John Lytle Sr.

John Lytle Sr.  (1799 1877)

Of the six brothers who left Ireland, only John Sr. seems to have come to England. He settled in Manchester, and ran a fruit and vegetable business.

The  Census of 1841 tells us that indeed John Sr. was Irish. He was born in 1799, and had married a woman from County Sligo called Elizabeth. The Census confirms that they had emigrated sometime between 1826 and 1829, after the birth of their first two children and were living in Oldham Road, Newton Heath, Manchester, and that they were running a fruit and vegetable business.

They went on to have six children altogether: David born in 1821, Ann born in 1826, Mary born in 1829, Margaret born in 1831, William born in 1834, and John Jr, born in 1837.

By the time of the 1851 Census (incorrectly shown as  ‘Lythe’) John was a widower of 52 still living at 21 Oldham Road Manchester with his younger children, Margaret 21 grocer’s daughter, William 17 apprentice silk trade, and John 14 office boy. They had a lodger, Nana Moore, 27 who was a pill pot maker.

Victoria Street 1936

They appear correctly in the 1861 Census at 45 Victoria Street, Liverpool. Margaret Lytle was 30 and head of the family. She was housekeeper to her father John Lytle Sr. aged 62 a widower, and her two young brothers: William 27, and John Jr. 24. All three men were listed as cotton porters, so they possibly worked in a cotton warehouse, loading cotton onto ships, as Victoria Street is very near the docks.

The family might have moved to Liverpool because of the American Civil War in 1861 – 1865, when there was an embargo on imported cotton goods from England, which would have had a knock-on effect to all trades in the Manchester area. Or they might have moved on the death of John’s wife, Elizabeth, to start a new life.

It seems that John Sr. returned to the retail trade By the time of his son John Jr.’s marriage in 1866, the certificate states that John Sr.’s profession was a ‘provision dealer’.

John and Elizabeth Lytle’s children

David Lytle

We can find no further news of David Lytle. Perhaps he emigrated, as there is no recorded death certificate. He might have joined his five uncles in North America.

Ann Lytle

There is a death certificate for Ann Lytle, dated 1881. She was unmarried, aged 55 and died in Ashton-under-Lyne. The published notice of Probate for Ann Lytle, dated 25th August 1881 says,

“Administration of Ann Lytle late of 60 Cardine St Stalybridge in the county of Chester. Spinster who died 16th July 1881 at 60 Cardine St was granted at Chester to John Lytle of 60 Cardine St the brother and one of the next of kin. Personal effects £116.14s.9d.”

Now we know from the Lancaster County Lunatic Asylum Census of the same year, 1881, that her brother John Lytle, was officially a resident there. Did his sister give him as beneficiary living at her address to make sure he got the money, if it was difficult for an asylum patient to receive it? Or was he allowed out from time to time, to visit his sister?

In 1881 £116 was not an inconsiderable sum, when an annual average wage for a porter was £82 and for a general labourer was £44.

Mary Lytle

In 1844, Mary had died aged 18, in Manchester, unmarried.

Margaret Lytle

Margaret was the woman who held the Lytle family together after the death of her mother, looking after her father and younger brothers William and John Jr. She was plainly a remarkable woman. After her marriage to Benjamin Scantlebury, when she was in her thirties, she took in her orphaned nephew, Alfred, Ruth’s father, sometime between the age of 7 and 12, and brought him up. She had grown up before schooling was compulsory for girls, but must have been taught well by her mother, for she passed on a thirst for knowledge, plus love of music and literature to her nephew. Even if she was not very literate herself, she encouraged literacy and musicality in him. She attended  church regularly and took Alfred with her, even though her husband Benjamin did not attend. She had worked all her life in the greengrocery business and had suffered several miscarriages and at least the death of one child. She is mentioned in many of the other stories on these pages.

William Lytle

The 1841 Census indicates that William was born in 1834 in Newton Heath, Manchester. By the time of the 1861 Census, he had moved with his widowed father John , his elder sister Margaret, and his younger brother John Jr, to Liverpool. All three men become cotton porters.

On 12th April 1865, William married Sarah Snodgrass and had two children: Jessie Elizabeth born in 1866 and Margaret born in 1868. But Sarah died and William remarried in 1881, a Jane Griffiths. Jane had also been married before, to Thomas Griffiths, and in 1863 they had had a son, Percy. By the 1871 Census, Jane was widowed and living with Percy at the home of her parents William and Jane Lewis.

In the 1881 Census William and Jane were living at 79 Burleigh Road South, Everton, with William’s two daughters, Jessie and Margaret, plus William’s orphaned nephew, Alfred Henry Lytle aged 7. In that Census, William is listed as being a master porter. It is probable that Jane was running a greengrocer’s shop. Jane’s older son Percy was by now 18 and living with his grandparents.

Although Alfred told his daughter Ruth, that he grew up alone, with no playmates his own age, he could very well not have counted his older cousins Jessie and Margaret as ‘playmates’. He often told Ruth of the harsh regime of his Uncle William, who was a drinking man, and who frequently sent the boy on errands to the Liverpool docks, for the White Star offices where he was employed. (See Alfred Lytle later)

When Alfred moved to live with his other uncle, Benjamin Scantlebury, his older brothers had already run away to sea, so he was certainly more on his own then.

By the next Census in 1891, William was a foreman porter, and in 1901 he was a 67 year old freight clerk.

In the 1911 Census, Jane Lytle is listed as a widow of 68, living with her son, Percy Griffiths, who was then 48 and a bookkeeper. Percy’s wife was 51. Jane died in 1915.

William and Jane’s children

Jessie Elizabeth

Jessie had married Henry Lewis (Might he have been a relation of her step mother, nee Jane Lewis?), and they had 8 children: Margaret born in 1889, Edith born in 1891, Jessie born in 1894, Henry born in 1899, Ernest born in 1901, Doris born in 1902, William born in 1904 and Gertrude born in 1910.

By 1921 Jessie Elizabeth was widowed, and she emigrated to America. The shipping records state that Jessie sailed aboard the ‘Baltic’ on 31st December 1921, arriving in New York on 9th January 1922, and accompanied by her daughter Doris, aged 20. By 1930, the US Census lists her as living in California with her son William Eric. Her two sons, William Eric and Ernest had sailed a little earlier, from Liverpool to Boston on 19th November 1921 aboard the ‘Winifredian’. She died in 1949.


Margaret was unmarried and working as a milliner in the 1911 Census. She later became a teacher, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1922, at the age of 55. She sailed to Boston on the ‘RMS Samaria’, on 2nd November 1922. It was the ships’ maiden voyage. We have checked the passenger list, and found that her English address had been 5 Marlborough Road, Waterloo, Liverpool, where her widowed mother step-mother, Jane Lytle, was living with her son Percy Griffiths. Margaret arrived in Boston on 12th November 1922, and was visiting a Mr Lewis, who must have been her nephew.

John Lytle Jr.

Go   to the start of John’s story.