Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Harbertson Family Anecdotes *UPDATED*

My Great Grandfather, James Harbertson was born on 8 April 1880 at New Hartley, the son of John Harbertson and Margaret Ann Sharp. When James was only seven, his father died of cerebral disease. His mother Margaret soon remarried to Thomas Vickers, a neighbour from two doors away. 

When James was in his early twenties he began walking out with Sarah Jane Taylor, a local girl from the next village, Seaton Delaval. After marrying, the newly-weds moved to Newsham, a small mining village further north and close to Blyth. As a miner, it's likely James got a job in a colliery close to Newsham.

When James' mother Margaret was widowed the family moved back to New Hartley to live with her. I've already detailed this time period in Margaret's life in an earlier blog postAfter staying in New Hartley for a few years, the Harbertson-Vickers family moved to the nearby village of Annitsford, and settled in No. 5 Orange Street. 

Margaret Vickers was a formidable lady, and it is said she wouldn't think twice about "marking your height" by throwing her cup of tea if you vexed her!

James in his allotment.
James Harbertson was an intelligent man, or rather as the family remember him "he had a good heed-piece on." He was quite good at fixing things, and would always lend a hand to help his neighbours out. James even worked for two doctors in nearby Burradon, with his family believing he was clever enough to be a doctor himself. As a working class man, and especially a miner, James just didn't have a good enough education. He always had his white silk scarf around his neck, contrasting with his boiler suit.

James' pride and joy was his allotment, a short walk from his house. There he grew flowers, fruit and vegetables. A trait he obviously inherited from his maternal grandfather, Joseph Sharp. James' beloved shovel was adorned with his initials, which he wrote in his own special way.




Sarah Jane was a "real grafter." She was always working, which included sweeping the street, polishing the front step and endless amounts of washing. Sarah Jane would hang the washing to dry in the wide and open Orangey's Field which the Harbertsons' house backed out onto. 

Sadly, Sarah Jane suffered from severe bronchitis and it took its toll on her over the years. She would often sit outside resting, and breathing in the fresh air. 


Sarah Jane.
Note her pinny, a sign of a real grafter.

Sarah Jane Harbertson died on 23 May 1951, and James on 5 May 1960.

James and Sarah Jane Harbertson's
headstone.