Margaret Baxter

Unbelievably Margaret Baxter was baptised on the same day as her two-year-old sister Elizabeth was buried. I don’t know what to make of that; I can’t imagine how her mother must have felt. Agnes, the eldest child, was six years old. What kind of a turmoil was going on in her mind? First, a new baby arrives and then, within two or three weeks, her sister dies.

No doubt attitudes and beliefs have changed in the intervening three hundred years, but I’m sure fundamental human feelings remain the same.

Margaret is the earliest of our known ancestors to have been baptised in Leeds. Her birth record shows that her parents lived at “North Bar” but a Google search turns up only the excellent drinking establishment in that city. Wherever “North Bar” was, Margaret’s two younger brothers were both born there in the next few years.

Margaret moved to Holbeck when she married Abraham Lister in 1751. This was then a village (now in the inner city of Leeds) and here the Listers had five children. Our ancestor Miles was the first, followed by Eleanor, Nancy, Abraham and John.

We have no details of their income or occupation, but it was likely to be in textiles; the “beck” in Holbeck was a watercourse which fed the weaving industry. At this time weaving was done at home on hand looms and the whole family could contribute to the preparation and finishing of the cloth.

When Abraham Lister died in 1768 he left a will. Presumably he had something to leave, maybe the looms and other tools of his trade. Margaret was left with five children aged between twelve and three years old. Miles and his sisters would have been old enough to work alongside their mother as the younger boys grew up.

However, I don’t think that was the end of Margaret’s story. I believe she re-married five years later. In 1773 a widow Margaret Lister married Thomas Pearson in St Peter’s church, Leeds and I think this could be her. She died nine years later and was buried at Armley, Leeds.

Mother of Miles Lister and daughter of Robert and Agnes Baxter

Born 9 March at North Bar, Leeds and baptised on 5 April 1727 in Leeds, Yorkshire

Married (1) Abraham Lister on 29 May 1751 (2) Thomas Pearson on 12 March 1773

Buried 8 July 1782

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