Martha married John Tweddle (a solicitor) on 14 August 1840 at Bishopwearmouth by licence - Martha was still a minor. And an orphaned minor at that - the marriage bond was signed by a Robert Fair.
I found her in the 1840 census in the household of William and Mary Laing (grocer) in New Elvet Durham. John Tweddell, in 1841 was in Durham Gaol and House of Correction - a prisoner. I had wondered whether that was some sort of mistake - he was an attorney after all - but no, other cousins have done much research and found evidence that although he was a solicitor, Tweddell was also a crook.
Their first two children, Anne and George were born in London, daughter Mary back in Stockton and a son, John was born in 1850 (about whom I currently have no further details. Martha doesn't show up anywhere in the 1851 census but whether that's due to mistranscriptions or evasion, none of us are sure. John Tweddell is living in York Street in Stockton with his daughter, Mary aged 4. The other children are living with their Tweddle grandparents. We have no trace of John after this.
And what of Martha?
My great grandmother, Hannah was born on 27 March 1854 in Drypool, Hull. The father was named as Bryan Stratford (occupation, millwright), the mother, Martha Stratford, formerly Fair.
Margaret was born in Houghton-le-Spring in March 1857, Sarah in Stockton in 1860 and William, also in Stockton in 1862.
For some reason, in 1861, the family was in Leeds, boarding in Brick Street with a family called O'Reilly. Perhaps at this point, Bryan was still working (Bryan will have an entry of his own, later when all will become clear).
In 1871, Bryan is living in lodgings in Housewife Lane, Stockton; Martha and the 4 children (and 2 Welsh puddler lodgers) are in York Street, Thornaby
In 1881, Bryan is in the Stockton Workhouse; Martha, now styling herself 'solicitor's widow' is in Queen Street East, Thornaby with her son, William and a niece, Elizabeth Westerman.
In 1891, Martha is in Hutchinson Street, living on her own means and sharing the house with a Welsh family.
Martha died on 11 October 1899 at 29 Hind Street, Stockton (was this her own address?) and her occupation is listed as Widow of John Tweddell, Solicitor. At 76, her cause of death was 'Old Age. Congestion of lungs'. The informant was Sarah Bailey, daughter, present at the death.
I just want to go back to the children she had by John Tweddle; Anne married William Hogg in 1888 but died in Sedgefield Asylum of 'mania' in 1919; William died in an accident at Shildon Works in 1861.
Mary married Richard Brown Hall in 1868; Richard was the son of George Hall and my great, great aunt, Jane Brown who married in June 1842. Strange when two branches of the family come together! George (a grocer) died of typhus in October 1843, Jane, of dropsy, in 1853. Mary died in 1882 (aged 36) of phthisis (we know this as TB nowadays), Richard in 1900 of renal disease and cardiac disease.