Mrs Margaret Ann Watson Ford

Mrs Edward Ford was born as Margaret Ann Watson on 3 December 1857 in Bracadale on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland.

She was the daughter of William Watson (b. 1827), a shepherd, and Margaret "Peggy" Ross (1) (b. 1832), both natives of Rossshire who were married on 30 May 1851 in Alness, Ross and Cromarty. They seemingly initially settled in Sutherlandshire where their first three children were born before settling on the Isle of Skye sometime around 1856. They had twelve known children in all: Andrew (b. 1853), Christina (b. 1855), James (b. 1857), Catherine (b. 1859), Dolina (b. 1861), William (b. 1864), Thomas Neil (b. 1866), Catherine (b. 1868), Neil (b. 1869), Robert (b. 1871), Robert (b. 1873), Elizabeth (b. 1876).

Margaret appears on the 1861 census living in Gruile, Bracadale and on the 1871 census living at Borlen House Ganle, Bracadale. She was not listed with her family on the 1881 census when they were living at Gruile 2, Bracadale. Her father had passed away by the time of the 1891 census and the family home had passed into the hands of her brother Neil, a postman, who then lived with her widowed mother and sister Kate at Harport House, Bracadale.

She moved southward and was married in St Mark's Church in Hadlow Down, Wealden, Sussex, England on 17 June 1890 to Edward Ford (b. 1858), a native of Fletching, Sussex and who was a hay worker on a farm. The childless couple appear on the 1891 census living at an unspecified address in Hadlow Down; they would later go on to produce five children: Dollina Margaret (b. 1891), Frances Mary (b. 1893), Edward Watson (b. 1895), William Neal Thomas (b. 1897) and Robina Maggie (b. 1904).

The family show up on the 1901 census living in the hamlet of Mark Cross in Rotherfield, Sussex and are still in that locale by the time of the 1911 census.

Margaret's husband Edward later reportedly deserted the family and she was left to eke out an existence as a poultry farmer. Her daughter Frances had emigrated to the USA in 1911 and worked as a domestic servant with a wealthy Long Island family, and so impressed her family back home with tales of a better life that Margaret decided to leave their home in Rotherfield for America. Travelling with them was Margaret's sister Elizabeth Johnston with her family and a family friend, Phoebe Alice Harknett. Margaret bought ticket W./C. 6608 (which cost £34 7s 6d) for her and her children and they boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers and were destined for New London, Connecticut where Mrs Watson's brother Thomas lived.

The entire party of ten were lost in the sinking. None of their bodies were identified amongst those recovered after the sinking. Edward Ford later filed a claim for the loss of his family and was awarded five shillings per week. What became of Edward is not known but it is possible he remained in Rotherfield and died in 1933.

Frances Ford, having lost her mother, her siblings and other relatives, later went to live in Haverhill, Massachusetts with her uncle Thomas Watson and later worked as a laundress. She was married in Boston on 24 June 1916 to Massachusetts-native Charles Henry Langley (b. 1883) and had two children: Muriel (b. 1920) and Charles Henry (b. 1922). What became of her first husband is unknown but she was remarried sometime before 1930 to New Yorker Michael Nathanson (b. 1883), a leather dealer, and settled in Quincy, Massachusetts. She died in 1969.

 

Articles and Stories

Concord Enterprise (1913) 
Chicago Examiner (1912) 
 

Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK

Notes

  1. Some sources give her name as Catherine Margaret McGregor
  2. He would give his birthplace as Middlesex or London in some census records. His birth was registered in Sussex and he was baptised on 4 April 1858 in Fletching, Sussex.

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Names and Descriptions of British Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B)
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)

Link and cite this biography

(2017) Margaret Ann Watson Ford Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #813, updated 25th August 2017 20:09:02 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/margaret-ann-watson-ford.html

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