Joseph Thomas Stephenson was the third child of Thomas Stephenson & Ann Wainwright born July 20th, 1872 at Seaton Carew, & christened August 8th, 1872 at Holy Trinity, Seaton Carew, West Hartlepool, Co Durham.
At the time of the 1881 census Joseph was staying with his grandparents, Thomas & Elizabeth Stephenson at High St., Stokesley, Yorks.
Joseph married Bertha Broughton at West Hartlepool Baptist Church on September 25th, 1893. Bertha was born September 9th, 1874 in Bradford, Yorks, the daughter of Elizabeth Langridge & Henry Broughton, a marine engine turner.
In 1896 Joseph, aged 24, joined the West Hartlepool branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants & was described as a porter.
In 1901 Joseph & Bertha were living at 32 Gordon St, West Hartlepool & Joseph was a porter for the North Eastern Railway. They had 2 children – Henry L (6) & Thomas F (5). There was also an 18 year old boarder with them, Harry P Walton, a clerk for the North Eastern Railway.
By 1911 Joseph & Bertha had moved to 18 Kimberley St, West Hartlepool & Joseph continued to work as a porter for the NER. They had 7 children at home – Thomas, an errand boy (billiard marker at Masonic hall), Dorothy (9), Bertha (8), Muriel (6), Ernest (4), Edmund (2) & Joe (5 months). It was noted on the census that Joseph & Bertha had had 10 children, only 8 of whom were still alive. Son Henry had joined the Royal Navy & at the time of the census he was aboard the HMS Isis, serving as a signal boy, at Newton Abbott, Torbay, Devon.
Joseph died tragically on July 11th, 1911 at the age of 38 years. The Northern Daily Mail of July 12th, 1911 reported that Joseph, a parcels porter, was crossing the line at the West Hartlepool railway station to meet an incoming train from the north. He was knocked down by a passenger train from the south with several carriages passing over his body causing one leg to be severed & his body was badly mutilated. He was taken to Cameron Hospital, West Hartlepool, where he sadly died. Joseph was buried from 42 Colenso St on July 14th, his interment taking place at North Cemetery, West Hartlepool. (Thanks to Grenville Davies for information on Joseph’s death.) Poor Bertha was left with a family of 6 young children under the age of 10 to care for.
The children of Joseph Thomas Stephenson & Bertha Broughton were:
s.126.96.36.199.1 Henry Langridge Stephenson born April-June 1894 at West Hartlepool, Co Durham; died Jan-March 1976 in Surrey
s.188.8.131.52.2 Thomas Frederick Stephenson born Oct-December 1895 at West Hartlepool, Co Durham
s.184.108.40.206.3 Harold Stephenson born July-September 1897 at West Hartlepool; died August 1898 at Belk Street & buried August 9th at North Cemetery,West Hartlepool
s.220.127.116.11.4 Winifred Stephenson born April-June 1899 at West Hartlepool; died March 1900 at Gordon Street & buried March 17th, 1900 at North Cemetery, West Hartlepool
s.18.104.22.168.5 Dorothy Stephenson born Oct-December 1901 at West Hartlepool, Co Durham
s.22.214.171.124.6 Bertha Hilda Stephenson born Jan-March 1903 at West Hartlepool, Co Durham
s.126.96.36.199.7 Muriel Stephenson born April-June 1904 at West Hartlepool, Co Durham
s.188.8.131.52.8 Ernest William Stephenson born May 1st, 1906 at Alma St, West Hartlepool, Co Durham; died December 24th, 1967 at Islington, London
s.184.108.40.206.9 Edmund Charles Stephenson born March 13th, 1909 at West Hartlepool, Co Durham; died November 1987 at Bromley, Kent
s.220.127.116.11.10 Joe Stephenson born Oct-December 1910 at West Hartlepool, Co Durham; died at Gordon St, West Hartlepool & buried May 9th, 1912 at North Cemetery, West Hartlepool
Widowed Bertha remarried in Oct-December 1912 in West Hartlepool. Her second husband was Henry S Graham born Jan-March 1875 in Elswick, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1911 Henry, a tool grinder, was boarding with the Bird family in Middleton, Hartlepool.
Bertha & Henry had a number of children all born in Kent - Ena Storey Graham in 1913, twins Henry Storey & Ella Ida Graham in 1915 & Norah M Graham in 1920.
Son Ernest William, a post office engineer, married Kate Catherine Coman in 1932 in Hackney Register Office, London.
The 1939 register shows Bertha, listed as married, living with son Henry, an unskilled labourer, at 5 Portland Rd, Chislehurst & Sidcup, Kent.
Henry, an old age pensioner, died at 136 Westbrooke Rd, Welling & was buried on March 24th, 1951 at Bexleyheath Cemetery, Kent.
Bertha of 136 Westbrooke Rd, Welling died aged 78 at the County Hospital, Dartford, & was buried on October 11th, 1952 at Bexleyheath Cemetery, Kent.