Margaret or Margaretta Charlton c1834 -1873


Margaretta was the Great Great Grandmother of Bob Tame & the mother of Thomas Henry James (formerly Davison) one of Bobís Maternal Great grandparents.


Information in these notes comes from various sources including a book kept by Thomas James and his adoptive parents William and Margaret.



Margaret or Margaretta was born around 1832, possibly in North or South Shields. Her Father was Robert Charlton, a Potter.


I have not yet discovered any more detail of Margaretís parents.


In 1851 Margaret was a lodger with James and Mary Close, living in Stranton on the outskirts of Hartlepool. Her occupation at the time is not specified. I believe she was related to the ĎCloseí Family.


In 1853 she got married, to George Knox in Stranton. Neither of them could sign their names, marking the certificate with an X. Robert Close, one of the family she had been lodging with was one of the witnesses at the Wedding.



On 19th February 1858 she gave birth to a Daughter, Margaret Ann Charlton, in Westoe, South Shields. There is no fatherís name on the birth certificate so I am assuming George Knox has died.



I have no idea what happened to George Knox, but in 1863 a Margaret Knox married again, this time in North Shields, to a man named George Davison. I cannot be sure it was our Margaret. She was called Margaret Knox at this time but has she has described herself as a Spinster, she is still illiterate and the certificate says her father was Robert Knox, Occupation: Potter. Our Margaretís father Robert Charlton was a Potter. Coincidence, deliberate deception or what I am not sure. Their residence at the time of the wedding is somewhat vague Ė This Parish!


(Divorce was rare until the First World War, and before 1858 it was non-existent for ordinary people, requiring an Act of Parliament. People did separate informally, and the church could annul a marriage if there were sufficient grounds, e.g. non-consummation.)


However, I do know she moved back to Hartlepool where in 1866 she had a Daughter, Maria, born on 4th March 1866. Mariaís father was George Davison. Mariaís birth certificate confirms that Margaret has been married twice, to a Knox and now to George Davison.



Exactly a month after Maria Davison was born, her father, Margarettaís husband, George Davison, died in a tragic accident on April 4th 1866, leaving Margaret Ann and Maria without a father and Margaretta without a husband.


A newspaper article has been found describing this accident, although it states he was about thirty rather than 25 and having three children when I have only managed to trace two.



Margaretta moved back to South Shields and became pregnant again at the end of 1867. We do not know who the father was, my Grandmother used to say he may have been a Spanish Sea Captain.


Margaretís third child, Thomas Henry, (my great grandfather) was born on 13th August 1868. As she was still Mrs Davison at the time, he took the surname Davison but she could not put a fatherís name on his certificate and she called herself Margaretta. (was that the Spanish Sea Captainís name for her?)


It is also possible that Thomasís father could have been be Joseph Littler who Margaret Davidson (Nee Charlton) married in South Shields in October 1870. He describes Thomas as his son on the 1871 Census.


Six months after this wedding, the 1871 Census below confirms that Margaret, now Mrs Littler, is living with her third husband, Joseph, and the three children, Thomas Henry and his two sisters Maria and Margaret Ann.


The two girls are described as step-daughters of Joseph Littler, but Thomas is described as a Son, although the three children have all kept the surname Davison.


On 16th December 1871 Margaretta had a fourth child Joseph Littler, named after his father.


Sadly, Margaretta (now Mrs Margaret Littler) dies, aged only 38, with Heart Disease and Dropsy, on 7th January 1873, leaving Joseph Littler with 3 children, none of whom were his. Margaret Ann was 14, Maria was 7 and Thomas Henry was just 5 years old.


The children were soon to be split up. The oldest Child, Margaret Ann, found herself a husband called Andrew OíHara in Jarrow and married in 1878, although on the marriage certificate she has used her motherís maiden name of Charlton and does not know her fatherís name when she fills in the certificate.


By 1881 Margaret Ann has a daughter, Sarah Ann, but sadly Margaret Annís marriage ends in tragedy in 1882 when she goes on a steamboat trip to Warkworth and drowns after falling out of a lifeboat after the steamboat hits rocks at Hauxley and ran aground.† (Note 1)


In 1881 the second daughter Maria is in Service with a family in Jarrow and Thomas Henry has moved to Seaham Harbour where he has been adopted by the James Family, William and Margaret.


Maria Davison marries Albert Weddle (b1855) in 1886 and they live in Seaham Harbour. Maria and Albert have 6 children together but unfortunately after the sixth Child Violet is born in 1899 Maria Dies aged only 33, leaving Albert as a widow with 6 children to look after.


Thomasís Story is to be found in another document.


I have not yet researched either of the Joseph Littlers..



Note 1 - Further information on the boat tragedy can be found in numerous newspaper articles on the FindmyPast Website



END of the Margaret Charlton Story---------------------created by Bob Tame (


Thomasís story is continued elsewhere.