Sarah Winter was baptized on the 4th of September, 1803 in Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Durley, daughter of James Winter, labourer and Sally Winter. The baptismal record lists her name as Sally, but in all later records she is called Sarah. I have found that the names Sarah and Sally were used interchangeably in reference to her mother also. We can probably assume that she was born in late August or early September and it records seem to indicate that she was the oldest of James and Sally's seven children. She would later have two brothers and four sisters.
Currently, nothing further is known about Sarah's childhood in Durley. At some point, she may have traveled east in search of work because on the 29th of November, 1825, at the age of 22, she married Richard Carter in the town of Littlehampton, Sussex - this was 50 miles from her hometown. The marriage took place in St. Mary's Anglican Church and all we know of Richard is that he was 4 or 5 years older than Sarah. His occupation is not known but many men in this seacoast town were in the British navy or were fisherman. Richard died seven years later at the early age of 34 possibly the result of one of these hazardous occupations. Church records indicate that he was buried on the 1st of January 1833. Richard and Sarah had four sons, although Richard died before the birth of the youngest one. This is what I have learned about the four children:
1. Richard James - probably named for his father and his maternal grandfather, James Winter. Baptized on the 5th of December, 1826 in St. Mary's Church in Littlehampton. Richard is not listed in the 1841 census with the rest of the family. It is possible that he died during childhood or left the area to find work (he would have been 15 at this time).
2. William Thomas - baptized 23 November 1828 in St. Mary's Church. Listed as age 13 and living with his mother and siblings during the 1841 Littlehampton census. He married Grace Earl in the same church on August 25th, 1849. William was 20 years of age and Grace was about 18. She was born in Dartmouth in Devon County. They had six children - 4 girls and 2 boys.
Charlotte Ann - b. 1851
Eliza Emma - b. 1853
Clara Grace - b. 1855
William Richard - b. 1859
Frederick John - b. 1864
Bessie Catherine - b. 1866
During the 1861 Census, William and Grace are living in the Victory Inn which is next to the coast guard station where the family, including his mother (Sarah Winter Carter) has lived for many years. William is listed as a master mariner. It appears that during the 1871 Census, William is at sea, as Grace is listed as "married" but William is not listed in the census. In the 1881 Census, Grace is listed as widowed, so it appears that William died between 1871 and 1881.
3. Thomas John - baptized 16 January 1831 at St. Mary's. He is living with his mother and siblings during the 1841 and 1851 censuses. Thomas would not have remembered his father as he would only have been two when he died. In 1851, he is 20 years old and is also working as a mariner. On November 29th, 1854, he married Eliza Sparkman at St. Mary's. They had son named John Stephen born in 1860. Nothing further has been found on this family.
4. John - baptized 15 September 1833. Sarah was already a widow when John was born. He is listed as 7 years old in the 1841 Census but nothing else has been found about him.
We return to Sarah now. At the age of 30, she was left widowed with 3 young sons under 6 years and is pregnant with a fourth child. One certainly wonders how a family survived financially under these circumstances. There is no evidence that they entered a "Poor House" but rather remained in the area around the Coast Guard Station. Maybe it was common practice for mariner's families to gather together and help each other out during times of crisis and need.
About 4 years after the death of Richard, Sarah became involved with an unknown man and has a daughter on March 11th, 1837. She is named Ann and is my great-great grandmother. Ann is baptized at St. Mary's Church in Littlehampton and the record indicates that Sarah Carter is the mother but no father is listed, so she is given the surname of Carter. The only clue as to who her father might be is an entry on her death certificate. Her son lists her father as "John Easter". This is a mystery that will probably never be solved and I will probably never know who my "real" ggg-grandfather was. Whoever he was though, Sarah did not marry him but did remarry another man seven years later.
On January 22, 1844, Sarah, now aged 40, married James Richardson, a mariner born in Littlehampton. It appears from census records that James was 8 - 10 years younger than Sarah. Two years later in May 1846, they had a daughter they named Sarah. In the 1851 Census, they are living near the Coast Guard Station with their daughter, aged 4 and two of Sarah's other children - Thomas, 20 who is a mariner and Ann who is now 14. Living next door to them is Grace Carter, the wife of Sarah's son, William.
During the 1861 Census, Sarah is living in the Henley Buildings, also in this same area. Daughter, Sarah, is with her but her husband, must be at sea. Her other daughter, Ann, has married Mathew Minogue, and will soon move to Canada.
In 1871, James and Sarah are living on Pier Road and shortly after the census is taken, Sarah dies on September 20th at the age of 68. Her cause of death is listed as an "Ulcer of the Leg and General Decay". Two other health problems are listed but cannot be deciphered. Present at death is Mary Ann Gravett. (Note: a Mary Ann Richardson, born about 1830, was married to Peter Gravett in Littlehampton in 1860. It is possible that this was Sarah's sister-in-law. Peter and Mary Ann Gravett are listed as living very close to Sarah and James Richardson in 1861.
Written by Patricia Balkcom, great-great-great granddaughter, January, 2008.