George Pearson 1772 - 1861

George Pearson was born about 1772 in Hornby, Lancashire and was the father of Elizabeth (Pearson) Windlow.

Isabella Sobers was born in 1779 in Chester-Le-Street, Durham. She married George Pearson on 18 August 1798 in Sunderland, Durham. She died in 1856 in Coxlodge, Northumberland, having lived a long life of 77 years.

In the 1841 census George and his wife Isabella (who was born in Chester-le-Street, Durham) are living in Bulmans Village, Coxlodge, Northumberland.

He is recorded as a Silk Dresser – this job entailed bales of silk waste opened up at the mill, washed and degummed then combed on a dressing frame. After being combed it is drawn on a drawing or sett frame into slivers — this happened several times until the silk was fine enough to be spun.

Silk comes from the cocoon of the silkworm of the silk moth. It was very hard to breed silkworms in England as the temperature was too cold and the silkworms only ate the leaves of the mulberry tree, which did not grow here. Therefore raw silk was imported into England from China, India and Turkey to be made into thread and woven.

Silk weaving was introduced to England in the 17th Century by the Huguenots in Spitalfields, London. In the 18th Century people worked in their homes to make small silk items such as silk buttons and ribbons.

There is also reference to a drawloom, a broadloom dating back to the 1560's.
A ‘drawboy’ originally sat on top of the loom pulling up the warp threads. The process was automated around 1725 and led to the Jacquard machine.

In the 1851 census, George is living with Isabella and is recorded as a Cartman, formerly a Silk Dresser.

This would coincide with the changes in the textile industry, where many weavers were out of work due to the improvements in technology available to mass produce textiles in factories rather than the cottage textile industry.

He was a widower age 89 in the 1861 census. His occupation was recorded as a Silk Dresser, but I doubt that he was actively engaged in this occupation at this time.

Staying with him was his great grandson, John Thomas Huggup age 5 years (son of Isabella Windlow Huggup) and his daughter Elizabeth, and grandson’s Joseph (a pitman) and George (a masons labourer) in Bulmans Village, Coxlodge on the 1861 Census day.

Soon after, his death certificate recorded on 9 April 1861  shows his last occupation to be a Hawker. He died of old age (89 years) and debility. The informant was George WINLOW. I believe that this must have been his grandson.