Category: Mitcheson

Master Mariners in the Family

County Durham and neighbouring Northumberland face the North Sea and have a long history of shipping and shipbuilding, especially around Newcastle, at the mouth of the Tyne River, so it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that several of my ancestors had close links to the sea.

Jane Mitcheson (1793-1825) was one of four daughters and two sons of farmer Joseph Mitcheson (1746-1821) and his wife Margaret Philipson, my four-times great-grandparents in County Durham. Jane’s brother William Mitcheson (1783-1857) became an anchor maker and lived in the Limehouse area of London, near the docks. Perhaps Jane met her future husband through her brother William.

In 1812, she married David Mainland, bachelor and master mariner, of Tynemouth, Northumberland,saying her vows at the parish church in Whickham, County Durham.1 I do not know when or where David was born, or even when he died, but he appears to have had a successful career. There was a reference to him as early as 1808 in the London Gazette, noting he was captain of an English merchant ship that had sailed from Stockholm to Hull, Yorkshire.

Jane gave birth to the first of their children, Margaret, who was baptized just before Christmas, 1813 at Christ Church, Tynemouth. The couple may have had a daughter Jane, born around 1818, but I have not found her birth record. More about her later.

David Mainland junior was born around 1819 in North Shields, Northumberland. More about him later also.

Etching by Charles William Sherborn, View along the Thames River with Limehouse in the distance and a builder’s yard on the right. 1876. Source: the British Musem.

In October, 1825, Jane gave birth to Joseph Mitcheson Mainland, named after his grandfather who had died four years earlier. By this time, the Mainland family was living in London, a major center of the shipping industry. Jane died about a month after Joseph’s birth and was buried on Nov. 2, 1825.2 Joseph died at age seven and was buried in 1833 in the same cemetery as his mother, St. Anne’s, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets. This left David as a single father, however, Jane’s brother William and his family lived nearby and may have helped with the children. In fact, although Jane was dead, the ties between the Mainland family and William Mitcheson’s family were close for decades.

In 1849, David Mainland junior, a master mariner like his father, married one of William Mitcheson’s daughters. Mary Ann Mitcheson was born in 1814 in Poplar, London, married school teacher Manasseh Phillips Eady in 1833, and had a daughter, Mary (1834-1905). Manasseh died in 1839, and Mary Ann Eady married her cousin David Mainland at All Saints Church, Poplar, ten years later.3 David and Mary Ann spent many years together, despite his long absences at sea. They had no children.

I have not done much research on David’s career as a mariner – this could be another rabbit hole to explore some day – but I did find that a David Mainland (father or son?) was commander of Sons of Commerce, a new copper-bottom ship sailing from London to India in 1841. In 1850, 1851 and 1852, David (this must have been the son) was captain of the barque Sultana, owned by Mitcheson, carrying immigrants to South Australia.4 Toward the end of his life, David became a ship owner himself.

David and Mary Ann were living on Garford Street, Poplar, near the Mitchesons, in 1851, but by 1861 they were in West Ham, an unfashionable suburb of east-end London. Many industries were located there at the end of the 19th century, making soaps, dyes, gunpowder and other products. West Ham was said to be one of the busiest and dirtiest parts of the city.

The Thames River and the port of London, east of the city center in 1900. Limehouse and Poplar are near Stepney. These docks were the gateway to the British Empire. Detail of a map in the 10th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica.

Mary Ann died in 1887. When David died in 1906, at age 87, he was buried with her in Tower Hamlets Cemetery, London.5 By then he was a rich man, and he split his estate between three people: Ernest Frederick Walford, stockbroker; William Mitcheson Dodd, gentleman (William, 1853-1933, was a mariner and the grandson of Jane Mitcheson’s sister Margaret); and Mary Ann Mainland Lewis, spinster.6

Mary Ann Mainland Lewis was the daughter of Jane Mainland (who was probably David junior’s sister),and her husband, David Lewis. According to Jane’s and David’s 1839 marriage record,7 Jane’s father was David Mainland and, according to the 1861 census, she was born in Whickham, Newcastle around 1817. David Lewis was also a master mariner. That 1861 census entry for Jane shows the couple had four daughters. Mary Ann Mainland Lewis, the youngest of their daughters, born about 1852 in Poplar, Middlesex, was therefor probably David Mainland’s niece and the third beneficiary of his estate.

See also:

Janice Hamilton, “The Mitcheson Family of Limehouse”, Writing Up the Ancestors, Jan. 21, 2015,


Mary Eady Mainland, daughter of Manasseh Phillip Eady and Mary Ann (Mitcheson) Eady, married Alexander Fleming and the couple had a large family.

As an adult, Jane and David Mainland’s daughter Margaret lived in the London area and was married twice, first to Magnus Smith in 1832. The widowed Margaret Smith married Daniel Cooks in 1851.

Mariners worked at an extremely hazardous occupation, at risk of injury or death from big storms and submerged rocks. Accidents were so common that, in 1879, a British charity called the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society assisted 11,863 shipwrecked mariners, their widows and orphans with financial support. David Mainland attended a meeting of this organization in 1879.


1. England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, (, database on-line, entry for David Mainland, accessed April 16, 2022), citing England, Marriages, 1538–1973. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

2. London England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-2003, (, database online, entry for Jane Mainland, Tower Hamlets, St. Anne, Limehouse, accessed April 17, 2022) citing London Metropolitan Archives, London, England, London Church of England Parish Registers.

3.London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936, (, database online, entry for David Mainland, accessed April 18, 2022), citing Church of England Parish Registers. London Metropolitan Archives, London.

4. Barque Sultana, SA Passenger Lists 1847-1886, transcribed and submitted by Robert Janmatt, (database online,, accessed April 16, 2022)

5. London, England, City of London and Tower Hamlets Registry of Graves, 1841-1966, Registry of Private Graves, 1883-1920, (, entry for David Mainland, accessed April 16, 2022), citing City of London and Tower Hamlets cemetery registers held by the London Metropolitan Archives, London, England.

6. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995, (, database on-line, entry for David Mainland, accessed April 16, 2022), citing Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England 7. London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936, [, database on-line, entry for Jane Mainland, accessed April 17, 2022), citing Church of England Parish Registers. London Metropolitan Archives, London.

The Mitcheson Sisters

Sisters Margaret (born 1781), Elizabeth (born 1786) and Jane Mitcheson (born 1793) grew up together on their parents’ farm in County Durham, England, but when they became adults, their lives followed very different paths. The eldest married a much older man who provided her with financial security, the middle sister was swept off her feet by a tenant farmer and the youngest married a mariner who was often away at sea.

The daughters of yeoman farmer Joseph Mitcheson and his wife Margaret Philipson, they were baptized at Lanchester Parish Church and grew up in the rolling countryside of northeast England. Their mother died in 1804, when Jane would have been just nine years old.

They had two older siblings, Mary (born 1776) and Robert (born 1779) who both immigrated to North America, and another brother, William (born 1783), an anchor manufacturer who lived near the docks of London. (Mary and Robert were both my direct ancestors since Mary’s grandson, Stanley Clark Bagg, married Robert’s daughter Catharine Mitcheson in 1844, so these three sisters were my 4x and 5x great-aunts.

Their grandfather Robert Mitcheson (-1784) left each of his older grandchildren 50 pounds, part of which could be spent on their care and education and the rest given to them when they turned 21. In his will, written in 1803, their father also left them between 100 and 150 pounds each,1 although he gave the two youngest, Elizabeth and Jane, their money in 1807.

Margaret Dodd

Margaret would have been considered as having married well when she wed gentleman Thomas Dodd (1743-1823) at Whickham Parish Church in 1808.2 The Dodd lineage in northern County Durham can be traced back to 1645, and his family owned a farm called Woodhouse, located in Woodside Ryton Township.

Whickham Parish Church. JH photo.

Thomas was in his sixties and Margaret was 27 when they married. They had five children, three of whom lived to adulthood, although their only surviving son, Thomas Anthony Humble Dodd (1824-1899), was born after his father had died. Thomas grew up to be a well-known Newcastle surgeon and married his cousin, Frances Jane Mitcheson (1824-1898), daughter of the anchor maker.3

Thomas Dodd senior was an early pioneer of Methodism, founded in the 18th century by English minister John Wesley. Wesley often preached to large crowds outdoors. According to the late Durham-based genealogist Geoff Nicholson, John Wesley may have preached in the fields at Dent’s Hall, near Ryton, and Thomas may have met Wesley.4

After her husband’s death, Margaret remained at Woodhouse. In 1824, 1825 and 1827, the property was listed as owned and occupied by the executors of Thomas Dodd’s estate, but according to the 1830 land tax returns, it was “Property of Mrs. Dodd, occupied by Mrs. Dodd.”5

She was also a farmer. A local directory published in 1828 listed Margaret Dodd as a farmer in Woodside Ryton Township,6 and the 1841 U.K. census did the same.  

The 1851 census found son Thomas A. H. Dodd as head of the household, living at Woodhouse with his wife and two small children, his mother and two servants. Margaret was listed as an annuitant, meaning she had her own income. The census noted that Thomas was a surgeon, and that the farm had 96 acres and employed two labourers.

When the 1861 census-taker came around, Margaret was once again head of the household, living with her widowed daughter Mary Robson and a house servant. Margaret died in October, 1864, age 83, and was buried with her husband in Holy Cross Parish Churchyard, Ryton.7

Elizabeth Maughan

While researching Margaret was straightforward, finding records of her sister Elizabeth’s life was more challenging. What I did find suggests that Elizabeth’s life was far from easy.

She was just 20 when she married farmer John Maughan, of Shotley, Northumberland, in 1806 at Whickham Parish Church.8 They lived in Shotley, a sparsely inhabited parish in southern Northumberland, located between the River Derwent and the town of Hexham. Its soil consists of sandy clay, and coal, silver, lead and iron have been produced in the area.

Elizabeth might have been lonely there, but she probably didn’t have much time to think about it as she gave birth to at least 10 children.9 Several of them died young, but Joseph (b. 1810), Margaret (b. 1814), Isabella (b. 1816), Mary (b. 1817) and possibly William (b. 1823) grew to adulthood.

The family eventually appears to have left Shotley. In 1842, my Montreal ancestors Stanley Bagg and his 21-year-old son Stanley Clark Bagg travelled to England. In an account of the trip, Stanley Clark Bagg mentioned that they visited his great-aunts Mrs. Dodd near Ryton and Mrs. Maughan in Sunderland, in northeastern County Durham.11

Some genealogists suggest Elizabeth died in Hexham, Northumberland in 1839, but in that case, the Baggs would not been able to visit her. The 1841 census counted a John Maughan, agricultural labourer, and Elizabeth Maughan, age 55, in Sunderland, along with 15-year-old Thomas Maughan, so this may have been the family.12 I do not know when Elizabeth died.

As for the youngest sister, Jane, she married master mariner David Mainland in 1812. About 10 years later, the family moved to London. Jane died in London in 1825 and their son David married his widowed cousin Mary Ann (Mitcheson) Eady in 1849. Jane’s family will be the subject of my next post.


According to genealogist Geoff Nicholson, Margaret and Thomas Dodd’s children were: Margaret (c.1810-1851) m. John Milburn; Isabella Ann (1815-1822), Mary (1817- ) m. Rob. Robson or Ritson; Anthony Humble (1818-1821) and Thomas Anthony Humble (1824-1899) m. Frances Jane Mitcheson.

Elizabeth and John Maughan’s daughter Mary (born 181712)) moved to Montreal, Canada, where her Aunt Mary (MItcheson) Clark lived. Mary Maughan married merchant William Footner in Montreal in September, 1840,13 and she gave birth to one of her three children at Mile End Lodge, a large farmhouse that belonged to her aunt. The Footner family later moved to the United States and Mary died in Minnesota in 1901. (There was another William Footner, an architect, married to another Mary, in Montreal in the mid to late 1800s.)

See also:

This article has simultaneously been posted on

The Lucy H. Anglin Family Tree on Ancestry Public Member Trees. Numerous members of the Mitcheson family in Durham, including several generations of men named Robert Mitcheson, as well as their descendants in Philadelphia and Montreal, have now been listed on this tree.

Janice Hamilton, “Mary Mitcheson Clark”, Writing Up the Ancestors, May 16, 2014,

Janice Hamilton, “Philadelphia and the Mitcheson Family,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Nov. 22, 2013,

Janice Hamilton, “Fanny in Philly” Writing Up the Ancestors, March 30, 2014,

Janice Hamilton, “Robert Mitcheson’s Last Will and Testament”, Writing Up the Ancestors, March 1, 2022,


1. Will of Joseph Mitcheson, yeoman, Iveston, Durham, The National Archives, Wills 1384-1858 (, search for Joseph Mitcheson, accessed Nov. 18, 2010), The National Archives, Kew – Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 9 February, 1822.

2. England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, (, database on-line, entry for Margaret Mitcheson, accessed April 19, 2022), citing England, Marriages, 1538–1973. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

3 London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921, (, database on-line, entry for Thomas Anthony Humble Dodd, 1848, accessed April 19, 2022), citing Marriage Bonds and Allegations. London, England: London Metropolitan Archives.

4 E-mail correspondence from Geoff Nicholson about the Dodd family, June 13, 2009.

5 Durham County Record Office. Quarter Sessions – Land Tax Returns, Chester Ward West 1759-1830,, search for Dodd, viewed April 19, 2022.

6 The History, Directory and Gazetteer of Durham and Northumberland, Vol 2, by Wm. Parson and Wm. White, W. White and Company, 1828, p. 186, Google Books, search for Margaret Dodd, accessed April 19, 2022.

7 Find a Grave (, database online, search for Margaret Dodd, accessed April 19, 2022),

8. England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973 (, database on-line, entry for Elizabeth Mitcheson, Whickham, accessed April 10, 2022), citing England, Marriages, 1538–1973. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

9. England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,, database online, entry for John Maughan and spouse Elizabeth, Shotley; accessed April 10, 2022.

10. Letter from Stanley Clark Bagg to Rev. R. M. Mitcheson, Dec. 6, 1842, probably transcribed by Stanley Bagg Lindsay; Lindsay family collection.

11.1841 England Census, (, database on-line, entry for Elizabeth Maughan, Bishop Wearmouth, accessed April 10, 2022), citing Class: HO107; Piece: 310; Book: 4; Civil Parish: Bishop Wearmouth; County: Durham; Enumeration District: 4; Folio: 13; Page: 21; Line: 1; GSU roll: 241353, original dataCensus Returns of England and Wales, 1841. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1841.

12 “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975”, database, FamilySearch ( : 20 March 2020), entry for Mary Maughan, accessed April 19, 2022).

13. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968,, (, database on-line, entry for Mary Maughan, accessed April 19, 2022), citing Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Drouin Collection; Author: Gabriel Drouin, comp.