My great-grandaunt Mary Ann (Thorpe) Savage (1837-1907) and her extended family were employed in a wide variety of different occupations. Mary Ann was born in England; while she was yet an infant her parents Thomas and Elizabeth (Savoy) Thorpe immigrated to Michigan in 1838.
There is no occupation listed for Thomas on the ship passenger list, but in 1840 the family is living in Pontiac, Michigan and one person is engaged in “Commerce” on the United States Census of that year. Unfortunately, Thomas died 28 July just days prior to the 1850 Census leaving his occupation at the time a mystery.
At the time of her husband's death, Elizabeth had seven children still at home, the youngest my great-grandmother Sarah, was only 2 months old. Unfortunately, that Census only asked about the occupations of MALES over the age of 15 so there is a blank for any occupation for Elizabeth. The family was still living in the village of Pontiac and owned no property at the time. Elizabeth did not remarry until 1855 so had some source of income during this time.
By the time of the 1860 Census, Elizabeth and her second husband, Thomas Dean, had moved a bit north to Davison, Michigan where his occupation is listed as “farm laborer”. The very next entry in the same dwelling is for the Spencer Savage family. Mary Ann had married Spencer Savage in 1853 and by 1860 they had three young children. Spencer's occupation is “Carpenter” in 1860.
The Savage family moved further north yet to the lumber boom town of East Saginaw, Michigan by 1869 where the birth of their daughter Harriet was recorded. Spencer appeared in the city directory with the occupation of “Carpenter” between 1869 and 1880. In 1870 they are also listed as operating a boarding house. Spencer died sometime before the 1880 Census was taken.
Mary Ann was listed as a seamstress on that 1880 census and then as a dressmaker in the 1883 Saginaw City Directory. Her daughter Martha married in 1879 and was also residing in Saginaw in 1880; her husband was listed as a cigar maker on the 1880 Census.
Between 1886 and 1890 Mary Ann's occupation changed. She was listed in the city directories as a baker in a bakery. The location of the business, 125 N. Jefferson, was at a major intersection in the center of downtown Saginaw. Two of her children, George and Harriet, are listed as clerks in the business.
In 1890, Mary Ann's nephew, Andrus Hart the son of her sister Sarah, was a witness of the marriage of Mary Ann's youngest daughter Harriet and Fred Deno in Saginaw. Fred lists his occupation as telegraph operator on the marriage license. Andrus was working as street car conductor in Saginaw according to the 1891 city directory.
Saginaw experienced a major fire in May of 1893 which may have displaced Mary Ann. I found mention of Mary Ann's son George dying in Vernon, Michigan in December of 1893. Several of Mary Ann's siblings were living in that area at the time including Sarah whose husband Ephraim Hart 's employment was recorded in various sources as a laborer, carpenter and mover of buildings in Vernon. Their brother William also moved to Vernon and his occupations included machinist and laborer (not farm).
Other occupations pursued by Mary Ann's siblings and their children included: Peddler of notions (John – 1880); Foreman in a furniture factory, Painter for a railroad and furniture finisher (husband of Susanna); Janitor at a school (Edwin-1880) and three of Edwin’s sons worked in the newspaper industry as printers.
The next record of Mary Ann is the 1900 United States Census, at that time she is living in the household of the Deno family in Cicero, Illinois where son-in-law Fred is working as a railroad telegrapher. She was still living with or near them at the time of her death in 1907 at Holly, Michigan as Harriet Deno is listed as the informant on Mary Ann's death certificate. Fred and Harriet (Savage) Deno appeared on the 1910 United States Census at Holly where he continued to be employed by the railroad.