Catch up on the full story of last weeks NEWS...........
Betsey’s story -
Betsey was named after her Grandmother, she was the daughter of Harry and Sarah Ann Platts and was born in Chesterfield. Harry was a miner, born at Shire Green in Sheffield. The family moved around a fair bit looking for work; they move back and forth from Chesterfield to Sheffield. She had an elder sister named Florence, elder brother named George and a younger brother named Harry. In 1891 the family are living at 44 New Bridge Street, Whittington.
Betsey’s father Harry died in 1895; she would have been around 14 years old. Harry was on a cricket club outing, he was the umpire. On the day of his death the team had been to play a match at Renishaw and had frequented a few public houses on the way home. Whilst in the Travellers Rest at Shuttlewood on Sunday 22nd June Harry became involved in an argument with two brothers named Joseph and Edward Chidley. The argument was said to have been about how to raise one’s family. The situation did become heated and the men went outside to settle the situation. Harry fought with both of the men and he did eventually end up on the ground where it was alleged that they continued to kick him. George Platts the son of Harry was also present at the scene and he did try to help his father. He was however held back by Edward whilst Joseph fought with Harry. When they had finished George tried to rouse his father, but he was said to have died of his injuries.
Joseph Chidley was charged with manslaughter and committed to stand trial at the Assize Courts in July. The Jury found him guilty and sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment. Edward was also charged with manslaughter but there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty and so he was released.
It was most likely after this that the family had to seek help from the Chesterfield Union Workhouse. During the trial it was heard that Harry had not had any work for the 9 weeks prior to his death, so life must have been very difficult for Sarah and her family. It was whilst Betsey was an inmate in the workhouse that she married William John Barker. William was 10 years her senior.
As we know Betsey and William marred on 17th August 1895, just weeks after Joseph Chidley had been imprisoned for Betsey’s father’s murder. Poor Betsey was a still a young girl, grieving for the death of her father. Her family had all been forced into the workhouse; she was having a tough old time. To make matters worse still Betsey was also said to have given birth to a child by William sometime before the January 1896 when she was charging William for deserting her. There is one child in the death registers for summer 1895 which may be their child, he was named William. If this is the correct child then Betsey must have been heavily pregnant when she married William and must have known him prior to her father’s death (if he was the father that is).
So did Betsey and William “make it up” as they had been told to do by the Magistrate? Whether they made up or not they did stay together, maybe Betsey began to get Williams meals ready for him after his desertion. In 1901 they have 3 sons; George aged 4 years, Samuel aged 2 years and 1 month old William Redvers. They are living at 115 Church Street in Whittington.
Stability did not last long and in 1905 Betsey died, leaving William to bring up the children. Only 1 year later William had found himself a new wife, he married Mary Ann Booth in the winter of 1906. In 1911 he and his family are living at 8 New Bridge Street, Old Whittington (the same road that Betsey lived on in 1891). Mary Ann had one son named Norman Booth and by 1911 she and William have their own child, yet another son named Albert. William died in 1952 aged 83 years old.
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