Mary, c1733

c1733 (Dumbleton?) – 1779 (Dumbleton)

Our first cousin 7xremoved Mary Pitman was probably born and baptised in Dumbleton although there are no registers or Bishops’ Transcripts available for that period to enable us to be certain.   Her parents were Thomas Pitman, a blacksmith,  believed to be from Longhope,  and his wife Elizabeth (née Lloyd).

Mary married Robert Staight at Dumbleton in 1756. They had eight children, the first six being baptised at Winchcombe (Robert’s home), and the two youngest at Dumbleton.  Their eldest child, Elizabeth Pitman Staight was buried in Dumbleton in 1763, at the age of just 6.

Mary’s great grandson, Charles Pitman Staight (born about 1819)
(from “The Blacksmith’s Daughter”)

Mary and Robert’s eldest son, also Robert, had five children with his wife Sarah. Their first child, Thomas Pitman, was baptised at Dumbleton in 1782, and buried there at the age of 2 years and 3 weeks on 17th June 1784. One month later, on 18th July, their second child was baptised, also at Dumbleton, and also named Thomas Pitman. It seems that from that time right up to the present day at least one son (usually Thomas or Charles) in each generation has carried the middle name Pitman.

Mary Staight (nee Pitman) died on 5th September 1779, aged 46, and was buried at Dumbleton two days later. Her gravestone is close to that of her parents, and to those of her Staight descendants, and is still partially legible, despite its age.

The book “The Blacksmith’s Daughter” by Susan Oldacre, documents the lives of the Staight family during the nineteenth century, based on a diary kept by one of them, combined with family knowledge and photographs. It was published in 1985 (by Alan Sutton) and is now out of print, but secondhand copies are occasionally available.

If you should read the book you will see that the family tree offered there differs in one very important aspect from the one we have outlined: it suggests that Robert Staight remarried after Mary’s death, and that Thomas Pitman Staight born 1782 and his namesake born in 1784 were the result of this marriage. We have reached our differing conclusion through the details given in the will of Mary’s widowed husband, Robert, and because logic suggests that if Robert senior was the father there would be no reason to perpetuate the name Pitman, as these sons would have no Pitman blood. Robert junior, however, was Elizabeth’s son, so far more likely to want to use her surname for his son.

The graves of Mary (front left), her parents (front right) and her husband and descendants (behind)

Robert Staight     16 August 1756    Dumbleton

Elizabeth Pitman    1757 – 1763
Robert                      1759 – 1811
Thomas                    1761 – 1789
William                     1764 –
Elizabeth Pitman    1766 –
John                          1768 –
James                       1771 –
Richard                    1773 – 1773