1846 James McCormick

When James McCormick was born in April 1846 in Carlisle, Cumberland, his father, William, was 25 and his mother, Sarah, was 24.

In the 1851 census when he was 5 years old he is living in Chamber’s Court in Caldewgate, Carlisle. He lived there with his father William and mother Sarah, both handloom weavers, and his siblings Michael (9), John (7), Hugh (3) and Mary Ann (3mths).

In the 1861 census when he was 14 years old the family is living in Scott Street in Caldewgate, Carlisle. His mother and father are still weavers but his elder brother Michael (19) is a cotton spinner. James together with his two other brothers John (17) and Hugh (12) are all now working as power loom weavers. Sadly Mary Ann appears to have died before her 10th birthday but Frank (7), William (3) and Catherine (1) are all new additions to the family in the same period.

Between January – March 1868 James married Mary Ross of Ridley Lane, Caldewgate, Carlisle. Their son William was born the following year. John Guild and Elizabeth Jackson witnessed their marriage.

Mary Ross seems to have a hard start in life. Born 2 December 1849 in Dalston to William, a hand loom weaver born in Carlisle and Frances (Fanny) a bobin winder who was born in Scotland. In the 1851 census her whole family are living in the workhouse in Wigton, her mother and father had been living there since at least 1841. She joined her parents and six siblings in the workhouse, Margaret (19) and Hugh (15) both handloom weavers , William (13), Sarah (11), David (7) and James (3).  By 1861 life had improved for her mother Frances, Mary and some of her siblings although sadly their father William stayed in the workhouse possibly because he was ill as he died 15 October 1862 and is buried in Stanwix, Carlisle. Frances (52), James (13) Mary (11) and a new younger sister Elizabeth (9) are now all living together at Ridley Lane, Caldewgate. Frances has supplemented her income as a cotton winder with a lodger, William Whiteside (16) who works in the mill with her as a cotton weaver. James (13) is also bringing income into the household as a factory hand most likely at the mill.

In 1871  James now 25 years old is married to Mary (23) and they have two children, William (3) and David (9 mths). They are living at No. 10 Broadguards in Caldewgate, Carlisle, within sight of the Shaddon Cotton Mill’s chimney, known as Dixon’s chimney. Mary’s mother Frances who is still a cotton weaver at 61 years old lives in another flat or rooms at the same address with Mary’s bother James (21) a spinner in the mill and sister Elizabeth (18).

However, by 1881 James has a new wife Margaret (30) born in Carlisle and two more children have been added to his brood. Fanny (7) and Sarah (4). Margaret’s surname is unknown it may have been a Margaret Thompson from either Wetheral, a Margaret Thompson from Brampton or a Margaret Dennett. Timelines and locations in documents don’t convince me that any of these are the correct Margarets at this point. As our family tree is descended from William the son of James and Mary I will leave this fact unknown at this stage.

By 1891 James is a cotton loom tackler and a widower, both his first wife Mary and his second wife Margaret have died. However, he isn’t lonely as he still has all five children living with him.  His house must have been very busy at No. 22  Denton Hill in Caldewgate. William and David are working in the cotton mill as general labourers with him. Fanny (Frances) at 16 years old is now a cotton weaver but his youngest daughter Sarah, who is only 14 years old has a better job as a confectioner’s assistant. Many of the McCormicks have a sweet tooth, myself included, so if Sarah had the same love for sweet things she most likely loved her job and I/m sure her family would have benefited from the occasional sweet treats she could bring home from the shop. Frank the youngest is only 11 so it may be that his second wife Margaret died very soon after Frank was born.

Hopefully by 1911 James welcomed a little peace and quiet as he was living alone at 6 Green Row Court Shaddington, Caldewgate and still working as a Tackler at the cotton mill but it may have been shortlived as he died in December in that same year at only 65 years old.

James and Mary had 2 children.

1869 William McCormick

1872 David McCormick

James and Margaret had 3 children

1875 Frances (Fanny) McCormick

1877 Sarah McCormick

1880 Frank McCormick


The information on this page has been verified using:

  • Documentation: Birth, Marriage and Death Records etc. Click this link to view these documents
  • Family Oral History
  • The author’s own knowledge

If any family member can add to the facts on this page or thinks a correction needs to be made I would welcome any information.