “colliery banksman”, which would be above ground, though he had worked at the coal face for a major proportion of his 52 years.

The cause was “myocarditis and senile decay”.  Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle and is most often caused by a viral infection.  I guess most folk would say it was simply old age.

Sarah Elizabeth Greatrex

Sarah was Daniel’s wife and my great grandmother.

sarah elizabeth carter
Sarah Elizabeth Carter (right) with daughter Florence Brown

I don’t know much about Sarah Elizabeth.  She was born on 22 April 1871 at Walk Mill, Cannock, Staffordshire.   From what Mom and auntie Gertie told me, Sarah’s main interest was making artificial flowers, at which she excelled.  She also made hats.

walkmill os 1882 1883 1883
Walkmill area, south of Cannock, Staffordshire. Ordnance Survey: surveyed 1882-83, published 1883. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.  The road to the north west corner is Watling Street (A5).  Cannock is north of Bridegetown.

And in more detail:

walkmill os 1882 1883 1883 inset
Walkmill (circled). Ordnance Survey: as above. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

The Walkmill was for flour.  The leat, pond and tail race are clear.  Sarah’s father, William, was a wagoner.  Presumably, he would transport flour from the mill to bakeries and other customers, and, perhaps, cereal crops from local farms.  I suspect the Urban Manure Works was not the best of neighbours.  By 1881 they had moved to Catshill, Brownhills, were William was an “ag lab”.  Sarah’s childhood would be hard.  And it would not get much easier raising nine children.

Sarah died at home at 123, Watling Street, Brownhills on 10 January 1936, aged 64 years.  The cause was cardiac disease.  Husband Daniel was with her.

William Greatrex

I have not yet obtained the records for William Greatrex, father of Sarah Elizabeth, but I do have the record for her grandfather John Greatrex.  William was 75 when he died.

John Greatrix

John was baptised at St John the  Baptist, Longdon-by-Lichfield, Staffordshire on 30 January 1777.  He, like most other folk in the village was a farm hand.    Another hard life.

At the age of 88 John died at Ogley Hay, Staffordshire, on 10 September 1864.  Ogley Hay was the parish, but he actually lived on Walsall Road, near Muckley Corner.  The cause was “Old Age”.

Joseph Carter

Joseph was Daniel’s father and my second great grandfather.  He lived in the lane where I spent most of my life.  Joseph began his life in rural Warwickshire and was a somewhat nomadic farm hand until a change of career in his forties brought him to the mines of the Cannock Chase coalfield in his forties.

Joseph was baptised at Temple Balsall, Warwickshire, sometime home to the Knights Templar, on 14 September 1830.  His father was a farm labourer and there were eight brothers and sisters.  For those who are familiar with Larkrise to Candleford, their abode would have been more like Larkrise, but they moved quite frequently.  In 1857 Joseph married Mary Ann Blythe at Berkswell, Warwickshire, and six children would follow.

On top of that their daughter Ellen died as a result of bearing her second child, Eunice, saddling Joseph and Mary Ann, both in their fifties, with two orphaned grandchildren.  Enoch seemed straightforward enough, but Eunice was a wild child and something of a handful – see Eunice the Menace courtesy of BrownhillsBob.

Joseph died at the age of 79 on 21 February 1910 at his home in Howdles Cottages, Brownhills, Staffordshire.  I vaguely recall the cottage where I believe he had lived.  It was one of pair with dormer windows and peeling paint that hid behind a tall hedge, but they had been abandoned some years before.  Water came from a well shared with the neighbours and there were two privies out the back.

The cause was “Senile Decay, Chronic Bronchitis, Cardiac Failure”.  I seems as though it was a heart attack, but I think miners’ disease led to it.

Mary Ann Blythe

Mary Ann was Joseph’s wife and my second great grandmother.  She was baptised at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire, on 2 February 1837.  For a time she worked at a local silk mill and in 1851 was a silk winder.  Silk mills were much less dusty than cotton mills and caused fewer respiratory problems.

Mary Ann Carter

The widow Carter lived on to the ripe old age of 89 (the entry of death gives 92, but I believe this is in error) at 67 Watling Street, Brownhills, Norton; probably the row of houses that stood between the Wesleyan Chapel and Whitehorse Road.  Son Daniel, of Leigh Cottage, Stonnall, was present.  The cause was “Cardiac Disease”.  Essentially old age, then.


Despite living hard lives, including coal mining, labouring on farms, and the hard graft of housekeeping, none of my ancestors in this quarter of Andrew’s Kindred died especially young.  In fact, they mostly lived long lives.  A good omen, perhaps?  Though maybe a sedentary career is not so good …




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