Thomas Rigby was christened on February 22nd 1829 at St Mary's Church in St Helens (which is now St Helens Church; Anglican). He was the son of Ann Rigby, who had never been married. His father isn't known. His mother's address was recorded as Windle.
By June 6th 1841, Thomas was twelve and was living with his maternal grandparents, Richard and Mary Rigby, in College Lane, Windle. His grandfather was a coal miner. It's not known what had become of his mother. His mother's two youngest sisters were still living with their parents, and were only a bit older than Thomas - Elizabeth (aged 15-19) was a dressmaker, and Jane (also 15-19) wasn't in paid employment.
Thomas' grandmother Mary Rigby died in June 1846.
On March 30th 1851, Thomas was visiting his maternal grandfather. He was now 22, and working as a glass cutter. His grandfather, at 64, was still working as a labourer; his youngest aunt, Jane, was also working as a labourer, perhaps on the coal pit brow. She was unmarried but had a two-year-old son Peter. A widow woman, Mary Crawford, also lived there as housekeeper. Margaret Prescot, Thomas' cousin, was also staying there as a visitor.
By April 7th 1861, Thomas was lodging in Plank Lane Lock House, Abram. He was working as a glass cutter. His landlord was the lock keeper, and the canal the latter was lock-keeper for was a busy six-mile link connecting with the Leeds-Liverpool canal at one end, at Hennis Bridge near Wigan, and at the other end with the Duke of Bridgewater's Worsley-Manchester canal, at Leigh.
On October 31st 1861, Thomas married Margaret Hulme, at Pennington Christ Church, in Wigan and Leigh district.
On 28 Sep 1862, Thomas and Margaret's first child, Herbert Richard Rigby, was born, in Firs Lane, West Leigh. By this time, Thomas was working as the manager at a glassworks.
On 12 Apr 1865, their second child, Mary Ellen Rigby, was born, again in Firs Lane.
Edith Annie, their third child, was born on 4 May 1868 in Westleigh.
By April 2nd 1871, Thomas was living in Plane Lane, Abram, in the Glass Works yard. He was still working as the glass works manager. The three children were all still alive, and the two older ones were now in school. The family had a seventeen-year-old domestic servant, Mary Ann Wood, who was from Abram.
Thomas and Margaret's fourth and last child, Thomas Stock Rigby, was born 3 Oct 1871 in Firs Lane.
According to a member of the Rigby family, Thomas (senior) had episodes of drinking heavily and eventually disappeared, which perhaps explains the difficulty in finding his death registration between 1871 and 1881 in Wigan area.
By April 3rd 1881, Margaret was living in Off Plane Lane, Gores Houses, and was reporting herself a widow. All four of the children were still alive; Herbert was working as a glass maker, the two girls as creelers at a cotton mill, and Thomas was still in school.
The civil registration index, and the England and Wales censuses, are Crown Copyright.
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