In the 1841 census of Toddington, William 1796 and Catherine nee Fossey, along with Sarah, Moses and John are all bracketed as “Ag Lab” which simply means general workers of one sort or another, no matter how skilled the work might be. In 1843, Sarah had her own son, Joseph 1843 in Toddington, and he was baptised by her on 16 Apr 1843. In the 1851 Toddington census, the 8yr old Joseph is listed as “grandson” in William’s family of Catherine, Sarah, John and Joseph.
1851 = William 1797 Stbg Catherine 52 Sarah 26 John 18 Joseph gs 8 in Tod
Even at 8yrs, little Joseph is already a “Platter,” making Bedfordshire straw into little strips and then plaiting it into bundles to be made into hats.
Sarah married John Garner of Toddington on 03 Nov 1856 in Toddington and in the 1861 census they are living in Parsonage End, Toddington.
1861 = Joseph 1843 Tod w John and Sarah Garner in Tod
John and Joseph are classified as Ag Lab and Sarah is a laundress.
The 1871 census image is corrupt and won’t load, but in 1881 Joseph is out on his own (we’ll catch up with him shortly) and Sarah and John, still living in Parsonage End, have been joined by their 9yr old niece Martha. She is the daughter of Sarah’s brother, John 1831 Tod.
1881 = Martha 1872 Tod niece to John Garner 58 Sarah 56 in Tod
In 1891, same address, Martha and Sarah are both listed as laundress. Without rubber gloves, and with only Victorian soap to use (my mum used to make it herself, so I suppose they did, too) one can only imagine the state of their hands. This is not trivial.
1891 = Martha 1872 Tod niece to John Garner 71 in Tod
In 1901, now 78yrs old, Sarah is living in Station Road, on one side the blacksmith Harry Holman and on the other Ann Worthington, 74 of “own means.” On census night she records a visiting Washerwoman, Eliza Ann Smith 25. The enumerator notes that Sarah is “nearly blind” and there is no occupation recorded for her – not even parish relief.